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Running Shoes for Flat Feet Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Asics Gel Kayano 26 Review

Check it out, runners! If you have flat feet or plantar fasciitis, you understand how crucial a supportive pair of running shoes can be. The Asics Gel Kayano 26 shoes are extremely effective running shoes for runners with flat feet or plantar fasciitis. With a comfortable build, durable materials, and shock-absorbing qualities, these are a unique pair of shoes worth considering.

These technologies include FlyteFoam, FluidFit, Dynamic DuoMax™, and Asics High Abrasion Rubber that provide stability, comfort, and breathability. These are all qualities runners look for when purchasing a new pair of running shoes.

Fast Facts About this Offering

  • Durable for all kinds of runners
  • FlyteFoam technology for reduced impact and improved comfort
  • FluidFit technology for an adaptive fit
  • Dynamic DuoMax design for stability (and over-pronators)
  • AHAR (Asics High Abrasion Rubber) for road adhesion and comfort
  • Design promotes stability

Features and Benefits

Asics is a well-known brand in the running shoe community. The Gel-Kayano 26 is their most recent edition of the Gel-Kayano line on the scene. These shoes are stellar options to stave off bouts of plantar fasciitis pain as well as provide support for runners with flat feet.

These shoes come in an extensive variety of styles and colors for both men and women, and have enough options to ensure that your style is unique, no matter if subtle or striking. However, the strong balance of fit, comfort and style has led to incredibly positive product ratings and reviews from buyers, and after buying and testing these ourselves, we are firmly in that camp as well.

The complete feature list for the Asics Gel Kayano 26 is extensive. These features include a FluidFit multi-directional upper that is Asics-only, thick but soft gel for superior shock absorption, Asics patented impact guidance systems, and much more.

But how did these features and benefits come together to alleviate plantar fasciitis pain, and how did these shoes fare in some physical challenges we put them through? Let’s dive in.

Focusing on the Gel-Kayano for Plantar Fasciitis

People suffering from mild to severe plantar fasciitis dread the idea of running. This ailment is by far the most common cause of heel pain in adults. This is especially rampant amongst the running community.

Many who suffer from plantar fasciitis will notice the most intense pain after waking up. However, sharper pains are common when running. Wearing improper footwear that lacks ample support in the heel and arch is a fast track to intense pinpoint pain.

Treatment of plantar fasciitis involves routine stretching. However, one of the easiest ways to alleviate the pain associated with this struggle is to wear shoes that properly support the heel and arch.

The Asics Gel Kayano 26 is one such running shoe. Asics has long been a stalwart brand in the running community, as well as a wonderful option for plantar fasciitis sufferers. The 2​6th iteration of their flagship model, the Gel Kayano, builds upon their stellar reputation further.

Close up on the wedge of the Asics Gel-Kayano.  This helps provide superior arch support.  You can also see the breathable mesh body of the shoe.

Close up of the out sole of the Asics Gel-Kayano 26.

Performance in Our Testing

We at Shoe Guide are known for our rigorous testing procedures. Our selections for the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis were no exception. We put the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 through a series of three separate tests, all taking place across various courses in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Those tests included:

  • A flatter route on strong pavement, with terrains ranging from asphalt to loose pebbles, carpeting, linoleum and sidewalks. Goal: a four-mile loop around the perimeter of the Regency Square Mall, one of those miles being a jogging pace.
  • A more off-road route, the Spanish Pond Trail, with mud, stocks, debris and plenty of rugged terrains. Goal: Another four miles across environments untested in the flatter route, with a mile at a solid trail running pace.
  • An intense stair climbing route, up the 42-floor stairwell of the Banks of America Tower in downtown. Goal: Testing the quality of the shoes over quick turnarounds, damp environments, closed quarters, and rapid inclines.

Here are how these running shoes performed:

In the flat route, the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 did wonderfully. We experienced solid comfort and traction when walking and when jogging, in both the inside and outside terrains. Of all the running shoes we tested in our research, the Asics model was the most comfortable in this particular route.

In the off-road route, the Asics Gel-Kayano performed admirably as well. However, we noticed that the back of the running shoe started to dig into our heels when we were climbing up the steepest section of the trail at a jogging pace. But, this pain subsided quickly and did not come back when we tried a second lap to re-test.

Finally, in the stair climbing route, we experienced something that we hadn’t experienced before our testing. You see, we were used to climbing that building with low-quality running shoes with minimal support. The climb with the Asics running shoes were one of the most comfortable climbs we had experienced.

Performance and Use

This shoe, like all the Kayano models, is designed with cushioning and durability in mind. Asics Designer and Engineer Toshikazu Kayano created its remarkable design. They provide exceptional foot support with FlyteFoam and FluidFit technologies. These shoe's midsole possesses FlyteFoam technologies that reduce the impact on your foot while providing a secure, no-slip grip on your shoes.

They are built with reinforced fibers that are 55% lighter than industry-standard EVA. FluidFit technologies in the upper of the shoe are adaptive thanks to multi-directional stretch mesh, allowing for a great fit.

Additionally, the shoe's Dynamic DuoMax™ guarantees stability. This is a great technology for over-pronators. This DuoMax™ model supports a structured design by providing the runner with more speed and less bulk. Another great aspect of the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 shoe is its lightweight nature. It’s stretchy, but secure fit and flexible upper.

The Asics website deems the Gel-Kayano 26 shoe best for those with neutral to over-pronators. Since pronation is a normal movement of the human body, it provides a great fit for those who are over-pronators and as well as those that are not. This decreases the risk of injury and pain so you can enjoy your run.

Cushioning and Comfort

These shoes provide high-level support with the perfect balance of bounce-back and cushioning. As Asics running shoes, they have Asics High Abrasion Rubber, also known as AHAR, in the heel, as well as FluidRide technologies, for durability purposes. Dura Sponge technology, another version of this rubber, is used in the rest of the outer sole for both road adhesion and comfort.

Kayano shoes utilize both foam and gel for comfort purposes. As stated earlier, FlyteFoam is generous with its silicone-based gel in both the forefoot and the heel. With this, comfort rolls back throughout the shoe, so it works while you run. Rearfoot & forefoot gel technology cushioning systems both improve shock attenuation and, per the Asics website, toe-off phases allow for "movement as the foot transitions through the gait cycle." Additionally, specially-engineered mesh in the shoe's upper area is shaped for breathability. This mesh is built to flex in the proper areas and conform to your feet.

The Kayano series has a great reputation for using top-quality materials for comfort. With a rounded collar that prevents pain in the Achilles, a seamless feel and specialized gel in all the right places, the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 is phenomenal in the comfort category.

Value and Cost

With the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 running shoes, you get what you pay for. Compared to other running shoe brands, Asics shoes might be considered more on the pricey side. While you understandably should keep your budget in mind, it is important to keep your health in mind when choosing an appropriate running shoe. Made with top-notch materials, the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 running shoes are well-renowned by runners of all kinds, especially for those with flat feet. The upfront purchase might save you time and money in the future, as the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 shoes are known to last long.

Advantages and Disadvantages

All running shoes, regardless of their position in our list of the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis, will have their pros and cons. This isn’t their fault; it is simply part of our testing protocols. No shoe is perfect, and we are aware of this. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages that we found when testing the Asics Gel-Kayano 26.

Asics Gel-Kayano 26: The Pros

  • Comfort. FlyteFoam technologies allow comfort to roll from the front to the back of your shoe. It is a silicone-based gel that supports the rear foot and the forefoot for consistent comfort and support.  FlyteFoam utilizes super organic fibers that prevent "packing out," which happens with lower density foam supports. Flytefoam, combined with the rear-foot and forefoot gel cushioning system, supports multiple areas as your foot moves through the gait cycle.
  • Adaptive. Asics FluidFit technologies use both multi-directional stretch mesh and other stretch reinforcements to adapt to the shape of your foot. These technologies contribute to a comfortable, but tight fit, like a glove custom-tailored for your hand (but for your foot). The same FlyteFoam technologies that provide your feet with comfort are also used to give your shoe a no-slip grip. Stability is crucial in running shoes, and many of Asics’ technologies support stability in the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 shoes.
  • Color choices: Both the men and women's Asics Gel-Kayano 26 running shoes come in a variety of color combinations. Men can enjoy everything from traditional black and white shoes to dark forest and yellow shoes, to the vivid directoire blue and hot-orange shoes. Women can also enjoy many different colors, such as bright "flash coral,” prune with a pink glow, and white with blue-purple and safety yellow. Whether you’re into colorful designs or neutral colors, you will probably find your favorite colors.
  • Durability. FluidRide and Asics High Abrasion Rubber are both technologies utilized to create a durable shoe. FluidRide allows for bounce-back and cushioning with both strength and reduced weight. Additionally, AHAR is placed in crucial areas of the outsole for even more durability. It is important to keep in mind that these shoes are made best for running on roads rather than other terrains. These shoes are extremely durable for daily runners.
  • Support. These running shoes provided impressive arch support, unexpected in a brand that is common for those looking for ultralight shoes.
  • Cushioning. The cushioning of the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 are strong, yet lightweight. They are also gender-specific (thicker foam for men, more breathable, lighter foam for women), with high quality composition of materials
  • Value. The comfort-per-dollar value of these running shoes was higher than any of the other running shoes for plantar fasciitis that we tested in our research.

Asics Gel-Kayano 26: The Cons

  • Cost. While the comfort-per-dollar is wonderful, the price point is the highest amongst the shoes we tested by a long shot. If you have the funds to shell out for these shoes, we highly recommend doing so, before the next iteration comes out and the price goes up even more.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

On RunRepeat, the Asics Gel-Kayano 26 ranks among the top 47% in overall best running shoe, the top 49% of best Asics running shoes, and the top 1% most popular road running shoes. This shoe is considered part of the top 1% most popular running shoes for just four, simple reasons: effectiveness, durability, comfort, and stability.

These are all extremely important characteristics to consider when purchasing a new pair of running shoes. Stability and comfort are both crucial for those with flat feet, and with Asics’ iconic technologies like FlyteFoam and FluidRide, you can enjoy your run without worrying about pains or other complications associated with your flat-footedness. The Asics Gel-Kayano 26 shoes are built for running effectiveness and comfortable support in mind.

The Asics Gel-Kayano 26 is included in our comprehensive guide to the best running shoes for flat feet as well as our list of the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis.

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