Asics has been at the top of running shoe game for over 60 years. With an emphasis on comfort and performance, Asics knows what must be done to create a top notch running shoe. In fact, they are so highly thought of that Nike founder Phil Knight wanted designers and engineers from the company when he first started Nike. The Asics Gel brand is Asics’ most-well known brand and arguably the best series of shoes in running. Their Kinsei Gel series is still pretty new, with the first edition coming out in 2006, but the series has focus on stability, comfort, and efficiency. After complaints about the durability and weight of the fifth edition, did Asics fix the issues and take another step forward?
Asics uses their Asics High Abrasion Resistant Rubber on the outsole of the Gel Kinsei 6. This rubber is not only durable, but extremely protective from the elements and ground. It’s truly a spectacular outsole that I have seen no complaints about. It is not only durable, but it provides great grip. The deep flex grooves in the forefoot of the outsole contribute the the shoe’s overall flexibility.
The outsole features Asics’ impact guide system, which is the black rubber along the edge of the outsole. This feature helps you through a natural gait cycle. Some runners have said that even though the outsole is thick, they are still able to get through the gait cycle with no issues, including the toe-off portion. At first glance, the outsole doesn’t look conventional, and it’s not, but it all comes together to provide a stable and durable ride.
The midsole is where you’re going to find Asics FluidRide 2.0 technology. The “Gel” in the Asics Gel series isn’t just a fancy name. Asics has developed a midsole that is springy and responsive, along with being unique looking. Not only that, but since it’s a gel substance, it doesn’t bring the weight of the shoe up in the least. The Gel Cushioning System is designed to absorb the shock of your foot as you run, and it does its job perfectly. The gel is in both the forefoot and the heel, which allows for an even dispersement of pressure
when your foot strikes the ground. Asics also uses their
The Propulsion Trusstic Technology. This technology is designed to mimic the connective tissue in your foot, essentially giving the shoe a natural feel underneath your foot. Despite looking similar, the men’s and women’s shoes are different in the midsole. The women’s shoe uses a lower density in the top layer of the midsole. This is done because the female body puts less pressure on the foot when running. So, being using a lower density, the shoe is able to maintain it’s cushion and responsive for women instead of being firmer and stiffer. It’s a smart move by Asics in a long line of smart moves when it comes to their midsole. Like the outsole, it has a unique look, but it’s well-designed and well-constructed.
The upper utilizes Asics FluidFit technology, which is a multi-dimensional mesh that stretches with your foot as you move. It’s a technology that is designed to mold and conform to the shape of your foot without suffocating it or making it uncomfortable. The seamless upper allows you to run without socks
. This isn’t something new, as the Nike Free Flyknit 3 has perfected the “running without socks” running shoe. While the Nike Free Flyknit 3 is a lightweight shoe that is designed to essentially be a sock around your foot, just with a little extra protection.
The Asics Gel Kinsei 6 is much different as it weighs much more than Nike’s offering and provides much stronger protection all around your foot. If you do run without socks, you can run easy knowing that your will be well protected from things like blisters and irritation. This is helped by the ComforDry X-40 Sock Liner, which maintains the comfort and breathability of the shoe. The upper also features a heel clutch system, which supports and holds the heel of your foot in place. It adds a little bit of extra weight, but it helps with the stability and protection.
The shoes weigh 12.1 oz, which is well above the average weight of your typical running shoe. The weight comes from multiple things. The high abrasion rubber on the outsole, which makes for great durability, also makes for a heavy shoe. On top of that, the midsole is very thick. While the gel doesn’t add much to the weight, the rest of the midsole is so thick that you can see where the extra weight comes from. Even the upper, especially with the heel counter that goes across the top of your foot, adds extra weight to the shoe. None of this is necessarily a bad thing considering the protection and durability you get from the shoe. However, if you are looking for something lightweight and that gives you a “barely there
” feel, you may want to look elsewhere.
The upper provides great breathability. A close look at the shoe really shoes just how many breathable areas the shoe has, especially in the forefoot of the upper. With no overlays on the upper, outside of the Asics logo, the upper gives your foot plenty of breath. On top of that, the FluidFit technology, while it wraps your foot comfortably, still has plenty of holes so it isn’t suffocating. The sock liner helps with the breathability as way as it eliminate moisture to help keep your foot dry. The heel could use a bit more breathability, as the heel clutch is very overwhelming.
One runner said that the shoe, “fits like a glove.” That’s high praise for any shoe. However, with the Gel Kinsei 6, it’s not exactly unwarranted. The FluidFit upper wraps nicely around your foot and conforms to the top of your foot, giving you a comfortable fit. And, despite the upper fitting nicely around your foot, there is still plenty of room in the toe box so you don’t feel like your foot is trapped and can’t move.
The heel clutch keeps your heel in place, but isn’t too tight to where it is uncomfortable or noticeable. Then there is the midsole and the outsole. The midsole has so much cushion thanks to the FluidRide and gel technology that it goes a long way in adding to the comfort of the shoe. The midsole is well cushioned and soft, and responds well when you’re running. On top of that, you have the outsole, which disperses the pressure from your foot as you run thanks to the impact railing system. The fact that you can wear these shoes without socks also speaks the comfort level of them.
As mentioned, the shoe does not look conventional or sleek in the least. It’s a shoe that stands out in many, many ways. It’s a very “busy” shoe that is going to garner a lot of attention on the road. The shoe is only available in two colors through Asics website, but you can find more color options through Amazon. The colors are anything but bland. There are at least three different colors blended into the shoe, with some shoes featuring four or five different colors. The gel in the heel definitely gives the shoe a unique look that you’re not going to find anywhere else, at least not this well done, on any other shoe.
With the weight of the shoe, you would expect it to be durable. And you would be right. The High Abrasion Resistant Rubber gives the outsole some of the best durability on any shoe. The dual layer midsole and FluidRide technology holds up against conditions. And the FluidFit upper is well designed. It has plenty of stretch, but not so much stretch that you think it’s going to wear out quickly.
The durability of this shoe has been universally praised. Asics is all about making a shoe that is going to last and they hit the mark with the Gel Kinsei 6. You’re not going to find many, if any, shoe on the market with the kind of technology that Asics puts into their shoes and it all lends itself to the durability of the shoe. Most runners get over 300 miles out of these shoes, which is above average.
Durability and protection go hand-in-hand in this case. Because of the superior materials that Asics uses to provide the extra durability, those materials help in providing extra protection as well. The heel clutch is going to keep your foot in place, meaning no rolling or twisting as you run. The rubber on the outsole will keep the bottom of your foot from feeling the ground. And the upper is thick enough that the top of your foot stays protected. You can run in these shoes without socks and feel comfortable in knowing that your foot will stay protected under any condition.
The FluidRide and Gel technology in the midsole works together to give your foot one of the most responsive rides you’ll find. The midsole is soft, and you can definitely feel it squish underneath you as you run. There’s no “barely there” feel with this shoe. You’re going to know that it’s around you’re foot and you’re going to feel it with every step. The only downside to the responsiveness is the flexibility. Due to the weight on the shoe, the flexibility is lacking a bit. It’s not bad, in fact, it’s probably more flexible than you would expect, but it’s also not going to bend backwards for you.
The shoe supports neutral arches and under/neutral pronation. The drop is 10 mm. The compression feel of the midsole means that the shoe is great with support and dealing with stress. As mentioned earlier, Asics made the women’s
midsole less dense to offset the weight and give men and women an equal amount of support when they run.
The shoe is meant for the road, but with a durable outsole that grips well and provides protection, you can safely use this shoe on easy trails and other terrains. It’s not a trail shoe, and it’s not going to grip well on wet surfaces of tough trails with a lot of rocks and digs, but if there is a simple trail that is easy to run on, the Gel Kensei 6 will hold up.
Here’s the biggest drawback of these shoes: the price. Asics has them listed for $200 on their website. You can likely find them cheaper elsewhere, but you’re still going to pay a very pretty penny for these shoes. Are they worth the extra price? There’s no doubt that they are some of the best shoes on the market, providing all-around features that any runner would want, including extra durability. But $200 is still a lot of money for shoes.
•Impact Guidance System that enhances the foot’s gait cycle and disperses the impact when your foot strikes the ground.
•Gel cushioning that absorbs the shock and feels comfortable under your foot.
•FluidFit upper with stretch mesh that fits comfortably and conforms around your foot.
•FluidRide midsole that is well cushioned and has a nice bounce back under your foot.
•Bright & Seamless trainer featuring rising sun-inspired side overlays
•Propulsion Trusstic system
There is nothing wrong with this shoe from a design stand point. From the upper to the midsole to outsole, everything comes together for a beautifully constructed ride. It’s comfortable, it’s durable, it’s responsive, it performs well, it has a unique look. There are a couple of issues that certain runners may not like due to their running style, but the vast majority of runners will love these shoes. The only issue is the price. It’s a luxury shoe and the $200 price tag isn’t unjust. But it’s still expensive.