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Asics Gel Kayano 30 review

9 expert score
7.3 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 28th March by TJ Jones Road and trail runner, stability shoes expert.
55 other reviews

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Verdict

The ASICS Kayano 30 is a top-tier stability trainer. Drawing inspiration from other ASICS offerings the Kayano has been completely rebuilt for its 30th edition. The result is an adaptable and stable shoe that provides comfort mile after mile. This overhaul continues Kayano’s run as one of the leaders of the stability field.

The pros

  • 4d Guidance System
  • Completely Rebuilt
  • Adaptive Stablity

The cons

  • Midfoot tightness


Rating breakdown

Comfort
9.0
Build quality
10
Upper
8.0
Sole unit
9.0
Landing
10
Transition
8.0
Toe-off
9.0
Traction
8.0
Durability
8.0
Value / Price
9.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Gel Kayano 30
Family
Previous model
Type
Weight
10.7 oz (303 g)
MSRP
$160.00

Heel
40 mm.
Toe
30 mm.
Heel drop
10 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Tight
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced/plush
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Very stable
Flexibility
Medium

Usage

Racing
Speedwork
Daily training  
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Asics Gel Kayano 30 ?

A runner who wants a rebuilt Eco-friendly stability trainer ready to take them through any training plan.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Introduction

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

The ASICS Kayano is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and they are celebrating in a big way. They have completely redesigned and rebuilt it from the ground up.

This is noteworthy because the Kayano is known for small improvements every year, not big overhauls. The question is does the overhaul improve an established leader in the stability field?

The Kayano is the flagship and top tier stability trainer of the ASICS lineup.

The lineup consists of 4 options, the GT-1000, GT-2000, Kayano, and Kayano Lite.

The Lite is a lighter, more eco-friendly version of the Kayano. With the Kayano 30 the similarities continue to grow between them.

The Kayano competes with the Brooks Glycerin GTS, Hoka Gaviota, and Saucony Tempus. It retails for $160.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 First Impressions

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30


Upon opening them my eyes went wide instantly, they looked like a different trainer.

The differences are prominent and instantly noticeable. As I wore them, I had multiple people ask me if they were Hokas. The white/ocean haze is straight fire; they are extremely eye-catching. The overhaul has made the Kayano a more stylish shoe overall.

The initial reaction slipping them on for the first time was the plushness. It was a softer feeling than previous editions. The base is noticeably wider as well. They seemed bulky at first but my feet quickly adapted. If I was blindfolded I would have guessed I was wearing Kayano Lites

The maiden voyage of the Kayano 30 was a 5k. I had to adjust to the size of the overall shoe but that only took one kilometer.

The overall comfort has been increased with this redesign. It was a plush ride from the new midsole. Now, it wouldn’t be a trainer to push the pace but it would be ideal for long runs. I was excited to see how the rest of the miles would feel.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Upper

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

The upper of the Kayano 30 hasn’t been completely rebuilt but it has received a major update. The major update comes in the form of a new engineered mesh. It has been developed to provide more structure. It does in fact give more structure to the shoe.

There is a noticeable difference between the upper of the 29s and the upper of the 30s. While the upper of the 29 is more flexible, the upper of the 30 compliments the midsole more.

The structure from the mesh creates a secure fit. This is important because a secure fit aids in the overall stability of the trainer. You will find a more tailored fit throughout the upper of the 30 which is different from previous models. Some initial tightness was felt in the midfoot, but after a couple runs this worked itself out.

The simple lacing system helped with this because with it’s simplicity you get an ideal fit using it. The toebox has enough room for your toes to splay out.

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

The heel portion of the Kayano 30 was ideal. It starts with an internal heel counter securing you in place. Added to the heel counter was a medium amount of cushioning that added comfort. Both the tongue’s length and cushioning added to this. The tongue is also gusseted, preventing it from sliding around.

It is a breathable upper as well. These were tested in the middle of a humid summer and breathed well. There was one point of irritation in the heel portion of the Kayano. It was where the insole met the upper on the medial side. This was an issue on and off throughout the testing.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Sole Unit

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Since the midsole was redesigned there is much to unpack, let’s start from the ground up. One of the materials that remains the same is the AHAR rubber found on the outsole. It is extremely durable. There isn’t as much rubber as in previous editions. Instead, they have focused on the areas that need it.

One look and you will be able to tell there is more cushioning in the Kayano 30. Another striking aspect is the different shape of the midsole. For the Kayano 30 they decided to make a midsole similar to the Kayano Lite.

They did this by employing 3-D Construction, which is taking the shapes of new material, FlyteFoam Blast Plus Eco, and fitting them together. The FlyteFoam and Blast Plus Eco are the same as the previous edition, just more eco friendly. Due to this new construction the midsole looks completely different from previous editions.

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Overall, the FlyteFoam Blast Plus is both a bouncy ride while being more eco-friendly. Hidden inside the midsole are pockets of Puregel. This just adds to the bounce and comfort of the ride. It is an increase of cushioning putting the stack height at 40mm. The heel to toe drop is 10 mm.

Gone is the DuoMax support system and Litetrust, in its place is the 4d Guidance System. This is a new adaptable stability system developed and introduced in the Kayano. It is made up of 4 components. Wider basenets are found on the bottom of the shoe. This gives the Kayano a wide platform, which is inherently more stable. In the arch area you will find a new medial post which is softer than previous medial posts. It engages when you need it to.

The midsole is sculpted, to provide ample shock absorption and energy return. The last piece is an increased heel bevel, aiding in controlling the impact.

The transition from strike to toe off is smooth as a result of this as well. These 4 aspects of the guidance system create a symphony while you run in the Kayanos providing comfort with every stride and stability when you need it.

Asics Gel Kayano 30 Conclusions

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

ASICS Kayano is starting their third decade in a big way, a complete rebuild. Basically, they have taken their Kayano Lite and new Nimbus put them together to create the Kayano 30.

I would go as far as to say that the Kayano 30 really only shares the same name as previous editions. While I was wearing these I had multiple people ask me if they were Hokas. The midsole looks and rides like a Hoka’ cousin, big, bouncy and rocker shaped.

The biggest strength of the midsole is the 4d Guidance System. The 4 components come together to provide stability when you need it and comfort on every step. One drawback is its size, it feels big at times. With this, the Kayano works best as a long distance training shoe.

In terms of updates the upper underwent a smaller but no less substantial one. They have built the upper with new engineered mesh. This new upper provides a structure for stability and comfort. One drawback is the tightness experienced in the midfoot area.

Picture of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

I have written in previous Kayano reviews that they needed to evolve or they were going to be left behind. With the Kayano 30 the evolution is complete. The Kayano 30 rides like a tricked out version of the Lites. It can feel big at times but also be one of the most stable and comfortable stability trainers out there.

I consider myself a Kayano expert, having reviewed them since the 25th edition. In many of the more current editions I wrote, “it gets better with every new edition.”

I believe this still to be true with the complete rebuild. Now these feelings may not be shared with every runner who runs in them. But for me, The ASICS Kayano 30 remains one of the leaders of premium stability shoes.

How does the Gel Kayano 30 compare?

Asics Gel Kayano 29
Asics Gel Kayano 30
Brooks Glycerin GTS 20
Expert score
9
9
9
User score
Best price
Retail price
US$159.95
US$160
US$160
Shoe type
Weight
10.5 oz
10.7 oz
10.5 oz
Heel Drop
12 mm
10 mm
10 mm
Recommended for
Daily training, long distance racing
Daily training
Daily training
Cushioning type
balanced
balanced/plush
balanced
Cushioning amount
Medium cushioning
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
medium
medium
medium
Stability
very stable
very stable
very stable
Sizing
true to size
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Asics at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.

Reviewed by TJ

This review was written by TJ Jones on 28th March.
TJ Jones lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife and toddler son. He has been running for over half of his life. He has completed 3 full marathons and countless half marathons. In the daytime, he is a school counselor. He loves running no matter if it is on the road or trails

User feedback (11)

  • avatar-comment-1035482
    Di
    3 months ago

    I am used to wearing Kayanos, but this pair of Gel Kayano 30’s has caused pain, rubbing and a huge blister on the internal part of my left foot after one wear. I do not recommend these at all.

  • avatar-comment-1034983
    Jane Mountford
    4 months ago

    What have you done to the Kayanos?!! I have been buying them for around 30 years until now! Now trying GT1000, so far so good

  • avatar-comment-1034709
    Alan Shafto
    4 months ago
    2 score

    I agree with a lot of the comments about the heal striking and slapping the ground.
    What I have found is these are no good for distance running and actually become quite uncomfortable when pushing a harder 10K or beyond that.
    Heel feels to large and for me is causing heal striking more than my other shoes. I have found these shoes heavy in comparison to other shoes and while they are soft and spongy for walking they are not up to the job for running, disappointing given the high price point!

  • avatar-comment-1034095
    Risayogi Sitorus
    5 months ago
    7 score

    I have flat foot and medium width. I bought the Kayano 30 Anniversary Edition to replace my 950 km worn out Hoka Arahi 6. Many reviews conclude that this is 2023 best stability running shoes. Sadly not for me. The fit on the midfoot was too tight but the toe box feels too wide. The shoes were noticeably heavy, it was difficult to pickup pace. The stability was okay, but didn’t feel superior compared to other stability shoes. I didn’t have any trouble on recovery or easy long run, although the 4D guidance system felt a bit weird. I was used to the stiff medial post, typical of stability shoes, but I didn’t feel that on this shoes.
    The ride was plush, but I was hoping for more plushness with this very thick sole.

    Pros:
    – Gorgeous looking, especially the Anniversary Edition
    – Stable

    Cons:
    – Bulky and heavy
    – Too tight in midfoot
    – Toe box too wide
    – Very thick sole, but not plush enough

    • avatar-comment-1035159
      Brian
      4 months ago
      10 score

      Very interesting! Im 59kg 172cm (always been skinny guy) and the shoe toebox wasn’t wide enough. I went 2e and it felt just right but sized half a size down.

  • avatar-comment-1031786
    Knollan
    8 months ago
    10 score

    I am running on Kayano 28 and logged hundreds of miles on it. I just recently bought the Kayano 30 and only run in them once, relatively short distance of just 11.5km. My question is, with Kayano 29 you mentioned it’s best for both daily training and long distance running. May i know why you recommend Kayano 30 only for daily training and not for long distance running?

  • avatar-comment-1031238
    Mike
    9 months ago
    10 score

    4th Decade!

  • avatar-comment-1030786
    Soapy
    10 months ago

    How noisy are they on the road?
    Are they slippy on wet roads?

    • avatar-comment-1031184
      Illy
      9 months ago
      8 score

      These shoes are stable compared with others that have same heel size, but they don’t quite live up to the stability they’re marketed for. For instance, the Cumulus 25 surpasses them in terms of stability. The upper material looks and feels great. They are highly comfortable and feel plushy even in the forefoot area. Disappointingly, they do tend to flap a bit noisily but not as bad as Novablast 3. They fall short of justifying their price tag in the EU of 200 euros, so I returned them. While they didn’t work for me, they might still be a good fit for others who have a different running style.

      • avatar-comment-1031211
        Illy
        9 months ago

        I would like to explain why I believe the stability isn’t as I expected it to be. As a heel striker, weighing 70 kg, wearing size 40 EU, when my heel impacts the ground while wearing these shoes, I sense that the outer part of my sole compresses more easily due to the softer foam, while the interior is somewhat firmer. Additionally, the middle part feels somewhat rigid on the inside, causing my foot sole to move somewhat unnaturally and make a slapping sound on the ground. Perhaps this is intentional for the shoe’s design, but for a neutral running style, it feels a bit peculiar.

      • avatar-comment-1032167
        Mike A
        8 months ago
        4 score

        I had the exact same experience. As a long time Hoka user the bulkiness looked like it was going to give a plush rocker ride but instead the shoe feels super bulky and flat. It slaps down if you heel strike. The issue goes away if you speed up and start landing toward the forefoot. They are too heavy for fast running but too clunky for slow running. It’s weird!

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