Asics Gel Kahana 8

8.4 score
Runnerclick score (8.4)/10

Our overall Runnerclick score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter
Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 5 user ratings
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Asics Gel Kahana 8 Review Facts

The ASICS Gel Kahana 8 is a stability trail kick designed for runners that may need additional arch support and display neutral and overpronation 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 the 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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Great arch support
  • Rated highly for rugged trail performance
  • Breathable mesh upper kept feeling cool and dry
  • Heel tab for easier putting on and removing the shoe
  • Some found the width to be too narrow and shorter
  • Construction concerns as the heel deteriorated
  • Few reviews indicate that the shoe was just not comfortable
  • Some felt the integrity of the shoe had diminished from previous models
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 3 hours analyzing a total of 1005 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • With patience and correct sizing, the majority of reviewers say Asics Gel Kahana 8s are a good choice for getting on the trails.
  • The traction helps keep you stable in dry and damp conditions.
  • Reviewers noted that there is ample tread to keep your feet protected over rocks and roots.
  • Many buyers noted that the price of Gel Kahana 8s is reasonable. In fact, it made a few skeptical before purchasing, but they were pleasantly surprised by the quality.
  • These shoes get some high marks from buyers for the arch support. It is especially good for people with flat feet.
  • Buyers commented on the fit being good for people who overpronate.
  • The upper is made of strong material that keeps the feet insulated for cooler weather activity.
  • Overall, reviewers say these shoes feel durable and sturdy.
  • The lacing system gets praise for the strength of the laces and having a lacing tab on the tongue to keep them in place. Some buyers like the length of the laces saying they aren't too long to get in the way or require double knotting.
  • The tongue is made with a bit of extra padding to protect the tops of the feet from feeling too much pressure from the laces.
  • Many reviewers like the springiness they feel from the gel cushioning.
  • A few buyers noted that the firm hold of the shoe allows it to support sturdy lateral movement.
  • The outsole of the shoes have worked on both trail and road running for buyers.
  • A few people claim these shoes work great for them at work in the medical field. Being on their feet all day, they say these keep them from feeling any excessive foot fatigue.
  • There are many positive reviews for these shoes for short to mid distance trail hiking and running.
  • A few reviewers noted that with these shoes they felt some relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis.
  • When asked in the review, most buyers say they would recommend these shoes.
  • The most common critique of Asics Gel Kahana 8 is for the sizing. Many reviewers complain of the narrow fit. For some buying a half or full size larger helped, but for others the fit is just too narrow.
  • A few buyers who have had Gel Kahana 7s say the fit and feel of the 8s are a let down.
  • The toe box is noted as narrow enough to make these shoes unwearable for some.
  • Overall, both positive and negative reviewers remarked on the stiffness of these shoes. For many people allowing some break in time increased the comfort. However, a small percentage of buyers felt the stiffness wouldn't ease up even after trying to break them in.
  • These shoes are not as lightweight as some other trail runners. A few people noted that the heft made them feel more durable, but if you are looking for a lightweight running shoe, this isn't the best option.
  • As noted in positive reviews, the length of the laces is a plus for some buyers. Other buyers, however, feel they are not long enough to tie securely.
  • The ventilation of the Gel Kahana 8s is not great. Wearing these in hot weather may not be comfortable.
  • A large percentage of negative reviews are from buyers who have seen quick wear on the outsole. Mostly the complaints are about the tread peeling or loosening.
  • One reviewer noted that having loops instead of eyeholes for some of the lacing was a big inconvenience when one of the loops broke. Lacing system preference is something to consider before buying.
  • Due to the thickness and material of the upper, it takes a long time for these shoes to fully dry.
  • With the narrow toe box that these have, they can be susceptible to wear on the upper where the toes hit.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 1005 reviews we found in total, 17% were negative, and 83% were positive.


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.


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.


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.


It seems many expected the shoe to feel heavier, especially for a trail stability shoe which tends to carry more weight, so reviewers 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 them but ASICS tried to offset this with its TRUSSTIC system that creates stability without added materials.


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.


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 the 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 was most 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.

Read also about best running shoe for bunions.


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.


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.


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 a trickier terrain, some were disappointed not to have a rock plate or toe protection feature.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 terrains. 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.



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.


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.


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

- Lightweight
- Resin Trusstic System
- Solid grip
- Great arch support
- Gel technology in the heel
- Many experienced too narrow fit
- Concerns with durability

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.