Celebrating 25 years of an iconic ASICS running shoe

What makes a shoe great? Is it technology? Is it looks? Is it popularity?

When it comes to the ASICS GEL-Kayano, it’s the people that make the shoe great.

From long-time fans, to new Kayano owners, for 25 years, we’ve seen this iconic shoe become a part of their running journeys, taking people through marathons, cross country, and helping everyday runners achieve their personal best.

With the release of the GEL-Kayano 25 this month we’d like to take a moment to remember where it all started.

Designing the first ASICS GEL-Kayano

There are only a handful of shoes that have stuck around for a quarter of a century. The GEL-Kayano is one of them.

Where a lot of running shoes come and go, the GEL-Kayano has cemented itself as one of the leading running shoes for over two decades. So what is it that has made this shoe such an icon?

Let’s jump back to its humble beginnings. In 1993, ASICS designer Toshikazu Kayano set out to create a running shoe for long-distance runners.

Inspired by the stag beetle – which has a tough exterior and protective shell – Kayano designed his shoe with a strong, supportive plastic heel that mimicked the beetle. Utilising state-of-the-art GEL technology, this shoe completely revolutionised running shoes of the time.

This flagship model of running shoe quickly became a favourite, and has since been worn by Olympians, top Kiwi athletes and world-famous marathon runners.

The GEL-Kayano began as a passion project for designer Toshikazu, and he went on to design the shoe up until its 13th model, continuing to push the technical boundaries, while staying true to the shoe’s roots.

Since the original GEL-Kayano, our design team have improved each model with cutting-edge technical developments. The GEL-Kayano 7, released in 2001, was designed with an Impact Guidance System, with innovative cushioning, stability and flexibility. This particular model was a hit and sold close to half a million pairs.

In 2008, the GEL-Kayano 14 was awarded Shoe of the Year and Editor’s Choice by Runner’s World. For the GEL-Kayano 20, ASICS brought on board designer Yoshiyasu Ando to create a model with a single layer design, and a sock-like fitment to minimize friction.  

“The GEL-Kayano is built for the beginner runner all the way up to the professional, and has long been my training shoe of choice.” - Andy Potts, Olympian and Ironman World Champion

What you can expect in the GEL-Kayano 25

Now, 25 years after the original GEL-Kayano was designed, ASICS has released its latest edition, the GEL-Kayano 25.

Released on June 1st, the latest model has been built with cutting-edge technology, incorporating our FlyteFoam materials to create an ultra-lightweight and supportive shoe with exceptional cushioning.

“Since its inception, the GEL-Kayano strives to be an industry leader by exceeding the expectations of those looking for a balanced mix of cushioning and stability. Each new version focuses on improving the fit, feel and ride.” - Jim Monahan, Vice President, Footwear, ASICS America Corporation

Sharing your ASICS GEL-Kayano story

Loved by pro athletes and everyday runners alike, one of our favourite things about the GEL-Kayano are the stories we’ve heard over the years. Leading up to the GEL-Kayano 25, we’ve been inviting everyday Kiwis to share their GEL-Kayano stories.

Take Richard, who first bought his Kayanos just before his son was born. “I decided I needed to up my game, get myself in shape to be a healthy role model for my son,” he shares. In 2008, Richard bought his first pair of Kayano’s, and since then, he’s never looked back. “I’ve since run a marathon, duathlons, and many off-road events, and throughout all of them, the only constant has been my Kayanos.”

For sports physiotherapist, Andy, the day he laced his first pair of GEL-Kayanos, his life was changed forever and he could finally run without pain. “For years, I suffered from chronic Achilles tendinosis. When I got my first pair of Kayanos, I could finally run without my Achilles stopping me. To this day, completing the Great Wall of China Marathon in my ASICS GEL-Kayanos was is one of the most memorable experiences for me.”

Hearing these stories are what makes the ASICS team, from the designer, to the person selling the shoe, truly inspired to help everyone run their personal best, and enjoy every step of the journey.  

As we celebrate the release of the GEL-Kayano 25, we look forward to hearing more of your stories and continuing to support Kiwi runners.

Are you excited about the new GEL-Kayano 25? The latest model of the GEL-Kayano is in stores now. Shop In Store or Online and start your GEL-Kayano journey.