ASICS GEL Kinsei 4 Review Facts
The ASICS Gel Kinsei 4 is the shoe of the people. The reason for such a blanket statement is because it will appeal to the “average runner” — that is someone with slightly off kilter running mechanics that requires mild amounts of cushion and support but not so much that it necessitates anything special . The Kinsei 4 has an elevated profile and delivers plenty of protection. It’s ideal for heavy heel strikers looking to transition into a more neutral foot strike. And if you’re already a mid foot striker, then this shoe will work naturally while keeping you comfortable. Let’s find out how the ASICS Gel Kinsei 4 functions as your daily trainer.
This version of the Kinsei 4 is lower to the ground than the first three, but still provides the same amount of protection from the ground. This shoe features a modular pod bottom, resembling something out of science fiction. ASICS Guidance Line System is also found as a carved out line running the entire length of the outsole. The rubber material is ASICS AHAR which stands for ASICS High Abrasion Rubber.
The midsole features their renowned SOLYTE midsole which is an improved version of their previous midsole technologies. SOLYTE is lighter, softer, and more responsive. It also has a longer lifespan than other midsole systems.
Asics put a well-concerted effort to bring down the weight on this version of the Kinsei. One of the ways it accomplished this was by less overlaying. Not only did less overlays mean less weight but it also added flexibility. The upper also features Cuprothermo mesh which is a specialized mesh material that helps to manage interior temperature. The shoe’s elevated profile means there’s noticeable lateral support, including a Personal Heel Fit system which prevents slippage and helps keep the heel area locked in place.
The previous Kinsei versions were put on a weight loss plan, eventually shedding 1.4 ounces by the time this version was produced. And as we just mentioned, the use of less overlays on the upper, as well as weight reduction in nearly every part of the shoe, resulted in the Kinsei 4 weighing in at 12 ounces (for a single shoe). If that still sounds too heavy, that’s because it is; and unfortunately, the Kinsei has not changed it’s “feeding” habits in the latest version, the Kinsei 6, which still weighs the same amount.
While we may be left underwhelmed the Kinsei’s weight, the same cannot be said about its temperature control abilities. Cuprothermo mesh is a soft but strong material that is highly effective at regulating the shoe’s internal climate. In warm weather, it absorbs heat, much like a solar panel, except instead of trapping heat energy it releases it outward in order to keep your feet cool. Under cool conditions, it captures the right amount of heat while keeping cold air out, allowing your feet to stay warm and cozy. In essence, Cuprothermo mesh works as a perfect insulation system for your feet.
We just outlined how the Kinsei 4 implements an interior temperature control system. But there are several other features that help runners stay comfortable.
Interior padding offers enough cushion without feeling obtrusive. The shoe also features COMFORT SOCK DRY LINER which is a dual layer insole that combines the support of foam with the recovery of lazy foam. It works to provide a customizable insole insert that adapts to the individual’s foot. A wider toe box means that “big feet” runners
will be especially grateful for a shoe that allows a comfortable fit.
Asics has embraced its Japanese culture by going toward the bold, vibrant, non-conformist, and rule breaking style expectations— think Pokemon 747’s. The Kinsei 4 does not display any humble aesthetic qualities; therefore, if you don’t want to get noticed, don’t buy this shoe. Bright neon and two-sided color combinations are some of the styles you’ll find.
The Kinsei 4 has enough life in it to justify its price tag (we'll get to that in a moment). The case with a lot of shoe companies, in terms of durability, is that they put most of their effort on the outsole. It’s only logical of course as this region is exposed to most of the grunt work. The Kinsei 4, however, provides balanced durability to ensure that every part of the shoe, not just the outsole, attains sufficient protection in order to maintain its longevity.
Based on looks alone, specifically the Kinsei’s elevated profile and all-around solid built, is enough to clue us in and how a pair of these will shelter us from the elements and any other hazards. ASICS Gel inserts are strategically placed to absorb and protect against hard impact. The inserts are especially aggressive on the heel, where heel strikers are most likely feel the full force of their landings. Several other protective features include a raised heel counter unit, and a DRY SOCK LINER which helps to maintain a “microbial-free” environment.
An improvement on the SOLYTE midsole from its predecessors, and other midsole technologies for that matter, is its responsive features. Being lighter weight and softer than an Asics, the SOLYTE midsole produces a better bounce. The shoe also gets help from the gel packs in order to generate responsiveness. However, while SOLYTE is regarded as a much improved system from other midsole technologies, it still won’t be a match for other technologies that use extremely light and foamy midsole platforms.
Support is achieved through the midsole and the shoe’s elevated enclosures. The outsole’s pods also help to raise the shoe’s profile. But despite the shoe being higher off the ground than some of its competitors, this version of the Kinsei was dropped a few millimeters to improve stability. A key protective feature resides on the heel counter, where several specialized components come together to make up a clutch collar that helps keep the rear part of the foot in place.
As stated in the beginning, this shoe is your every day trainer for the common runner. While most of us may not have easy access to mountain trails or other exotic terrains, it’s safe to assume that most of us are a few steps away from a flat paved road
. The Kinsei 4 is all you’ll need if you happen to be the common runner. It should also perform well on gravel or any other flat even surface with little interruption. But keep in mind, this shoe is mostly meant for the road, or simply to be used as your pair of gym shoes. This is NOT the shoe for more technical types of terrain.
The Kinsei 4 does not come cheap. Price is in the high $100s, bringing it to the high-end category of running shoes. But it could be possible to find it for less than the suggested retail value, considering there are two updates ahead of the Kinsei 4, the Kinsei 5 and 6
There isn’t anything special in terms of traction and you can expect a shoe with average grip abilities as you would with any other shoe. Once again, this shoe is only meant to be used on flat even surfaces, though it should be perform relatively well over wet conditions. But in general, as a shoe intended for every-day use, this is NOT the shoe you’ll be whipping out for the trails
Weight and temperature control were not the only things that were improved once Asics switched the upper mesh with Cuprothermo material. On top of being lighter and better ventilated, Cuprothermo mesh’s elasticity makes it possible for non-restrictive movement.
Looks can be deceiving. Despite the Kinsei’s elevated profile, it’s actually a mid-stability shoe, perfect for neutral and mild-over pronation, which makes up a large component of the running population. Two technologies aid with stability: the IMPACT GUIDANCE SYSTEM (IGS) and the TRUSTIC SYSTEM. IGS works by guiding the foot from heel to toe off while the TRUSTIC SYSTEM links the rear foot with the forefoot in order to keep a runner’s body aligned. These systems, in conjunction with the shoe’s balanced height difference between the front and rear, make for a perfectly crafted stability shoe.
Heel height on the Kinsei 4 measures 35.9 mm and forefoot height measures 25.3 mm. The drop differential is 10.6 mm. This measurement allows for a neutral stability platform that will work great to prevent any heel striking and allow a more natural mid-foot strike.
•SOLYTE Midsole: softer, lighter, more durable, & responsive
•Cuprothermo mesh upper: Creates more breathability and regulates internal temperature
•DRY SOCK LINER: maintains sanitary interior environment
•IGS & TRUSSTIC SYSTEM: Aids in running motion and helps stabilize a runner’s body
•Personal Heel Fit System keeps heel safely locked in place
•Asics Gel packs on forefoot and rear foot for added protection
For a shoe that’s going to set us back well over $100, it’s not going to get an easy “pass” without proving it’s worth. That’s not to say it won’t meet the needs of many runners in more ways than one. It will give you an adequate amount of cushion and a smooth stable ride. And for you heavy heel strikers, or just about anyone who is beginning a running routine and doesn’t mind shelling out a bit of cash, the Kinsei 4 is a great (luxury) introductory shoe. It offers aggressive heel protection to guard against bad landing habits while the shoe’s drop will re-acclaim your feet to develop a healthier mid-foot land.
In addition, the shoe’s Cuprothermo mesh is a big plus in how it generates not just breathability but works fantastic as a climate control feature. A couple of things that could put your hard earned cash into question, however, is the shoe’s weight and bulk. If it were lighter, then it would be a step above much of the competition. But unfortunately, this is not the shoe that’s going to have you feeling fast on your feet. So again, it’s a shoe that’s going to work for the average runner, and if that happens to be you then you’ll be more than pleased with the Kinsei 4.