Asics Gel Kayano 26 Stability Shoe Review

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Asics Gel Kayano 26 Stability Shoe Review Review Facts
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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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Very stabilizing wear

-Highly durable design

-Comfortable and responsive

-Wide range of color options

-Relieves pain and discomfort

Cons

-Does not fit true to size

-Lacks underfoot support

-Shoelaces unravel quickly

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

ASICS uses two of their custom materials to construct the Gel-Kayano 26's outsole. The heel portion is made from AHAR, or ASICS High-Abrasion Rubber, which is known to be resistant against rough concrete and asphalt. The forefoot utilizes DuraSponge, which is also quite sturdy and provides an added bounce during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle.

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.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Most of the Gel-Kayano 26's stability features are located in its midsole, which uses the brand's FlyteFoam Lyte as a base. Made from organic nano-fibers, this environmentally-friendly material provides a lightweight yet long-lasting cushioning. FlyteFoam Propel is also located in the forefoot region, working alongside the outsole's DuraSponge to provide a bouncy toe-off.

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.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Breathable and form-fitting jacquard mesh serves as the primary fabric for the Gel-Kayano 26's upper. It provides a sock-like fit that's equal parts supportive and flexible, and air holes are placed throughout the forefoot and sides for ventilation where it's needed most. This is enhanced greatly by the lining's FluidFit construction, which stretches to accommodate the wearer's movements and is seamless for non-irritating wear.

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.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Gel-Kayano 26 is within the standard weight range for a stability running shoe, as men's sizes average out at just over 11 oz. and women's sizes are a little more than 9 oz. These styles usually weight more due to the extra features that are put in to correct and stabilize the runner's gait.

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.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Buyers have taken note of how breathable the Gel-Kayano 26's wear is and how much this adds to their overall comfort. The jacquard mesh upper features air holes all across the forefoot and sides for ventilation where it's needed most, and the supportive and seamless FluidFit construction doesn't impede on the shoe's breathability at all. All of this is enhanced even further by the ComforDry X-40 sock liner, which draws away moisture and reduces bacteria build-up.

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.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Most reviewers are very happy with how comfortable the Gel-Kayano's wear is. The midsole not only cushions and supports the foot, but its stability features prevent possible injuries caused by either impact or an improper gait. It's upper's breathable wear keeps them cool and dry, while the seamless construction eliminates the risk of irritation.

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.
Style
Style

Style

The Gel-Kayano 26 is very similar in build to other shoes within this same line. It features the same midsole and outsole materials, the same lacing system and overlays, and almost the same tread pattern. The most noticeable difference is that this version's heel counter is more aggressive than that of its immediate predecessor.

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.
Durability
Durability

Durability

For the most part, reviewers are very happy with how durable the Gel-Kayano 26 proves to be. The outsole's AHAR and DuraSponge materials can hold up incredibly well against rough concrete and cement, and all of its midsole's components are able to maintain their shape while still being lightweight and flexible. Even its mesh upper is resistant to wear and tear, thanks to numerous printed-on overlays and the MetaClutch exoskeleton.

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.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Although it's not clear if this shoe can sufficiently protect runners against the elements, the Gel-Kayano 26 can definitely safeguard against injuries and accidents. Buyers are given a midsole unit that corrects everything from overpronation and flat arches to heavy impact whenever they foot hits the ground.

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.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Multiple reviewers across the board have complimented the Gel-Kayano 26 for its incredibly responsive wear. These can be mostly attributed to three different features that form the shoe's midsole and outsole, as they all work together to safeguard the foot and ensure a faster and more efficient run.

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.
Support
Support

Support

Reviews seem to be quite mixed when it comes to the Gel-Kayano 26's overall level of support, although most have stated that they're happy with what it offers. Both of its FlyteFoam technologies combine with the GEL shock-mitigating pods to keep the foot cushioned where it's needed most, and the Dynamic DuoMax focuses on the arch to correct the runner's form. Furthermore, the upper's jacquard mesh and FluidFit construction completely support the rest of the foot while still permitting flexibility.

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.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The Gel-Kayano 26 is marketed as a road running shoe, so it's the best fit for everyday outdoor surfaces such as paved roads and sidewalks. Both of its outsole materials are engineered to withstand constant use on concrete and asphalt, and it's breathable upper and sock liner make it reasonably comfortable to wear during hot days.

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.
Price
Price

Price

Even though most are satisfied with its performance and wear, many reviewers are still quick to point out how expensive the Gel-Kayano 26 is. Across all online outlets, from REI and Road Runner Sports to the ASICS website, this shoe is listed at a hefty $160.

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.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Reviewers don't seem to focus too much on the Gel-Kayano 26's traction, as most have bought this shoe for stability and comfort. Yet its outsole's materials and design hint that it can safely carry the runner across all everyday outdoor surfaces.

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.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Despite its stabilizing features, most reviewers find the Gel-Kayano 26 to be very easy to wear. Buyers claim that they feel perfectly supported and steadied, yet they never feel restricted in any way. They've also pointed out that this shoe's break-in period is virtually non-existent, so there's no need to worry about initial discomfort when it's first worn.

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.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Since it is a stability shoe, the Gel-Kayano 26 is jam-packed with features that will correct the runner's gait and reduce pain and discomfort as a result. This all starts with both the FlyteFoam Lyte and the FlyteFoam Propel which provide lightweight cushioning and help the runner achieve fast and powerful yet controlled runs. GEL shock-mitigating technology aids this by absorbing the impact and transferring it into energy, keeping the runner's gait cycle smoothed out.

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.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Gel-Kayano 260 features a heel-to-toe drop height of 10mm, which is standard for a running shoe. The ASICS website lists its heel height at 22mm and its toe height at 12mm, meaning that it's able to provide a decent amount of cushioning for most buyers.

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.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-AHAR and DuraSponge outsole
-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
-MetaClutch exoskeleton
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Those who are looking for an everyday stability shoe should absolutely consider purchasing the ASICS Gel-Kayano 26. Although its price tag is expensive, most reviewers feel that this shoe is well worth every dollar they've spent. It stabilizes their foot completely, keeps them comfortable and pain-free all day, and is made from high-quality materials to ensure truly long-lasting wear.

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.