My first pair of Asics running shoes started to "talk" after less than a year, when the outsole peeled off.
So, although my friends swore by their Asics Gel-Kayano running shoes for their comfort and durability,
I never bought a pair.
Then I decided to take the Gel-Kayano 20 Lite-Show for a spin.
This is a conventional running shoe built for mild to moderate overpronators.
Runners with flat feet tend to overpronate, that is, their feet roll inward excessively, forcing the knees and ankles to work harder to stabilise the body.
Overpronators tend to push off from the big toe and second toe, so they should wear running shoes with more cushioning on the inside of the heel and under the ball of the foot, around the big toe.
The thick cushioning also makes this shoe suitable for neutral runners who prefer to use a heel strike, and especially for people with injury-prone ankles.
This 20 Lite-Show version comes with Asics' glow-in-the-dark Gel Cushioning System for both cushioning and visibility, which makes it perfect for nocturnal runners.
The shoe has a heel-clutching system in which an asymmetrical heel-counter design gives structured cushioning for your ankles.
It also has an improved lightweight mid-sole foam called FluidRide, which has great bounce-back ability.
A new multi-directional stretch mesh upper, called FluidFit, creates a glove-like fit for both comfort and movement, while the shoe's Dynamic Duomax technology enhances stability and support.
As I have been using minimalist running shoes lately, it was quite a change to go back to conventional running shoes.
The Gel-Kayano shoes felt heavy at first, but they were still slightly lighter than my old pair of running shoes. Although my feet felt securely "locked" in, there was enough space for my toes to wiggle.
However, all too quickly, my feet started to feel warm. The thick mesh upper provided good support, but at the expense of ventilation.
It took two to three 4km runs before the shoes felt broken in. You might feel slight discomfort during the first few runs.
However, the thick cushioning provided plenty of support for my ankles. My knees also did not feel much impact with each stride and I did not experience any shin splints.
On the downside, the shoes were not as responsive, or "bouncy", as minimalist running shoes.
Still, the impact rebound was much better than that of my own vintage Nike Zoom Equalon 4.
The Gel-Kayano 20 Lite-Show will not win beauty pageants, but it is comfortable to use when you have to walk or stand for long spells.
I walked the malls and wet markets and my feet felt comfortable and dry.
- At $249, the Asics Gel-Kayano 20 Lite-Show is a tad expensive. However, its ample cushioning and great foot support make it well worth the money.
Material: Asics’ FluidRide midsole, FluidFit upper and high-abrasion rubber outsole
Value for money: 4/5
This article was first published on Feb 11, 2015.
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