Asics Gel Cumulus 20
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81% say it's true to size.
Overview of this review
The ASICS Gel-Cumulus 20 is a solid, daily shoe that’ll go on and on, supporting and cushioning every stride as you churn out the miles.
Whilst remaining a neutral shoe, the Gel-Cumulus 20 provides plenty of security. The stiff, extensive heel cup holds the foot firmly yet comfortably, and there is additional arch support provided by the sock liner.
A combination of foam and gel technologies in the midsole offer good shock absorption and cushioning although this does come at the expense of responsiveness.
- Good Cushioning
- Supportive, Secure Fit
- Roomy toe box
- Lack of Responsiveness
- Some may find the shoe restrictive
It had been a very long time since I’d worn an ASICS road shoe, and so when I had the opportunity to test the Gel-Cumulus 20, I was very keen to see how it compared to the New Balance and Brooks road shoes I’ve used primarily in recent years.
When I lift it from the box, however, the upper feels far stiffer and more supportive than either of these other shoes, in particular, the extensive heel cup which is high, solid and extends a long way forward, almost in line with the laces. There also seems to be much more arch support though a little investigation reveals that this is in large part due to the sock-liner which extends up into the arch.
The shoe comes in a range of colours. Men’s shoes are primarily in blues and greys though there is a bright red for anyone wishing to make a statement. The ladies shoes have largely similar base colours but are generally highlighted with brighter colours, as well as a Mojave / Fuschia Purple. My shoe pictured here is the Race Blue / Peacoat.
The Gel-Cumulus 20 is listed at 285g (10oz) which means that it is not a light shoe, but it is pretty well where you’d expect the weight to be for an everyday shoe with the level of cushioning provided. It also weighs in lighter than the Ghost 11 (309g) and the 1080v8 (314g).
As expected, my UK 13 (US14) weighed in heavier than the standard shoe, at 360g, and whilst it obviously isn’t a light shoe, it did not feel significantly heavy when running.
I have previously tended to wear ASICS “true to size” so that I’ll wear a UK 13 / US 14. This is the same as I’d wear in Brooks and Inov-8 compared to New Balance, Hoka, and Salomon Trail where I’d size up by ½ (UK).
US readers please note that despite the variation in sizing across manufacturers, I almost always require a US 14 / EU 49. It’s quite possible that the differences in sizes, therefore, are due to conversions from US to UK sizing.
The Gel-Cumulus 20 is a fairly snug fit. It is narrower than the road shoes I’d usually wear (more akin to an Inov-8 precision fit), throughout the length of the shoe, although there is more space in the toe box.
ASICS do offer this shoe in a wide fitting which I’d recommend for any runner with feet even slightly wider than usual. Furthermore, if I had this shoe again, I would probably go up by ½ size to provide a little more room.
I had expected the extensive, stiff heel cup to feel somewhat confining, but was pleasantly surprised to find that whilst the foot was held snugly, it was also comfortable throughout all of my runs and did not impinge on my running style or ankle movement at all.
The construction of the upper is similar to many similar shoes across the industry; a double layer of engineered mesh, with fine holes and slits in the outer layer to allow movement and ensure that the shoe is breathable.
Overlays are glued to the mesh in the shape of the ASICS logo to provide additional support to the midfoot, and also to form the lace eyelets. The placement of these overlays is effective, and when laced, the foot feels secure and well-held throughout.
The “toe bumper” appears to be a simple reinforcement of the mesh around the front of the shoe, perhaps using a form of resin, which means that the toe is offered a degree of protection without sacrificing either flexibility or weight.
The tongue is well-cushioned, simply stitched at the bottom, and held in place by a lace-loop in line with the third row of holes. The tongue is comfortable and held well by the flat laces. Once laced in, I’ve never felt the tongue move at all.
The shoe does not appear to be exceptionally well cushioned around the ankle, especially when compared to a Ghost 11 or similar shoe, but nor does it need to be.
The ankle and heel feel more than comfortable enough, and as mentioned above, there is no intrusion from the high, stiff hell cup; the shoe simply holds the foot in place comfortably.
As someone who hasn’t worn ASICS road shoes for a while, this is the bit that took a little bit of getting my head around due to the different compounds used in the sole, and the company’s own description only added to the confusion with the Gel-Cumulus 20 “…featuring new FlyteFoam technology for optimal bounce back, new full-ground contact outsole for smoother heel-to-toe movement, and a new SpEVA Foam lasting that provides ample room in the ball girth and toe area… and GEL technology cushioning system ensure enduring comfort”.
So, my understanding is that the upper is stitched to a Strobel board of Asics’ SpEVA foam (light blue, and visible below the sock-liner) which is glued to the layer of Flytefoam Propel (the dark blue layer seen on the images) which is softer, and gives greater energy return and propulsion in the toe-off than the standard Flytefoam (the white layer) on which it sits, and which provides the cushioning and stability.
Sandwiched between these layers of Flytefoam below the outside of the heel is ASICS unique gel system which reduces the impact of the heel on landing. Above all of this sits a well-cushioned sock-liner which partially extends up into the arch of the foot to enhance support.
Whether or not you followed all that, the most important question is, of course, how does it feel? Perhaps surprisingly, the variety of compounds and materials that make up the insole of the Cumulus 20 actually seem to work well together to provide a comfortable low-impact landing, smooth transition and decent toe-off.
The Gel-cumulus 20 provides a 10mm heel drop comprised of a 23mm heel and 13mm forefoot (men's).
The Gel-Cumulus 20 outsole employs Durasponge blown rubber sections surrounding ASICS’ vertical groove in the sole to “guide the foot through the gait cycle”, together with ASICS High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) in the areas of high wear at the heel (light blue on this shoe).
The Durasponge is lighter and more flexible than the AHAR. As the outsole is constructed in sections, with foam exposed in places, this should also deliver a more flexible shoe.
In reality, the outsole cannot overcome the stiffness of the Flytefoam, and so the shoe doesn’t quite have the flexibility that the segmentation of the outsole suggests.
At the time of writing, I’ve run around 50 miles or so in these shoes. I’ve mixed in a couple of longer runs together with some mid-paced training runs and a couple of shorter, faster sessions.
So far, neither the upper nor the outsole of the shoes shows barely any sign of wear. Given the quality of construction of the shoe and the materials used, I would be very surprised if the shoes did not provide most runners with at least 500 miles of runners.
Running shoes are highly personal, and so my experience and views of a shoe’s performance are based on my own experience and characteristics. I can’t speak for the front of pack runner but hope my views will be useful for both club runners and newer runners, as well as those on the heavier side (I’m around 85kg).
The first few runs in this shoe were at a fairly steady pace; nice easy run, which if I’m honest didn’t do too much to tax either myself or the shoe. I’d recently come off the back of a few high mileage months culminating in a PB marathon attempt followed a few weeks later by my first ultra.
The Gel-Cumulus 20 was perfect for this type of running. The confusing combination of foam and gel in the heel provided greater cushioning than I’ve felt in other shoes that I’ve used for this type of run e.g. Ghost 11, 1080v8. The gel seemed to absorb the impact of the heel strike in a way that makes it ideal for those recovery days when the legs need a little tlc.
Unfortunately, the superior cushioning and absorption meant that there is very little energy return from the midsole, and I found it took more effort to increase the speed closer to marathon pace.
I'm pretty well decided that the shoe should be resigned to those easy recovery runs, or long slow sessions, but wasn’t ready to write it off until I’d at least tried a couple of faster pieces.
Once the legs had recovered a little, I pulled on the shoes for the first interval session of my new cycle of training – (10 x 500m with 500m easy recovery). I was really surprised to find the shoe to be very responsive in the intervals which were done at just faster than 5k pace.
As I landed further forward on the foot, I found that the foot was well cushioned with each strike, but that at this faster pace, there was a fast transition and return of energy. I’ve found the same to be the case in subsequent interval sessions.
So, this is almost two shoes in one. The heel-striker will find a well-cushioned trainer for long or steady recovery runs. Increase the pace and move the landing forward to the mid or forefoot and you’ll find a responsive shoe for faster intervals.
I did, however, say that it is almost two shoes in one. Unfortunately, the weight of the shoe and lack of flexibility in the heavily built heel and midfoot make it unlikely to be the first choice for fast-paced training sessions or race-day.
The Gel Cumulus v20 is a reliable all-around daily shoe. It’ll hold the foot well whilst allowing sufficient movement, and I’m confident that it is durable enough to outlast many other shoes. It’s a great choice for those easy paced days, or for running longer distances during which it will offer excellent cushioning with each strike.
The responsiveness of the shoe at faster paces means that it could be a good choice as “one-size-fits-all” shoe for someone fairly new to running as it will be at home on a variety of surfaces including light trail. If you’re looking for that type of shoe, I’d also recommend considering the Brooks Ghost 11.
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 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.
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.
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.
The 20th edition of Asics’s Gel Nimbus line makes for a reliable daily trainer. The Cumulus 20 has added a few new features over older versions, most notably the addition of the FlyteFoam midsole.
The FlyteFoam adds cushion while reducing the overall weight, making this a comfortable ride with enough get up to work in some speedwork.
The upper on the Cumulus 20 has both high and low points for me.
First the bad news. I found the collar area around my ankle to be very stiff out of the box. Over the course of my first couple of runs, I had issues with the collar rubbing against the ball of my ankle and causing blisters.
After I thoroughly broke in my shoes, the issues went away; however, the collar was still a little stiff for my liking. The positive side of the upper, however, is the mesh upper.
It provides just enough stiffness to support your foot but feels very soft and extremely breathable. This makes it a great shoe for hot temperatures.
An additional feature that I found to be positive was the heel cup. Similar to the collar, it felt very stiff. However, I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or discomfort. While I normally would prefer a little more give, I can’t knock the fact that it provides good support without losing too much comfort.
Asics’s FlyteFoam gives the Cumulus 20 increased comfort and durability all at a lighter weight. The midsole provides good energy return and responsiveness.
Asics has added rear front and forefront cushioning patches which are designed to absorb shock and reduce stress on the foot. The Cumulus series are named after clouds, and version 20 is furthering the claim to the name.
Overall, I didn’t see anything too crazy with the outsole. This is by no means a negative, but pretty much what you would expect in a daily trainer. A good amount of rubber support in critical areas, durable, and good traction.
The Gel Cumulus 20 is pretty stylish and come in a variety of color schemes. If you like to coordinate your shoes with your running attire, Asics offers plenty of options for you.
Fit & comfort
As I mentioned above, the shoe was a little stiff in a few areas out of the box, and I had some issues with blisters due to the collar.
After a couple of runs, I was able to break them in and got a much more comfortable run. The breathable upper mesh and cushiony midsole held up during both long, slow runs, and faster tempo runs.
I found the shoe to run true to size and have a good amount of room in the toe box. I do have narrow feet, so those with a wider foot may need to possibly go up a half size or go with a wider size.
The Gel Cumulus’s versatility comes into play with its comfort as well. Felt just as good during fast runs as during slow. You could also easily use these for walking or for just wearing them out and about.
As of writing, my Gel Cumulus 20 are nearing their retirement. They’ve held up for over 500 miles and have been a reliable shoe day in and day out. Especially for the price point, these are a great value for how many miles you can get out of them.
Overall, the Asics Gel Cumulus 20 is an excellent neutral daily trainer with a good combination of cushion and responsiveness. While it took a little breaking in, in the long run, the shoe makes for a comfortable ride.
It is a versatile daily trainer with a good mix of comfort and support. It also has a breathable mesh upper. The only downside is the stiff collar that needs time to break-in.
I purchased a pair of Cumulus 19 last year to get back to regular running. Within a few weeks, I observed the uneven balance of the shoe. One of the shoes was not sitting on the flat floor properly.
I raised the issue to Asics, and they sent me a new pair of Cumulus 20 in Ironclad/Black. As of today, I have logged more than 400kms on this workhorse.
The shoe fits well, and there's no need for you to get the plus/minus the regular size. The cushioning on the sides keeps your feet comfortable.
The outer mesh is breathable, which means you don’t have to worry about long runs.
Ortholite liner keeps your feet dry and comfortable. My farthest run in this was 11km, and my feet were not that sweaty after the run.
Design & construction
The construction of the shoe is excellent, and it doesn’t cause any irritation or uneasiness on your feet. The shoe feels light on your legs, and it feels like you're not wearing a shoe.
The mid and inner sole of the shoe doesn’t leave any uneasiness for the feet.
Until now, I didn’t have any issue with the sole in Cumulus 20. The only complaint is the occasional ankle pain during slightly elevated runs.
However, I can’t completely pin it on the shoes alone because I sometimes slightly go from neutral to overpronation due to flat arch.
The outsole of the shoe is packed with a lot of tech features. These are the FlyteFoam and midsole/propel features, which Asics claimed to be from their Institute of Sports Science.
These features do the job pretty well in keeping the original shape after the stride. The packed tech feature brings in the lightness to give movement that doesn’t require a lot of effort.
Asics claims the elastomer results in high energy to keep runners moving longer, but since I have no concrete understanding of the science behind it, I want to be neutral.
I ran with my shoe when the temperature was 15-18ºC. My feet didn't feel cold, but I haven’t used it during colder days.
Thus, I am not sure how good are they in keeping your feet warm. I am waiting to use it this fall.
During the Run
The run itself is smooth with the Cumulus 20. The feel and stride are smooth, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the comfort this shoe provides.
During moderate pace run or slow-paced run, it has good contact with the ground. Also, during my intervals, I didn’t feel any uneasiness.
During longer runs, you won’t feel any comfort issues. I have flat arch feet and generally prefer wider toe box shoes. This one has the perfect toe box.
I do go for mountain runs, and the shoe did pretty well even though the terrain had lots of small stones and rocks.
As mentioned, my complaint is slight ankle pain during uphill runs. When running downhill, there is occasional stiffness on your sole, but otherwise, the downhill run was smooth.
Another thing I noticed was that small stones and debris tend to get stuck in the outsole. It didn’t bother me during the run, but I don’t like to see them.
This is after 400kms of usage with the majority of the run are on flat roads and 30-40kms of rocky terrains.
Various color options are available. I liked Ironclad and Black/Red Alert. The Cumulus 19 that was faulty was Glacier Grey. This was the only lighter color available in Cumulus 20.
- Lightweight with the right amount of cushioning
- Comfortable and breathable
What I didn’t like
- Slight ankle pain during an elevated run
- When running at a good pace and while turning in a track, side support isn’t great
My first impression about this shoe is that it seems bulkier and a bit on the weighty side, compared to other shoes I have used previously. Not the best-looking shoe or best colors. But good use of materials and mesh which seems flexible around the toe box.
Let's go take these shoes out for a spin!
Upper & comfortability
The upper of the Gel-Cumulus seems to be quite flexible and has a comfortable fit. The mesh upper feels soft to the touch. They seem well built and put together and as though they will adapt to your feet.
The upper comes with a number of stylized holes or openings which look like they will allow for breathability, which is always a welcoming sign! The 20 in the name, highlights that this is the 20th iteration of the shoe, which I believe is a good sign.
The previous models have had great reviews and feedback, and this shoe so far seems to be more of the same, with a few improvements. Gel-Cumulus 19 and Gel-Cumulus 18 can be found at these links for comparisons.
The front of the shoes, as is common with most running shoes, is curved upwards to help provide a smooth ride whilst running.
The additional finish around the toe area provides a bit more support and structure should you stub the front of your foot. This doesn’t impact the feel of the shoe on the foot or flexibility of the shoe whilst running.
The heel and sides to these shoes are quite rigid and at first, don’t provide much movement. This works well for support, but for the first 10 miles or so, I was definitely aware of the heel and found that there were some rubbing and irritation.
However, as I continued to use the shoes, the heel support began to provide more give and become a lot more comfortable. The strength of the ankle support provides peace of mind as they feel like they will help support your ankle if you happened to roll it on uneven terrain.
I did notice the shoes did need a few more miles for my feet and shoe to adapt to each other, compared to other road shoes I have used previously. I would say around the 15-20 mile mark the upper of the shoe was now feeling very comfortable, whilst the heel was still not providing as much give as I would have liked.
At 285g (men's) and 236g (women's), these are around the middle range in terms of weight for comparable daily road running shoes within its category. These are an entry-level/mid-range road running shoe.
If you are looking for a lighter shoe, there are definitely other options out there, and more from ASICS.
The Gel-Cumulus 20 is available in normal and wide variations. So for those of you who do require a wider shoe, you will find a version for you. I’m not sure if this means you will get the same choice of colors, but there are definitely wide versions provided.
In terms of the normal width version, I found these to be perfectly comfortable, and they provided the right amount of space that you would expect from a normal daily road shoe.
Midsole & cushioning
The Gel-Cumulus 20 use a midsole cushioning called Flytefoam. I feel this name is a bit deceiving as the midsole to hand feels quite solid and dense.
This is something that is still noticeable over a period of use. At 50+ miles the foam seems to have provided a bit more give, but they are still noticeably solid.
Running in the shoes and increasing the mileage, I would say that you do notice that the shoe's midsole and cushioning is quite firm. I have tried a number of different shoes, and these seem to be one of the firmer rides.
So if you are looking for something that feels more solid, then these may be the shoes for you. However, if you want a softer more cushion ride then maybe look into the On Cloud’s, Adidas or Nike’s.
In terms of mileage and durability, the cushioning and midsole do seem to hold up well with little to no signs of impact at 60+ miles.
After more than 60+ miles, you can see in the picture that the majority of the grip is still intact and seems to be minimal wear and tear. However, you will notice that the outer edges seem to show the early signs of wear.
As a neutral runner, with no pronation, I was surprised to see this amount of wear, at such an early stage of the shoe use. I would normally expect to see this towards the 200+ mile mark.
The sole does provide a lot of grip, and the raised areas allow for water and mud to be displaced as you run. On the whole, the shoes seem to be coping well with a variety of terrains and weather conditions with little to no signs of wear.
The Gel Cumulus 20 has other 10 color variations available at the time of writing this review, with more and more seem to be released as time passes. The range of colors seems to suit any taste, with simpler plain options, bright options, and darker colors are all available.
I have been testing out the Glacier Grey/Black, this is not my favorite color option, but they are a more inconspicuous shoe if you don’t want to stand out from the crowd as such. I believe they will offer a color option that is right for you!
- Being the 20th iteration of the Gel-Cumulus and coming from the ASICS brand, these have a proven history of developments and innovations from its predecessors
- Seems to rate highly with other runners
- Durable – can withstand a lot of miles
- Flexible and breathable mesh
- Variety of styles to choose from
- Great for road running and increasing your miles
- Mid-range in terms of price
- Not the best-looking shoe, some people will be put off by the look and certain colours
- Doesn’t necessarily have wow factor/stand out from the crowd (if that is what you’re looking for)
- Not specific for those with pronation
- Doesn’t provide too much grip on the trails (not that this is designed for the trails!)
Road running and training for any distance of running, an everyday runner for the pavements and the occasional race shoe. Can withstand a lot of miles, minimal wear and tear were noted during the training period.
Seems to cope well in different weathers and occasional trails. I would say that other options and more specific trail shoes would be better suited to off-road conditions if that is what you are looking for.
Good shoe for those starting out running and aiming to get to their first 5k or completing the Couch to 5k! Seems to provide the support needed as well as durability to last for at least one season, more likely two.
Will work well for any sort of distance from 5k all the way up to marathon distances. These will last a long time, and I didn’t notice much wear and tear over the testing period whereas I have in other shoes!
For the more experienced runner who’s looking to increase their mileage and maybe aim for a marathon. I would say these would work well!
I would suggest getting another pair, either of the same type to alternate, to save on wear and to let the shoes breathe or look into a race shoe something lighter to compliment this heavier training shoe.
You can also potentially look into trail shoes if you enjoy, and have access to the trails!
If you are into your running, you will know your shoes. You probably already have a good idea of what you are looking at.
Having predominantly used Nike shoes for running, I found these to be quite different, and on the slightly heavier side. That is not to say they aren’t a great shoe, as they are.
It’s just that I am used to something else. They are definitely worth trying out as a replacement for your daily runner. But I wouldn’t suggest them as a race, marathon or triathlon shoe.
I would not suggest these as a main running shoe for a triathlon, as coming from the bike with tired legs, these shoes will definitely feel on the heavier side at this point.
With a traditional lacing system, these will also potentially cost you a bit more time during transitions. I would suggest looking into the Asics Dynamics, which have a quick lacing system and would be great for those quick transitions!
A good solid shoe for road running and clocking up the mileage and for those looking for a good introductory shoe or wanting to test out what Asics has to offer.
They feel stable and provide great support. I would say my only drawbacks on these shoes were that they felt on the heavier side and that I wasn’t a massive fan of the colors.
However, they have provided a solid base to run on, with little signs of wear and tear after 60+ miles and a variety of weathers and terrains being thrown at them.
If you were to start entering a number of races, I would suggest looking into a second potentially race pair of shoes that would be on the lighter side.
All around these are a great shoe for clocking up lots of miles on the roads and seem that they will last for quite a while, which is always a benefit! They are not quite the 20/20 vision of the running world. But a good solid base!
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.
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 line. 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 also possesses a reflective strip in the heel area to allow prominence in low-light conditions.