Asics Gel Kayano 16 (2010)

Yes, in The Netherlands—where I’m based—it’s already been available for months due to the lack of 2009 Kayano 15 stock. So every year the big question is: Are the shoes changed?

And yes, they are. The Kayano 16 is a lot more stable then its previous version, the 15. We tested the shoe with several athletes who pronate (some more than others), so we could compare how the 16 is different from the 15. With all testers we noted a pronation angle much less with the Kayano 16. The reason why the stability has changed is the new way Asics goes about producing its midsoles.

In the Kayano 16 they use a injected SoLtye material. Due to this way of creating the midsole they can add a bit more or less density in the material at specific places. Does this mean that this is now a better shoe? No it doesn’t. It is just a better shoe for those who tend more towards pronation—for which the 15 was just not stable and supportive enough.

For the athletes who were satisfied with the 15 I don’t think that you have to worry about injury issues when changing to the 16 unless you are on the other end of the scale and the 15 was almost too supportive for your running style. If you are not sure just go to your specialty running store and have your shoes checked.

Are there any other differences? Yes, the fit also has changed. The Kayano 16 is slightly more narrow then the 15, especially in the midfoot to forefoot. Also the asymmetric lacing is a little less asymmetric. In terms of cushioning they feel about the same. The big beefy Gel unit underneath the heel is the largest in the history of the Kayano and is also still there under the forefoot. And all of this doesn’t make the shoe any heavier; on the contrary it is even slightly lighter.

What I think the most pleasant change is that all of the testers said that the Kayano 16 felt a little more supple in heel-to-toe transition, so, it offers a smoother run. Overall, still one of the best shoes in this category.

[Editor’s note: Our capable editor-at-large for footwear Jeroen van Geelen owns Total Running, one of the more important running and triathlon retail establishments in The Netherlands.]