Road Shoes

Shoe of the Week: Asics Gel Nimbus Lite

A departure for Asics, the new Gel Nimbus Lite is less filling, tastes great.

Asics Gel Nimbus Lite Review

Weight
9.7oz (men), 8.6oz (women)
Offset
13mm heel/toe drop
Price
$150

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Top Line

A well-cushioned yet lightweight trainer/racer that’s good for the distance.

What’s New

This is not simply a skinny version of the GEL-Nimbus 22. Rather, it’s a smooth, simple ride with a well-cushioned, one-piece flexible foam midsole and a comfortable, breathable, sustainable upper made of recycled materials.

This is the shoe for you if…

You enjoy long runs in an efficient package with a smooth transition from heel to toe and turnover-friendly flexibility.

Photo: Asics

First Runs

Asics had seemingly been lagging behind its competition for years when it came to designs and the performance of its shoes, just making a showing with mild tweaks to its standard products. But the Nimbus Lite demonstrates a real effort, with solid design changes that translated to performance benefits.

The shoe impressed our test team with its overall comfort and runability, all with a substantial weight savings and more flexibility than the Nimbus 22. The Flytefoam midsole had impressive rebound qualities and Asics incorporated GEL technology in both the fore and rear for shock attenuation and general cushioning. The heel-to-toe transition of the neutral Nimbus Lite was seamless.

One tester concluded, “Running in the Nimbus Lite was a pleasure and they made me feel athletic and springy and want to go the extra mile or two or three.”

The shoe is true to size and testers found the upper fit comfortably, with a somewhat standard forefoot volume, meaning those used to a wide toe box and full splay might find them a bit constrictive. Testers enjoyed the traction of Asics’s lightweight high-abrasion rubber outsole and said it held up well, even when used off road.

On the negative side, several testers had issues with the heel height and location of the cushioning. “The more I ran in them the more the extra cushion in the heel bothered my feet and I started getting some metatarsal pain. I think either less cushion in the heel or more even cushion in the midsole would have fixed that,” one tester observed. Another chimed in similarly: “I think the cushioning could have been good, but just not in the right place. It made my strike feel uneven.” And one tester said the shoe made her feel conflicted: “There are some really comfortable aspects, but at the end of the training week, my feet were not happy in them.”

Others, however had no conflicts: “I had no problems with this shoe,” summed up one tester. “Superb, especially for the lighter weight. Asics had historically overbuilt their shoes and this is a hopeful sign that they are taking a step back from that practice.”

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