Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 160 August 2023 | Page 62


The Revolutionary Kayano

With a whole new approach to anti-pronation support , the new ASICS Gel-Kayano 30 is turning the world of shoe tech upside down , and the result is a stability shoe that feels like a neutral shoe , and could even be used by runners with neutral biomechanics . – BY SEAN FALCONER

The first time I reviewed an ASICS-Gel Kayano model was in the year 2000 , so I have seen many a Kayano come and go through the years ! As a runner with neutral feet , I never ‘ needed ’ the anti-pronation features of this stability shoe , but I could still review and appreciate the technology packed into the various Kayano models … and the list of tech read like an A-Z of all the tech in the ASICS arsenal . If they had it , you ’ d find it in the Kayano !

Throughout my experience of the shoe over the last quarter of a century , the Kayano was marketed as the top of the ASICS range when it came to stability , with the 1000 and 2000 series shoes meeting the lower and intermediate tiers of anti-pronation needs . To be fair , that ’ s a bit of an oversimplification of these three shoes , but it ’ s the easiest way to describe the hierarchy within the ASICS range . The 2000 offered more stability than the 1000 , and in turn , the Kayano offered more than the 2000 .
As such , the Kayano was sometimes marketed in various ways . On the one hand , it was the ultimate Comrades Marathon stability shoe , offering the maximum in both anti-pronation as well as cushioning and shock-absorption , both of which would really pay off in the


An Awesome ASICS Trio

The Kayano , Nimbus and Cumulus shoes have been best-sellers on the SA market for nearly three decades , but the latest editions of each shoe have taken things to new heights , as ASICS has set out to reinvent not just these popular shoes , but established running shoe design itself !
latter stages of a 90km ultra-marathon . The shoe was also touted to be ‘ the big guy ’ s stability shoe ,’ with more cushioning and more stability to cope with the extra weight and extra pronation of said runners . Thirdly , it was described as the closest thing to a motion-control ( MC ) shoe ( for severe over-pronators ), but still built on a semi-curved last ( footbed ) instead of the more traditional straight last of an MC shoe , which therefore made it more comfortable to run in than a clumpy MC shoe .
What all of this didn ’ t cover is that the Kayano was always a very , very good shoe , and whatever it was that drew you to the shoe , you got your money ’ s worth . Sure , it was also one of the priciest shoes on the SA market , but it was a popular shoe , and it delivered on all its promises for most runners . You seldom heard anybody bad-mouthing the Kayano on technological or performance levels , even when the design changed from year to year . So that raises the question how the fans of the traditional Kayano are going to react to the revolutionary changes in the new 30th edition , because ASICS has effectively turned anti-pronation on its head . I think they should be most pleasantly surprised . In fact , I think the shoe may pick up a whole new set of fans !
Lessons in Pronation
In order to explain this shoe , I do need to talk a bit of shoe tech first . Traditionally , anti-pronation shoes have featured a duel-density medial post , which is tech-speak for a plug of harder foam rubber on the inner side of the shoe that is designed to slow the roll of the foot inwards . This post , which is often a different colour to the rest of the midsole foam rubber , does not literally stop the roll of the foot , like a wall , but slows it down by presenting a bit more resistance , thus compelling the foot to choose a path of lesser resistance as it transitions from heel-strike to toe-off . That ’ s not what you get in the new Kayano , so let ’ s unpack the design a bit .
Firstly , the midsole is now made from Flytefoam Blast Plus Eco , and the stack height has been increased to 40mm in the heel and 30mm in the forefoot , so it ’ s a good few millimetres taller than the Kayana 29 , which had a 32mm / 22mm ratio , and the new shoe provides a wonderfully cushioned ride . There is also a PureGel insert in the heel for extra cushioning and shockabsorption on landing . However , the ‘ star of the show ’ is the new 4D Guidance System , which actually has a softer wedge of foam under the inner arch , instead of a firmer medial post .
Wait , I hear you saying , won ’ t that allow your foot to roll inwards even faster than before , thus having the opposite effect of the antipronation post of yesteryear ? I asked the exact same
The new ASICS Gel-Kayano 30 is a revolutionary departure from
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