Asics Gel Kahana 8

7.9
7.9 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (6.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (7.9)/10

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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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Asics Gel Kahana 8Review Facts
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The ASICS Gel Kahana 8 is a stability trail kick designed for runners that may need additional arch support and display neutral and over pronation tendencies. Based on a shoe line known for providing comfort for even the most rugged adventures, the Gel Kahana 8 has some high expectations to live up to. While it received its fair amount of praise as it continues to deliver on features like style and lighter weight and its ability to tackle tougher terrain, not every runner was pleased with the new incarnation citing durability and comfort concerns. On paper, the Kahana 8 should be a standout. Its gel technology in the heel that aids in shock absorption for healthier strides, the SPEVAFOAM midsole that benefits runners with better bounceback and durability,  as well as added support and stability through the DUOMAX dual density system all set it up to be an avid trail runner’s front runner. In addition, maintaining its lightweight feel through the use of Trusstic System Technology combined with its impressive ability to conquer technical trails and hills with its reverse lugs, the Kahana 8, were it not for issues with the construction of the sole, it might very well be a top rated stability trail shoe.

Pros
  • Rated highly for rugged trail performance
  • Trail stability shoe that is surprisingly lighter weight than expected
  • Gel in the heel provided  impressive shock absorption for a more comfortable ride
  • Great arch support
  • Breathable mesh upper kept feel cool and dry
  • Heel tab for easier putting on and removing shoe
Cons
  • Some found the width to be too narrow and shorter, especially in the women's version.
  • Construction concerns as the heel deteriorated or separated completely
  • Quite a few reviews indicate that the shoe was just not comfortable.
  • Some felt the intergrity of the shoe had diminished from previous models.
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole dressed in reverse lugs aims to offer a smooth and confident ride on more technical terrain, including the rugged inclines and steep descents. Made of AHAR® (Asics High Abrasion Rubber), the outsole is designed to provide a grippy and durable underbelly for the Gel Kahana 8. While many were very pleased with its traction, some were not quite as taken with its ability to wear and tear citing that the tread peeled off the shoe after a few initial uses. The sole unit here also incorporates flex grooves for improved flexibility while traversing more adventurous terrain and reviews indicate that runners were quite pleased with their impressive ability to toe-off effectively and efficiently navigate technical trails. Overall, if one did not experience the durability issue, this was one of their favorite features.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Gel cushioning mentioned in the shoe's name - GEL Kahana 8 - is introduced to help with shock absorption on impact and create a nice follow through during the transition. Proponents of the shoe find this to one of their favorite features claiming it is very comfortable. With a midsole comprised of SPEVAfoam, the Gel Kahana 8 is slated to provide a good energy return and reduce wear on the shoe. Its DUOMAX employs a dual density system for improved support and stability. This material helps keep the foot in place making for a more controlled and confident step. Again, the runners whose shoes did not deteriorate were quite pleased with the sole unit of this shoe.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The Gel Kahana 8 sports a breathable mesh upper that effectively keeps feet cool and dry even in wet and warm conditions. The stitched-in synthetic overlays are not intrusive and help create a feeling of security allowing for more stability, support, and confidence on the run. The inside of the upper keeps feet comfortable and free from irritation and chafing.
Weight
Weight

Weight

It seems many expected the shoe to feel heavier, especially for a trail stability shoe which tends to carry more weight, so reveiwers were pleasantly surprised at the actual weight. The men's shoe weighs in at 11.9 oz and the women's at 9.9 oz. Stability features can sometimes carry extra heft with the them but ASICS tried to offset this with its TRUSSTIC system that creates stability without added materials.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The upper features a breathable mesh that appears mostly open except for the well placed synthetic overlays. Most are pleased with its ability to keep feet comfortable despite wetter or warmer conditions. This ventilation allows runners to power through without blisters or chafing and enhances the lifespan of the shoe.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Said by many to fit too narrow and too short, these shoes just did not please everyone. The lacing system was said to be effective and feel comfortable on the instep but overall, the shoe did not wear comfortably for more than just a few reviewers. While there are those finding the heel to fit snugly and help lock the foot in, some claimed that the shoe introduced a larger heel cup that was nice but didn't mesh well with the narrower fit from previous versions of the shoe. Finding the rest of the shoe to be to their liking, were disheartened to have the fit be so askew. That's not to say they didn't work for others. Once wearers found the size that worked best for them foregoing thicker socks in favor of thinner ones and despite previous sizing in ASICS, some were very pleased. Runners claim that the shoe had adequate arch support and helped alleviate pain from plantar fasciitis and were mostly comfortable. The insoles are removable allowing for orthotics and this made the difference for some allowing them to address concerns with bunions and ball-of-foot pain. Some walkers noted that they were pleased overall with the shoe saying that it alleviated sciatic nerve pain. Despite reviews to the contrary, some found the fit to be just what they needed claiming the Kahana 8 has a roomier toe box and solid heels that eliminated blisters.
Style
Style

Style

Most are so pleased with the overall appearance of the Gel Kahana 8, they enjoy it for everyday wear...not only kicking it on the trails but also incorporating in their wardrobes. Men's shoes are available in a range of colors including shark/black/true red, Directoire Blue/Vibrant Yellow/Black, Dark Navy/Black/Sulphur Spring, and Black/Onyx/Silver. Women's kicks are offered in combinations such as Black/Island Blue/Pink Glow, Black/Ice Green/Hot Orange, and Dark Steel/Pink Glow/Mint.
Durability
Durability

Durability

After minimal non-strenuous wear time from 2 weeks to 2 months, wearers expressed disappointment with the construction of the shoe. The sole was cited as separating and falling off. Many experienced the heel detaching and some found the front tread and the toe piece to peel away. There were a handful claiming the shoe lace ring also fell off making the shoe unwearable. Asics designed the shoe with materials that were expected to endure, like tough AHAR rubber compound meant for high impact, but too many found them to be lacking the ability to go the distance.
Protection
Protection

Protection

With a breathable mesh upper, the top of the foot is protected from damage incurred from wet and sweaty feet. The underfoot is protected by the sole unit's durable materials and added lugs of the outsole. As a trail shoe that has been proven to handle trickier terrain, some were disappointed not to have a rock plate or toe protection feature.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

With a sole unit built for shock absorption and effective energy return, many found the Asics Gel Kahana 8 to be a top performer on the trails as far as comfort, injury protection, and reducing leg fatigue. The Gel feature was lauded by many and the flex grooves and AHAR outsole with impressive reverse lugs allowed for a light ground touch and quick toe off and efficient stride.
Support
Support

Support

The Gel Kahana 8's upper's mesh and overlays seemed to provide a good wrap for most. Reviewers were pleased with the side and arch support as well. And the upper and the heel seemed to make many feel secure in fit, while some claimed the too-snug fit precluded them from even venturing out. The moderate cushioning of this lighter weight shoe helped make the ride more comfortable and confident.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The Asics Gel Kahana 8 is a daily runner for neutral and overpronating trail enthusiasts that enjoy technical terrain. It is suitable for wet and dry conditions on rocks, roots, gravel, uneven inclines, and slippery descents. It can cover changing terrain and challenging courses with confidence and in relative comfort.
Price
Price

Price

Issues with durability and fit create some concerns with buying a shoe without first trying it on, especially at the Asics Gel Kahana 8's initial ticket price rivaling other comparable premium trail shoes. Offered at a lower cost now, all the positive feedback on the shoe could outweigh the wear issue and possibly make it a solid contender for you - provided it fits.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Fit and construction aside, the traction was something that most runners were impressed by, gripping well even on technical inclines. And rated well for traction, the Gel Kahana 8 is said to have rugged tread that creates a confident ride over uneven and rocky trails and other tricky terrain. Its midfoot Trusstic System technology helps stabilize and support the structural integrity of the shoe, minus the bulk, allowing for a lighter weight stability shoe.

Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Some found the shoe to feel stiff overall but most were pleased with the level of agility offered by the Gel Kahana 8. Its outsole comprised of AHAR durable and tough rubber compound is meant for high impact but does not lend itself to flexibility. Though, the flex grooves in the forefoot help to create some nimbleness and efficiency navigating terrain while the resin Trusstic midfoot piece helps stabilize the foot to prevent twisting alleviating any feeling of being out of control. Many said they feel confident with the shoe's ability to conquer uneven and changing terrain safely and efficiently.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Gel Kahana 98 is a stability trail shoe that provides added arch support through the use of the TRUSSTIC guidance system and its use of DUOMAX dual density materials. The DUOMAX systems allows for feet to feel secure and locked in to prevent slippage during natural foot movements and the lightweight resin TRUSSTIC is incorporated into the middle of the sole unit with the intent to prevent twisting during movement and allowing for a stabilized movement. Some reviewers loved this feature as it alleviated arch pain while allowing for powering through their ups and downs. In addition, a snug heel and synthetic overlays in the upper are an added benefit to help achieve this end.
Drop
Drop

Drop

With a heel height of 29mm and a forefoot measurement of 19mm, this shoe represents a hell-toe drop in the higherrange but many find this to be comfortable. Men and women both experience a dropheight of 10mm in the Asics Gel Kahana 8.

Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

trail shoe intended for neutral and over pronating runners
lightweight
resin Trusstic system featured in the sole midfoot to create stability without added heft
solid grip with reverse lugs in the AHAR outsole for navigating changing and challenging terrain
great arch support
gel technology in the heel for shock absorption and energy return
less well received than previous models of the Gel Kahana line
many experienced too narrow fit throughout the upper
concerns with durability and construction of the sole unit

Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

With a good number of less than positive reviews, this shoe has left some wondering what happened to ASICS? What happened to older incarnations of the Kahana? Found to be uncomfortable and fitting too snugly in addition to the construction concerns, especially in the heel, this higher priced trail shoe may be one to leave on the shelf....or at least not order sight unseen ... or "untried on." While there are those that thoroughly enjoyed the Kahana 8, the dissent cannot be ignored. Even long time ASICS fans, while they may wear the shoe, feel it is not indicative of the quality they've come to expect. Hopefully, ASICS can benefit from the feedback and come back with a kick that addresses these important issues and, once again, wow the running community with its known commitment to comfort and durability. In the meantime some truly do love this shoe and it is a possibility you could too.