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The Kayano needs no introduction. It's one of the world's most loved premium, stability trainers and has graced us with its presence for almost 3 decades.
The Kayano 28 is very much still a Kayano so if you’re a Kayano loyalist, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll still get the cushioned, comfortable and stable Kayano that you know and love.
The last 5 versions of the Kayano have had the same combination of Flytefoam midsole foam, a DuoMax medial post and a Trusstic System shank. This combination has worked well for the Kayano but in the Kayano 28 we see some big changes.
In version 28, the Trusstic System has become a floating shank which moves from the bottom of the shoe, further up, into the midsole. The forefoot midsole foam of the Kayano 28 has also been changed to Flytefoam Blast.
ASICS has 2 new, cutting edge midsole foams in its arsenal: Flytefoam Blast and Flytefoam Blast Turbo (which is reserved for racing shoes only for now). Flytefoam Blast was first introduced in the Novablast a couple years ago but it has trickled its way into other trainers such as the Magic Speed and now the Kayano 28.
The Kayano 28 is 57 grams lighter than the Kayano 27, it has the same gender specific drops for men's and women's versions, and is the same price as the previous version.
This is the Platinum version of the Kayano 28 which belongs to the Platinum Collection. This premium collection features a silver colour palette with an accentuated metallic finish that sparkles in the sunlight.
The multi-directional engineered mesh of the Kayano 28’s upper is very soft to the touch without any stretch to it. The Kayano 28 runs slightly warm so make sure you wear thin socks with it, if running in Singapore.
The tongue of the Kayano 28 is generously padded with foam. It's still not gusseted so it has wide wings to hold it in place so that no tongue slide occurs. The coveted tongue gusset is only featured on the Nimbus 23.
The collar and the heel tab are even more padded than last year's Kayano so version 28 has a plusher, more luxurious feel to it. Heel lockdown is still great and no heel slippage occurs when in the Kayano 28.
The biggest update to the upper of the Kayano is to its external heel counter. On previous versions, the heel counter wrapped around the entire heel but on version 28, it's much lower and covers only a small portion of the heel. This allows a much more streamlined feel and a significant weight reduction.
There is an abundance of reflectivity on the Platinum version with the heel clip, tongue logo and ASICS logos on both sides of the midfoot being reflective.
The Kayano 28 fits true to size although with the extra heel padding, the foot is pushed forward and there is slightly less room in the toe box. The regular widths should be fine for most runners though.
The headline feature of the Kayano 28 is the brand new Flytefoam Blast in its sole. Flytefoam Blast is a more dynamic, modern foam than regular Flytefoam or Flytefoam Propel. It feels softer underfoot and it has slightly more energy return.
The entire forefoot of the Kayano 28 is made of Flytefoam Blast while the midfoot and rearfoot have a thin layer of it which sits above the firmer regular Flytefoam. This setup creates distinct, different zones of density in the midsole. The forefoot is soft and flexible, while the midfoot and rearfoot are firmer and stiffer.
A large gel unit on the lateral side of the heel provides extra shock absorption on the lateral side, where most runners strike their foot first. There is also a coin-sized gel unit situated in the forefoot. The long, heel gel unit is the biggest differentiator between the classic GEL-Kayano and the newer Kayano Lite spinoff series.
It wouldn't be a Kayano without it. The Dynamic DuoMax medial post is situated under the medial side of the heel and stretches into the midfoot. This firm wedge of foam stops runners’ ankles from rolling excessively inward during transitions.
Another new feature of the Kayano 28 is 3D Space Construction in the midsole. These zones are underneath the insole and strobel lining, on top of the midsole foam so it's hidden from view. It looks like tiny, raised hexagonal pillars which can compress downwards and are designed to increase underfoot softness.
The 3D Space Construction is also gender specific so in the women's Kayano 28, there are zones under the forefoot and the heel whereas in the men's version it's found only under the heel.
Great durability is a quality that runners love in the Kayano and the high durability comes from the plethora of thick, ASICS High Abrasion Rubber on its outsole.
Harder-wearing AHAR+ rubber covers the rearfoot while softer AHAR is situated on the forefoot for more padded landings and better ground feel.
The forefoot has 4 horizontal flex grooves which result in a high degree of flexibility. Two of the flex grooves span from edge to edge while the other two flex grooves have small pieces of rubber attached in the middle.
The biggest difference between the outsole of the Kayano 28 and previous Kayano versions is related to its midfoot. The Trusstic System plastic shank used to float above the ground, leaving a space on the midfoot between the rearfoot and forefoot.
On the Kayano 28, the midfoot is filled up with foam, so the outsole is now full ground contact. A deep transition groove also stretches from the heel, up into the midfoot for extra cushioning and smoother transitions.
The Trusstic System is no longer on the surface of the outsole but it's now higher up in the midsole foam. The thin, plastic line on the medial side of the midsole is the Trusstic System shank poking through.
This new position of the shank allows for a less intrusive stability element and a more natural ride without sacrificing any stability.
Durability has never been a concern with the Kayano and you can expect to get at least 800 kilometres of running out of the Kayano 28.
The Kayano 28 has a soft, flexible forefoot with a firmer heel and midfoot due to the addition of regular Flytefoam in the back half of the shoe. This results in plenty of heel support and a secure heel feeling as you transition through your gait cycle.
The soft Flytefoam Blast foam in the forefoot gives the Kayano 28 a very natural, flexible feeling upon toe off. The ride feels more relaxed than previous versions of the Kayano that had a stiffer forefoot.
The Kayano 28 performs best on easy, slow runs and any distance. Its thick midsole stack has enough cushioning for a full marathon so if you want to use the Kayano for long distances, you should encounter no problems from a lack of cushioning.
It's a moderate stability trainer so its firm DuoMax medial post is hardly noticeable and there's no uncomfortable poking arch sensation. The Kayano 28 is suitable for neutral runners as well as over pronators who prefer some support which is why it's such a popular choice all over the world.
The biggest difference between the ride of the Kayano 28 and previous Kayanos is that transitions feel much smoother. The new, full ground contact outsole with a filled-in midfoot section results in transitions which don't feel as disjointed.
The new upper which is more padded, provides plush comfort for long-distance runs or for just walking around town.
The ASICS GEL-Kayano 28 is the quintessential daily trainer, built for high mileage. It has a supremely comfortable, luxurious ride deserving of its premium price.
Version 28 has a more padded collar which makes it more comfortable than last year's version. It also has 3D Space Construction zones which increase underfoot softness and on the outsole, a filled-in midfoot area for smoother ride transitions.
The Kayano 28 is also noticeably softer than the Kayano 27, especially in the forefoot and this results in a more flexible, more natural ride.
The only thing to complain about is its hefty weight. Its 306 g weight (for a men's US 9) limits its versatility and makes it suitable for mainly easy or steady-paced runs, however, the new Flytefoam Blast forefoot provides a little bit more energy return than previous versions so it's more equipped to handle moderately faster paces.
The Kayano 28 is also lighter than the Kayano 27 so at least it's trending in the right direction. ASICS has once again refined the Kayano line and the changes that they've made are enough to result in the best Kayano to date.
Reviewed by Brandon Law