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2018 Asics Kids Running Shoe Comparison Review

by Sportitude
29 Jan 2018

Josh compares and reviews the Asics kids' running shoe family to help you assess which model is the ideal fit for your little athlete's feet.

He provides insight on the Gel Kayano 24, GT-2000 6, GT-1000 6, Gel Cumulus 19 and Gel Contend 4 and discusses differences in the upper, support categories, cushioning systems and other key features.

Check out the full review with transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude coming at you with a kids’ running shoe review.

Back to school is only around the corner and if a running shoe is on your radar to buy for your children, I’m going to give you as much information as possible to help make your decision as easy as possible. Without further ado let’s get stuck in.

Today we’re going to focus our kids’ running shoe review on the Asics story. Online on Sportitude we do carry several other options in the kids’ running shoe category; New Balance options and a handful of Brooks shoes to pick from as well, just to name a couple of brands.

Our Asics offering is a lot deeper and wider. I’m going to give you information more in line for the Asics running shoe family for kids.

We’re going to talk on the grade school offerings, preschool offerings and the difference between the two. However just like adults, kids have different support categories as well, neutral and arch support.

I want to point out the fact that running shoes are designed for running. If your kid is tough on their shoes and you’ve watched them rip through them in four, six or eight weeks, consider buying them a cross trainer. Even if they do a lot of running there’s some running cross trainers out there that will give them more support.

Underneath this video we’ll put a link to our cross training video which we’ve done recently which will give you a similar review to what I’m doing right now with the running shoes.

Please remember at home a running shoe is a running shoe. If your kid is going to drag their foot on a court surface playing tennis or netball they’re probably going to fall apart quickly so keep that in mind.

Asics Gel Kayano 24

I want to talk about the top of the line kids’ running shoe first then we’ll work our way down. The top of the line Asics running shoe is the Gel Kayano.

This little guy has jumped up in price. It’s gone way up to $180 RRP for a kids’ running shoe. The reason Asics have done that is because it’s a direct takedown of their adults Kayano which retails $260.

In the past the Kayano kids’ hasn’t been a ‘Kayano’. It's got the name on it and the arch support. It has very similar features to the adults' shoe however they’ve just given it the name to give it some entitlement in the kids' range.

This Kayano 24 is the adult Kayano in a kids’ package. You’ve got your FlyteFoam midsole, your dual density Gel cushioning system heel and forefoot. You’ve got your Dynamic DuoMax underneath the arch for arch support.

Underneath you’ve got your Trusstic system which Asics use to split the rearfoot from the forefoot to give the shoe midfoot stability when you’re running. The Meta Clutch counter is externally placed on the heel for nice support for your children when they run.

Up top we’ve got your underlays which give this shoe a little more medial support when your child is running and pronating through midstance phase.

The silver lining or straps on the medial side are essentially underlays to give the shoe more support when it goes through midstance phase. That’s your Gel Kayano 24.

Asics GT-2000 6

Next shoe we’re going to talk about is the GT-2000, still sticking with that arch support theme. You’ve got your DuoMax arch support on the medial side.

On the medial side it looks like someone has got a pen and put dots underneath the arch. It’s not a fault of the shoe or manufacturing process. Asics have done that to identify where arch support sits.

I have received phone calls from some people saying, “Someone has drawn on my shoes” or “Asics have an issue manufacturing their midsoles”. That’s not the case. It just identifies where the arch support sits. It’s their way of splitting up the traditional EVA from the dual density EVA under the arch.

We’ve got dual density Gel cushioning; a Gel pod underneath the heel and a tiny Gel pod under the first metatarsal joint or your first big toe. That just gives a little bit of cushioning on that toe off phase.

We have a shoe with plenty of flexibility through the forefoot and a Trusstic system splitting the rearfoot and forefoot during that midstance phase of the running cycle.

On the medial side through the upper we’ve got some overlays. Unlike the Kayano which has underlays, this little guy has some overlays set up. This is a reinforced stitched piece off synthetic material to give your foot a little more stability through that midstance phase.

We’ve got a nice internal heel counter for plenty of stability which is great for running. Other than that, we have a very breathable shoe with lots of breathability channels, forefoot which is all mesh and channelling down the side and a mesh tongue.

The running shoes are designed to be light, cushioned and support the foot in a straight-line motion and offer ventilation. Again, if your child is rough on their shoes please consider a running cross trainer, hit the link to the cross training video. That’s your GT-2000.

Asics GT-1000 6

Next is your GT-1000. This little guy is a little bit de-spec'd than the 2000. You still have a Gel pod through the rearfoot, there’s just not specific Gel cushioning through the forefoot. It’s still got a nice EVA foam which is going to give you plenty of padding for little kids.

Up top we’ve got the most durable mesh upper that the Asics family provide with kids’ running shoes. It’s almost like a canvas up top, it’s quite solid. There’s no specific title or name for this upper we’ve just noticed in store it’s a lot more tightly woven.

It still offers plenty of breathability but is nice and tough. It has a tiny little stitched toe cap at the front.

On the medial side again, we have DuoMax arch support, where you can see those dots to split the EVA from the arch. It has a Gel pod again in the heel and nothing through the forefoot. We’ve got a Trusstic system splitting the rearfoot from the forefoot which is great.

It’s a good little running shoe. That’s one of the better priced running shoes on the market for kids who are maybe thinking of getting involved in running. Reason being $99 RRP, it’s great value for money.  

Asics Gel Cumulus 19

Next on the radar is our Gel Cumulus. The Asics Gel Cumulus is unlike the other three we’ve talked about. It's on a neutral platform with the same density of foam the whole way around the shoe.

There’s no injected arch support. If you’re sitting at home thinking, 'Is that a bad thing for my child?', well probably not.

As I touched on before, other than the Gel Kayano which is a complete takedown from the adult model, the 2000 and then the 1000 are de-spec'd versions of the adults'. Yes, they have some arch support but it’s been generically placed under the midsection.

Kids have growing feet with ligaments and bones all redeveloping all the time. Some kids have rapid growth spurts, some take a little big longer. Girls feet tend to develop a lot faster than boys.

With kid’s feet growing all the time if you go and put a specific arch support in an area it’s doing a general job. When we’re talking about adults' running shoes, we’ve stop growing of course so that support can be targeted in the right area; guidance stability, midfoot stability, neutral stability and obviously forefoot toe off pronation support. There’s a lot more variety in the adult range, whereas kids’ support is a bit generic.

Getting back to the Cumulus. Again, it has a neutral platform. We’ve got a shoe with a Gel pod through the heel and tiny Gel pod through the forefoot.

One thing I do like about this shoe is that the flex groove on the outsole doesn’t go from the lateral side to the medial side. It is encapsulated underneath the toe off phase. Although it doesn’t have arch support the shoe is a little bit more rigid underneath that toe off phase to give your child more support as they toe off, which is a good thing. You don’t want to completely drop off that first metatarsal joint.

We’ve got a nice deep heel counter. If your child has orthotics, whether they’re full length orthotics or half-length orthotics, this shoe is an easy one to fit. This is because it is structured, deep out the back and nice and stable.

The insert does come out easily which is the same as the other options we’ve talked about. If your podiatrist wants to put an orthotic inside a shoe they can.

Another feature I like about the shoe is it’s got a breathable upper. However, it's relatively supported with overlays. Asics have done a good job to give plenty of freedom through the mesh upper, while giving it structure and support at top with those overlays.

The next feature I’d like to talk about is the outsole. The Guidance Line in their running shoes has been shifted slightly to the lateral side. Being more for a neutral foot type like the Nimbus and Cumulus in the adults' family, they just push the Guidance Line more towards the middle of the foot.

If you look at the GT-2000 adults’ and GT-1000 adults’ then you look at the Kayano, you can see how the vertical Guidance Line that runs from the heel to the forefoot is pushed more to the lateral side. That’s to give the foot more outsole support on toe off rather than just relying on the arch. That is your Gel Cumulus kids’ running shoe.    

There is also a Gel Nimbus kids’ running shoe, we just haven’t received stock for that but it’s coming very soon and will be online to purchase. That shoe has a little bit more cushioning than the Gel Cumulus, just on the same neutral platform.

There you have it. That’s a bit of a sneak peak of the performance Asics running story. There are some other Asics range running shoes that just sit underneath this.

Asics Gel Contend 4

Just again de-spec'd ever so slightly, one that springs to mind is your Gel Contend 4 that has an EVA foam, relatively solid upper on top but I wouldn’t say it’s a shoe to consider if your kids are doing a lot of running.

It’s a shoe I’d consider if they’re getting involved in little athletics and wanted to do a little bit of running to dip their toe in the water to see if they like it.

The Asics running family I’ve touched on today is for the child that really enjoys running and loves going out for a gallop.

Happy running.