The Asics Gel Nimbus has been a popular running shoe for several years, meaning that new versions often continue the brand’s tried-and-true formula. But not this time around.
The Gel Nimbus 25 has been significantly revamped from its predecessor, the Gel Nimbus 24, packing in more cushioning and new PureGEL™ technology to create an even lighter and more comfortable shoe. There’s also an updated knit tongue that wraps around the ankle for a more luxurious fit and feel.
After spending some time testing the shoe, we’re big fans of the changes. Designed to accommodate neutral foot types, we also consider it one of the best running shoes for supination.
However, the high price point makes the Nimbus Gel 25 an investment. It’s also not the most dynamic shoe, so those aimed at higher speeds might want something more responsive.
How we tested
We put the Asics Gel Nimbus 25 through its paces on various ranges, accumulating nearly 50 kilometers (km) in them. This included a leisurely 10km on the roads, off-road parking (5km), and a longer run of over half a marathon (26km). The weather over these ranges also ranged from dry and sunny to drizzly and oppressively wet.
Construction and cushioning
One of the most notable things about the Nimbus Gel 25 is the higher stack height compared to its predecessor. We tried the women’s shoe which is 40.5mm in the heel and 32.5mm in the forefoot. This is due to Asics packing in 20% more foam in the midsole, which creates a more cushioned ride.
Despite this, there is no significant difference in weight. The Nimbus Gel 25 weighs in at 9.2 ounces (260 grams), compared to 8.7 ounces (246.6 g) for the 24. While it’s not the lightest shoe we’ve tested, it’s certainly not the heaviest either.
In terms of drop, Asics has made the Nimbus 25 a consistent 8mm across both the men’s and women’s shoe. The women’s Nimbus 24 had a 13mm drop and the men’s drop a 10mm.
One of the most valuable features of Asics is the gel technology. Even this has been upgraded to the brand new PureGEL™. Whereas on the 24th the gel was located in the heel and toe of the shoe, this time it is in the back foot of the shoe. Again, this is designed to create smoother transitions during your stride and provide greater impact absorption. While the gel is usually visible on all Asics shoes, it is hidden on the 25.
There is also a pull tag on the heel which we also found useful for people with larger feet – not that the shoes are particularly difficult to get on.
Design and cream
On the upper side, there are a few changes. The engineered mesh design has been upgraded to a stretch knit material. There is also a gusseted stretch knit tongue that provides support and breathability. A plush collar is also a welcome upgrade and expands around the ankle to create a more comfortable fit.
When it comes to overall design, the Nimbus 25 has a lot on its predecessor. Despite being a much-loved shoe, the Nimbus was never really a “header” in our opinion. Everything about the 25 feels more modern and stylish, right down to the more “‘out there'” colors.
The redesigned outsole has soft Asics Lite rubber on the forefoot and AHAR (high abrasion rubber) on the heel. This is designed to offer a strong grip for road running in wet and dry conditions. Overall, we were quite impressed with the bite. Even during a slightly more “off-trail” parkrun after a few days of rain we weren’t particularly slipping or sliding.
We can’t speak much on durability, but the Nimbus Gel is usually about standard – around 400 miles or 650 kilometers at most.
We usually go half a size up from our standard size for running shoes, so we tested the Gel Nimbus 25 in a UK 8.5 (US 9.5). They are true to size, with enough room in the toe box to double as socks during the winter if you wanted, but without feeling too big. We ran in the Gel Nimbus 25 straight out of the box and there was no Achilles discomfort or blistering either.
But is the Gel Nimbus 25 really “the most comfortable running shoe”? After testing it over a range of distances, we definitely found that it provides a comfortable ride with just enough bounce. However, it is worth noting that the Gel Nimbus does not have a significant rocker that can help when you want to go faster. When we tried to pick up the pace, all the extra cushioning felt a bit flat. For this reason, we preferred the shoes for easy recovery runs or long leisurely runs when we weren’t focused on time. For higher tempos, we prefer something a little more responsive. But having said this, that is not why the Nimbus Gel is built.
Overall, the Asics Gel Nimbus 25 is a comfortable, cushioned running shoe that’s perfect for long steady runs or relaxed recovery. Aesthetically, the shoe has also received a much-needed upgrade from previous versions – and we’re big fans.
However, it lacks the flexibility needed for higher speed sessions and is definitely not a race day shoe. That said, it doesn’t have to be. On the other hand, price could be a point of contention.
The Asics Gel Nimbus 25 does not have any kind of rocker and if this is your preference, you may be more suited to the On Cloudmonster. It still has a good amount of cushioning, but without the ‘feel’ of the Gel Nimbus 25. This makes it much more responsive, and with the addition of the rocker you can pick up the speed if you want.