Our verdict

We think the ASICS Cumulus 26 is a solid, versatile daily trainer that provides good cushioning and handles multiple paces and distances well. However, fans of previous models might be disappointed with changes that affect the shoe's rigidity and the new rubberized EVA outsole—a notable shift from earlier versions. And while we find it to be a superb pick for the average runner, it may not satisfy those who prefer a more flexible and natural ride.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Versatile across various paces
  • Cushioned ride
  • PureGEL heel insert
  • Enhanced stability
  • True all-rounder
  • Lightweight for its category

Cons

  • Outsole durability issues
  • Limited traction off-road
  • Lacks breathability

Audience verdict

86
Great!

Who should buy

After testing the Cumulus 26, we think that it is a stellar choice for:

  • Longtime fans of the Cumulus series seeking a touch more stability in the 26th iteration.
  • New runners looking for a single, lightweight shoe capable of handling various paces and distances.
  • Those in search of a slightly rockered daily trainer at a competitive price.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26

Who should NOT buy

We think the Cumulus 26 falls short of being the ultimate choice for those seeking a maximalist, ultra-cushioned running experience—especially for forefoot strikers. For a similar value, we recommend the best-seller ASICS Novablast 4, or the premium-priced ASICS Nimbus 26 if you're after the ultimate comfort.

We also believe the updates in terms of stability are not enough to make the Cumulus 26 a solid alternative for those in real need of support. For those runners, we suggest the Hoka Arahi 7 or sticking with the ASICS brand and opting for the GT 2000 12, both of which offer superior stability in a daily trainer package.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 parts

Breathability

ASICS has revamped the upper from the Cumulus 25 to the 26 edition, and it has had noticeable effects. While the previous model had great breathability, our testing rated the latest version a modest 3/5, which we found slightly disappointing during our smoke test.

We were curious about the cause of this change. Initially, we inspected the upper under a light to identify the thinnest areas and any ventilation openings. There was minimal light penetration through the dense upper, confirming that ASICS likely did not prioritize maximum ventilation in this design at all.

Intrigued, we used a microscope to closely examine the engineered mesh.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 microscope

It's clear that this shoe is not ideal for hot summer runs.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 mesh

Lastly, we conducted a manual examination of the upper.

We discovered that airflow is mostly blocked by a layer of fabric beneath the mesh, with the tongue serving as the primary air entry point. We also noted that the shoe has sufficient padding in the heel and midfoot, though nothing spectacular.

Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 221 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Just like in life, every downside has an upside. The Cumulus 26 might not offer ideal ventilation, but this feature makes it excellent for winter runs and suggests it might have better durability than most running shoes.

We were thrilled with the performance in this tests, as the thick engineered mesh proved exceptionally resistant during our Dremel challenge—earning a stellar 4 out of 5. This durability maybe compensates the lack of ventilation for some.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Toebox durability
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 4
Average 2.3
Compared to 155 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

But hold on, it only gets better for the Cumulus 26 in our Dremel battle.

In our second evaluation, we discovered that the heel padding performed exceptionally well against the sandpaper, achieving an impressive 5/5. This result ensures long-lasting durability in an area typically susceptible to wear and tear. Fantastic!

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Heel padding durability
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 151 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Moving to the outsole, there's quite a bit to discuss here. Instead of the typical rubber, ASICS has opted for a rubberized EVA called FLUIDRIDE, which is a surprise to us. Simply put—imagine a tougher foam or a softer rubber. It's a blend designed to find a balance between both cushioning and durability, which is why we got a super-low 54.9 HC result in our test.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 outsole

The outsole is designed with multiple grooves to enhance flexibility.

This approach differs from the norm, though brands like Hoka have previously adopted this strategy with success. However, while we experienced good grip on roads, we think that this outsole it's not the best for everything else like easy trails or gravel roads in terms of durability and traction.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Outsole hardness
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 54.9 HC
Average 80.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 272 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

When we encountered the surprisingly low hardness result of the outsole, our curiosity led us to test the rubberized EVA with the Dremel, and it confirmed our expectations.

After completing the test, we observed a significant 2.4-mm indentation—a considerable amount that might seem alarming compared to other road daily trainers.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Outsole durability
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 2.4 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 133 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

However, the Cumulus 26 is not your average daily trainer. Unlike typical models that include about 3 mm of rubber, this shoe boasts 6.0 mm of the white, rubberized EVA we analyzed in our previous tests.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 outsole

That's why, despite the poor results in our previous durability test, we're not really concerned. While the lifespan of this shoe may not match those with extremely hard rubbers and thick outsoles, it should still provide sufficient durability to handle decent mileage.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Outsole thickness
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 6.0 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

We always found the Cumulus as a lightweight and more affordable alternative to the Nimbus series, and this model takes that a step further. At just 9.1 oz or 259g, it's 4% lighter than its predecessor.

Although the weight reduction is subtle, we consider any improvement in lightness a bonus, especially when it enhances the running experience.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Weight
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 9.14 oz (259g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

In our view, the heel of the Cumulus 26 closely resembles those of maximalist shoes, with our digital calipers recording a stack height of 36.8mm in the rearfoot.

We hope ASICS doesn't increase the Cumulus beyond this point in the future, as it could compromise the agility and lightweight feel of this daily trainer. Right now, it's right on the edge of being too bulky!

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Heel stack
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 36.8 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot measured 28.6 mm in our lab tests, indicating that even runners who strike with their forefoot will find ample cushioning to support those weekend long runs.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Forefoot stack
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 28.6 mm
Average 24.9 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

In terms of drop, ASICS has consistently designed the Cumulus series with a universal 8-mm drop, and our precise measurements confirmed an 8.2 mm drop, effectively validating the shoe's design.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 drop

In fact, we're accustomed to finding much larger discrepancies in other models, so a mere 0.2-mm difference is definitely praiseworthy and speaks highly of their manufacturing processes.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Drop
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 8.2 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The Ortholite X-30 insole measures 5.1mm, which is slightly above average in thickness, yet its presence is subtle. And we found it delivers outstanding immediate comfort right from the first step.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Insole thickness
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 5.1 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Beneath the insole, the FF Blast+ (EVA+OBC) midsole is paired with a piece of PureGEL. This evolved form of the traditional GEL technology that ASICS has long employed features a compact piece strategically placed above the foam in the rearfoot area.

This design is particularly beneficial for ensuring softer landings, making it an excellent choice for heel strikers who prioritize comfort above all else.

Furthermore, the midsole strikes a balance with a softness rating of 18.6 HA, though it stops short of being overly plush. The most accurate description from us would be... moderately plush!

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Midsole softness
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 18.6 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 219 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

EVA foams generally underperform in cold temperatures, which is a key reason why Olefin co-polymers are blended into the material in the FF Blast+ foam.

This combination prevents the foam from becoming like a brick in freezing conditions. In our 20-minute freezer challenge, FF Blast+ maintained a satisfactory performance of 24.2%.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 24.2%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 218 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Cumulus remains a neutral daily trainer similar to previous versions. However, we found in our runs that it does include some minor improvements in stability. Let's take a look!

Torsional rigidity

In terms of support, a notable update from the previous Cumulus is the torsional rigidity of the shoe. It definitely feels more rigid underfoot, and our manual assessment confirms this improvement, upgrading its rating from 3/5 to 4/5 in this version.

Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 270 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The change that truly impressed us is the increased stiffness of the heel counter. Previously rated at 3/5, similar to most daily trainers, ASICS has enhanced the stability significantly, prompting us to award it a 5/5.

This adjustment is beneficial for those requiring mild stability, though we believe it also may be excessive and reduce heel comfort. This could be a deal-breaker for those who do not need that extra support.

Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 5
Average 2.8
Compared to 254 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Shifting our focus to the midsole, we again noted a very wide platform in the forefoot, measuring exactly 120.0 mm. This provides a broad landing area for enhanced stability.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 120.0 mm
Average 113.6 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel design also follows the same spacious concept, and we measured it precisely at 100.0 mm.

This is significant because ASICS is targeting heel strikers with this shoe, incorporating technologies like PureGEL in this area alongside increased stiffness.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 100.0 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

In our 90-degree bend test, the stiffness of the Cumulus 26 registered at 24.4N, which is typical for a daily trainer. This level of stiffness ensures ample flexibility, making the shoe comfortable and not too stiff during slower runs.

Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 24.4N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

To assess performance in cold temperatures, we placed the shoe back in the freezer for another 20 minutes and then retested its stiffness with our force gauge.

We discovered that it became 38.1% stiffer, an average result that aligns with our expectations for FF Blast+ foam.

Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 38.1%
Average 36.3%
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Now it's time to examine the upper, a critical aspect of every running shoe. Our initial measurement focused on the widest part of the toebox, which came in at 97.1 mm. This is slightly narrower than last year's model, though the difference is minimal.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 upper

We can confidently state that the Cumulus 26 fits most runners well. However, those with particularly narrow or wide feet might consider the Wide size (if available in your region) or explore broader models like the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 97.1 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We always take two measurements in the toebox to provide a clearer view of the fit.

The second measurement, at 76.8 mm, also shows that it's a bit narrower than most daily trainers. Therefore, it's perfect for those who prefer a snug and secure fit.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 76.8 mm
Average 78.0 mm
Compared to 166 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

We discovered that the tongue is semi-gusseted, or partially fixed to the sides—a wonderful feature in a £150 shoe that we highly value, especially during faster-paced runs.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

We've discovered that one of the improvements in the Cumulus from previous versions is its reduced weight. However, as with everything in life, there are trade-offs. The most significant one here is the tongue padding, which is about half as thick as in version 25.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 tongue

Is 3.5 mm enough? For us, the trade-off feels right. Yet for those who prefer shoes with plush uppers, we think it probably isn't, and they might find it wise to consider a shoe like the Brooks Ghost Max, which has an 8.5-mm thick tongue.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Tongue padding
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 3.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 289 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

ASICS has incorporated finger-loop heel tabs in most of its recent models—and in the Cumulus 25—but this update departs from this trend.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Heel tab
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 None

Removable insole

The Ortholite X-30 outsole is removable, allowing you to clean it or replace it with a different footbed as needed.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Removable insole
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Unfortunately, we discovered that ASICS chose not to include reflective elements in the new Cumulus.

Asics Gel Cumulus 26 Reflective elements
Test results
Asics Gel Cumulus 26 No