Asics Gel Kayano 21 Review

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Color: Royal/Lightning/Flash Yellow

Intended use: All runs except in bad weather.

Surfaces tested on: Road, 21° C/73° F

Upper: Spacer mesh, TPU welds, synthetic leather.

Midsole: Tri-density EVA foam with heel and forefoot Gel pads. Firmer foam insert on inner side. Midfoot plastic shank. 10mm heel drop.

Outsole: Heel carbon rubber, blown forefoot rubber.

Weight: 351 gms/ 12.4 Oz for a half pair of UK10/US11, D Width

Widths available: D-standard (reviewed), 2E (Wide) and 4E (Extra wide) in select colors.

US Retail: $ 160

The Kayano 21 marches further into softer cushioning territory, leaving Kayano 20 and even the Nimbus 16 behind. Upper material selection and design is similar to 20, except that the fit runs slightly snugger on sides.
Asics Gel Nimbus 16, Asics GT 2000 2
Quality of materials, soft cushioned feel
Tongue slide, inner lining slightly irritating, price, weight, assembly issues
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Kayano 21 is the softest version till date.

Who’d have imagined it a few years ago? The 2014 Kayano 21 is here, and it now happens to be one of the softest running shoes in Asics’ line-up when it comes to cushioning. And just how soft? More than the Kayano 20, and surprisingly, more than the Asics Gel Nimbus 16 too. This aspect is the key difference between last year’s avatar and the just released 21. There are some other subtle design updates, consistent with Asics’ approach of incremental evolution.

We’ve been doing some thinking lately. In some of our Asics reviews, we’ve been giving the brand much flak for lack of innovation. But then maybe, this is how it’s supposed to be. Spend anything of $120 upwards on Asics, and you get quality materials in a shoe which uses methods of traditional construction. With rest of the market moving towards lightweight, minimal design trends, staying at the lower end of innovation curve ends up differentiating Asics from the pack. There will always be a market for the type of overbuilt shoes such as the ones Asics makes, so as long as the brand from Japan marches slowly forward, things should work out ok, if not in a spectacular fashion. Asics’ recent revenue growth numbers are a nod to that assumption.

There’s a parallel (of this mindset) in the moto industry. Japan also happens to make extremely high quality crash helmets, with Arai and Shoei being familiar names. Now Arai helmets are expensive, the average model costing around $600, with race replicas graphics going upto $900. But basic design and materials have remained the same, and newness is introduced by small but progressive changes. Compared to other non-Japanese competitors, Arai sticks to a tried and tested formula, almost as if there’s a Japanese translation of ‘ If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ on metal plaques in every room of their office. If this philosophy of incremental evolution is culturally ingrained in the Japanese psyche, why fight it? With that, we’ll stop giving Asics a hard time when it comes to the degree of design evolution, and instead focus on pros and cons of functional running shoe elements.

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The oft seen 1-2-3 set-up of the Kayano. First, the heel to toe midsole layer. Second, the white(soft) foam which forms the bulk of midsole. The third piece is the Dynamic Duomax insert, which is this firmer foam on the medial (arch) side.

The upper hasn’t changed much on the Kayano 21 from a material or design perspective. In comes some small updates (on fit) worth a mention, which we’ll cover later. The midsole has major updates, and that’s what makes the Kayano 21 so different from the 20. As you might already know, the Kayano midsole is built using three different densities of foam – there’s an upper layer of foam just below the strobel, which is glued on top of the second layer of foam – the latter also has ‘Dynamic Duomax’ insert on the medial (arch side) which is hardest in density. In earlier days, Duomax foam used to be a different (usually grey) color and pasted together with softer density foam. As footwear technology evolved, brands were able to mold both these densities together without the need for adhesives. The recent trend has been to make the colors of both densities tonal so that they integrate aesthetically. And blended almost too well on the Kayano 21 – would have been difficult to tell had it not been for the speckles on the area featuring Duomax.

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Harder density foam on inner side is meant for motion control. Used to be of a different color, but now comes integrated – both in aesthetics and construction.

This harder density foam is usually placed by brands to control inward foot roll (pronation), but don’t let the ‘pronation control’ tag put you off. The Kayano 21 should work for majority of runners who just want a well cushioned shoe with premium looking (and feeling) materials. So much so, we’d go as far to say that if you’re unhappy with the un-plushness of the recent Nimbus 16, consider the Kayano 21. The shoe’s behavior has changed drastically since the days of Kayano 17/18, so if you’ve been staying away from the Kayano because of your past experience, then it’s about time you gave your perception a refresh.

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Visible area of heel Gel insert is thicker than that of Kayano 20, vertically.

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Forefoot Gel pad has been re-shuffled, with one of the pads moving closer towards the toe.

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Kayano 21 (left) ditches the angled midsole stacking of Kayano 20 (right), and increases the volume of softer (white) midsole foam under the heel. Also notice the increase in area of the Gel unit.

This year, the midsole construction has been overhauled to make the ride softer. Be it the upper or lower layer of foam, both of them have gone softer in density. The visible part of the heel Gel pad is also thicker when compared to last year, and forefoot Gel now moves closer to front of the shoe. The Kayano 21 also gets rid of the angled foam stacking on the heel (see picture above). There’s more of the softer, white midsole foam just below the upper heel which makes that section softer to land on.

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Heel crash pad is now larger, affecting foot-strike experience.

If you’ve been doing miles on the Kayano 20 and switch to 21, the change in cushioning levels will be instantly noticeable. The heel and forefoot now feel way more padded than the 20, which feels flatter (and firmer) in comparison. Outsole changes do their bit to influence cushioning too. The heel crash pad is now larger – the area of rubber mounted on heel midsole foam has been increased, and heel striking will result in the crash pad flexing, adding to cushioning feel. Also mentionable is the fact that heel rubber placements on either sides have increased articulation. Rubber on lateral rearfoot is now split into two parts instead of one (Kayano 20) and the medial side sees introduction of a flex groove. This allows those parts to move independently of each other, enhancing the sensation of a softer ride and transition.

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Forefoot has a wider ‘Guidance line’ groove in the center, and is more flexible than the Kayano 20.

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The gap between outsole lugs is wider, creating a pressure point. That’s the empty space between four corners of rubber outsole lugs.

The forefoot is more flexible than the 20 due to the softer materials, with the likelihood of revised forefoot Gel placement playing a role too. The forefoot is very well padded, making landings soft for forefoot strikers. If there’s any drawback of that, pressure is felt under the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal, the probable reason being the density contrast between the soft midsole and much harder blown rubber pieces. The exposed ‘guidance line’ is wider than Kayano 20 and overall gap in the center of the outsole has been increased. This wide groove is accentuated by the softer midsole foam, and weight loading results in building pressure on that portion. However, this is not something you’ll feel immediately; it only comes through once you’re past 6-7 kilometers of continuous running. There is no pain or soreness, you just finish the run feeling that the foot has worked harder in the front.

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Same insole design and top cloth.

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That said, the memory foam- like material is softer than the one used in Kayano 20.

Basic design of the Kayano 21 insole is left unmodified, but it has been made softer than the previous version. This dials up the level of cushioned feel underfoot, and supported by another layer of EVA strobel just below it. Heel stability is fairly decent, as densities on either sides are reasonably well balance. This is certainly no Lunarglide 5.

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Carbon rubber in heel and blown rubber in forefoot. Design has been tweaked to include rectangular lugs under forefoot and increased articulation in rear.

It is hard to say whether outsole grip has improved, inspite of some design changes. Outsole compound is the same – blown rubber in the forefoot and carbon rubber in the rear, but the Kayano 21 outsole has been tweaked to include smaller rectangular lugs in the forefoot. Durability levels remain unchanged, and ditto for the design of plastic midfoot shank. Only this time, it does not sit flush with the midsole, with some gap between them. Could be for bettering midfoot transition, though we could not notice anything different during runs.

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Similar materials to last year’s 20th version. Spacer mesh with welds and overlays.

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Midfoot welds, with logo execution carried over.

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Fit should be identical to Kayano 20, but that isn’t the case. Why? There’s a new layer of lining inside, which makes the fit snug.

Upper looks very similar to last year’s Kayano 20. Spacer mesh on top, welded webwork, and identical synthetic leather Asics logos on both sides. Logically, the fit should have been the same, but it isn’t. There is some wiggle room ahead of the toes, same as Kayano 20, and should be considered true to size. The difference lies in the side fit, which is snugger on the D Width Kayano 21 compared to same width 20. The change in fit owes it to the introduction of inner lining, which wasn’t a part of Kayano 20. There’s a second layer of soft fabric under the spacer mesh, which fills up gaps while slightly reducing the stretch properties of the air mesh. To sum things up, the Kayano 21 fits tighter than the 20, so consider 2E or 4E widths if you need more sideways room.

It is not under the toe box, but it still makes the Kayano 21 upper run slightly warmer.

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A new inner lining is introduced inside. Problem is, as you can see, the edges fold over.

The lining is good thing, but its attachment to the insides could have been better executed. The starting point of the lining has some free material (flap) which tends to fold over once you slide your foot past. This causes the lining materials to fold over, and it can be felt. The sensation is similar to having a fold in your running socks, which you need to adjust by straightening it out with your index finger.

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Tongue lining fabric feels more plusher, same as what was seen on Nimbus 16.

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The lace-loop regardless, tongue slides during runs.

Use of a new tongue and collar lining is a welcome update. The Kayano 21 tongue and collar feels much more luxurious, much in thanks to this new mesh with a softer hand feel. The tongue design has been changed, and the softer lining turns over to the front lip, making it feel softer when you tug on them. Incidentally, the fabric used is the same as what’s used on the Nimbus 16, with striking pattern similarity. However, the tongue continues to feature a gusset free construction, making it prone to tongue slide. That there’s a small lace-loop in the center is of no help at all.

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Collar is constructed using the same material as tongue lining. Plush and padded.

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Soft Achilles dip, but goes relatively straight up compared to Kayano 20. Some runners might feel a slight slack around the Achilles.

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Vs. the Kayano 20, the heel area has a lesser outwards curve. This opens up some room at base of the heel.

Collar fit will feel unchanged for most people, unless you’re very perceptible to even the slightest changes. If you are, you’ll notice that there some extra room around the base of the heel and the soft Achilles dip seems roomy, but only by a minuscule margin. So tiny, that if you coming from a shoe other than the Kayano 20, chances are that you’ll not give it a second thought. The Kayano 20’s molded heel area appeared to be recessed (and curved) slightly outwards in relation to midsole heel, whereas the 21 adopts a straighter silhouette. Same goes for the Achilles dip area, where the Kayano 21 goes relatively straight up instead of the slight curve in the Kayano 20.

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Midsole wall has molded ‘carve-outs’.

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Toe bumper texture aligns with the visual direction.

This has no functional value, but we’ll call it anyway. The Kayano 21 has a distinct aesthetic, something which makes it looks sleeker. The midsole walls feature these triangular ‘carve-outs’, helping the shoe’s cosmetic flow. The synthetic leather toe-bumper also has a texture which aligns with the design language on the midsole, tying things together from a visual perspective.

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There’s one reflective overlay on the toe-box, and the second one is on the heel.

Reflectivity is at a premium on the Kayano 21, much in the way of other brands. Nowadays, it is becoming a trend to offer less reflectivity on mainstream models and then introduce special versions which go all out. Asics offers its ‘Liteshow’ editions, with equivalents like ‘Flash/Shield’ (Nike) and GID – Glow-in-Dark (NB, Skechers), Nightlife (Brooks) and Viziglow( Saucony) found in competing brands. In the regular Kayano 21, there’s only a tiny piece on the heel, and a standard on-toe-box insert.

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The spacing between the tear-drop eyelets is not uniform across left and right half-pair. Result? Crooked row of lacing. (click on image to enlarge)

Any negatives on the Kayano 21, save for tongue slide, and the high $160 sticker price? There was a small upper assembly fault found on our pair. The gap between the teardrop shaped eyelet overlays on both shoes weren’t uniform, causing the left shoe to feature a crooked, misaligned row of lacing. That’s the problem with complex, traditional uppers – they look great and detailed, but brands need to take great care to make sure they are stitched up perfectly.

There’s also some chatter on the internet saying the Kayano 21 is the lightest ever, but that isn’t correct. It might be the softest Kayano ever, but it comes in 10 grams heavier than previous generation Kayano 20.

With the radical shift towards softness, the Kayano couldn’t be more different from what it used to be a few years ago. Once the torch bearer for running shoe firmness, the new Kayano is a reset of its earlier self, transforming into an ultra cushioned offering. While this broadens the appeal of Kayano 21 to a larger consumer base, the update is obviously going to upset a few gents who were used to (and liked) the firm ride of earlier models.




In that case, the $100 Asics GT 1000 3 is something you could consider – that shoe has a similar Duomax midsole minus the visible forefoot Gel units and some amount of upper plushness.

(Disclaimer: Solereview paid full US retail price for the shoe reviewed)

Note on ratings: Our numeric scoring of 8.5/10 is based on a total of weighted averages. The attributes namely transition, stability and fit contribute to 69% of total scoring weight, which we see as more important than material (7%), cushioning (7%), traction (12%) and weight (5%). Hence the scores will not add up when a method of simple average calculation is used.

Your purchase through any of the promoted retailers in this review supports solereview’s work. We make a small commission every time you do, and this helps funds our review costs.

  • BC Oi

    Interesting! Glad that Asics made a come back with Kayano 21. Need to give a try for its new softness.

    • Yes, we were taken aback by its relative softness to other Asics models.

      • Bruno Costa

        Hi! Great review as always! How would you compare the level of softness in the Kayano 21 to the one on the Adidas Energy Boost 2.0 ?

        • Good question. The Energy Boost feels more bouncier than the Kayano, and also the feeling that there’s a larger volume of foam beneath. Typical Boost experience.

          • Bruno Costa

            Understood. Would need to try both on a long distance run to see which would make me feel better in the end.

          • I’m starting to run again and need some advise on the correct running shoe. I’ll be running on concrete in suburban areas and running 5 to 10 miles a week. My needs are a concerned area as well as my lower back.
            I’m 210 6 foot and pretty good shape.
            I use to run 10 miles a day back 20 year ago, and I do seem to run in a way that seems to slam my feet to the surface I’m running on.

            What would you suggest for a running shoe?

    • Yes, we were taken aback by its relative softness to other Asics models.

  • Carlos Oliveros

    Thank you so much for your great reviews. I am looking to replace my old Nimbus so I’m looking forward to your review of the Hoka One One Clifton to make a good comparison.

    • You’re welcome. The Hoka review should be up later this month!

  • Bayu

    Hi, thanks for the review. I run 15 – 20 miles per week with a Nike Flyknit Racer, and thinking to have other pair of shoes which has more stability for more relax run. How do you compare Kayano 21 with Nike LG6? Based on your scoring, Nike LG6 has higher scoring for transition, stability and fit attributes.

    • The Kayano 21 is much softer than the LG6. The Lunarglide is stabler and has a firmer ride comparatively. The fit feels more sorted due to the internal sleeve, which the Kayano lacks.

  • Alexm

    Thank you for all these reviews. SO excellent. I’m a flat footed runner with a partial meniscus surgery. So I think a bit more cushioning would help. I Think? My last two pairs of running and training shoes have been Saucony Guide 5s. My all-time favorite shoe (almost 15 years ago) was the Asics 2030. In any case, I’m in search of new trainers. Mostly for 5Ks at the longest and track workouts and maybe some plyos. I just need to train for some ultimate frisbee. I can probably switch to basketball shoes for plyos . What would be your recommendation for a flat footed runner looking for the best cushionined ride? the Kayano 21, Guide 7s, Ride 7, Lunarglide6 or something else? Also why is the Kayano 20s rated higher than the 21?Could you kindly include Arch type in all your reviews? Thank you again for all these reviews and much appreciated.

    • You’re welcome, and appreciate the comment!

      a) You could try the Guide 7’s (and Ride too) if the past G’s suited your running style. And we always end up recommending the Brooks Transcend too – however read our review for a couple things you need to watch out for.

      https://www.solereview.com/brooks-transcend-review/

      b) The Kayano 20 and 21 score nearly the same, except that the 21 loses a few decimal points for quality of transition and increased weight – actually we have adjusted our category median for weight so even with similar weight, recent shoes will score lower. This change keeps in line with the lightweight trend nowadays so that our scoring mechanism stays relevant.

      c) We’ve stopped generalizing arch type vs. shoes, because we’ve grown wiser as shoe reviewers, and have realized that that categorization might not necessarily work. We leave any clarification to the comment section, where we make sure of each question being replied to!

      • Alexm

        Thanks a lot for super fast reply. Looking forward to your Hoka reviews as well. I’ll give the Transcend and Guide 7 a try. I wanted more cushioning than the Guide 5s. Will give a post back once I try them out. Thank you again.

  • InTraining

    Thanks for the great review. Been reading a lot of reviews lately and have to say Solereview is the best! I’m an Underpronator and beginning to wonder if shoes that “specialize” in the different footstirkes really make a difference for someone whose workouts consist of mainly inclined treadmill walking (bad back can’t take the pounding of running any more) 3 to 4 times a week for about 45 minutes each . The Nimbus 16 (2E) is my current shoe and was chosen based upon the Asics website “Shoe Finder”. While I admit it fits great, but for the fact that the inside rear lining has torn (second pair in a row) right at the heel, I’m wondering when all is said and done, whether it be the Kayano 21, the Nimbus 16 or another shoe brand what one running shoe (or couple shoes) would Solereview feel is the best option for an Underpronator who needs a cushiony and somewhat wide shoe?

    • Thank you for the comment!

      Pronation control shoes might or might not work – they are so many variables involved in running that a simple generalization cannot be applied universally.

      Since you’re walking and not running, whether you’re wearing a motion control shoe (or not) should not make a difference. You could try a shoe like the Saucony Ride 7 or Guide 7 – they aren’t mushed but cushioned well enough. The Kayano is relatively snug, so if you’re considering this shoe, would make sense to buy a 2E or a 4E depending on your fitting needs.

  • Shane

    Thanks for the great review! I have a wide(ish) forefoot and think I am an E width. I am deciding between the Kayano 21s or the Mizuno Wave Inspire. The Mizuno wave felt more comfortable around my forefoot as the upper is mostly mesh but the Kayanos have served me very well in the past (my last pair was a Kayano 16 and lasted about 4 years!) and feel more secure.

    I was told that the Mizunos are a harder shoe and will transfer more speed across each stride. I run about 10km per run 3-4 times per week. Which shoe would you reccomend?

    • We’re waiting for the new Inspire to release this month, and don’t have wear-test experience with the previous version. Our review history with Mizuno is short, but based on whatever we’ve tried recently, they seem to run much harder. And yes, you’re correct – they help in faster runs.

      On the other hand, Kayano 21 is a very soft shoe, very comfortable overall. Won’t do any favors if you’re looking to dial up some pace. These would be two different shoes, so your choice depends on what you seek from the shoe.

      Haven’t tried Kayano 16, but we reviewed the 17 a few years ago. If 16 was anything like the 17, then our guess is that it should sit somewhere between a Mizuno and Kayano 21 in cushioning levels.

  • Josh

    Thanks for the great review. I had stockpiled Kayano 17s and 18s when they changed the shoe completely with the 19. Sadly, that stockpile has finally run out. Was hoping they had swung back to the good ol’ days by now, but alas, the “new” Kayano is here to stay. But I feel informed, so thank you!

    • You’re welcome. Smart move that, back in the day!

      Have a feeling that the new Structure 18 might be something you’d like. Although there are many parts of the shoe which feels nothing like the Asics, the firmer ride has a bit in common with K-17’s and 18’s!

  • Steve

    I came to running in midlife having never run before. I started with the Asics 2160, which I loved. I had two pairs of those before I couldn’t find them anymore. I went to the Asics 2170, which were alright, but not like the 2160. I then went to the GT-2000 which again, were alright, but nothing to brag about. I took the plunge to the more expensive Kayano 20 and I loved them. It was the first time since the 2160 that I really was impressed by a running shoe. I went through three pairs in one year. I nursed along my third pair waiting for the Kayano 21 to come out, and I bought a pair when they arrived.

    I purposely did not read a review before buying them, since I wanted to see what my impressions were without someone else’s influence. Let me also mention I am not a running shoe expert or a running expert in general. I’m relatively new to the whole thing. I just know
    how they feel when I run.

    My first impression was the 21’s were very much like the 20’s with one major exception – I feel like I’m stuffing my feet into a sausage casing. I may have to try the 2E with the next pair. For now, I am just lacing loosely and I seem to get by alright. I didn’t have this problem with the 20’s and just used the regular width. While I usually get a “new sneaker blister” on my first long run with a new pair, I seem to keep getting them with the 21’s, and this is with about 70 miles on them currently. I’m hoping this clears up, because this wasn’t happening on the 20’s. The 21’s seem warmer than the 20’s, but that just may be my subjectivity. Where I run, a little warmth doesn’t hurt in the winter!

    Other than the issues I just mentioned, they seem very much like the 20’s. They are comfortable right out of the box and they absorb the impact of the road quite well for my middle-aged body. I also have a pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost 7 shoes which I
    call my “fun” running shoe. I typically don’t take them on long runs, and I love the way they respond to the road. My 21’s feel sluggish by comparison, thought they do absorb more road impact.

    Thanks for the great review!

    • Appreciate the detailed feedback, thanks!

      Your experience resonates with our observations in the review. The forefoot’s cramped because of the additional fabric lining they put in there, and that makes it warmer too.

      We also thought highly of the Sequence 7, and yes, since the Kayano 21 is way softer, it isn’t best tool of choice for doing speedwork!

      • Steve

        I’ve got about 100 miles on the 21’s and I am still not sure of my final verdict. Yes, they are comfortable, though at the end of a longer run – usually 10-14 miles – I think my legs feel a little worse than they did in the 20’s. This could be entirely subjective on my part. Maybe I’m just bored since I’m on my fourth pair of Kayanos in a little over a year. I don’t get the same fatigue in the Sequence 7 when I take them on longer runs. I seem to get more lower back pain with the 21’s, although hip and lower back pain is a constant with me in anything over 10 miles, no matter what shoe I’ve run with.

        • Steve, is physical conditioning part of your workout regime? That should help condition Glutes/Hams and lower back.

          • Steve

            Currently it is not. I need to add it. Thanks for the response!

  • PeteLeRoi

    Just bought a pair for my sister for Christmas. She loves it saying it feels great and perfeck fitting. Imo if it functons and improves performance then it’s value worthy.

    • Great to hear that! These are comfortable running shoes – a little snug in the front in default ‘D’ width, but that’s a non-issue for people with narrow feet.

  • Dave B

    Hi,

    I agree with many of the previous comments…your reviews are detailed and void
    of the cookie cutter approach many so called “expert shoe reviews”
    suffer from.

    After a small stint in Hoka Stinson’s I have returned to Kayanos which have
    been my constant companion since the TN820 in 1998 (the TN001 in 2000 is my
    sentimental favorite). Although I found the Hoka Stinson’s good for reducing
    high mileage impact issues (I do Ironman’s), the extra cushioning
    decreased the proprioceptive feedback leading to what I saw as a negative
    impact with my natural running form. The other reason I returned to
    Kayanos is the increased stability as I have a slight left foot pronation
    which is dominant in my heel strike and the Stinson’s again seemed to amplify
    this issue.

    What I like about the 21 is the slightly tighter fit and yes the cushioning has
    definitely improved from previous incarnations. I usually wear out the heel cup
    on my Kayanos and so I’ll see how I go with this pair (I have about 200kms in
    the shoes). The other noticeable difference is the weight, I don’t know maybe
    I’m influenced by wearing Hoka’s of late, but they almost feel as flighty and
    light as a pair of DS trainers.

    Thanks for the good review and to the other
    contributors..

    Dave from Oz

    • Thank you for the comment, Dave. We buy shoes for our reviews, so the best way to get our money’s worth is to go free flow – at least that’s our way of thinking.

      And appreciate the feedback on both the shoe models, this adds value to the review and will help others.

  • Lars

    Hi, I have been running on Kayano 20 but Im thinking of buying the new 21:s. But I have a general question how often should one change shoes? After how many miles or after how long time?

    • That is very subjective. There are many variables like runner’s weight, form, temperature, surface and the shoe itself. This is no one answer.

      Our advice is to change shoes when two things happen:

      a) The shoe is worn out under the outsole or the upper is starting to get damaged.

      b) There is a deterioration of the shoe’s ride behavior, eg, does not feel as cushioned, smooth or stable as it used to be.

      Or a combination of a) and b)

  • James

    Hi,

    I currently have some old gel kayanos and looking to upgrade but can’t decide between Nike lunarglide 6 and these 21s… Can you comment on differences and which you prefer (or even suggest other models if you think there are better ones)?

    Many thanks

    • Biggest difference between these two is the level of cushioned softness. The Kayano 21 feels way softer than LG, and with a plusher upper. Overall, more comfortable of the two.

      Migrating from an older gen Kayano (let’s assume K-17) will make the Kayano 21 feel a lot more cushioned. That could be good or bad thing, depending on what you prefer.

      Among the (relatively) firmer riding shoes. the 2013 Kayano 20, GT-2000 2, Saucony Guide 8, Nike Structure 18 are some choices you can look at.

  • Francine Worthington

    I ran in Kayano 21 for 3 months and loved them until bad heel pain – I am mild pronator and heel striker Foot was so sore – I could not wear the shoes
    Any advice

    • Before Kayano 21, which shoes served you well without discomfort?

      • Francine

        I ran in brooks trance. Then new balance 1260v4(love and want the cushion but felt slight discomfort just below lateral malleolus

        • Not sure what’s flaring up that area, but won’t hurt to have a stable base under lateral side of the foot. Have you tried the Brooks Transcend? Cushioned, yet supportive.

          • Francine

            No I wasn’t sure if transcend 2 and or saucony ISO hurricane?

          • Can’t say about the Hurricane ISO yet. We have it scheduled for review, but might take a week or two.

      • Fran

        Brooks Trance

  • Paperboat

    What a fantastic page! I’m returning to running after a long spell of rest – the impact was jarring an old neck injury and causing too much pain. Technology sure has advanced since my last Asics. Would you say that cushioning is the most important intervention in preventing shock/jarring (especially to body as a whole, not just lower body)? Any thoughts you might have are greatly appreciated.

    • In our opinion, good running form combined with developed lower musculature – Quadriceps/Hamstrings/Glute (and also lower back) with calves/shins help distribute/absorb impact pressure more efficiently than shoes.

      Of course, there should be a minimum level of foam footwear cushioning (say 18mm forefoot height and 25mm) so that there’s less stress on the bones. A shoe can have a more thicker midsole than that, but we think that’s good as a placebo.

  • sanjeev

    I have flat feet and walk about 4-5 kms a day. I was using ASICS Gel Tech Walker Neo 2, which I need to retire as I am getting a pain in the heel and on the shins. Would you recommend the Asics Gel-Kayano 21 as a good replacement or would you suggest someother option?

    • Haven’t tried the Tech Walker Neo 2, but looking at the pictures, they seem much firmer than the soft Kayano 21. Perhaps it might be a good idea to buy something like the Asics GT 2000 3 or the Gel Cumulus 16 (neutral shoe, but should work ok for flat feet too).

      • sanjeev

        Thank you for the feedback. I read your review for the asics gt 2000 3. Could one request options for any other brand also.

        • You could try the Nike Pegasus 31 and adidas Supernova Glide 7 too.

  • Carien

    I am over pronating and a heel striker. About 20 months ago I had a fracture in my Calcaneus and battled since then with heel pain. A running shoe expert suggested I buy the Kayano 21 which I did. Do you think it was the right shoe for me?

    • It is well cushioned and should work in your case, but that should be combined with your ongoing recovery regime for the Calc. injury.

  • galibike

    Hi…I discovered your site today and I think it’s great. Here’s my issue….I’m a 60 year old, pretty fit woman who goes to a mixed gym group. We do circuit training, indoor hockey or basketball, and run quite a bit, too. I don’t really understand about all this pronation business. I feel I need a shoe with good cushioning as I get a certain amount of pain in my legs and joints as the gym floor is very hard. I would be grateful if you could recommend a shoe for someone like me. I tried on the Asics Gel Kayano 21 the other day and it felt very comfortable. Could this be a good shoe for me? Thanks!!

    • Are any of your gym floor off-limits for shoes with ‘marking’ soles? We mean shoes which leave black skid marks on the floor? Usually there is a notice which would read something like ‘non-marking shoes only’.

  • galibike

    Thanks for your reply. No, the gym floor is very basic….concrete, I think….very hard.

    • In that case, the Gel Kayano 21 should do ok. Also try the Pegasus 31, and Nike LunarLaunch.

  • Both are good shoes – the Kayano 17 is more plusher and cushioned than the GT 2000. If you need a higher level of pronation control, then go for the Kayano 17.

  • Chris

    Great article…I am stuck trying to decide between the Nimbus 16 and Kayano 21….long distance, pavement running (10-20 miles per week) looking for something with good cushion. Which do you suggest?

    • We’d go with the Kayano 21 or Nimbus 15 (not 16).

      But if you wait up for a month, you’ll get the 2015 Nimbus 17. Not sure how that shoe fares, but should be well cushioned too.

      • Jelena Kacajeva

        My husband was choosing between Kayano 21 and Nimbus 17 (about 10 km per day, asphalt) – and he bought Nimbus 17, as it’s sole felt softer and with better amortisation.

        • Yes, you’re correct. The Nimbus 17 is softer than the Kayano 21. (and the Nimbus 16 too).

    • The Nimbus 16 would be it! Sorry for the super delayed reply.

  • Danny

    Hi! Just discovered this site today. I’m looking for a new pair of running shoes, saw this Asics Gel Kayano 21 but not sure if they are the perfect ones for me. I’m looking for long runs shoes. I’m trainning for a half marathon which is at the end of the month. I’m looking to spend about maxinun £100 Thanks

    • The Kayano 21 is a plushly cushioned shoe, if that’s what you’re looking for. Are there any particular shoe models you’ve worn and liked before? Would help us understand your needs in more specific terms.

      We see £100 prices on many UK websites, so the Kayano 21 is within price reach.

  • Sharni

    Hi, Im looking at the Gel Kayano 21 or Kayano 21 lite, do you know the difference? I gym everyday and play netball. I’ve had the GT 2000’s and they have been great. Any suggestions?

    • Melissa

      The Lite version simply means the shoe has more reflective features on it and a $10 upcharge 😉

    • Melissa’s got the perfect reply for the difference between Kayano regular and Lite show.

      Our suggestion is that you go for the GT-2000 3 (this year’s model) if you’ve liked the GT-2 so much. The Kayano 21 is a good shoe, but much softer than GT.

  • James

    Thank you so much for this. I bought a pair of Guide 7’s recently after by Adrenaline GTS 13s died. I have been mostly happy with the Guide 7 (slightly narrow I have found) but I am looking for a second pair to complement them. I am finding it hard to find GTS 14s in my size and don’t fancy taking a chance on the 15s so I am considering the Kayono 21s. Am I on the right track? I am sure if I scour the land I can find some GTS 14s in my size but any reason not to try the Kayonos? I am a slight over pronator and I am training for Marathon in April.

    • The Kayano 21’s are good, but very different from GTS 14. Specifically its cushioning, which is far softer than GTS 14’s. Also a little snugger in the forefoot from what we remember.

      That said, the Guide 7 and Kayano 21 have different characters, so makes for a good assortment.

      In our opinion, the GTS 14 is the most well rounded of the three and worth hunting down a pair or two.

      • James

        Thank you. I’ll find a pair of 14s then. I’d like to give the softer cushioning a whirl though – just wish the Kayanos were a bit cheaper. I can pick up the seemingly well regarded Gel-DS 19s for half the price so perhaps that’s the compromise – could use those for shorter/faster runs. Thank you again.

        • The older (fall 2014) colors of Kayano 21 should be headed for a retail markdown, so why don’t you try your luck online?

          Can’t offer an opinion on the DS 19’s, but we’re got DST 20 in our sights. Soon.

  • Jessamy

    Hi, I’m choosing between these Gel Kayano 21’s and the Nike Air Pegasus 31’s, any advice?! I would be mainly using them for gym work, including treadmill runs, but am also looking to incorporate more running into my training (no more than 10km, only one or two times a week).

    • The Pegasus 31 does better in the gym, feels lower to the ground than Kayano 21.

      • Jessamy

        And for running? I already have a shoe that I use mostly in the gym (nike free 4.0 flyknits) so am looking for a more supported running shoe. I tried to find the Pegasus in store to try out but haven’t found them in my size, however I’ve tried the kayanos and I did like the feel of them, I’m just hesitant as you rate the Pegasus so much higher than the kayanos!

        • Both do great for running. Don’t worry about the ratings, go with what YOU are comfortable with!

  • DA

    Hi, I am a 36 year old female. I used to run 3 to 4 times a week for 30 minutes. Got burning sensation, swelling in my toe and all over the foot after running. Consulted a podiatrist and came to know I have heel spur. And may be wrong shoe type causing burning sensation. She advices to go with Asics Kayano or GT3000. Or Saucony Guide 8 or Omni. Tried Kayano 21 and 20 in a store and I felt Kayano 20 is softer than 21. Not sure which one to pick. Please let me know which one would be the right choice. I am a moderate over pronator.

    • It is hard to be specific when recommending a shoe with a heel spur condition. We can only give advice of a general nature, like sticking to footwear which is well cushioned, while providing support.

      Both the Kayano are comfortable shoes, though we tested the Kayano 21 to be the softer version. But ultimately, go with the shoe you feel comfortable in. Unfortunately, in case of injuries, running shoes tend to become a trial and error thing – at times a couple of tries is needed to arrive to determine what suits the situation best.

  • I’m having a shoe nightmare and hope you might advise. I’m currently wearing Inspire 10 which gives me the right amount (minor) stability and I find them comfy but i’m finding them too narrow in the forefoot which has lead to holes appearing and rubbing (2nd pair this has happened on). I’ve worn 2E shoes before and think I may need to consider again. I’ve taken home from store a pair of GT2000-v3 and whilst the forefoot width seems perfect, the inner side of the heel is too firm/supportive and causing me pressure/pain even wearing round the house, i’ve not contemplated running in the them as I think they need to go back to store. Does the Kayano have the same stiff heel as the GT2000 v3? or is it a bit softer/neutral like the Inspire? I think my only other “2E / mild support” options are the New Balance 860 and maybe the Brooks Adrenaline? My 2E choice is narrowing day by day (no pun intended). If you have any other suggestions it would be very much appreciated. Thank You.

    • Matt

      I’m pretty sure they make Inspires in the 2E width as well as the general fitting. Maybe give them a go?

      • No one that i’ve seen in the UK stocks the Inspire in 2E width otherwise I certainly would pick a pair up.

    • That is a tough one, indeed. Once you pull 2E options out of the picture, what’s left is a very narrow assortment of shoes. Ironically, Mizuno shoes seem to have the widest forefoot in default D width, besides Skechers.

      What did your physio say exactly caused the problem? Reading your comment, all we can do is guess – that you’re a heel striker, and landing/transitioning in soft shoes resulted in the loaded heel to toe drop to decrease, putting strain on your Achilles over time. Transitioning to a firmer shoe helped decrease the gap between static and loaded heel drops and reduced the Achilles workload. We could be dead wrong, but from afar this seems the likely scenario.

      You also appear to be sensitive to narrow heel counter molding, so for that reason it would be safe to cross the Kayano off your list too.

      There are a couple of options.

      The Saucony Hurricane is worth a try, but remember to completely loosen up the first row of lacing before getting fitted. This opens up forefoot room, and there’s a chance you mighr find the shoe to your liking.

      Second alternative is the upcoming Skechers GoRun Strada, the brand’s first stability shoe. But the caveat emptor is that we haven’t tried the shoe yet, so don’t know how they actually feel. We brought it up because Skechers GoRun series tend to have super roomy forefoot without the optional insole.

      • Sadly, no sign of the Skechers GoRun Strada in the UK yet. My local dealer has the Saucony Glide in stock, so I will try for width, but speaking to him, he doubts the Glide or the Hurricane will any wider, and more likely narrower than the Mizuno Inspire. If you’re ruling out the Kayano due to similarity to the GT-2000, then I think i’m only left with the New Balance 860 v5 and the Brooks Adrenaline in true 2E width.

        I’m desperate for one of these two shoes to work for me, otherwise i’m not sure what options I have?

        I think your scenario sounds spot on aside from i’m a forefoot striker on the lateral side as per the picture I tweeted you. I have reached out to my Physio for a explanation as to what was going on, but it was 6+ months ago, so not holding out too much hope.

        • The Saucony Guide is much snugger than the Hurricane, so worth trying the latter with the lacing adjustment we talked about. The GoRun Strada is still not readily available globally, so in due time it should wash up on Britain’s shores 🙂

          GTS 15 in 2E is something you should try. The New Balance 860 is much softer, so not sure how they will work for you, given your less than ideal past experiences with soft heeled models.

          We’re sure there are other options which fit your need, except that we haven’t reviewed them.

          • I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to reply, many thanks.

            Take onboard what you are saying about the Hurricane, that might have to be my next try if neither the Adrenaline or 860 suit.

            Hope you’re wrong about the 860 as i’d love two choices moving forward rather than being stuck with just one shoe forever more.

            Maybe there is another New Balance model to suit as most seems available in 2E;1260/870? I might just have to keep trying.

            I pretty much agree with this list I found online. http://www.runandbecome.com/running-product-reviews/shoes/best-wide-fitting-running-shoes,

            ie very little choice for me with my barge feet. 🙁

          • Good luck with the Adrenaline and 860, would be very interested to know how things work out for you. We get dozens of comments/questions everyday, and someday someone might be in a similar predicament!

            The 1260 V4 is something you can try, but they are not as firm as the Guide/Hurricane or Inspire. Ever thought of the Nike Zoom Structure 18 in wide?

          • I will certainly give feedback on my fitting of the 860 and Adrenaline. Have not considered the Nike, as i’ve only looked at wide models that are available in the UK, which seems to be much less than other territories. I really don’t understand this, surely people all over the world have wide feet?

          • Except for USA and Japan, most countries get a raw deal. Interesting that you brought this up, we touched upon a similar subject in our Structure 18 review.

            https://www.solereview.com/nike-air-zoom-structure-18-review/

            Scroll to the end of the review, and then scroll upwards two shoes images from the bottom.

          • As the article rightly says, the Structure 18 is available in a wide in the UK, but only if you go down the Nike ID route and pay a hefty premium. Plus, returns are probably unlikely once you’ve stamped yours/your dogs or your cats name on the tongue of the shoe. 🙂

          • Ha ha, true that. No returns for you.

          • To complicate matters, after showing my physio the same photo of the bottom of my Inspire with the worn outers, he says that I could well have altered and transitioned my running form since my problems. Which we started to try and rectify about 9 months ago (and almost 900 mile ago) by concentrating on a mid/forefoot strike. He obviously couldn’t say without seeing me again (and £££ $$$), but maybe I no longer need the true “support” shoe, just something with a bit of stiffness. Ah well, hopefully going to try the 2E Adrenaline and 2E 860 this week, will report back.

          • Didn’t realise I could upload images. Here’s my Inspire 10 after 330 miles.

          • Thanks – this picture is way clearer than the one on Twitter. It’s amazing how of the wear is concentrated on the lateral side.

          • It doesn’t always come across in emails the same as spoke, but here’s my email conversation with my Physio if you’re interested.

            Me: I’ve had no achilles/calf pain whatsoever with the Inspire in 6 months, but I’ve now gone through two pairs of them because they are too narrow. I’ve put holes in them on both outers and they are rubbing my toes crazy, its clear my only choice is to go back to 2E width shoes, but because i’m looking at mild support shoe means i’m down to next to no choice as hardly anyone makes them.

            I’ve tried a Asics GT-2000, but its got too much support in the heel/arch, it felt too high and felt painful just walking around the house, let alone running in them.

            I think i’m now down to a New Balance 860 and a pair of Brooks Adrenaline. Both classed as support shoes, but so are the Asics and they didn’t suit.

            I’m certain i’m now a midfoot/forefoot striker (after all the work you/I did), i’m totally conscious of it and the bottom of my Inspires (320 miles in) show this, but on the outside? (see pic) Does this mean anything?

            My amateur thought is that I don’t need a high arch inside the shoe, I just need the shoe to stop me rolling inwards as i’m still a little flat footed? The Inspire seems flatish inside, but its stiffer than a neutral shoe? I think that’s what’s going on?

            Physio: The picture demonstrates heavy supination contact, this is normal and the difference now is that you do not over pronate to compensate. I agree, mizuno uppers don’t last long as they are so minimalist. If this is a problem and you require width, I would also suggest Brook’s transcend or Ravenna, new balance – the model you have mentioned (860) is fine, I would avoid the fresh foam, or asics – try the ds trainer version.

            Me: So you’re saying that all the previous calf/achilles suffering and 2 years of running has adapted my body? So I may not need such a heavy support shoe, just something a little bit stiffer than neutral?

            Physio: Exactly that Mick. Your muscles and tendons have conditioned over the past 2-3 years. A more neutral shoe would be ok now. I would also suggest looking into trying a more minimalist shoe for speed work and a more supportive ride for longer runs….a bit extravagant but sometimes one size doesn’t fit all!!

          • Thanks for sharing this info. The conditioning part makes sense, though wondering why did the Physio recommend the Transcend and Ravenna. Both are great shoes, both a poor choice when it comes to forefoot width – Transcend in particular is ultra snug, even the 2015 Transcend 2.

          • Whilst I trust my Physio implicitly with my biomechanics, he isn’t a shoe salesman, just a physio and runner. And a runner with ‘normal’ feet, not wide, so i’m taking the shoe recommendations with a pinch of salt. 🙂

          • 🙂

          • The story of one’s trip to the running store to find a wide replacement for my Inspire 10.

            Last night I ran a slow 10 miles in an old pair of neutral New Balance 1080 v3 2E. I tried them out to convince myself about needing 2E shoes. The evidence was conclusive, no rubbing, plenty of room. Woke up this morning with slight calf ache, but nothing much.

            My next shoe HAS to be 2E, no compromises.

            But could a neutral shoe work for me like my Physio thinks? Whilst it opens little further possibilities in 2E, I was interested in trying to prove what he said.

            So headed to the running store to try the 2E width Brooks Adrenaline 15, 2E New Balance 860 v5 and take back the 2E Asics GT-2000 that didn’t suit due to the stiff heel and prominent arch.

            Firstly went on the treadmill with my old 1080 to see what I looked like. Video showed slight overpronation, but not too much. Shop manager said there would be no reason I couldn’t run in them, but long term and if I only ran in them they might not be the best for me. Don’t think anything has changed there then, borderline neutral/over pronation and running constantly in them leads to achilles issues….. been there, done that. 🙂

            Before in depth observations, both the Adrenaline and 860 shoes corrected the slight overpronation I have that was seen running in the 1080.

            So Adrenaline 15 first. Tried a UK size 10 2E, my usual size is 9.5, but general consensus that you need half a size up in this years model. A very snug fit and the arch support was instantly prominent, but not as bad as the GT-2000 and it actually felt in the right place on this shoe unlike the GT-2000 to me. I did ‘feel’ the arch when walking around the store which did worry me, but again, not as prominent as it was in the Asics. Ran for 10 mins and didn’t feel the arch when running (probably as I have forefoot strike), but instantly felt it subtly there again when I got off the treadmill. I also felt the shoe wasn’t quite wide enough, even at 2E. I ran a few more times in both shoes and I just felt the Adrenaline as going to be too snug/tight down the sides of the little toe as my feet warmed up.

            Onto the New Balance 860. Whole shoe felt bigger, wider and initially sloppy around the top of the laces. But managed to resolve the sloppyness by using the extra pair of lace holes at the top. Lots of room inside the shoe and it didn’t feel quite as clunky/heavy as the Brooks. Absolutely no concern over the arch, shoe seemed much flatter in that area much like my Inspire 10 and couldn’t feel anything digging in or prominent. A good sign.

            Something in me wanted to like the Brooks more in the same way I really wanted to like the Asics, don’t know why. But in the end, the doubts of the Brooks (fit and arch) wouldn’t go away and I really couldn’t fault the New Balance. Having worn 2E New Balance in the past, I suppose it was logical that their shoe would be the one I ended up choosing.

            So i’m now the proud owner of a pair of 2E New Balance 860 v5. Going to wear them around the house for a day or so to see if they are ok before heading out on a run.

            Although if I do have to take them back I have no idea where to go next!??!?! I really do feel i’m now a one shoe man, which I really don’t like the sound of.

            The plan now is to retire the Mizuno Inspire and use the new 860 as my general mileage shoe and I might even bring the old 1080 back into service for quicker work as per my Physio suggestion? They’ve only done 150 miles according to Strava so would seem silly not to make use of them? If i’m doing fast work, i’m likely to be more on my toes/forefoot where over pronation less like to occur? Plus it means i’m rotating shoes, potentially extending the life of both pairs and giving my calves/achilles a different bit of work when swapping?

            That’s the theory, not sure how it will play out in reality. I’ll be happy with step one for starters, getting the 860 to work for me. 🙂

          • It sounds complicated. Would be interested in hearing your feedback on the two 2E shoes.

          • What can I say, i’m a newish runner (2.5 years) with wide feet like battleships and body that seems to be adapting and is on the change…………. Complicated? 😉

          • The change part is pretty natural. After a few years of running, most adopt a form which tends to be more efficient – sans any intervention.

    • edeux

      Mick, Have a look at the Brooks Revenna 5 in a 2E. I ran the Inspire 10 2E last year and needed something with a similar ride for distance training. The Revenna 5 (2E) was great for me. ~152-155LB. They’re on mark down here in the states. Found them around $75 USD at some of the online retailers. The Revenna 6 sounds good (review here) EXCEPT… I don’t like the worry of the toe strip on the 6. Btw, I’m grabbing the Inspire 11 for the 10k season. Cheers mate.

      • Thanks for the reply. I think i’m gonna try a D width Ravenna over here for starters, see what its like, see if it has the medial post hump that I can’t get on with. Brooks UK can’t make their mind up whether they can get me a 2E or not, one person says yes another says no. Hopefully it will be yes if it turns out to be an option for me. Thanks again.

  • Jun

    I have running for 3 months now and recently bought a pair of Adidas Energy Boost 2 ESM. From then on I have plantar fasciitis, According to my doctor, I have some degrree of flat feet. Wondering if Kayano 21 would help.

    • Did you doctor tell you why did you get PF? Might or not be due to the shoes alone.

      • Jun

        He suspected that was due to the shoes due to the fact that that happened after I wore them. I went to a running shoe specialty store and did a fitting, they were saying that my arch is a bit low and the adidas isn’t the right shoe for me

        • The Kayano 21 is very soft, so can’t say for sure if that’s going to work for you. The focus should be to first recover completely (with conditioning/stretch exercises) before engaging in running again.

          Shoes are a very small part of the deal – what really matters is physical conditioning, running form, and factors which reduce the probability of injuries.

  • michaelc5588

    I have been having some problems (and driving my local shoe store crazy). My right foot pronates moderately, left foot with frequent arch pain in many shoes, and have severe knock knees. Currently have very bad patellar femoral pain syndrome in both knees. I medium arches, told by the doctor to wear a neutral shoe but because of different foot pains I’ve tried all different types. I have worn Saucony Omni 11 and 12s for the last 5 years with no problems, although it was a bit too much correction – especially for my left foot which doesn’t pronate as much as the right.

    The first pair my local store put me in were the Kayano 21s which felt like clouds, truly wonderful. But once i took them to the gym my toes felt a bit cramped and i had arch pain in the left foot. My left foot tends to sit a bit crooked in footwear, so when restricted there is pressure on my pinky toe.

    Exchanged them in the store for a pair of Brooks Transcend 2s, which also felt fantastic in the store, but am also having some arch pain in the left foot after a week of gym sessions (mainly elliptical machine and uphill treadmill walks). The answer may be insoles but I do not feel I need to spend an additional $50+ when the shoes are already $120-170.

    What else should I try? Saucony Hurricane? Lunarglide 6? Structure 18? Saucony Guide?

    Any help is very much appreciated.

    • Honestly, with that kind of history, any shoe is a potential shot in the dark.

      Since you’ve already tried cushioned shoes like the Kayano and Transcend, maybe it’s time to back to the basics – firmer midsole base with a non-interfering nature.

      Might be worth checking out the Hurricane ISO (loosen up the first row of lacing) and the Mizuno Inspire 11.

  • Dustin G

    Hi,
    Thanks for all the great reviews on shoes, makes for interesting reading.
    I am currently training for a marathon in a couple months. Having run a few halfs my PB is 1hr34 and im weighing about 84kgs and 6ft4. I have two pairs of shoes, Nike Lunareclipse 2s and Adidas Boston Boost 5s. I find the LE2s better for longer runs as they slightly more comfortable, but get a slight pain in right knee, but my feet are relatively okay after a longer run(20km plus). The LE2s are old and I feel the support and cushioning is giving way which could be the reason for the right knee pains on longer runs. The BB5s I find tend to play on my Achilles and strain it on longer runs and leave my feet aching after longer runs, but are a dream for shorter and faster tempo runs.
    With regards to my running style, I am a slight heel striker with a small outward roll.
    In saying this I am looking for a shoe to run a marathon in and all my longer runs. I want a shoe where my feet ache during/ after runs and that are not too bulky and heavy so I can try improve times. I have looked around and tried a good few shoes and asked advice and so far have liked Brooks Ravenna 6s, Saucony Guide 8s/ 7s and the Asics Gel Kayano 21s.
    Is there any advice you could give with regards to what shoe to look at getting or any other shoe other then those mentioned which you could throw in the mix?

    Cheers guys, thanks.

    • If you’re looking for a softer quality of cushioning, then fit try the Kayano 21 and Ravenna 6. Any particular reason why you’ve shortlisted only ‘guidance/support’ shoes?

      We ask because the Under Armour Speedform Gemini is a great shoe which does everything well (except a roomy forefoot), including high mileage runs.

      • Dustin G

        Thanks very much.
        Shortlisted only guidance/ support shoes because of my under pronation (slightly as it is). And the LE2s are a support shoes, while the BB5s are a neutral shoe and leave my Achilles a bit strained after longer runs.

        Would that suggest that I need a support shoe? Or would neutral work and I just need more cushioning than that in the BB5s?

        • Dustin G

          Had a look at the UA you suggested. They look great, but living in South Africa they are impossible to get.

        • It is always hard to say when you need a ‘support’ shoe, because not all models in this category are built equal. Out of your list, the Guide 7/8 seems like an option to consider, and the Ravenna 6 if you need more softness.

  • We haven’t tested the Inspire 10, but if it was anything like the newest 11, then its ride character is near neutral when it comes to pronation control elements. There’s no medial post (and hence the difference in experience with 860) which might cause any poke.

    After reading your two detailed posts, two basic needs clearly emerge to the fore – upper space, and a semi-firm riding midsole with non-interfering midsole elements.

    It is unfortunate that you have to go through an ordeal to find a shoe of your liking. Is there no way of getting an Inspire 11 in wide? There are a number of drop ship websites in the US which can deliver the shoe to you.

    • I think you have hit the nail on the head with the requirement, but fulfilling it is the troublesome element. Ie, no shoe fulfils. I’m going to take the 860 back and have ordered online a cheap pair of 2E 870 as New Balance advise me they are borderline neutral, but they do have a medial post. Hope its negligible, but can always return them.

      New Balance also advise the 940v2. I quote “Considering all information provided in your e-mail, I recommend our 940v2.
      As opposed to a medial post, 940v2 offers Stabilcore which is a medial support system that provides an extremely smooth transition from heel strike to toe-off. It is made from an injection molded engineered thermoplastic that offers a great deal of precision and consistency. Many customers feel shoes with Stabilcore offer much smoother transitions from heel strike to toe-off than those with medial posts.”

      The 940 seems tough to get hold of though, but might peruse?

      Brooks are confusing me. Their uk website says 2E Ravenna are available, but i’m sure my local shop says no. Wondering if worth pursuing the Ravenna? Medial post?

      I have looked into getting a 2E Inspire from the USA, but the cost is somewhat prohibitive. Cost of Inspire 11 + international shipping + likely import duty fees makes them a hell of an expensive shoe. If I could find a cheap Inspire 10 2e i might consider it though.

      Any store recommendations would be welcome. 🙂

      I think i’m going to call Mizuno UK tomorrow to ask why no 2E in the UK.

      Thanks again for you help, I really appreciate the replies.

      • Mizuno UK helpline nigh on useless. No we don’t do 2E widths. No, don’t think there any plans. No, I can’t get get you a pair. Americans must have more of a need for them. Have you tried the internet? 🙁

        • Well, we’ll keep a look-out for any models which fit your needs. Will pop in a comment here if we find something 🙂

          • Thank You.

            Next shoe up for test has arrived; New Balance 870.

            2E fitting – check.
            Mild stability – check.
            too hard a medial post – ????

            Will see in an hour or so as going to wear in the office for a bit.

            Really, really running out of options if these are no good. 🙁

          • Good luck!

          • Luck not on my side i’m afraid, there are no good, just too firm in the wrong place and that was just sat down at my desk for an hour. Damn my flat feet.

            options that remain:

            1. Import Inspire 10/11 in 2E from the USA
            2. Find a neutral shoe in 2E with some level of support/stability (more than New Balance 1080), Brooks Ghost? Struggling after that in 2E?
            3. New Balance has mentioned a 940 not having a medial post? But pretty scarce model over in the UK.
            4. Source a wide Nike Lunarglide to test? No medial post? Scarce in UK.
            5. Orthotics? But not worth it with flat feet? They won’t cure anything?
            6. Pack in running? 🙂

          • With all the trouble you’re going through, better off importing an Inspire 2E and get back to running. Time is money 🙂

          • You are right, the other options can simmer in the background, just picked up a pair of 2E Inspire 10 for $114 via eBay with all postage and import charges included. Hopefully be here in a week. Can’t believe it has come to this though. I think I need to befriend someone in the states who can ship me these over cheaply. 🙂

          • Wise decision!

          • Inspire saying shipped, should be here within a week. Does leave me with an issue long term though as I can’t be imported overpriced 2E Inspires from the US every 300 miles. I spoke to my physio on the phone last night and he seems convinced I will be okay in a neutral shoe, or at least get me capable of running in a neutral shoe, maybe rotating with the Inpsire? So I think i’m going to book into see him and have him take a look at me again for a review. The appt will cost money, but if it means I can then buy the likes of a Nimbus, Ghost, 1080, 880, Pegasus 31 etc all of which are available in 2E then it might be worth it because as i’ve found there is no support shoe in 2E that I can get on with. In your opinion, any of the Nimbus, Ghost, 1080, 880, Pegasus 31 provide any support at all? Thanks for listening, appreciate it. Cheers, Mick.

          • Out of the lot, the Ghost seems the most supportive, and it would make sense to wait for the 8th version (May). The Nimbus 16 (not 17) could be the second alternative.

          • progress? options?

            Of the various neutral shoes that I know come in 2E widths, my local store had the Ghost 7, Nimbus 17 and 1080 v5 in stock, but just D width. But today’s trip was to see what level of support they provided me, not nescecarily the width.

            Nimbus 17 – OMG, squishy-tastic. I can only describe wearing them like running with your foot wrapped in a memory foam pillow. Could feel nothing untoward in the arch, but too much cushioning for me. Every step was squish, squish. But suprsingly, video analysis showed no overpronation roll in them.

            1080 v5 – Felt a very bland shoe to me and video showed a small amount of roll, but manager of store said nothing he’d be too concerned with. But I wasn’t particularly impressed with the shoe.

            Ghost 7 – Shoe felt to wrap my foot nicely. I could feel something against my arch, but it felt soft. I think it was just the innersole rather than a medial post that I felt in the Adrenaline, 860, 870, GT2000 etc. Video showed no overpronation either.

            So i’ve brought the D width Ghost 7 home with me. Not to run in long term, just to see if the arch annoys me around the house, i’m hoping not. The store manager is also ordering me a 2E version in, so i’m hoping come the end of the week I can give him this D width and swap for a 2E.

            I do not have the choice to wait until May for Ghost 8, I need something now and i’ve already handed cash over the counter, so pretty much compelled to buy something at this stage.

            I’m delighted i’ve got some options again moving forward though. Sounds like my Physio might have been right, maybe I can wear a neutral shoe again after all. 🙂

            Really hoping these Ghost work for me. Hopefully by next week i’ll have the 2E Inspire 10 imported from the US and these Ghost. That should see me right for the next 6-9 months.

          • Sounds like a good first impression with the G-7!

          • Yeah, I have hopes but I’ve posted some pictures over on the G-7 review thread. Not good, built by a blind man. 🙁

          • Saw that!

  • Phil

    Hi,

    Brilliantly detailed review, very interesting to read.

    I’m a overpronating heel striker, slightly above average build and quite heavy footed. I’m currently running in v1 Asics GT-3000 (I must be one of a handful on the planet given how few reviews exist and that nowhere stocks them!) which makes it hard to know how to compare my current shoes to potential replacements, given all I have to go on is my foot feel…

    Went through a fitting today with the Kayano 21’s, Mizuno wave inspire 11’s and Nike Structure 18’s. Mizuno & Nike felt stiff and hard on impact even on a treadmill. The Kayano’s I had no complaints with and felt very plush underfoot, and had that sense of ‘familiarity’ as soon as I put them on. I consider myself quite wide footed but the normal width seemed ok, although obviously it was a very short test.

    My questions are: How much wider are 2E than D sizes, as they’re much less frequently stocked? and, what are my other potential options that may not be as cushioned as the Kayano but softer than the Inspire 11’s and Structure 18’s, whilst still providing enough support for my overpronation?

    Many thanks,

    Phil

    • 1) The difference between D and 2E width is exactly 10mm. This is the difference you see when you place your foot flat on a Brannock device – the standard for shoe size measurement.

      2) You could consider the Asics GT2000 3, Saucony Guide 8, Saucony Hurricane, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14/15. As always, we recommend that you try all of these shoe for yourself and see how they feel.

      • Phil

        Went with the Kayano in the end, zero regrets.

        Did about 10.5K today and they were a dream, hopefully it stays that way!

        • Great to hear that, and thank you for sharing the feedback!

  • Shaun

    Hi,

    Once again, another great in depth review. Cheers for that.

    I do need some advice. I am recovering from a knee injury and was wondering what shoes i should get for running/training. Before, i used to be able to get away with using slightly cheaper alternatives, but since having the injury, being out for almost 8 months now, (gained a few kilos during that time..oops) I need a pair of shoes that would be able to support/cushion the extra heavy me, as well as keep the knee in tact. Ran 5k in my old nike revolutions yesterday and it didnt do any good for my knee and foot, so i was wondering if the Kayano 21 is worth the investment and would be the right shoes for the task at hand. If these kics arent the way to go, could you please advise me on other alternatives. (Nimbus, Cumulus, Brooks Adrenaline, UA ??)

    Best Regards,

    Shaun

    • We’d pick a shoe which combines cushioning with support, and the candidates would be the UnderArmour Speedform Gemini, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14, Asics Gel Nimbus 16 and Cumulus 16.

      The Kayano 21 is pretty soft (and so is the Nimbus 17) so did not recommend either.

      • Shaun

        thanks for the advice guys! Managed to pick up a pair of Adrenaline GTS 14’s at my local TK Maxx for a steal! looking forward to trying it out later today.

        • Awesome – TJ Maxx and Ross are the best! It’s amazing what you can find there for almost nothing 🙂

  • Matt

    Hi, I have a fairly flat foot and over-pronate. My main issue is I developed a bursar in my right foot between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal, which continues to give me pain anytime I wear a tight shoe or a shoe that causes me to pronate. I had an injection which helped a bit but it’s been 2-3 years now and I still have pain in my right foot. I don;t run anymore, but do a lot of walking and have been wearing the old Brooks Trance 10 with a prescribed orthotic from my podiatrist. However, I can no longer purchase this shoe and the trance have changed their design and are no longer good for my foot. I wear a Nike Lunareclipse for a casual shoe but am look ing for another walking shoe and am thinking of the Asics Gel Kayano 21…? Could you advise please on the best options and also other possible casual shoes I could wear as alternatives to the NIke Lunareclipse. Thanks so much for your help!

    • Is there a way you can get your hands on a 2E Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14? Similar to the Trance in some ways.

      The Kayano 21 is a good alternative, but you’d to buy a wide or extra wide – else there is a risk of your bursa getting aggravated. The shoe runs snug in default D width.

  • Ben

    Hi Team,
    Really love your reviews they are great! I am abt 90kg who normally does abt 7km per run 4 times weekly. Think I am one of a rare kind who ran in the asics gt3000 v2 and they felt great. When it wore out I bought the gt 3000 v3 but somehow did not feel right, as I started getting pain and aches on both of my outer shins. Bought a kayano 21 subsequently and though it was really cushioned it did not give me the stability I needed. My feet are quite wide and flat so was wondering if you have any recommendation for a shoe that can give me a really good dose of stability but also some speed as well? Many thanks in advance!

    • How about giving the Saucony Hurricane ISO a try? That’s a good one, and something like the Wave Inspire 11 also delivers on both stability and speed.

      • Ben

        Thanks so much will go check it out, cheers!

  • Elie

    HI, I have the same problem as Shaun. I have a bad left knee. I have a pair of Asics GT 1000 2 PR. I am a cancer survivor so now I”m going back to running and my left knee feels a little tight when I’m done. I ice it and it’s all good. But I need a new running shoe bigger with better foot support. I’m 6’4 and 249 pounds, used to have flat feet, after yoga and losing almost 80 pounds, I have an arch. Will the ASCIS Kayano 21 do the job or should I try your recommendations to Shaun?

    Thanks!!

    • Elie

      I was looking at the Brooks Beast 14, Any thoughts. seems like the one with most support

      • steve

        Just returned my brooks after a 5 Mile run. Wearing a pair of 21s at DSW… $149.00…ah home sweet home

    • Your comment is inspiring, thank you for sharing it here.

      The Brooks Beast 14 is the last word on stability, but you really need to go wide on the shoe – the upper is super snug. Start with a 2E width, and go upto 4E if just ‘wide’ doesn’t work for you.

      The Kayano 21 is too soft, and we felt it lacked the stability aspect.

  • Sam

    It seems that the Kayano 21 is rated at 8.5 while the Kayano 20 is rated at 8.7, does that mean its not better? Only reason I ask is because I can buy the Kayano 20’s for $100 while the Kayano 21 cost $160… should I just get the 20’s? I’m a heavy set man who is beginning to run and looking for support (first) and cushion (second).

    • Not really, our scoring system is fairly complex so the overall number is not the only parameter you should look at.

      Buy the K-20 at $100, no worries at all.

      • Sam

        Thx so much!

  • Braden

    Hi thanks for the review,
    Im 27 and just bought a pair yesterday.
    Back in 2007 I started training quite frequently for sprint events (200m). I bought a pair of Kayano 13 (after using Mizuno Wave Inspire 6) and developed shin splints quite rapidly and had to quit for 8months. I casually jogged, and in 2012 I had a pair of Kayano 17s and eventually worked up to a 50km event (very moderate pace) with no issues. Last year I started increasing my frequency and pace, training for 6months for a 3km sprint event in my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s with no problems. This year I am training for the same event, tonight i went for my first run in my Kayano 21s and my right lower calf is feeling very tight. Im not sure if its because theyre new or if I should stay safe and go back to my trusty mizunos!

    • Sprint events demand shoes with firmer midsoles, and the Kayano 21 is too soft for that. Its heel compresses quite a bit under weight loading, and that could have stressed your Achilles/lower calf.

      The Mizuno Inspire is much firmer (based on our testing experience with Inspire 11), and better suited for faster runs. If you ask us, we’d suggest you should go back to the Mizuno Inspire.

  • M.

    I’m trying to find new shoes for my Les Mills BodyAttack class. It’s running forward, back and to sides. But also a lot of jumping.
    Could you advise please that should these be good for that? Maybe Asics GT-2000 3? I’m also having a over probated feet.

    • For dynamic workout sessions, a flexible and flexible cross training shoe will perform better than most running shoes. We haven’t reviewed any so can’t offer advice on the exact model you should be buying.

      The only running shoe we can think (out of what we’ve reviewed here) would be the Brooks Pure Connect 4. You should not worry about the pronation thing, just find a shoe which is supportive enough.

  • Jennifer

    I have early signs of shin splints. Is the ask someone kayano21 suitable for me – female 135 lbs. thanks!

    • Really hard to say – Shin splints are caused by a variety of possible reasons. It’s best to seek medical opinion first, and then work your way to the choice of footwear.

  • I’m starting to run again and need some advise on the correct running shoe. I’ll be running on concrete in suburban areas and running 5 to 10 miles a week. My knees are a concerned area as well as my lower back.
    I’m 210 6 foot and pretty good shape.
    I use to run 10 miles a day back 20 years ago, and I do seem to run in a way that seems to slam my feet to the surface more than normal .

    What would you suggest for a running shoe?

    • Do you remember which shoes you had used in the past? Any names of models which had worked and which did not? Will give us some reference to work with.

  • Patrick Kabala

    I’ve gained some weight and going back to running but now experiencing some knee pain. I’ve had it looked up but no issues found so I know its from the weight gained. I currently wear Nike Dual Fusion ST3 and my last trip to a running shoes store, they suggested this shoes for my feet/type of feet but im still looking around comparing shoes and kinda want the THE best if not top 10 shoe that will be easy on my knees for casual running and walking. I like the light weight on my ST3 but my main concern is really cushioning so i can enjoy my run without it causing me pain. I’m willing to spend but confused with all the terns used on running shoes.

    Would you Recommend Kayano 21 or is it something else Better than this ?
    Also I’ve see some commercials for On cloud running shoes. Are those Just a gimmick ?

    • If you need the softest of the soft, then the shoe to buy is the Asics Gel Nimbus 17.

      No idea about the On Cloudracers, haven’t had a chance to test them.

  • President

    I have plantar faciitis and I hardly run. I need something for my daily work shoes and for weekend walking. I’m 72kg, 5ft 10in. I tried Gel Kayano 21 but they are overpriced and I currently can’t afford them.

    • How about the Nike Pegasus 31? Great for work and walk. They should be available for lesser than its retail price.

  • Anthony Skrip

    Hello, I have Saucony Jazz 16 with 900 kmh of running on them. And i think its time to change shoes because they are began to wear. And i am thinking to buy either a pair of assics Gel Nimbus 17 or Something else. My problem is i want to run long distances but i had a surgey on my knee so they hurt after a lot of kmh’s what to do suggest me ?

    • If you had a Jazz 16, why not go for a model such as the Saucony Ride 7? The Nimbus 17 is a good shoe, but way softer than what you’re wearing.

      • Anthony Skrip

        Yes, that’s why i looked for nimbus cause its softer for road running as soon as my knee hurts after 17kmh. Do you think it will help me or not?

        • Really hard to say, sorry. Knee soreness happens due to a variety of reasons, and not necessarily due to footwear alone.

          • Anthony Skrip

            I had Knee arthroscopy surgery of Torn ACL 2 years ago. And that’s why i have some pains in my knee. But you say it would not help a lot? I will just waiste my money ? :/

          • In that case, better to check with your doctor and see what he/she prescribes for footwear type – like the kind of things you should be looking for when buying one.

            Once we have that information, some options can be suggested. Our advice here is of a general nature, and is not a substitute for professional medical opinion.

          • Anthony Skrip

            Ok thanks for the Replies! 😀

    • berk

      Please search ilobitial band syndrom for long runners.

  • Hiram Bhagas

    Did asics gel-kayano trainer use the same sole as this gel kayano 21?

    • The retro release Kayano Trainer? No, this is different.

      • Hiram Bhagas

        Not the retro release but the new release gel kayano trainer, but in retro style. Its more like a sneaker for style and walk right now. Im just curious if you knew or already have the new gel kayano trainer cushioning feels like. Thnx

        • Yes, we meant the retro Kayano Trainer. We only review performance footwear so no idea how those feel, sorry.

          • Hiram Bhagas

            All right no problem. Thanx anyway

  • JBloggs

    If anyone is curious about the Kayano 22, Running Warehouse have a video of them on their youtube channel already- due out next Sept.

  • shane

    Great reviews on all shoes thanks. One question, the last 6 pair of kayano,s have all worn out on the inside well before they should. Around the 250km mark.I have given up on them, but they are the best shoes i have worn.What do you think is the best direct replacement.
    regards Shane

    • Sorry Shane, but which edition of Kayano’s are those?

      • Shane Workman

        The kayano 20&21, will get the 22,s in the hope that the lining has been improved. Have had 1080 NB that have never shown any lining wear, but the kayano,s look after my feet and legs the best.Perhaps i should just keep paying and buy new ones every 250-300 km.
        Thanks again.
        regards Shane

        • Sounds like a good idea to stick to what’s tried and tested. We’ll review the Kayano 22 later this fall, so you can check back and see what has changed!

  • Clinton

    Hi there, i have to say im really impressed with the attention to detail and insights in your reviews, great work.

    Im 40yo male, 1.7m, 71kg and neutral to mild under pronator.
    Ive always worn Kyanos without having any issues. However recently i upgraded to the 21s and after about 2-3 weeks in them (approx 20kms per week) i began to experience right ankle pain. I went to the physio and was diagnosed with a anterior ankle impingement.

    I’m certain it was the new Kyano 21s that caused the issue and apart form a possible fault with the actual shoe i wonder if it was down to the fact that they are set up for a typical over-pronator … could that be the case in your opinion?

    Anyway i’m not going back to them! and i wanted your advice on what shoe might fit me best.
    From the little research i’ve done it sounds like the Nimbus 17 would be a good set-up for me but then i read you review and im concerned about the lack of pace!

    I typically run 5-10kms at a time somewhere between 4:40 – 5:00 min/km splits – would the Nimbus be unsuitable ? and if yes what else do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance

    • Thank you for the comment, Clinton.

      We assume that you are a heel striker, and your AAI was caused by excessive dorsiflexion, which could be because of the soft heel sink of the Kayano 21. If this was the case (your physio must have the details), it is better to go for something firmer with a higher heel to toe drop.

      Like the Under Armour Speedform Gemini, adidas Supernova Glide 7 Boost, or the Asics Cumulus 16.

      Of course, if impingement was caused by plantar flexion, then disregard the note above 🙂

      • Clinton

        Thank you for the prompt reply! And yes i’m a heel striker so thanks for the advice, ill check out those options and ill ask my physio for a bit more detail (admittedly he didn’t describe the mechanics of my injury, just the outcome and how to ameliorate it)

        Just as an aside and I’m going to sound a little fixated on the Nimbus 17 here (it could well be something as superficial as really liking the new look :))
        But would they be a BAD choice for me given my characteristics described above? and the typical pace that i run at?

        Thanks in advance

        • The reason why we did not recommend the Nimbus 17 is because it too has a soft heel sink, and might produce similar symptoms. But check with your physio first, he/she might have more insights on the ankle stress factors.

          • Clinton

            thanks again!
            you have been a great help

  • Karen

    Hi, your post was very informative, thanks. I am a 43 yo woman, getting back into running after a couple year lapse. The last time I was running I was wearing the Asics Gel Kayano 17, do you recommend I continue with the Gel Kayano 20 or 21 or are they very different than the 17 was? The 17 was extremely comfortable. If you don’t recommend the Gel Kayano’s can you recommend a sneaker that is similar to the kayano 17? Thanks!

    • The Kayano 21’s are much softer than the 17, so not sure what you’ll make of that difference.

      Would suggest another Asics model such as the GT-2000 3; a little firmer than the 21, and hence closer to the 17. The downside is that the upper isn’t as plush.

      Give both (Kayano 21 and GT 2000 3) a try at your store and see which fits and feels to your liking.

  • Lynn

    I am not a runner but want some athletic shoes I can tolerate. Somewhat flat-footed, any I have tried make the balls of my feet burn badly after a few minutes. I was advised to try an Asics shoe but have no idea which one.

    • You could try the Nimbus 17. Has there been any shoe in the past which you’ve liked, and has not caused the discomfort you describe?

  • joyce

    I bought these paid $249 aus. Amazing shoes super soft cushioning.

  • PeterU

    Thanks for the excellent review!

    I am 65 with a fair amount of mileage and some usually sore
    knees. My best days are definitely behind me, but I still like running and walking on the treadmill. My doctor usually tells me I’m muscular which
    is pretty much true but you do have to ignore some excess blubber on my 95-98
    kg body. I’ve had several pairs of Gel Kayano 18’s and 19’s (which I like a lot,
    but my last pair is wearing out) and one pair of Gel Kayano 20’s which I didn’t
    like as much because I thought they were on the squishy side and didn’t feel as
    stable. In the past, I also had one pair
    of Mizunos (white with blue soles) which were definitely hard like rocks and
    their reign coincided with the onset of knee pain. Otherwise I’ve had either
    Gel Foundations or Gel Kayanos for a long time. I did try on the Gel Kayano
    21’s, but it wasn’t love at first sight. Any recommendations? Thanks.

    • Ever considered stepping down to a GT 2000-3? It is the firmer version of the Kayano, and while the upper isn’t as plush, it is an alternative worth giving some thought to.

      Within other brands, the adidas Supernova Sequence 7 Boost, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 are models you could try.

  • Thank you for the kind words, Bharat. We do the best we can.

    Don’t worry about the whole pronation thing, the Kayano 21 should suit a wide range of runners. Only that it is very soft, and might not feel right for going fast. Among other options, the Cumulus 16 is worth a fit try too.

  • hawkeye_82

    Hello!

    I’ve never been to your site before but ended up here looking for info about the Kayano 21 and WOW what a in depth review. I’ll definitely stay here to read up on new shoes!

    Anyways, I currently own a pair of Kayano 16. I know I should be ashamed of how old they are but I haven’t run as much as I was planning so they been holding up quite well until now. The reason I bought the Kayano to begin with was because I had problems with my knees on account of my flat foots. I flat like a duck’s foot. I have a size 7 kayano 16 and they fit pretty tight but you mentioned in your review that the 21 where snug so do I need to find a WIDE FIT pair or just up the size? Also will these feel much softer to run in than my 16?

    Thanks!

    • Thank you for the comment! We haven’t reviewed the Kayano 16, so don’t have any insights on how that shoe compares with the 21. That said, we did review the Kayano 17, and if our memory serves us right, the Kayano 21 is slightly narrower, but much softer than the 17.

      If you are used to the Asics fit (especially when using the aftermarket orthoses) makes sense to stick to that brand. If you find the 21 too soft, you could either look for the Kayano 20 (should be available on massive markdown) or the GT 2000 3. Do you need to upsize on width from a 16? We don’t know, but we suggest you try out the standard Kayano 21 and then take a call.

  • Arjun Patel

    Hello!

    Thank you for your reviews! you guys do such a fantastic job, i’ve quit reading runnersworld and runningshoesguru for you guys!

    I used to wear the kayano 17’s for a long time. I bought 5 backup pairs of the kayano 17’s. Now, since i’ve run out of pairs, I’m looking for a good shoe similar to the kayano 17.

    Some background about me: I am flat footed, I weight 210 pounds and am around 5 foot 6 inches tall. I have a torn ACL & Meniscus surgery on my right knee. I also experience shin splints depending on the shoe I wear. I have never experienced shin splints with the kayano 17/16. I would also say that I am a moderate over pronator.

    I have tried the following shoes but ruled them out because they were too stiff, gave me shin splints or experienced knee swelling or pain: Brooks GTS 14, NB 1260 v4, Nike Structure 18’s.

    I have ruled the following shoes out because they were too soft, cushiony or had very little structure: All the kayano’s since the 18th version, GT 2000’s, Hurricane 17’s.

    After reading this article, I am considering the GT 1000 v3. Would you have any other shoes in mind that matches the kayano 17’s or has a good mix of stability and cushioning?

    Thank you very much for you help in advance!

    • Thank you for the comment and kind words, Arjun!

      Your insights paint a pretty good picture of what type of shoe might suit you, this helps us respond better. The Kayano 18 changed drastically by Asics standards vs the 17, and we believe in your case, two things made more difference than the rest.

      One being the inclusion of a ‘Fluidfit’ midsole layer which was not the case on the Kayano 16 and 17. On the latter, the foot was resting directly on the firmer medial post/lateral visible Gel instead of another softer layer (Kayano 18 onwards) insulating it.

      The second change was the reduced size of the visible Gel area on Kayano 18 onwards, which meant that the lean on that side of the shoe decreased. Based on your comment, the combination of additional firmness under the arch side, and the lateral bias coming from the Gel side could have worked for you.

      Since you’ve crossed out most of the motion control/structured shoes, we can only think of two shoes – the Saucony Guide 8 and the New Balance 860 V5.

      The Guide 8 because the harder medial post lies closer to the foot, and there is another insert of Powergrid foam for cushioning. There is also some amount of lateral bias too.

      The New Balance 860V5 has a very prominent lateral (outer midsole) side lean with a medial post and cushioned midsole, so there is merit in giving that shoe a try too. You can the GT 1000 3, but we don’t see that shoe scoring over the 860 and Guide.

      Our gut feel says that upper fit willing, the Guide 8 is the best option right now.

      • Arjun Patel

        I’m back! Sorry for the incredibly late reply. I took my time to test out the gt 1000’s, NB 860v5, Guide 8, wave inspire 11, and even the new 1260v5.

        Let me start of by saying that your insight with the Kayano 17’s having a lateral bias was super helpful to me. Infact, I went back to my kayano 17’s and saw that much of the laterial side of the outsole was more worn out than the medial side. I also decided that since I the medial side was not as worn out as the lateral side, I could afford to go with a shoe that offers milder stability.

        Also, how do you test if a shoe has a lateral bias? just by compressing the lateral side of the shoe and seeing how much it compresses?

        After trying all the shoes, NB 860v5 felt the best fit. It was super cushioned. I liked the hard internal heel counter and the medial post. The only thing I would have liked in the 860’s is to have the exact same T-Beam shank that the 1260v4 has, to give it more torsional stability. The upper fit of the shoe leaves much to be desired for, but I’m really happy with the shoe.

        Because I land on the outside of my heel, and then pronate inwards – (something the kayano 17’s might have shaped me for) I do feel the medial post disturbing. I would have liked the medial post to begin slighly later in the gait stage, but nothing that bothers me too much. Plus, it seems like, most shoes these days, have the medial post starting very early on in the gait stage – which is a little odd for me.

        I will miss wearing asics, because they do evolution of shoes pretty well. If you like one model of an asics pair, chances are that it will stay the same for a long time. But I’m done with asics, their soft “dynamic” medial post and external heel counter just frustrates me a lot.

        I was not able to buy the 860’s of zappo’s, but if you ever open an online store, or a physical store in north jersey, let me know!

        Thank you very much guys!

        • Hello Arjun,

          A lot of detailed insights about your purchase process – thank you for sharing.

          Lateral bias is something which comes up during wear testing sessions. This is usually difficult to find out before running in the shoes, though you can guess the outcome with experience.

          And thank you for your offer to buy from us (if we ever opened a store). Not sure if we’ll ever do that, but the kind words are appreciated.

  • Mike

    Hey there!
    Amazing site- I find your reviews absolutely amazing- keep up the good work 🙂
    I find myself somewhat torn, however and could use some advice. I’m a relative amateur- I only started running at the beginning of 2015, but I am planning on completing my first half marathon in the next couple of months and my first marathon in early-mid 2016.
    Anyway I’ve noticed that, after a certain distance, my shins start to hurt and will hurt for the next couple of days. This limits the distance I can run each week. I think the main brunt of my (rather heavy) footstrike is mid-sole to heel- which puts a lot of stress on my shins and knees. For the past six months, I’ve been using Brooks Ghost 7’s, which were recommended for me after having a gait analysis done in a running shop. I’m finding that these really don’t provide the cushioning I require.
    So, I’m looking into the more cushioning-heavy styles of shoe. Having read both reviews, I’ve narrowed it down to the Adidas Ultra Boost (though I have heard these aren’t so good for people with wider feet), the Asics Gel Kayano 21 and the Haka One One Clifton.
    Could you provide me with any tips for making my decision?

    • Thank you for the comment. If your shins are sore, then it is far more likely that a conditioning/strengthening regime will help – rather than just the shoes.

      If you prefer the sensation of more cushioning, then we’d recommend the Nike Vomero 10, the adidas Energy Boost and the Hoka Clifton 1 or 2. Since all these are quite different from each other, give them a fitting session and see how they feel.

      If possible, try and run on the treadmill at the store briefly, since walking around and running in these shoes end up being two different things.

  • Steve

    wow !! just seen video from holabird sports with the kayano 22 !!!!!!!!!…that was quick after the 21…was the 21 not a hit,seem to have good reviews…love to try a pair….expensive though

  • freddie Meir

    I love the kayano21they are great

  • Sarah McGrath

    This is my first experience on this site, and I am thrilled to have found it. You do thorough reviews, and I am impressed at how quickly you respond to people here.

    I am a bit perplexed as to what shoe to purchase next, or rather if I should go ahead with the Kayano 21.

    I am a 43 year old female, and I only run short distances because I have extra bone growing in my ankle area and these spurs cause me pain if I try to increase my mileage. For the last 6 months I have been in a pair of Kayano 19s, which I didn’t love as much as my old pair. This morning I went and found the old pair and discovered that they were 20s.

    I wear an orthotic in my shoes that lifts my heel just enough to create a little more space between the bone spurs and soft tissue. Any thoughts as to whether I’ll be just as happy in the Kayano 21 running shoes as I was in the Kayano 20?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  • Steve

    Hi ya guys,
    just wondering how the Kayano 21 compares to the Nike Vomero 10 (which i love and helping my knees) in cushioning,stability,fit,ride,comfort. they look a heavier shoe but is the heel to toe different. thanks in advance guys

    • The Kayano 21 is softer than the Vomero 10 in the heel and tighter in the forefoot than Lunarglide 6. You already have the Vomero 10 and LG6, so see no value in heaping on the K-21 unless you like the fit and feel of Asics.

  • Jey

    Hi guys,

    I’m currently running in the Kayano 21 and looking to purchase a secondary (less expensive preferably) pair of runners. I love the Kayano except for one issue – towards the end of fast runs (around 3km) I end up with pressure pain along the bottom outside of my feet which I suspect has something to do with correction for my overpronation. Do you have any recommendations of shoes to look at? Was eyeing off Asics GT-1000 2. Thanks!

    • Really hard to say what exactly is causing your pain – so we’ll have to pass with respect to recommending a shoe. The safe way to approach this is to base your next purchase on a shoe which worked for you in the past, and seek something similar.

  • Vishesh

    Hey

    I am a size 10, have a more or less flat foot(with very little arch) and my foot is quite wide. I tried a few Nike shoes, but they seem tight. Few Reebok shoes work for me though, don’t remember the names. Could you suggest me some shoes from Reebok/Asics/Skechers/Umbro or any other brand which would suit my foot. Thanks. 🙂

    • Vishesh

      Also, how about the Nike Lunarglide 6? Would that suit a wide foot for long distance running?

      • Please see our comment above, thanks.

    • It would help to know which Nike models you have tried. ‘Tight’ has a subjective context depending on each person, so helps to know the models as a reference.

  • scout14j

    Hey,
    I have a question I hope you cen help with. I recently started running again. I have begun having issues with Achilles tendonitis, where the pain is just above the heel. I used to always run in Asics, but the last two shoes I used were Nikes and Brooks. Do you think the 21’s could help with this issue?

    • When it comes to Achilles soreness, can’t say for certain as they are a number of factors which influence it, not only shoes.

      What were the previous shoe models (names, version) with which you had no Achilles issues? Would be better to switch back to those, or find something similar based off those.

  • Simon

    Hi. Like many others on this thread I’ve found your review of the Kayano 21 awesome. My feet pronate badly and I use custom fit orthotics that adjust my feet significantly. I’ve had a tibial posterior ligament injury for some years now that just won’t go away. I’ve been running in Kayano 18s which I’ve found don’t make my post tib injury hurt. I’ve recently bought a pair of 21s as the 18s are getting on a bit (I’m 6’5″, and around 95kgs) and do quite high mileage (45kms per week, and I’ve run half a dozen marathons, and a number of half marathons). My question, to which I’ve not ever been able to get a simple answer, is what shoes should I be using so as to accommodate the orthotics without over-correcting my pronation? The 18s seem to be flat enough that when I use the orthotics my feet aren’t over-corrected (which I’m sure was the problem with Brooks Beasts when I used these). Can you help? The other problem I have as far as options goes is that I use a US size 16, and although I’ve tried many different widths I need to use a 4E fitting. All the best.

    • Hello Simon,

      We’re afraid a simple answer will still elude you, as generalization is not possible. Everyone reacts differently to footwear, and possibly more so during the recuperation process.

      The best workaround under these circumstances is to stick to a shoe which feels similar to the one in which you ran injury free. ( In your case, the Kayano 18). However, though the Kayano 21 rides much softer than the 18, you haven’t mentioned whether or not the K-21 is allowing you to run injury free.

      If the Kayano 21 is working fine without issues, don’t see any reason to change them, regardless of the fact that they are different vs a K-18.

  • Nichole Hegg

    Hi. You’re reviews are very helpful. I need some help finding a new shoe. I am currently in Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15s
    and am having hip pain and quad pain at about 3 miles. I am trying to increase
    my mileage. I am currently running about 12-15 miles a week. Last fall I tried
    the ASICs GEL-Nimbus 15 and had knee and hip pain, I was about to 6 miles at a
    time but was just running through the pain. I do have fairly flat feet and have
    moderate pronation. I was wondering if you thought the Kayano 21’s would help
    me. I originally started with the Brooks Ravenna 3, and didn’t have any pain,
    but I didn’t try to go over 3.2 miles and was probably only running about 8
    miles a week.

    • Hello Nicole,

      We would suggest that you talk to a physiotherapist/equivalent medical professional who can assess the reasons for your soreness. Shoes as such are usually a small part of the equation, and it is likely that you need to incorporate physical conditioning/strengthening into your routine.

  • ksusan16

    Hello, I had to stop running about a year ago because of plantar faciitis and Achilles Tendonitis. I have been wearing the Asics Gel Cumulus as an everyday shoe and my podiatrist said it isn’t “rigid” enough. I like the Gel Kayano 21’s and I’m wondering if they would be a good fit for me. I probably won’t be running for quite awhile, but I am a teacher and am on my feet most of the day. I usually wear a 9.5 in Asics, but I felt like they were a little small when I tried them on. I have worn the GT 2000 series before and liked them. Any advice?

    • Hello Susan,

      If you need something ‘rigid’, then in relative terms the GT-2000 is more so than the much softer Kayano 21.

      • ksusan16

        Thanks for the reply! I will look into the GT-2000’s.

  • Victoria

    Hi, I run in marathons. I have plantar fasciitis on my right foot for quite sometime. I have neutral feet and was thinking of the Asics Gel Nimbus 17. I am a slow runner but hoping to increase my speed with shoe that will hlp wi the PF.

    • Hi, what did your physio/podiatrist recommend?

  • Rochelle Anderson

    Hi! I just upgraded from the Gel Keyano 20 to the 21. I am currently running 18-24 miles a week and training for a 1/2 marathon 9 weeks out. I tend to run into inner knee pain as I get past the 10 mile mark…I couldn’t wait for my new shoes to arrive, but I have tried my 21’s out on two 4 mile runs, and while for the most part they seem run-able, my feet fell asleep and my legs seem sore, which usually I wouldn’t have from after shorter runs. I am unsure if I would be able to make it past 4 miles with these shoes as they are, my current long runs rang from 6-9 miles. Should I return for a different shoe? Do they just need more ‘break in’ time? I have always had keyano’s and seem to do the best for me, this is the first time i have had an issues with new versions. I have tried a Gel Cumulus once, but they felt flat and heavy and I ended up using them for a work shoe and went right back to the keyano. I am slightly flat footed, neutral pronation but land a little early with my knee bent in my stride. I have had a physical therapist recommend arch supports once I increased my mileage if my knee started bothering me. If you do recommend a shoe change, what would you recommend?

    • We’d wait it out for a few more runs. The first runs (2 x 4 miles in your case) just allows the body to respond to new footwear, much like a new set of exercises might do.

      Our advice would be to put a couples of long runs on it, and then take couple of rest days. It should be a cause for concern only if the sensation returns after the rest period.

    • shane workman

      Have had same problem.Best shoes once broken in.

    • Amber

      I have experienced this before in another model of Asics. They added an inner lining as described above which makes the shoe fit more snug. Can cause your feet to tingle and be sore. I just got my 21’s after running hundreds of miles in my 20’s and I will be returning them because now they are too snug. Disappointing. I love Asics.

  • Somtoya Arinze

    Hello, I really appreciate the in-depth review of running shoes that you provide! I’m in the market for some new running shoes. I’m a mid-long distance runner (about 6-11 miles on a daily average) and I have narrow flat feet with a mild/moderate overpronation. I went to Road Runner Sports recently to get a foot analysis and they recommended that I get a stability shoe with good amount of cushioning. I tried on the ASiCS GT 2000 3 and I love the overall fit of the shoe. It was well cushioned and it was like walking on clouds. I want a very stable, durable, and well-cushioned (but not too cushioned) shoe. I didn’t want to make my final decision then, so I looked online for similar shoes. I came across the ASICS Kayano 20 & 21, and I hear good things about all of them. What I’m looking for is a shoe with a really good arch support because that is where I get the most pain after running and lately my shins and calves are beginning to hurt with my Nike Flyknit 2013 running shoes (I bought them initially because of the design and didn’t think about the support and stability aspect) because I’m putting extra mileage in them lately. They are really comfortable and soft but it’s time for a new sturdier pair. Based on my running profile, which shoes do you recommend?

    • Hello Somtoya,

      Would be a good idea to stick to the GT 2000 3 if you found the fit pleasing and have a favorable impression of the ride underneath – even if it is based on a in-store wearing.

      The Kayano 21 is much softer than the GT, so buy it only if you find the GT lacking in that regard.

      As far as the arch soreness is concerned, it would help if you incorporate conditioning/strengthening exercises for plantar/shin/soleus-calves, if you aren’t already doing so.

  • Manuel Laurent

    Hi!
    I own a pair of GT-3000 3 which I have ran 2 month with. They feel great and give me the support I need. I have just bought a pair of Kayano 21. I run 3 to 4 times a week with a total average of 20 to 25 miles. Can I alternate between the 2 pair of shoes? What is your advice?
    Thanks

    • Sure, no problems alternating. In fact, that works for us reviewers very well, and conditions our foot better.

      • Manuel Laurent

        Thanks. I read the article on how you test shoes. And how many miles would you say a GT-3000 3 and a Kayano 21 keep their optimal cushioning?

        • 300 is the bare minimum, from what we’ve seen.

  • Dawn Dubois

    Hi, I over pronate and I have a pair of these and I am finding that running with these makes the inside of my ankle sore, I feel like i am sliding off the outside of the shoe. Previously I ran in a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 11s which don’t cause me this problem, except they would cause shin pain, which is why I bought the Kayanos. I bought a pair of Nike Structure 18s to see if this would help and within 3 minutes of running on the treadmill they feel worse than the Kayonas – please help…

    • It is likely that the ’soft on the outer side, hard on the inner midsole’ design of the Kayano and Structure are causing the issue you describe. Try something more balanced, like the Nike LunarGlide 6, Saucony Guide 8, adidas Sequence 7/8 or Glide 7 Boost or even the Saucony Ride 8.

  • Noor

    hi there! I love your detailed review! it’s amazing and helped me a lot to better understand what to look for when choosing a shoe.

    I am torn between the Nike Lunarglide 7, Nike Lunar Eclipse 5 and Asics Kayano 21.

    I power walking and some running (10km a week). which isnt much because i have an injured leg (peroneal tendonitis + multiple surgeries on leg), and therefor looking for something thats stable and comfortable for long wear. Any suggestions?

    kind regards

    Noor

    • Hello Noor,

      We’d narrow down your choices to either the Lunarglide 6, or the Kayano 21. The LG6 is more supportive, while the Kayano is more cushioned. If softer cushioning is more important for you while walking, then the Kayano is a good fit.

      • Noor

        Thank you for your reply. I was at the asics store and found out theres a Kayano 22! they’re both the same price and I was wondering which would you recommend over the two?

        Also LG6 has better support than LG7 and overall more supportive than Lunar Eclipse 5+?

        • Hello Noor,

          We haven’t tested the Kayano 22 yet so have no idea how these two compare.

          The LG6 and LG7 are same from a midsole support perspective, and the LE5 has more cushioning and lateral bias due to its soft/hard midsole – read our LG6 vs LE4 (same midsole as LE5) comparison. Hence the LG6 feels more supportive vs. the LE5.

          • noor

            ah thank you <3

  • Steve

    hi ya guys, if the Nimbus 17 is the winner of the most cushioned shoe, how far behind is the kayano 21,also do they ride the same of a neutral shoe…i love riding on clouds !! many thanks guys in advance

    • Kayano is slightly firmer than the Nimbus, no idea about the K-22.

  • Nelesh Gupta

    Hi,
    I have been training for a 1/2 marathon for more than 4 weeks now, I have been using Nike Free Run 5.0 for the last one year or so, around 10-12 miles per week average, post the 10Km mark I have started experiencing soreness in my left ball of foot, therefore thinking of buying new shoes.

    Should I stick to something like minimalistic shoe or would buying a cushioning shoe would be a better choice ? I am a neutral runner.

    • Hello Nilesh,

      Are you looking for a shoe with more forefoot cushioning? The Nike LunarTempo or Lunaracer 3 are good alternatives, cushioned but extremely lightweight at the same time.

      The Kayano 21 is way too cushioned, and you might find the transition from a Free harder.

  • Hello Christos, thank you for the comment, and sorry for the delayed reply!

    Though it is hard to say what exactly might be causing the blisters, we want to know – how much room/space do you have left over in front of your toes? Too tight will have the heel rubbing over inside, and too much space could potentially lead to irritation as the foot slides around. Does the shoe fit well overall? We ask because shoes such as Vans skate shoes and Nike Dunks are built differently from running shoes, and require a slight adjustment of sizing.

    If you think the insole or inner lining is to blame, which exact part is coming in contact with the affected foot area? Do you think you can post a picture in your reply to this comment?

    Unfortunately since running shoes behave so differently based on the individual runner, it often ends up being a process of trial and error to get the right sizing/ride.

  • Out of the lot, the Nike Pegasus seems most likely to suit your needs.

  • Sameer

    Hi. I am using Kayano 21 for last 9 months. Would have done around 400km. I run normally between 5 to 10 kms. Recently I am experiencing posterior shin spilts on left foot around ankle. Which shoe you suggest? Or is it because my Kayano has lost its firmness and sole.

    • Not sure Sameer, a physiotherapist or equivalent should be able to help in your situation.

      • Twingirl

        I never see my problem addressed on most shoe sites, but i have what is called LOW VOLUME feet. Very low instep, falling arches, and narrow. What would be a good Asics model for me?

        • Except for the Kayano 21, which fits relatively narrower, can’t think of any other Asics shoe.

  • Juan Antonio Moreno

    Hi, I got yesterday my 3rd pair of Kayano 21, and I am delighted with the shoe. Is a bit heavy but offer for me a perfect mix between motion control and soft cushioning. Is there any other shoe similar to this one even softer, preferably from Nike? Does anyone anyway need anything softer? Thanks. Juan (63263 Neu-Isenburg, Germany)

    • Hello Juan,

      The newest Nike Zoom Odyssey and Kayano 22 are worth looking into. One does not necessarily need a soft shoe, but it ends up being a matter of personal choice. There are no benefits of a soft shoe over a firmer ride except for the comfort aspect.

  • Pamela Morgan

    Hi, I’m just starting my training for the London marathon next april. I have been running short distances for approx. 2 years with saucony mirage 3’s and now 5’s (and occasionally mixed up with nimbus 14 for slower cushy runs). These work great for me for distances of 6/7km but my form deteriorates badly toward the end due to overpronation and I get discomfort in my calves and metatarsals (I suspect from less cushioning).I do feel like to increase my distance I need some extra medial support and cushioning. I went to a specialist running shop where I was recommended brooks GTS15. I have only been using these a week so its still early days but my calves feel like bullets (this could be chance in heel drop but similar to nimbus so not convinced) and although the shoe feels a good fit, possibly a touch snug in mid to fore foot, I’m really struggling with my heel slipping around and my socks slipping down! If I lacelock, it helps the slippage but then I’m getting foot numbness (this is a long standing issue that never totally goes away but is aggravated by tight shoes or tight lacing). I will try and persevere but I was wondering how the kayano 21 and guide 8 might compare? or if there are any other similar models you recommend. Thanks, this site is amazing!

    • Hello Pamela, not quite sure if the following recommendations will help with your muscular discomfort, but these do well on heel grip+cushioning: The Kayano 21, New Balance 1260 V4 and the Nike Lunarglide 6/7.

      • Pamela Morgan

        how do the lunarglide compare to kayano in terms of cushioning, weight and support? the brooks GTS15 feels heavy on my feet compared to my mirage, are these the same weight? am I being unrealistic to want the weight and comfort of the mirage but with more support? thanks

        • The Lunarglide is 16% lighter than the GTS 15, and more cushioned. The GTS 15 feels more supportive than the Lunarglide, but if you’re seeking lightweight, cushioned and supportive, we’d go the Lunarglide 6 way.

          The Lunarglide 7 has a wider fitting upper, so that is another option you can try.

        • Bing Liu

          I had bad experience with Nike Lunarglide 7. It is so spongy which is perfect for walking and short distance running. But they hurt my knee.

  • Rachel

    Hi
    Thanks for your detailed reviews and well written comments.
    I’m new, I’m 56, and I’m a tough fit in any shoe.
    My shoes are women’s US 4 dance shoes, 4.5 for sandals because of low toe volume (slide out the end), and 5 and up for shoes and boots because I add orthotics and socks, since I can’t find my size.
    After running about 10 days off and on in my new kids UA 3.3 fit-like -a-glove sneaks, my knees got sore. Stiff and old, but hardly used NB didn’t help.
    Off I went to shop, which is a damn site harder that putting the asphault behind me.

    To sum up, after opinions from eight sales people (many specialized and some well respected and recommended by Trainers and PT’s) most conclude I’m an mild over-pronator with normal arches (one said high, and I think I agree) best fit in an Asics Kayano 21 or 22 size 6.
    One (20 years sales and experienced runner) recommends Nimbus 17 size 6.
    I tried 5, 5.5, 6 Brooks Ghost, Saucony’s, Nike Structure 17, 5.5…it’s all a blur. Most felt too stiff or too thin and unsupportive, I’ll-fitting, and lacking in arch support. Many were available to try on in 6 only.
    The Kayano 21 felt better than 22, I think. But both feel a little clunky large in the 6. The 5.5 doesn’t work because my toe edge touches the top front and the arch feels wrong. The 6 arch hits very supportively, but heel slips unless I use extra eyelet, and toe box has extra height space. Overall I think I’d prefer to be more fleet on my feet with streamlined shoe.
    Questions:
    Even if one can eyeball a walker, and conclude when running they over-pronate, are they best served by a stability shoe, or is it all guff, and should you just wear what feels good? (I read a couple studies saying the shoe categories and fit assessments don’t work and may harm, at least for women, and one said new women runners all do fine in a neutral shoe.)

    -Should a dreamy, glove-like feeling shoe, ie the Nimbus 17, be the criteria? They aren’t bedroom slippers-I need support too, but boy did they feel nice. I was almost going to go against the tide, and then I read your eviseration of the Nimbus, which kind of confirmed my concerns.
    -Does more cushion translate to less joint impact when running, like cars that crumple?
    -Are kids versions-or at least some brands-small adult shoes, or inappropriate because I weigh 108 lbs.? If some would work, which brands?
    -Am I poorly served because of size, and should I hold out until I can try other shoes like the Hoka, Minzuns, Addidas, more Nike’s? (If I leave this post to get the names right and specific models, I’ll lose it again!)
    -Do you recommend I try other specific models?
    -Should I just go swimming and dancing and do some yoga, and forget the whole business?
    Thanks for slogging through this, and I eagerly await your opinions.

    • Quite a footwear predicament, Rachel.

      In order of your questions:

      1) The whole thing about matching arch type with shoe category is flawed. We can get into our reasoning behind it, but that will be beyond the scope of this comment. You should get what feels and rides best, which keeps you going injury free.

      And how do you find such a shoe? That is usually a result of trial and error, after going through a few pairs and eliminating the undesirables with the each purchase. If one is very fit/conditioned, then most $80+ shoes will be fine to run in.

      The reason why we have pronation control shoes today is because of early biomechanical studies conducted in the 1970’s which brands might have over-interpreted and over-simplified to create a whole new category.

      2) No, a super soft shoe such as the Nimbus 17 might not necessarily be a good one. One needs a good blend of cushioning, support and optimum upper fit.

      A cushioned shoe definitely helps potentially protect the undersole (heel and forefoot bones) from stress fractures. Joints? Not so sure. Because soft tissues have damping properties of their own, and the extent of load on the knee joint depends on how developed (or the lack thereof) its support system is.

      Things like quadriceps, hamstrings, hips and lower muscle groups. Cadence (number of steps) and overall running form can also affect the loading. So the short answer is; cushioning protects the undersole, but not necessarily the joints.

      3) Not sure about how kids footwear fits, so can’t help here.

      4) It is worth trying other models. This will help you form an informed perspective on what’s available out there.

      5) Not sure whether any of these would work, but you could give these shoes a shot – the New Balance 1260, the Vomero (heel is a bit loose) and the Brooks Transcend. Three very different shoes, and you might end up liking none of these. But at least, it’ll give you a broader sense of options.

      Orthotics can drastically alter the fit and ride, so that’s something to fall back on. And if the Kayano 21 feels right (mostly), then no harm in getting that one. Avoid the 22, because the toe-box has become shallower and pointy compared to last year.

      6) Give this process some more time. And when you start running, not a bad idea to hit the gym and work on supporting (in relation to the knee joints) muscle groups.

  • Dave

    A few times you have said to not worry about the pronation tag on these shoes. I have a neutral foot and all advice from sales people is to not use these shoes. However they do feel good. Can provide more details on why you think these shoes are fine for neutral feet?

    • Dave

      Specifically, I’m referring to this quote from the article, “This harder density foam is usually placed by brands to control inward foot roll (pronation), but don’t let the ‘pronation control’ tag put you off. The Kayano 21 should work for majority of runners who just want a well cushioned shoe with premium looking (and feeling) materials.” I’ve seen a lot of discussion online talking about how over-pronators can often do fine with neutral shoes. My question is the other way around. I’ve seen a lot of comments where folks have argued that using motion control shoes can cause problems for neutral feet. But here you seem to be saying that this shoe should be fine for most neutral feet. I that because the motion control part is minimal, or am I missing something else.

      • The entire concept of ‘pronation control’ shoes is in question, and we’ll explain why. But first, we have to understand where (and why) these type of shoes came from in the first place.

        Its origins lies in early biomechanical research done in the late seventies and early eighties. Few of the studies (Clement DB ’84, Cavanaugh ’81) suggested that overpronation caused injuries. Benno M Nigg dedicated an entire section (Chapter 5) to pronation in his 1986 book, ‘Biomechanics of running shoes’.

        The inward rolling in of the foot in the ’70’s and 80’s running shoes was a real problem. Running shoes in those days had a midsole made of porous, blown EVA sheets. Not only did they have a slim profile (meaning the foot sat on a very narrow heel midsole, and hence on a shaky platform), but they had the tendency to compress easily and quickly.

        So the typical pronation or rolling inwards of the foot had an exaggerated motion. The narrow midsole offered no support whatsoever, and the compressive nature of the primitive EVA midsole allowed the foot joint to dangerously inwards. We don’t doubt that this might have caused injuries in those days.

        Nigg’s research included testing prototype shoes with medial posts, but guess what, none of them had a substantial impact. The softer midsole undid whatever potential support the medial post had to offer.

        But this is 2015, and things have moved way forward. Introduction of strobel lasting (as opposed to board lasting, stuck-on technique of the ’70’s and 80’s) has allowed the upper to be fitted with broader midsoles/foundation. Midsole material is lightyears ahead of the humble EVA wedges used decades ago. They don’t deform, and keeps the foot stable.

        So in effect, many modern athletic shoes made by popular brands have all the support you’ll ever need – regardless of the shoe being neutral or being dressed up as stability. And like any other shoe, there will be models which will work for one runner, and won’t. In that context, the Kayano might work for you, or might not – depends on your personal preferences.

        Go with what feels most comfortable, regardless of what your ‘gait analysis’ says.

        We don’t blame people advising neutral runners against running in stability shoes. The whole pronation thing is so ingrained in our collective psyche, that everyone believes it truly, and that even applies to top designers and developers working at running shoe companies. What the heck, even solereview had the same view till two years ago, so we’re no better that the rest.

        The likely truth is, if compression molded EVA and strobel lasting were available in the 70’s and ’80’s, the pronation control category of shoes would have never have come to existence.

    • Hello Dave, great question!

      The motion control element in the Kayano 21 is not as pronounced as say, a New Balance 860 V5 or Nike Lunarglide 4/5. Actually many ’neutral shoes’ these days exhibit the same motion control behavior.

      Like the Saucony Ride 7/8 with its lateral(softer) crash pad and firmer medial midsole. The Nike Pegasus 31 and 32 with a laterally biased heel.

      And we are of the opinion that the whole pronation control category is no longer relevant – see our additional (and somewhat long) reply to your second comment below.

  • Elise Bon-Rudin EdD

    Just found you. Your technical knowledge is unsurpassed. Running 35 years; currently only about 30 mi/week. Have been happy with several pairs of Asics Gel 2000-2. No injuries or pain. But they’re hard to find now; found 1 pair. I have concerns about 2000-3. I would appreciate learning what I might gain by upgrading (?) to the Kayano 21.

    • What are your concerns about the GT 2000 3?

  • Interesting how someone has called out the fit to be narrower than the GT 2000 2. Is it because of the different (narrower) last used for the women’s version? Not entirely sure. Our review is based on the
    men’s GT 2000 model.

    You could also consider alternatives such as the Adidas Sequence Boost, or the Nike Lunarglide 7.

  • Ruchir Srivastava

    Nice review. I was a fan of ASICS Kayano series as it stopped my knee pain due to its cushioning. However, for Kayano 20, the mesh in the front part wears off easily. I wore it for not more than 6 months. Is there any ASICS model with similar or better cushioning as Kayano20 but stronger mesh?

    FYI, the weak mesh problem is faced by others also. See http://www.amazon.com/review/R22LPZO2RVGE4L/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    • Try the Kayano 21, that one comes with an additional lining fabric inside the forefoot.

      • Ruchir Srivastava

        Thanks a lot for the reply. I only have Kayano 22 available in Singapore. Does that have the extra fabric as well?

        In case, Kayano 22 isn’t the right choice, how about trying other brand? (ASICS is costlier as well, almost USD170). But I’m a bit hesitant in trying other brand as different brands have different build. I’ve just bought a Sketchers Go Run 4. It is good but feels very different from ASICS, Sketchers feels as if the heels have more cushion and are not that stable. But the difference is so subtle that I couldn’t sense it while trying at the store. Any suggestions? FYI I mostly do brisk walking and don’t run. Thanks again in advance.

        • The Kayano 22 does not have that fabric, but instead comes with two layers of mesh. We don’t have long term usage experience yet, but the 22 should be more durable than the 20’s forefoot mesh.

          Besides the Kayano 22, you could give the Brooks Glycerin 13 or Nike Vomero 10 a try.

          • Ruchir Srivastava

            Thanks again for the reply. I think I will go with Kayano 22.

  • Gabe

    Hi, Just found you as well. Most indepth articles for many well known shoes, great work, keep it up. I’m 5’5″, 150lb, have flat feet, and I believe I pronate/overpronate although I never saw an podiatrist about it. I want a new pair of running shoes for long walks and running on treadmill at the gym, nothing too intense. I’ve been currently using the Asics Gel Storm 2 for the past year and it started hurting me in the heel. Many sites recommend the Kayano 22, Kayano 21, Lunar glide 6 for pronation and flat feet, what do you recommend for someone like me? I’ve read your comments regarding not taking the gait analysis too seriously but I’m more concerned with the flat feet problem and if there’s a sneaker that’ll feel comfortable for long walk & short runs.

    • Gabe, you should try either the Brooks Transcend, or the Nike Zoom Odyssey. These sound perfect for what you describe.

      • Gabe

        Thanks for the quick reply and suggestions, Nike Zoom Odyssey was also on my list but seemed less appealing. Will do some more research and probably look at your upcoming review as well !

        • The Brooks Glycerin 13 is so very supportive and comfortable, regardless of its neutral categorization.

          And from your list, the Lunarglide 7 (not the 6) is worth checking out too.

          • Gabe

            I have tried on the 7, the heel felt a bit stiff/hard compared to the soft ones from the Asics line. But I don’t know if that would be better for me or not, I just imagine running in a harder heel to not go well.

          • Thank you for the feedback. Then the Glycerin 13, Transcend, and the Kayano 21 are choices to try on.

          • Gabe

            Would the Kayano 22 be just as good? I’ve seen your review but I managed to try on a 22 in store rather than a 21. The 22 forefoot feels good, the heel sort of cups my achilles tendon and indeed it does feel soft.

          • Your workouts are not intense, so we think the Kayano 22 should be a-ok! If they feel right, buy them.

  • Karen

    Hi – I’ve worn the gel kayano 18 for awhile but can’t find it anymore. What are your thoughts about going from the 18 to the 21?

    • Karen, the Kayano 18 is much firmer than the Kayano 21. We’d suggest something like the Nike Zoom Odyssey instead, which has a good mix of cushioning and support. If you need something firmer, then the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 is an option to consider.

  • Karen

    More detail – I have struggled for awhile with plantar fasciitis and the 18s really helped. I also turn in (over pronate), have flat feet and run about 12 miles/week.

    Thanks for your input!

  • Auro

    I have a neutral pronation but have been suffering for over a year with plantar fasciitis (medically speaking – mild, but hurts as hell after any exertion!). I had heard good things about the Kayano 21, so purchased it – and lo and behold for the first time in a long time, a 6 km run on the treadmill was without any heel pain. However I noticed that there was creeping numbness in my toes. Is this happening because the Kayano 21 is meant for overpronators and as a neutral pronator, I am the wrong user for it? Should I be shifting to another shoe…and if so, do you have any suggestions for neutral pronation with plantar fasciitis problem?

    • Hard to generalise, shoes work in different ways for runners. The best way to get a new shoe is to base it on your previous running shoe purchase. Look for the things which you did like about the old shoe, and avoid the features which you did not.

  • Kels

    I do have a tendency to roll in wards when running, and also definitely need some cushioning for my long runs 15-22 miles… I’ve been running in Asics GT2000, then 3000 and currently 3000 v2. But I need new ones now as they are well worn. I found the GT3000 v2 very comfy, however I still did get ITBS last marathon training session. However this I believe was due to more factors than my runners… Anyway, I’m wondering if I should move to the Kayano 21 – I’ve been recommended it by others who have moved from the gt2000/3000. What do you think? Its so hard to move to a new runner when you are so used to a specific model! I also find myself overwhelm by the amount of models asics offer… On that note – is there a huge difference between the Kayano 21 and 22? I would appreciate any advice – I’m drowning in info but can’t seem to get any clarity! Thanks 🙂

    • Kels, we haven’t reviewed the GT 3000 so can’t say how they compare with the Kayano 21. We can offer you a perspective over the GT 2000 and Kayano 22, if that helps!

      The Kayano 21 has a more pronounced motion control character than the GT (soft foam outside, firm foam inside), and is firmer than the Kayano 22. So if you’re moving up from the GT 2000, the Kayano 21 has more cushion, with overall increase in upper plushness.

      The Kayano 22 is way softer than the 21, which makes it not as stable.The toe-box of the K22 is pretty shallow too.

  • JAFO

    I am just now getting back into running/jogging after taking a few years off. I am a larger person 6’3″, 260 lbs and am the same size and weight as when I was running before. My last shoe that I loved was the Kayano 17 and I was running about 3 miles 4 to 5 times per week. This was the first shoe that didn’t cause me to have severe shin pain and I was comfortable whether walking or running. Is the 21 something that would still work for me or should I look to go in a different direction

    • The Kayano 21 is much softer than the 17. Instead, you could try the Nike Zoom Odyssey.

  • You could try the Kayano Kayano 21 (not 22), the Nike Zoom Odyssey or the adidas Supernova Sequence 8 Boost.

  • Mark

    Hi,

    I hope you can help…. I’m currently running in a pair of Saucony Guide 8’s. i’m 6’1 about 11 1/2 stone and need a little stability in my running shoes. I tend to land on the outside of my heel and then role towards the ball of my foot (according to the wear on my soles)
    I’m currently training for my first marathon in April and have had the Guide 8s since July/August last year, i’m looking to replace them with a shoe that would be comfortable for distance training. What would you recommend? I am open to suggestions….
    Some of the shoes i have been looking at include the Saucony Guide 9, Asics Kayano 22 and the Adidas Supernova sequence 7 boost. Many thanks.

    • Hello Mark,

      If you’re looking for more stability, then the Sequence 7 Boost would be it. The Guide 8 and 9 are virtually identical, the Kayano 21 is a tad soft.

      • Mark

        Hi, thanks for the reply, i’m looking to try something different to the Saucony as thats all i’ve ever tried.
        What about the Nike air zoom Odyssey as i’ve read good reviews about those? Many thanks

        • The Odyssey is great! You should check out both the Sequence and the Odyssey.

  • Kriegar

    Hi, just wondering if you could provide a wee bit of advice for my next shoe. I currently have the brooks adrenaline gts 14 and to be honest I think they are great (apart from the fact that bits are falling off the soles). I was going to upgrade to the gts 16s however have seen some bad comments about them. Would you recommend this shoe over the brooks or would you have any other suggestions. The Nike air pegasus caught my attention too.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Yes, the Kayano 21 is worth trying, and so is the Nike Zoom Odyssey.

  • Wilson Kumar

    HI I AM SUFFERING FROM SEVERE PLANTAR FASCIITIS. PLEASE SUGGEST ME THE BEST SHOE BETWEEN ASICS GEL KAYANO 21 OR GEL 22

    • Sorry, can’t help with shoe recommendations when it comes to injuries. It is best that you get expert medical opinion.

  • Ella

    Hi!

    Thanks for the great reviews! I would like to hear your advice to choose my next shue. At the moment I’m running with Gel Kayano 21 and I’m very happy with it. Anyhow, now I would like to get a second pair which is a lighter and faster. I have a pair of Nike Zoom Elite 7 but it is not good for me, I got shin splint from those. I’m 5’9 and 155 lbs.

    • How about the New Balance 1500 V1 or V2?