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Asics Gel Kayano 21 Shoe Review

The Good

Thomas: The Asics Gel Kayano 21 is well made and I imagine you would throw it out before you would wear it out. There is plenty of cushioning in this mild stability shoe. The upper fits very well and I did not notice any hot spots. The fit of the upper was probably my favorite feature of these shoes.

Meaghan: This is a well cushioned, supportive shoe. It’s designed with a super plush sockliner and relatively stretchy upper so they’re comfortable right out of the box. They come with a pretty standard lacing system and the upper feels breathable, even with all the overlays. Despite the generally stiff build, the shoes feel soft underfoot. The sizing was perfect – snug and secure through the midfoot with a roomy toebox.  This is the first model of the Gel Kayano I’ve worn, but I really like the gel cushioning system. The gel in the crash pad and forefoot have a nice bounce and seem to relieve some of the initial impact on landing and toeoff.

The Bad

Thomas: The Kayano 21 feels clunky and is heavy. This shoe is hard to run quiet in as it slaps the ground. There is way too much plastic on the shoes. The look of the shoe is behind the times.

Meaghan: It’s a challenge to run gracefully in these shoes. My women’s 7.5 weighed in just over 9.4oz and they land HARD. I have noticed some improvement over time, but they still feel pretty stiff. It doesn’t help the temps have been in the teens here in Baltimore. The overlays on this shoe are also questionable. I understand the heel clutching construction enhances the fit, but the thick plastic overlays that cover the rest of the upper seem slightly unnecessary.


Meaghan: The Asics Gel Kayano 21 is a solid, durable trainer. It’s not a shoe for everyone, but it will work for the runner who needs some extra support. I’ve been wear testing several insoles and this shoe provides nearly as much arch support as a shoe insert (and it’s way more comfortable).

Thomas: The Asics Gel Kayano 21 is just not my type of shoe to run in. This is the first Kayano model that I have run in. While putting miles on the shoe for this review, I had a “let me get these miles in so I can run in the other shoes I need to review” attitude. I was trying to think of the runner that would appreciate this shoe. I imagine it would be a clydesdale runner that wants a supportive shoe with some cushion. The problem is, there are better choices on the market for well cushioned shoes that don’t weigh as much. Check out Hoka, Altra, Skechers is coming out with a road version of the Ultra, or Under Armour’s new Speedform Gemni to name a few. There are a lot of other alternatives out there. If you have been stuck in a Kayano rut, I recommend you try some of the other shoes out there. The Kayano is the mom jeans of running shoes. It seems outdated and dull. Some shoe stats:

  • 10 mm Drop
  • Weight size 10.5 = 12.3 oz

Asics product features:

  • ASICS® design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance the foot’s natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
  • FluidRide® provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability.
  • ASICS FluidFit™ upper technology combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete’s foot, creating a truly customized glove-like fit.
  • Exoskeletal heel counter provides improved support and creates improved heel fitting environment.
  • Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
  • This evolution of DuoMax® system enhances stability and support, with reduced weight and increased platform support.
  • Vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency.
  • This Trusstic System® integrates Guidance Line® construction for enhanced gait efficiency while providing midfoot structural integrity.
  • This premium sockliner features higher rebound properties while providing excellent moisture management, high-level breathability, and anticrobial properties.

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Shoes provided by Road Runner Sports for the review.


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