Sunday, July 23, 2023

ASICS GEL Kayano 30 Review

Article by Bryan Lim and Daniel da Silva

ASICS GEL-Kayano 30 ($160 USD, $280 AUD)


Bryan: I would love to reuse our RTR review title of the Kayano 29 because it appears that the Kayano 30 is yet again stability redefined! 

The Kayano 29 did away with the Duomax sidewalls and the Trusstic plastic stability-promoting elements integrated into the midsole found in the Kayano 28 and predecessors by utilizing a dual density medley of foams with FFBlast+ in the forefoot and the upper portion of the mid to rearfoot, with the firmer LiteTruss foam in the lower portion of the mid to rearfoot sidewalls. 

The Kayano 30 has been redesigned to truly promote stability through geometry and sculpting. It now only utilizes a single foam, FFBlast+ Eco which is 24% bio based with a single small insert of gray soft foam medially.  

It sits on a 5mm wider platform base and has raised side walls and has 4mm more stack height than the K29. The design is known as the 4D Guidance System which is said to provide support to runners by adapting to pronation changes over the course of a run caused by fatigue. Also gone is the external Gel unit, which is replaced by an internal PureGel insert directly beneath the center of the heel that delivers the same cushioning properties but is 65% softer than the previous GEL.

I think the redesign is a long time coming. The Kayano 30 feels fresh and modern, and I am glad that Asics chose to do it to celebrate the model's 30th anniversary - and of the second longest running shoe model after the Pegasus , pun intended.

My first few runs impressions were not great as the FFBlast+ Eco foam took some miles to break into, which was surprising given that my other Asics shoes utilizing the non Eco version of FF Blast foam all felt great from the get-go. After about 20 km / 12.5 miles, it became smooth sailing. 

Daniel: The Kayano 30 was one of my first running shoes back in 2009, so testing the Kayano 30 was special for me.  To celebrate its 30th anniversary ASICS has completely changed the design elements on this well trusted stability shoe: a wider platform base, 4mm more stack height than the previous iteration, a new midsole foam FFBlast+ Eco and a whole new approach to stability, the 4D Guidance System.

The Kayano 30 is ASICS premium stability daily trainer. It provides max cushion and comfort while providing max support at the same time. It’s been trusted by overpronating runners over the last 30 years.

For the new approach to support and stability, ASICS has done extensive research on running posture, which showed the need for support over time, as fatigued runners would lean more forward and pronate more over longer distances. The 4D Guidance System was then developed. It tackles 4 dimensions: width, length, depth, and time. The goal was to shape and sculpt the shoe midsole in order to provide more stability without being intrusive on the runner’s gait cycle. A softer, less dense foam plug was also placed on the medial side, in order to return the arch of the foot to an ideal position for the next strike. It’s a stability shoe that can be also used by neutral runners without noticing any major change in foot strike. 


Stable but non-intrusive ride - Bryan/Daniel

Well balanced, especially compared to predecessors - Bryan/Daniel 

Sleek design - Bryan/Daniel

Excellent traction - Bryan/Daniel

More forefoot cushioning - Daniel

Versatility as even neutral runners can benefit from support with the onset of fatigue - Daniel

Soft landing but not mushy - Daniel


Still heavy - Bryan/Daniel

Ride could be more inspiring through a more rockered geometry - Bryan/Daniel

Upper is not the most breathable, not ideal for hot weather - Daniel

Midsole needs some break in time - Daniel


Approx. Weight: men's  10.83oz / 307g US9 ::  women's 9.3 oz / 263 g (US W8)

  Samples: men’s  10.74 oz  / 305g US8.5, 10.83oz / 307g US9  

  K29: 10.42 oz / 295g US8.5, 10.86oz / 308g US9

                  women’s 9.3 oz / 263 g (US W8)

 Stack Height:      men’s  40 mm heel / 30 mm forefoot (10mm drop spec) 

                            women’s  39mm heel / 29mm forefoot (10mm drop spec) 

    +4 mm stack height over Kayano 29

$160 USD, $280 AUD  Available July 1, 2023 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Bryan: I’m nitpicking but I wish I was seeded the White/Ocean Haze (Orange) colourway but the Black/Yellow Glow colourway is basic, but fine (I should be more grateful hey!). 

What was impressive however was seeing the redesigned shoe, and it was an absolute joy to see the external Gel unit no longer there, and gone was the LiteTruss sidewall piece that was featured in the Kayano 29 as the key stability element. The Kayano 30 has been re-designed to be a modern and sleek stability shoe that is free from traditional posts and stabilizing additions’ found in its predecessors and many of its competitors with the current trend is towards more inherent stability than those traditional add ons. Asics has stuck to modernizing its 2023 fleet starting with the Nimbus 25, the Cumulus 25 and now the Kayano 30.

Upon stepping in to the Kayano 30, I knew it was different from its predecessors. Although somewhat heavier than the K29, it felt very well balanced. The fit was perfect, as expected, having worn the Kayano 27, 28 and 29 previously and not having had any issues. The upper was plush also as expected. As with the 29, it features a full-length engineered stretch knit that is slightly roomier in the forefoot than that in the former.

The upper provides sufficient mobility but balances well the need for a secure fit. As in the image above, the upper is thoughtfully perforated to promote ample ventilation in the forefoot. In the image below, the plush heel counter and non-gusseted tongue is traditional to the Kayano line up. Whilst I had no issue with fit and security of fit (wide versions are available), my immediate and only concern with such a plush tongue would be a buildup of heat when running in the warmer months.

In the image below, I tried my best to demonstrate the shape/profile of the reinforced heel counter, which I found to be effective and supportive yet non-intrusive on my runs. 

The focus as can be seen is on the medial side (right above) to prevent the action of pronation, which is complemented by the sculpting of the midsole on that side of the shoe.The lateral side is less supported, which promotes agility when turning.

To conclude, the upper worked very well and serves its purpose of providing plush comfort and providing for a secure fit and lockdown.

Daniel: I think Bryan did an excellent job at describing the upper and fit, so I’ll just add my two cents and first impressions. 

First time stepping into the Kayano 30 was great. It felt plush, very cushioned, supportive and comfortable. The fit was great, with enough space in the toe box yet very secure, due to the stretchy knit upper. The heel counter is stiff and supportive but that didn’t affect my runs in any way. The collar is well padded and so is the tongue. Sizing was true to size for me.

I do have to mention the upper is not the most breathable and my feet felt warm during my runs. The tongue is very plush, and while comfortable, also contributed to my feet getting warmer. 

ASICS has removed the previous stability plastic elements, plastic heel clip and visible gel. Stability is now achieved by the wider platform, sculpting of the midsole and the addition of the softer foam plug on the medial side. To add plushness and softer landings, the FFBlast+ Eco midsole foam (+4mm stack height added) and internal PureGel were introduced.

Being a neutral runner I don’t usually run in stability shoes, but the Kayano 30 felt very smooth and not intrusive. 

My first run, just like Bryan’s, was not the most enjoyable either. I felt some hotspots under my feet and the upper felt warm and not the most breathable. Mind you it’s summer time in the Middle East and it’s really hot. As I kept on running, the midsole seemed to break in and I started to enjoy my runs.

Finally, I think the redesign was a total success and I like the aesthetics of this shoe a lot. It’s a great shoe for your daily and easy runs, as well as walking  around and hitting the gym.


Bryan: The Kayano 30 utilizes a single layer (and density) of FFBlast+ Eco, which is made from at least 20% bio-based material from renewable sources such as leftover waste from sugar case processing. 

The ECO foam that is used in the Kayano 30 takes some mileage to break into, which is very surprising. Do keep in mind that the stack height here is a big  40 mm heel / 30 mm forefoot, 4mm more than the K29 and such a big and broad platform will require some break in as I found out.The first step in was fantastic, but the first run was not; it was dull and ‘plonky’. After about 25 km / 15 miles, the foam started to soften and that’s when the shoe started to feel right.

As in the images above and below, it is evident that ASICS focus in creating stability is through midsole sculpting, and not on posts and additional stiffer firmer features (such as the former LiteTruss and Trusstic elements). The midsole still features an internal PureGel unit, which I did not notice its impact on the ride as I am a mid-foot striker. 

There is a gray insert made from what feels to be a different soft foam on the medial side of the midfoot. 

I am not quite sure what it is intended to do, but it is part of the new 4D Guidance System, which is Asics’ newly developed concept of an integrated shoe design to promote efficient movement and not brace the feet to restrict such movement. That insert is made from a softer and bouncier foam, which I feel adds actually adds some flex to the robust broad construction of the midsole platform.

The sculpting and geometry of the midsole platform is the centerpiece to  the 4D Guidance system. In the forefoot, there is significant flaring of the platform on both medial and lateral sides, but especially on the medial side. This continues to the rearfoot, where the sheer bulk and raised side-walls provides for a very wide base.

The result is a very stable ride that easily locks to a set pace, doing especially well at slower speeds. The Kayano 30 is certainly capable of going at quicker pacers than its predecessors, as it has far more flex, but would generally be disadvantaged to its neutral offerings due to its weight penalty as we are at 10.83oz / 307g US9.

Daniel: the midsole is made of FFBlast+ Eco, which is made of 20%-30% recycled materials. Points to ASICS for the sustainability aspect. 

While it felt soft and plush upon first stepping in, the midsole does need some miles (or kms) to break in. The ride felt better each time I came back for the Kayano 30.

Compared to its previous iteration, the Kayano 30 is slightly heavier but we now have 4mm more stack height (40mm at the heel and 30mm at the forefoot) and also a 5mm wider platform. This provides more cushioning and a softer heel and forefoot, but it’s weight is noticed and I wish it was a bit lighter.

The 4D Guidance System is achieved by a wider midsole platform, and a midfoot structure on the medial side made of an insert of softer foam (gray seen below). This system helps to support arch collapse. This foam insert is not felt while running, making this stability shoe versatile and good for neutral runners too. It would also suit beginners and heavier runners.


Bryan: Asics is one of the leading brands when it comes to outsole performance. ASICSGRIP AHAR+ is a tried and tested formula. It is durable and grippy in all conditions. 

Daniel: the outsole has plentiful depth and coverage of ASICS AHAR+ rubber. 

More rubber is placed on the medial side than on the lateral side. The rubber used is a bit firmer and helps provide support. 

A decoupling groove provides a smoother flow, from striking to toe off, and at the forefoot, flex grooves also add to a smoother flow.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

This one's a keeper - signed personally by Kayano-san himself!

Bryan: This is the first Kayano that I’ve worn, and thoroughly enjoyed. For the first time, this is a stability shoe that does not feel like one, and in a good way in that there is ample flex and one that has a good amount of mobility. For a stable and consistent ride, the Kayano shines. However, if you are after a shoe that pops and rides fast for races or speed workouts, I would suggest looking elsewhere. The Kayano 30 comes at a good time for me, coming back from injury (tenosynovitis around the ankle area without getting into specifics). It offers a secure ride and has had a positive impact on my comeback.

Score: 9.20 - Ride (50 %): 9, Fit (30 %): 10, Value (15%): 8, Style (5%): 10

Smiles Score! 😊😊😊😊1/2

Daniel: the Kayano 30 felt very plush and well cushioned. It is a great option for your daily use, recovery runs as well as your long runs. It’s very stable without feeling intrusive. You don’t feel like running in a traditional stability shoe.

Very secure fit with no heel slippage, it is a great option for easy runs. Not that you can’t pick up the pace, but it definitely shines at easier paces. Once you lock in your pace, it is easy to maintain it and cruise for miles and miles.

I would highly recommend this shoe to any runner, neutral or overpronators who are beginners or advanced. It provides plenty of comfort and cushioning, while supporting those in need of extra support.

Score: 9.0 - Ride (50 %): 9, Fit (30 %): 9.5, Value (15%): 8, Style (5%): 9

Smiles Score! 😊😊😊😊


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

GEL-Kayano 29 (RTR Review)

Bryan: My review has more or less been a relatively comprehensive comparison between the two shoes. The Kayano 30 shines brighter in just about every way, from design to ride, and feels even more stable but is less intrusive than than its predecessor. A clear decision for me.

GEL-Nimbus 25 (RTR Review)

Bryan: The Cumulus 25 is what I see as Asics’ neutral equivalent to the Kayano 30. I personally did not like the Nimbus 25 as the upper provided very little lockdown which manifested on descents where my feet would slide forwards, and the ride was overall clunky. The Kayano 30 on the other hand has a superior upper which in its immediate impact offers a better experience for me. The Nimbus also features a wide platform and offers a stable but bouncier ride. If the upper worked for me, I could see myself potentially preferring the Nimbus over the Kayano 30 with its lively ride. Note however, each has their own intended purpose, and the Kayano 30 satisfies that in providing a stable, cushioned and protective ride.

Daniel: The Nimbus 25 is the max cushion neutral shoe option from ASICS. The Kayano 30 is the max cushion stability shoe. The Nimbus 25 is also wide and stable but feels a bit bouncier than the Kayano 30. The upper is great on both shoes, but I found the Nimbus 25 upper more comfortable and more breathable too. Being a neutral runner, I’d go for the Nimbus 25, but if you need the extra support, the Kayano 30 will not disappoint you.

GEL-Cumulus 25 (RTR Review)

Bryan: The Cumulus is intended to be a ‘stepped down’ version of the Nimbus. In saying that, I found it to be a step up in performance and running experience. It is lighter, more flexible and is equally as stable. The upper is similar to that in the Kayano 30, and also has a very wide platform and high stack. The Kayano 30 does feel protective and inherently stable, which serves its purpose. I’d never thought I would say this, but I think the heavier Kayano 30 is more capable of speedier runs. Personally, as a neutral runner, both shoes are interchangeable in their use for every day running - not much separates them. 

Tester Profiles

Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He picked up running as a stressed out law student back in 2016 and has never looked back since. He runs and coaches a social track club, Glasshouse Run Club and is an ASICS Australia ambassador. His most recent race times include a 1:22 half marathon. Parkrun is his thing, and Bryan tries to run a sub-20 minute tempo effort every Saturday, and maintains a 50-70 km base mileage when not training specifically for a race. He is presently chasing a sub 3-hour marathon. He is 176cm tall and weighs about 68kg / 150lbs.

Daniel lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and is 41 years old. He is an airline pilot, runner and a running shoes enthusiast. Having lived and flown in most of the continents, I got in the habit of running during every layover in every new city or country. My personal bests are 03:46:44 marathon, 01:40:48 half marathon and a 44:44 10K. Married, father of two, I try to balance my flight routine with my runs, while fighting the harsh temperatures in the Middle East.

Please also watch RTR Editor Sam's Video Review of the GEL-Kayano 30

The GEL-Kayano 30 is available now including at our partners below

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Anonymous said...

Excellent review, thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian (or anyone else who might be able to provide insight), any thoughts on the comparison between the K30 and the Saucony Tempus and/or Brooks Glycerin GTS 20? Been working with a pair of Tempus for the last few months and I enjoy them except for them maybe being a little bit too pliable/soft, so trying to get some insight on other options out there. Thanks again, great read!

Anonymous said...

Excellent review about the Kayano 30s. Recently picked up a pair after reading your post. Waiting to go through the breakin period now, likely will achieve that this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I dunno folks I’ve been running in gel kayanos for many years and after getting my 30’s I find myself shopping for alternatives. They’re heavy, they’re clunky, slow, and all together harder on my feet. I’ve put 50 miles on them and for 50 miles I’ve felt like I’m running with cinder blocks for feet. I truly dislike these shoes.