Our verdict

I commend the ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 for being an ultra-plush lightweight daily runner. This is a stylish, comfy, and ultimately fun daily runner that takes me as far as I want in it and it's all condensed in a package that feels non-existent on foot.

Pros

  • Fits true to size
  • Incredible comfort
  • Lightweight
  • Comfy upper
  • Great heel cup
  • Good lockdown
  • Stable
  • Good flexibility in all weather

Cons

  • Midsole is unresponsive
  • Grip could be better
  • Concerns over durability of exposed midsole

Audience verdict

86
Good!

ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 review and lab test

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The Gel Nimbus Lite 3 is the simplified version of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 24. With a paired down outsole, thinner upper, and a lightweight midsole, ASICS have managed to keep the Lite 3 comfy and plush. It helps that these also look incredible. 

Who the shoe is for

The ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 is a great option for runners looking for a daily shoe that’s got lots of comfort and style but is still light enough to help you hit your PBs over longer distances. I'm pretty happy with the idea of using this as a marathon-distance shoe thanks to its incredible midsole. 

Who the ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 is not for

The Gel Nimbus Lite 3 might not be your best bet if:  

  • You need support with overpronation, the ASICS Gel Kayano Lite 2 is the lightweight version of their flagship stability shoe.
  • A bit more durability and comfort. I suggest going for the heavier Gel Nimbus 24

Few design updates on the Gel Nimbus Lite 2

Building on the success of the Nimbus Lite 2, ASICS have kept the Lite…well…light. At 9.5oz (268g) is a US Mens 10 they haven’t shaved anything off of the Lite 2, but they have added a lot more foam underfoot, which is seriously impressive while keeping it light. 

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The other main update is in the construction of the upper. With a similar, elastic mesh to the previous model, ASICS have improved the fit by including more construction so the shoe keeps the shape. This stopped my foot from sliding around as much, which was a complaint from the Lite 2. 

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Secure Fit in the ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3

The Gel Nimbus Lite 3 does still have quite a lot of space in the toe box, which can result in a bit of movement in the toe box. Some argue it’s not for narrow feet, but this is where their lacing system comes into play. 

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ASICS have been a major player in the running shoe game long enough for me to expect their lacing to be supreme. The Lite 3 didn’t disappoint, with an easily customizable fit, it was really easy to secure my forefoot, and not feel any pinching towards the ankle.

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There’s an extra lace eyelet if you want a stronger heel lockdown, although the heel cup is perfect too. The Laces are not only long enough to utilize the extra eyelet, but their elastic material and flat profile meant they scored an epic 54N on the lace slip test. 

There’s an upgrade in the midsole, for some 

While not making the ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 lighter than the previous version, this has a forefoot stack height of 25mm and heel stack of 34.9mm (giving it a 9.9mm drop). The Lite 2 had 15mm and 25mm respectively. So whilst they have pretty much the same 10mm drop, there is a whole 10mm more padding to make this a seriously comfy ride. 

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That seems to be ASICS’ main concern with the Lite 3, more padding for longer runs making these the perfect half-marathon and longer shoe. 

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It does lack responsiveness however, with a durometer of 35.5HA it tends to feel a bit too mushy when trying to go on a tempo-run, so I would recommend it as a recovery, or slow shoe. 

The ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 is pretty stable 

With an above-average midsole width of 113.1 mm at the forefoot and 91.4 mm in the heel, I found the Nimbus Lite 3 to be a pretty stable ride. Of course, it is not ideal for overpronation but it is a solid option for people wanting a light stability shoe. 

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Pretty flexible, in most weather 

One of the first things I check in a shoe is how consistent its ride is. And flexibility plays a key role in this aspect of a shoe. 

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Which makes it important that their designed flexibility stays relatively similar in 20°C and 0°C. 

The ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 has a flexibility score of 27.4N at room temperature (20°C). This is pretty flexible for a shoe at this price point, usually, for something this expensive, there’s going to be a carbon plate in there. But seeing as the Nimbus Lite series promotes comfort over speed, this is pretty expected. 

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When it comes to cold weather, (testing in the lab freezer), the shoe stiffens by 25.2% to 34.3N. This change is below the average of 31.5%, which is a pleasure to see, often you’re looking at something like the Hoka Arahi 6, which leaps up 41.6%. 

The ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 loses its grip 

I have a bit of a continued issue with exposed midsoles. While it’s safe to assume that ASICS know about normal wear on a shoe and can put an outsole there to protect from that, there’s a loss of protection from sharp stones, the edges of steps, and other objects damaging that lovely midsole. 

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This leaves me a bit worried about the durability of the shoe. 

More importantly, however, is the lack of grip caused by this. Shoes like the Altra Provision 6 have done a fantastic job at creating a partially covered but insanely grippy shoe, while ASICS, in this case, have not. 

I often do at least one run test on the same pathway every time. When it’s wet I usually have no issues with grip, but in the Nimbus Lite 3 (and the Nimbus 24 for that matter) I found my foot slipping even on the flats. 

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I get that ASICS save weight by doing this, but the 4.3mm of outsole really isn’t up to the task. It really cements the shoe as a recovery runner, rather than anything I would attempt a faster pace in. 

Conclusion

The ASICS Gel Nimbus Lite 3 has a lot going for it. Not least of all it’s incredible cushioning at such a low weight. The fitting is great once you know how to dial it in, and ASICS have gotten almost all of the foundations right. Just a bit more work on the outsole and it would be a perfect all-rounder. As it stands, I love this for long, slow miles.