Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review; Asics Gel Kayano 16

shoe16 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.

laces 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!

15s 16s

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!

This product was purchased. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at


  1. thank you for this review!! i have been wearing the 15s for a year now and wore the 14s before that, but when i tried on the 16s i did not like how they felt. seems a lot of people dont. i am just trying to stock up on my 15s before i cant find anymore!

  2. I used to be a huge Asics fan - the "only" shoe for me!!!! But then the company changed the 2100 series every time and especially the Gel gave me super intense calf cramps. I now wear Brooks, a bit harder shoes and LOVE them. Too bad companies always have to destroy what was once perfect, but then maybe someone else is really happy with them.

  3. Interesting. I have worn Kyanos myself for years, but finally decided last summer that I've had enough. (I found some trail shoes I really loved, and realized how badly my road shoes were actually treating me!) Unfortunately I haven't found a suitable replacement yet. (I wear trail shoes in winter anyway, even on roads, because of all the ice and snow.) Pretty sure I'm not ready to go the Newton route, but I'll be interested to hear how that goes for you. That is a huge change!

  4. Newtons? Kayano's? You must be rich. =)

  5. Nice review. It frustrates me that they feel they must continuously update the shoe. If it works, keep the model. if they want to "update", they should just another model and get rid of those that don't sell. I loved my 14s. 15s were ok at first but I had foot issues with them just under 300 miles. I did end up buying the 16s because I hate to try on entirely new shoes. They're too new to tell yet. We'll see.
    Can't wait to hear about the Newtons- I'm intrigued.

  6. Thanks for the review. I really liked the 14s (switched after the Saucony Hurricanes changed models), and at first I liked the 15s. But I think they contributed to problems in my peroneal and Achilles tendons. I already have troubles caused by flat feet, anyway.
    It sounds like the 16s aren't a whole lot different than the 15s, so I'm going to stick with the New Balance 1225s that, 225 miles in, are doing perfectly fine. Next step is figuring out which trail shoes to buy...

  7. Crap. I was getting excited. I'm a big Asics guy, although I changd from the Kayano 14s to the GT21XX becuae I wasn't getting any wear in the Kayanos (like 250 miles). I was hoping you were going to tell me how great the shoe was so I could go buy a pair! Sigh. Oh well. Thanks for saving me some money. Guess I stick with my GT 2150s.

  8. Your awesome review only reminds me that I MUST get a new pair of running shoes. Now where is that stinking money tree again?

  9. I gave up Asics and went to Mizunos. Newtons? Say it isn't so Stuart!!

  10. I bagged Asics after the 15's. I thought the 14's were OK, the 2140's too. Now all I have in Asics are the Speedstar 3's, that I currently race in. The 15's I blistered like crazy in. They felt fine, although I wasn't too crazy about the offset lacing, but then I'd find blisters after runs. At around 150 miles, I just pitched them. Now I'm a big fan of New Balance 904's and the Brooks Launch. Gonna test the NB 905's soon.

  11. is the Kayano 16 suitable for flat feet?? what would you recommend for flat feet? thanks!

  12. Am a mediumdistance runner myself, 80 kg, 1,86 m tall and overpronate (flat feet) . after 5 different brand shoes I´ve tried for running (after playing football for the most part of my life) getting the Kayano 16 has been the best choice for me!
    In contrast to other shoes, they´ve seemed to resolve knee- and ankle-injuries I would repeatedly get. Cushioning is brilliant!
    After doing around 350 km they´re still going well, added extra weight a 100 k´s back.

  13. My new Kayano 16s have given me bruising and blisters on the inside of my right heel. Looking closely at the shoe, I believe the problem is the rock hard and largely unpadded external heel counter which extends further towards the front of the shoe than usual and also wraps under the foot to some extent. The heel of the foot impacts on this this hard surface on the medial side, rendering the shoe useless for runs of more than a few kms. The shoes gets worse with use, too, as the feet become tender in that region.

  14. I'd like to provide a comment on the women's model. I'm getting back into running after being out 10 years. I'm obviously a "heavy" runner, and when I desperately needed new shoes at the beginning of June, I bought a pair of Kayano 16s at the local running store. They fit great, and helped alleviate the beginnings of plantar fasciitis.

    Flash forward just about 3 months and the soles were worn and the inner lining shot. I needed new shoes again, and called up RRS. I ordered another pair of 16s, and then ordered a pair of New Balance 1226, since I've run in the NB line for a long time.

    The new 16s are completely unlike the old ones! The metatarsal support in the new pair is noticeably higher in the new pair than the old. The seam under the shoe tongue is rougher. My left foot is sore from the metatarsal support on the left shoe, and I have the beginnings of a blister from the tongue.

    I wonder if my kind of Jekyll/Hyde experience with the shoe is why one person raves about how great the shoe is and the next about how awful it is.

  15. Thanks for this review. I've run in Kayano's more days than not since the Kayano was introduced. Unlike any other Kayano, the 16 gives me blisters on the balls of my feet. The 15 is a much better shoe in my opinion. I wrote a review with this feedback on RRS, but they didn't post it. Hopefully, the 17 will come quickly. I've gone back to the 15.


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