Verdict from 13 experts and 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Cushioning: The Nimbus Lite 2 is "gentle on impact," "protective," and "softer than usual for Asics trainers". Runners gladly recommend it for longer runs (10K+) as it leaves the feet fresh.
  • Ride: The shoe feels smooth on slower paces but gets lively on speed. The ride overall is described as "consistent" and having enough firmness for a solid toe-off.
  • Weight: As a "Lite" model, it is among the lightest daily trainers. It also weighs 1.8 oz (51 g) less than the Nimbus 23.
  • Stability: The shoe's wide and stable platform amazed all runners. Flared in all directions (similarly to Asics Kayano Lite), it leaves no chance to ankle rolling.
  • Fit: The soft mesh upper with a gusseted tongue hugs the foot securely without any hot spots or irritation. It has "just enough" padding around the collar, tongue, and heel counter for extra comfort.
  • Heel hold: None of the reviewers reported heel lifting or slipping out of the shoe.
  • Toebox: There is a surprisingly generous amount of room in the toe box for people with medium and wide feet.
  • Sustainability: Recycled materials make up 80% of the shoe's upper and 15-20% of the midsole.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Lacks bounce: While avid runners don't call the ride dull, they agree that it's not the most exciting and bouncy daily trainer. If that's what you look for in a shoe, then Asics Novablast would be a better option.
  • Subpar outsole durability: Those who reached 80+ miles in the shoe see some significant rubber wear and don't expect it to last over 300 miles.
  • Poor grip: A few athletes tried the shoe in wet conditions and don't find it reliable on turns.
  • Not a summer shoe: It's not the most breathable daily trainer and may not be a good option for warmer temperatures.

Bottom line

The Gel Nimbus Lite restored many runners' faith in Asics daily running shoes with some even calling it "the best Asics daily trainer in … forever." It will be a pleasant transition for those coming from the Cumulus or Nimbus models looking for something lighter, softer, and smoother.

Although it feels most at home with slower, longer runs, it can still pick up the pace for some intervals and tempo runs.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Our reviews

96
/100 by , posted on .

Finally some Innovation from asics! YES!

 

The new evolution of the 23 year old Gel Nimbus, asics soft riding every day neutral trainer, is finally here. The Nimbus Lite 2 is a more eco friendly, lighter weight, more lively version of the Gel Nimbus. 

As for updates from the previous model, they are here, and plenty of them. Midsole design, outsole, upper, its basically redone from version 1. 

Pros

First off lets talk about the pros. Asics is making these in mens and womens versions with slight differences designed specifically for the different sexes, I really appreciate that. Unisex shoes just don’t work. 

The upper is soft engineered mesh thats very flexible and breathable. It really fits like a glove, I love this upper.

It has a gusseted tongue, I love this. The gussets are a bit stretchy so you can still move the tongue around and it has a lacing pass through across the top, something the Nimbus 23 didn't have. The tongue is semi padded with padding only on the upper portion which I really like.

It has a soft heel counter with a plush padded collar, and I didn’t have any heel slip. There’s no external heel cup or any dreaded old asics tech, just a nice clean welded overlay to add some rigidity.

The midsole is the show stopper though. It has an amazing FlyteFoam midsole, that’s made from sustainable nano fibers, that add to the durability. I really like this product. It’s soft and responsive. It's a little firmer than on the Nimbus 23 which I think is a good thing, but with that same plush ride feeling that’s super soft under foot. I can’t say enough good things about this midsole, made me happy, happy like how I felt about the skechers hyperburst, and happy about the ride the clifton 7 offered, ti’s just right in this shoe.

As for the outsole, it has the same AHAR outsole as the Nimbus 23 with lots of flex grooves which make this shoe comfy and smooth through the transition. There’s also a bit more dense rubber under the heel for added durability. 

Cons

The cons. I had one small issue with the upper, it’s almost too flexible, I had some movement in the toe box that I’ll talk about in fit, but also, like the nimbus 23, there’s not a ton of visible venting holes, could run hot in the summer. 

The lacing system could come a little further down on the forefoot to help with lock down, again I’ll mention this in fit, and there is no heel loop, opted for a tongue loop instead, I’ll take it, but wish there was a heel loop as well. 

Getting into the specifics (Fit, Comfort, Weight, Drop/Stack, Durability, Looks, Price), I love how these shoes fit. The upper really wraps your foot nicely, they are comfy, my only gripe is the toe box, it’s a bit spacious which normally is a good thing but feels a bit sloppy at times. I think it may have to do with the forgiving upper, I really had to lace these up tight to deal with a bit of slosh I felt up front. This is where my comment on the laces coming further down stemmed from which would probably solve this easily in version 3. 

As for comfort, amazing! I really dig this flytefoam midsole, they are soft, but not mushy. A bit of spring but not bouncy. Really have a nice stride and toe off and they are wide and stable which is fantastic. There’s no annoying plastic medial post under foot, plus tongue and ankle collar are just right. The only thing I don't dig is the feeling of my heel is so much higher than my toes. 

They have a 10mm drop, and I think this is a bit high. I wish they would bring this to 6 or 8mm, 10mm for me is something I can feel and I don’t like that, the womens are even steeper with a 13mm drop. 

They are not insanely lightweight at 9.7 ounces in mens 9, but that’s almost 1.5 ounces lighter than the Nimbus 23. If they could get version 3 under 9 ounces would really turn some head! 

I do have some concerns about durability, the soft midsole seems like it could pack out early, but Asics says the nano fibers are more durable, time will tell. My other concern is with the upper, if it stretches out at all it may be even more sloppy up front. 

I will say these are finally an Asics I am proud to wear!! No more dull fuddy duddy Asics! Keep these styles coming! Love the looks, can’t see any gel which is a plus, and the colors in the mens and womens are pretty rad. It has a cool midsole design, and although it does have some junk in the trunk, I dig it. 

At $150 they are the same as the Nimbus 23, but are lighter, more comfortable, and a bit more responsive, it’s an easy pic

Bottom line

My overall conclusion is finally something exciting from Asics, I am not a big Asics guy, but with this shoe you’ve got my attention. I love what Asics is doing with the Lite series. The Kayano Lite and the Nimbus Lite 2 are in my opinion just hands down better versions of their namesakes. I’m excited to see what 2021 brings for Asics if they can continue to follow this trend. These are going into my rotation for sure. Dare I say this is the best Asics shoe ever? I’ll end on that. 

| Level 4 expert Verified
Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.

Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2: Your softer, lighter Nimbus

The Lite edition offers a max-cushioned feel of the Nimbus series in a much lighter, plusher, and bouncier package. It is still a neutral daily trainer but the word 'Lite' speaks for itself. For comparison, The Nimbus Lite 2 weighs 1.8 oz (51 g) less than the Nimbus 23.

Best for: daily training, easy and moderate paces with occasional speed work, distances up to a marathon.

Don't get this shoe if you need pronation control (consider Asics Kayano Lite).

Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 vs. Nimbus Lite: what's improved?

  • Lighter: weighs 0.6 oz (17 g) less than the predecessor
  • Smoother ride: more tuned-in midsole and less outsole rubber help the shoe feel more like one unit
  • Slightly more stable: the base is a little wider, adding a touch of inherent stability

Sustainability mission

As part of the brand's sustainability plan, the Gel Nimbus Lite 2 features the following eco-friendly components:

  • nearly the entire upper is formed with recycled materials
  • the FlyteFoam midsole uses cellulose nanofiber made of plant biomass which shows stronger properties than steel

Notable features

  • Removable insole can be replaced with orthotics
  • Gusseted tongue means no tongue sliding, more locked-down fit
  • Gender-specific design: women's drop is 3 mm higher than men's to support female's more sensitive Achilles and calves
  • Pull tab on the tongue

Rankings

How Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 2% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 2% Asics running shoes
All Asics running shoes
Top 2% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2.
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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.