It’s ok I’ll admit I am a fan boy of Asics, I’ve worn them forever, well that’s starting to change, but I am getting ahead of myself here. Let me present to you the reason for this post a Review of the Asics Gel Kayano 16. First launched last October/November time I snapped up a pair mid November in advance of me even starting to run again post injury.
As mentioned I have run in Asics for a long time, initially the 2000 series and more recently the Kayanos; since the 13s so that’s 4 iterations and somewhere in the order of 8-9 pairs of shoes or around 3600 – 3700 hundred miles.
I typically rotate two pairs of shoes so that I can eek out extra mileage per shoe and I retire them roughly every 400 miles.
At face value the 16s are very similar to the 15s, from Asics’ website:
· Impact Guidance System-ASICS® Design Philosophy. Employs linked componentry that enhances the foot's natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
· Guidance Line-Vertical Flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhances gait efficiency.
· Discreet Heel Unit-Takes the Impact Guidance System to a new level by creating our highest degree of shock attenuation and stability.
· Space Trusstic System®-This midfoot stabilizer creates a pocket between the Trusstic System® device and the midsole, allowing for controlled midsole deformation and more efficient foot function.
· ComforDry™ Sockliner-Provides cushioning performance and anti-microbial properties for a cooler, drier, healthier environment.
· Asymmetrical Lacing Design-An anatomically correct lacing environment that reduces potential for irritation and provides improved comfort and fit.
· DuoMax® Support System-A dual density midsole system positioned to enhance support and stability, positioned sport specifically.
One big difference is that Asics have shaved a half ounce off of the Kayano 15, you can read my review on the 15s here; the 16s now weighs in 12.7 ounces. From the top down, the asymmetrical lacing returns although it has been tempered down from the 15, the idea of this is that it envelops your foot rather than sits on top. The quarter panels are a little more reinforced with only one side being fabric the non fabric side is fitted with Biomorphic material that is designed to mold to your foot. Also new is some significant wrap to the heel of the shoe although it appears to be more cosmetic I assume it’s there for a reason. The ComforDry sockliner and Personal Heel Fit are familiar features. The toe box is roomy enough and overall sizewise I go up half a size compared to regular shoes. In the midsole Asics now include gender specific cushioning which is designed to provide more road feel and make the shoe lighter. The outsole contains the most noticeable difference; the vertical groove…“this vertical groove (Heel to Toe) in the midsole/outsole decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency”...I think what this means in lay terms is that the shoe is less torsionally stiff, that is it’s more “twisty”. See if they had said that it would be a whole lot less scientific!
They are available in white white/blue and red black/white, the latter are above and some additional pastel tones for girls.
As for running in them well I normally review my shoes around the 100 mile mark, not the case here, I barely made it to half of that. Initially everything was going fine but I noticed that I was getting some stiffness / soreness / pain in my left heel. I thought that maybe I had somehow bruised it and gave it a week, but after a run the next morning my foot was really sore. I isolated it down to the changed variables and could only come up with the change in shoe, so I stopped wearing them and after a week the pain had gone! They now sit neglected in bottom of my closet. In fact I called RRS today and they confirmed that they would exchange them even though I am out of the 60 day window, which is good because these shoes are not cheap, I had a look online and they retail for anything around $125 +/- $10 depending where you get them from.
Why the pain and soreness, well I really don’t know, a review of the exploded diagrams from ASICS website reveals nothing new, could it be simply new shoes on top of a pretty intense training plan a’la the FIRST (which is all speedwork) combined was the cause, the honest answer is I don’t know but something is wrong!
So in conclusion the shoes present the same quality that I have come to expect from Asics, the fit and comfort levels are high it’s simply the after effects that I can’t work with. For now I am running in my 15s and more than usual my Banditos which are basically racing flats and I’ll continue to do that for the short term.
This bring me round to my opening sentence about changing my footwear, you see I have ordered a pair of Newtons…so standby for some significant changes!
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