Asics Gel Kayano 21 Review - Lastest Running Shoe Trend

Asics Gel Kayano 21 Review

By Nenad A. / October 6, 2014
blue asics gel kayano 21 bird look

I have to take this off my chest: One of the reasons Asics dominate both the beginner and advanced (experienced) runners world is the awesomeness of their shoes. Seriously. In my eyes, asics gel kayano 21 just rock and nothing beats them (disclosure: I also love NB shoes very much but it’s a theme for a different post). Anyway, let’s see my brand new Asics Gel Kayano 21 review right here…

Asics Gel Kayano 21 mens running shoe

Why is the new Gel Kayano 21 better?

An update from the kayano 20 in many details such as the new Ortholite x-40 Sockliner for durability improvement and better bouncing feeling. The FluidRide and FluidFit systems both got redesigned and improved. Slightly lighter counters because of these upgrades, though some users are reporting that it’s not lighter than the predecessor even though it is ligher a bit (kayano 20 weights 11.3 oz, this one 10.9 oz).

If you were happy with previous shoes from this family, you won’t be disappointed.

Who is this running shoe made for?

These days it’s very easy to find a shoe according to your problematic or non-problematic feet. Personally I appreciate that very much, since I have a slight over-pronation problem and have pretty much messed up my knees by running in bad shoes. The Kayano series changed that. It is very well known as an excellent shoe for both people with normal arch and overpronators, so if you have even the slightest indication of flat feet the Kayano 21 will not let you down.

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It is also great for people who have normal (average) arch but love to have more cushioning and a little extra support. This feature makes it fit for those who run at least 2 times a week and don’t want to destroy their shoes in the first month.

This running shoe is best used if you are running on Road (asphalt, concrete, city, you know the drill) or on a treadmill (check my Sole F80 review here). If you are a trail runner, you need a different breed.

blue asics gel kayano 21 bird look

Who is this NOT for? What are the alternatives?

This is pretty important: if you have severe overpronation this is NOT the shoe for you. In that case you should try Gel Fortitude or Gel Foundation shoes. For underpronators, the best type is Gel Cumulus or Gel Nimbus.

Are you experienced enough? It doesn’t play such a huge part, but if you are just beginning your life as a runner (no shame in that, everyone was a beginner at one time) then you might want to start with Asics GT series, most probably GT-1000. Maybe also read the post on how to begin running.

Main Features

Expect the amount of “the usual Asics awesome” by this running shoe as well. Namely, that is:

  • rubber sole,
  • the Gel ®  System – designed to perfection to make cushioning a Science on its own (and running smooth and painless)
  • FluidRide – the special cushioning and bounce back designed by manufacturer to make the shoe more durable (introduced in Kayano 20, upgraded for the new design)
  • FluidFit – the technology that makes the shoe adapt to your feed (how cool is that?)
  • Impact Guidance System – a special design that helps your foot’s natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
  • Ortholite X-40 Sockliner  – redesigned for new generation of shoes this is the part that provides smooth ride of your shoe. Higher rebound properties, great moisture management, exceptionally breathable and antimicrobial. Check more about ortholite here.
  • Guidance Trusstic System – great construction for gait efficiency and midfoot structural integrity (the part many manufacturers don’t focus on)
  • Heel Clutching System – improved both on support and fitting environment for your heels
  • Heel to Toe drop – 10mm
  • Weight: 10.9 oz (Men’s) and 8.9 oz (Women’s)

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WARNING: some people complained the shoe fit as too small, so if you were using previous Kayano shoes and they had a perfect “no-space-left-at-all” fit for you, this shoe might feel a little small (at least at the beginning)

Other users, on the other hand say it’s a perfect fit and they are overwhelmed with joy of running in the shoe.

And, since we are not built the same (sorry girls, boys, but its just the way it is) Asics has come up with ther own solution: Women’s models have a lower-density top layer in the midsole, which allows females to enjoy the midsole compression better. It is also 3mm higher, which plays great part in relieving achilles tension. Womens kayano 21 can be seen on the picture below.

Asics Gel Kayano 21 Womans


It looks like the guys at Asics have been thinking about everything when they were upgrading their old Kayano 20. The new shoe Asics Gel-Kayano 21 came out with a bang, with improved design and improved features. User experience according to the comments on both merchant and retailer sites are overwhelming:

  • “excellent”
  • “amazing shoes”
  • “wow”
  • “outstanding shoes – happy feet”
  • “great update”

Couldn’t really find negative reviews except for the one buyer/runner who said that the fit is a little small (but I am sure she will receive a replacement pair or her money back).

While we are at the money part of it. This is not the cheapest running shoe in the world, but then again, this is a proven and good brand that is widely recognized by runners all around the world. So if you are not on a shoestring budget, get the latest and greatest. It is an acceptable middle ground, and a very good ration of value and quality for money.

Oh boy, I can hardly wait to destroy my old running shoes so that I can re-order this one. I wouldn’t want to influence you completely, but I will say that these seem like the best asics running shoes at the moment. For people who are mildly experienced and are running at least 3-4 times a week, this is a no-brainer, an absolute winner. And even if you are just starting out and have the willpower to run at least 2 times a week for now, you should definitely consider this type.

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What do you think? Which is your favorite Asics shoe? Tell us in the comments below.

About the author

    Nenad A.

    Runner, hiker, beer drinker, loving husband and a father of the cutest little girl ("has a daughter, a gun, and an alibi"). When not running his company, Nenad is trying to spend time outside. Even if it's only for the sake of a barbecue.

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