Having loved running in the Gel-Kinsei Blast I was keen to find out how the new Gel-Kinsei Max compared. Here's my review.

I was kindly gifted a pair of the new Gel-Kinsei Max and was intrigued to find out how they compared with their predecessor Gel-Kinsei Blast.  

Unboxing

I was pleasantly surprised when these shoes arrived as I had totally forgotten I had selected them. On opening the box I was pleasantly surprised by the yellow and turquois colourway which is striking. The primary colour of the shoe is yellow which is featured on the upper, laces tongue logo detail, upper layer of the sole and gel in the heel. Turquois is featured on the sole, heel loop, on the tongue and four lace loops on each shoe. The tongue, ankle cushioning, logo and shoe name are black. There are reflective strips on the loops which is a good safety feature. Overall the design is different from it’s predecessor and the sole is wider. The fly knight upper has been replaced by an engineered mesh upper. The entire side profile of the Gel-Kinsei Blast featured inspiration from a samurai’s curvaceous katana sword. However, Gel-Kinsei Max features the styling from the mid foot to the rear of the shoe. I preferred the styling of the sole on the previous as it was contoured whereas the Max’s sole is flatter on comparison.

Testing

I took them out for a twelve mile training session over multiple terrains including pavement, gravel, grass, road, tarmac, trail and wet surfaces. Despite my session requiring me to stay in a heart rate range I decided to push and switch up tempo on the various surfaces to try out the cushioning, responsiveness and grip. The first three miles were mainly on pavement and road and I eased into running in them. The landing was cushioned and the responsiveness of the heel strike was comparable with the Gel-Kinsei Blast despite the change in design.

During the second half of the run my legs were feeling fatigued partly as I had taken a week of training and because I was climbing a hill and running over uneven surfaces. This is when the generous ankle padding and comfortable tongue and mesh upper came into their own as they comfortable and securely held my feet in place. The tongue is woven and elasticated which means it is breathable. This combined with the mesh upper kept my feet cool and ventilated on the warm day. 

I have also taken them out on a 5km tempo run and really enjoyed the feel. Despite being a well ventilated, breathable shoe I can see them being in my Autumn trainer rotation. Despite being a neutral shoe the width of the sole provides stability especially on uneven surfaces such a trail, gravel and canal toe paths. The toe box is generous and my feet felt comfortable after the run.

Sustainability

In terms of sustainability and eco-friendly production ASICS states the following:

At least 20% of the shoe's main upper material is made with recycled content to reduce waste and carbon emissions.

The sockliner is produced with the solution dyeing process that reduces water usage by approximately 33% and carbon emissions by approximately 45% compared to the conventional dyeing technology.

ASICS claims the shoes are vegan friendly as no materials of animal origin are applied in the design and material selection stages, including: the yarns, glues or other adhesives applied in the product. However, the shoes have not been certified as vegan by an independent third party.

Verdict

The Gel-Kinsei Max feels like a versatile shoe able to perform across a range of surfaces and conditions. They are well cushioned, very comfortable and perform responsively during faster efforts and sufficient cushioning and bounce during slower, longer distance efforts. I am looking forward to clocking up many more miles in these shoes. I like them to the max!

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Rey Smart

Personal Trainer from London



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