A runner who wants a rebuilt Eco-friendly stability trainer ready to take them through any training plan.
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 Lite is a lighter, more eco-friendly version of the Kayano. With the Kayano 30 the similarities continue to grow between them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.