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ASICS GEL KAYANO, THE STORY OF A DYNASTY

Some of the most popular sneaker sagas are associated with the names of athletes. However, one of the most successful series in history respond to the name of Toshikazu Kayano, who’s far away from elite sport.

Industrial designer Toshikazu Kayano arrived at Asics in 1987, in his beginnings he was involved in the development of models like the Gel-Saga or Gel-Spotlyte, which are nowadays considered as classics. Those were the years in which Asics grew as a brand in the United States, not only as a running brand but introducing itself in basketball.

Toshikazu Kayano was interested in creating a model that would substitute the GT-Cool Xpress, a sneaker for runners that could also be used for training at the gym, which implies lateral movements. For other models, Toshikazu Kayano had to think of elite athletes, and for the new sneaker, he had to think of its own performance. Which is why he created a rigid exoskeletal structure inspired by beetles with a midsole that had double the density and a new design in its tongue (Mono-Tongue System). The sneaker ended up adopting the name of its creator with a sort of homage to Asics’ star designer.

Two years after its first launch, in 1995, Kayano himself was in charge of renovating its design based on the customers’ feedback, who were more interested in its performance when racing rather than its multifunctional aspect. With one distinctive feature, Toshikazu Kayano had moved to the United States, there the offices focused on creativity, far away from business structures and he could answer more fquickly to the consumer’s needs.

Each season a new Kayano would be renewed to position itself as the most advanced sneaker of the moment; projects inspired by insects or cars that used cutting-edge technology. Kayano, who was in principle a designer, would end up becoming the name of a sneaker and after that synonymous to innovation. The third Kayano had the Duomax system, the fifth one used visible Gel for the first time and the sixth one presented AHAR (an extra-durable compound in its external sole) and the IGS system that facilitated a natural transition of the footprint. The seventh Kayano debuted SpEVA (a new type of EVA foam, which was more reactive) and for the first time new limited editions, that we can still see in the eighth Kayano (which is also the first time that it was numbered), appeared. Biomorphic Fit, Space Trusstic or Solyte, terms that appeared in each new sneaker as signs of innovation and of a spirit that has been kept even when Toshikazu Kayano stopped being in charge of the design of the Kayano saga after the 13th one. But it’s not just about adding technology, the holistic approach to the Kayano understands design as a global ensemble that must work together.

The objective has always been the same; using all of the means possible to create the best possible sneaker at any moment in time. Without any revolutions, as a natural evolution, the Kayano has reached its 25th edition and has been able to remember some of its best moments.

For over a quarter of a century, the Asics Kayano has gone through several trends that are being recovered in their original forms or in technological updates like the Kayano Trainer EVO, EVO Knit, Kayano 5.1, a homage to their tradition that blends itself with its innovative nature.