Running Shoe Evolution: Asics Gel Kayano 20

As you may have gathered from the title, my perspective on running shoes has seriously evolved over the past five years. Up until grade nine, I have no memory of what I used, although I definitely wasn’t barefoot. I probably did all my dryland training / weight lifting for ski racing in hand-me-downs or whatever was lying around the house. I didn’t know any better, and frankly, I didn’t care! In my mind, finding the perfect skis was all that mattered.

After I stopped skiing, I remember buying a pair of sneakers. I say “sneakers”, specifically, because I had no idea that there was even a difference between workout and running shoes! My mom took me to the store, I tried on a couple pairs and bought whatever was on sale and fit reasonably well. And then I ran occasionally and played sports in them.

Then, in grade eleven, I realized I was a runner. It was something that I loved to do, brought me joy, and was incredibly passionate about! I wanted to start running regularly but had suffered from chronic knee pain my whole life. I knew I needed proper running shoes, and at that point had been reading running blogs nonstop. Almost all of the bloggers I idolized raved about Mizunos, so I went and bought myself a pair! I think it was at a Running Room or something, so whoever fit me didn’t examine my stride or anything.

I went through two pairs of Mizunos – the Wave Rider 17 and the Wave Sayonara.


I actually trained almost entirely for my first half marathon in the former, and raced it in the latter! But my knee pain never really went away, and I also developed severe arch pain following almost every long run.

After my half marathon, I knew I needed to move on from Mizunos. I needed support! I waited until I was running regularly again to buy them, though, so I didn’t end up purchasing my new shoes until several months later.

That brings us to the current love of my life, Asics Gel Kayano 20! I purchased these in January 2015 and have experienced exactly zero knee pain since then. My runs feel faster, and my entire body feels stronger. Of course, I attribute a lot of that to proper rest / recovery / nutrition, but an equally huge amount goes to wearing the proper shoes.

Will Run For Coffee. ☕️ first long run since October, this kid is BACK IN THE GAME! ✌️

The main reason why I was initially reluctant to switch from Mizuno was I had such awful experiences with supportive running shoes in the past. They had been bulky, and felt like I was running on cinder blocks. These Asics are nothing like that. The arch support is phenomenal, and the cushioning is fitted without being constricting. I have some of the biggest toes around – ask anyone! – and even I have a ton of room to move around in the toe box.

I also have extremely narrow ankles, and at first these shoes made me slide around a little. However, the awesome girl who fitted me at Ladysport taught me the loop-lace method, and it has changed my life!  Until I win the Boston Marathon and have my own pair of shoes custom-made for me, I don’t expect any shoe to fit me perfectly – so this trick has been incredibly helpful.

Another thing I love about theses shoes is the shoelace length. They are SO long – even after shortening them using the above method. I think all of us runners can agree on the fact that there is little more infuriating than having to stop running to retie our shoelaces because we couldn’t tie them properly in the fist place.

I absolutely plan to continue running in Asics! I have learned my lesson from trying to run in Mizunos – the #1 rule when it comes to running shoes is wearing what works for you! Some people may be able to run in Nike Frees, others get plantar fasciiitis just looking at them. So if you’re feeling pain from running and can’t figure out why, give another pair of shoes a chance. You will not be disappointed. 🙂

What running shoes do you wear? Are they your perfect match? 

^ I bought my Asics with my own money, and have no affiliation with them! But because they are the only shoe that has completely eliminated my knee pain, I kinda love them.


6 thoughts on “Running Shoe Evolution: Asics Gel Kayano 20

  1. Love the new kicks! I personally am both a huge fan of Asics and Mizunos. I wore Asics for my last two pairs of running shoes, and now am trying out the Mizuno Wave Runners. So far so good! Have a great weekend 🙂

  2. Amen to the finding the perfect shoes thing! I used to run in Nike LunarGlides, which were amazing at first, but wore out with only about 100 miles on them. I was so frustrated – and ended up injured – but now I run in Brooks and am obsessed with them 🙂

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