ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 Review
It achieves this dynamic movement by utilizes softer and more responsive materials in the forefoot and using stiffer stability materials along the heel. These two types of cushioning provide excellent toe-off for quick and speedy movements, while also helping to guide your foot into a nice and even gait cycle. I also love that the upper boasts a sleek style and low profile that cradles your foot while enhancing breathability when running on hot days.
Below, I wanted to dive into all of the specs that make the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 one killer stability trainer!
Full-length Flyte Foam midsole
Excellent heel stability is great for heavy strikers
Flexible GEL-cushioned forefoot
AHAR outsole for extended durability
Great for long-distance running
Narrow toe box
The heel is too stiff for some runners
Not ideal for speed
The midsole is what makes this stability trainer so special. It is composed of ASICS proprietary Flyte Foam technology that is composed of a special elastomer compound that provides a super plush ride. While the cushioning is soft ann energetic, is the focus of materials in certain parts of your foot that really make this midsole shine.
Near the forefoot ASICS users a thinner concentration of Flyte Foam in addition to gel padding (which has been present in the GEL-Kayano since the early 90s). This thinner concentration of padding gives this shoe a little more flex and movement than other stability trainers.
The heel has a very high concentration of Flyte Foam, which makes it pretty solid. The back of the heel has virtually no flex, but it provides a strong and energetic base which makes this design perfect for heel strikers or heavier runners.
Another great feature of these ASICS running shoes is that it has an insanely durable outsole. It is composed of AHAR rubber, which stands for ASICS High Abrasion Rubber. Even after 100 miles, the outsole shows little signs of wear and tear. While the outsole is built for long runs and made from incredibly durable features, it also has a few features that will help make your long runs a little bit easier.
The flex grooves built into the rubber outsole help to actually propel your feet forward for an excellent toe-oof and a nice and easy ride. These flex grooves are more pronounced in the forefoot, providing runners with just a little more flexibility and a more energetic gait cycle.
Overall, you can expect to get a few hundred miles in these trainers before you will need to replace them. What makes this shoe a little more durable than other stability trainers is the heavy-duty heel design. Heavier runners often have to replace their shoes more frequently, but the strong design of the heel even provides heavier runners with a few hundred high-quality miles before it needs to be replaced.
The upper has undergone a few cosmetic changes when compared to previous versions, as well as a few functional changes. This design boasts a low profile that sits pretty low on your foot and is composed of a few layers of breathable mesh that helps to lock the foot in place while promoting breathability. It also has modest padding in the heel collar and tongue for added comfort and a shorter break-in period.
It doesn’t just stop with a breathable and padded outsole. The heel unit is composed of ASICS’s MetaClutch exoskeleton heel system that really locks your heel in place. This heel system not only helps to promote lockdown but also adds heightened stability to your heel and ankle that help with overpronation issues, especially for heel-strikers.
The high stability in this shoe makes it a great choice for runners that simply love a good deal of cushioning and lockdown, heavier runners, or those with pronation issues. The upper provides runners with a good deal of support and helps to really lock your foot in place, while the midsole provides slight flexibility in the forefoot and more support in the heel.
This shoe is designed to be worn on sidewalks and to the gym, but the dynamic flex grooves in the outsole also make it a great choice to wear on some modest trailheads. The outsole is incredibly durable, and slightly lugs will allow you to gain a bit of traction on uneven surfaces. Plus, the heightened stability in the heel is great for rocky trails as well.
One important thing that is discovered through my research is that the GEL-Kayano 27 runs just a tad larger than previous versions of this shoe. I always suggest trying them on before you buy, but if you are ordering online be sure to take good measurements of your feet, and it may be in your best interest to purchase a half size smaller to avoid an additional trip to the post office for a return!
Many runners feel that while this shoe offers excellent lockdown, it can fit a bit tight in the midfoot and the toe box. The good news is that ASICS also offers wide options in their running shoes. If your feet tend to run on the wide side, it may be in your best interest to opt for the wide version of this running shoe.
If you are looking for that soft and squishy step-in feel, this shoe comes up a bit short. While the higher concentration of Flyte Foam in the midsole helps to reduce the wear and tear on your joints, it just isn’t as soft and many runners were expecting. However, what it lacks in cushion it far makes up for in energy return.
The cushioning system in this shoe provides runners with a bright and springy stride that feels like you are running in tiny trampolines, and not hard and unforgiving sidewalks. The weaker concentration of cushioning in the forefoot coupled with the flex grooves in the outsole smooth out your gait cycle and really help to naturally correct overpronation issues.
Stability shoes often come at a higher price point when compared pack to back to neutral runners and, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 is no expectation. It rocks a price tag that is similar to other high-end stability trainers out there on the market, such as Hoka or Brooks, and packs in just as many supportive features.
Keep a lookout for special sales, though! I noticed that some brick-and-mortar local shoe stores often run sales on these shoes, sometimes up to 20 percent off! If you also want to save a little bit of money, opting for a previous version is a great choice. Previous versions of this shoe do not have the same style or advanced features, but they still provide ASICS Flyte Foam cushioning and supportive ride.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
Another thing worth noting is the overhaul of the heel cap. This design boasts a stronger and more supportive heel cap than any other design in the GEL-Kayano lineup. For some, ASICS pushed their stability a little too far, and find that the heel is just too stiff. However, if you overpronate or just love a good, stiff heel, this shoe will be a breath of fresh air.
Overall, the GEL-Kayano 27 provides runners with heightened stability while shaving off a few ounces in overall weight, and opting for a more breathable (and stylish) mesh knit upper!
Runners found a few issues in the overall fit of this shoe that is worth noting. Some find that the forefoot and toe box runs a bit narrow. If you are concerned that this may hinder your runs, the good news is that this shoe is also offered in wide sizes as well. Before sure to take the plunge on the GEL-Kayano 27, be sure to take good measurements of your feet, and when in doubt opt for a half-size smaller.