Last Reviewed on 12 December 2018
Asics Gel-Kayano 25
This is a fantastic walking shoe. Very well suited to longer distance walkers or those using the shoe on a treadmill. Great for regular walkers on all types of dry terrain. not quite so well suited to all day casual wear.
Let’s talk about what is, in my opinion, the single greatest long distance walking shoe to have hit the market in recent years. I’m of course referring to the ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 25’s.
The following is the first and only review you will need when deciding whether to use this shoe for your concrete or tarmac road walking, fitness walking or treadmill walking exercises. I'll also look at casual and trail walking as well as regular casual use.
Keep in mind I’m factoring in everything from durability, to build, comfort, design, support, flexibility, and price.
I’m speaking mostly from my own experience so I will be referring to the men’s Gel-Kayano 25 specifically. Of course based on my research and the dozens of reviews I have read from women and men I would be wrong to assume the men’s and women’s shoes differ greatly, apart from color and style. Where they do differ it's pointed out.
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 25 is the latest model of a 25-year series. Over the 23’s & 24's this model has some specific sizing differences and provides for an overall more comfortable experience.
The shoe is specifically designed to disperse the foot’s surface strength and weight evenly upon every contact and help flat footers.
Overpronators especially will find that the shoe feels fantastic even during long-distance walks, runs, and prolonged usage.
Obviously walking continuously for longer periods tends to be more problematic and troublesome if you have foot issues.
The shoe is a bit heavier than the similar offerings of some competitors, so it isn’t exactly optimal for fast runners and sprinters.
I wouldn’t recommend having it on as casual everyday footwear but it makes for a great long distance walking shoe as well as many other uses I'll mention.
Find out why the ASICS Gel Kayano 25 is the perfect shoe for long distance walkers, people who regularly walk on concrete or hard surfaces and treadmill walkers, as well as mild overpronators, the regular footed person and people who are overweight.
I'll also cover why this shoe has been remarked to help flat footers, high arched walkers as well as overpronators and the overweight.
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One of the first things you need to think about when buying new shoes is the size, especially if you are going to order them online.
The men's shoes come in Narrow, Medium, Wide and Extra Wide fittings and the Women's version have narrow, Medium and Wide, though not all colors come in all width fittings.
One complaint people had with the 23’s and to a lesser degree the 24's, was the apparent tightness of the shoe.
Customers felt that the upper and toe box areas of the shoe were too narrow and squeezed the feet in and I have to agree with that consensus as I have slightly wide feet and a slightly high instep.
I assume this is because ASICS prioritized long distance runners and walkers who need a snug fit to minimize the foot slipping in the shoe repeatedly.
Perhaps they overdid it a bit because the old models were too tight for many people using the shoe other than for marathon walks & runs.
The break-in period is lengthened with a tighter fit allowing you to have the shoes for a longer period before they puff-out.
Now if you don’t mind a tight shoe and feel like you can resist the break-in stage then, by all means, go for the older models which are still available.
For the 24's I went for a half size bigger which was OK. But the 25's are cut to a different last and are altogether wider in the toe box area as well as generally.
I did read a few reviews and it is apparent the ASICS Gel Kayano 25 is a wider fit than the last two offerings. So I opted for my regular size in the wide fitting and I can tell you I am amazed at the fit and comfort of this shoe.
The 24's were tight in the toe box and always felt a bit constraining but the 25's are just perfect. So buy your regular size and get the correct width fitting and you should be good to go.
If you take orthotics you may find the insole support to be better than the 23's and 24's so try it first. I am a slight overpronator and for me the support is great - better even than the old model.
The support is provided by the midsole systems which I cover below and the Ortholite X-40 sock liner which provides the spring and has great breathability and moisture management.
However, everyone's feet and needs are different and the insoles are removable. So, if needed, you can remove the supplied insole and replace it with an orthotic but you may need a half size bigger depending on your foot shape and the orthotic insert.
My advice here is to order your regular size and a half size bigger and ship back the pair that doesn't fit if the shipping policy of the store allows returns.
Amazon allows free return shipping on some items so check out if that offer applies before you purchase
You'll know immediately anyway and it should be no problem as long as you don't take them outside to wear.
ASCIS have really worked at the support throughout the shoe from the heel through the midsole area and into the front part of the shoe for lift off.
As a result this shoe is a market leader in that regard.
Let’s talk about IGS. The ASICS Gel-Kayano 25 shoe has a self-branded component known as the Impact Guide System (IGS) built into the outsole of the shoe.
This technology, so to speak, evenly disperses the weight of your foot within the shoe.
If you suffer from overpronation, this is the shoe for you. Overpronators tend to place the majority of their weight while walking on the inner parts of their feet.
After prolonged exposure this can cause pain and anatomical complications in your knees and spine.
With IGS, the outsole of the Kayano 25 will essentially guide your foot every time it hits the ground, releasing the pressure off of inner part of the foot and evenly spreading it across the entire shoe.
Although this aspect of the shoe is perhaps what makes it so comfortable and surely acts as one of the most attractive features, it also makes the shoe a bit heavier.
I didn’t find any specific information for supinators but I think there are better options for people with that issue.
It appears ASICS wanted to help walkers with overpronation, which is the larger part of the market. I personally have slightly flat feet and the shoe feels terrific during long walks and occasional runs for me.
Don’t take my word for it, you may have to try the shoes on to be sure.
Features of the Midsole
For treadmill walkers, especially, you really ought to consider the comfort and bounce of the midsole.
Luckily with the Gel-Kayano 25, you get nice spring action allowing you to lift off the ground easily. This is thanks to the lightweight FluidRide within the midsole.
I have to admit when I first felt the shoe it was heavy but when I began to walk around in them, I was surprised to see how comfortably it lifted off the ground almost like a spring.
I wasn’t necessarily faster but for sure could walk and run much longer much more comfortably, I’ll go into more detail about this later in the article.
The irony of the shoe is that the very thing that makes it great for walking over a prolonged period of time actually makes it uncomfortable for standing around and everyday use.
In fact, some reviews said the midsole felt a little stiff and inflexible but I haven't found that to be so. That said there is a lot of grip in the heel area and really throughout the shoe, specifically provided for walking and running.
It might not be the shoe you want on in the office (it probably doesn't fit the right look anyway being sporty) but should be fine for a quick trip to the grocery store.
I would mark it perfect for long distance walks, runs, and nice paced marathons and good for other more casual uses now the shoe has been generally upgraded.
Features of the Inside Cushioning
I would have to say that the Gel-Kayano 25 shoes feel soft and cushion-like on the inside. This could be a placebo feeling you get when putting on a new shoe but apparently there is science to back it up.
The inside is supported by Dynamic DuoMax technology which is supposed to absorb shock and minimize the pain to your feet.
The shoe also comes with a removable Ortholite X-40 Sockliner so if you aren’t happy with the insole you can remove it and place your own orthotic.
For the most part reviewers who complained of overpronation found the shoe to be helpful and didn’t feel the need for custom orthotics. I would try it on and see how it feels, if you are experiencing pain by all means throw out those built in removable Ortholite X-40’s and go with your own.
If you suffer from supination, where you put the majority of your weight on the outside portions of your feet, you may not find that the 25’s are of much help during long walks.
However, some reviewers have suggested that custom orthotics built for supinators work well with the shoe.
This of course isn't definitive because similar complaints are also prevalent. I would suggest trying the shoes out if you are able to see if they work for you and your custom orthotics.
The bottom line: overpronators who like taking long walks and have developed a walking exercise routine, these shoes are definitely for you.
As for supinators, I think there is a good chance custom orthotics will make this shoe an equally good choice but not being one I don't want to stick my neck out with recommendations too far.
Features of the Heel Area
Ok, let’s talk about my favorite aspect of this shoe. The ASICS Gel Kayano 25 has by far the best heel support and achilles feel I’ve experienced in any shoe. Even better than the 24's; and they were good.
In recent years I have developed a love for long, medium-paced walks on soft trails, roads, and occasionally on the treadmill. However, I have noticed that some of my shoes are bit flimsy on the sides and heel areas.
Over a prolonged period my feet will actually slide off to the sides of the shoe stretching out the fabric. This effect is magnified when I transition between long distance walking, to running, and even occasionally a bit of boxing during the week.
I’m not going to buy a separate shoe specifically for boxing or running because I would rather spend my money on… well, walking shoes as that’s where the majority of my cardio and exercise time goes to.
The Kayano 25’s have the best heel support I have seen in any walking shoe thus far.
If you look at the design you’ll see there is a plastic frame that circles around the shoe. It comes off the sides for almost a quarter of the entire shoe acting as a frame-like exoskeleton.
The heel keeps your foot stable and locks in a position to provide a consistent walking experience.
Your feet will not be sliding off to the sides any time soon I can tell you that.
Instead, you’re going to have a highly stable shoe that can withstand your body weight, every… single… time!
If you’re someone like me and tend to jam your foot in your shoe without properly lacing and untying it then again this is the shoe for you. The heel is strong enough to handle rough usage and still maintain its composure.
The inside portion of the heel also has a soft feel made of comfortable fabric that hugs your foot and the slight curve outwards on the very tip keeps your achilles healthy and prevents blisters.
I am told the height of the heel has been raised from previous models, this could be in part for support and protection.
You should still consider what socks you wear, this is just a good note for any shoe.
In terms of lacing there isn’t anything necessarily impressive about the Kayano 25’s. I will say that no part of my foot felt tighter on one lacing portion over the other and nothing was loose or frail.
One nice aspect was how long the laces actually lasted. These are shoes you want to be using during long walks so you don’t want to stop every five minutes to tie your shoelaces.
This is especially true if you’re walking on a treadmill… there is nothing worse than getting laces stuck between machinery.
I found that the Gel-Kayano 25 shoe didn’t require multiple ties and the high wrap wasn’t going to wear off anytime soon.
I will say however there isn’t much protection against the elements in this portion of the shoe. In fact compared to the upper, the lacing portion is much more open and ventilated perhaps to offer breathability.
Some shoes will have plastic guards or wraps that seal in the foot protecting it from both water and rocks. There are small tongue-like openings from which the laces come out of that circle around the heel area but this doesn’t count for much protection.
I think anything more would have added to the already heavy weight of the shoe so it was left out.
The fabric of the shoe is made of engineered mesh that combines a singular component with well vented and tight-knit portions. The upper comes with a branded element known as the ASICS FluidFit which is made to hug your foot like a comfortable glove.
Past models have had trouble in this specific sense as they presented tightness both around the lacing and toe-box area. For the most part, according to reviews, this has been reduced to a great deal.
There are also vertical-striped tapes acting as internal layering that add to the structural integrity of the upper. This provides for a stable experience that will last longer than other portions of the shoe.
The internal taping also acts as a countermeasure to the engineered mesh that may give to swelling and wear-off quickly. Instead, the fabric of the upper fits well and takes the shape of the foot with the help of the vertical inner tapes.
Some reviews suggest this new design is similar to the Kayano 21’s as the main complaints about the 23’s and 24's were that they fit too tight and were often painful both in the upper and toe-box area.
That’s not something you want during long walks and not something you'll likely experience with the 25's.
I felt that the upper was very comfortable and at the same time, I didn’t feel that my foot would somehow slip out. It was tight to an extent that didn’t squeeze my feet off to the sides.
The upper is probably the only flexible part of the shoe so going for a size increase may not necessarily mean a worse fit especially if you have hotspots near your toes.
Foot or Toe Box
This is probably the feature that has changed the most from the 24’s. Honestly, the two look pretty similar design-wise. The 25's are a vast improvement in the toe box area over the last two models. You will be very pleasantly surprised.
I did a quick search online and apparently, the primary concern was that both the Gel-Kayano 23 and 24 felt narrow in the tow box with the 23 presenting itself particularly painful. I am pleased that did not sway me as the 25's are a different shoe in this respect.
If you get the right sized shoe for your foot and the right width fitting (or perhaps a half size larger if wearing thicker socks or orthotics) then you should be good to go.
I remember the first time I did a 5K on the treadmill.
Back then that felt like the longest I’d ever walked. I think it’s what got me hooked on long distance walking in the first place (yes I thought a 5K was long distance… it was my first time, ok, so go easy on me!).
I put on my regular everyday basketball shoes and pressed ‘Start’. By the end of the 5K, which I survived, by the way, I felt like my feet were on fire!
Turns out your feet swell-up and get extremely hot during prolonged walks… who knew.
Having marathoners in mind ASICS really put their 20-year experience with the Kayanos to use. The 25’s are extremely breathable and allow for moisture to exit the shoe and air to filter through.
The engineered mesh of the upper allows for nice ventilation and the inside Ortholite liner deals well with moisture. Not to mention with vented lacing portion provides for great circulation.
I also found that the Kayano 25 shoes don’t smell, this in part is due to the nice breathability of the upper.
Apart from the weight being on the heavier side, the Kayano 25 shoes are very comfortable specifically on long walks or runs. Of course, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend having them all the time.
I would say I’m pretty flatfooted so long distance walking took some time to get used to, however, the right shoe really does the trick. Because of the base build of the midsole and outsole guide system, people suffering from overpronation will find an extremely comfortable fit with the Kayano 25’s.
This protection comes with the ASICS specific Dynamic DuoMax technology which absorbs shock. Along with the FlyteFoam, you get a shoe with comfort at its core.
Again this isn’t a shoe you want on in the office or throughout the day because it is relatively heavy, but for road walking and treadmill walking the shoe is perfect.
Trust me when I tell you, these shoes are incredibly durable!
Look, ASICS made this shoe specifically for athletes who walk or run marathons so they had to create something that would last a long time, otherwise you would be buying a new pair every month and probably not from ASICS if the first ones didn’t work.
Because of the FlyteFoam and DuoMax technology, your shoes aren’t going to flatten quickly and will continue to retain their comfort and spring-like action.
According to sources, you can get between 300 and 500 miles so for the average long distance runner or walker, I would say you have about four to five months before you need a new pair.
The weight of the ASICS Gel-Kayano 25 is probably one of two or three drawbacks but I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.
Yes, the average men’s Kayano 25 comes in at around 11.3oz (that’s for a US size 9) which is significantly heavier than most shoes of its kind but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
My initial reaction to tacking the shoe out of the box was “this is heavy”. It felt rigid and uncompromising. When I put the shoes on they felt comfortable and snug but also weighed me down.
At least that’s what I thought.
Deciding not to judge a book by its cover I took to the treadmill. Never in my life had a walking exercise felt more stress-free and relaxing.
You only really notice the weight when walking or running on rough terrain or sprinting, not because you can’t walk or run as long but you can’t go as fast.
I usually like to do high-intensity interval training, HIIT, midway through my walks.
I found that with the Kayano 25’s I couldn’t sprint as easily. In fact, these definitely are not the shoes for speed runners.
However, the weight actually makes this an ideal long distance and treadmill walking shoe. The comfort, support, and spring of the shoe feels terrific.
So the weight isn’t so much a factor in long walks as it is when trying to speed walk or sprint.
I can honestly say my initial tread walk with the 25’s was longer than my previous daily routines and this wasn’t a placebo effect because every walking exercise thereafter felt great.
So the weight of the shoe isn’t necessarily a drawback for long distance walkers but again this isn't something sprinters should be using. I will say this, after switching between different shoes you’ll start to appreciate the heavy build of the Kayano’s.
Remember the drawbacks I was talking about? Yeah well, aesthetic design is one of those to a degree but much better looking than its predecessor.
If you’re one that has a love for all things flashy then the ASICS Gel Kayano 25 has a few flashier styles than before.
I personally don’t mind even the basic designs but I can see where an argument could be made against it. But sometimes minimalistic is good.
The shoe is relatively pricey and while the function is highly appreciated the form did suffer to quite an extent.
Compared to previous Kayanos the 25 looks much more developed, especially in regards to the midsole, outsole, and heel area. Although, maybe, it loses stylistic points when put next to other running shoes it is catching up compared tot he 24's in my opinion.
The Kayanos no longer feature double-sided ASICS logos like in previous models. Instead only the outer sides have logos which is one way the company saved money.
There are also complaints that the upper looks cheap especially in regard to the mesh detailing. It looks grayish and washed out.
For me personally, this isn’t an issue as long as it is comfortable and supportive but I admit this isn’t exactly a gorgeous shoe.
There is a reflective element that is well integrated into the shoe but don’t expect to shine in headlights at night.
I think the main complaint is how the midsole blends into the upper and the lacing to the heel. Up close there is a nice flow of design components but with the monotone colors approach, a glance from afar reveals a bland shoe.
In which case choose one of the flashier colors.
These shoes are perfect for long walks or runs on the treadmill, sidewalk, or light natural terrain.
Because of the soft build and breathability of the shoe, there is very little water protection. As a matter of fact, you should avoid wet terrain and rocky roads altogether.
While the mid and outsoles will protect the bottom of your feet from sharp objects you really don't want to stop halfway through a marathon to get rid of pebbles stuck in your shoes.
Avoid rough terrain and trails, instead, stick with road running and tread walks.
The same goes for the traction of the Kayano 25’s.
The rubber outsole is slip-free and provides for great traction on the road, in gyms, and wet sidewalks.
Again, this doesn't mean you should go on wet trail surfaces because at the very least you will have soaking feet, freezing toes, and may slip a few times.
While these aren’t the most flexible shoes that isn’t a bad thing when you consider the target user.
When it comes to sprinting or HIIT workouts you need a shoe with flexible outsoles, midsoles, and a toe-box area. But this isn’t a shoe for speed runners, this is a shoe for long distance walkers, trackers, and runners.
When you develop a specific pace while walking on the treadmill or in your neighborhood, the last thing you want is to have flexible-bottomed shoes adjusting and balancing to “terrain” essentially causing foot pain.
You really shouldn’t be trail walking in these.
Instead, you want a shoe with a stable core and supportive heal to minimize foot movement and increase spring-action allowing your foot to simply remain in place and lift-off with ease.
No balancing or maneuvering concerns.
The upper and lacing area suits well and supports different feet because the engineered mesh fabric fits similar to a glove. Since the base of the shoe is designed to support long distances and helps correct overpronation, you won’t find the Kayano’s to be very flexible.
Stability & Support
I feel like a broken record at this point but I really can’t press this point enough. The ASICS Gel Kayano 25’s are among the most stable and supportive shoes I’ve ever used for long distance walks and marathons.
The gel in the heal and the plastic brace on the back along with the outsole and midsole build provide ideal support for your foot.
It’s important, especially during long walks, to have a shoe with optimal stability. You really don’t want your feet wobbling around in your shoe and the weight of the world on your ankles every time you hit the ground.
So the bounce back effect of the 25’s along with their rigid shell-like build offer great stability and support.
Do you feel like I've bombarded you with dozens of details?
Let me try to clear some things up. So what is so great about those boots?
Conclusion and Wrap Up
So… The Bottom Line
Ok, this is one of the final considerations you have to make… is the price worth it.
The ASICS Gel Kayano 25 running shoes don’t come so cheap.
Then again you really are paying for quality here. Look you could get a shoe for half the price but it’s almost guaranteed to wear out in a month or two.
The Kayano 25’s are comfortable, stable, strong, snug, and durable. If anything you would be saving money in the long term because you wouldn’t have to replace these shoes for at least four months.
Plus, because of the branded materials and build, you will avoid injury to a greater extent than with other shoes.
Personally, I feel this is the ideal long distance walking shoe and for marathoners specifically, this shoe is totally worth it!