Asics Gel Kayano 29 - review
(Photo/Rebecca Parsons)

The Shoes Helping Me Stay Injury-Free: Asics Gel Kayano 29 Road to Trail Review

Finding a solid running shoe can be challenging. When I’m in the market for a new shoe, I’m looking for something that fits well, provides adequate support, and performs well on a variety of different terrains.

As someone who has been running for 15 years, I’ve tried my fair share of lemons when it comes to shoes. While everyone is different and has their specific needs when searching for shoes, Asics has been my shoe of choice for years and, in my opinion, the Gel Kayano 29 is their best shoe to date.

In short: Launched earlier this month, Asics Gel Kayano 29 is specifically designed for overpronators or those who need extra support. The shoe is comfortable, cushioned, and super-stable — from the forefoot to the sides to the updated heel.

Asics Gel Kayano 29: Review

Asics Gel Kayano 29

Asics Gel Kayano 29 Specs

  • Weight: 9.5 oz.
  • Drop: 10 mm
  • Price: $160

My Needs, and Who This Shoe Is For

Testing Asics Gel Kayano 29
(Photo/Rebecca Parsons)

I ran cross-country and track throughout high school and college and transitioned to racing half and full marathons after my collegiate years. These days, I mainly run for fun.

My mileage is about half of what it used to be, but once a distance runner, always a distance runner. Typically, I’ll run anywhere from 4 to 6 miles, with the occasional double-digit runs on the weekends. I alternate between running on the road and the trails, so I’m always after a shoe that performs well on both.

Despite my efforts, I have a long history of injuries, mainly in the form of stress fractures. While I know that there is a lot of research in support of minimalist shoes, I’ve found that stability shoes tend to work the best for me and help me avoid injuries. I also have a narrow foot, so I need a brand that runs narrower or offers a narrow shoe option.

Initial Thoughts in Testing

The Gel Kayano 29 is advertised as a shoe specifically designed for overpronators or those that need extra support, which perfectly described what I was looking for. I’ve worn previous models of the Gel Kayano, and what keeps me coming back is the added stability and minimal injuries that result from wearing it.

The Gel Kayano 29 felt as comfy and stable as previous models and after a few runs, they felt fully broken in. And with 11 different color options, it was easy to find a pair that I liked the looks of, which isn’t necessary but is definitely an added bonus.

Technical Features

asics gel kayano
(Photo/Rebecca Parsons)

Built for stability, the Gel Kayano 29 offers maximum cushion, so every step feels soft and supported. The redesigned external heel counter makes the foot feel stable, offering additional stability.

Interestingly enough, Asics also redesigned the heel counter in the Gel Kayano 28 (different from the 27), though some users experienced heel slip. We’ve had nothing but comfort around the heel with the Gel Kayano 29.

Rearfoot and forefoot GEL technology cushioning and FF Blast Plus foam cushioning provide impact absorption and a responsive rebound, while the 3D Space Construction offers a softer feel underfoot. The Gel Kayano is topped off with an Ortholite X sock liner.

Additionally, the shoe features LiteTruss technology, which the brand says helps improve medial support and midfoot integrity. Finally, the Gel Kayano 29 sports an upper made from 75% recycled polyester.

My Take

Testing Asics Gel Kayano 29 road running shoe
(Photo/Rebecca Parsons)

Although the Gel Kayano 29 is advertised as a road running shoe ideal for roads and paved trails, I wear them on both roads and less technical dirt trails and have had no issues. They’re comfortable, and the engineered knit upper provides good ventilation.

I’m a big fan of all the thoughtful design features that work to add cushion, stability, and support — my feet feel comfortable, and the impact feels minimal while wearing the Gel Kayano.

Asics also made sure to add reflective details so you can be seen if running after hours.

A note on sizing: I typically wear a size 8 in street shoes but opted for a size 9 for the Gel Kayano to compensate for swelling while running. This sizing worked perfectly for me. Some folks have said that this shoe runs a little small, so you may do well with ordering at least a half size up.

My only complaint about the Gel Kayano 29 is that they were squeaky when wet, which can be annoying on longer runs. The squeaking wasn’t consistent, but it happened a few times, which is something I hope Asics will address in future models.

Final Thoughts

While the Gel Kayano 29 is on the expensive side for a pair of running shoes, you can’t put a price on good health — and the fact that they’re helping me stay injury-free makes them well worth the added cost.

Comfortable, breathable, supportive, and able to handle a variety of different surfaces, the Gel Kayano 29 is my new favorite pair of running shoes.

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Rebecca Parsons
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Rebecca was born and raised in Orange County, and she has spent countless hours exploring the California coastline. She loves surfing and standup paddling and recently relocated to Oahu, Hawaii to chase her childhood dream of being a professional beach bum. When she’s not in the ocean, you can find her running the local trails or sleeping under the stars alongside her adventure pup, Koa.