Asics Gel-Kinsei Max: Gym Workouts and Easy Runs

Gel-Kinsei Max toebox

The ASICS Gel-Kinsei Max is an expensive maximalist shoe that offers exceptional comfort. Its cushioned landings provide a luxurious and seamless running experience, although its heavy weight of 11.7 oz limits its suitability for fast paces. While it may not be the ideal choice for daily training, it serves as an excellent option for gym workouts and occasional runs.

If you're in need of a lightweight shoe for a recovery or easy run and weight doesn't matter to you, then the Kinsei Max is worth considering. This shoe combines features from the GlideRide, Superblast, and Nimbus for a smooth ride.

If you are in search of a trainer that offers versatility, lightness, and durability, you will need to explore other options. Similarly, if you prioritize a trainer that provides a significant level of ground feel, the Kinsei Max may not meet your requirements.

If you have knowledge about ASICS' most recent running shoes for optimal performance, you would have observed that none of them possess the visible gel feature anymore. This is applicable to models such as the Nimbus, Cumulus, and Kayano.

The speed shoes, such as the Metaspeed and Magic Speed series, are completely gel-free, as are the everyday trainers like the Novablast and Superblast.

Gel-Kinsei Max midsole

The use of gel in footwear technology is burdensome and offers minimal performance advantages. ASICS has recently come to this realization. While they still incorporate gel in certain older models, it now takes the form of a concealed pad made of silicone within the shoe.

Despite some reduction in the quantity, gel remains the distinguishing characteristic of the Kinsei. Even in this latest iteration, a portion of gel is still apparent in the heel.

The price of the Kinsei Max is $180, which indicates that ASICS is specifically aiming for sneaker enthusiasts, fitness lovers, and casual joggers, just like the Adidas Ultraboost Light.

The current iteration of the shoe, the Kinsei Blast, is on the heavier side for running shoes in today's market, weighing in at 11.7 oz (333 g) for a men's standard US9. This is a slight decrease in weight compared to its predecessor, which tipped the scales at 11.9 oz (337 g).

Upon testing the Kinsei Max at the store, I immediately noticed that the toe box was excessively narrow, much like the Nimbus 25. Consequently, I found it necessary to opt for a half size larger.

Upon testing the Kinsei Max at the store, I immediately noticed that the toe box was excessively narrow, much like the Nimbus 25. Consequently, I found it necessary to opt for a half size larger.

The initial jog consisted of sprinting up hills, and right away I could sense that the Kinsei Max was intended for leisurely running. Increasing my speed while ascending proved to be challenging, primarily because of its heaviness.

The landings were exceptionally cushioned, and the transitions were remarkably seamless. It brought to mind two other footwear options: the GlideRide 3 and the Superblast.

The Superblast lacks rubber on its outsole, providing a cushioned landing experience akin to the Kinsei Max. Additionally, the GlideRide boasts a comfortable upper and a midsole with a forefoot rocker, complemented by an internal plate.

Gel-Kinsei Max upper

The upper of the Kinsei Max prioritizes comfort and bears resemblance to the Nimbus 25 in terms of feel. While the material lacks elasticity, it does feature a level, knitted tongue.

The tongue is partially folded, preventing any sliding. The collar is generously cushioned and the inner lining feels velvety smooth. The upper section is heavily padded, providing warmth and making it ideal for cooler environments.

The shoe features an internal heel counter that ensures excellent foot lockdown, eliminating any chance of slippage. Additionally, a reflective strip is placed on the pull tab at the back of the heel.

The sole downside of the upper is that it tends to run a bit smaller, specifically due to the narrow toe-box. As a result, most runners will find it necessary to size up by half a size.

Gel-Kinsei Max sole units

The Kinsei Max offers an incredibly cozy and cushioned experience while you're on the move. Unlike the Nimbus and Cumulus, which are other ASICS trainers, it provides a more contemporary ride by eliminating rubber from its outsole.

If you find pleasure in the cushioned experiences offered by the Hoka Mach 5 and the Superblast, then the Kinsei Max will surely captivate you.

The midsole consists of two layers: FF Blast+ Eco on the upper part and FF Blast on the lower part, which also serves as the outsole. Although it offers a slightly firmer experience compared to the Nimbus 25, which utilizes FF Blast+ Eco in its midsole as well, the ride remains remarkably cushioned and secure.

The Kinsei Max lacks versatility. I find it best suited for leisurely or recovery runs at a pace of around 5:30 minutes per km (8:52 per mile) or slower. However, it doesn't feel efficient for long runs. The weight, primarily from the gel in its heel, hinders its ability to pick up speed.

The heel of the shoe contains a substantial amount of gel, but upon closer examination, one can observe that it is not entirely composed of gel. Nestled within the gel is a foam core, referred to as Hybrid Gel by ASICS. The primary intention behind incorporating this feature is to reduce the shoe's weight. Yet, during my runs, I fail to perceive any noticeable distinction.

In the shoe, there is a TPU plate positioned in both the heel and the midfoot regions. Unlike a forefoot plate that enhances the shoe's responsiveness (as seen in the GlideRide 3), this plate simply ensures seamless transitions from the heel to the midfoot. This way, you won't be able to distinguish between the gel in the heel and the foam in the midfoot.

The stability of this neutral trainer is impressive. With its wide base and just the right amount of cushioning in the midsole, there is no noticeable leaning tendency. In fact, it feels more stable than both the Nimbus 25 and Cumulus 25.

The outsole features a generous coating of FF Blast, with a touch of AHARPLUS applied to the outer lateral heel region. Unfortunately, the durability of the outsole is not as impressive as other ASICS everyday trainers, and I have observed noticeable wear on the heel of my own pair.

The outsole's flat design hampers traction on wet surfaces, but it performs adequately on dry terrain.

Gel-Kinsei Max heel

Despite its comfort, the Kinsei Max falls short due to its heavy weight. While it excels as a running shoe, I personally find it more suitable for activities like going to the gym or casual wear, as it feels quite unwieldy for running purposes.

The Kinsei Max and the Adidas Ultraboost Light belong to the same group of high-end, cushioned running shoes specifically made for leisurely runs. However, the Kinsei Max stands out as superior due to its exceptionally comfortable upper and a more pleasant, cushioned ride experience.

In my opinion, the price of $180 for the Kinsei Max is exorbitant. I would not suggest choosing it over the Novablast 3 or the Cumulus 25, both of which are $40 less expensive. Moreover, the GlideRide 3 offers significantly better value at a mere $150. The Kinsei Max lacks versatility, durability, and is considerably heavier (for $180 retail price)

The Kinsei Max is tailored to attract a particular type of runner: an elderly runner who experiences a sense of longing for ASICS' classic gel technology, which was once the prominent element in their shoes for many years.

I have decided to exclude the Kinsei Max from my running routine. While I appreciate the aesthetics of gel-infused footwear, I believe the added weight outweighs the benefits it offers.

  • Price: $180
  • Styles & Colors:
    • Black
    • Black/Sunrise Red
    • Carrier Grey/Illusion Blue
    • Pale Mint/Moonrock
    • French Blue/Bright Orange
    • Thunder Blue/Electric Lime
    • Glow Yellow/Black
  • Usage:
    • Gym workouts
    • Recovery runs
    • Easy runs
  • Constructions & Features:
    • Heel drop: 8mm
    • Weight: 333 g/11.7 oz
    • Neutral support / Maximum cushion
    • Designed For Neutral & Underpronation
    • Engineered mesh upper
    • FF BLAST™ cushioning
    • A hybrid version of conventional GEL® technology. It's created with a foam center to help reduce weight while maintaining cushioning performance and impact absorption.
    • E.V.A sockliner
    • TPU propulsion plate
    • Reflective details
    • AHAR®PLUS™ heel plug
Gel-Kinsei Max TPU plate