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Asics Gel Kayano 29 vs 28 Comparison Running Shoe Review

by Sportitude
5 Aug 2022

The main difference between the Asics Gel Kayano 29 and Asics Gel Kayano 28 is the overhauled midsole – with the Kayano 29 featuring a lighter and less intrusive stability system with new LiteTruss technology, while the Asics Gel Kayano 28 features traditional Dynamic DuoMax.

The Kayano is the flagship high mileage stability running shoe of Asics and has been for just short of 30 years. In this review, Josh compares the newest model, the Asics Gel Kayano 29 side by side with its predecessor.

Even with bold modifications, it stays true to its reputation as a highly cushioned shoe for mild overpronators. Loyal Kayano wears will continue to flock to this ultra-smooth and stable ride, while the updates will put this running shoe family on the radar for new Kayano fans.

The Asics Gel Kayano 29 features one less flex groove to complement the rocker-like sensation and springy forefoot engineering – keeping your ride smooth and flexible without compromising on support.

An engineered knit upper with a strategically tighter weave on the medial side and supportive internal heel counter creates a structured fit. The refreshed upper design works in harmony with the increased stack height, keeping you stable on the platform to conquer long mileage and daily training.

The midsole is where the Kayano family has always stood out from the pack and the Asics Gel Kayano 29 is no different. Lightweight and responsive FlyteFoam Blast Plus foam creates a snappy pop on toe-off while the rearfoot is protected with Gel cushioning for heel striker-friendly engineering.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hi guys, welcome to Sportitude Running. My name is Josh and we’re going to be doing a running shoe review today on the Asics Gel Kayano 29. In today’s review we’ll dive into all the specific details including the outsole, midsole and upper of the Asics Gel Kayano 29 and Asics Gel Kayano 28.

With the Asics Kayano franchise nothing has changed. It’s targeting a runner that requires a bit of medial stability through that arch and that’s going to be spending plenty of time out on the road, pounding the pavement. A Kayano wearer is looking for ultimate cushioning with a really good protective, stable ride underneath the body. Nothing has changed in this respect regarding the Asics Gel Kayano 29.

In fact, a lot has improved in my opinion. What I like about this running shoe is it has a slightly increased stack height, so you get a little more shoe underneath the foot.

You’re not buying the Kayano because it’s a light shoe. When you can see reductions of around 10g in a men’s size 9 that’s good science. Most of that change is coming from removing that plastic Trusstic system through the midpart of the shoe which sits around the midshank. There is a slight reduction in the exposed Gel cushioning as well. They have a Gel heel and have removed the Twist Gel through the forefoot which we’ll dive into in today’s review.

The other thing I really like about this shoe is the exit of this shoe. The slight rocker through the forefoot makes for a really good release out of your gait cycle There’s a lot to like about the Asics Gel Kayano 29 and I think for all you Kayano wearers, whether you come from the Asics Gel Kayano 27 or Asics Gel Kayano 28 I am confident you’ll like what Asics are doing with this shoe moving forward.

Outsole

Let’s get stuck into today’s review and talk all things outsole first. I’m holding the men’s Asics Gel Kayano 29 in my hand. You can see that we have full ground contact on play. You have rubber strategically placed in the back of the shoe, remembering this running shoe is targeting a heel striker first.

It’s AHAR rubber at the back which is a harder compound rubber which is going to wear a little better at the entry point for heel strikers. We have this new filled in medial wall for want of a better term in comparison to what we had last year with the Asics Gel Kayano 28.

On this medial side there was just your exposed FlyteFoam cushioning system which was on play. There was that plastic Trusstic system which gave the running shoe some structure and integrity through the midstance phase. They have removed that in the Asics Gel Kayano 29 but have just build it up that medial wall with exposed rubber or that carbon rubber on that medial side.

As you come through to the forefoot we can see three flex grooves on offer through the front half in comparison to the last year where we had four flex grooves. They’ve removed one flex groove because we had the Twist Gel on offer in the Asics Gel Kayano 28. Remember the Twist Gel is roughly the size of a 10c to 20c coin which sits underneath your first metatarsal. It’s a strategically placed Gel cushioning pad to provide support for that first metatarsal or your big toe as you transition through your gait cycle.

In removing that in the Asics Gel Kayano 29 there's a couple of plays here like the increased stack height which we'll get to in the midsole part of this review. However, by having a slightly more tilted forefoot with that rocker, you can take one flex groove away because you don't want it to be too flexible and create a little bit of overuse in that forefoot. Therefore, you have the three flex grooves and this encapsulated rubber on that forefoot to give your first metatarsal a little bit of extra support without you having to use that Twist Gel through the front half.

Upper

Diving straight to the upper, this is probably my favorite part of this shoe which is a bit of a surprise because I really like what they have done with the midsole. However, going to an engineered knit you'll find this running shoe provides a really good structured hold across your whole foot.

There's no gusseted tongue in the Asics Gel Kayano 29 and there wasn't a gusseted tongue in the Asics Gel Kayano 28 either. However, we had an engineered mesh that was really lightweight, very breathable and to be completely honest they had a great engineered construction with that upper in last year's model.

I didn't think they needed to change it however going to the Asics Gel Kayano 29, Asics have obviously identified a bit of an improvement area and having a slightly more constructed upper just helps the midsole perform a little bit better. Again, all the three components being the outsole, midsole and upper work in harmony together so when you increase the stack height which they have done, you need to make sure that the upper is going to hold the foot on that platform to make sure you get all the performance benefits out of this shoe that you require, hence that engineered knitted construction.

What we have with this running shoe is a tighter weave across the medial side. You expect that because it is designed for a mild overpronator so you want to make a focus area to make sure the upper is nice and stable on that connection piece to the midsole.

As you come through to the midstance or midsection of this shoe, nothing really has changed with regards to the fit and feel in my opinion. How I found my Asics Gel Kayano 28 to fit and feel in regards to the length and width, I have experienced the same with the Asics Gel Kayano 29 so they're not any tighter or deeper. There's just a slightly better executed upper with regards to that knit.

Coming back to the heel counter, there’s the same amount of memory foam on offer in the Asics Gel Kayano 28 and Asics Gel Kayano 29 so nothing has changed. You have that internal heel counter which is strategically placed. It’s a really important part of the upper of this running shoe because it makes sure that heel and calcaneus stays nice and stable as you come down on your entry part of your gait cycle. There’s a little bit of exposed or external plastic heel counter around the external piece of this shoe to reinforce the performance of that heel counter.

Midsole

Jumping to the midsole of this review and let's be honest it's what the Asics Kayano has been known for a number of years now. Let's talk about the technology that's on use first and foremost.

We have two different foams regarding the execution of the midsole. We have FlyteFoam Blast Plus which is a nice, light but responsive foam which takes up the majority of that forefoot, with a slight gradient back towards the heel which is where you have FlyteFoam technology underneath this Gel pod.

You want a really nice entry with soft compression on that first point of contact with the ground, particularly if you’re heel striking. As you come through to your midstance and get ready to toe-off, that FlyteFoam Blast Plus gives you a nice little pop through the forefoot.

On this medial side though there's been quite a bit of change as well. We now have a LiteTruss arch support in comparison to last year when we had the Dynamic DuoMax. DuoMax or Dynamic DuoMax has been Asics’ bread and butter for that arch support for 30 plus years. They have used it, they have advanced it, they've changed, they've tweaked it but it's been a very recognisable piece of technology in literally all of their support shoes for a vast majority of years now.

There is a little bit of a change up with regards to how they've executed that arch support with the Asics Gel Kayano 29. Do not be alarmed at home. I personally feel this support system is less intrusive and you get just as much if not a better ride on that medial side for your mild overpronators.

It does reduce the weight of the running shoe which is a bit of a bonus however you don't want to sacrifice too much. If Asics went back to the drawing board and tweaked this medial support to the point where they were happy to sacrifice 3%, 4% or 5% of support to get someone into the shoe, they wouldn't do it. They would make sure that that running shoe is still catering for that mild overpronator that's requiring that medial support and this LiteTruss support system does exactly that.

It doesn't fill up the whole wall on that medial side, it does sit just underneath this FlyteFoam cushioning system. It offers a little bit of cushioning on that medial side but you get that benefit of that LiteTruss as you transition through your midstance phase.

Referring back to the outsole, filling in that wall in that medial side complements what they are doing with the density of foam on that medial side as well. It wouldn't be an Asics Gel Kayano if there wasn't some form of Gel placed in this shoe. Asics have strategically placed that exposed Gel underneath the heel, more favouring that lateral side to provide a little bit of extra dampening for that first entry.

As we touched on the intro, they have removed that Twist Gel underneath your first metatarsal which has been a big piece with regards to Asics having a dual Gel cushioning system. It's the first time in a number of years where there's no dual Gel. It's just Gel on the heel, nothing in the forefoot. However, we've touched on in the outsole part of this review that the encapsulated rubber provides just enough support for that first metatarsal in conjunction with the increased stack height of this shoe, so they're not sacrificing anything to execute that.

Weight, Stack Height & Heel-To-Toe Drop

Let's talk about some key statistics regarding the Asics Gel Kayano 29. If you're buying this shoe you're not really going to be too caught up on what weight the shoe is because it is a stable supportive cushioned shoe and most of those shoes in that category sit around that 300 grams mark for a men's size 9. However, Asics have been able to achieve a slight weight reduction and it's 10 grams. Last year it was 310 grams in the Asics Gel Kayano 28 men’s model so you have that slight reduction there which is a great win.

Last year for the women’s model we had 260 grams in the size 7 and now we have 255 grams in the Asics Gel Kayano 29, so a 5 gram reduction with that running shoe.

As we touched on in this review, a lot of it is to do with removing that plastic Trusstic system, removing that dual Gel cushioning and also a slightly refined upper. It helps incrementally drop that weight down in this shoe.

The other thing I'd like to touch on in the key statistics part of this review is talking about the variance in heel-to-toe offset and stack height. For a number of years now we've seen the Kayano have a really big change regarding the women's and men's model.

For a number of years now the men's model has sat in and round that 10mm offset. In the Asics Gel Kayano 29 we have a 25mm heel and a 15mm forefoot for that variance of 10mm. Last year it was a 24mm heel and 14mm forefoot with regards to the stack height and drop. Nothing has changed with the heel-to-toe offset, however there's just a slight increase in stack height.

This year with the women’s model of the Asics Gel Kayano 29 we have 24mm in the heel and 14mm in the forefoot for a variance of 10mm. Last year we had a 25mm heel and 12mm forefoot. That's a big variance, we had a 13mm heel-to-toe offset and now we've gone to a 10mm heel-to-toe offset. You may think that's a big change for a brand to make regarding a mileage performance shoe.

However, it needed to happen to complement that mild rocker through the forefoot and the softer density of foam. This running shoe was going to perform a lot better throughout the whole transition of the gait cycle than it would if it was on that 13mm heel-to-toe drop. It would put too much pressure through the front half of this shoe, it wouldn't wear as well and wouldn't be as comfortable.

Asics have always done and will continue to do a lot of due diligence with their research and their product testing. It's obviously come out on top that they need to drop that from a 13mm heel-to-toe drop to a 10mm heel-to-toe drop to get the performance benefits out of this shoe.

The Wrap Up

In summary the Asics Gel Kayano 29 is a fantastic update and I really do mean that. They put a lot of time and effort into executing a really good shoe, a running shoe that has a lot of expectation out there. This running shoe has a huge following globally and it will continue to have that but what we love about this shoe is it's available in widths which you can see on the product pages below.

From our perspective when we're fitting performance shoes or running shoes that come with a lot of added benefit like the Asics Gel Kayano, we want to make it accessible. Having it in multiple widths in the women's model and in the men's model makes our job a lot easier when we're talking about performance fitting shoes to fit for purpose.

The other great thing and the biggest change in my opinion is in the midsole. However, I love the execution of the new knit upper. It's a really good conforming fit and doesn't feel heavy on the foot. It's going to breathe really well.

That increased stack height regarding the midsole component with a slight reduction of weight and removing that Trusstic system offers a really smooth transition throughout the whole gait cycle.

I think this is going to target a few more runners outside of traditional Kayano wearers. Obviously, there's hits and misses with every single shoe over the years, but a Kayano wearer literally just walks back in, wants to try it on and get that fit, feel, comfort and width right, and away they go. However, I feel this is going to target a few more runners.

Asics have taken a lot of learnings with regards to the last 5 years. There's a lot of similarities in the knowledge regarding how they've executed the Asics Gel Kayano 29 not only in weight but overall fit, feel and performance and a slightly broader footprint with the outsole and construction regarding the amount of space you have underneath the shoe itself.

It really does run very smooth, light and cushioned. It is a mileage shoe and it's going to be insanely comfortable for plenty of clicks out in the road. Don't forget it is targeting a mild overpronator.

If you have any questions about the Asics Gel Kayano 29, the stability category or anything regarding shoes in the last couple of years please contact our Sportitude shoe experts and let us know. We always love to hear from you the running community wherever you are in the world.

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Until next time happy running, stay safe, be kind to one another and we'll see you on the road. Take care.

FEATURES

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

Men

  • Heel Height: 25mm
  • Forefoot Height: 15mm
  • Offset / Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: 300g / 10.2oz (US 9)
  • Width: D (standard), 2E (wide), 4E (extra wide)

Women

  • Heel Height: 24mm
  • Forefoot Height: 14mm
  • Offset / Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: 255g / 9oz (US 7)
  • Width: B (standard), D (wide)


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Happy running!