Asics Gel Kayano 30 Review (2024): Modern Stability Shoes?
Published on: 08/25/2023The Asics Gel Kayano 30 is one of the best stability trainers despite being on the heavier side.
A longstanding stability favorite reinvented?
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The Asics Gel Kayano 30 is the latest entry into the beloved Gel Kayano line of stability trainers. With their 4D Guidance System and ultra-supportive sole, these shoes offer a comfortable ride. The addition of springy Flytefoam Blast Eco in the midsole further enhances the pleasant underfoot feel. This high-tech foam ensures an excellent energy return, making longer runs feel easier and less taxing on the body.
The shoes’ knit upper feels plush and supportive while being perforated for enhanced breathability, as well as adding to their overall cushioning. Traction isn’t an issue, either, thanks to the Gel Kayano 30s’ grippy AHAR+ outsole. While these shoes are far from being cheap, we’d argue that all of these features, combined with their excellent durability, make them a more than worthwhile investment for most runners. However, we wouldn’t use them for speedwork or racing.
We can confidently recommend the Asics Gel Kayano 30 to runners of all abilities on the hunt for a stable, comfortable, and supportive trainer. These shoes are especially suited for daily training, long-distance runs, and easy miles.
Please read our full review of the Asics Gel Kayano 30 for more information.
- Very comfortable
- Excellent support and enhanced stability
- Wide sizes available for runners with wider feet
- More than respectable traction
- Fantastic durability and longevity
- Good energy return
- On the bulkier side
- Some runners experience tightness in midfoot
- Fairly heavy
For the 30th anniversary of their iconic Gel Kayano line, Asics have decided to totally reinvent one of their most beloved, respected models ever. While each version of the Gel Kayano has attempted to offer more stability than earlier iterations without changing much else, the Gel Kayano 30 brings a boatload of innovations.
As the latest addition to the Gel Kayano series, the 30 promises greater comfort, stability, durability, and aesthetics than any of its predecessors. But how does it measure up?
Cushioning is one of the Gel Kayano 30’s greatest strengths. Its comfortable upper and plush sole, internal PureGel (which is miles softer than most visible Gel technology), and the support offered by the wide platform, make them feel protective and exceptionally easy to wear.
Stack height, drop, and underfoot feel
The Gel Kayano 30 comes kitted out with a host of new technologies that see it easily outperforming the older, more traditional Asics. Overall, the eco-friendly FF Blast+ Eco foam achieves a smoother ride and can withstand insane levels of compression. Also, at the rear, PureGel helps the shoe absorb impact more effectively.
But, the star of the show is Asics’ new 4D Guidance System. Combined with a wider platform, it focuses on midsole sculpting and internal geometry to offer adaptive stability and extra support, especially under the arch. And all this without disrupting the runner’s natural gait.
The new Kayano has a heel stack height of 40mm (39mm for the women’s edition) and a drop of 10mm. Compared to the previous iteration of the Gel Kayano, these trainers have a higher stack, are heavier, and use markedly different stability features. For instance, the LiteTruss system of the Gel Kayano 29 has been replaced with the 4D Guidance System of the 30s.
As mentioned above, the PureGel and FF Blast+ Eco midsole work in tandem to offer softer landings. Also, the shoe’s rounded heel and increased heel bevel enhance stability as you become more fatigued. For a stability trainer, the Gel Kayano 30s boast a remarkably soft underfoot feel, making them highly comfortable for longer runs.
Most reviewers describe the Gel Kayano 30 as a fairly bouncy shoe, at least compared to similar offerings (and the previous model in its line). The new FF Blast Plus Eco compound offers fantastic energy return, and pushing into the ground feels easy, even though these shoes are on the heavier side.
Further to this is the Gel Kayano 30s rockered profile. It assists with transitions and gives the runner a great sense of overall momentum. However, it’s worth noting that some runners find the Asics Kayano 30 somewhat dull or unresponsive until it’s been broken into.
Support and gait type
The Gels Kayano has long been regarded as an elite stability shoe, and this latest entry is no exception. As far as stability footwear goes, it really can’t be beaten and is a fantastic choice for athletes with flat feet/prone to overpronation.
But don’t be fooled; even neutral runners can enjoy the comfort and performance boasted by the Gel 30. While it offers a decidedly protective ride, this model relies on more inherent stability than previous models in the Gel Kayano series. Unlike the Kayano 29 which uses the LiteTruss System, the Kayano 30 uses its internal geometry to keep the foot supported.
The engineered mesh upper is one of the Gel Kayano 30’s most sophisticated features. It’s plush and supportive, resulting in a comfortable and snug fit for most foot profiles, but it’s also perforated extensively. This makes the upper remarkably breathable, which helps keep your feet cool on those long runs.
Moreover, the upper also uses 100% recycled materials, making an eco-friendly pick.
Fit and sizing
As far as the Gel Kayano 30’s fit is concerned, it offers that classic, reliable Asics-style foot lockdown for a solid ride and is pretty standard in terms of volume. The shoe’s structured mesh knit upper, sturdy heel collar, gusseted tongue, and laces give most runners a secure fit.
However, due to the extra-roomy toebox, athletes with narrower feet may feel that the Gel Kayano 30 is looser than desired around the forefoot.
Conversely, this shoe is a fantastic choice for those of us with wider feet. The Gel Kayano 30s come in wide sizing, running all the way from 6 to 16. In both wide and standard sizing, most runners find that this model runs true to size.
Men’s vs. women’s version
The Gel Kayano 30s come in both men’s and women’s versions, with the differences between the two largely being a matter of color, weight, and size. And, with the men’s version weighing in at 10.7 oz/303 g and the women’s 9.3 oz/263 g, it’s fair to say that this is a reasonably heavy shoe.
Breathability and protection
The upper on the Gel Kayano 30s strikes a balance between being relatively breathable while still thick and plush. It’s perforated enough that you shouldn’t get too hot running in warmer weather, unless you’re living in an especially hot climate. However, the mesh isn’t so thin that you can’t comfortably run in the Gel Kayano 30s in the cold, too.
Of course, this depends somewhat on what you consider ‘cold.’ For instance, we’d probably recommend other models for running in snow and ice or subzero temperatures.
The Gel Kayano 30 is at its absolute best on longer runs. Once worn in, the shoes do a beautiful job of blending supreme comfort and support with a bouncy, responsive feel, at least for a stability shoe. Also, the extra room in the toe box accommodates swelling in the forefoot during long-distance runs. And, the rounded heel and increased heel bevel afford elite shock absorption as you fatigue, making the Gel 30 a great option for marathon runners.
Additionally, the cushion and wider base provided by the Gel Kayano 30s’ sole help prevent fatigue, and their gently rockered profile offers a smooth ride over those long distances.
Other suitable scenarios
Runners in the market for a plush, supportive shoe will also want to consider the Gel Kayano 30 for daily training and recovery runs. Thanks to the ample padding provided by their sole, their consistent, pleasant ride, and excellent durability, they’re a respectable choice for anyone looking to put in some comfortable, easy miles without cranking the pace.
With that being said, we’d recommend against wearing the 30 for speedwork, interval training, or racing in particular. Despite the fantastic comfort and support that these shoes offer, they’re simply too bulky to justify wearing them wherever speed is your top priority. You’ll likely find that they weigh you down. There are far, far lighter shoes out there than the Gel Kayano 30 to run fast!
Another strength of the new Gel Kayano is the excellent traction it confers. The shoe’s outsole uses AHAR+ rubber, which is exceptionally grippy and hardy. Factor in the considerable width of the outsole itself, and you’ll find that the shoe offers enhanced ground contact, too. A big help when running on slippery or wet terrain.
While there are certainly grippier shoes out there that will do an even better job of keeping you upright, the Gel Kayano 30 should be more than sufficient for running in most conditions in urban environments.
Quality and Durability
Sustainability and pricing
The Asics Gel Kayano 30s offer pretty impressive durability, even compared to other elite running shoes. Thanks to its hardy AHAR+ rubber, the outsole can withstand an absolute beating; the knit mesh upper is also sturdy and very resistant to tearing.
You can expect to get between 400-500 miles out of a pair of Gel Kayano 30s before needing to replace them. And, while they may not be cheap, we’d argue that they’re absolutely worth the price, given their outstanding build quality and the level of comfort that they offer.
Carbon footprint and animal welfare
Ethically-minded runners will appreciate the Gel Kayano 30s; their upper uses 100% recycled materials, and the midsole’s foam is between 20-30% recycled, too. What’s more, the shoes are vegan and as such don’t include any animal products.
The Asics Gel Kayano 30 is an excellent choice for runners (neutral or overpronators) looking for a supportive trainer to carry them through easy runs and longer distances as comfortably as possible.
With wide sizes available, the Gel Kayano 30 is also an excellent option for runners with wider feet. Provided that their price isn’t an issue, athletes at all experience levels should be able to get plenty of use out of these trainers. However, if your goal is speed workouts or racing, you’ll likely find them far too bulky.
|303 g/10.7 oz
|263 g/9.3 oz
|Wide feet, Heavy runner, Eco-friendly
|FF BLAST+ ECO, PureGEL, 4D GUIDANCE SYSTEM
|Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon
|Daily running, Recovery
Comparisons – Asics Gel Kayano 30 vs.:
Asics Gel Kayano 29
The latest shoe in the Asics lineup has pretty much rewritten the Gel Kayano script, but is it worth upgrading if you already own a pair of Kayano 29? We think so, unless you’re a diehard Kayano 29 loyalist; the Gel Kayano 30s are more versatile, responsive, and feel much livelier to run in. The 4D Guidance System and new PureGel sole make them unbelievably comfortable, too.