ASICS FrontRunner Reegan Alward is juggling a full time job with engineering studies. At the same time she manages to maintain a high level of running fitness. Or, is it 'because' of the running that she manages it all.
"I found running four years ago and being on the road for my daily run gives me a chance to unwind and smooth all my ripples," she says. "I’m also one of those runners who can leave my house, settle into my thoughts, and return from my run without even realising I’m back. This is how I took to long distances so easily."
Now, a couple of marathons and ultras later, she can't see her training regime changing anytime soon. She employs the same philosophies to gear, shoes in particular.
The Gel-Kayano 27 is her fifth consecutive Gel-Kayano model, so we trust her judgement, so should you.
Here are her thoughts:
The engineer in me is dying to start with the technical specifications of the Gel-Kayano 27 and then I can save the best (my self-proclaimed opinion) for last. But first, for those new to the ASICS terminology or the Kayano family, let me give a brief introduction.
The Gel-Kayano is ASICS’ most advanced stability shoe, otherwise known as 'motion control' shoe. Built for the road and the stubborn of heart, the Kayano is a long-distance road shoe aimed at giving ultimate comfort and protection to the athlete for hours on end. I use the word 'athlete' tentatively as it is not built lean and light as a racer but rather for those in it for the long run.
The changes from the Gel-Kayano 25 to the Gel-Kayano 26 were somewhat predictable as we saw a drop in weight and an increase in cushioning. Very standard upgrades that we’ve come to expect throughout all our favourite shoe models.
For the 27th rendition ASICS took some leaps forward and provided more upgrades than we’ve ever seen between two models. The usual cushioning upgrade can be seen through an entirely new lasting layer in the shoe made of 3.5mm Ortholite replacing the previous EVA lasting layer. Even the weight reduction upgrade caught me by surprise as the men’s shoe is now 5g lighter while the ladies’ is a whopping 15g lighter than last year's model!
Running as a woman has never been more beneficial with the introduction of a gender-specific heel, clutch counter, and space trusstic. Owing to the different shapes between the Achilles tendon is the different sexes, the heel and outer components now are better suited to support you where and when in your stride you need it most.
Last but not least, the flex grooves on the outsole have changed to help create a smoother rollover from the stance to push-off phase without compromising on support.
Alright, so we have made it clear the new Gel-Kayano 27 is one high tech piece of equipment but is it all worth the upper echelon price tag?
PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
To test the newbies, I took them around my neighbourhood on my usual morning route. The same one I’ve been doing for years in all five predecessors of the Kayano family.
The most noticeable feature upgrade is the comfort. The additions to the upper, the lasting, and the heel all put my unicorn slippers to shame. I enjoy the exuberant bounce-back of the midsole although it can be something to get used to with a new pair of Kayano’s once my muscles are used to the fatigued Flytefoam of my previous pair.
The fit is great, as always. I have narrow feet and yet they fit just like all the others have before and this is something I have often heard from people with wide, long, short, and stout feet too. The fit really does adapt to your shape which helps prevent those usual friction pains from new shoes in their maiden long run.
On the downside, all the trusstics, clutch counters, and other stability devices can be a bit much for someone like me who is quite a light runner but still needing a stability shoe. The additional flex grooves in the outsole definitely help a lot but I’d love to see a Kayano Lite version sometime in the future too for those of us sold on the comfort but looking for something a little more malleable.
The new Gel-Kayano 27 has fitted right into my collection. There is nothing better than slapping on my Kayano’s, turning up my 90s music, and heading down the street every morning. These shoes have reinforced their reliability to help me find that classic comfort in my daily route. Their comfort is superior to any other shoe I’ve tried and their durability makes them economical as a daily training shoe capable of racking up miles while maintaining its performance.
For those who, like me, enjoy the simplicity of running and the stability of an effortless ride, the Gel-Kayano 27 is worth it.
For more tech insights on Gel-Kayano 27, click here.