Asics Gel Kayano 19 General Info:
Now almost two decades into production, Asics launches a newly modified GEL Kayano 19 with a revised upper, new mid foot shank and some outsole tweaks underfoot.
Since its inception, the GEL Kayano series has been a premium feature shoe aimed at the runner whose foot exhibits a moderate to high level of arch flexibility and/or pronation.
Pronation is the naturally occurring motion in the foot that allows for shock absorption to happen in the human foot.
However some runners find that their feet do too good a job at this and can lead to overstress on parts of the foot or lower leg.
Earlier GEL Kayano editions served this purpose pretty well but as Asics has tinkered with the series it seems to have become continually less supportive for the foot that needs extra help in the stability department.
Asics Gel Kayano 19 First Impression:
Last year, I loved the luxury feel and stealthy look of the GEL Kayano 18 but when it came to support, the GEL Kayano 18 left me cold. However, I held out hope as Asics placed their newest mid foot shank in the GEL Kayano 19 just as they did in the excellent GT 2000 and GT 2000 GTX.
The fit and feel of the GEL Kayano 19 is still luxurious. It truly is a comfortable shoe to slip in to. The look of this year’s GEL Kayano 19 is a complete 180 from last year.
Asics decided to spice it up with a dizzying array of color for this edition. A silver and black mesh is framed by glossy cobalt blue overlays and situated on a “paint splashed” midsole with multi-color GEL blocks sandwiched in between, Oh, and the outsole gets a bright yellow and red treatment too!
Asics Gel Kayano 19 Sole Unit:
Asics builds the GEL Kayano 19 around the new Dynamic Duomax medial post system. This is a new take on the previous Duomax foam and promises a softer level of correction for the over pronating foot. The rest of the midsole is comprised of Asics premium SoLyte midsole foam and provides for a cushioned but not too soft road feel.
Laterally, The GEL Kayano 19 displays three GEL pods in the forefoot and a larger single unit in the heel. There also seems to be more SoLyte foam underneath the rear foot GEL pod than before. The real star of the show here is the new mid foot shank that Asics is using. It is a simplified design compared to the previous Space Trusstic shank in the GEL Kayano 18. It also flares more into the arch and serves to add a measure of torsional stability to the shoe.
The outsole configuration retains the Guidance Line channel that steers the foot and allows for additional midsole flexibility. The outsole tread pattern has slightly wider flex grooves and a more aggressive cross hatched tread pattern. The heel still features AHAR+(Asics High Abrasion Resistant) carbon rubber and the forefoot employs a softer blown rubber.
Asics Gel Kayano 19 Upper Unit:
Asics saves its highest-end construction materials for the GEL Kayano 19. Numerous cobalt blue overlays race across the upper of the GEL Kayano 19 and provide a customizable fit that will likely work for a number of different foot shapes.
The Asics tiger stripe logo adds support and fixes the eyelet row firmly to the midsole. Strangely, Asics has deleted the forefoot Biomorphic Fit panel and replaced it with mesh. However, the medial arch area still uses the Biomorphic Fit material which is supposed to move in a similar manner to human skin.
The forefoot flex point now features a welded overlay that reaches into the eyelet row in place of a traditionally stitched design in an effort to remove a possible irritation point. All the overlays converge at the heel which again features an external heel counter.
The heel counter is a very flexible, lightweight plastic and does little to help control any rear foot pronation. The tongue is of medium thickness and does a fine job protecting the foot from lace pressure. Internally, the GEL Kayano 19 again sports Asics PHF(Personalized Heel Fit) memory foam and is finished out by an extremely smooth and supple heel collar lining.
Asics also includes a thick removable Ortholite foam sock liner as standard equipment.
Asics Gel Kayano 19 Opinion:
Just like last year, I really like the feel of the GEL Kayano 19 upper but, again, I feel like this shoe really wants to be a neutral shoe.
Here the emphasis has continued to shift to less correction for the foot. Even the vastly improved mid foot shank Asics is now using could not shore up this shoe enough for my foot. I’m 6 feet tall and 160 pounds and I had this shoe tilting medially in very short order. You can even see how much I distorted the shoe in the photos. My feet are very flexible and the GEL Kayano 19 just was not up to the task.
I think the problem is threefold: the super flexible heel counter is completely useless, the arch is low in the shoe, and the lateral heel is so built up and rigid that it actually made my foot pronate more!
I do like the design aesthetic and regal feel of the upper materials though. The GEL Kayano 19 is like running in a really expensive slipper. The shoe moves like a sport luxury automobile. The ride is insulated but retains a degree of snappiness and a small amount of road feel without sacrificing cushioning. The only thing I dreaded about the GEL Kayano 19 ride was the intrusive lateral heel that continually dumped my foot into further and further amounts of over pronation.
The fit is medium in the heel and mid foot and opens nicely in the toe box. The heel would probably fit better with a traditional heel counter design but the fit still wasn’t terrible, just the support. Like every Asics shoe I have tested the GEL Kayano 19 has an upper that retains an excessive amount of heat. This is likely due to the high amount of overlays present in the Asics design parameters.
Incidentally, I was impressed that this new GEL Kayano 19 comes in with a weight reduction despite the numerous overlays present. At any rate, I cannot recommend the GEL Kayano 19 to any runner who needs moderate to maximum support from their footwear.
However, this shoe is likely appropriate for a mild over pronator and even some neutral runners who like a flashy, high feature shoe that will handle daily training with flair.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of Gel Kayano 19 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.