Evaluation If you're a neutral runner or a mild overpronator who simply wants one of the deepest, plushest shoes on the market, the Gel Kayano should be on your list (along with gems such as Mizuno's Wave Creation and Nike's Air Kantara). It includes almost every ride technology that Asics has at its disposal. And over the last couple of years, its stability features have been made less severe to smooth the ride further and widen the shoe's target audience. Like Asics's other main winter launches, this year's version has changed little beyond a cosmetic update. It keeps its Internal Guidance System, which in simple terms aims to smooth the ride and stabilise the foot by slowing pronation (rather than creating a barrier on the medial side for the foot to press against). It also keeps its shape-retaining SpEVA midsole, half-length medial post and polyurethane support cradle. And it has big rear- and forefoot Gel cushioning pads. The main change is that the rearfoot pad is made from a different kind of Gel, which Asics says should feel more natural (we didn't have a finalised version to test).
Incidentally, did you know that the Gel Kayano is the brainchild of a genuine Mr Kayano, who each year designs the shoe as his own project?
In short The Gel Kayano IX confirms that Asics has permanently left behind the heritage of the Kayano as a big-guy stability/motion control shoe. It's now unashamedly a structured cushioning shoe for comfort-seekers and big guys alike.
Try it on if you liked Nike Air Kantara (£90); Mizuno Wave Creation (£90); Nike Shox R4 (£130)