ASICS Gel-Kayano 21 Shoe Review

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At a Glance

  • 11.4 oz. (Men’s size 9.0) & 9.6 oz. (Women’s size 8.0)
  • Men’s model offers a 10mm heel-to-toe drop (Heel: 28mm, Forefoot: 18mm)
  • Women’s model offers a 13mm heel-to-toe drop ( Heel: 30mm, Forefoot: 17mm) due to gender-specific Plus3 Support system design
  • Top of the class cushioning creates an ultra-soft and absorbent feeling throughout the gait cycle
  • Maximum support reduces moderate to severe overpronation
  • Plush, FluidFit mesh upper wraps foot for a snug and comfortable fit


The ASICS Gel-Kayano 21 blends a firm, maximum support platform with top-of-the-class cushioning to create a plush yet sturdy running experience for daily road training.

Top-of-the-Class Cushioning

Year after year, the Kayano has become known for its plush gel cushioning that gives runners protection on the roads. Upon trying on the Kayano 21, testers immediately noticed an improved step in feel that immediately created a luxurious experience. With the addition of a new ComforDry X40 sockliner, the shoe provides an absorbent feel without being excessively mushy. As testers hit the roads, the plush underfoot feel was the first characteristic to stand out. By adding 71% more gel in the forefoot and 32% more gel in the heel, the 21st version of this shoe becomes the most cushioned Gel-Kayano model to date. The Kayano 21 continues to innovate by modifying the previous Fluidride midsole to reduce weight by 15% and enhance bounce back by 20%. This improved design gave the shoe a little more spring compared to previous versions. While this daily trainer provides plenty of cushioning, testers did note trade offs in overall performance.  At faster paces, the Kayano felt slightly bulky and did not provide ideal responsiveness for tempo effort workouts. After several miles on the road, testers concluded that this shoe was optimal for both short recovery runs as well as long distance training, and felt the ample cushioning was sufficient up to the marathon distance.

Visible gel units are strategically placed at key impact zones to offer excellent shock absorption

For Moderate To Severe Overpronators

Not only does the Kayano excel in the cushioning category, but it also provides the most supportive platform to date. By introducing an improved heel crash pad and guidance line in the midsole, the Kayano 21 reduces the rate of overpronation more than ever before.  The Guidance line shape has been altered to run along a lateral path and becomes shallower near the toebox, which testers felt gave the shoe a smooth transition at toe-off. The improved heel shape allows for increased decoupling, which reduces the rate of pronation and allows the Guidance Line to become engaged earlier in the gait cycle. While the 21st version of the Kayano seemed to provide a stiff platform, the lack of flexibility was made up for with enhanced pronation control. With a firm stable feel, testers felt that even when fatigued, their gait continued to feel efficient stride after stride.

Greater decoupling in heel and new guidance line shape assists with reducing overpronation

Snug Fitting Wrap

ASICS ties the Kayano 21 together with a plush FluidFit upper that testers found to provide a personalized, glove like feel. FluidFit is a technical mesh material that stretches in multiple directions offering runners a secure yet adaptable fit. Testers also found the bonded overlays maintained a secure foot wrap and helped minimize irritations and hotspots. The Heel Clutching System works in harmony with the upper to create a secure heel lockdown.


Length of the shoe was standard but the secure fit provided a slightly tighter fitting experience in the midfoot. The shoe runs standard length but testers recognized a snug midfoot fit. For runners looking for some added width, the model comes in 2E & 4E widths.

FluidFit upper stretches in multiple directions for an adaptable fit


Available now at Running Warehouse:

ASICS Gel Kayano 21 Men’s Shoes

ASICS Gel Kayano 21 Women’s Shoes

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