Asics Gel Kinsei 6

Asics has been a leader in the running shoe industry for over 60 years. With an emphasis on comfort and performance, Asics knows how to create a top-notch running shoe. In fact, they are so highly regarded in the industry that Nike founder Phil Knight wanted to hire away designers and engineers from the company when he first started Nike. The Asics Gel brand is Asics’ most well-known brand and arguably their best line of shoes. The Kinsei Gel series is still pretty new, with the first edition coming out in 2006, but the series’  focus on stability, comfort, and efficiency has garnered wide acclaim from running enthusiasts. After complaints about the durability and weight of the fifth edition, however, did Asics fix the issues and take another step forward?

The Kinsei 6 updates a number of features, improving and getting a little closer to perfection this time around. The high-quality components it’s made for providing runners with excellent cushioning and comfort, making it an ideal choice for the middle of the pack runners and those looking for a durable everyday trainer. While it comes at a substantial price point, runners will feel the difference immediately. The upper features Asics’ fashion-forward aesthetic, with an eye-catching multicolored design that hides the fact that the upper is made of a highly breathable mesh material that conforms to the shape of the runner’s foot. The midsole is plush and responsive, offering a great amount of support that encourages an efficient run.  Some even deem it a good option for runners with high arches. Addressing durability criticisms the previous edition encountered, the extremely high quality of the materials the Kinsei 6 is made for a long-lasting shoe. Its outsole unit features Asics’ High Abrasion Resistant Rubber that’s one of the most durable on the market, and runners who decide to purchase a pair of Asics Gel Kinsei 6 will find a running shoe that will keep up mile after mile, even after heavy use.

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Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable midsole and upper that fits nicely around the foot
  • Offers a great amount of cushioning
  • Great responsiveness that encourages efficient running
  • Supreme durability that improves upon the previous edition
  • Cons
    • Price is a bit steep
    • Some runners may find support lacking
    • Lack of overall flexibility
    • Key Features
      Asics uses their patented Asics High Abrasion Resistant Rubber on the outsole of the Gel Kinsei 6. This rubber is not only durable but offers a high amount of protection from the elements and hard running surfaces. It is not only durable but also provides great grip. The deep flex grooves in the forefoot of the outsole contribute to the shoe’s overall flexibility.

      The outsole features Asics’ Impact Guide System, which is in the form of a strip of black rubber along the edge of the outsole. This feature helps the runner through the gait cycle. Some runners have commented that even though the outsole is thick, they are still able to get through the gait cycle with no issues. At first glance the outsole doesn’t look conventional--and it’s not--but it all comes together to provide a stable and durable ride.
      The midsole is where you’re going to find Asics FluidRide 2.0 technology. The “Gel” in the Asics Gel series isn’t just a fancy name. Asics has developed a midsole that is springy and responsive, along with being unique looking. Since it’s a gel substance, it doesn’t significantly add to the overall weight of the shoe. The Gel Cushioning System is designed to absorb the shock of impact during a run, and it accomplishes this admirably. The gel is located in the forefoot and the heel, which allows for an even dispersal of pressure when your foot strikes the ground. Asics also uses their Propulsion Trusstic Technology. This technology is designed to mimic the connective tissue in the foot, essentially giving the shoe a natural feel during a run. Despite looking similar, the men’s and women’s shoes are different in the midsole, since Asics designed gender-specific midsoles to cater to the unique physiologies between the sexes. The women’s shoe uses a lower density in the top layer of the midsole since the female body puts less pressure on the foot while running. By using a lower density, the shoe maintains its cushioning and responsiveness for women instead of being firmer and stiffer. Like the outsole, the midsole has a unique look, but like the rest of the shoe, it’s well-designed and well-constructed.
      The upper utilizes Asics FluidFit technology, which is a multi-dimensional mesh that stretches with the foot as it moves. It’s a technology that is designed to mold and conform to the shape of the foot without suffocating it or making it uncomfortable. The seamless upper allows the Kinsei 6 to be worn without socks.

      If a runner decides to run without socks in a pair of these shoes, they can run easy knowing that they will be well-protected from things like blisters and irritation. This is helped by the ComforDry X-40 Sock Liner, which maintains the comfort and breathability of the shoe. The upper also features a heel clutch system, which supports and holds the heel of your foot in place. It adds a little bit of extra weight but it helps with the stability and protection.
      The Asics Gel Kinsei 6 weighs 12.1 ounces/343 grams, which is well above the average weight of a typical running shoe. This weight is due to many factors: its High Abrasion Rubber on the outsole, which makes for great durability, also makes for a heavy shoe. Besides this, the midsole is very thick. While the gel doesn’t add much to the weight, the rest of the midsole is so thick that it adds to the overall weight of the shoe. Even the upper--especially with the heel counter that goes across the top--adds extra weight to the shoe. None of this is necessarily a bad thing, considering the extra protection and durability the shoe provides. However, for a lightweight running shoe with a “barely there” feel, the Kinsei 6 is not the best option.
      The upper provides great breathability, and a closer look at the shoe really shows just how breathable the Kinsei 6 is, especially in the forefoot of the upper. With no overlays on the upper, outside of the Asics logo, the upper provides plenty of ventilation. Besides this, while the FluidFit technology comfortably wraps around the foot, it still has plenty of perforations so it isn’t suffocating.
      It’s common for many shoe reviews to say that the line under consideration “fits like a glove.” However, with the Gel Kinsei 6, it’s not exactly unwarranted. Its FluidFit upper wraps nicely around the foot and conforms to the top of the foot, providing a comfortable fit. And despite the upper fitting nicely around the foot, there is still plenty of room in the toe box so the runner doesn’t feel like their foot is trapped and can’t move.

      The heel clutch keeps the runner’s heel in place but isn’t too tight to where it is uncomfortable or noticeable. The midsole offers a great amount of cushioning thanks to the FluidRide and Gel technology that it goes a long way in adding to the comfort of the shoe. The midsole is well-cushioned and soft and responds well when you’re running. On top of that, you have the outsole, which disperses the pressure from your foot as you run thanks to the impact railing system. The fact that you can wear these shoes without socks also speaks to their overall comfort level of them.
      As mentioned, the Kinsei 6 does not look conventional or sleek in the least. It’s a shoe that stands out in many, many ways. It’s a very “busy” shoe that is going to garner a lot of attention on the road. The colors are anything but bland: there are at least three different colors blended into the shoe, with some shoes featuring four or five different colors. The gel in the heel gives the shoe a unique look that you’re not going to find--or at least not this well done--on most other shoes.
      With the weight of the shoe, one could expect it to be durable--and you would be right. The High Abrasion Resistant Rubber gives the outsole some of the best durability on any shoe. The dual layer midsole and FluidRide technology hold up against harsh conditions and the FluidFit upper is well designed. It has plenty of stretches but not so much that it feels like it’s going to wear out quickly. Asics is all about making a long-lasting shoe and they hit the mark with the Gel Kinsei 6. Most runners get over 300 miles out of these shoes, which is well above average.
      Durability and protection go hand in hand with the Kinsei 6. Because of the superior materials that Asics used in its construction, the extra durability also provides extra overall protection. The heel clutch keeps the foot in place, which prevents rolling or twisting during a run, and the upper is thick enough that the top of the foot stays protected.
      The FluidRide and Gel technology in the midsole works together to give the foot one of the most responsive rides that can be found on the market today. The midsole is soft, and runners will notice the squishy feel underneath as they run due to the gel inserts. There’s no “barely there” feel with this shoe, which is good for runners who enjoy a great amount of responsiveness in their trainer. The only downside to the responsiveness is the lack of overall flexibility. Due to the weight on the shoe, the flexibility is lacking a bit. However, this isn’t all bad, and the Kinsei 6 is more flexible than one would expect.
      The Kinsei 6 supports neutral arches and under/neutral pronation. The compression feel of the midsole means that the shoe is great with support and dealing with the stresses that come from pounding the pavement. As previously mentioned, Asics made the women’s midsole less dense to offset the weight and give men and women an equal amount of support when they run.
      The Kinsei 6 is meant for the road, but with a durable outsole that grips well and provides protection, runners can safely wear this shoe on easy trails and other light terrains. It’s not a trail shoe, and it’s not going to grip too well on the muddy and uneven surfaces of tough trails, but for a light trail that is easy to run on, the Gel Kensei 6 will hold up.
      One of the main drawbacks of the Asics Gel Kinsei 6 is its price point. Simply put, this is an investment shoe. Perhaps this will scare away some novice runners, but for the experienced runner that’s looking for a high-quality, high-performance everyday trainer that is both durable and comfortable, the Kinsei 6 is going to last a long time and the money will be well-spent.
      The Kinsei 6 is made to perform on traditional running surfaces: asphalt, pavement, track, and light trails. As such, its traction is similarly constructed to perform on these surfaces. While runners shouldn’t expect to break any speed records in these shoes—in fact, they’re more for mid-pack runners and those who need the extra comfort, stability, and support in their trainers—the traction provided in the Kinsei 6 is suitable to keep moving forward without difficulty.
      One drawback with the Kinsei 6 is its somewhat limited flexibility. While not a terribly stiff shoe, some runners may find its outsole to be somewhat stiff compared to shoes in the same class. However, this stiffness also provides an explosive toe-off, so this may vary from runner to runner depending on their needs.
      With a standard 10mm drop and a sturdy outsole made of Asic’s High Abrasion Resistant Rubber, neutral runners will benefit most from the stability the Kinsei 6 has to offer. While it may provide some relief and comfort for those with overpronation issues, it is not specifically a stability shoe.
      The Kinsei 6 features a 10mm heel to toe drop, which is the standard for running shoes. This drop should present no problem to neutral runners and those used to this common drop.
      Key Features
      • Impact Guidance System enhances the foot’s gait cycle and disperses shock of impact during footfall

      • Gel cushioning absorbs shock and feels comfortable

      •FluidFit upper with stretch mesh fits comfortably and conforms around the foot

      •FluidRide midsole that is well-cushioned and has a nice bounce back

      •Bright & seamless upper featuring rising sun-inspired side overlays

      •Propulsion Trusstic System encourages forward momentum

      •Removable insole
      Bottom Line
      The Kinsei 6 is a high-quality trainer that comes at a high-quality price. From the upper to the midsole to outsole, everything comes together for a beautifully constructed ride. It’s comfortable, durable, responsive, performs well, and has a unique look. There are a couple of issues that certain runners may not appreciate due to their running style, but the vast majority of runners will love these shoes. While it may be a somewhat pricey shoe, it’s also going to be a long-lasting one—and it’s better to invest in one great shoe than five average ones.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      By Jeremy Lambert
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 02. 2021

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