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Road Running Shoes • July 2, 2024

Asics Gel Kayano 31 Review: You Can Always Go Home Again

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What You Need To Know


10.7 oz. (305 g) for a US M9/ 9.4 oz. (266 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

Men: 40 mm in heel, 30 mm in forefoot (10 mm drop)

Women: 39 mm in heel, 29 mm in forefoot (10 mm drop)

Best For

Stable road miles

Key Features

FF Blast Plus Eco midsole, 4D Guidance System, Pure Gel, AsicsGrip outsole, Ortholite X-55 sock liner

On The Run
Just the right level of stability Much improved outsole protection It's a warm one in the summer
Price / Availability

Available now for $165

Introduction to the Asics Gel-Kayano 31

JON: Asics’ iconic stability trainer is 31-derful and living its best life. The Kayano 30 had a big overhaul, so there isn’t as big of a change in this edition. Updates include an engineered mesh upper, a grippier outsole, and more attention to detail in the heel.

The soft and squishy FF Blast+ compound makes up the midsole, while the adaptive 4D guidance system provides stability. The wide base and bouncier foam on the medial side promote a dynamic ride that provides stability when needed.

I have a lot of history with the Kayano so I was eager to see what it has been up to since I last ran in a pair.

SAM: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming home. You get inside after a long vacation, set your bags on the floor, and flop down on your couch. Your house smells like your house, your couch feels like your couch, you know where everything is, and you don’t have any expectations at all. It’s beautiful — pure comfort and bliss. For me, slipping on the Asics Gel-Kayano 31 had the same feeling of predictability and ease as coming home. Everything was as it should be. Let’s talk about why.

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What we like about the Asics Gel-Kayano 31

JON: The engineered mesh and padding around the heel collar made this a really comfy fit. It wrapped around my feet nicely, and there were no issues with rubbing or hot spots. The padding around the heel gave a great lockdown, and the mesh pull tab made it easy to put on. I’ll say that the toe box was a little tight, but not uncomfortably so. I would go half a size up if you need more wiggle room, but I didn’t see the need.

Moving down, the ride was smooth and plush. The midsole, stability profile, and 10 mm drop made it easy to lock into paces and just let the miles click away. The stability was there for me when I needed it, but it wasn’t dominating the experience.

The shoe has lots of grip and I felt in control at all times. I had no issues taking it out in wet conditions, and it provided excellent traction. All in all, the Kayano 31 is a durable, heavy-duty shoe that will last a long time (as it should for $165).

SAM: If anyone remembers, the Asics Gel-Kayano 30 was far and away my favorite stability shoe from last year. Thankfully, the Gel-Kayano 31 picked up right where its predecessor left off. Occasionally, when companies have a hit shoe, they can fall into the trap of trying too hard to build off their success and incidentally destroying what made the first shoe so great. Like a skilled temple raider, Asics avoided all of the traps with the Gel-Kayano 31.

To not belabor previous points, I’ll quickly summarize what I loved about the Gel-Kayano 30. The stability of that shoe came from the 4D Geometry system. That system uses the width of the shoe, a foam plug in the instep to provide arch support, a high drop, angled heel, and midsole geometry to guide your stride away from pronation in a natural manner. The shoe also featured Asics’s PureGel in the heel, as well as a nice amount of FFBlast+ eco underfoot. This made for a max cushion shoe with an ultra-smooth ride and the perfect amount of stability.

Outside of a few cosmetic changes, the Asics Gel-Kayano 31 is exactly the same shoe. It weighs in around 11 oz but doesn’t feel heavy and has a 40 mm to 30 mm stack height for a 10 mm drop. The few cosmetic changes it has don’t change anything about what makes the shoe great and only serve to enhance it, in my opinion. The main change is the inclusion of an AsicsGrip outsole and an AHAR+ toe cap. Our biggest complaint with the last model was that it felt sluggish at times, and the outsole rubber wore down very quickly. Asics effectively nailed both issues with this change. I found the new rubber to be just tacky enough for the long haul, and I felt that the toe cap makes the shoe have more pop to it than the previous model.

Having more grip on the toe-off allows you to overcome the bulk of the shoe and keep your stride moving. I found the Asics Gel-Kayano 31 more suitable for doing strides or hill repeats during runs than I found the New Balance 860v14, which is a firmer shoe with more ground feel. The other change they made was including a new collar around the ankle and a pull tab. I am honestly not sure what the collar does, but I love a good pull tab, so that change got my stamp of approval as well. All in all, Asics took a great shoe and made it even better with some slight adjustments, and I’m very pleased with that.

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What we don’t like about the Asics Gel-Kayano 31

JON: My biggest complaint is how hot this shoe got. The upper was incredibly comfortable to walk around in but it didn’t breathe well whilst running. My feet were constantly drenched from the heat getting trapped and the mesh soaking up all the moisture like a sponge. My testing was done during late spring in Maryland, so my opinion might be a little different if I ran in the Kayano 31 in the winter or somewhere that isn’t constantly muggy. But that said, I have many other shoes that breathe just fine when it’s hot and miserable out.

I also found the weight and wide footprint made it difficult to pick up the pace. When I would try and do faster miles, I felt like I was working harder than I should. This is definitely a workhorse shoe meant for locking into easy paces (and there’s nothing wrong with that); just don’t expect to rip anything fast in it.

SAM: I barely have anything to write here. If there’s one slight issue, this shoe is hot, hot, hot. I’m not sure Asics changed anything about the upper, but updating it would make this shoe absolutely perfect. I’m a naturally sweaty guy during runs, so I found my foot soaked in the Baltimore heat at the end of longer runs and had to choose wisely what socks I wore. Besides that, I got nothing. I love this shoe.

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Final thoughts on the Asics Gel-Kayano 31

JON: When I first got into running (in 2009!) I ventured to my local running store to get fitted for a better pair of shoes than what I had. My body was having trouble keeping up with the increasingly higher mileage as I fell more in love with the sport.

After a quick test, I was told I overpronated and needed to get a stability shoe. I went with the Gel-Kayano 15 and fell in love immediately. The asymmetric lacing, exposed gel, and stable ride were a dream. I was a loyal wearer of the Kayano through several iterations. Over the years, I found I didn’t need heavy-duty support as much as the running store clerk led me to believe and branched out into the elusive light stability category and neutral shoes. The Kayano still holds a place in my heart, so it was fun to test this shoe and see what it’s been up to.

While I don’t run in stability shoes as much as I used to, I still appreciate what Asics is doing. I’m glad it’s following the trend of adaptive stability. While this may anger those who want something more like the Kayano 15, I think it’s a welcome fresh breath of air. I just wish it didn’t get so hot.

SAM: Thank you, Asics, for giving me something beautiful to come home to. It’s been a long road since last year, fraught with danger and strange shoes I had to review, but waiting at the end of it was the Gel-Kayano 31. It’s a comfortable, stable shoe with enough cushion for the long haul and a surprising amount of pop from the slight changes they made. May your journeys be long in this shoe and your A/C cold when you get home. Enjoy the miles, friends.

You can pick up the Asics Gel-Kayano 31 for $165 from Running Warehouse (featuring free shipping and 90-day returns) by using the buttons below.

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jon ober bio photo
Jon Ober
Big Guy Reviewer
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Jon accidentally got into running after impulsively committing to run a marathon in 2010. After losing 100 pounds and having a hell of a debut, he decided to stick around. He runs with the Faster Bastards and his happy place is Patapsco Valley State Park where he leads the Thursday night Ober Hills run. When he isn’t running he’s looking for cats to pet.

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Fav. Distance


  • 2:56

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  • 38:48

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Sam Sheldon
Baltimore Road Reviewer
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Sam tried every other sport before settling on running as a senior in high school. He’s never looked back. He can be found doing workouts in Patterson Park, talking shop with the Faster Bastards, or hitting long runs on the NCR trail. When not running, Sam is a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School District. His other loves are cooking, coffee, breweries, books, basketball, and alliteration. 

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, Nike Vaporfly Next%, Asics Novablast 3

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Fav. Distance


  • 2:54

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  • 14:58

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