ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 Review

There are some pretty significant changes to the new ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22, which change the overall fit and feel of the shoe. Let’s see how the new one fits, feels, and functions!

The new Nimbus is – in theory – ASICS’ maximum-cushion neutral trainer. The 22 moves back in the direction of the long line of soft, pillowly Nimbus’ and is notably softer and higher than the outgoing 21.

ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 21 vs 22!

  • ASICS gets back towards a soft, protective ride after a few versions of firmer rides
  • The redesigned upper provides slightly less room in the toebox and creates a narrower shoe overall
  • The midsole has seen significant changes and the shoe is much higher, softer, and has a much more protective feel
  • Transition on the 22 is greatly improved – it feels much less “slappy” and has a good amount of flexibility
  • The revised foam and improved flexibility goes a long way towards making the shoe feel lighter than it is – even though the 22 adds a little weight, it doesn’t feel like it on-foot

 

Fit

Despite having some sizing issues with some recent Nimbus’, the 22 feels like a pretty standard fit. The upper feels pretty traditional in terms of providing a structured upper with a pretty wide toebox. It’s a knit upper with printed overlays, so it’s plenty breathable and flexible… but the knit doesn’t have the soft/sock-like feel of some of the newer materials from Nike, New Balance, or Brooks. Sizing is back to true-to-size, so ASICS has improved drastically on that front – especially from the 19and 20. Width is pretty standard overall, with the toebox providing a decent (but not generous) amount of room both in terms of depth and width. The heel counter isn’t as aggressive as some of the previous Cumulus’ and Nimbus’, but you still feel it when you put it on and does a pretty good job of locking your heel in while running.

Feel

Despite taking a foray towards a more performance-feeling ride with the past 2 versions of the Nimbus, ASICS is getting back to the roots of the Nimbus with the 22. It’s back to feeling a max-cushion, max-protection feel. ASICS hasn’t made it back to Glycerin/Waveknit/Triumph level of cushion yet, but that’s the direction that they’re going. Step-in feel is good but not super soft, and that feel continues throughout the run. Overall, they still feel a little on the bulky side, but the smooth transition and the fact that they’re designed to feel cushioned and protective for your whole run mitigate that.

 Function

The Nimbus is designed as a a neutral trainer and has historically been really only appropriate for purely neutral runners, and the slightly softer ride of the 22 gets it firmly back into that function.

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Comparisons:

ASICS GEL-Nimbus vs GEL-Cumulus:

In their newest versions (Nimbus 21 vs Cumulus 21), both shoes use ASICS newish FlyteFoam (in slightly different configurations) and pretty traditional mesh upper. You really feel the similarities in the two shoes. With the most recent update to the Nimbus, the two shoes remain as similar as they’ve ever been. The Nimbus does have a little more to it, but it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two. Both provide a stable/solid-feeling ride, which somewhat compromises having a completely smooth transition.  The Cumulus is lighter, but it doesn’t necessarily feel all that much lighter on-foot. The upper and midsole are simply are a little softer in the Nimbus, but only barely. Even the heights seem very similar. Neither shoe provides significant guidance for runners with more flexible foot strikes.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus vs Brooks Ghost:

Comparing it to the industry’s leading shoe, the Nimbus shows some of the issues that ASICS has had throughout their lineup that they have been working through to catch up with the rest of the industry.  The Ghost is wider overall, most notably in the toebox. The uppers are vastly different, with the Ghost featuring a flexible knit mesh featuring few overlays, and the Nimbus going with a much more structured knit upper. The Ghost is much lighter – and you can certainly tell when running in them.  Despite the weight difference, the Ghost still feels softer. At the same time, it feels like a faster shoe overall with its lower profile and lighter weight. The amount of guidance in each shoe is minimal, and both are great options for neutral runners.

ASICS Nimbus vs Kayano:

Despite having a similar overall conceptual goal of providing a consistently high level of cushion and both moving in the “performance” direction with their latest updates, the two shoes feel pretty different. While the Kayano is designed to provide guidance to runners who pronate, the Nimbus is designed as a neutral shoe. The Kayano feels much lower in the heel and the overall shoe feels much more flexible (almost feeling like it has a crease in the forefoot), while the Nimbus’ heel feels a lot more stable/platform-like. The Nimbus does have a higher consistency of cushion, with the Kayano’s thinner platform prone to some odd bumps and ridges.

ASICS Nimbus vs Brooks Glycerin:

Previous version’s of these shoes might have been comparable in terms of plushness, but with the Nimbus’ transition to a more performance-feeling shoe (despite getting a little softer in the 22), it is no longer a very close match. The Glycerin is much softer. The Nimbus feels much more stable in terms of the platform, but overall the Glycerin feels softer, lighter, and faster.  The upper of the Glycerin feels much more forgiving and a little softer than the Nimbus. It also has more room in the toebox. Both have minimal inherent stability but and function best as neutral shoes.

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