Asics Gel-Cumulus 24 Review: Daily Trainer Done Right
ROBBE: If you’ve been around running long enough, you know that the Asics Gel-Cumulus exists in a forever line: it’s been here forever and will be here forever. Sometimes, this is a downfall for a shoe. Not much changes, it keeps showing up, and so it goes, year after year. It can be a bit like working in a cubicle for the federal government.
For awhile, both the Gel-Nimbus (the pricier, more luxe version of the Gel-Cumulus) and the Gel-Cumulus existed in that world. There were years when I wanted to slap them and say: “Your existence is more valuable than this!”. But shoes don’t have feelings, so instead, I just railed on Asics in our reviews.
Then things began to change. Asics started making moves, and after a slew of solid shoes in 2021, Asics nailed the Gel-Nimbus 24. A once-boring workhorse became my favorite daily trainer of 2022 (so far, anyway). Since the Gel-Cumulus is the more reasonably priced sibling to the Nimbus, could lightning strike twice?
The Gel-Cumulus does indeed improve on last year’s version, now with a full-length Flytefoam Blast midsole (the same midsole found in the well-executed Gel-Nimbus Lite), higher forefoot stack, while still sticking around that 10-ounce weight range. It’s also $10 more at $130, but pretty much every shoe company (with the exception of Brooks), has increased their prices by $10 this year thanks to inflation and the ongoing logistics and manufacturing hell.
Anyway, enough backstory, let’s get into the plot.
THOMAS: I never had the pleasure of working in a cubicle for the government like Robbe, but I did see The Matrix and Robbe making the move over to BITR is his red pill. Anyhow, the Cumulus floats by every year, after all, it is one of Asics legend shoes along with the Nimbus and the Kayano. It isn’t the most exciting Asics trainer in the lineup, but it is super reliable and a shoe that can work for almost any runner and is priced to work with almost any runner’s budget.
ROBBE: Comfort is never an issue with Asics upper and the Gel-Cumulus 24 is no different. I actually think it’s almost too comfortable, but that’s a stupid complaint. A plush, gusseted tongue and heel collar area give this thing a plush and lush foot wrap, putting it right in the range of other max-comf shoes like the Saucony Triumph. Overall, the upper quality seems much improved over last year’s Cumulus, which for some reason felt cheap to me.
On the run, the Flytefoam Blast midsole provides a truly comfortable ride and a marked improvement over the standard Flytefoam of yesteryear. Soft and bouncy, this will hold up over any distance and keep your legs feeling fresh. A segment of Flytefoam sits atop the Gel segment in the heel, wrapping around to the midfoot on the medial side providing a bit of a firmer layer that provides more structure. Heel strikers and forefoot strikers alike will be pretty happy with this one. Forefoot strikers especially, since this version offers nearly 20% more stack (16mm) in the forefoot over last year’s version, while the drop of the shoe comes down to 8mm compared to last year’s 10mm. I could definitely tell the difference and appreciated the extra cushion, especially in comparison to the Gel-Nimbus 24, which can feel slightly firm in the forefoot.
The outsole rubber consists of Asics Lite in the forefoot for a softer landing, while the heel has Asics Ahar Plus, a more durable and firmer rubber.
The most promising thing about this shoe is that it’s very similar to the $160-dollar Gel-Nimbus 24. In fact, I went out for a half-mile test with the Gel-Nimbus 24 on one foot and the Gel-Cumulus 24 on the other, and it’s really hard to tell the difference (though there are some minor ones), and none of those differences is a deal-breaker.
Long story short, with the Gel-Cumulus, you’re getting a long-haul shoe that will no doubt last you last several hundred miles.
THOMAS: Robbe has covered the details, I’m just here to add my thoughts on the fit and feel. Once the shoe is on the foot, the fit is dialed in. I rarely have to complain about the uppers on Asics shoes. If you are looking for a wide fit, this isn’t your shoe. Don’t take that wrong, there is enough width for Meg’s slightly wider foot, but our wide foot reviewer, Jarrett would be challenged to get his foot in this shoe. The narrower fit is a plus in my column. I did go down to a size 10 vs. my regular 10.5, lately, I have gone down a half size on all of the Asics shoes except Metaspeed Sky and Edge. I had no rubbing or hot spots in the size 10.
Flytefoam Blast and Flytefoam Blast+ are both rising as some of the best foams in the daily trainer category. They feel forgiving underfoot and still have some pop to keep you on your toes. The Blast is a bit firmer and not as bouncy as the Blast+, In the Cumulus the Blast works well because it has 2mm more foam under the toe than the Nimbus with Blast+, you still get a sweet amount of cush below the toes. The outsole grip is sturdy and smooth throughout.
The ride and feel was hard to distinguish between the Cumulus and the Nimbus, however the price is a win for Cumulus.Shop Gel-Cumulus – Men Shop Gel-Cumulus – Women
ROBBE: Everything here is a pretty minor complaint, but I’ll still point it out. While the upper is super plush and comfortable, it is a bit warm, which could not be fun in a few months. But if you want that level of comfort, you’re just going to sacrifice some temperature control. It’s just science.
If I’m comparing these shoes apples to apples, gel to gel, against the Nimbus, I feel like this shoe is just kind of… blocky? It’s a very minor blocky, like a one-by-one Lego piece. In pure daily trainer terms, there’s nothing wrong with that, I just wouldn’t use this shoe to pick up the pace. In comparison, the Gel-Nimbus feels a bit snappier with the firmer forefoot and sleeker upper, combined with the premium Flytoam Blast+ midsole.
Take all this with a grain of salt, because again, the Gel-Cumulus is $30 less than the Gel-Nimbus, so a couple minor downgrades should be expected.
THOMAS: So you want to slide your foot in and get to running, but oddly even though you loosened the laces, your heel crushes down on the back of the Cumulus making a wrinkle in the padding that now remains a crease. I mashed down the heel counter unintentionally every time I put the Cumulus on. Overall, the price savings in the shoe comes down to a less luxurious feeling upper. The lacing is a little difficult to adjust, the upper mesh feels and looks lower quality than the big brother Nimbus. If the shoes were cars, the Nimbus would be your Honda Accord and the Cumulus would be your Civic. As Robbe said, this “should be expected.”Shop Gel-Cumulus – Men Shop Gel-Cumulus – Women
ROBBE: For those looking to save $30 over the Gel-Nimbus but still want a bouncy and comfortable shoe for a ton of miles, you really can’t go wrong with the Gel-Cumulus 24. I’m not kidding when I say it’s an almost too-close-to-call comparison between the two shoes. Asics definitely took a strong step forward for this version of the shoe. No doubt previous fans will be delighted with this version, and anyone looking for a solid daily trainer to get them through long training blocks will be plenty pleased with the Gel-Cumulus 24.
If you’re in Boston for the marathon, you can pick up the Asics Gel-Cumulus 24 for $130 on Boston Marathon weekend at the Asics’ Uplift House at 299 Newbury Street. Otherwise, get it at the link below on May 1.
You can pick up the Asics Gel-Cumulus 24 for $130 on May 1 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.
THOMAS: You might wonder why we kept comparing the Cumulus to the Nimbus and not other trainers. The shoes are that similar. So similar it was sort of hard to review the shoes. Both are solid daily trainers and will give you many miles of good running. Both compete well with other daily trainers we have enjoyed this year including the Puma Velocity Nitro v2, Hoka Rincon 3, Nike Pegasus, and the New Balance 1080 v12.Shop Gel-Cumulus – Men Shop Gel-Cumulus – Women
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Robbe, in the intro paragraph – I think you said Cumulus 24 when you meant to say “Nimbus 24” was your favorite daily trainer of ’22. At least, reading that paragraph is confusing to me.
Appreciate it! Got mixed up going back and forth
I just picked up a pair of these, normally go with gt 2000, sorry to say but I feel like I’m running in my work boots, okay it’s only a week of running but not liking them…