I ran 50 miles in the Asics Gel-Kayano 31 and it’s a cushioned cruiser for runners who need stability

Asics’ top stability shoe impresses

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 running shoes
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Asics Gel-Kayano 31 is a very comfortable running shoe with stability features that aren’t too intrusive, so it’s a great cushioned option for all runners. It’s expensive, however, and its similarity with the Gel-Kayano 30 means that the older shoe offers better value if you spot it in a sale.

Pros

  • +

    Very comfortable

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    Stability features for extra support

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    Improved outsole grip

Cons

  • -

    Similar to Asics Gel-Kayano 30

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    Bit heavy for faster runs

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    More expensive than past models

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The Asics Gel-Kayano 31 is the latest version of the popular stability shoe, and mostly sticks to the same design as the Asics Gel-Kayano 30, with the main updates being a new outsole material and a more breathable upper.

Even as a neutral runner I enjoyed running in the shoe, which is very comfortable and supportive, and one of the best running shoes available for those seeking stability. 

However, the similarities to the Asics Gel-Kayano 30 means searching for a deal on the older shoe or looking at alternatives like the Saucony Guide 17 will yield better value.

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 review: price and availability

The Asics Gel-Kayano 31 launched in June 2024 and costs $165 / £180, which is a $5 price rise on the Asics Gel-Kayano 30. The price is in line with other top cushioned stability shoes, but there are more affordable options like the Saucony Guide 17.

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 review: design and fit

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 running shoes

(Image credit: Future)

The Asics Gel-Kayano 31 comes in 11 colors for the women’s shoe and 10 for the men, with only standard width available.

The shoe has a roomy fit though, and as someone who is usually on the line between a US 9.5 and a US 10 I opted for a 9.5 and it’s a great fit, so if you’re also on the fence between sizes I’d go for the smaller one.

It’s a fairly heavy shoe at 11oz in a US 9.5, which is not surprising given the height and width of the midsole. The shoe stands 40mm tall at the heel and 30mm at the forefoot for a 10mm drop, and has a wide base to increase stability.

Upper

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 running shoes

(Image credit: Future)

Compared with the Gel-Kayano 30, the upper on the Gel-Kayano 31 has been updated with a new knit collar construction and a more breathable engineered mesh to increase ventilation on the run.

It’s a well-padded upper with lots of cushioning on the collar and tongue, which creates a comfortable feel when you step into the shoe, but it can still feel a little hot on long runs in warm conditions.

Midsole

The midsole on the Gel-Kayano 31 is mostly made from Asics’s FF Blast Plus Eco foam, which is a balanced material that is soft but not so squishy as to be unstable. There is also a small chunk of PureGel under the heel to create a softer feel when landing.

To further increase stability, the shoe uses Asics’s 4D Guidance system to help your foot stay in a neutral position on the run, rather than rolling inwards excessively. The stability features include the wide base on the shoe and sidewalls of foam your foot sits within to keep it centered, along with a bouncier section of foam on the inside of the midfoot that’s designed to counter pronation.

Outsole

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 running shoes

(Image credit: Future)

Perhaps the biggest change made with the Gel-Kayano 31 compared with the 30 is the new Hybrid AsicsGrip rubber outsole, which is meant to deliver better grip than the rubber on the older shoe, while also being softer. 

The older Gel-Kayano 30 didn’t always have the best traction for me on wet pavements, so this update is welcome, and I’ve not seen any signs of wear and tear on the outsole after 50 miles of running despite the softer rubber, so the Gel-Kayano 31 should still be a durable shoe.

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 review: running performance

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 running shoes

(Image credit: Future)

I have run 50 miles in the Gel-Kayano 31, using it for a couple of long runs of around 13 miles, along with a progression run to test out its speed and several easy recovery runs as well. I am a neutral runner but still enjoyed the extra support provided by the Gel-Kayano 31, especially at the end of long runs when my legs started to tire.

In contrast to older models of the shoe I’ve tested — those before the Gel-Kayano 30 — which had traditional stability elements like a medial post, the stability features on the Kayano 30 and 31 are much more subtle, which means it works well for neutral runners as well.

The cushioning is soft and comfortable over long runs and while the ride is not very rockered, the shoe doesn’t feel too awkward or heavy despite its size. It’s not a great option for faster runs, where I’d prefer a lighter or bouncier shoe, but the Gel-Kayano 31 will work well as a daily trainer mostly for easy and long runs, with the odd faster session thrown in.

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 running shoes

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a good option for new runners, aside from its high price, because it is very supportive and cushioned, and will lessen the impact of running when you first start. For more experienced runners who perhaps have a running shoe rotation, it works best as a cushioned cruiser for easy runs that I’d pair with a faster stability shoe like the Saucony Tempus.

Along with being a good shoe for running, the Gel-Kayano 31 is a good walking shoe, and one that will provide comfort and support for long days of standing as well.

Should you buy the Asics Gel-Kayano 31?

Asics Gel-Kayano 31 and Asics Gel-Kayano 30 running shoes

(Image credit: Future)

The Asics Gel-Kayano 31 is a very good running shoe, especially for people with flat feet but really for any runner seeking a supportive and comfortable ride. It’s not an especially versatile shoe and I prefer the Saucony Tempus as a stability shoe that can handle a wider range of runs, but for comfort alone, the Gel-Kayano 31 certainly excels.

It’s expensive though and there are a couple of better value options I would look at ahead of it. One is the Asics Gel-Kayano 30, which is now often in sales and very similar to the new shoe in terms of how it feels on the run. The other is the Saucony Guide 17, which is cheaper and offers a similar ride thanks to its wide and supportive design.

Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.