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Shoe Review: ASICS GEL-Kayano 27

A profile view of the men's ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 running shoes

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 is the latest in the popular Kayano line, and a few key updates make it worthy of taking the torch.

The big story this year is how ASICS tuned the men’s and women’s models to fit each gender’s differences in foot shape, gait and weight. What didn’t change, though, is the incredibly smooth ride and cushioned feel that the Kayano is known for.

Fleet Feet runners reviewed the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 to see how the small tweaks made it even better than before. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

ASICS GEL-Kayano 27

Weight

8.8 oz (women’s), 11.1 oz (men’s)

Drop

13 mm (women’s), 10 mm (men’s)

Stack height (heel/toe)

24mm/11mm (W), 22mm/12mm (M)

Midsole

Flytefoam

Category

Stability

Surface

Road, track

ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 Fit and Materials

The upper on the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 running shoes

Like all ASICS running shoes, the GEL-Kayano 27 is built from premium materials, which gives the shoe a plush step-in feel and top-notch durability.

The premium feel starts with the engineered mesh upper. ASICS used a jacquard mesh that puts more space between fibers to help reduce weight and encourage airflow. Fleet Feet testers had no problems with sweat or clamminess on warm runs.

Around the back, designers tacked an external heel counter onto the shoe. The external counter adds structure to the heel and creates a locked-in fit.

Two of the most noticeable things about the Kayano, though, are its step-in feel and accommodating fit.

ASICS gave the Kayano a padded heel collar draped in a silky smooth fabric. The padding is comfortable for long runs, and the smooth fabric helps keep rubbing and chafing under control. A padded tongue adds to the plush feeling.

The Kayano 27 also has one of the roomiest and most comfortable fits of any new running shoe so far this year. Testers loved how accommodating the Kayano feels.

“I love how the Kayano 27 fits,” one tester says. “It’s so roomy in the midfoot and forefoot, and my heel was locked in. Nothing slips or pinches. It’s so, so comfortable.”

The new Kayano also earned the title of “favorite ASICS running shoes ever” from another tester.

“For an extended period of time, whether running, walking or standing at my desk, the Kayano wins for long-lasting comfort and support,” she says. “The room in the toe box is reason enough to pick this shoe up time and time again.”

ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 Ride and Performance

The external heel counter on the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 running shoes

ASICS built the Kayano 27 on top of a soft, stable platform, making the Kayano ideal for neutral runners or overpronators.

Like the soft padding in the heel collar and tongue, the Kayano offers a plush underfoot feel as well. The FlyteFoam cushioning used in the midsole is perfect for runners who prefer a soft feel, and it’s bouncy enough to give it a livelier ride than some supremely soft foams.

Sandwiched into the FlyteFoam is a slab of ASICS’ signature GEL cushioning technology. The GEL pad, positioned in the heel, squishes when you land to soak up shock and disperses it evenly throughout the shoe. It also helps create a smooth transition from heel to toe, which testers appreciated.

“The new Kayano rolls smoothly,” one tester says. “It also feels consistently cushioned all the way through the transition.”

The Kayano 27 isn’t noticeably light or heavy. At 8.8 oz for women and 11.1 ounces for men, the Kayano lands squarely in the average weight range for full-cushioned stability running shoes.

One of the key features of the Kayano is the Dynamic Duomax stability technology. To help prevent uneven wear for overpronators, the Kayano 27 has a firmer piece of foam beneath the inside part (medial side) of the arch. The medial post is a classic stability feature that many runners will be used to.

Stability shoes sometimes get a bad rep for feeling stiff or cumbersome. Not the Kayano 27, according to one tester.

“When you think of traditional stability shoes, you might think they’re clunky or heavy,” he says. “But the Kayano felt lightweight with a nice balance of cushion and response.”

ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 Gender-Specific Details

Men and women typically have different foot shapes, gait patterns and weights. ASICS engineered the Kayano 27 to accommodate those differences.

ASICS says there are three differences between the men’s and women’s versions of the Kayano: the Trusstic System, midsole composition and amount of foam underfoot.

  • Trusstic System. The typical ASICS Trusstic System—the piece of plastic under the shoe’s arch—helps give a shoe stability by preventing twisting. The Kayano 27’s Trusstic System does that but provides slightly different attributes for men and women: ASICS says women get added support for forward motion, and men have more arch support toward the inside of the arch.
  • Midsole feel. Both the men’s and women’s versions of the Kayano 27 use a FlyteFoam midsole, but the composition is slightly softer for women.
  • Amount of foam. Like the softer feel, the women’s Kayano 27 has 3 mm more foam underfoot than the men’s model to account for women’s unique biomechanical needs.

It’s hard to compare exactly how the differences affect each model—our male and female testers didn’t run in each other’s shoes—but both male and female reviewers praised the Kayano 27’s smooth, comfortable ride.

ASICS GEL-Kayano 26 vs. GEL-Kayano 27

A side-by-side comparison of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 26 and GEL-Kayano 27

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 26 and GEL-Kayano 27 look very similar when you compare them side by side, but several changes to the new shoe are noticeable.

ASICS toned down the external heel counter on the Kayano 27 by shortening how far it wraps up the sides of the shoe. A piece of the old heel counter flared up toward the heel collar, but the new iteration is rounded off.

Designers also tweaked the mesh upper and the design of the GEL cushion in the heel.

There are changes beneath the shoe, too. Designers changed the flex grooves in the forefoot and uncoupled a piece of the rubber outsole in the heel. Testers didn’t notice any major changes in the underfoot feel or ride of the shoe from the ASICS GEL-Kayano 26 review.

The big change to the Kayano 27, though, is the differences between the men’s and women’s models of the shoe. Women get more foam underfoot and a slightly steeper heel-to-toe drop, and the Trusstic Systems are tuned for each gender’s specific gait patterns.

Some things that didn’t change:

  • Dynamic Duomax support. The firmer foam on the medial side of the shoe helps protect the shoe against excessive pronation.
  • Classic lacing. No surprises or guesswork there.
  • AHAR rubber outsole. Resists abrasion and gives great traction.

Tech comparison

ASICS GEL-Kayano 26

ASICS GEL-Kayano 27

Weight

9.2 oz (W), 11.1 oz (M)

8.8 oz (W), 11.1 oz (M)

Drop

13 mm (W), 10 mm (M)

13 mm (W), 10 mm (M)

Stack height (heel/toe)

24/11mm (W), 22/12mm (M)

24/11mm (W), 22/12mm (M)

Category

Stability

Stability

Midsole

FlyteFoam

FlyteFoam

Stability technology

Dynamic Duomax, Trusstic System

Dynamic Duomax, gender-specific Trusstic System

Conclusion

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 is the same soft and smooth-riding stability shoe that it’s always been but with some thoughtful updates.

Fleet Feet testers love the spacious fit and plush underfoot feel, while premium ASICS materials and build quality mean it will stand up to hundreds of miles of running. It’s hard to say how the gender-specific differences affect the ride, but both male and female testers reported consistent cushioning and smooth transitions from heel to toe.

“It’s a great tool in your toolbox of shoes, especially for that foot with excessive pronation looking for extra support,” one tester says. “It’s great for everyday training or recovery days from hard workouts.”

Bottom line: Fans of the Kayano 26 will find equal comfort and performance in the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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