Asics’s marketing pitch: The Kayano 24 has an evolved adaptive fit that is more true to size.
Upper: Engineered mesh, fused urethane, external plastic heel counter.
Midsole: Triple-density midsole with a firmer medial post and Flytefoam. 10 mm heel drop for men’s, 13 mm for women’s—plastic midfoot shank.
Outsole: Hard carbon rubber under the heel, softer blown rubber under the forefoot.
Weight: 320 gms/ 11.3 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 9/UK 8/EUR 42.5/CM 27
Widths available: 2A, B, D – regular (reviewed), 2E -wide, 4E – extra wide.
INTRODUCTION Asics Gel Kayano 24
When you’ve been reviewing shoes for nearly a decade, connecting the dots between design updates becomes an easy task. The Asics Kayano is a good example. It’s had its fair share of updates over the years, turning from a firm riding trainer to a super-soft shoe with a noticeable lateral bias.
And it’s not just the ride quality but the upper fit, which receives a wide range of updates. Some versions had a wholesome upper-fit character, with the heel, midfoot, and toe-box gripping the foot as they should. On others, the toe box squashed the foot with an uncomfortable down-force.
All these strange changes can be attributed to the non-existent feedback loop of running shoe design.
Unlike other industries where a new product usually translates into an improvement over the older one, the long-lead times involved in designing a running shoe mean that it’s impossible to incorporate customer feedback from one model to the next. More so when brands go through this compulsory new shoe thing every year.
Most of you would agree that the Kayano 21 represented an optimum combination of fit, aesthetics, and ride quality if you consider the Kayano iterations released in the last three years. The Kayano 22 was too soft, and the 23, while better, featured the exact shallow toe-box fit.
The Kayano 24 marks a return to the wholesomeness of the Kayano 21, though only in spirit.
The upper uses an evolved visual scheme, a euphemism for keeping up with the current cost-cutting times. The midsole uses Asics’s newest and brightest tech in its arsenal – the firmer Flytefoam foam.
The Kayano’s positioning as a mild-motion control shoe hasn’t changed, which means that the inner midsole has a firmer wedge for medially-skewed support.
This year also marks a rare occurrence for a Kayano. Asics, like Brooks, tend to refresh the midsole and outsole design with each annual update. For what’s a break from tradition, the Kayano 24 reuses the Kayano 23 sole unit without making any changes.
That means all the updates occur on the upper and none on the sole. If you own a pair of the Kayano 23, then expect the same ride.
On the other hand, if you’re returning to the Kayano after a brief hiatus, then fret not. We’ll also discuss the Kayano 24’s exclusive design and ride character.
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DESIGN AND MATERIALS Men’s GEL-Kayano 24
At a basic level, the Kayano 24 shares a typical mix of materials and placement with the 23. The upper has engineered mesh, which combines tightly knit and vented areas over a single component. For example, the section over the toe-box and the forefoot sides has larger vents compared to the rest of the upper.
The molded Asics logo on the side is a standard fitment, but there’s a change here. Instead of having the logos on both sides, only the outer (lateral) side has the logo. This, again, is a departure from how Asics usually does it. This one logo treatment (or a variation thereof) is generally seen on budget Nike and Saucony shoes.
That said, we must remember that the Kayano isn’t a $100 shoe but a $160 one, and the upper needs to look the part, even if it means it’s a matter of form over function. Instead of skipping on the side logo, they should have done something like the Nimbus 19, which has a lightweight logo printed over the inner upper.
The Kayano 24 features a much larger piece than the last year, and the much-expensive Metarun influences this design. The heel features an external counter made of rugged, molded plastic with smooth contours. The outer counter extends higher and longer on either side, and that’s not all – even the heel collar design is updated.
Instead of having a prominent Achilles dip, the collar is now rounded and has more foam inside. This also means a reduction in the overall height, and the sides clasp snugger than the Kayano 23.
The Achilles dip also curves inwards, and usually, such a thing reduces the sizing width. But it doesn’t, and we’ll explain why in the upper fit section of this review.
The lining material is similar but has a softer feel than the 23. The reflective element also blends in with its surroundings, thanks to a tonal visual scheme.
Whereas the shiny parts of the previous Kayanos were metallic in color, the reflective elements of the 24 are the same color as the heel counter. The reflective windows also feature molding details which add to the overall design depth.
The lacing area gets a raised, molded panel this year. A thin laminate underneath extends to the heel area, thus visually connecting the midfoot and the heel area. The rounded, non-elastic laces pass through a moderately padded and slightly modified tongue. There’s no sleeve keeping the language in place, so you get the expected sideways slide.
The Kayano 24’s heel update changes the upper fit quality, but its extent of influence pales when compared to the toe-box update.
We did say something at the beginning about the 24 resembling the 21, and some of that is based on the new toe-box fit, with a raised toe-box that has both an internal and external stiffener—the toe-box fit quality changes for the better.
Another update affects the fit in the front; the forefoot (sideways fit). The Kayano 23 had this internal tape under the mesh, extending from the lacing area to the toe-tip. On the inner side of the forefoot, an external overlay provided structural support.
The Kayano 24 has internal tapping (pictured in fluorescent green in the images above) but has a different orientation. Instead of bridging the lacing area and the toe area, it spans vertically on both sides of the forefoot. The external layering of the 23 is now replaced with a few strips of internal layering.
Later, we’ll explain how these updates affect the quality of the upper fit.
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Buy ASICS Men Black GEL Kayano 24 Running Shoes
The Flytefoam midsole introduced on the Kayano 23 finds its way into 24. There’s a firmer Flytefoam foam layer at the bottom, while the upper midsole is made of softer EVA foam.
On the medial side, there’s a more complex foam wedge. Asics has stopped making the firmer wedge in a different color since the Kayano 23, so it’s difficult to visually distinguish the medial post if it were not for the ‘Dynamic Duomax text callout.
The midsole has a couple of Gel pads, but if you’ve been reading reviews on this site, you’d know that these pads only form a small part of the overall midsole volume. The Gel is more effective under the lateral heel, performing both form and function. The visible forefoot Gel is 100% show and 0% cushion.
A plastic shank bridges the midfoot, and the outsole is made of multiple rubber pieces. The forefoot has a softer blown rubber, while the rear has a more durable variety. Asics’s ‘Guidance Line’ longitudinally splits the outsole.
Available over the midsole is the standard stacking of a foam-lasting, soft, Ortholite insole. It must be mentioned that there’s a difference between men’s and women’s models when it comes to exclusive design.
The men’s Kayano edition has a 10 mm heel-to-toe drop, while the women’s version has a 13 mm depth. This means that the heel stack is higher, making the women’s Kayano slightly softer than the men’s.
The Asics Kayano has made gains over earlier versions in this department, particularly regarding the durability of midsole foams. Flytefoam has shown more excellent resistance to cushioning loss when compared to regular EVA.
However, since only half of the midsole is made out of the new material, the increased durability does not apply universally. Also, parts of the outsole are prone to premature wear and tear. For example, the edges of the soft forefoot rubber lugs (flanking the Guidance Line) tend to wear quickly within the first 30 miles, though the rate of wear tapers soon after.
The upper has plenty of layering and reinforcement, so expect to outlive the outsole.
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UPPER FIT AND FEEL
The 24 marks a return to the Kayano’s roots. The raised toe profile ensures ample toe-box height and eliminates the pointiness of the 23. In other words, the new upper fits and feels great, unlike the Kayano 22 and 23’s much disliked toe-box shallowness.
While the toe-box height gets a boost, the subject of forefoot fit is noteworthy. The Kayano 24’s forefoot is a mite snugger than the 23 – especially on the medial side. This has to do with re-positioning the internal tapes; they might no longer extend over the forefoot but are placed vertically on both sides of the forefoot.
This new placement of the tapes tends to limit the inbuilt expansion of the mesh; hence, the forefoot feels a bit narrower than the 23.
We’ll repeat this so that nobody is confused: The Kayano 23 had a shallower toe box (less vertical) but a more relaxed forefoot (the sideways room across the widest part of your feet). On Kayano 24, that is reversed, which is more toe-box (vertical), but a relatively snugger forefoot (sideways fit). The forefoot fit difference isn’t a lot but is bound to be noticed by discerning running shoe geeks.
The midfoot is archetypal Kayano. The language is padded enough not to let the lacing pressure pass through. This implies that the midfoot feels smooth in plainer words, and the untethered tongue tends to slide.
The Kayano 24’s rear upper grip is excellent regardless of the lowered heel height. There’re a couple of factors that make the heel fit securely. One is the much taller and longer plastic clip that holds the foot in place. The second is the lower, softer, but inwards curving heel collar.
On a related note, an inwards-curving Achilles tends to push the foot forward and make the shoe smaller. But in the Kayano 24’s case, the grippier heel and the enlarged toe-box have a counter-canceling effect, and thus the true-to-size nature of the Kayano stays unchanged.
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RIDE QUALITY AND BEHAVIOR
The upper fit isn’t the only thing that harkens back to the Kayano 21.
We could have said the same of the Kayano 23, except that the new Kayano makes a better comparison in the context of the improved upper fit. The new Flytefoam infused midsole’s firmness resembles the 21 but with different ride quality. Most of the Kayano 24’s softness is concentrated in the midsole’s upper regions, thanks to the insole, foam lasting, and the softer midsole layer molded out of EVA foam.
Flytefoam, as such, is a firm compound, and this particular trait will be noticed by runners who are transitioning directly from the Kayano 22 or earlier.
The Flytefoam material isn’t exceptionally responsive or springy, but it has a bit of resilience that was missing on the earlier, pure foam-based Kayanos. The newer editions do feel faster, though. This expands Kayano’s capability from a mere slow-speed road plodder to a versatile trainer.
You can expect Kayano to perform many roles. Marathon distances are suitable for the Kayano, as are those short 5K training runs. The Kayano is no speed demon, but it isn’t mushy like the 22. Transitions are smooth and efficient, unlike the overly soft ride of the Kayano 22.
As expected of medially posted running shoes, there’s a slight tilt towards the outer heel. The soft foams and the visible Gel make that side more delicate than the firmer wedge.
The skew isn’t acute, so the Kayano 24 can be considered even if you’ve historically preferred neutral shoes.
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PROS AND CONS
The Kayano 24 has a well-sorted ride quality, which isn’t overly soft or firm. Combining the Flytefoam layer with the softer EVA foam parts makes the ride smoother in the upper areas but firmer near the contact point.
This bodes well for the quality of heel-to-toe transitions. The medial post isn’t intrusive, and the midsole is relatively stable for what it is.
We find plenty of good things to say about the upper. The toe box is spacious (unlike the last two Kayano models), the midfoot interiors are smooth, and the new heel counter grips very well.
There are a few negatives. The sleeve-less tongue slides to one side during runs, and parts of the blown rubber outsole will undergo a small degree of wear and tear in the initial period.
The outsole wear is more a design issue than a material one. The Guidance Line splitting the outsole leaves all the heavy lifting to the forefoot rubber slabs’ edges, which causes the rubber to wear off faster.
The last issue is subjective. One of our contributors pointed out that the Asics Kayano 24 looks pretty bare for a $160 shoe. There’s no Asics logo on the medial/inner side (all the past Kayanos had one), and this lack of aesthetic detail isn’t fitting, given the premium price.
SUMMARY AND CHANGES BETWEEN THE KAYANO 23 AND KAYANO 24
There is no change in the ride quality as the ‘new’ Kayano 24 only changes the upper and not the sole composite. And speaking of the former, the upper has plenty of updates worth highlighting.
The toe-box gets a newfound quality of fit. There’s much more vertical space than the Kayano 22 and 23, although the forefoot (sideways fit) feels slightly narrower due to the revised placement of the internal tape.
The significantly larger plastic counter grips the foot better than the 23, regardless of the rear’s lower heel collar. The Kayano 24 and 23 are near-evenly matched on weight and price, though it has been mentioned in reader reviews that the 24 feels lighter than the 23.
|Asics Kayano 24||Flytefoam, Dual Gel||Amazon|
|Asics GT-2000 5||EVA foam, Dual Gel||Amazon|
|Asics GT-1000 6||Firm EVA foam, Gel||Amazon|
Asics has many running shoes with firmer medial posts, but three models are better known than the rest. Namely, it’s the Kayano, the GT-2000, and the GT-1000.
The GT-2000 5 is a soft motion control shoe with a slightly lower material than the Kayano. The GT-2000 is missing a few bells and whistles available with the Kayano, like the extensive heel clutching system or the lack of a visible forefoot Gel element. But these minor details have little impact on the GT-2000’s versatile character.
So if you don’t want to spend $160 on the Kayano and can live without the Flytefoam, then the GT-2000 should be your second choice regarding a soft motion-control shoe.
The GT-1000 6 is a budget GT-2000 (if you can call it a $ 90′ budget,’ that is). It is made with noticeably lower-quality materials. The GT-1000 delivers just the bare minimum required of a support shoe and little else.
|Rotation||Model||Shoe type||Check price|
|Same brand||Asics Gel Kayano 24||Cushioned, mild-support||Amazon|
|Same brand||Asics DS Trainer 22||Lightweight support||Amazon|
|Same brand||Asics DS Racer 11||Lightweight racer||Amazon|
|Multi brand||Asics Gel Kayano 24||Cushioned, mild-support||Amazon|
|Multi brand||Saucony Guide 10||Cushioned, mild-support||Amazon|
|Multi brand||New Balance 1500V3||Lightweight trainer||Amazon|
You’ll notice that this rotation recommendation chart looks different than the one displayed last year. That’s because two things have happened since; the then-larger toe-box of the GT 2005 no longer remains an incentive as the Kayano 24 opens up the front. The second factor is a new DS Trainer with a Flytefoam midsole.
Under the circumstances, the DS Trainer 22 is a perfect second shoe for fast runs and the occasional half marathon. For shorter and even faster races, there’s the DS-Racer 11 with its very grippy Duosole forefoot.
If you’re not going the Asics route, then the Saucony Guide 10 works excellent as a rotational companion. We want to clarify that Guide 10 and DS Trainer aren’t comparable. Instead, the Guide is a firmly cushioned shoe with a touch of responsiveness. This makes it a versatile trainer for runs of all kinds.
Few shoes combine the optimal ground feedback, cushioning, upper fit, and a barely-there medial post like the New Balance 1500V3. It’s a perfect shoe for 5K and 10K races, fast training, or even races up to a half marathon. If seen from an Asics lens, 1500 is halfway between the DS Trainer and DS Racer, giving you the best of both worlds.
It must be mentioned that all the recommended shoes have a medial post but are non-invasive.
SIMILAR PREMIUM CUSHIONED-SUPPORT SHOES
The Asics Kayano 23 is a traditional motion-control shoe with a firmer midsole wedge with a multi-component midsole. Purely, the New Balance 1260 V6 and the Saucony Hurricane ISO 3 are comparable on a contextual basis. Both these shoes have a cushioned ride but with a medial post, not to mention the closely matched price(s).
Some models offer a different interpretation of the cushioned-support category. For example, the Adidas Ultra Boost ST is a super-plush shoe with just a hint of medial side support. The new Supernova ST is below the Ultra in the cushioning department but doesn’t go overboard with stability.
The Mizuno Paradox 3 is the Japanese brand’s premium support shoe. The narrow-fitting Brooks Transcend 4 lacks a foam wedge. Instead, it is a supportive and cushioned shoe made possible by a wide midsole. You get the idea of lots of foam and plastic Wave plates.
Lastly, the GT 2000 5 is similar to the Kayano 24, which isn’t surprising considering the shared elements like Gel pads, upper last, a multi-density foam midsole, and a similar-looking outsole.