Asics Gel Kayano 17 - Support Healthy Feet
Excellent support, maximum comfort, intelligent design that inter-relates support elements.
The Bottom Line:
Asics Gel Kayano 17 combines light weight, maximum support, breathable fabric and intelligent features to improve your gait at a price at the higher end for running shoes.
If you are an avid runner and want to protect your feet, it is important to purchase the proper shoes. I like running shoes with maximum stability and comfort. Running shoes generally focus on four areas: Weight, stability, cushioning and traction. I do not run offroad, so traction is not much of an issue. In looking for the best shoe to provide me support and cushioning, I have settled on Asics Gel Kayano's. I am now on my fourth generation of this lightweight shoe, the Gel Kayano 17.
I generally shop for running shoes at a sporting goods store. I have purchased my last two pairs at Omega Sports. Even though I know which types of shoes I like, I also like to get feedback from other runners, who you will find either working or shopping at sporting goods stores. While I ended up with Asics again, the Brooks Trance 10 were also recommended to me based on my gait. I have high arches with neutral to mild pronation. I may not "need" the support I get from this type of shoe, but they are the most comfortable for me to run in.
Before discussing the design features of the Asics Gel Kayano 17, I want to talk about pricing. Good running shoes are expensive. If you run a lot, invest in good running shoes. You will spend much more money later in life with foot and knee issues if you don't take care of your feet with good running shoes. But that doesn't mean you need to break the bank, either. I purchased the Asics Gel Kayano 17s because the Gel Kayano 18 line was just released. While the 18 has some improvements over the 17, they are not dramatic enough to have a noted effect. The Gel Kayano 17 has an MSRP of $140, but were on sale for around $100. The shoe store had an on-line 20 percent coupon, so I ended up paying just over eighty dollars...not bad for a high-end pair of running shoes. The Brooks Trance 10 were also $140 MSRP, but were not on sale.
One feature I first noticed on my last pair of Asics, the Gel Kayano 16, was a Guidance Lineon the sole of the shoe. My older pairs did not have this feature. The toe portion of the sole has an asymmetrical groove that curves toward the instep. This is called the Guidance Line and is designed to enhance the efficiency of your step. Asics describes it as "Vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency."
All of my Asics running shoes had their Impact Guidance System(IGS), which is usually noted somewhere on the backstrap of the shoe. When Asics designs their shoes, they integrate a variety of components keeping continuity of your complete stride in mind. These components work together to produce maximum support and aids toward a correct step. They tout this system as a "design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance the foot's natural gait from heel strike to toe-off."
Structure is important, but so is the ability to break in your shoe for the best fit. This is partially accomplished through a Space Trusstic System that Asics explains as a "midfoot stabilizer creates a pocket between the Trusstic System® device and the midsole, allowing for controlled midsole deformation and more efficient foot function."
Good running shoes should allow your feet to breathe. You can tell your feet aren't breathing if your shoe starts giving off odor. To assist in this, Asics developed a ComforDry Sockliner, which "provides cushioning performance and anti-odor properties for a cooler, drier, healthier environment." This is part of the advanced cushioning system that also provides your feet some breathing room. The exterior of the shoe has a webbed white material, the colored material you can see through the webbing is part of this system. You can put your hands inside the shoe and feel the cushioning as well as the perforations that assist air flow.
I first noticed the Assymetrical Lacing Designon my Gel Kayano 16s. The design looks odd at first blush. However, you get used to it. The laces are angled, running from the instep toward the center where they are traditionally laced. According to Asics, this creates an "anatomically correct lacing environment that reduces potential for irritation and provides improved comfort and fit." Comparing the 16 and 17, it appears that this feature is not as pronounced as it was initially.
The Duomax Support Systemis one of the features that sets the Gel Kayano apart from their other designs. This marking is usually on the instep, along the lower portion of the shoe, in a grayed out area. This provides the stability and support that I am looking for in a running shoe. Asics calls it a "dual density midsole system positioned to enhance support and stability, positioned sport specifically."
Every running shoe attempts to provide some variation of lightweight comfort. The design of the shoe constantly evolves around weight and stability. Asics calls their lightweight material "Solyte." They incorporate a Dual Density Solyte Lasting in the heel and forefoot of the shoe, designed "for improved comfort."
The Asics Gel Kayano 17 comes in four colors for men. The combinations include Black/Gold/White, White/Lightning/Navy (which I own), Black/Onyx/Lightning and Snow/Black/Lime. They also make a woman's shoe, which my wife purchased during our same visit to Omega Sports. The available colors are Snow/Lime/Lighting (which my wife purchased), White/Silver/Turqoise, White/Carbon/Majenta and Black/Onyx/Lightning.
If you are looking for a shoe that maximizes support with emphasis on comfort, weight and a design to make your gait more efficient, consider the Gel Kayano 17 from Asics. However, before buying this (or any) shoe, I would strongly advise that you visit a shoe store, especially one geared towards runners. Have the salesperson examine your gait and provide a recommendation for the proper shoe for your step. This may save you a lot of heartache later on. If you know what type of step you have, it still doesn't hurt to get a professional set of eyes on it and offer some recommendations. An excellent running shoe that I keep coming back to. Five stars.