Shoe Review – Gel Kayano 15 vs 14

The new Gel-Kayano 15 recently debuted and at first glance I was very excited. The Gel Kayano is at the top of my list for narrow, shallow feet and is narrower than any other of the current Asics available now.

1. Toebox Depth and Length – The 15 has a deeper toebox than the 14 which helps for those whose 5th (baby) toes were getting crowded or develop a corn when wearing the 14 which was the biggest problem I found when people switched from the 13 to the 14.

It also is slightly longer which helps if your heel to toe measurement is bigger than your heel to ball measurement. https://drshoe.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/size-matters-heel-to-ball-vs-heel-to-toe/

5th_toe_corn

kayano_15_v_14_depth2

2. Midsole Construction -This is a significant change from the 14 and may create problems for many runners who were otherwise running pain free in the Gel-Kayano 14. The design is more like the Gel-Nimbus 10 which is one of my least favorite shoes.

kayano_14_15_heel

kayano_14_15_midsole3

The 14 has much more EVA in the lateral (outside) midsole than the 15. This means longer wear and greater support at heel strike with the 14 than the 15.

This difference is HUGE, so make sure if you decide to upgrade, you have a professional evaluate you in both pair as the 15 may make your heel strike more wobbly causing things like ankle sprains or tendonitis. Everyone doesn’t necessarily need firm lateral EVA but if you do, you would be better off with the new 2140 than the Gel Kayano.

3. Asymmetrical Lacing – According to Asics this system of lacing “conforms to the bony structure of the foot for an enhanced fit” – My findings and common sense both say, No. In fact this lacing tends to pucker the toebox area for a worse fit, creating an elf-shoe-like appearance with no benefit whatsoever, except maybe irritation at the base of the toes. In fact, I wound up re-lacing as below to simulate a normal (and better) straight lacing design. If you wear this shoe, I would recommend that you do this too.

kayano_assym_lacing

All in all, I’m very disappointed in the Gel-Kayano 15 and will probably not be recommending this shoe for as many of the runners that come in as I did with the 14.

Note – I have also reviewed Gel-Kayano 16, the post can be found at https://drshoe.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/shoe-review-gel-kayano-15-vs-16/

51 responses to “Shoe Review – Gel Kayano 15 vs 14

  1. Hi Jenny,

    What a great post. I have been a long time reader of your blog and was glad to see that you reviewed the Asics Kayano 15’s. There are some really interesting findings most of which correlate with the feedback that we have received. However, generally in the UK the Kayano 15’s and the Nimbus 10’s have both been a big success.

  2. I have to agree with your posting…Asics needs to re-evaluate their new Kayano 15. With the Kayano 14, I have been able to buy off the shelf and run with out any issues. The new 15’s are giving me major blisters, knee pain and just will not “break in”….I have been looking online and buying pairs of Kayano 14’s to save and store for the future! How do we let Asics know that their “new and improved” shoe is horrible? Bring back the old 14!

  3. As a mild pronator with a wide foot that has had 5 pair of Kayanos I was poised to purchase the Kayano 15 2E after a trip to my local running store. After reading the Kayano comparison blog I have chosen and purchased the Kayano 14s. This is the only spot on the web that I’ve found an unbiased comparison. Everything else obviously used the Ascis promo material as their basis of comparison. Sure the 15 sounds great, but if it isn’t providing the lateral heel stability I would have been sorely mistaken in making that purchase.

  4. Thank you so much for this review. I was just about to go and purchase a pair of Kayano 15’s. Think i will now check out a pair of 14’s.
    cheers 🙂

  5. Jenny:

    Great review. You are a wonderful resource to the community. I have been running well on Keyanos without any issues. I need a new pair and was considering the 15’s. Looks like I will stick with the 14s which seem to be performing well now. Thanks for your help!

  6. I agree 100%. Ever since I’ve pounded out miles on my 15’s I’ve had nothing but left calf and achilles problems. Sigh…

  7. I have been using the Kayano 15 for only one week, but i am having some foot and knee pain. With the Kayanos 12, 13 and 14 i never had any problem.

    Great article. Thanks a lot,

  8. Great advice! I wish I would have taken it. I have run in Kayano’s for about 4 years with great success. The Kayano XI are the absolute best. I bought the 15’s….they felt great during the run…then developed significant heel pain(I believe plantar fascitis) after less than 2 weeks. I will run in XI’s until they are no longer available.

  9. Hi Jenny,

    Interesting read. I was a massive fan of the 14’s and switched to a pair of the 15’s and all of a sudden my dreaded shin splints have come back big time. I’m a forefoot runner, so heel support is not an issue for me – however it’s bizarre since the shift up, I’ve had major shin issues… hmmm now I’m trying to find a pair of 14’s again.

  10. Great comparison and post. I started wearing 2120s four years ago and moved up to Kayanos once my mileage improved greatly. I never had any issues with the 14s, but lo and behold, I’m having issues with my Plantar Fasica that I’ve never experienced prior to wearing Kayanos. It started about the same time I bought the K-15s…

  11. Ahhh… Here I sit nursing two achilles… again. Last year I ran 1,000 miles on 14’s without a single issue… Ran a marathon in Feb and just barely made my half marathon this weekend wondering what the heck was wrong with my body…

    At least now I know… heading to shop to return the 15’s… Hello 14’s after 4 more weeks of healing:)

  12. The Kayano 15 reaaly sucks big time.. Sore left knee and bottom of pinky toe has a huge blister
    – worst running shoe I’ve had in 35,000 miles

  13. I thought I was the only one with problems with the 15s. My last two pairs of shoes have been kayano 14s, and they were great. When I went back to the running shop, they only had 15s, so I got those, since they fit well at the store. However, I’ve been having terrible calf problems with the 15s, especially on runs over an hour long, and they also seem to be constricting my feet. I’ve had to loosen the laces very much to be able to run without cutting off circulation to my feet. I am going to get a pair of 14’s asap.

  14. I was having foot and knee pain and was with my 15s and I had previously no problem with the two previous versions. Great article it gives me much better insite about what I was suspecting. I am a stocky man who needs more cushin for the weight I’m push so I will be looking for the 2140 in a 2E. Thanks

  15. solid read. thanks for the insight. hector here, co-owner of secondwind running store in the philippines. will be back to read more for sure.
    do visit us as well, http://www.secondwindrunningstore.com and thesecondwind.multiply.com

  16. Do not purchase this shoe assuming it is the same as the 14! I made a big mistake by wearing this shoe straight out of the box for a 10-miler and had what felt like a broken right foot, sore knees and left achilles pain. I had to take a week off of running for the first time in over 1.5 years. I wore my 14’s straight out of the box for a half marathon with no issues. This shoe is terrible and was a waist of my $140!

  17. I was so relieved to see all these posts. i also ran to buy the 15s after liking the 14’s and suddenly found myself with ITB problems (pain on the side of the knee), heel problems and shin splints that i haven’t had for years. because i am injury prone i was worried that it was me. now i know next time not to just buy the next number up of any brand. of course i am pissed off because I wasted money and good training time – but usually there is no way to tell before you actually run in them..

  18. I agree with this post…I have been wearing Keyanos for 10 years, but with the 15’s, all of a sudden I started to lose one of my big toe nails ! The lacing crowds the toe area, and the new plastic webbing which pulls across the big toe rubs and leaves a mark. Even when I altered the lacing as suggested in your post, the webbing still tends to bend inwards onto the toe as the shoe bends…..I hope they go back to the drawing board with the upper design, because I still like the support the shoe generally gives…

  19. ack! i just bought the Kayano 15s and after reading this blog (at the store, the first review that came up on my phone was the runners world one and there was nothing but praise there) i’m heading back to the store to switch to the 14s. Unfortunately, I think they’re the same price, but i’m thinking i don’t want to take the risk of running in the 15s and finding out they’re crap!

    Thanks!!

  20. I ran the SF marathon in the 15 and they are terrible. My foot was hurting from the mid point to the finish. Asics should recall this model.

  21. Took out of the box, brand new and ran 7 km with it. At 6 km I pulled up as I feel sore in my achilles tendon. Try again a week after, this time I had to stop at 1km, the sore got really bad. This 15 sux. I’m a fan of ASICS love the Kayano 11 – never give me any problems.

  22. had kayano 15 for 4 months have discovered a small hole in the lower mesh on the RHS foot just underneath my big toe – asics uk will be having these back – got to admit – the shoe is brilliant never had a better pair – the spring is just brilliant – hope asics exhange with no probs

  23. what can i do with this kayano15?

    I’ve just bought it and found the same problem as Ashley.

    My right foot is going to hell for the first time use.

    I should have believed you. Sob!!

  24. This review is so very correct. I hope I should have adhered to your advice and not upgraded to kayano 15. After a few runs in the shoe I had tendonitis. I had to see the doctor and was diagnosed with Posterior Tibial Tendon problem. even he asked me to move back to my old shoe. I am returning my new pair. Did any one even like this shoe ? after spending $140if you get so pain then I am sure this shoe is doing more bad then good for Asics. I used to be love the K14s………:(

  25. I agree with much of the sentiment above. Upon the recommendation of the guy at Road Runner, I went from the Asics 2100 to the Kayano 14 with no problems a couple of years ago. A couple of weeks ago, I bought the 15s at a Sports Authority thinking they’re the suitable replacement for my worn 14s. They felt a bit stiff, but for an overpronator like myself, they seemed good to go. No luck. I would get very minor arch/heel pain with the 14 after 3 consecutive days of running (about 15 miles in all). After running in the 15s twice in three days (10 miles in all), the arch/heel pain was unbearable and has kept me off the road for nearly 7 days. I’m off to the internet to hunt down some 14s. Hopefully, by the time they come in I can get back on the road.

  26. Just bought the 14’s over the 15’s – I totally agree with your synopsis. I tried both instore and really felt more comfortable in the 14. The day I got them I ran 15KM and they felt great. I had previously purchased the Kayano 13 but have been running in the Saucony Hurricane’s for the last while, they were great but no Kayano!
    Heed this comparison! Thank you Dr. Jenny!

  27. so peeved off… i decided to keep the 15’s to give it a chance. been running with it on treadmills (meaning that it still looks unused even if i want to sell/return them)…

    seriously, they’re pretty bad shoes. I started getting bad pains up my leg after about 2k. decided to just quickly go to buy a pair of 14’s (managed to find the last pair in my size in Malaysia)…

    I SO should have listened to this blog on the day that I bought the 15s… ARGH

  28. Bought the new 15’s from a shop here in Oslo Norway (approx 270 USD), and biggest waste of money. First run in them gave me shin splints i have not felt for years and my whloe run felt terrible. I will be bringing these striagh back and hoping I get my money back. Have loved all my previous Asics but these are over engineered rubbish.

  29. Robert Bradshaw

    I bought a pair of 15’s recently and I developed sever shin splints within a few runs. I persisted assuming that I was just having teething problems but it only got worse. I stopped using them nearly 2 weeks ago and I’m still in a lot of pain. I haven’t run since either. I just have to accept now that they’re not for me. Very disappointing.
    I over pronate quite badly and wear prescription orthotics. I had been wearing the zoom Nikes which were only ok at best hence the reason for trying out the Kayanos. Not sure where this leaves me now. Should I go for a good neutral shoe given that the orthotics should be correcting the pronation or should I try a shoe with a lot of support and maybe use them without the orthotics? Confused!!!!

    Robert

  30. Glad to see it’s not just me that’s been having problems with the Kayano-15, but sorry I wasted my money. I have serious pain in my left heel every time I wear the 15. Never had any issues with the 14. Asics, if you’re listening, GO BACK TO THE 14 DESIGN..!!!

  31. Just got a pair of women’s 14’s at Lady Foot Locker on clearance for $49.99. They’re more on their website, but may be worth a visit. FYI

  32. i have kayano 15 – mign are really comftable – only issue i had was the front of the mesh by my big toe tore within 4 months – i sent them back to asics & they replaced – hope these ones dont go the same way

  33. The Kayano 15’s are just plain bad, the new lace system is horrible (too tight). I upgraded from the 2140’a to the kayano15 and just went back and returned them after 2 weeks of running- Asics dropped the ball on this. I almost went with the 2150 but the 2140 just did me right so I’ll stick to it.

    • 2140’s are a wider fit than the Kayano hence why the Kayano may feel ‘tight’

      Clara is correct – 2140’s are slightly wider than Gel Kayano – Dr. S

  34. After 3 years of running in the 2100 Asic series I recently switched to the Kayano 15 thinking that I’d upgrade the quality of my shoe since I’m not getting any younger, ha. Ever since I’ve had knee pain with each run (last 4 weeks), lower back pain, my forefoot has hotspots and the bony top of one foot feels sore and bruised after I run. It hasn’t been worth the extra money and I’m considering taking them back… glad to hear I’m not alone. Thanks for all the comments!

  35. I have been running in Kayanos for 10 years. I was excited to get the 15s because the red was a welcome color change–seems insignificant, but made me happy. Anyway, I have had problems with them. My ankle bone is striking the side of the shoe and after a long run this can get quite painful. I also have had some blister problems and did not in any of the previous numbers. Hoping to find a 14 online.

  36. Have over 400 miles on my 15’s, 6 marathons, 2 50 k’s and one 24 hour run of 87 miles. No problems whatsoever. Love them. Just saying not everyone has problems with them.

  37. I’m a fan of the Kayano 15’s. I switched from the Nimbus models after many years. They changed that shoe way too much for me. It’s a matter of finding a shoe that works for you and sticking with it. The 16’s are coming but I’m stocking up on 15’s while I can.

  38. I have a hard time trusting people who “fit” me for shoes at specialty running stores. I had a bad experience where I was once recommended a shoe that was terrible for me, aiding to a strained IT Band. I went somewhere else and was fitted for the Kayano 15. They have been ok, but I have noticed increasing pain in my achilles as well as knee. I need a new pair of shoes badly. Have you tried the 16’s yet?

  39. I am hoping I can return these. I only have about 20 miles on them and bad shin splints popped up immediately and did not get better even after running on soft grass. As soon as I switched back to an old pair of Brooks Trance the pain went away. I’d also been running mostly pain-free in Brooks Adrenalines.

    Wanted to try something new because of increasing milage and some plantar fasciitis issues and my podiatrist suggested Kayano as I’m a moderate overpronator.

    Bad shoe for me and I would not suggest it.

    Does anyone know what may be the mechanics behind the shoe causing shin splints in some runners?

  40. Will you be doing a review of the Kayano 16 and how they compare to the 14?

  41. Don’t like lacing not comfortable along extensor hallicus longus and hope does not interfere with muscle tendon. Material in the toe box seems unusually thin, and folds up on itself (like the elf like comment above). Getting pain under and outside of right small toe. Getting pain in front of proximal tibia. Feels lighter but less cushioned in both heel and forefoot. Selected shoe because of stability and cushion I can handle the weight of the shoe staying the same. Overall very dissapointed and must go back to 14 or find something else. 10 marathons in a shoe makes it tought to leave.

  42. Any review of the Kayano 16? Assymetric lacing is more pronounced leading to adverse pressure on the foot ridge. Does the lacing trick fix this?

  43. Hi,
    I have the same problems as described above, and after using the Kayano 11 and 13 the 15s are a nightmare.
    Currently do not know what to buy…I was so happy with the Kayano as a steady factor.

    Anyone having experience with the Kayano 16 yet? Do they have the same problems?

  44. I am surprised at the comments here. I upgraded to the K15’s based on their recommendation at Runners World. They were softer in the sole than my older K’s, but now they are run in I love them.

    I run on hills and mostly on tracks, they are light, comfortable, and don’t give me any trouble. My older pair were heavier and gave a firmer platform on broken rocks, but these ae good now they have been broken in.

    It took a month or so to break them in, maybe people just need to persevere with them.

    • Gary is correct, if you aren’t unstable laterally or a supinator then this shoe is a great shoe. However, up to 25% of my runners would need a different shoe because of the design changes to the lateral outsole. – Dr. Sanders

  45. 100% accurate!!! I have been running in Kayano’s for over 10 years with absolutely NO issues. My husband bought me the 15 for our trip to Kauai — I was only able to run 1-mile then I started to limp with pain and I also received a big blood blister on my 5th little toe!! I couldn’t believe I was running in Kayano’s !! I’m so disappointed!! And after 10 years will now have to switch to a different shoe!!! bummer!

  46. Wow!! I googled Kayano 15 knee problems, just to see if there is any info on the subject and I am shocked and somewhat happy to have found this, I have only started running again about 2 months ago after a long break and bought a pair of K15’s based on previous great experience with Asics, I also bought a pair of Nike Lunarglide+ …. after my first half marathon in the K15’s I found myself almost paralized in the right knee, thinking that it’s an overuse injury, I rested it properly and got back on the road after a week… after 2 training sessions it was back to square one (right knee pain and ankle scuffing) started running solely in my Nike’s and the problems have dissappeared, Will buy asics again but will research better next time

  47. The 15’s suck azz. I’m going to sue ASICS. Half way through my marathon training and now I’ll need a month off to recover from shin splints and knee issues….which I’ve never had before. These shoes are the worst. Should have know better the second I saw the shoe lace gimmick.

  48. I love Asics and bought a pair of Gel Kayano 15’s and ran 3, 5k’s in a month with them. For the first time since running (8 years), I got shinsplints each time. Very painful. Figured out it only hurt when I ran with my 15’s on and a week after. Dissappointed in the shoe. My other Asics were great but not these.

  49. Just for everyone’s information; I hear the Kayano is going back to the lace system they had prior to the 15s. Must have been feedback (read: sales) and it took ’em four years but they got the message.

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