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Road Running Shoes • March 5, 2021

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 Performance Review

asics gel cumulus 23 - sidewalk

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.9 oz. (280 g) for a US M9.0 /8.1 oz. (230 g) for a US W7.5
  • Full-lengthy FLYTEFOAM midsole and bottom layer
  • 10 mm drop (23 mm heel/13 toe)
  • Releases 4/1 for $120
  • This ain’t a sexy side piece, but it will stay in a relationship with you forever

ROBBE: Well look what we have here. A tale as old as time itself, or at least as old as the 21st century. The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23, the axis of the ASICS universe, or at least the equilibrium. Coupled with the GEL-Nimbus 23, they’re the legacy horses in the ASICS stable. In more modern terms, they’re the girlfriend/boyfriend who won’t leave you until you leave them.

What do we need that the ASICS GEL-Cumulus cannot provide? It has the classics ASICS Gel, the ASICS FLYTEFOAM midsole, decent upper, and solid traction. Simply put, it’s a running shoe when you don’t want to figure out just what the f** kind of running shoe you need to put on your feet. They’re just shoes!

I’m not going to act like this is some sort of revolution, because it’s not. It’s pretty straightforward. If you’re reading this review, you probably know what kind of shoe you want. Yes, this will work if you’re just running three miles a day, three times a week. If you liked last year’s version, which was pretty solid, you’ll be fine with this one as well.

Now, what’s different in this newest version? Only a couple minor things. We have a full-length FLYTEFOAM bottom layer (which I honestly thought we had last year), and there’s some 3D space construction under the heel which helps runners compress into a specific area without losing stability. Sounds fancy, but it’s probably not.

There’s not much to say, but because we have to, I’ll still break down the good and the bad.

How do these shoe things work?

The Good

ROBBE: Last year, all three of our reviewers were pretty into this shoe as an overall daily trainer. I actually wore it but didn’t review it because do we really need four people and a dissertation on the Cumulus? Absolutely not.

But now that I’m all on the stage by myself, let me try to not piss my pants and give this a well-rounded review.

The nice thing about this shoe is that it doesn’t have a lot of bullshit. You don’t have to worry about a “too soft” midsole, not enough bounce, too much bounce, not enough support, etc.

It’s a straightforward shoe that can rack up hundreds of miles. The upper is comfortable as all ASICS uppers tend to be. You’ll find great support in the heel and ankle area, so consider it a stable shoe without all the bells and whistles of a stability shoe.

The GEL in the rear provides some nice cushion. The midsole is responsive enough but not soft. It also sneaks under 10 ounces, so it’s relatively lightweight for a daily trainer. It actually picks up decently if you really need it to. While I wouldn’t reach for this for speed work, it can be one of those do-it-all shoes for maybe a first marathon or something.

The 23 mm stack height is pretty low, so it does provide decent ground feel, though it may feel a bit firm at times (more on that later).

The rubber coverage on this is pretty solid and is built up in all the places that you need it to be (i.e. around the edges). Leaving rubber out of the spine of the outsole is a good move in that it’s going to save a lot of weight but shouldn’t sacrifice durability. The flex grooves in the forefoot help keep this shoe rolling through each stride. It’s a pretty smooth ride overall.

Shop GEL-CUMULUS 23 – Men Shop GEL-CUMULUS 23 – Women ASICS GEL CUMULUS 23 - heel

The Bad

ROBBE: There was something going on with the tongue that I didn’t really like. I think there was some extra material that was folding under, which was a bit annoying but not a deal-breaker.

The forefoot did seem somewhat firm to me, probably because it’s only 13 mm of stack height. Or maybe it was a bit dead in that EVA type of way. Granted, I did take it out in some 30-degree weather and we all know that EVA plays possum in those conditions, so I’ll leave some of the blame there.

Lastly, the shoe is okay, but it’s not my choice for a daily trainer. I’m more of a Pegasus guy, I like the Zoom Air pop in the forefoot. Or, honestly, I’d take the GEL-Nimbus 23 over this shoe for sure. I need fireworks in my life. The GEL-Cumulus 23 just doesn’t do much for me, and something about it also just feels a little cheap to me. I can’t put a finger on it, it just does.

It kind of just exists, and probably will for another two decades.


ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 Conclusion

ROBBE: No major changes over last year’s version, which is a good thing. Let me be clear – this is a solid shoe at a reasonable price point. It just doesn’t have any wow factors to it. I need some exoticism in my life.

But if you’re someone who just wants to buy a shoe without worrying about what kind of midsole or upper it has, or what it’s like for tempo runs, etc., then this shoe will be more than fine. Again, I’d probably opt for the GEL-Nimbus 23 over this one if I just want a shoe for a ton of miles. This one offers a bit more versatility due to its lighter weight, but this may be a situation where less isn’t more.

To sum it up: The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 is a decently light daily trainer that will last you hundreds of miles at a reasonable price point of $120. You won’t regret getting it but you also won’t remember it as the shoe that changed your life.

You can pick up the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 for $120 at the shop link below.

Shop GEL-CUMULUS 23 – Men Shop GEL-CUMULUS 23 – Women ASICS GEL CUMULUS 23 - toe


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. No name says:

    More than enough for many mortals. Do not see the point in paying more for the Nimbus. It does not look cheap to me either.

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