Asics GEL-Kenun Knit Review Facts
The Asics GEL-Kenun Knit is a running shoe made for neutral pronators and supinators, which isn’t that frequent of a combination, making this shoe interesting. On first sight, the Kenun Knit is a beautiful shoe that’s got everything right, but on the second look, there are some things that can possibly be deal-breakers. First of all, there’s an issue with fraying of the upper, and second, if you have low or normal arches, chances are that you’ll find the shoe to be uncomfortable. The bright side of the story is that the shoe is responsive, cushioned, flexible, comfortable (to most), very stylish and breathable. If you happen to find it on a sale, this would be a good buy, otherwise, it’s not worth the money.
The Asics Gel-Kenun Knit features a silicon-based GEL exterior in the heel area, which is a cushioning unit aimed at absorbing impact forces while stabilizing the heel from below. The GEL exterior is resilient, as the heel is usually the first area of impact, and consequently, the first one to experience premature wear and tear if the material used in its construction isn’t sturdy enough. The outsole of the Asics Gel-Kenun Knit has multiple, narrow and shallow flex grooves that are shaped in a way that allows the foot to bend and flex naturally, without making any corrections to the stride in the process. This is especially the role of the Guidance Line, a vertical groove whose function is to effectively guide the foot through the gait cycle. On the forefoot area of the outsole of a rubber compound that is there to offer traction, grip, and durability, as well as protect the midsole from untimely abrasions.
The Asics GEL-Kenun Knit makes use of the full-length Solyte cushioning unit. The name of this units stems from the fact that it’s significantly lighter than the usual EVA and SpEVA midsole configurations, and the brand has designed this midsole specifically to be lighter than most on the market while maintaining an ample amount of durability, responsiveness and cushioning. On top of the Solyte unit is the Ortholite Sockliner that adds another layer of thin, but significant cushioning that elevates the comfort of the shoe to another level. The sockliner has anti-moisture properties that prevent the development of bacteria inside the shoebox, and consequently, prevents odors, contributing to a clean interior environment.
A breathable, knit material makes up for more than two-thirds of the upper, primarily in the forefoot and in the midfoot area. The knit upper connects to the midfoot synthetic panels that connect to the lacing system, so as to provide a completely customizable and secure fit, depending on your needs. The whole upper features a no-seam, one-piece construction that eliminates the traditional tongue seen in most running shoes on the market. Instead of the tongue, the collar has one opening that fits the foot, much like a snug sock would. The rearfoot area of the upper features an external counter that stabilizes the heel and provides structure to the upper’s construction.
The men’s half-pair of the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit weighs 323g or 11.4oz, while the women’s version weighs significantly less – 266g or 9.4oz. This would have been considered a lightweight shoe a few years back, but nowadays this weight is in the normal category, with the men’s version dipping their toes into the heavy category a little bit. Given the Solyte configuration of the midsole, it’s clear that the majority of this weight can be attributed to silicone and rubber materials used in the outsole’s construction – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With weight usually comes durability, as well.
The seamless, one-piece upper construction and the ventilated knit material of the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit offer an irritation-free running experience with plenty of breathability, while maintaining a lightweight feel in the upper. The Seamless construction minimizes the possibility of blister-forming and developing any kind of uncomfortable hot spots, while the absence of a padded tongue also increases the general air flow inside the shoe box. Keep in mind that this isn’t an autumn/winter shoe and that it doesn’t have water-resistant or waterproof properties.
The absence of the traditional tongue and the presence of the nontraditional lacing system which is attached to the midfoot straps work together to eliminate any pressure that could be created on the top of the foot. The innovative midfoot straps tighten and loosen around the entire foot, eliminating discomfort during the ride. The knit upper and the Solyte midsole provide good flexibility and cushioning and enable the shoe to wholly adapt to the runner’s foot, increasing the comfort of the GEL-Kenun Knit. Another factor in the overall comfort of the shoe is the plush Ortholite sockliner that really makes a big difference in the comfort level of a shoe. The width profiles available are B – Medium for women and D – Medium for men, and the shoe runs true to size. One customer noted that break-in time is required to fully experience cushioning provided by the Solyte
midsole, while another complained about the arch being too high and how it influenced their natural stride.
The vast majority of consumers were impressed by the look and execution of the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit running shoe and liked the variety of colorways it comes in. The unique look of the knit material, as well as the trendy, yet elegant pairing of colored knit and monotone midfoot straps and heel, makes for a really beautiful shoe that can take you from the gym to a club with minimum effort.
The durability of the outsole, given the use of the GEL exterior in the heel, as well as the forefoot rubber, provides good protection to the midsole and remains resilient for a long time after the purchase. However, the issue arises with the knit fabric, especially near the toe area, where the material is prone to fraying. That being said, with some extra attention being paid to the upper, and through GEL cushioning exterior on the outsole, you can expect at least average durability
from the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit running shoe.
The cushioning system of the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit running shoe is the soul of the entire shoe, and luckily, the customers agree that it’s responsive, cushioned and comfortable. The sole has great shock-absorbing properties and offers high-quality underfoot protection. The Asics brand is known for its cushioning technologies that aim to provide protection, comfort, and security. The Ortholite
Sockliner has a double role when it comes to protection, as it offers additional cushioning, but it protects the foot from excessive moisture and bacteria. The heel exterior protects the foot from injuries, as does the midfoot strap system.
The Solyte foam midsole of this neutral running shoe provides a great balance of cushioning and responsiveness. The stride, which is smooth, thanks to the Guidance Line, comes with a significant amount of energy-return
that becomes more apparent as you pick up speed.
The Asics GEL-Kenun Knit is one of the rare running shoes that is made for normal pronators
and underpronators, or supinators as well. This is the reason why some customers felt a degree of initial discomfort at the height of the arch, given that the shoe does aim to provide some additional support to the people whose feet turn outwards during the gait cycle. The shoe is made for people who have high and medium-high arches, while the runners with normal arches will probably go through a period of adjustment before they feel like the shoe has been broken into. The midfoot strap and lacing system does a great job of supporting the foot during the lateral movements, as well as holding the entire foot in place during short sprints.
Although the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit is a neutral running shoe best used on the road
, track, light gravel, pavements, and similar flat surfaces, a lot of people use it just as a casual shoe and are more than satisfied with their choice. The cushioning system in the midsole allows the runner to wear this shoe daily without experiencing any discomfort in the feet.
The initial price of the Asics GEL-Kenun Knit was more than most people would be willing to give on a running shoe, no matter how high-quality it was, and they would essentially be right. However, if you catch the GEL-Kenun Knit on sale, then the price of around one C-note is more than fair for the cushioning and looks that you’re getting when purchasing the Kenun Knit.
The strategically placed rubber compound on the forefoot area of the outsole provides a firm grip to the surface and satisfactory traction, while the rearfoot GEL cushioning technology really grips well to a variety of surfaces, given that it’s silicone-based. The shoe performs best on dry, dirty roads. Given that this isn’t a shoe that’s meant to be worn on rainy days, the quality of the traction falls slightly as the pavements start to get wetter and wetter.
The vertical flex groove called the Guidance Line
, positioned in the forefoot area of the outsole, decouples the tooling along the progression line, increasing the gait cycle efficiency in the process. The flex grooves of the outsole provide flexibility, even though they seem unimpressive. The one thing people complained about is the fact that the entrance of the shoe was too narrow for their foot to go through, and that the flexibility they expected of such an upper wasn’t as good as it should be. However, as with most sock-like, one-piece uppers, it takes time and a few extended wears for the shoe to adjust to your foot completely, and until it does, the flexibility of the upper will pose a minor issue.
The wide sole platform is perhaps the most underrated and the most effective way to increase the stability
of the shoe without putting much thought into it, and that’s exactly what the Asics did with the GEL-Kenun Knit. The heel area is prominent and protruding behind the heel counter, making it really, really hard to lose balance and fall backward. Speaking of the heel counter, it stabilizes the heel and prevents it from slipping out of the shoe box of wiggling and moving around, making the stride more confident and secure.
Not surprisingly, the brand opted for a standard heel-to-toe drop of 10mm, with the forefoot stack height being 13mm, and the heel height being 23mm. This is a safe space for most running shoes, seeing how that drop caters to a vast majority of runners. the heel strikers will enjoy it immensely due to the significant heel cushioning
it offers, while the midfoot strikers will still experience a natural stride, with the heel only sometimes getting in the way.
● GEL cushioning outsole exterior
● Guidance Line vertical flex groove
● Solyte cushioning unit in the midsole with an Ortholite Sockliner
● No-seam one-piece knit upper
● Great design
● Innovative lacing system, no tongue
● Very comfortable
● Durable outsole, knit materials prone to fraying
● Road, track and treadmill shoe
● Pronation: under, neutral
● Good responsiveness
● 10mm drop
The Asics GEL-Kenun Knit is a good running shoe made for runners who have neutral to under pronation
, but the price, as high as it is, would have to be justified by impeccable durability. However, while the outsole does perform well and has longevity, the upper material is prone to fraying, which is a big downside if you’re going to splash the cash on a new pair of shoes. That being said, the Kenun Knit is a shoe with ample cushioning, responsiveness and comfort, although a few people found the arch to be positioned too high for the shoe to be considered comfortable. All in all, this is a good shoe, but not one to lose your head over.