Asics Gel Nimbus 21 review

This is an early review for the brand new Asics Gel Nimbus 21 running shoes. I have tried several Asics shoes in the past but none of the previous versions of the Gel Nimbus so I did not really know what to expect.

The pair I am testing came in what seems to be this year’s favorite color combination of black and white. Although I usually like my running shoes to be brightly colored so I can be seen, the black and white combination here looks really good.

The first thing that stands out is that the Nimbus, especially the sole, is quite a wide shoe.

This makes them look well-proportioned especially in larger sizes which can look a bit long and thin in other styles. They could happily double up as casual as well as running shoes.

Different design

The design here is a mixture of modern and classic. The mesh upper is very modern and the white on black sole is striking with a hint of the casual trainers that are popular these days.

The old school Asics logo fits in well but has a definite retro feel. Everything else is modern with a padded collar and tongue and plenty of reflective markings to make sure you stand out at night.

How does the Nimbus 21 feel?

The Nimbus was comfortable straight out of the box and sizing was exactly as expected. The padded collar and tongue cosset your ankles and add to the comfort levels. The sock-like mesh upper stretches with your feet and does not feel tight or have any pinch points.

The stretch adds to the breathability of keeping your feet cool. The toe box was roomy in terms of length and width and I could happily wear them all day.

The heel guard was not as tight as other Asics shoes I have tried and I did have to tie the laces tightly to make my sure my feet did not move around. If you have found other Asics shoes a bit tight these could be perfect but if the reverse is true it would be worth trying the Nimbus carefully before buying.

A small surprise was that whilst the thickness of the Nimbus’ sole looks like the ride is going to be very soft, it is firmer than expected. I don’t mean stripped down racing shoe firm but supportive and thin enough to give you feedback on the surface below.

The Nimbus’ were still super comfortable just not quite as pillow-like as they look. They also felt a bit stiff initially but I expect flexibility will probably increase with time.

What about underneath?

The thing that strikes me about the Nimbus’ sole is the surface area. It looks bigger than most of my other running shoes and seems to spread out from under the shoe. Not a bad thing as they feel stable but not as nimble or as good at quick direction changes as some shoes.

Otherwise the sole is fairly standard with all the tread around the outside of the heel and a support bar beneath the instep. I have been out on wet pavements and the grip was fine without any slipping or loss of confidence.

There is plenty of protection as the sole curls up around the toe at the front and the heel guard is firm. I would not take them off road, partly due to the shallow lugs, but also because the wide sole is not suited to the directional changes needed off-road. 

The Nimbus 21 feels light

To me, the Nimbus is a super comfortable training or long distance shoe. They are lighter than I expected and feel exceptionally well-made. They really feel like an upmarket, high-quality shoe.

You can feel the quality the moment you put them on and they have never felt anything other than well cushioned. The dual Flytefoam sole contributes to the lightweight and gives cushioning at the heel and push off from the forefoot.

As you can see the thickness of the sole makes sure there is plenty of shock absorption where it’s needed for lengthy road runs. Despite this, they feel a lot lighter than they look. There is good support beneath the instep to stop any rollover and they felt very stable throughout the run.

The mesh upper is breathable and my feet stayed cool though I have only tried them in cooler weather so far. These would not be a winter workhouse as I think the mesh would let in too much water but for rest of the year, they should be perfect for all but the fastest runs.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 310g / Women 255g
Drop: Men 10mm / Women 13mm
Arch support: Neutral
Update: Asics Gel Nimbus 23
Forefoot height: Men 13mm / Women 12mm
Heel height: Men 23mm / Women 25mm

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Author
Paul Myatt
Paul Myatt

Hello, I am Paul Myatt and I have been running for about 3 and a half years. I run about 25 miles a week on a range of different surfaces in all weathers and am lucky enough to have far more running shoes than I need. I have tried shoes from all the major brands and my current favorite brands are Skechers for races, Nike for road training and Inov-8 for hitting the trails. I have run a marathon and several half marathons but I really enjoy 5 and 10k races and a good speedwork session. Having tried a range of distances and bought more shoes than I should have, I am confident I can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of a shoe and what it is most suitable for. Nothing beats a shoe that feels just right and I like nothing better than telling anyone who will listen why that is.