Stability and cushioning are probably the most important two features that I consider when it comes to lacing up a new pair of training shoes. A high-degree of stability is part of the reason that I’ve consistently relied on every version of the ASICS GEL-KAYANO 30 to keep me going strong underfoot in all conditions and distances. This shoe has consistently kept me steady and consistent, whether I’m navigating icy sidewalks (don’t worry, we will be again soon enough) or intervals on the track, plus the added cushioning from ASICS FLYTEFOAM Blast has always felt like a soft landing that my joints appreciate too.
Earlier this month, the brand launched the latest version, GEL-KAYANO 30, and it got me a little anxious, in both an excited and yet nervous way. I’m all for change, but would my go-to shoes feel the same or would there be a noticeable difference? In training and shoes, consistency is key. Truth be told, I was right, the difference is undeniable.
This version incorporates a 4D guidance system, which not only increases stability, but it actually adapts as you run. Note the beveled heel, that’s what gives you more control on impact, and the wider base nets are giving you added stability, and the medial foam guides your foot to better positioning after landing. All this to say, during your weekend long runs you should notice you have more balance in each stride because of each component of this feature.
The 30s are also noticeably lighter, which made me wonder if I’d still feel a cushioning in my landing. It turns out the PureGel technology below the heel reduces the weight without compromising on feel. On longer distances, it feels incredibly smooth. Contributing to the added comfort, the FLYTEFOAM Plus Eco in mid-sole continues to offer that cloud-like feel that you can expect in earlier versions of the Kayano. And the impact of the OrthoLit X-55 sockliner is not to be underestimated, providing instant comfort the moment you slide your foot into the shoe.
Sometimes change is a good thing. Quite often it’s a combination of small tweaks (in your training or shoes) that combine for a notable impact. For the GEL-KAYANO 30 these added upgrades in technology have taken a shoe I already enjoyed to another level. It’s a whole lot of positive changes that I’m hoping to replicate in my training for a fall marathon. As I make my way, I’ll definitely have the 30s in my rotation. A reliable (and improved) training partner—keeping me on my feet and going the distance.
Anna Lee Boschetto is a regular iRun contributor and ASICS runner.