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Asics Gel Kayano Lite vs Gel Kayano 27 Comparison Shoe Review

by Sportitude
14 Oct 2020

Josh reviews the Asics Gel Kayano Lite, a lightweight high mileage stability shoe in the Asics running shoe family. It evolves on the fundamental groundwork of the Asics Gel Kayano 27 by offering support for overpronators, but with less intrusive engineering.

The heel striker-friendly Trusstic system of the Kayano 27 has been removed in preference for full ground contact, catering more specifically to midfoot runners. If you land relatively lightly on your heel the Kayano Lite could still be a favourite in your running shoe rotation, otherwise the Kayano 27 with its additional arch support may be the ride for you.

Asics have executed the support with an innovative honeycomb set-up in the midsole – providing strategic compression at the forefoot and rearfoot to minimise the collapsing of your arches during the midstance phase. It couples with Asics FlyteFoam technology for a springy, smooth and shock-absorbing ride on a weight-saving package.

When paired with a heel lock lace, the combination of an internal heel counter and memory foam lining allows for a dialled in fit free of heel slippage. Ready for summer, the engineered mesh upper offers lightweight breathability to tackle hot weather runs out on the road.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hi guys, Josh here from Sportitude and today it is shoe review time. We're going to be talking all things Asics Gel Kayano Lite. This shoe has just landed in Australia on 1 October 2020 and it is a very exciting shoe.

I know for a fact that Asics have been doing some serious groundwork on this shoe to get it to market. I was lucky enough to run in two prototypes of this shoe through the front half of this year. I've seen the progression and change with what they have gone through to get to this end product, and it is very exciting.

In today's review we're going to be doing a comparison to the Asics Gel Kayano 27 and show you the changes in the outsole, midsole and upper. It might give you enough information at home to potentially throw this into your shoe rotation. Without further ado, let's get stuck in.

Runner Profile

First thing I want to touch on is the foot type that should be considering the Kayano Lite. We're targeting a runner that still requires a little bit of arch support. Although they have executed it with a different technology, we're still looking at the runner that does come through that midstance phase and overpronates.

It’s a static foot position where the arches splay out and then as we go through that midstance transition, we get a little bit of rotation through the arch, shins, knees and hips. It’s still catering for an overpronator, so keep that in mind.

Outsole

With all my shoe reviews we like to touch on the engineering components. We’re going to give you some information at home regarding what Asics have done in executing this running shoe.

Firstly, we're going to talk about the outsole. The biggest change Asics have done in the Kayano Lite from the Kayano 27 is removing the Trusstic system which sits between the midfoot.

Straight off the bat when I hold the men’s size 9.5 in the Kayano Lite and Kayano 27 side by side there's a couple of noticeable changes.

You can see the Trusstic system which sits on the Kayano 27 which splits that heel support and the forefoot support system. It provides an aid for that heel striker that comes down and then as you go through the deceleration phase through midstance, the Trusstic system helps that braking component of your running gait.

In the Kayano Lite they've removed that from the shoe. Asics is targeting more of a midfoot runner. If you happen to be a heel striker, it is OK but if you happen to be a heel striker that hits the ground with a considerable amount of impact, I would lean towards the Kayano 27, especially if you’re looking for arch support.

If you happen to be more of a midfoot striker, we've got full ground contact. There’s no Trusstic system, giving you a good purchase with the ground the whole way through the gait cycle.

The other noticeable change is the amount of surface area you've got underneath your foot. You can see straight off the bat you've got quite a lot more surface area in the Kayano Lite. The main reason behind that is due to how they've executed support in that shoe which is more about the midsole, which we’ll get to in two ticks.

The other change is the depth of flex grooves through the forefoot. They are ever so slightly a little bit deeper through the front.

The Kayano 27 has full three flex grooves through the forefoot from the lateral to the medial side of the shoe. With the Kayano Lite, you still have three flex grooves however they've been separated on this lateral board with three pods. This provides a bit more flexibility and helps get your foot into a nice stable platform on your toe-off of your gait cycle.

Midsole

Coming through to the midsole, this is essentially where most of the changes happened in this shoe. As I touched on before, it is designed for an overpronator and if you hold up the Kayano 27 you can see we've got the Dynamic DuoMax trademarked Asics support system.

Dynamic DuoMax is that dual density foam that's placed strategically on the medial side of the Kayano 27 to provide that aid in overpronation for that runner that comes down on the heel, goes through to midstance and has that tendency to roll in over their arch.

You can't see Dynamic DuoMax on the medial side of the Kayano Lite. Asics have been quite clever with regards to how they've executed the support system.

What I happen to have in front of me is a cutaway of the midsole of the Kayano Lite. I'm going to talk you through how they've executed the support system. I’ll call out this little cutaway because that is where the Twist Gel is placed underneath the first metatarsal. There is an element of Gel cushioning inside this shoe but it's not in the heel, it's in the forefoot.

There’s almost like a honeycomb set-up compression set. When you make ground contact with this shoe hitting midstance and as your heel drops through the midstance phase you get an element of compression underneath your heel. As you transfer through to the forefoot, you can see how the gradient level of that honeycomb set-up changes ever so slightly.

What Asics have achieved by having slightly different decoupling set-ups is that as you go through midstance to toe-off, we're not going to collapse as much through that midstance phase of your gait cycle. This is purely and simply through a dynamic support set-up which is what they've executed through this honeycomb design in the back half of the shoe and the forefoot.

When you put the shoe on your foot even in the store and you stand up, you do feel an element of arch support within the shoe. That's more to do with when you put weight on this midsole, the heel honeycomb component will compress and the forefoot honeycomb component will compress a little bit more.

You can take into consideration that when you put your running gait through the midsole, you’ll get more compression. That's around 3.5 to 4.5 times your body weight through your foot in every single step. The arch support does become a little bit more noticeable underneath your foot.

Touching on the midsole, the stack height is very similar to the Kayano 27, there's only a 1mm higher offset. We've got a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm in the men's both in the Kayano 27 and the Kayano Lite. In the ladies’ Kayano Lite we have a 13mm heel-to-toe variance.

The midsole foam is your FlyteFoam trademarked cushioning system from Asics. It is a light and consistent feel from the heel right through to the forefoot which is great.

Upper

Coming through to the upper. This shoe being the first of its kind is only available in one width. We're talking at B width in the ladies’ which is standard and a D width men's which is also standard.

With the upper, what you would expect with an Asics running shoe is to complement what they've achieved underneath the foot. They would then try and execute an upper support system to do the midsole and the outsole justice.

What they have achieved is an internal heel counter through the back half. When you look at the internal heel counter structure, it's nice and stable. You get a good grab around the back of your heels and calcaneus, so it’s nice and supported.

As you're coming through to the midsection of this shoe it's a little bit shallower than the Kayano 27. I'll just call that out because I personally found this to be a bit more secure on my foot through the midsection of this shoe, which is fine and I like that nice lockdown.

As you come through the forefoot it is slightly rounder and a lot of that is because you have a wider base. Since you have a wider base through the forefoot, the upper itself is a little bit rounder through that toe box which again I personally liked.

In a D width it probably runs a fraction wider than what you would find in a D width Kayano 27. It’s only a small thing but I just found the Kayano Lite to be a little bit more voluminous through the forefoot which again I liked.

It’s kind of a contrast from the snugger fit through the arch and a more voluminous fit through the forefoot. The two together for me personally worked quite well and I liked the fit and feel.

The engineered mesh is going to give you plenty of ventilation and breathability. We're coming into summer here in Australia and this is going to offer you plenty of comfort on those warm and hot days out on the road.

The structure and design of that mesh through the forefoot is one that I don't think we're going to see any issues with any unusual wear through the front half with toes coming through. We haven't had problems like that for a couple of years now with Asics and a number of brands which is good. Brands are onto it and they're making their forefoot meshes a little bit stronger which is fantastic.

Coming back to the heel counter of this shoe, I found that when running in the first and second prototypes that I had to utilise a heel lock lace. For me it was to get a bit more security. Sometimes I can run with or without a heel lock and I really don't tend to notice too much difference.

However, with this shoe I did have to utilise that heel lock lace, so coming back to that last hole, creating the loop and locking it back to get a bit more security around the back of my heel. This gave me a lot more confidence with this shoe from midstance to toe-off. I wasn't getting that slipping which is great.

Also, the lining around the inside has that memory foam so you get a nice secure fit once you get the lacing dialled in to your preference. You get a really good secure fit around the back of your heel.

Let's call out the fact that this shoe is the Kayano Lite and weighs in at 285g in a men's size 9 and the Kayano 27 is 310g in the men's size 9. We're talking a variance of 25 grams which is a considerable amount for a mileage shoe.

In the ladies’ we have 235g for the Kayano Lite and then 250g for the Kayano 27, so a drop of 15 grams. It’s a nice little adjustment in the weight of the shoe.


There you have it guys, that is my take on the Asics Kayano Lite. It is an exciting shoe and kudos to Asics for jumping out and changing our thoughts on how we should be fitting running shoes in the speciality retail space and how you as consumers should be buying your running shoes.

It is a high mileage shoe on a lighter package and as I touched on before, it is more targeting that midfoot runner. However, if you happen to be a heel striker it's going to be OK.

If you happen to be heel striker and land relatively hard on your first point of contact with the ground and you're looking for an overpronation-friendly ride, I will still often guide you into a Kayano 27. It's going to provide a little bit more cushioning and guidance support in the back half of the shoe.

If you're a runner that's a midfoot runner and you're looking something lighter with a bit of overpronation support, give the Kayano Lite a go. It's very exciting and comfortable. I rate this shoe highly.

If you have any questions or if you've tried the Kayano Lite, please contact our Sportitude shoe experts to share your feedback. Please subscribe to the Sportitude YouTube channel if you haven’t done so already and we’ll continue to bring as much running shoe content as we possibly can to you at home.

Until next time, happy running and we'll see you on the road. Take care.

FEATURES

  • Support: Stability
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: Asics FlyteFoam

Men

  • Offset / Drop: 10mm
  • Heel Height: 25mm
  • Forefoot Height: 15mm
  • Weight: 285g / 10.1oz (25g lighter than the Asics Gel Kayano 27)
  • Width: D (standard)

Women

  • Offset / Drop: 13mm
  • Heel Height: 27mm
  • Forefoot Height: 14mm
  • Weight: 235g / 8.3oz  (15g lighter than the Asics Gel Kayano 27)
  • Width: B (standard)