Posted on

Asics Gel-Kayano 26 Performance Reviw

Kayano series is very popular since it was released. On the one hand, it adapts lots of newest tech on the shoe; and on the other hand, Kayano has continuously won the title of “running shoe of the year” in the runner’s world and has an awesome reputation in the sneaker market. After 26 years, the Kayano hasn’t got big improvement in recent versions, so can it still live up the reputation? Here let me uncover the answer for you.

The Kayano series has always been complicated in the vamp design, but it has become more and more simple after the 22nd version. The large mesh vamp, the side logo, the toe support and the lacing are all applied and undated to improve the shoe’s overall performance. And looking at the latest three editions, they have been designed in similar style. Even though you may not find the difference of mesh fabric decoration at first, there are in fact many differences compared with the previous versions.

There are some other color scheme of the shoe. But some runners consider the available colorways to be unappealing to the eyes. However, I think this one is rather nice and match my daily dressings easily. The shoe has also nice toe and side support. Compared with woven fabrics that is easily seen, the integrated mesh fabric used in Kayano wraps very well. And with tight shoelaces, you can obviously feel the shoe comfortable enough to support your feet when you are running on slopes.

The midsole is still thick enough to withstand a long time and high-intensive tests. There are even many testers who commend the cushioning capability of the Asics Gel Kayano 26’s midsole unit, stating that it was reactive and comfortable. After the Kayano 24, the misole of the Kayano  25 and 26 are changed to built-in cushion and are no longer exposed.

At the ankle part, the Kayano 26 continues a heel satility system that has been in place since the 24th edition. The heel metaclutch stability is also altered. With the support and protection of the shoe and the comfort and protection of a thick sponge, the shoe’s comfort and stability  are thus ensured.

I know that when referring to the Kayano series many people will first think of GEL and then it’s the support. As a matter of fact, GEL’s role in Kayano series is getting lower and lower. But as a top running shoe, Kayano’s uppers/body design is often overlooked whereas many people are often stunned at the shoe’s awesome comfort.

Maybe Gel-Kayano 26 is the most excellent one, but it must be the one that is definitely the most technologically advanced running shoe ever built. A flytefoam lyte+flytefoam propel is used in the midsole with the upper flytefoam propel returns more elasticity whereas the lower flytefoam lyte is lighter and lasts longer.

Flytefoam propel is a lightweight foam +TPA elastic chunk which achieves a relatively low density and a higher elastic return of energy. But compared to the general foam, the middle part has been added with  nanofibers so as ensure the slow cushion performance after a long run as far as possible not to decay.

Many people are satisfied with the shoe’s cushioning for it is really good. They said “it is reactive and comfortable.” However, the GEL is no longer used in Kayano.

The Duomax used since the third edition still stays there; therefore, slippery problems inside the shoe can be avoided to some extent.

On the other hand,  instead of using the softer ortholite insoles,  Kayano 26 uses the Eva which makes the foot feeling  of K26’s  firmer and softer than that of K25. But it is very confusing that the shoe should give up the ortholite insoles. But despite this fact, the stability mechanisms of the platform have also been praised for being supportive of the foot and for steadying the foot’s anatomical shape.

The forefoot of the outsole is rubber and thicker whereas the back part is AHAR+ durable rubber and thinner.

You can also see that the outsoles are also deeply textured in order to ensure drainage. And compared with the 25th version(the right one), the 26th has  a smaller supportive area, thus making the shoe much lighter. As for the line in the midsole, it’s hard to say if it’s actually working. According to the official story that  it reduces unnecessary energy consumption and improves running efficiency.

After running for 134 km on asphalt road the outsole showed no prominent wear and tear. The heel of part has some visible wear while the other parts of the heel wear just a little.

We can see that the sole has excellent wear resistance under the retailers’ declining the life of the shoe.

Even though there isn’t the woven upper, the shoe’s support and wrapping are always nice. Based on my experience, this enveloping feeling is particularly pronounced on turning back roads or sloping surfaces without pressing on the foot, and the tongue and heel of the shoe still provide a substantial comfort.

In terms of breathability, Kayano series are mostly used in winter, so this respect is only passable. But the 26th has progressed and is better than the 25th in this part.

The K26 is lighter (though only slightly lighter) than any previous editions which makes Kayano increasingly suitable for long distances and even marathons. What a tremendous job it has done!

In addition to the hard foot feeling, the other aspects of the 26th are still extremely nice, say, the support which is also credited to the very mature midsole anti-torsion system. The shoe is still highly recommended for beginners.


I know some fans have complained about the too-tight construction of the Asics Gel Kayano 26’s toe box or they noteds that the midsole was a bit thin to handle extended running session, and I also heard that the shoelaces of this model have received criticism from a few testers for quickly unraveling. Well, it is as a matter of fact a mixed success. However, if you simply have complaint about these, you are to get rather disappointed. Objectively speaking, it is obvious that the shoe needs some improvement to fully get the approval of the majority, but there are still many positive feedback that is focused on the midsole’s cushioning quality and stability mechanisms and other performance of the shoe are also nice.  Anyway, let us face it with an inclusive attitude. By doing this, you will receive a enjoyable experience.