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ASICS Gel Kayano Lite 3 Review

Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3 Introduction

Is the third time a charm for the ASICS Kayano Lite? The Kayano Lite is the fraternal twin of the ASICS Kayano.

It is lighter and more eco-friendly. It is still the only stability offering to receive the lite treatment. The 3rd edition comes in a more eco-friendly package than its predecessor.

The GT 1000 and GT 2000 are the mid and moderate stability offerings and the Kayano and by extension the Lite are the max stability trainers from ASICS, they retail for $160.

They compete with the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo, Brooks Glycerin GTS and the Hoka Gaviota.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3 First Impressions

In my opinion the Lite is more stylish than the Kayano. This trend continues with the 3rd edition.

The blue colorway blends well with the yellowish orange accents The visual interest comes from waves of navy blue and light blue. Another trend is the duo colored midsole. This one has an accent of blue on it. Unlike the past two editions which only came in one colorway this one has 3 colorways to pick from.

There is a different feeling from the cushioning in the Lite versus the Kayano.

The Kayano provides a balanced cushioning. Whereas the Lite is balanced but leans slightly to the plush side of balanced. There is an immediate bounce felt when on, this continues on runs in them. The wider base provides stability where needed.

The maiden voyage of the Kayano Lite 3s was a 5 mile hilly route. They were comfortable from the first step on and provide a secure yet flexible and bouncy ride. I was eager to run more miles in them.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3 Upper

With the 3rd edition of Kayano Lite they have lessened the environmental impact even more than previous editions. According to ASICS, “At least 50% of the shoe’s main upper material is made with recycled materials to reduce waste and carbon emission.” The dyeing process has also been improved to reduce carbon emissions and water usage.

The upper is built using 3-D printed overlays meaning no points of irritation. The recycled engineered mesh is a single layer. This engineered mesh has improved in both breathability and flexibility, this is an improvement from last year’s model.

The flexibility doesn’t affect the integrity of the upper. It is structured enough to lock your foot in place making it a versatile trainer. Last year the upper was slightly constricting but they have improved that with the 3rd edition.

Both the Lite and Kayano use similar heel clutching systems, there are sturdy internal heel counters with ample cushioning. The heel counter holds your foot and ankle in place adding to the stability of the trainer. The difference comes in the tongue of the trainers. The Kayano has a thicker tongue while the Lite has a slimmed down tongue.

The Kayano Lite 3 has an adaptive fit as you run in them. Its wide base along with its flexibility but secure upper make a comfortable ride. The fit is tailored in the heel and midfoot while the toe box allows ample room for your toes to splay out naturally. The upper is a strength of the Kayano Lite 3.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3 Sole Unit

Let’s start from the ground up. AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) Lite makes another appearance in the Kayano Lite 3. It is a thinner and lighter version of AHAR. Just because it is thinner and lighter doesn’t mean it sacrifices durability or traction. It handled all conditions and showed minimal wear after a hundred-plus miles.

The Kayano Lite is built using 3-D space construction. They take small specific shapes of foam and press them together to form a midsole. This construction is gender specific meeting the needs of both men and women.

The concave shape to the lateral side and convex shape to the medial side aid in the stability. These two aspects along with the wider base create a highly stable ride. The heel portion extends out and flairs up compared to the previous models. This lengthens the midsole’s ground contact area.

Since the LIte is built this way it makes for a lighter trainer. It comes in at 9.9 oz which is half an ounce lighter than the Kayanos. A guidance line runs down the midsole which helps improve your gait efficiency.

This edition has more eco content Flytefoam in the midsole cushioning.

With every new edition they find ways to be more eco friendly with both the materials and construction. If you are conscious of your carbon footprint the Kayano Lite will put you at ease.

This cushioning provides a responsive ride, similar to the Kayano, with the right amount of bounce to it. It excelled on shock absorption and energy return.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3 Conclusions

With the 3rd edition of the Kayano Lite it seems ASICS is hitting their stride. Overall, there were some small changes between the 2nd and 3rd edition. The Kayano is still the only stability trainer to receive the Lite treatment. How did the Lite 3 compare to both the previous editions and Kayano?

Both the Lite 3 and Kayano 29 have similar rides, the Lite has a little bit more bounce to it. The eco-friendly Flytefoam provides a ride that makes the Lite a versatile trainer. Throughout the shoe you will find materials more eco-friendly than previous editions. The midsole is a wide base that is impressive in both its 3d construction along with the stability provided.

It weighs in at 9.9 oz which is ½ ounce lighter than Kayano 29. In years past you would be able to quickly tell which one was lighter. This edition it was harder to tell which was the Lite and which was the Kayano.

The upper was a strength of the Kayano Lite 3 as the engineered mesh underwent updates in terms of flexibility and breathability. The flexibility of the upper turned into adaptability as the miles went by in them. The tailored fit of the upper was spot on,it hugged the contours of my feet without being overbearing. The heel clutching system locked my heel in place. This was all done while being made with less environmental impact.

There are a couple of drawbacks with the Kayano Lite 3. The Lite is not as durable as the Kayano. It still has hundreds of miles in it, just not as many as the Kayano. The number of changes are small in the 3rd edition. As a budget conscious runner,I would say 160 dollars is a little pricey when it comes to the Kayano Lite 3. Money could be saved by buying the first or second edition.

Two years ago I said “If the Kayano 27 is like the wise mellow older brother, the Kayano Lite is the hyper and bouncy younger brother. I think they would form a perfect tandem of shoes for your daily training.” I believe this to still be true. One difference for this year’s editions is that I prefer the Kayano 29. The reason for that is they are slightly more comfortable, especially on long runs.

Last year I said “I have no doubt these could take you through training for your next race and then run in them on race day. I have taken both editions on multiple half marathons. They are a consistent stable ride every time you lace them up.” This still applies to both Kayano editions this year

Is the third time a charm for the Kayano Lite?

Like last year they made small changes to the trainer however unlike last year they don’t warrant the price tag.

Don’t get me wrong, the Kayano Lite is an impressive versatile stability trainer ready to tackle any training plan but, for the budget-conscious runner the price might be a little steep.

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