Asics Kayano 21 General Info:
21 is a big number for anyone, let alone a shoe model. this is the 21st (yes 21st!) incarnation of the Kayano. Whenever you hear over pronation or support shoe, you will usually hear Kayano next.
The Kayano is named after the person who designed it and it has come a long way since its first coming. This is the creme de la creme of support shoes for ASICS.
There are colorways that are for the modest and there are ones that stick out like a beautiful sore thumb. I tested the lite-show edition.
When I looked on the side of the box and saw the color-way, i already knew this was going to be a loud shoe. It is quite possibly the brightest shoe I’ve ran in.
There is reflective material all along the shoe. Basically anything that isn’t yellow reflects. The Gel also glows in the dark! As someone who has been hit by a car while running, this is a nice option to have to make you be seen.
Asics Kayano 21 Sole:
The bottom is built like a tank.The outer portion of the sole has generous amount of ASICS’ signature gel giving room for shock absorption. The treads are hardened foam with a curved line in the bottom along the midfoot called the guidance line.
The design promoted heel striking but it was an overall smooth ride thanks to the copious amounts of support throughout. The treads were tough and were able to take a beating, even in bad weather.
Asics Kayano 21 Upper Unit:
The fluidfit mesh feels great. It stretches and forms to my feet nicely. It is a snug fit, but there is room where it is needed. This is especially so in the toe box, a common issue I’ve seen with ASICS shoes. This combined with the sock liner gives great breathability and comfort
The lacing is comfortably snug. it weaves into the tongue on the midfoot. I like to have my shoes tied up tight. Sometimes my feet don’t agree with it too well. It kept me snug without cutting off my circulation.
The biggest update is in the heel, dubbed the “Heel Clutching System”. Gone is the hardened plastic under mesh and replaced is a plastic frame. Under it is the same soft mesh that is on the rest of the shoe. The plastic locks your heel in, but not overwhelmingly so.
Asics Kayano 21 Conclusions:
The Kayano keeps getting better every year. The model improves again this year with added support and a lighter feel. It isn’t a fast shoe by any means, but it can take a beating and keep on ticking.
If the price was not so high, this shoe would get a perfect rating but it really bothers me how much it is. This is by far one of the most expensive shoes out right now.
It’s hard to justify spending this much on a shoe, no matter how much tech and improvements there are.
Other than that, I had a great time in it. Upgrade to the best if your wallet can take it.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of Kayano 21 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.