ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 Performance Review
Robbe: So I was thinking about this— do millennials even know what the word ‘gel’ means? It seems like one of those words that was born in the 90’s and paired well with a Gap Tech Vest. Kids these days probably pronounce it with a hard “G.”
Anyway, here we are with the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22, aka the deuce deuce, aka the caliber used for picking off groundhogs on the family farm. Wow, I’m really putting off this review.
As always, the GEL-Nimbus 22 is a vessel teeming with ASICS technologies— seven of them to be exact, and those are just what’s listed on their site. I literally can’t list them all because this review would turn into War and Peace 2– War Pigs on the Prowl.
Suffice it to say this new version features a softer GEL cushioning unit in the heel and improved forefoot GEL technology (according to ASICS). The upper is slightly redesigned as well and is now a monofilament engineered mesh.
The current model retains the FLYTEFOAM Propel midsole from the GEL-Nimbus 21 (and 20), as well as the TRUSSTIC piece of plastic under the arch to “help reduce weight.” That’s what we call an oxymoron.
It also has a “lightweight AHAR outsole,” whatever that is. (It’s rubber.)
Taylor: Early on in my running career, Grandma brought me to the only footwear store in rural Minnesota, one with a bunch of store workers in referee jerseys. It was there that I slipped on the ASICS Gel Kayano 13 and found the difference between cheap Nikes and actual running shoes. From then until college, I pledged allegiance to ASICS.
Over the last several years, trails became a bigger priority and I’ve since branched out to other brands. But the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 has me feeling like the prodigal son running back to what I had known to be true. This supportive and cushioned shoe provides the same consistent comfort and performance that I experienced in the past.
Let’s see what else it had in store.
ROBBE: I’m not even going to lie, I approached this review with the same excitement level of a hog’s hind quarters sitting in the audience of a Traeger grill demonstration.
Then I got the shoes and thought ‘Hey, this ain’t a bad looking shoe.’
Then I put the shoe on and said ‘Hey, this ain’t a bad feeling shoe.’
Then I ran in the shoe and said… well, we’ll come back to that.
First things first. The engineered mesh upper is nice. So nice. It may be one of my favorite uppers. It’s padded, no doubt (especially around the collar), but not to the extent of say, a Saucony Triumph. It really feels fantastic for my narrow foot.
While the tongue isn’t gusseted, it didn’t slide around, and I felt that the upper as a whole locks down in all the right places, with the right amount of structure.
To be honest, these are incredible walking shoes and I wear them around a lot. I even dared to wear them traveling because hey— I’m not embarrassed to make ASICS great again.
It’s not a light shoe by any means— 10.1 oz./288g for my size US M7.5, which puts it close to 11 oz. for normal sizing. To put it into perspective, our just-reviewed New Balance 1080 v10 weighs the same for a size US 10.5M.
That said, it didn’t feel as heavy underfoot. I think this is partially due to the secure fit of the upper, which made the shoe feel more nimble than other shoes in its weight class. The weight is also distributed more evenly throughout the shoe.
I did really like the cushioning in the heel segment as well— not too soft and not too firm. For all you heel strikers out there, you’ll be just fine in this shoe.
Lastly, the rubber outsole provides great grip and the remodeled flex grooves in the forefoot provide a lot more flexibility that was lacking in previous models.
TAYLOR: Like Robbe, I wasn’t sure what to think going into this review. Our reviewers weren’t clamoring to get on this shoe, but boy, I am glad I got the “short” straw. Suckers!
This is my favorite road shoe of 2019. Now, the GEL-Nimbus 22 may not be the perfect all-around trainer for every runner, but what really has me excited about this shoe is that I can’t really pick out anything that I would change about it. The fit, feel, and ride are all simply good.
The midsole is like one of those beautiful trifle desserts you see on that glass display rack that you’ll never buy until you retire. Each layer is different but doesn’t overwhelm another. When “consumed” together they are perfectly complementary. While Robbe touched on it, here is the bottom-up ingredient list: SPEVA foam midsole, GEL Technology (pods of gel in the heel and forefoot), and Flytefoam Propel for a little more cushion.
Overall, the ride is pretty soft with just enough responsiveness to keep you rolling. The thick Eva foam base layer is crafted with a bunch of flex grooves. This is one of the major changes to this year’s model. The grooves claim responsibility for the smooth transition from initial contact through toe-off. Whether that’s the truth or not, I really dig the protective, soft, and smooth ride that the midsole technologies provide.
Extra props go out to the TRUSSTIC System plastic plate in the midfoot/arch that gives the Nimbus a little more peppiness with each stride. I gladly hit some heavy pavement miles in these things, and that’s a big thing to say coming from someone who prioritizes time in the woods.
Sticking with the dessert theme, the cherry on top here is definitely the upper. Breathable? Check. Light? Check. Soft, yet secure? Check.
I love it! It’s one of the most comfortable uppers of any shoe that I have worn.
My longest run in these was 10 miles at a decent clip over hilly terrain, and they performed as consistently as any of my shorter runs. No doubt, I’ll be utilizing these for my longer road runs all winter long.
Last note: Kudos to whoever on the ASICS design team vouched for a slightly wider forefoot. It’s always nice to have a little extra breathing room.Shop ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – US Shop ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – EU
Robbe: Look, I don’t hate this shoe. I think it’s actually a pretty solid shoe. But it’s still just the status quo.
Eleven ounces for a daily trainer is just too much these days. This shoe hasn’t moved a grain of sand off the scale over the last three versions. Meanwhile, every company from Beaverton to Boston is trimming weight, while increasing cushion and responsiveness.
ASICS prefers to integrate all of their “technologies” into a witches’ brew of weight, without any of the wow. I realize this probably doesn’t matter to ASICS, cause they’re still selling a ton of this shoe to the average runner. But sooner or later, it will matter.
Regarding the weight, the result is that it’s a fine feeling shoe at first, but as the miles go on, it starts to drag. The responsiveness of the midsole is in line with what you would expect from an ASICS daily trainer, but it just feels a bit outdated.
While there’s nice room in the toe box without being too roomy, I felt like my pinky toe came out a little bit over the lateral edge. I’m interested to see how this would play out over the course of a couple hundred miles.
And while I liked the cushion in the heel, I still felt that the forefoot was too firm for my liking, even though ASICS has tried to correct that in this version.
Taylor: Current shoe technologies allow highly-cushioned and protective shoes to be very light. As Robbe noted, the GEL-Nimbus 22 does not follow that trend. Shedding some weight would make this daily trainer a real standout shoe.
Here is a slight warning that these felt a little weird out of the box. Even though this is a neutral shoe, there is still a good amount of technology devoted to enhancing stability. While running, though, I didn’t pick up on the same sensation I had after initially putting them on, but I did notice that the ride was soft and stable. So, for those of you who are not used to a very structured shoe, this may feel odd right away.Shop ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – US Shop ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – EU
Robbe: Like I said, the GEL-Nimbus 22 isn’t a bad shoe, and I really do love the upper and the overall comfort. No doubt, ASICS has that nailed down. I also think it’s a good-looking design. The copper-on-blue element is kinda fresh.
If you’re a fan of the Nimbus line, I think you’re really going to like the GEL-Nimbus 22. But if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, you may want to try something else.
Taylor: ASICS has a truly “premium quality” daily trainer here. When it comes to overall comfort, the GEL-Nimbus 22 is top-shelf stuff. If you are already a fan, the few changes will be worth the upgrade.
While it’s not the lightest or most responsive trainer out there, it does have enough to satisfy day in and day out. Plus, the comfort and cushioning pay big dividends as miles build up every week.
If you’re not familiar with the GEL-Nimbus 22 and need a stable, well-cushioned, and dang comfortable daily trainer, you might as well look a little further into purchasing the Nimbus 22.
Either way, you can pick up the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and free returns!) using the shop link below.Shop ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – US Shop ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – EU
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Thanks for this review guys, I like the language.
I’m looking for a new walking/sneaker to do the camino de santiago in portugal, which has both long miles on pavement and on well-travelled trails in the mountain, carrying weight. Do you have a shoe you’d recommend for this? Wide toebox, cushioning, but good heel retention and general comfort/breathability? Thanks much — Geoff
Hey Geoff- sorry just getting back to you. While this could work for that (it certainly is comfortabe). You should check out the HOKA EVO Speedgoat. While it’s a trail shoe, it’s very light with a lot of cushion, very comfortable, and has a wider toe box than other versions of the Speedgoat.