I've never been a big fan of Asics top end running shoes, being more of a fan of the Asics Gel Cumulus and the Asics GT2000 than the Asics Gel Nimbus or the Asics Gel Kayano, however, was a little curious to see if the Kayano could stand up to the hype..
The Asics Gel Kayano 21 certainly looks expensive. You can tell that there is a lot of technology in the shoe, and Asics have a habit of labelling as much of this as possible. FluidFit, Fluidride and IGS are instantly visible, but you wouldn't know it if they weren't printed on the shoe. The colourway is a big thumbs up from me though, and we have seen some interesting colours coming from the Japanese brand in recent years...
The midsole of the Asics Gel Kayano 21 is the best of Asics' technology. It uses Fluidride which consists of both SpEVA and Solyte foams, with a huge amount of Gel for excellent cushioning. A Dynamic Duomax support system is designed to provide smooth stability, while the use of a lengthened Guidance line and Trustic improves heel to toe transition, and torsional stability.
The FluidFit system used in the previous version makes a return, and is used well to provide a comfortable and smooth fit around the foot. The lining of the shoe is silky smooth, and it uses an external heel counter to reduce weight, and provide a snug and secure fit at the heel. Many of the overlays are now hot melted on, and this saves stiches, and therefore unecessary irritation and weight.
The Asics Gel Kayano 21 uses it's AHAR+ rubber compound, for excellent durability, grip and cushioning. The outsole on Asics' shoes has very rarely changed in recent years, and it truly is a case of 'if it aint broke, don't fix it'.
The Asics Gel Kayano 21 is very disappointing for me. Yes it offers excellent cushioning, but nothing you can't get elsewhere, and if you're looking for a support shoe, there are far better and cheaper options. The support just isn't there. This shoe really wants to be a neutral shoe, and offers less support than a GT1000-3, which for my money is a better all round shoe. Asics' best support shoe in my opinion ios the new Asics GT2000-3. The Gel Kayano 21 is also very stiff due to the volume of cushioning, and therefore feels disconnected and clunky. Even for heavy heel strikers, I can imagine this feel clumpy. The only redeeming feature in my eyes is the feeling inside the shoe. The materials used there hug your foot without making it hot, and are so smooth and slipper like. That part, Asics have got nailed on, however, for the Gel Kayano to be relevant in future iterations, they've GOT to make it more stable. Put it back in line with the GT2000 series for stability, and they might be onto a winner, but for me, stick with the GT2000-3 or the Asics Gel Cumulus. We give it a 6 out of 10