16 years has passed since the introduction of the first ASICS GEL-Kayano. 14 editions later, the 15th edition was introduced and quickly enough in February 2009, Runners World awarded the ASICS GEL-Kayano 15 the Editor's Choice award. Upon reading about it, I was really impressed with it and at the same time, I ran out trainers. Therefore, a check with with a friend of mine who works as a foot care consultant reveals that the shoe is highly recommended for me and therefore brought me and the shoe together.
However, somehow for some reasons, it took me a while to actually review this shoe due to the long testing sessions I have to go through with it as I can hardly find any major faults with this shoe! I may sound bias here, but I can assure you that I am not.
The ASICS GEL-Kayano 15 falls under the stability category which is suitable for those who pronates a little more than usual and those looking for mild arch support. No doubt it looks big and bulky but ASICS has done a superb job in maintaining the weight at just about 350 grams for a size US8. That's an impressive weight for a trainer that offers much comfort and protection for the foot and not to mention the excellent durability from it. I wore it with no problems lifting the legs stride after stride.
Let's start with the shoe's upper feel. I personally likes memory foam around the shoe's collar. Not only it feels good wrapping around the ankle, it does help prevent chaffing on the Achilles region. Personally, all shoe's collar memory foam are more or less the same but ASICS choose to name theirs PHF which literary stands for Personal Heel Fit. Next up, the Asymmetrical Lacing Design, a first in the ASICS GEL-Kayano series. A quick look on the lacing reveals that is very different from conventional lacing system. It is tilted to a side! The reasons behind this design from ASICS does make sense however as it aligns the medial and lateral quarterly-panels evenly which is how our feet is shaped. A more natural protection and movement for the metatarsal and tarsal bones, runners can look forward to an irritation free and perhaps pain free run. I'm sure that this system will soon be featured in all major ASICS shoes and probably in other brands too. A quick note though is that it may take a little time in getting use to it for those who have yet to try this system.
The shoe's ventilation is good but not great. For those with sweaty foot, they may experience some squishy runs with it. But as OrthoLite technology is used here, bacteria and fungus growth are kept to a minimal. Just don't go smelling your shoes though. And as for the flexibility, it is actually pretty good here considering it is a trainer. Built upon a system called the BioMorphic Fit Technology, this allows the shoe to stretch and expand at certain movement areas of the foot, thus moving together with the foot and reducing any potential irritation.
Next we look at the ASICS GEL-Kayano 15's midsole. There is no secret that ASICS are well known for their GEL cushioning. It can be found all around the shoe's midsole from the forefoot to the rearfoot. However, to further enhance it, a new material is added this round known as the Solyte midsole material which helps cushion the foot even more. And ASICS claimed that the Solyte material at the heel area does deform faster to allow enhanced shock protection by allowing it to shape according to the runner's gait. How true is it, I do not know? But I certainly have no problems running with it.
The GEL cushioning for the heel...
No stability shoe is without a medial support. And ASICS choose to name theirs DuoMax. What I really like about it is that ASICS has chosen to feature the DuoMax for the entire midfoot area hence providing an even support for the arch. Together with the arch support call the Space Trusstic System, not only I find my run pain free, but absolutely comfortable as my foot collapse inwards due to my pronation rate. And what's good to know is that as the shoe does come in gender specific models, as the system is built accordingly to each gender's running style. So no worries on hip injuries.
The gender specific Space Trusstic System (men's version seen here)...
To the outsole now, the layer of rubbers that come in contact with the earth. Runners who knows ASICS will know the awesome durability of the shoes. One factor that contributed to it is the carbon rubber used called ASICS High Abrasion Resistant rubber. A word of note though, for those who are used to Nike's BRS1000 or Saucony's carbon rubber system, you may find this just a little on the stiff side though. However, together with the outsole's cushioning rubber call the DuraSponge, the shoe's lifespan is prolonged which I believe can easily reach an average of 1,000KM running mileage.
There is certainly a lot of technology used in building this shoe. But how well will it go to serve each and every individual? I have heard praises on it but also at the same time heard some struggling with it. Personally, I have no problems. My advice however to those finding it hard to adapt to it, will be to have the shoe "run in" first which should take around 50KM to 100KM depending on running style. This will allow the shoe to be "molded" to the runner's foot. To make things easier, I do recommend to walk with the shoes first maybe around the house for a couple of weeks as I do find this rather helpful.
To end my review on the ASICS GEL-Kayano 15, all I can say that it is a great shoe. It really deserves the awards and through 15 generations, it has proven to the running world that it's not only a running shoe, but a legend of its own. The ASICS GEL-Kayano 15 is now available at retail at a recommended selling price of RM599.