asics gel-nimbus 25 - feature
RoadShoe ReviewsSite Feature

Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 Review: Actually a Cloud Disguised as a Shoe

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.2 oz. (289 g) for a US M9 / 8 oz. (227 g) for a US W7.5
  • Pumped up stack height of 41.5 mm heel/ 33.5 mm forefoot (8 mm drop)
  • Full Flytefoam Blast+ Eco midsole (20% recycled) provides a ton of comfort
  • Soft knit upper with knit tongue provides a bit of luxury for the common runner
  • Is this now a max cushion daily trainer? Answer: yes
  • Available February 1 for $160

The Intro

MEAGHAN: Last year I was invited to join the Asics wear testing program for the Gel-Nimbus 25. Of Asics models, the Nimbus has never been my favorite, but the substantial updates had me intrigued. And when I say substantial updates, I’m really talking about a complete overhaul of this shoe. 

My favorite update is probably the Gel placement… it’s still in there, but no longer visible. Which is a good thing: Gel hasn’t been cool since Lisa Frank made it work with pens. The midsole, which was previously Flytefoam and Flytefoam Blast+ has been replaced with FF Blast+ Eco, which is made with 20% bio-based material. It’s the same stuff that’s found in Novablast 3 and Glideride 3 but with more recycled goods. 

The stack has increased by 4 mm in the heel and 6 mm in the forefoot which leaves you with 41.5 mm / 33.5 mm overall stack (8 mm drop). To keep the updates going, the outsole has a completely new material to provide a softer feel. Asics Lite rubber is found beneath the forefoot with AHAR+ in the heel for added durability.

The new knit upper (previously engineered mesh) is designed with an extended knit around the collar and heel tab to provide a unique look, but also give you that plush step-in feel. What hasn’t changed? That amazing tongue from the Nimbus 24 (though it’s shorter this year, which is a good thing). Not to get weird, but it’s the best tongue on the market. 

asics gel-nimbus 25 - medial

THOMAS: If one shoe’s evolution highlights how far Asics has come as a brand in the past five years, it’s the Gel-Nimbus 25. When the Nimbus of old showed up, I’ll admit– I did not want to review it. The dusty legend was passed to other reviewers to cover. Basically, it was a dull clunky shoe that podiatrists would recommend to walkers. Each year Asics made slight adjustments, emphasis on slight.

A couple years ago Asics introduced the Gel-Nimbus Lite alongside the traditional Nimbus; the shoe was basically a way to introduce the consumer to a new direction for the Nimbus, without forcing them to go cold turkey. 

Long story short, life evolves, selection is natural, and the Nimbus 25 is the melding of the Nimbus and Nimbus Lite into one shoe. The days of passing the Nimbus onto others to review has ended (sorry kids), because Asics has transformed this shoe into a fantastic highly-cushioned, stable, daily trainer that lives up to the title of legend.

ROBBE: Thomas ain’t lying about passing the whole “passing the Nimbus off to other reviewers.” For awhile, we straight up didn’t even review the shoe, and then Wide Foot Jarrett and I bore its weight for a couple versions. And now Thomas reaps the benefits of us giving Asics hell through our own personal valleys of death. It’s good to be king.

For those not familiar, for years, Asics was dead in the water with the Nimbus. Aside from being the most boring daily trainer in running, from 2008-2019, the Gel-Nimbus also managed an annual podium for the “Best Shoe Your Dad Would Wear To Look Hip” award, tied only with its Kayano counterpart, and coming in second only to the Nike Air Monarch. Brooks and Mizuno fought hard to get that title in their hands, but they managed to pull it off over the last couple years.

Then the Asics Gel-Nimbus 24 right-hooked me and became one of my personal favorites of 2022, and probably the shoe I put the most miles in. The shoe was lighter, the Gel was less obvious, it actually looked not bad, and… it was just a really good shoe overall.

Nevertheless, it still had the hallmarks of a Gel-Nimbus, because for nearly a quarter century, the Nimbus was always the Nimbus. Until now. Because everything has changed.

asics gel-nimbus 25 - heel

The Good

MEAGHAN: Everything about the Nimbus 25 feels plush and comfortable. The new knit upper is stretchy but supportive and the giant slab of FF Blast+ Eco is pillowy soft. While I didn’t use this shoe for any super long runs, I laced it up for several 10-mile runs and it felt great throughout. 

While the overall increase in cushioning is amazing, it’s the additional 6 mm of foam in the forefoot that really did it for me. The Nimbus 24 felt like it bottomed out on toe-off. The additional cushion not only fixed this but also gives the shoe a smoother ride. It almost feels like it has a rocker-geometry out on the roads. 

Another thing I have to note is the weight. My W7.5 came in just over 8 oz (which isn’t terrible), but honestly feels much lighter than that. My guess is the knit upper adds a little extra weight to the overall shoe, leaving the midsole/outsole feeling extra light underfoot. The Nimbus finally feels like a Nimbus. 

THOMAS: This shoe is all about comfort and it delivers on every level. The upper stretches and hugs the foot. The ankle collar cradles and locks the heel in without being overbearing. The fat elastic pull tab assists an effortless foot slide in. Once your foot is in the cocoon of comfort you’ll immediately enjoy the thick slab of Flytefoam Blast+ as it sinks in under your weight. While the foam is soft it still offers support and has a resilient bounce to it. The Nimbus 25 delivers a max cush feel that will help you recover on easy days or just help you increase mileage in comfort.

One note, I typically wear a size 10 in Asics daily trainers and 10.5 in their race day shoes. I received two pairs of the Nimbus 25. One pair was size 10 and the other 10.5. The 10.5 fit my foot better. As I normally wear 10.5, I would say the Nimbus 25 runs true to size.

asics gel-nimbus 25 custom 1
Our own custom pair, hand-dyed by Thomas

ROBBE: Well, when Asics says this shoe will make you feel like you’re landing on clouds, they’re not kidding. And it actually translates much more clearly than those other “running on clouds” shoes. The shoe is comfort defined.

I’ll start with the knit upper. I’m a huge fan of a knit upper done right. But when it’s done wrong (Hoka Carbon X 3 I’m talking to you), it’s the worst. Asics: ya done right. I love everything about this upper– the fit, the feel, the heel pillows that provide a plush lockdown. It is one of my most favorite uppers in recent memory. No issues with lockdown, fit, laces, anything. The knit stretched and conformed perfectly to the foot. It just felt great over the entire course of my testing.

I actually have to admit, I didn’t like the shoe at first. Out of the box, I took it on a 15-mile long run, followed by two 10-mile long runs and a few other shorter runs in between. On my first run, it felt too soft, too cushion-y. I felt like it had one speed, and even though I wanted to pick it up at points, it just couldn’t. In one sense, that’s fine– after all, it’s a daily trainer meant to chew up miles. 

However, the first run may have been an anomaly because it was on New Year’s Day and I had stayed up ‘til 1:30 the night before and didn’t get great sleep. But as I tacked on more miles to the shoe, I really started to enjoy it, especially after the 30-mile mark. It’s certainly soft, but that’s kind of what I needed as I’m ramping up my marathon training. My legs stayed fresh after all my long miles in the shoe.

Something I really appreciate in this version of the shoe is the extra forefoot cushioning. That was a major minor of the Nimbus 24, and really the only glaring negative from that shoe. With that extra 6 mm of stack height in the forefoot, there’s plenty of protection.

I also appreciate the wider and stable platform on this go around. It’s probably necessary to stabilize the 41 mm of foam, but it nonetheless provides a nice landing zone. So despite the softness of the shoe, it’s surprisingly stable.

Also, they really knocked it out of the park with the design of this shoe. I seriously can’t believe I’m saying I’d wear a Gel-Nimbus unironically as a casual shoe, but here we are.

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Unbranded prototype of the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
Unbranded prototype of the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25

The Bad

MEAGHAN: The only real downside with this shoe is that it is very soft. You’re not going to be inclined to pick up the pace in this one, so I guess what I’m saying is: it’s not the most versatile option out there. 

THOMAS: The Nimbus 25 is a tad bit chunky and weighs nearly 11 oz. for my size 10.5. While this would normally feel heavy, I was surprised that it weighed this much when I finally got it on the scale. The weight is distributed equally across the shoe so it doesn’t feel bottom heavy. From feel, I would have guessed the shoe was an ounce lighter.

As Meg mentioned, the Nimbus 25 isn’t the shoe for every run if you like to have a shoe that can do it all (i.e. race, tempo, daily, recovery, etc.). If that’s what you are looking for I would recommend the Novablast 3 or the Superblast. The Nimbus excels over both of those shoes in the max cushion, comfort, plush category, but not as a do-it-all shoe. That’s fine, of course; there’s no reason to have three shoes that do the same thing.

asics gel-nimbus 25 custom

ROBBE: As Thomas said, I didn’t really have any issue with the weight. It’s pretty spot on for a daily trainer. I mean, it weighs the same as last year, and neither Thomas nor I had any problems with it then, so we certainly shouldn’t now.

Now look, I’m not a max cushion or soft shoe kind of guy. I just don’t like the feel of them. I want something more responsive and snappy, even on longer runs. To me, a soft shoe feels like I’m sinking down and working against it. At least give me a rocker. And out of the box, I thought there was too much of that sinking feeling going on with this shoe, and not enough energy return. But after it compressed a bit, it started hitting me just right. I rounded out my review with a double-digit run today and I enjoyed them from front to back. I mean, I’d still pick the Superblast over this (my favorite Asics shoe), but you’re also going to shell out $60 more for that one.

Speaking of shelling out, man… $160 is on the high side for a daily trainer. I know that’s the going rate for a lot of shoes these days, and there are some quality components to this shoe, but the Nimbus has to take people to the 350- to 400-mile mark to make it worth its while. I see no reason it won’t, but I’m interested to see how the Ahar Lite rubber will hold over the lifespan of the shoe.

Back to the upper, real quick– I really do think the upper may end up being one of my all-time favorites. But, just to play devil’s advocate– that comfort is going to come with a price come July in the Mid-Atlantic. My feet were pretty toasty even in near-freezing temperatures, so I’ll definitely be interested to see how much my pores make it rain in the warmer weather.

Greenwashing is one of my biggest pet peeves in the industry, and the whole “Eco” midsole thing is a prime example of that. Twenty percent recyclable is… I guess better than nothing? But unless you’re getting it up to 50%, I’m not sure you should be allowed to put an eco-friendly tag on it.

Lastly, this shoe has one speed, and that’s whatever your everyday speed is going to be. It’s not a shoe you’ll want to go faster in, though by all means, go for it. That may not be technically a bad thing, it’s just a thing to be aware of.

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asics gel-nimbus 25 - outsole

Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 Conclusion

MEAGHAN: It’s January so I’m not about to throw out ‘shoe of the year’, but the Nimbus 25 is definitely at the top of my list for max cushioned trainers right now. It’s plush, comfortable, and the aesthetics are on point. You can snag a pair February 1 for $160. 

THOMAS: Picture the Leonardo DiCaprio clapping meme as I applaud Asics team on taking a shoe line from boring and predictable to visually beautiful and functionally exceptional. The Nimbus 25 has a better fit and cushioning than the Hoka Clifton, with an upper that out-paces and a midsole that at least matches our 2022 max cushion shoe of the year (the New Balance More v4). It can’t be easy for a company to reimagine one of their best selling models and hope the consumers come along for the ride. I hope the runners that loved the Nimbus of old will give the new Nimbus a try, but even if they don’t this shoe will win a ton of runners over.

ROBBE: It’s actually insane that this shoe is a Gel-Nimbus. I’m not even sure it should be a Gel-Nimbus, because of 1) it’s new status as a max cushion shoe, and, 2) the Nimbus should just not be allowed to look this good. I think that’s Newton’s 9th law or something: Objects that look like dadcore shoes cannot move into acceptable streetwear from one version to the next.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a ton of comfort to keep you fresh over any distance, and especially if you love that soft plush feeling for miles on end– I’m not sure you can do any better than the Gel-Nimbus 25. However, if you want something a bit more responsive that still offers solid cushion without feeling soft, go with the Superblast (if you can afford to). Also, in case anybody’s wondering, Asics won’t be releasing a full blank canvas, unbranded version of the shoe, but there will be an all-white version coming in the future.

You can pick up the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 on February 1 for $160 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

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