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Overview of the Shoe
The Asics Gel Kayano is an institution in distance running shoes -- in fact, its 17th edition is coming out, but this Asics Gel Kayano 15 review is for runners looking to pick up shoes at a discounted price. The Gel Kayano 17 will retail at about $140, but you can get new Gel Kayano 15 shoes new and in the box for under $100 from retailers like Amazon. The Gel Kayano is one of the best shoes for runners who tend to overpronate in their stride.
There were two major changes between the Gel Kayano 14 and 15: a change to asymmetrical laces and an enhanced heel cushion. This changed the way that the shoe fit, and shielded feet more from the road -- a big plus for heavier runners, many of whom do all of their distance running in the Gel Kayano.
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All About the Upper
This part of the Asics Gel Kayano 15 review covers the upper. The most striking difference is the asymmetrical laces, which were designed to match the foot -- if you look at the top, your bones do not stick up in the same pattern as traditional laces. These laces are closer in shape to the top of your foot.
Another groundbreaking innovation with the Gel Kayano 15 was the memory foam heel collar lining. The shoe actually gets closer and closer to your foot the longer you wear it. And so the upper portion of the shoe is designed to match your feet individually over time.
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This part of the Asics Gel Kayano 15 review covers the shoe's sole. The first thing you might notice is the plastic surrounding the midsole through your arch. When you move from heel to toe, this supports your foot, keeping stress away from your plantar tissue. Asics calls this the "Space Trusstic System."
Another intriguing feature is the DuoMax midsole insert -- a section of denser foam to bolster support in the arch. This does add to the weight of the shoe, but it also increases support to your foot.
An additional change between the Gel Kayano 14 and 15 is the addition of more gel to the cushioning areas at the heel and in the toe box. Extra plastic has also been added to make your stride transition softer.
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The Final Verdict
It's hard to beat the Gel Kayano when it comes to support for your foot, especially if you are a heavier runner, if you tend to overpronate, or if you have low arches. If you have flat feet, or high arches, other shoes may be better for you.
The only negatives with the Gel Kayano are the price (which you can beat if you are willing to try an older model) and the weight -- lots of cushioning does make for a heavy shoe. There are lighter stability shoes out there, so you'll need to see whether the extra weight is worth it. For a lot of runners, there's no other shoe besides the Gel Kayano.
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1900 Olympic marathon: Image credit/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License
Asics Gel Kayano 15: http://www.runningshoesguru.com/2009/03/asics-gel-kayano-15-running-shoes-review/
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Personal Experience -- I have run 13 marathons with various models of the Asics Gel Kayano.