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.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 11.4ozWomen: 9.4oz
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, Normal, Wide, X-WideWomen: Normal, Wide
Release dateJan 2019
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83 / 100 based on 14 expert reviews
Asics Gel-Cumulus 21 – Neutral training companionMore photos
Asics Gel-Cumulus 21 is the latest generation of the well-known Cumulus series. According to Asics, they are neutral running shoes designed to cushion and support your feet over long runs.
Will they be able to deliver what they promised? Let's find out.
Side view of the Asics GEL-Cumulus 21
- Neutral road running shoes for daily running
- 23 mm heel height, 13 mm forefoot height; 10 mm drop
- Weight 295 grams according to Asics; measured: 365 grams in size 49 EU (14 US)
- Jacquard mesh upper
- FLYTEFOAM + rear and forefoot GEL + AHAR outsole for the sole
- Many other Asics technologies
Asics Gel-Cumulus 21 design is similar to its previous version, the Gel-Cumulus 20. For this new generation, Asics decided to keep the same design lines as the earlier version.
The success of the Cumulus series is based on a mature and balanced design, which includes most of the Asics top technologies for running shoes.
For the existing fans and new customers looking for neutral running shoes, the new generation may be the right choice.
So, for some training shoes that provide enough cushion for long runs, you can’t expect more on the weight savings.
Asics tried to offer a balanced shoe, where all the parts of the shoe are well built, and nothing is exaggerated or ignored.
At the top of the Cumulus 21, we can find a breathable Jacquard mesh. During the hot summers days, I had no problem with the heat while running.
The mesh is also very flexible and provides a lot of space in the toe box. I don’t have a wide foot and usually, don’t have any problems with the width of my running shoes.
But, this time, I felt that they are wider than my other shoes and provide more space for the foot and toes for a more comfortable run.
Jacquard mesh from Asics GEL-Cumulus 21
A stronger overlay is added over the mesh in the areas where stronger materials are needed, as the front of the shoes/toe cap and the laces/eyelets areas.
The prominent Asics branding on the sides also has a functional role, not merely aesthetic, helping you secure and tighten the shoes well.
Overlays on the eyelets area
The collar and the tongue are tick and soft. These are bigger than most of the shoes, but the comfort of the shoes is increased using thicker layers.
They have an internal heel counter that makes the heel area stiff, so your heel is not slipping and is very stable.
The thick padded collar area
Inside the shoes, we can find an EVA sock liner. Not only that they offer a nice cushioning, but I noticed that the sock liner has a great capability of absorbing sweat and moisture.
After every run, I noticed that my socks are not wet on the sole, thanks to the sock liner. Hence, there is a reduced chance of developing blisters or slipping of the foot inside the shoe.
Overall, the design is nice, and you can effortlessly see easy the Asics signature from the top view.
They are available in a variety of color combinations. Thus, it is easy to find one that you like, even if you want something colorful or just a black and white combination.
The first few days, I wore them casually just to get used to them and was not surprised when I started running.
It was a pleasure to walk in them, and you can walk for hours thanks to the excellent cushioning that the sole offers. While walking, you can feel how the gel compresses under your foot and absorbs all the pressure.
Asics GEL in the rearfoot area
The sole is made of a combination of the forefoot and rear GEL and FLYTEFOAM Propel technology. The GEL has great cushioning and shock absorption properties, and this makes Cumulus 21 comfortable.
I would say that during running, you don’t feel the same soft material under your foot as when you are walking, but for sure it’s comfortable.
Compared to other shoes, the biggest difference is in the forefoot area. When you try to increase the speed, especially if you land on your forefoot, the cushioning is present and gives you a comfy ride.
Asics FlyteFoam and GEL
The Flytefoam completes the stack up and offers additional cushioning and some energy return to help you push forward.
I believe the GEL-Cumulus 21 offers medium to high comfort, and it’s a great companion on high distances and your day to day training.
On the outsole, we can find a thick layer of Asics High Abrasion Rubber – AHAR.
The first thing that I noticed and like is that the rubber layer is thick. This is a great feature for a day to day trainer because you want to use them as long as possible and that rubber will be there for the entire life of the shoes.
I never had any problem while running. I never slipped or felt insecure, even on wet surfaces and grass.
Asics High Abrasion Rubber – AHAR and Guidance Line
The GEL-Cumulus 21 is made to last. The shoes are made of good quality materials.
However, in this short term review, I already noticed a lot of wear on the outsole. As I said before, I think the rubber on the outsole offers a great performance as the layer is thick, but it may be a little soft for some surfaces.
A thick layer of rubber with signs of wear
When the pictures were taken, I had around 45 miles (70 km) with them. If the wear continues to develop, I would say that it may be a problem at some point.
Of course, the wear may be influenced a lot by the running surface, but I was still surprised to see the wear so fast.
Details of wear present on the outsole
The Asics GEL-Cumulus 21 is made to provide exceptional cushioning and support on your daily training and long runs.
In my opinion, even if they provide excellent cushioning, they are too heavy to be used on race day. Regardless, they are not built for that anyway.
During my training, I never felt that I want more from them. They performed as expected and as marketed by Asics.
Usually, I like to run with shoes that have a higher stack height, smaller drop, and more cushioning. But despite all those preferences, I still enjoy running with these shoes.
If you don’t know what you like or you want a great pair of shoes to start with, they may be a good option. They offer good cushioning, stability, and excellent build quality.
Thus, I would recommend them for someone looking for an all-around running shoe.
Side view of the rear foot area
My expectations were pretty high before I tried them because they are on the market for a lot of years, so I expected great shoes. Indeed, they did not disappoint and delivered what was expected.
Comparison with my other shoes
Before the Asics GEL-Cumulus 21, I used a lot my New Balance Rubix, and I always compared them. The New Balance Rubix are made for stability, so the Cumulus 21 can’t provide the same support.
But still, I was surprised by the stability that they offer. It is not as great as the Rubix, but it is not far from it. I have never felt that my foot is slipping or I may overpronate.
Like the Rubix, the Cumulus 21 sole is wide enough in the forefoot area to provide great overall stability, even when cornering.
The Asics GEL in the sole makes a difference compared to a regular running shoe. For my day to day training, they are on the shortlist.
For speed training or races, I would still choose my Hoka One One Hupana 2 because they are lighter and provide more soft cushioning.
It’s not the best comparison between these two great shoes. But, I want to point out that they are entirely different, and you have to decide for yourself what you are looking for.
Top view of the Asics GEL-Cumulus 21
Overall, I think the Asics GEL-Cumulus are great shoes, with very good cushioning and stability. They can be a great companion on your daily training even for longer runs.
There is a reason why Asics continues to develop this model. I think it is because they can deliver an exceptional, balanced, and complete package—not merely a marketing strategy or technologies that may disappoint you.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
It's an option for those who want some solid, durable performance.
From the 20 to the 21 of the Cumulus, they did a great job making this just feel fantastic when you step into this shoe.
The Cumulus 21 will remain in my rotation and serve, as its predecessor and the Nimbus have, as a sort of specialized shoe for those days, such as when injuries are lurking when I want impeccable rear of shoe stability in a non posted neutral shoe and a dense, well cushioned yet firmer midsole.
The Cumulus 21 has a harsh, if not uncomfortable, ride and is considerably heavier than its peer shoes.
- The successor to the popular Asics running shoe, the Gel Cumulus 20, has now been made even better. The Asics Gel Cumulus 21 features an even more improved level of comfort and support by integrating Asics’ innovative technologies in this neutral running shoe that will cater to everything that any runner needs.
- The Gel Cumulus 21 has now added the use of the FlyteFoam Propel technology. This technology combines a lightweight foam formulation with a high-energy return elastomer for increased bounce and unparalleled toe-off that offers a better performance in every stride.
- This 21st version of the Gel Cumulus also features the Impact Guidance System which combines interlinked sets of technical features that work together for more natural foot movements during the run.
- Also found in this shoe is the more refined stretchable Jacquard mesh upper which has been modified for enhanced breathability, comfort, and fit. It now has enough perforations that allow efficient airflow, thus keeping the foot cool and dry.
- The ComfortDry Sockliner is also incorporated in this shoe. It helps regulate the overall shoe temperature with its unique dual-layer cushioning system that combines the support of the base foam with the slow recovery foam for a more customized insole.
- Even more updates to the Gel Cumulus 21 are showcased in the shoe’s midsole with the Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel cushioning system. It is the technology responsible for the shoe’s premium shock absorption and cushioning.
- And last but not least is the improved function of the FluidRide technology. This exceptional shoe tech is a weight reduced two-layered sole that gives the shoe its improved cushioning and incredible bounce.
The Gel Cumulus 21 comes in medium size D for men and medium size B for women. This neutral Asics road running shoe’s base fits those who have the standard medium sized heel. Also with the sizing of this shoe, going a half size higher than one’s actual size will ensure that the shoe will not be too tight when worn.
Similar to the well-known Asics Gel Quantum 180 4, the outsole of the Gel Cumulus 21 is made of the light AHAR sponge rubber outsole. The AHAR is an acronym for Asics High Abrasion Rubber, and it provides excellent abrasion resistance, and traction. It is placed in critical areas of the outsole to provide exceptional durability.
Meanwhile, found in the shoe’s forefoot is the DuraSponge outsole material which is a blown AHAR rubber that enhances both the cushioning and durability in the forefoot. The DuraSponge also functions as a shock absorber throughout the run, making the ride more enjoyable than ever.
The midsole area of the Gel Cumulus 21 is packed with the most innovative Asics technology. It features the reduced weight FluidRide® which provides the right combination of bounce back, durability, and cushioning.
The shoe also uses the FLYTEFOAM™ Propel technology which is Asics’ energetic foam formulation that provides excellent bounce and energy return. This midsole technology is made of a unique elastomer compound that offers great responsiveness no matter the duration of the run. It also utilizes organic super fibers that help lessen packing out the that usually happens with softer, low-density foams.
The use of Asics midsole technology continues with the SPEVA™ foam in the Gel Cumulus 21. The SPEVA™ foam is a spongy layer between the sole and upper designed to absorb shock and improve the shoe’s cushioning performance.
Also adding to the shoe’s midsole power is the I.G.S® or better known as the Impact Guidance System technology. This midsole technology is based on Asics’ design philosophy which is they aim to complement and not change the natural movement of the legs and feet. It combines four different types of technology for the cleanest stride possible. An external heel counter minimizes ankle movement while Trusstic technology keeps your foot in place and aids in smoother landings. The Guidance Line technology also increases stability, and the DuoMax technology dynamically reduces stress and evens the foot plane.
Completing the Gel Cumulus 21’s technology-packed midsole are the Rearfoot GEL™ and the SoLyte Midsole. The Rearfoot GEL™ technology is responsible for attenuating the shock received during toe-off phases, while the SoLyte Midsole which also has a tough material called AHAR+ provides exceptional grip and helps improve the shoe’s durability and cushioning.
The Gel Cumulus 21 is now engineered with the stretchable Jacquard mesh upper which provides the shoe’s breathability, flexibility, and customized fit. The mesh’s elasticity is multidirectional, thus providing freedom of movement. It is also reinforced in strategic areas to offer more support to the shoe.
The shoe also has a reflectivity feature which contains reflective materials designed to enhance better visibility during low-light hours. This enhancement guarantees the runner’s safety while training at any time of the day.
Besides the use of the new jacquard mesh, the shoe’s upper is also covered with the ComfortDry. It is an anti-bacterial material that creates a cooler, drier, and healthier shoe environment while running for long hours.
The shoe also features the Discrete Eyelets which are independently placed eyelets that aids in dispersing lace tension caused by tightened laces through a single eyelet. With the use of the Discrete Eyelets, it creates a customized fit feeling resulting in better upper comfort.
Finally finishing off the shoe’s upper is the Seamless Construction, it reduces the chances for irritation and friction brought by traditional stitches and seams.