The Asics Gel Nimbus is one of the company’s most popular shoes — it’s the high cushion shoe that we see most of our neutral runners get into, especially when they want to run in something that will take more shock off the body. With the Nimbus on the yearly update cycle, it’s also the subject of trepidation among runners who don’t want shoe companies messing with a good thing. Well, Asics has messed with a good thing, and we’re glad they have, because they’ve made it a lot better! The Asics Gel Nimbus 21 sees some welcome changes made to both the upper and the midsole, making the shoe more responsive and comfortable — all without abandoning the little details that define an Asics shoe.
While we love to talk up the cushioning and shock absorption of Asics shoes, we usually have to throw in the caveat that all that cushion can make the shoe a bit heavy. It’s a worthwhile trade if you’re looking to protect the joints first and foremost, but hey, if you can have protection and a fast, responsive shoe, why not? The Asics Gel Nimbus 21 is a step in this direction thanks to some changes to the midsole foam. This year, the Nimbus features two different foam compounds — the springier FlyteFoam Propel gives the shoe a more bounce than before, while the FlyteFoam Lyte layer helps Asics to keep the weight down (10.9 ounces for men, 9.0 ounces for women). It’s slightly heavier than the Nimbus 20, but it feels much lighter when you’re on the run.
And of course, Asics didn’t abandon its trademark gel — it’s still in the name, after all! Like with previous models, the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 has pockets of gel in the heel and forefoot, making the shoe better at absorbing impact than shoes with all-foam midsoles. That’s going to make a huge difference for all you road runners planning on pounding out half marathons or marathons this year — the effects of all that repetitive impact can pile up quickly, making this a great shoe for everyday training or for recovery runs. And, while it’s made specifically for neutral runners, the shoe gets a bit of added stability from the rigid Trusstic plate on the outsole, which prevents the shoe from twisting and deforming on the run. If you’re a neutral runner who starts to overpronate when you get tired, that little extra rigidity can make a big difference. If you’re a Nimbus 20 user, just keep in mind that that Trusstic plate has been shrunk down — instead of spanning the width of the shoe, it’s only on the medial side. That will give the shoe a little more flexibility while still offering more stability than the usual neutral shoe.
Big changes can be found in the upper, too. Asics shoes are known for being on the narrow side, but that’s been changing a bit lately. Like with some of their other updated models, Asics has widened the toe box of the Nimbus this year, also adding a little volume at the top. Like so many others in the run industry, they’ve also started to use jacquard mesh on the upper, making the shoe much more breathable. Asics has left their narrower heel counter alone, so if you like the more structured feel that an Asics shoe usually offers, that won’t go away. Night runners will appreciate the reflective elements that Asics has included, especially near the heel around that big ’21’ in the back.
All in all, it’s a strong effort to make the Nimbus a more fun shoe to use while still staying true to the support and cushioning that Asics is known for. Not a bad update — we can’t wait to see what you think of it!
Is the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 right for you? Use the Fitted Running shoe consultant to go through our gait analysis process and find out!