Asics Gel-Kinsei Max review

7 expert score
0 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 Brandon Law Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
160 other reviews

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max Verdict

The ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max is a really comfortable but overpriced maximalist trainer. It has a plush, smooth ride with padded landings but it can only handle slow paces due to its 11.7 oz weight. It functions better as a gym trainer that you can do occasional runs in rather than a daily training workhorse.

The pros

  • Super smooth ride
  • Padded landings
  • Luxurious upper
  • Good stability

The cons

  • Heavy by today’s standards
  • Outsole wears down fast
  • Overpriced

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

Rating breakdown

Comfort
10
Build quality
8.0
Upper
8.0
Sole unit
7.0
Landing
7.0
Transition
7.0
Toe-off
7.0
Traction
6.0
Durability
6.0
Value / Price
4.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Gel-Kinsei Max
Weight
11.7 oz (332 g)
MSRP
$180.00

Heel
mm.
Toe
mm.
Heel drop
8 mm.
Carbon plate
Plate in other materials

Size/Fit

Sizing
Buy half size bigger
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Tight

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Plush
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Very stable
Flexibility
Flexible

Usage

Racing
Speedwork
Daily training  
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Asics Gel-Kinsei Max ?

If you’re looking for an easy/recovery run shoe and you don’t care about its weight, the Kinsei Max is an option. It has a ride which borrows elements from the GlideRide, Superblast and Nimbus.

Who should not buy the Asics Gel-Kinsei Max ?

If you want a versatile, lightweight and durable trainer, you should look elsewhere. If you want a trainer with a high level of ground feel, the Kinsei Max is also not for you.

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max Introduction

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

If you’re familiar with ASICS’ latest performance running shoes, you would have noticed that none of them have visible gel anymore: the Nimbus, Cumulus, and Kayano are examples.

The speed shoes like the Metaspeed and Magic Speed series don’t have any gel in them at all, neither do the daily trainers like the Novablast and Superblast.

Gel is a heavy technology and it doesn’t add many performance benefits. ASICS has started to realise this in the last few years. They’re still using gel in some legacy models but it’s in the form of a hidden, silicone gel pad inside the shoe.

With the Kinsei however, gel has always been its signature feature and even though the amount of gel in this latest version has been toned down, there is still some visible gel in the heel.

The Kinsei Max costs $180. The fact that it’s priced almost exactly the same as the Adidas Ultraboost Light tells us who ASICS is targeting with this shoe: sneaker heads, gym enthusiasts and casual runners.

It weighs 11.7 oz (333 g) for a men’s standard US9 which is very heavy for a running shoe these days. It’s a slight weight reduction over the previous version, the Kinsei Blast which weighed 11.9 oz (337 g).

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max First Impressions

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

When I tried the Kinsei Max on in the store, the toe box felt way too narrow, similar to the Nimbus 25. I needed to go up a half size.

The first run was a hill sprints session and I could tell immediately that the Kinsei Max was designed for slow-paced running. I found it difficult to pick up the pace when going uphill, mainly due to its weight.

Landings felt very padded and transitions felt incredibly smooth. It reminded me of 2 other shoes: the GlideRide 3 and the Superblast.

The Superblast also has no rubber on its outsole so it has padded landing similar to the Kinsei Max. The GlideRide also has a plush upper, and a plate inside its midsole with a forefoot rocker.

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max Upper

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

The Kinsei Max’s upper is built for comfort and it feels quite similar to the Nimbus 25. The material is not as stretchy but it also has a flat, knitted tongue.

The tongue is semi gusseted so I don’t experience any tongue slide. The collar is very well padded and the inside lining has a smooth, luxurious texture. With all the padding in the upper, it feels warm so it’s more suited to cool climates.

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

There’s an internal heel counter and foot lockdown is great- there is no heel slippage. There’s also a reflective strip on the heel pull tab.

The only negative thing about the upper is that it runs a half size small due to the narrow toe-box so most runners will need to go up a half size.

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max Sole Unit

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

The Kinsei Max has a really comfortable, plush, cushioned ride. It has a more modern ride than other ASICS trainers like the Nimbus and the Cumulus due to the absence of rubber on its outsole.

If you enjoy the padded rides of the Hoka Mach 5 and the Superblast, you’ll like the Kinsei Max.

The midsole is dual density with FF Blast+ Eco on the top, and FF Blast on the bottom which forms the outsole. The ride feels a little bit firmer than the ride of the Nimbus 25 which also uses FF Blast+ Eco in its midsole but it’s still a very soft, protective ride.

Versatility is not the Kinsei Max’s strong suit. I only enjoy using it for easy or recovery runs which are 5:30 minutes per km (8:52 per mile) or slower. Long runs are also not that fun because it doesn’t feel efficient. The main reason why it can’t pick up the pace is because of its weight- most of the weight comes from the gel in its heel.

There’s a generous amount of gel in the heel but if you look closely, you can see that it’s not 100% gel- in the centre of the gel is a foam core. ASICS calls this Hybrid Gel and its main purpose is to save weight however I can’t really notice the difference during runs.

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

There’s a TPU plate situated in the heel and the midfoot. Unlike a forefoot plate that makes the shoe more snappy (like in the GlideRide 3), this plate merely smooths transitions from the heel to the midfoot so that you can’t feel the difference between the gel in the heel and the foam in the midfoot.

Stability is very good considering it’s a neutral trainer. It has a wide base and the midsole is not overly squishy so there’s no major lean bias. It feels more stable than the Nimbus 25 and Cumulus 25.

On the outsole, you get a thick layer of FF Blast with just a small amount of AHARPLUS on the outer lateral heel area. Outsole durability is significantly lower than other ASICS daily trainers and I’ve noticed quite a lot of wear on my pair on the heel.

Traction is not very good in wet conditions because of how flat the outsole is but it’s fine on dry surfaces.

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max Conclusions

Picture of ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max

If it wasn’t for its weight, the Kinsei Max would actually be a very good running shoe. It’s one of the most comfortable running shoes I’ve tested this year but I would rather use it for gym or casual wear rather than running because it feels so cumbersome.

The Kinsei Max falls into the same category as the Adidas Ultraboost Light. They are both luxury, cushioned trainers designed for slow running. The Kinsei Max is much better though because it has a softer, smoother ride with a more comfortable upper.

I think at $180, the Kinsei Max is way too expensive. I wouldn’t recommend it over the Novablast 3 or the Cumulus 25 which are $40 cheaper. The GlideRide 3 is also much better value at only $150. The Kinsei Max is not as versatile, not as durable and much heavier.

The Kinsei Max is designed to appeal to a very specific runner: an older runner who feels some nostalgia from ASICS’ traditional gel technology, which used to be the main feature in most of their shoes for decades.

I won’t continue using the Kinsei Max in my running rotation. Even though I like the look of gel in a shoe, I don’t think the benefits you get from it warrant its extra weight.

How does the Gel-Kinsei Max compare?

Asics Superblast
Asics Gel-Kinsei Max
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
Expert score
8
7
8
User score
Retail price
US$200
US$180
US$160
Brand
Weight
8.4 oz
11.7 oz
10.2 oz
Heel Drop
8 mm
8 mm
8 mm
Recommended for
Racing, speedwork, daily training, long distance racing
Daily training
Daily training, long distance racing
Cushioning type
balanced
plush
balanced/plush
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
medium
flexible
medium
Stability
very stable
very stable
very stable
Sizing
true to size
buy half size bigger
buy half size bigger

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.
Lowest price:

$179

Asics Gel-Kinsei Max price comparison

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

Reviewed by Brandon

This review was written by Brandon Law on 28th March.
Brandon is a South African who lives and trains in Malaysia. He is a marathon runner who eats, sleeps and dreams running shoes. While most people wear shoes to run, he runs to wear shoes.

User feedback (0)

Lowest price:
$179

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

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