Asics Gel Kayano 26 Stability Shoe Review
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 26 is the latest model in a long-running line of stability shoes, dating back to the early 90’s. Like its predecessors, it utilizes that latest footwear technology to keep runners steady and secure while also ensuring their all-day comfort. The result is a shoe that’s easy to wear, very corrective, and actively reduces foot pain.
The outsole features two different types of rubber for lightweight durability that’s also responsive. Its midsole includes FlyteFoam Lyte and FlightFoam Propel, along with shock-mitigating GEL pods, to cushion and keep the runner powering forward. And three of the brand’s most trusted stability features work together to correct the runner’s gait and ensure continuous support.
Even the upper aids in its stabilizing wear, thanks to its supportive and seamless FluidFit construction. The jacquard mesh also provides a wrap-around fit, along with breathability, and includes a number of printed on overlays. Finally, a MetaClutch wraps around the back and works with the lacing system to keep the foot locked into place.
-Very stabilizing wear
-Highly durable design
-Comfortable and responsive
-Wide range of color options
-Relieves pain and discomfort
-Does not fit true to size
-Lacks underfoot support
-Shoelaces unravel quickly
The tread pattern, which greatly resembles a car tire, consists of several flex grooves that make the midsole more pliable and the shoe easier to move around in. This same pattern also ensures a secure and stable grip on all types of road surfaces.
GEL shock-mitigating technology, made from a silicone-based material, is placed in both the forefoot and heel section to increase impact-absorption and energy-transfer where it's needed most. This is aided by the Trusstic System, a thermoplastic layer between the midsole and outsole, which not only strengthens cushioning but also maps out the foot's tendons to prevent fatigue and discomfort.
Other features are included for even greater stability and more comfortable wear. A Dynamic DuoMax supports the arch and prevents possible injuries, while the Impact Guidance System allows all of the features to work together without sacrificing flexibility. Finally, a ComforDry X-40 sock liner provides additional cushioning while also wicking away sweat and preventing bacteria build-up.
A MetaClutch exoskeleton provides even greater stability buy acting as an aggressive heel counter, completely wrapping around the back of the foot to prevent in-shoe wobbling and accidental removal. A series of printed-on overlays, a traditional lacing system, and a padded tongue and collar steady the foot even further.
While those who are used to more lightweight footwear might notice a difference while wearing this shoe, most feel that it gives them a reasonably lightweight feel as they run and walk. This means that they can just as easily take this with them throughout everyday activities as it can through workouts and runs.
The end result of all these features combining is a wear that keeps the buyer as cool and dry as possible and eliminates the worry of possible infections or chafing. This also makes it an excellent choice for intense workouts or for going out on hot summer days.
Aside from the obvious cushioning and ventilation, buyers have also marveled over the pain relief that this shoe provides. Those who live with chronic foot and leg pain have noticed an immediate difference once they started to wear this model. And the fact that it's surprisingly flexible means that they don't have to strain their feet in order of achieving a natural gait.
Of course, this all depends on both the wearer's preferences and how wide their feet are. Some reviewers have complained that it doesn't offer them enough underfoot cushioning, and its sizing is still unusually narrow despite the fact that it's also sold in 'wide' and 'extra wide.' As a result, it's recommended that buyers try this shoe on in-store first before they decide to make a purchase.
It should also be mentioned that both men's and women's sizes come in a wide range of color options. Buyers can use between basic black, white and grey options as well as more vibrant hues such as blue, red, neon pink, and violet blush. While several buyers are happy with what they've been given, others have stated that it seems disappointing when compared to earlier versions.
The only downside that several buyers have pointed out is that the laces will become frayed and unravel easily. While this isn't a complete deal-breaker, as they can easily be replaced at any shoe store, it was still a pain considering that this shoe is priced at $160.
The outsole's AHAR material shields the heel area against damage caused by road surfaces. The midsole's FlyteFoam technologies keep the foot cushioned even after repeated wears, a GEL unit absorbs shock where it occurs most often, and all three of its main stability features correct the runner's gait in different ways while still working together seamlessly. A ComforDry X-40 sock liner is an added bonus, as it's antibacterial and anti-moisture agents prevent possible infections.
Even the upper contributes to this shoe's protectiveness, thanks to the breathable jacquard mesh that makes to shoe easy to wear on hot days. The MetaClutch exoskeleton keeps the foot from accidentally slipping out, as does the traditional lacing system, and printed-on overlay safeguard against wear and tear.
Aside from being surprisingly durable, the outsole's DuraSponge rubber features multiple air pockets to provide a bouncier toe-off. This is enhanced even further by the midsole's FlyteFoam Propel, which is also located in the forefoot region. And GEL shock-mitigating technology absorbs the shock of each landing and immediately works to transfer it into energy to strengthen and smooth out the gait cycle.
However, a large number of reviewers have complained that it doesn't offer them enough underfoot support. The state that, despite its 22mm heel height, the midsole feels too thin for use during long-distance runs. A low drop platform might be what they're looking for, and several of these models can be found on the ASICS website.
Reviews don't give much indication of how well this shoe can perform on wet surfaces, but its rubber compounds and the shape of its tread pattern do indicate that it can keep the runner steady. And while most buyers seem satisfies with its level of support, others could use more cushioning for long-distance runs.
Despite this, reviewers also agree that this incredibly high price tag is more than justified. They enjoy its comfortable and stabilizing wear, the pain-relief that it provides, and the wide range of color options that they're offered. Of course, the shoe's highly durable wear is what really makes it worth every dollar spent.
With that said, constant complaints about this shoe's inconsistent sizing and occasional lack of support have definitely scared some buyers away. As a result, it's recommended that they try this shoe on in-store first before they officially decide to make a purchase.
The combination of AHAR and DuraSponge ensures that this shoe's gripping power can last for many months. And the curved cube lugs that form its tread pattern give it the appearance of a car tire, which lets buyers know that it can keep them moving safely across the ground below whether it's wet or dry.
However, this shoe's tendency to fit smaller and narrower than average might impede on how easy it is to move around in. And while trying it on first might help, it's still widely known that ASICS running shoes have a very slim and close-fit design.
The Dynamic DuoMax supports the arch to prevent overpronation, while the Trusstic System maps out all of the foot's tendons and muscles for continuous cushioning. The impact Guidance System ensures that everything stays straightened out and that all parts are working cohesively. Finally, the upper's MetaClutch exoskeleton wraps around the back of the foot to prevent in-shoe wobbling and accidental removal.
This height isn't typically featured on a stability shoe, as a lower drop height can encourage better balance and posture and, in turn, be more corrective. Yet reviews show that this doesn't seem to be a problem at all, as it sufficiently supports the heel without impeding on the foot's natural gait cycle.
-FlyteFoam Lite midsole
-FlyteFoam Propel forefoot
-GEL shock-mitigating technology
-Dynamic DuoMax foam
-Stabilizing Trusstic System
-Impact Guidance System
-ComforDry X-40 sock liner
-Jacquard mesh upper with overlays
-Supportive FluidFit construction
As will all running shoes, there are a few downsides to take into consideration. It's sizing is known to be smaller and narrower than average, and not everyone is satisfied with the cushioning that it provides. Yet as long as they've tried this shoe on first and know that they have the right fit, buyers can make it a go-to part of their everyday wardrobe and enjoy its pain-relieving benefits for a long time.