The Kayano is on its 28th iteration and it's one of the most popular true stability trainers in the world. It has a firm medial post and a floating plastic Trusstic shank. It costs $160.
The Kayano Lite is on its 2nd iteration and is a modern interpretation of the traditional Kayano. It doesn't have a firm medial post or a Trusstic shank. It also costs $160.
Which one of these stability trainers is better for you?
Similarity and differences: Gel Kayano 28 vs Kayano Lite 2
Sole unit: Gel Kayano 28 vs Kayano Lite 2
The Kayano 28 has two different types of foams in its midsole: Flytefoam in the heel and Flytefoam Blast throughout the length of the shoe. Flytefoam is firm and stiff compared to Flytefoam Blast which is softer and more bouncy.
The Kayano Lite 2 has a single-density Flytefoam midsole. It has smoother ride transitions than the Kayano 28 but it has a stiffer forefoot due to the absence of Flytefoam Blast.
The Kayano 28 has a stiff, firm rear and a soft, flexible forefoot compared to the Kayano Lite 2 which is consistent in the rearfoot and forefoot.
The ride of the Kayano 28 is softer than the ride of the Kayano Lite 2 due to the Flytefoam Blast in the Kayano 28 so it’s better for longer runs at slower paces.
The firmer, lighter Kayano Lite 2 is better for shorter, faster runs. It’s more nimble than the Kayano 28 and it feels more snappy.
Both trainers have gel in their midsoles. The Kayano Lite 2 only has a small amount in its forefoot but the Kayano 28 has gel in its forefoot and in its heel.
Stability is better in the Kayano 28 than in the Kayano Lite 2 due to the extra stability elements. It has a Dynamic Duomax medial post and a Trusstic shank which the Kayano Lite 2 doesn’t have.
On the outsoles, both trainers have firmer, more durable AHAR + on the heel, with softer AHAR rubber on the forefoot. The biggest difference is that the Kayano Lite 2 has a filled up midfoot medial side whereas the Kayano 28 has no rubber on its midfoot so the Kayano Lite 2 has the more durable outsole.
Upper unit: Gel Kayano 28 vs Kayano Lite 2
The Kayano 28 has a plush, comfortable upper filled with generous amounts of foam. It has a thick, padded tongue which isn’t gusseted but no tongue slide occurs. The Kayano 28 runs warm so it’s better suited to cooler climates. It fits true to size and is available in a wide version too.
The Kayano Lite 2 also has a comfortable upper but it’s stripped down compared to the Kayano 28 and not as plush. It’s not as padded so it’s more breathable than the Kayano 28 and better suited to warm climates. The Kayano Lite 2 fits true to size and is only available in a standard width.
Which one to buy: Gel Kayano 28 vs Kayano Lite 2
If you’re looking for a trainer for mainly long, slow runs, the Kayano 28 is the better shoe for you. It has a higher level of stability and is the more comfortable shoe. The Kayano 28 is heavier than the Kayano Lite 2 but it has more gel in its sole and has a softer ride.
If you’re looking for a lighter, faster trainer for short runs, the Kayano Lite 2 is the shoe for you. It has a stiffer forefoot which makes it more snappy and it feels more agile than the Kayano 28. The Kayano Lite 2 weighs less than the Kayano 28 but it’s not as stable.