ASICS GEL-Kayano 26 Review

The new ASICS GEL-Kayano 26! Despite an almost entirely new shoe last year with the Kayano 25, ASICS has again made significant tweaks to the Kayano in it’s 26 iteration.

ASICS has significantly re-designed the Kayano for the 26th version, updating the midsole, outsole, and upper – and has continued to firm up the ride a little bit as compared to the previous Kayanos. Here are the main changes:

ASICS GEL-Kayano 25 vs 26

  • ASICS has changed the midsole to use a even more of their FlyteFoam technology – continuing the trend of a little lower, firmer ride
  • The outsole has been redesigned again, but the change isn’t likely to be felt underfoot
  • The upper has been tweaked and the overall fit of the shoe is a little roomier, especially in the toebox
  • Step-in feel has been improved to feel softer and plusher
  • Overall feel, specifically in the forefoot, is firmer – there’s noticeably less under your foot in the 26
  • Stability remains unchanged, with the Kayano providing a nice stable platform and upper that works well for runners who need some amount of guidance

Fit

The new Kayano 26 moves to become a more generous fit, with the more flexible mesh upper providing a little more room for wider feet. It seems a little wider than the previous Kayano and the toebox is now one of the bigger options in the stability category. Along with the Structure, the Kayano 26 is one of the wider shoes in the category.

Feel

ASICS has continued the trend and made the new GEL-Kayano 26 a little more performance-feeling. It’s no longer on the softer side of the guidance realm, and no longer does it provide such a consistent level of perceived cushion as it might have in the past. It does continue to be a cushioned trainer that has a significant amount of guidance to prevent pronation. The transition is decent for a trainer with a significant amount of guidance, but the Kayano seems stuck somewhat in limbo of what it wants to be.

 Function

Even with the significant changes, the GEL-Kayano 26 remains a good candidate for runners needing & wanting a medium level of guidance to offset any pronation.

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Comparisons:

ASICS GEL Kayano vs GT 2000

ASICS has designed the Kayano to be both more cushioned and supportive than the 2000. In their current versions, however, I don’t know if the two shoes perform to those design goals. The 2000 is no longer significantly firmer and provides about the same amount of support, so there is an increasing amount of similarity between the shoes as the Kayano has become more firm. The Kayano has a wider toebox and might be a little wider overall. It also has a much softer step-in feel. The 2000 is lighter, but you really don’t feel that lower weight on-foot.

ASICS GEL Kayano vs Nimbus

Each is designed to be ASICS’ maximum amount of perceived cushion, and in previous generations they have both been consistent in providing that cushion. Both have recently become a little firmer, however, and neither perform as a standard-bearer for cushion as they have in the past. They have very different levels of support, so the Nimbus would be appropriate for neutral runners while the Kayano functions well for runners who pronate.

ASICS GEL Kayano vs Brooks Adrenaline

Both the Brooks Adrenaline and the Kayano have been updated to provide a flexible, forgiving mesh upper. While traditionally the Kayano has felt softer than the Adrenaline, in their current versions (Kayano 26 vs Adrenaline 19), the Adrenaline feels softer to almost all runners. The Kayano has a little more room in the toebox, but overall the Adrenaline provides a lot more width (to the point of feeling a little sloppy on runners with a narrow foot. Both shoes provide a moderate of guidance which make them appropriate for runners and walkers who have a moderate amount of pronation and feel more stable with some guidance for that pronation. The Adrenaline is considerably lighter than the Kayano, and feels it on-foot.

ASICS GEL Kayano vs Saucony Guide ISO

In their current versions, the shoes have a pretty different feel. The Kayano has an overall softer feel, both in the upper and in terms of midsole/ride . The Guide feels lower and there’s more of a cradling feel of the midsole whereas the Kayano is much higher and there’s more of a platform feel. The Guide has more room in the toebox and is a little wider overall – to the extent that it feels a little sloppy on narrower feet compared to the Kayano.¬† The Guide is lighter, and thanks to being both lower and a little firmer actually feels lighter on your foot.

ASICS GEL Kayano vs Mizuno Wave Inspire:

In their newest versions (Kayano 26 vs Inspire 15), the Inspire is now softer than the Kayano. Despite their traditional design goals, the Kayano is a little lower and has a more performance-based feel. The Kayano is now a little wider and has a little more room in the toebox. The upper of the Kayano is much more flexible, with fewer overlays and and a much more comfortable mesh upper. In terms of guidance/stability, the Kayano is still going to provide about the same amount of guidance, and both are appropriate for runners and walkers who need some guidance. The weights are about the same, and each feels about the same on-foot.

 

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