Editor rating:
9/10 on
TJ JONES
User's rating:

PROS

  • Stable Ride
  • Energy Return
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish

CONS

  • Can feel bulky at times
  • Only one colorway option

OUR VERDICT

The Kayano Lite, a premier stability trainer, is a different take on the tried and true ASICS Kayano line. It delivers all that a Kayano does but in a bouncier, lighter and more eco-friendly version.
SHOE INFO
Brand
Gel Kayano Lite
Model
9.9 oz. (281 gr.)
Weight
160 US$
MSRP
10 mm
Heel Drop
WHO IS IT FOR
I would recommend the Kayano Lite to a longtime Kayano runner or someone who is willing to try a new and exciting daily trainer.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite Intro

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - Heel and Lateral Side

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite – Heel and Lateral Side

ASICS has been a brand on a mission this year. They have developed and released many new offerings this year to compete with other brands. Some of these have been brand new shoes like the Novablast and Evoride.

Others have been reimagined versions of their greatest hits like the Nimbus Lite. These new offerings have been exciting but have left out the stability runner, this changes with the introduction of the ASICS Kayano Lite.

The ASICS Kayano Lite is the first of its kind and is a different take on the well known and loved Kayano, which has been around for 27 editions.

ASICS offers 4 stability trainers in their lineup, the 1000, 2000, 4000 (motion control option) and the Kayano. It is priced at $160, which is comparable to other top tier options.

The Lite is made lighter with eco-friendly recycled materials.

The other max cushioned premier stability trainers it competes with are Saucony Hurricane, Mizuno Wave Horizon, Brooks Transcend and ASICS Kayano 27.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite First Impressions

With the Kayano Lite being a brand new trainer the designers had a blank canvas to work with. They have designed a visually striking shoe that at first doesn’t appear to be an ASICS trainer.

The pops of neon in the midsole and logo catch your eyes immediately. The piedmont gray upper balances the bright colors from the midsole.

Balanced cushioning is what I have come to expect from the Kayano but I was surprised when I slid on the Kayano Lite. Overall, there was more of a plush feeling.

I also immediately noticed a wideness that I haven’t experienced in other ASICS trainers.

They traveled 4 and a half miles on their first run. Initially, they felt bulky for the first two miles but once I was able to dial in the bulky feeling went away.

They were quite bouncy compared to the Kayano 27s. My feet were sliding around some but this was remedied when I stopped and tied them tighter. Overall, they provided a different ride from the Kayano 27.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite Sole Unit

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - Sole

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite – Sole

With the Kayano Lite being a new shoe it means the midsole is new so there is lots to unpack here. Let’s start from the ground up.

The outsole of the Kayano Lite is an AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) lite.

This is a lighter material which allowed them to put more rubber on the outsole without adding weight. Like normal AHAR, the lite version is durable and built to last hundreds of miles. After 100 miles, they show minimal wear.

As you look at the outsole you noticed the absence of the trusstic system, instead you will find midfoot cutouts, used to encourage smooth transitions from heel strike to toe offs.

Flytefoam serves as the foundational cushioning of the midsole but what sets the Lite apart is the Flytefoam is made from eco content materials.

Materials that have more sustainability and are environment friendly. These materials result in a ride with a more plush, almost bouncy feel. The bounce is aided by the hidden forefoot GEL cushioning.

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - Medial Side

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite – Medial Side

The midsole materials help create a lighter shoe with the Kayano Lite weighing almost 2 oz lighter than the Kayano 27.

The stability provided by the Kayano Lite is a result of construction. 3-D space construction was used when building the midsole with small specific shapes of foam that fit together. The density of the midsole is gender specific. The shapes pressed into the midsole and their placements are different for men and women.

Wider basenets are used in the midsole of the Kayano Lite which basically means a wider base from heel to toe.

It has a noticeable wider midsole compared to the Kayano 27. It provides a bigger landing and take off area, which in turns provides stability during your stride.

You will find a concave shape to the lateral side and convex shape to the medial side. These two aspects along with the 3 D space construction create a cushy yet highly stable ride.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite Upper Unit

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - Heel and Lateral Side

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite – Heel and Lateral Side

Like the midsole, the upper of the Kayano Lite employs some new materials and technologies. One of ASICS’ purposes with the Kayano Lite was to make a shoe with less environmental impact.

This is evident throughout the trainer, especially in the upper. The material used for the upper is a recycled content polyester.

It is a stylish single layer of mesh compared to the dual-layer you find in the Kayano 27 that made the new upper breathable during runs. It also kept the feet warm since it was reviewed in colder temperatures.

3-D printed overlays are used for the upper which means there were no points of irritation while wearing them. This also increases the level of comfort felt from the upper and provided structure to the upper as well.

In the heel of the Kayano Lite is a clutching system. It is a sturdy internal heel counter covered by ample cushioning. This snug fit locks your heel in place adding to the stability of the trainer.

It is as effective as the exoskeleton heel counter found in the Kayano 27.

The fit of the Kayano Lite is different from other ASICS trainers. The toe box is wider which allows for your toes to splay out naturally. This in turn leads to more efficient energy returns and toe-offs.

Reflective materials are used throughout the upper. This aided in being seen in the dark early morning hours when they were run in.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite Conclusion

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - Toe

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite – Toe

Like I have stated above I have run in all of the stability offerings from ASICS over the last couple of years. They have been a brand that has relied on their tried and true technologies year after year.

This is a mixed bag because on one hand, you develop loyalty because of reliability but on the other hand, you may lose runners because you are seen as a brand that isn’t willing to change and evolve.

I started to feel this way about them with some offerings. That has all changed this year with Kayano Lite as one of many examples of innovation and evolution.

The midsole of the ASICS Kayano Lite provides a different ride than the Kayano 27.

The flytefoam midsole of the Lite, made from recycled material along with small pockets of gel cushioning, provided a stable ride with more bounce to it.

This was evident from impact to toe-off and the energy return from the midsole was impressive.

The construction of the midsole provides effective stability in a unique way. Stability comes from the ground up because a wider base provides more ground contact.

However, the convex and concave sides of the midsole can lead to a bulky feeling at times. This is offset by the weight of the trainers being 2 oz lighter than the Kayano 27.

The upper of the Kayano Lite doesn’t look like your typical ASICS offering, and I mean it in a good way. It is a shoe that is stylish and can handle the miles.

I found the single-layer upper to be breathable and comfortable. It is a roomier fit than the Kayano 27 due to the fact that the midsole is wider.

The heel clutching system was a strength of the upper, it held my heel securely in place which adds to the overall stability of the shoe.

In my review for the Kayano 27 earlier this year I said, “Overall, the ASICS Kayano 27 is a dependable premier stability trainer. The ride they provided brought me back to them again and again after my review mileage.”

The same is true for the Kayano Lite. The Kayano Lite provides a different but complementary ride to the Kayano 27.

If the Kayano 27 is like the wise mellow older brother, the Kayano Lite is the hyper and bouncy younger brother. I think they would form a perfect tandem of shoes for your daily training.

ASICS has been on a mission this year to make ASICS great again. With the Kayano Lite I believe they have taken the first but a giant leap in making that mission a reality.

We purchased a pair of Asics Gel Kayano Lite from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite Price Comparison

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