ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 3 Performance Review
THOMAS: Watching the Nimbus Lite evolve has been a treat over the last three years. The original concept looked like an experiment. The upper was identical to the Nimbus 22. ASICS just stuck the upper on top of a new eco-friendlier midsole. The next version of the Lite was still closely tied to the Nimbus 23, but the shape and softness of the midsole started getting their character. Finally, the GEL-Nimbus Lite 3 is where we begin to see the Nimbus regular model and the Lite model separate a bit further.
BRANDON: This is my first experience in the Nimbus Lite, but I have to say, other than the beautiful design, the shoe rides pretty dang well. However, it is important to note that even though I received my normal size 8.5, the upper on the shoe seemed somewhat large and boxy for me. If I were to turn back the clocks, I would have gone with a size 8 instead.
THOMAS: “Let me tell you this, darling… It’s better to look good than to feel good.” — Fernando
And the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 3 looks marvelous. Well, at least in the all-white snow blizzard version we received. When a shoe looks killer and then runs well, that’s where the magic happens. Like David Blain, this shoe has the magic.
The upper of the Nimbus Lite 3 gets more fitted and breathes even better than the last version. From the top-down view, the buckling I had in the upper of the previous version is much improved. Highlights of the new design include the soft, thin, and stretchy gusseted tongue. In addition, I experienced no hot spots and no heel lift. Overall, I love the way this shoe fits. What is even better, the upper is created partially from recycled materials.
Let’s get into the midsole. Most eco-friendly midsoles suck. They usually are firm and harsh underfoot. The Eco version of FlyteFoam is injected with cellulose nanofibers to soften the midsole. The nanofibers are a waste product from sugarcane processing. The fibers help the midsole decompose faster than traditional foams after you have gotten your miles out of the shoe. That’s cool and all, but if the midsole doesn’t feel good, who cares? The midsole does feel good. It is one of the more comfortable shoes we have tested. Cause it is ASICS, they threw some GEL into the midsole. The GEL isn’t for cushioning. Instead, the GEL acts as a shock dampener. The GEL is hidden away, unlike traditional ASICS models. The soft landing in the Nimbus Lite 3 is paired with a generous helping of ASICS AHAR rubber. The grip is solid, and the ride is smooth.
I went with a size ten vs my typical 10.5, and the fit was perfect. The smaller size weighs 9.5 oz. / 269 grams. The drop is 10mm in the men’s version.
MEAGHAN: The ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 won me over last year, so I had some pretty high expectations for the update. Also, we got a sneak peek at the 2022 lineup when we visited ASICS in Boston earlier this year. So, I kinda knew what was coming, and, spoiler alert: it’s all good.
First of all, I absolutely love the look of this shoe. Something about a white-on-white colorway that always wins me over. And the step-in feel is nearly perfect. The upper is a soft engineered mesh made from 50% recycled materials. It’s stretchy with a few thin overlays and has some flat laces to lock the foot down. The heel and collar have some decent cushioning for added comfort, but what I really love (and this is kind of weird) is the new stretchy tongue. It’s not super padded, but it’s flexible and comfortable and adds to this shoe’s great fit. Seriously might be the best tongue of any shoe.
Anyway, beneath the foot is ASICS FLYTEFOAM cushioning, which is the same foam they used in the last iteration. They’ve also kept the laser-cut sidewall and hidden rearfoot and forefoot GEL for some added impact absorption. All that said, this shoe feels much softer to me. Not overly soft, but definitely a squishier feeling on landing and toe-off than its predecessor. I really like it, and I’ve been enjoying these shoes quite a bit on my easy hour runs.
While it’s not the thickest shoe out there, 27mm heel and 14mm forefoot for a 13mm drop, it feels plenty cushioned, and I’ve been enjoying it for runs up to 10 miles. My W7.5 came in 8.1 oz.
BRANDON: This shoe is all about comfort. Seriously. The shoe sings under the foot and with good reason. As Meaghan and Thomas previously mentioned, the FLYTEFOAM midsole provides and incredibly smooth and cushioned ride under the foot. This is one of those shoes that you can run tons of miles in. If I were to put this shoe in my arsenal, I would categorize it under my daily trainer, work horse, easy day shoes. For a shoe made up of mainly recycled materials, it seems to do the trick well.Shop Nimbus Lite – Men Shop Nimbus Lite – Women
THOMAS: As I mentioned above, ASICS run long on my foot across the board. I have been going a half size down from my normal running shoe size, and it has worked out well.
The midsole is a wide, stable platform. I would sculpt the medial side under the arch to add a little more flex and drop even more weight.
The price of the shoe at $160 seems high when I would compare this shoe to the Hoka Rincon 3 ($119), Nike Pegasus 38 ($120), or the New Balance 1080v11 ($150).
MEAGHAN: I found after 10ish miles that my feet were craving a little more cushioning. I know that probably sounds insane because it’s a well-cushioned trainer, but my feet have become accustomed to the giant stack of max cushioned shoes.
BRANDON: I did find that the fit of this shoe to be a little too big for me. With that being said, the upper was somewhat unstable of course. I found the shoe to be hard to corner and change paces quickly in. The shoe isn’t all that nimble.Shop Nimbus Lite – Men Shop Nimbus Lite – Women
THOMAS: If you want a well-cushioned daily trainer that has some eco-friendly components and is fun to run in, put the Nimbus Lite 3 on your list. The ride in this shoe is above average, and the weight has it ready to fly through your daily mileage goals. In addition, the shoe is pretty enough that you can wear it casually once you are done with your runs. It’s a thumbs up from me.
BRANDON: Shameless plug, but it’s sort of a perfect shoe for Winter GRIT miles. The shoe is comfortable, looks great, and will be able to provide you with tons of easy miles. Just watch out for that lock down on the upper. This shoe wasn’t really meant for being nimble and going fast in like a traditional tempo day shoe. For $160 the shoe is a little steep in price, but the durability and longevity of the shoe make up for it.
MEAGHAN: The ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 3 is a comfortable, responsive, light daily trainer with aesthetics on point. I will definitely keep this shoe in my rotation and I could easily recommend this to anyone looking for a daily trainer for those easy-hour days.
You can pick up the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 3 for $160 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) starting on February 1, 2022.Shop Nimbus Lite – Men Shop Nimbus Lite – Women
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