The Asics Gel-Kayano 19 is built to correct almost any degree of overpronation. User reviewers say it's very stable and, with its exceptional cushioning, that it feels like running on clouds. The Kayano 19 has gender-specific forefoot cushioning and retains its immediate predecessor's redesigned upper, about which reviewers have mixed feelings.
Love it or hate it. Testers for Runner's World rave about the Asics Kayano 18's redesigned fit, which is largely continued in the Kayano 19. They say the 18's external heel counter grips your heel firmly and cushions the Achilles nicely, and they love how the memory-foam upper molds to their feet.
Reviews for the Kayano 19, which launched in November 2012, echo similar praise: "Asics needs to patent their step in feel -- it's amazing how consistent the company can be with providing a very comfortable fit right out of the box," writes one of RunningWarehouse.com's wear-testers.
The Kayano 18 drew mixed praise for its new fit. Reviewers liked the roomy toebox and how the upper conformed to their feet, but some said it literally rubbed them wrong in the bunion area. This may be alleviated by the introduction of the Kayano 19's seamless overlays.
We did find a few complaints from users saying their feet felt cramped and uncomfortable in the Kayano 19, but it's worth noting that no single running shoe will fit each foot perfectly. A few runners say the Kayano 18 and 19 have returned to a shorter and narrower fit (about half a size), similar to the Kayano 15 and 16 versions.
Overall, men seem to like the Kayano's new fit a little more than women. Testers do not have much to say about this shoe's flexibility, although the Kayano 18 draws low-to-moderate flexibility scores in Runner's World's shoe finder.
Firmer than older generations. The Asics Gel-Kayano line is known for its cushioning, and the Kayano 18 earns the highest scores for comfort and cushioning in the Runner's World Spring 2012 shoe guide. The editors describe the Kayano 18 as "a padded boxing glove that you can use to pound out mile after mile, pain-free," and recommend its "cushy, protected ride" for runners who've struggled with foot pain or piriformis syndrome. Users consider the redesigned upper more breathable than that of previous Kayano models.
A few reviewers are skeptical of the somewhat firmer cushioning on the Kayano 18 and 19, which is built on a two-layer midsole. The top layer of softer foam absorbs shock, while the firmer foam below provides support. Most still say the shoe provides a comfortably soft run, and the payoff for that firmer feel is better responsiveness. "The extra squishy ride I've experienced on prior versions just isn't there," writes a RunningWarehouse.com tester after trying the Kayano 19.
The Kayano 19 drops more than a half-ounce from the Kayano 18, weighing 10.9 ounces for a men's shoe and 8.9 for a women's. This model also features less-dense forefoot cushioning in women's models to account for the usual difference in weight between men and women with the same shoe size.
Good stability. The Asics Kayano 18 is built for heavy-duty motion control, and earns the highest scores for stability in the Spring 2012 edition of the Runner's World shoe guide. That said, several owners say the changes made to lighten this shoe (including a bit less plastic in the shank) sacrifice a bit of its stability, but are fairly vague on how well it actually controls movement.
Shoe testers for RunningWarehouse.com say the Kayano 19 offers "lots of support" without being intrusive about it. One thinks she might be able to get away with leaving her orthotics at home if she runs in this shoe. Another early tester with RunningWarehouse.com says he doesn't need the level of support the Kayano 19 provides, but that the supportive dual-density midsole "never gets in the way."
The Kayano 19 now contains what RunningWarehouse.com describes as an "undeniably smooth" transition for both heel strikers and midfoot strikers. Like the previous version, the Kayano 19 has a 10 mm drop in height from heel to toe.
Mixed reviews. While experts don't have much to say about the Kayano 18's durability, owners are vocal and divided. Several average a respectable 300 to 500 miles per pair, but the uppers seem to be a bit of a weak point; one RoadRunnerSports.com user complains that his toes punched through the top of his Kayano 18s within just a few months. Another says a cosmetic piece came off the side after just a few weeks. However, he was logging 30 to 50 miles per week, and says he's otherwise happy with how long his shoes have lasted.
The Kayano 19 has high-abrasion rubber in the soles for additional durability. Given this shoe line's impressive track record, we expect it to provide a reasonable life of 300 to 400 miles per pair.
1. Runner's World
The Asics Gel-Kayano 18 wins a Best Update designation in the Runner's World Spring 2012 shoe guide. Testers rave about the shoe's fit, comfort and stability, and the editors describe the Kayano line as "a titan."
Review: Spring 2012 Shoe Guide, Warren Greene, Brian D. Sabin, Martyn Shorten, Ph.D., Feb. 11, 2012
The editors of this online running-gear retailer offer brief observations about the Kayano 19. There are also comments from several testers; they say the shoes feel soft yet responsive, with reliable ground protection, and that they provide "lots of support" without being intrusive about it.
Review: Asics Gel Kayano 19 Product Review, Editors of RunningWarehouse.com, As of October 2013
A wear-tester with RunningWarehouse.com offers his initial impressions after taking a few runs in the Asics Kayano 19. So far, he says, they offer great out-of-the-box feel and are more responsive than previous versions.
Review: Asics Kayano 19 Tester Diary, Editors of RunningWarehouse.com, Nov. 16, 2012
4. Runner's World
In this brief review, accompanied by a separate video review, the editors of Runner's World discuss why they award the Kayano 18 Best Update in their Spring 2012 shoe guide. They also rate it in several categories including stability, flexibility and cushioning.
Review: Shoe Finder: Asics Gel Kayano 18, Editors of Runner's World, As of October 2013
Nearly 200 men review the Kayano 19 on Amazon.com, giving it a 4.6-star average score. They call the shoe light and comfortable and many say they bought the Kayano 19 after having a positive experience with older versions.
Review: ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 19 Running Shoe, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
Over 250 women review the Kayano 19 on Amazon.com and give it an average of 4.6 stars. Despite finding a narrower fit, owners agree the shoe is still quite comfortable.
Review: ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 19 Running Shoe, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
About 300 women review the Asics Gel-Kayano 18 on Amazon.com, giving it a 4.3-star average score. They say it runs a little smaller than its immediate predecessor, the Kayano 17, and fits more like previous editions (the Kayano 15 and 16).
Review: Asics Women's Gel-Kayano 18 Running Shoe, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
Over 300 men review the Kayano 18 on Amazon.com, giving it a 4.5-star average score. Quite a few reviews are from walkers, but a number of runners add the shoe fits a little differently than its immediate predecessors. For the most part, however, they still love it.
Review: Asics Men's Gel-Kayano 18 Running Shoe, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
Just over 60 women give the Kayano 19 an almost perfect 5-star average score on the Dick's Sporting Goods website where the shoe is listed separately by color and fit.
Review: Asics Women's Gel-Kayano 18 Running Shoe, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of October 2013
More than 40 men review the Kayano 19 on DicksSportingGoods.com, giving an approximate 4.7-star rating overall. They give it mixed reviews for fit, but most loyal Kayano fans insist it's quite comfortable. The retailer lists the shoe separately by color and fit.
Review: SportingGoods.com, As of October 2013
Eighty-two men share their experience with the Kayano 18 on RoadRunnerSports.com. They give the shoes an overall score of 4.1. Reviews are even more mixed here than at other sites, with a fairly even split of opinions whether the shoes cause pain or relieve it.
Review: Men's Asics Gel-Kayano 18, Contributors to RoadRunnerSports.com, As of October 2013
Sixty women review the Kayano 18 on RoadRunnerSports.com. It's not as popular here as on other websites, receiving a 4.1-star average rating. Most of the complaints are about the fit of the latest version as compared to the Kayano 17.
Review: Women's Asics Gel-Kayano 18, Contributors to RoadRunnerSports.com, As of October 2013