Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shoe Review: Asics Kayano Gel 16

Asics Kayano Gel 16

Brand: Asics
Style: trainer
Pronation: stability/support
Weight: 11.2 oz (per shoe)
Heel-Toe Drop: significant

So, I've decided to start adding gear reviews, sprinkled in among the rest of the posts. It seems to make sense to start off reviewing my own stuff, since, y'know, it's what I've got. And where better to start than with shoes? :)

Over the course of my running life, I've worn a few different brands, usually for several years at a time, and when I've made a switch it's been for good reasons. I first started wearing Kayanos about three years ago. My last fitting had been four years before and I'd begun having some strange foot pain as I got closer to wearing out my current pair.

Instead of just buying another pair of the same, I went in for a fitting at See Jane Run & then jogged around in several different pairs, including the new version of my old shoe, the Kayanos, and a few others. That's the part where I tend to have a hard time choosing shoes sometimes because it can be hard to tell a real difference between pairs. As soon as I'd slipped my feet into the Kayanos, though, my eyebrows went up and I think I might have uttered a quiet "Oh..." of pleasant surprise. None of the other shoes had felt uncomfortable, but wearing these shoes felt like running with thick, luxurious, firm-yet-squishy pillows wrapped around your feet.

My previous pair had had a firmer upper, which sometimes rubbed uncomfortably against the tops of my feet (I have some bones that stick out at funny angles); the Kayanos are definitely softer and more flexible there. If you like a stiffer foot bed, this is probably not your shoe; there's a good bit of cushioning and a lot of give. The downside is that the relatively large heel-toe drop can make it a little tougher to consistently strike fore- or midfoot; between that and all the cushioning, you can fall back into striking heel-first without the unpleasant feedback that would ordinarily make you stop.

Currently, I wear the Kayanos for anything over a 10K. I did add molded inserts for a little extra stability, but other than that, I've been super-happy with this shoe. In fact, they're so comfortable on my feet that I actually got a second pair, just for general walking-around in. Highly recommend. :)

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