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10.7 oz. (304 g) for a US M9,
9.2 oz. (262 g) for a US W7.5
41.5 mm in the heel, 33.5 mm in the forefoot (8 mm drop)
Comfortable, slightly firmer daily miles
Flytefoam Blast+ Eco midsole, Ahar+ and Asicsgrip outsole, modified lacing system
THOMAS: It’s an early morning. You pour a hot coffee and prepare to run on your local rail trail pathway. As you jump in your car, you notice how crisp and dry the fall air feels. You glance at the passenger seat to double-check your supplies for the day and make sure you’re remembering everything. Regardless of your mental checklist, inevitably, you have forgotten something. On the sound system, late 90s and early 2000s alternative bands play heavy guitar-led soft punk. Pulling into the gravel parking lot, you see you’re not the first runner.
The stickers on the back of the car let you know what tribe this car is a part of. There’s a 26.2 oval sticker and a local running store’s logo on the rear of a Subaru. Twenty-six. Twenty-six miles. It’s just long enough to test a person. Twenty-six changes you forever. It is a magic number. One last gulp of your lukewarm coffee before you head out into the chill to start your miles. Looking down at your feet, you see and feel a well-cushioned shoe that will get you through the training run in comfort. It’s the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26. You know it’ll be a good run.
That was a self-indulgent intro to let you know that we got the Nimbus 26 in for review. Since I wasted some of your time on that, I’ll give you the short version of the review. The significant changes are a firmer midsole and about half an ounce of extra weight over the Nimbus 25. The weight comes from more AHAR+ rubber on the outsole. Not everyone will like the update, but as a running shoe, the changes help to make the shoe more responsive than the Nimbus 25.
MEAGHAN: Thomas provided quite the introduction, so let’s just get on with the review.
ROBBE: I first started testing the Nimbus back on version 22, just as Asics was emerging from its chrysalis of mediocrity, soon to bloom as a bullet with butterfly wings. With a Flytefoam Propel midsole, the Gel-Nimbus 22 was thoroughly average and still featured a bunch of the clunky tech that Asics thought runners wanted, but really nobody cared. The shoe was so ‘meh’ that we actually never reviewed the Gel-Nimbus 23 because I guess we were just waiting for cooler things to come.
Those cool things did come in the Gel-Nimbus 24, which remains one of my favorite daily trainers of the last few years, even now. I can’t get rid of it because it’s all dirtied up with the dust from Pre’s Trail in Eugene; it’s now resigned to taking up yet another treasured square foot in my Baltimore row home, much to the annoyance of my wife.
In any case, things really started to change a couple of years ago when Asics started to dial back the details while increasing stack height and giving us a nice, bouncy midsole made of Flytefoam Blast+. Of course, the Gel-Nimbus 25 was a real deviation from the quarter-century standard that preceded it; it was the first version of the shoe to disappear the Gel unit, relegating it to the inside of the heel.
With its super sleek and comfortable upper and soft, sink-in feeling that bordered on max cushion, the Gel-Nimbus 25 was a runaway hit for Asics. Can the Gel-Nimbus 26 capitalize on that momentum? Let’s find out.
THOMAS: The Nimbus 25 is a high stack max cushioned trainer. Our team enjoyed easy recovery miles in the shoe but struggled to switch gears to faster paces. The Nimbus 26’s FlyteFoam Blast+ midsole gets a tune-up. The result is a firmer ride that’s more responsive than the 25. This makes the shoe easier to accelerate than the Nimbus 25. The firmer feel will be an upgrade for runners, making the Nimbus more versatile. Along with the firmer midsole, Asics added more rubber to the outsole. The addition makes the shoe more tacky and durable and adds to the firmer feel.
The upper of the Nimbus 26 doesn’t change that much from the previous model. The most noticeable change is that the bottom of the lace throat loses the “W” shape and is now a “V,” the lacing system gets more built up with wider straps over the arch. This will help with the lockdown. The changes didn’t make a difference in fit for me, but I put them under “The Good” section since the upper fits well.
The shoe’s weight is distributed evenly, which helps the shoe feel lighter than its hefty 11.3 oz (330 g) for my US M10.5.
The running sensation is smooth, with a compliant landing and a more resilient take-off than the previous model. I was surprised by how the Nimbus 26 rolled easily through the stride.
MEAGHAN: The Nimbus 25 was a favorite of 2023, so I was happy to learn that not too much has changed with version 26. The soft, stretchy knit upper remains, along with 40-plus mm of FFBlast Eco+ underfoot. While Thomas mentioned the foam is a smidge firmer, I found the ride to feel fairly similar. However, the traction is much improved with the new rubber outsole (now a mixture of Asicsgrip and Ahar+), which I was able to test out on some wet streets in Austin.
ROBBE: Never one to love a soft shoe, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Gel-Nimbus 25. Great for walking and maybe one of the most comfortable shoes in memory on step-in — yes. But when it came to running in the shoe, I felt there was too much plushness, where I just kind of sank in, but didn’t return, much like anytime I jump into the foam pit at Skyzone and my kids have to call security to help me out.
Some people will hate this, and others won’t care, but the Gel-Nimbus 26 midsole has firmed up just a bit to where it’s not that same soft feeling. It’s still comfortable, but on the run it works much better because it actually feels like it gives energy back instead of being all selfish about it. People who loved the Gel-Nimbus 25 may not love this, so depending on your taste, this could be a bad thing. With very few exceptions (New Balance 1080v13), I like to feel the road when I’m running, or at least get the sensation that I do, and the Gel-Nimbus 26 provides that, at least in the forefoot during toe-off.
That midsole is definitely the biggest change in the shoe, especially because everything else is almost a copy of the Gel-Nimbus 25. The engineered mesh upper and knit tongue still wrap the foot with exceptional comfort without sacrificing too much breathability. Over the course of a 10-mile run with plenty of hills, I had no issues with hotspots or movement in the shoe. There’s plenty of comfort in the heel, partially because of that PureGel segment embedded in the heel area and partly because of the high stack of foam. Either way, it’s pretty comfortable on landing.
The second upgrade to this shoe is the addition of Ahar+ rubber in the outsole. As anyone who wore last year’s versions knows, the standard Ahar rubber for Asics is piss poor in terms of grip. Ahar+ is where it’s at, and honestly, I feel like any Asics shoe without that rubber is straight away an inferior product. So good on Asics for improving the outsole, it’s much better this go-around.
I really appreciate the width of the shoe from a stability perspective. Even though the Flytefoam Blast+ Eco is soft and has the potential to be quite unstable, the stability in the shoe is still solid because of such a wide base. The shoe has the same width and last as the Gel-Nimbus 25, so this opinion hasn’t changed from last year.Shop Asics Gel-Nimbus - Men Shop Asics Gel-Nimbus - Women
THOMAS: If you are looking for the spongy, soft feel of the Nimbus 25, the adjustment to the foam may not sit well with you. I want a more pronounced pivot off the toe to help with turnover. While I would like to see the shoe drop weight, it would create confusion between the Novablast 4 and the Nimbus.
MEAGHAN: While I love the additional grip provided by the outsole, it did add a little to the weight. My US W7.5 came in close to 8.5 oz, which is about half an ounce more than the previous version.
ROBBE: I don’t want this to be a bad thing because I think it came from the addition of rubber to the outsole, but the shoe picked up a half-ounce over last year’s version. The Gel-Nimbus 25 was really light for a daily trainer, so I’ll take the weight gain in exchange for greater durability and grip. But just know that if it feels heavier, it’s because it is.
On the run, the weight gain didn’t really affect me, nor did I notice it. In fact, my paces were a bit faster than my typical slow pace, so I saw no issue performance-wise. I’m also never going to use this shoe for anything other than daily training miles, so I don’t really need it to be ultralight.
I also don’t really love the design of this shoe. It’s pretty boring, and it’s nowhere near the Novablast 4 or Magic Speed 3 in terms of look and I think it’s a step back from the Gel-Nimbus 25 (and even the 24). The women’s colorway goes a long way in making it look better though.
The shoe will get the job done, but it’s not super exciting on the run. It just kind of cruises at one speed. Which is what it’s supposed to do, so I don’t know if that should be a bad thing. I guess it’s just not that exciting, but come on — it’s the Gel-Nimbus. If you want excitement, go for the Novablast 4.Shop Asics Gel-Nimbus - Men Shop Asics Gel-Nimbus - Women
THOMAS: I prefer the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 over the 25. It’s now more comparable to the Brooks Ghost Max and the New Balance 1080v13 (our two top daily trainers from 2023.) These shoes all feel cushioned without a mushy feel. While I like the Nimbus 26, I would choose the Novablast 4 over it. The Nimbus 26 will last longer, but I like the lighter, more performance-tuned Novablast 4. Both neutral shoes can be used as daily trainers, but the Novablast has a leg up when picking up the pace. If the criterion is a steady, solid daily trainer, Nimbus 26 fills the prescription.
MEAGHAN: The Nimbus 26 kept all the great max cush qualities of its predecessor and added a grippier outsole for extra traction and durability. I’ve been loving this shoe for recovery days and medium-long runs. This is easily a shoe I’d recommend to kick off the new year.
ROBBE: The Gel-Nimbus 26 continues to seamlessly blend the legacy of the line with a new direction, building on what the Gel-Nimbus 25 brought before it. It’s a reliable daily trainer bordering on max cushion that will keep you comfortable for a ton of miles, including long runs. It’s one of those solid shoes that can just eat up tons of mileage.
If you loved the Gel-Nimbus 25 for its ultrasoft comfort, you may find this shoe to be a step back, but if you wanted a little more responsiveness from the midsole, then you’ll be pretty happy with the changes.
You can pick up the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 for $160 on January 8, 2024, at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.
As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’s goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be.More from Thomas
Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.More from Robbe
Meaghan signed up for her first marathon three weeks before the race, because it was $10 more than the half she planned to run. She learned everything in running the hard way. Now a USATF & UESCA certified run coach, she loves encouraging friends to go for big goals as she continues to chase faster times. She enjoys a hot cup of coffee, a cold martini, and making bagels for friends and family.More from Meaghan