Weight: 270g (W), 299g (M)
Heel-toe drop: 13mm (W), 10mm (M)
The Asics Gel-Kayano 29 is the 29th iteration of Asics' flagship stability shoe. This shoe has been around for decades, and lifelong fans will be pleased to hear that its USP remains just the same: a highly supportive, cushioned and comfortable steed – ideal for high-mileage runners who tend to overpronate. Our deputy digital editor, Jenny Bozon, has been testing out the new model. Read on for her verdict and what's changed about the shoe...
What's the difference between the Gel-Kayano 28 and 29?
The Gel-Kayano is 4% lighter than its predecessor, thanks to an updated midsole foam. Previously the forefoot was comprised of FF Blast foam, but that's now been upgraded to a lighter (by 19%) and bouncier foam called FF Blast Plus, which is designed to create softer landings and a more energised toe-off. The footbed is also thicker – going up by 2mm in the heel and forefoot (now 25mm and 15mm respectively).
As with previous versions, in addition to the FF Blast Plus foam in the forefoot, you've also got a firmer, denser foam placed on the medial side of the shoe from the heel to the midfoot to prevent overpronation. This is what Asics calls it 'Litetruss' technology, which appears to be akin to Asics' Duomax tech, which served the same purpose in the previous version of the shoe. However, in the Kayano 28, this worked in conjunction with its 'Trusstic system' – essentially a firm piece of plastic beneath the shoe – to prevent the shoe from twisting as the foot moves in various directions. In the Kayano 29, that's been replaced by a more flexible piece of rubber, which works together with the denser foam to stabilise the foot.
The engineered mesh upper has also been refreshed to improve overall fit – and is designed to move with the wearer through their gait cycle and as feet expand.
What does the Asics Gel-Kayano 29 feel like to run in?
As an overpronating heel-striker, on paper, the Gel-Kayano 29 should suit me to a tee – yet I feel a little divided over the latest model. My main gripe is with the shoe's weight – although they certainly are (and feel) lighter than their predecessors, they're a little heavy for me. My point of comparison is Hoka's stability shoe, the Arahi 6, which, at 222g, is 48g lighter than the Kayanos, and feels much nippier as a result.
As to be expected, though, the stability tech is excellent. The firmer foam on the medial side isn't intrusive but provides enough rigidity and structure to feel supported, which I particularly appreciated during the end of my long runs, where my gait typically becomes sloppier as I begin to tire.
However, I'd have liked the midsole cushioning to feel a little more sprightly – although the new FF Blast Plus foam is noticeably bouncier, I felt there wasn't quite enough 'pop' when changing gear during faster sessions. The cushioning is also a tad firm for me – although I do suspect the foam will soften up with more wear over time.
That said, when it comes to overall comfort, the shoe scores top marks. The fit is spot on: the shoe has a relatively narrow profile, and this combined with the stretchy and buttery-soft mesh upper, creates the sensation of the shoe gently hugging the foot. But there's still plenty of room – and stretch – in the toebox for toes to wiggle freely.
The heel collar is thick and padded, which I also found to be very comfortable and helped create a snug fit, while an external heel counter (a small piece of plastic around heel that cradles the rear of your foot) provided me with excellent rear-foot lockdown.
Beneath the shoe, I was pleased with duel-density rubber grip, which provided good traction on multiple road surfaces and also looks to be very durable (although I can't yet confirm that). The updated Trusstic system went unnoticed for me and, although the shoe does feel a little rigid, this ensures a very stable ride – I had no qualms turning corners in these at speed or negotiating uneven sections of pavement.
The Asics Gel-Kayano 29 remains a workhorse stability shoe, providing bags of comfort and cushioning as you eat up the miles. Thanks to its stability tech, secure fit and excellent lockdown, it's a worthy companion for overpronating runners – especially those prone to lower-limb niggles. It's not the lightest or liveliest shoe around so you might need to look elsewhere for a race-day shoe, but as an everyday workhorse, it absolutely delivers.
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