For many years runners who’s feet tended to collapse inward or overly rotate outward were directed towards stability shoes. These shoes generally featured a firm midsole or outer sole insert or guard rail of some sort to literally force the foot back in line. Being a pronator or supinator wasn’t an encouraging diagnosis for long distance running.
Apart from sometimes looking and feeling like somewhat ugly corrective footwear, rather than sleek sports wear, blood blisters and callouses were not uncommon. No doubt we lost many uncomfortable runners to other sports.
The next generation of shoes and shoe experts tended towards neutral shoes with varying levels of cushioning to allow lesser or greater degrees of natural alignment. Some used wider lasts, others less interfering overlays in the upper. This seemed a natural step in the right direction, allowing for greater variance of individual physiologies.
Having worn a number of the old school stability shoes we remember these days with a measure of discomfort. Those who tried neutral shoes in stores or park run demos very often felt comfortable in them but that’s because our running form tends to deteriorate as the distance increases. Just look at runners in the first 10km versus last 10km of any ultra, it gets messy.
Modern ‘stability’ shoes have far more subtle guiding features but those who seek a shoe that will support them properly during long runs will be interested in seeing what ASICS have done with their long standing anti pronation flagship model, the Gel Kayano. They have literally flipped the old solution described above onto its head.
Featuring their PureGEL technology and 4D GUIDANCE SYSTEM for the most comfortable and stable running experience, ASICS has launched the GEL-KAYANO 30. The shoe features brand-new technologies to provide runners with what they call ‘adaptive stability and unprecedented comfort’ during every step.
The GEL-KAYANO 30 offers increased cushioning for softer landings without compromising stability. ASICS spent a huge amount of time in research, committed to creating a products that feels best for both body and mind. The 4D GUIDANCE SYSTEM™️ works with the movement of the body to continue providing optimal stability and enhanced comfort when a runner needs it most. In other words the shoe delivers stability when the runners’ form is no longer biomechanically efficient, which is often a long way into the run and sometimes more pronounced in one foot than the other.
The first three dimensions are no strangers to stability shoes: width, length, and depth. The unique addition of the fourth dimension, time, has enabled ASICS to reduce the amount of time spent in an (over)pronated position. The less time in an uncomfortable or inefficient position the less negative effect it will have on the athlete. This counts for speed and comfort.
The GEL-KAYANO 30 also features the relatively new PureGEL technology which has previously been featured in the GEL-NIMBUS 25 shoes. The soft bouncy gel provides runners with ASICS softest landings to date. It literally absorbs the shock of a dropped egg without cracking the shell. We saw it demonstrated.
The PureGEL technology is strategically integrated in the midsole to deliver enhanced shock absorption and smoother transition from landing to toe off. The addition of 20% more of the lightweight FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning and a 4mm increase in stack height, have also aided in improving the comfort level of the KAYANO 30 compared to its predecessors.
It’s not easy to comprehend such a stark paradigm shift but if you imagine your foot previously hitting a brake block and being steered away from it, versus being accelerated though the moment of collapse onto a more forgiving wider support base, you can understand why even if only 1 foot has the problem that foot alone will receive the more gentle and much faster response.
Cushioning has advanced tremendously and with it footwear designers’ ability to cater to all types and shapes of runners to run or jog as fast or slowly and short or long as they like in the most natural flowing manner. We salute this approach and are sure that it will be the first step of a new approach to stability making it no longer a taboo subject.