DiscontinuedUpdate: Asics Gel Cumulus 21
Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
Good to know
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
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If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 10.1ozWomen: 8.3oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 10mmWomen: 10mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
Heel heightMen: 23mmWomen: 22mm
Forefoot heightMen: 13mmWomen: 12mm
WidthMen: Narrow, Standard, Wide, Extra wideWomen: Narrow, Standard, Wide
Release dateJun 2018
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89 / 100 based on 15 expert reviews
Asics Gel-Cumulus 20 - Snappy happiness
Other than the Gel-Kayano series and the now discontinued GT 21XX (replaced by GT 2000), which are both support models, prior to Gel-Cumulus 20 I had never run in neutral shoes from Asics. I have since had the chance to test and review Gel-Nimbus 21, which is regarded the more plush sibling of Gel-Cumulus 20, and my initial thoughts on that shoe are here.
This meant that, for Gel-Cumulus 20, I was able to go into it with a completely open mind, with no preconceptions, expectations, or any hangovers from previous iterations of the shoe. The shoe for me is by and large a success, with great ground feel and snappiness.
The only let downs are the somewhat narrow fit and a touch too much structure in the rearfoot area, including the heel. Overall, a great shoe for faster-paced training sessions and for racing 10kms or half to full marathons.
Out of the box and in the hands, the shoes have a sleek, streamlined look to them. They are not the lightest of shoes, rated at 285 grams for Men’s, but lighter than Gel-Nimbus 21 (310 grams) or Gel-Kayano 25 (336 grams).
Much of the lightness is probably due to slightly thinner cushioning, but the shoe width and choice of upper material likely contributed as well. With stack height of 13mm in front and 23mm in back, the shoe comes with 10mm drop, which is within the 6-10mm range typical of medium to high mileage trainers.
As with the latest iterations of Gel-Kayano and Gel-Nimbus, Gel-Cumulus 20 employs two types of EVA foam; FlyteFoam Lyte on the bottom (the white layer in photo) and FlyteFoam Propel on the top (the blue layer). The idea is that the Lyte provides the cushioning while the stiffer, higher rebound Propel provides the bounce and drive through the gait cycle.
The trademark Asics Gel is also visible in the rear on the lateral side. I in fact found the configuration of FlyteFoam and Gel around the rearfoot area quite intriguing.
As can be seen in the photo showing the heel area, the medial side is built to offer quite a bit of cushioning via FlyteFoam Lyte. In my opinion, this makes Gel-Cumulus 20, despite being rated a neutral shoe, quite well-suited for moderate over-pronators as well.
Website blurb describes the outsole as “new full-ground contact.” I’m not entirely sure what this means since the outsole doesn’t look a whole lot different from other road shoes from Asics and others, with Asics Hard Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) in the heels and softer blown-rubber in the rest of the outsole.
Also visible in the outsole is the classic Guidance Line to aid a smooth heel-toe transition.
This is where I struggled. Normally a EUR 44.5 (which generally translates to US 10.5 or UK 9.5/10.0), I wear a size US 10.5 in other Asics shoes including Gel-Kayano 25 and Gel-Nimbus 21.
The same size in Gel-Cumulus 20, however, felt a half size too small, both in width and length. This was a bit of a surprise since the website states that the “new SpEVA Foam lasting provides ample room in the ball girth and toe area.”
Adding to the sense of constriction is the heavily structured heel – or rather – the entire shoe to the rear of the midfoot. The heel area just felt “over-built” and as result the shoe was very stiff. Probably the stiffest road shoe I had ever run in. As it turns out this stiffness is what translates to a feeling of “snappiness” once on the road, but the sensation was disconcerting nonetheless.
A closer inspection suggests the use of a rigid plastic heel cup which basically extends forward into the midfoot to provide that stiffness. This insert is quite substantial and makes up both the heel cup and the side wall of the entire rear half of the shoe.
While my first instinct was to think of this stiffness as a “bad” thing, I was then reminded of Nike’s use of carbon plate inserts in their ultra-premium Vaporfly 4%. Effectively stiffness = energy return, however, that stiffness is achieved.
As mentioned, the shoe fits very snug. This is somewhat ameliorated however by the upper construction, which contains many “slits” that ostensibly expand to help with a more precise fitting. I found this to be a great feature and without these, the shoes could have been too tight fitting to manage a run in.
Still, I found myself having to don my thinnest socks to pair up with Gel-Cumulus 20, even after more than 150 miles.
One other final comment regarding the upper and the shoe construction, in general, is that, for someone spoiled with Gel-Kayano 25 and Gel-Nimbus 21, which are Asics’ premium support and neutral cushioned shoes respectively, I found the manufacture of Gel-Cumulus 20 to be fairly utilitarian in comparison.
Gel-Cumulus 20 are noticeably less plush and with “rougher” edges so to speak in terms of finish. But – as mentioned – I have been spoiled!
As is the case with all running shoes, observations and discussions regarding the design, materials, and construction notwithstanding, the real proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the road test.
And it is on the road that Gel-Cumulus 20 really shine. The balance of cushioning and responsiveness (read = road feel) is spot on, and the shoes feel peppy and full of bounce.
I attribute much of the peppiness to the stiffness of the shoes and the energy return that the rigid construction provides. As mentioned in the description there is a rigid plastic insert which extends from the midfoot all the way into the heel cup and it is this feature which I believe accounts for much of the “snappiness” of the shoe.
Despite the stiff nature of the shoe my heels stayed locked in, which was a pleasant surprise but then again may just be down to the aforementioned snug fitting.
The ride was consistent, whether landing on the midfoot or the heel and the transition smooth.
The peppiness, snappiness, from the shoe meant that these were well-suited to faster training sessions such as speed intervals and for racing anything from 10kms to half marathons and marathons. I haven’t used them to run a marathon in yet (and would probably hesitate to, given the snug fitting), but have used them successfully for racing a 10km and a half marathon, both to within minutes of my PB times.
- Smooth, expensive upper
- Snappy feel
- Good balance of cushioning vs. responsiveness
- Fast feel
- Rigid construction
- Slightly too snug
- Rough manufacturing finish
Despite some initial disappointment with lack of plushness and some misgivings regarding its stiffness, the shoes were a pleasant surprise in the way they performed on the road. The cushioning is not too soft or too much, and the ride is consistent irrespective of landing on the heel or elsewhere.
With a pronounced snappiness thanks to their rigid construction, the shoes are ideally suited for the more intensive, higher speed training sessions and for racing 10kms to half marathons in.
My only real caveat is with sizing. Gel-Cumulus 20 seem to come up slightly narrower and shorter than other Asics models I’ve tried and I would be tempted to size up by half.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Asics Gel Cumulus 20 (Women): Impressively Awesome Neutral Shoe
The version, and it continues to impress me.
It features several updates to enhance breathability, cushioning and overall performance. The updates include the following:
- The upper is different from the old Gel Cumulus 19 uses a new jacquard mesh material for breathable coverage. It has enough perforations to allow air to pass through efficiently, keeping the foot well-ventilated throughout the run. It also offers glove-like fit for comfort.
- The FlyteFoam Propel technology is also placed in the midsole. It offers runners a comfortable, responsive underfoot cushioning. It is lightweight and durable for long-lasting performance.
- The outsole has a new tread pattern for enhanced traction, and the Guidance Trusstic System has been removed for a smoother transition.
Technologies and design
- Jacquard mesh – This material offers a breathable coverage and customized fit. It is durable, lightweight and comes in a seamless upper design.
- Personal Heel Fit – For a more personalized fit, the shoe has two-layer memory foam in the heel collar.
- Discrete Eyelets – The eyelets were designed to reduce tension when the shoelaces are tightened. The independent holes enhance the overall fit and comfort of the shoe.
- Reflective details – Reflective details on the heel area offer added visibility during low-light condition.
- FlyteFoam – A notable midsole technology, which offers lightweight and durable cushioning throughout the run. The midsole foam delivers a responsive and springy ride.
- Flytefoam Propel – Another layer of midsole cushioning which offers added responsiveness and underfoot comfort.
- Impact Guidance System (I.G.S) Technology – It aims to deliver adaptive and dynamic stability. It aids the foot for a more balanced, smoother heel-to-toe transition.
- Gel cushioning – Offers better shock absorption for enhanced running performance. It is specifically placed in the forefoot and rearfoot for better a smoother transition.
- Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) – A durable rubber material that gives protection to high-wear areas. It gives added traction without affecting responsiveness and flexibility.
- DuraSponge Rubber – A blown rubber compound placed in the forefoot which gives added flexibility and cushioning.
Performance of the Asics Gel Cumulus 20
The performance of the Asics Gel Cumulus 20 on the road is truly impressive. I have been an Asics fan for a few years, and this neutral running shoe did not disappoint. I like the lightweight construction as well as the responsive cushioning. It feels so light and fast on my feet.
I always admire the FlyteFoam midsole and Gel cushioning. These materials made my running experience more responsive and well-protected. The shoe is strikingly responsive and flexible.
The outer sole of the shoe is very durable as well, thanks to the AHAR and DuraSponge rubber. They provide reliable traction on the road. The grooves in the outsole also offer added flexibility, making every stride even more satisfying.
Overall, I am truly happy with this road running shoe.
Fit and durability
Just like my other Asics running shoes, the Cumulus 20 is true to size. I love the roomy toe-box. It gives my toes more freedom to move freely. The forefoot is not tight as well. I am a medium-footer runner, and the shoe fits like a glove on my fit.
I had one issue though. At first, the heel area felt too tight; maybe because of the memory foam added in the heel collar. It was a small issue, and it did not stop me from wearing this shoe.
Thankfully, after wearing the shoe more than ten times, the tight heel fit started to loosen, and now, it fits perfectly – no heel pressure, no discomfort.
Comfort and breathability
The shoe is breathable and comfortable enough for long-distance runs and long-hour wear. I love the seamless design and the jacquard mesh upper that wraps my foot like a glove.
The mesh is stretchable, and it notably conforms to the shape of my foot. Also, the cushioning offers comfortable underfoot protection without affecting ground contact.
- Cushioning is not too soft and not too firm
- Responsive and flexible
- Reliable traction
- Durable outer sole
- Breathable and comfortable
- Smooth in-shoe feel
- Tight fit in the heel area
I highly recommend the Asics Gel Cumulus 20 because of its impressive performance and affordable price.
The cushioning, durable outsole and an impressive fit really deserve a special mention. Overall, this lightweight running shoe is indeed a wonderful update.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Asics Gel Cumulus 20 (Men’s): Premium Technology, Redefined Design
The Gel Cumulus model has been the favorite of many for 20 years now. It is one of the Asics well-received road running shoes, and it continues to wow several Asics fans.
Now on its 20th iteration, the shoe features an updated design and premium technologies for better performance. Aside from its impressive ride quality, the shoe also has a good-looking design, making it suitable for casual days.
The design of the Asics Gel Cumulus 20
version of the Gel Cumulus offers a redefined design to enhance the running experience of every runner further. It aims to provide a comfortable, smooth, flexible, and responsive performance on the road.
The major update of this model can be seen in its midsole. Asics uses its new midsole foam – the FlyteFoam Propel. This technology further enhances the performance of the FluidRide and FlyteFoam cushioning. It gives an additional layer of foam for enhanced comfort and responsiveness.
Designed for long-distance road running and quick-paced training, the men’s version of the Cumulus 20 weighs 285 grams while the women’s version weighs 236 grams. It has a heel drop of 10mm and is available in both medium and wide widths.
Comfort and breathability
The upper of the Asics Gel Cumulus 20 is made of a jacquard mesh material which offers maximum breathability and comfort. Strikingly, it keeps my foot cool and dry even after a long run.
Since it has a seamless design, the upper mesh wraps the foot comfortably while also reducing the possibilities of hot spots and blisters.
The overall comfort and breathability of the shoe is remarkable. It is comparable to the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v4 which also employs a jacquard mesh with no-sew design in its upper.
Performance of the Cumulus 20
I have read some reviews about the old Asics Gel Cumulus 19. Several users mentioned that the midsole of the 19th version was not responsive as expected. It feels lightweight but not bouncy.
Thankfully, I did not experience it with the Gel Cumulus 20. The cushioning of the shoe offers a good amount of bounce, and it is very comfortable. I think the improvement in the shoe’s performance is due to the FlyteFoam Propel, a lightweight cushioning that gives added bounce and softer feel.
When it comes to the overall grip, the outsole offers an impressive level of traction for road running and even in light and even trail surfaces. It is made possible by the AHAR and DuraSponge rubber materials which also deliver added durability and flexibility.
The Asics Gel Cumulus 20 runs half-a-size small, and they have a very tight fitting. It is not manageable even with thin socks.
There’s a lot of pressure on the forefoot and heel. The toe box is not roomy at all. To get the right fit, one must pick a larger size. Users should try the shoe first before purchasing a pair.
The Cumulus 20 is impressively durable – from the upper to the outer sole. Most of my Asics running shoes are durable, and I’m happy that this pair did not disappoint me. I have worn the pair for several miles already, and it still looks like new – no significant wear even after using them on light trails.
- Good-looking design
- Responsive and comfortable cushioning
- Good amount of traction on paved surfaces
- Breathable and comfortable in-shoe feel
- Tight fit
I love the overall design and enhancements made to the Cumulus 20. They look fashionable, and they are responsive and lightweight at the same time.
The shoe is ideal for long-distance runs and daily training. Though they feel tight, I would still recommend this shoe for runners who are looking for an affordable yet well-performing road shoe.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Asics Gel Cumulus 20 – The all new Flytefoam version of Asics’ classic shoe?
This is the 20th edition of Asics long-running medium mileage shoe. I don’t have any experience of earlier versions of the Cumulus so am coming out at them with an open mind. Thank you to Asics for sending me them to try so here goes.
The Cumulus 20 look a bit like the Gel Kayanos that I have in the same colour scheme. The most striking thing about the design is the sole which looks very slim with less padding than there really is.
It is cleverly done so the Cumulus does not look too chunky as the upper and sole blend together well. The upper fits with the current trend of using a stretchy mesh that opens up when you put your feet in giving excellent breathability.
This makes them super comfortable, almost like wearing a thick sock, but makes me wonder about durability and how suitable they would be for running in bad weather. I haven’t run in the rain yet and am not sure I will.
On the plus side, I went out in them straight out of the box with no rubbing at all. The toe box did feel a little narrow so not sure how good they would be for those with wider feet.
How do they feel?
Compared to the Kayano, the Cumulus is noticeably lighter but there is markedly less cushioning. For me, these are a low to mid mileage shoe and I would not want to go further than half marathon distance. The Cumulus uses Ascis’ Flytefoam midsole which is lighter but firmer than traditional midsoles.
I could definitely feel the reduced cushioning in the forefoot but this did mean a more responsive ride. There is a compromise here, padding versus feel, so if feeling the ground beneath your feet is a priority then the Cumulus could be for you. If it is a soft, plush ride you are after you should try the Kayano 25 instead.
As with all Asics shoes I have tried, the ankle cuff is beautifully padded to give a cosseted feel that gripped well but without being restrictive. The tongue is soft without making it hard to tie the laces securely.
The heel cup is stiff enough to hold the back of my foot in place without being noticeable. There was no slipping and my foot felt really secure. I am a UK 10.5 in pretty all running shoes and the fit here was consistent with that.
The tread pattern looks fairly minimal but provides plenty of grip where needed.
For me, they are not for really wet days or trails but otherwise, the tread works well. I have not run far enough to confirm this but the tread looks durable with tougher rubber in the parts most likely to wear out.
The Cumulus is a well-made, luxurious feeling shoe for short to mid-length runs at a steady to fast pace.
There is plenty of feeling underfoot due to the moderate cushioning and the stiff sole. The lack of flexibility is noticeable and may be an issue if you are used to something more supple.
The Cumulus is also very much a neutral shoe with no under-arch support. Mild overpronators could manage with these shoes but anyone looking for some support should look elsewhere.
Overall, the Cumulus feels fast and comfortable, with a large sole surface area giving good shock absorption. Personally, I would appreciate a bit more stability over longer distances but as your feet tend to sit quite low in the shoes I did not feel as though my feet would roll over beneath me.
I really like the Cumulus styling and they are a lot lighter than other Asics distance shoes I have tried. They are fantastically well made and look like they are built to last through many runs in the future.
However, they are not really the soft, cushioned long distance shoe they are marketed as. Long distance or heavier runners looking for a plush ride may not enjoy the firm and stiff Flytefoam midsole due to the lack of cushioning. But for something a bit faster on a mild spring day for many miles to come they could be ideal.
Updates to Asics Gel Cumulus 20
- Asics has released the 20th-anniversary version of the Gel Cumulus, and in this iteration, updates are presented through new materials that deliver an equally new fit-and-feel. While the shoe maintains a standard-weight structure and the familiar silhouette of the Gel Cumulus, this edition claims a more robust platform and a softer cushioning compared to previous releases.
- The upper displays a broader and higher toe box than the one in Gel Cumulus 19. The overall fit aims to be more snug and secure, as the heel cup and the ankle collar are now firmer. While the Gel Cumulus 20 retains the Discrete Eyelet™ in its lacing system, a new structure present is the reflective strip in the heel area.
- The midsole of the Gel Cumulus 20 has kept most of the technologies of the previous version. The only noticeable changes are the addition of a new cushioning compound and an updated sock liner. Meanwhile, the outsole brings back the DuraSponge® component which was included in the 18th iteration but not in the 19th.
Asics Gel Cumulus 20 size and fit
The Asics Gel Cumulus 20 features standard running shoe length, sizing, and weight. The shoe runs true-to-size, and accommodates wearers of all foot volumes, thanks to the width options of medium and wide for both the men’s and women’s versions.
The Gel Cumulus 20 combines two distinct types of resources for its outsole – the Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR®) and the DuraSponge®. Both materials work together to give the foot full ground contact and a stable ride.
First, the AHAR® compound is found on the shoe’s critical, high-wear areas. Asics also used the material in the Kayano 25. With its abrasion-resistant quality, the shoe levels up on durability while maintaining the capacity for traction. It uses the same rubber that forms car tires; thus, runners are sure of its toughness.
Next, the DuraSponge® rubber makes up the rest of the outsole. While it is also resistant to damage, this compound is made of blown rubber, making it a little bit softer than AHAR®. This permits the underfoot a comfortable ride and qualifies a flexible stride.
The most notable update in the Gel Cumulus 20 is the utilization of FlyteFoam® technology in the midsole. This system aims to provide a consistent level of reaction, even for long distances. The Flytefoam® method uses unique organic fibers to form a cushioning that is 55% more lightweight than traditional midsoles. Aside from responsiveness, Flytefoam® also guarantees a flexible and resilient fit all throughout the run. These qualities help in making the Gel Cumulus 20 a durable shoe.
The main midsole component of this neutral shoe is the FluidRide®, which is the combination of Solyte™ and SpEVA™, both cushioning compounds exclusive to the brand. FluidRide® is lightweight yet sturdy, and it helps improve running performance through its shock-absorbing and high-rebound properties.
Like all other Gel shoes, the Gel® cushioning system makes its way into the forefoot and rearfoot areas of this shoe. The Gel® zones act as shock absorbers through the gait cycle. As smooth transitions are achieved, the foot is enabled movement in different planes.
The Gel Cumulus 20 also employs the IGS®, short for the Impact Guidance System. IGS® is the term for the design of the shoe that aims for dynamic and adaptive stability. IGS® uses the Guidance Line® as a tool to help achieve the goal. With Guidance Line®, the center of pressure is adjusted, thus improving balance and gait efficiency.
An OrthoLite® sock liner supplies additional cushioning and underfoot protection. It has an antimicrobial property that promotes a healthy foot environment.
The stretchable Jacquard mesh upper gives the Gel Cumulus 20 a flexible, customized fit. Its elasticity is multidirectional, which brings freedom of movement. The mesh is reinforced in strategic areas to lend the shoe a supportive framework. With seamless construction, the shoe has fewer chances of causing skin irritation.
A Discrete Eyelet™ feature is present in the lacing system of the shoe. These are independent holes that target a custom-fit and enhanced comfort, as they reduce the tension that is caused by tightened shoelaces going through a single eyelet.
The upper, just like the GT 1000 7, also possesses a reflective strip in the heel area to allow prominence in low-light conditions.