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The Nimbus is one of the mainstays of Asics' wide variety of footwear options. Often considered the original 'cloud' running shoe, the Nimbus has gained a loyal following for good reason. Kirstie Tyson took the 18th iteration of the popular model on a test run to find out why.
Having worn several pairs of Nimbus over the years, and run quite frequently in the Gel Nimbus 17s, I’m no stranger to the look and feel of this model.
Long-time fans will know that the Nimbus series usually combines soft plush cushioning with a form-fitting feel. Designed to provide minimal support medially with maximum cushioning, the Gel Nimbus series is particularly suited to neutral pronators.
As a fan of the previous Nimbus models, it’s always exciting to get your hands (and feet) on a newly updated design. So, how does the Nimbus 18 compare to the shoes that have come before it?
First impressions: a softer touch.
Although the new 18s may not seem like an enormous departure from the previous shoe, I did notice some key differences and design features on my first run.
The new model features a repositioned ‘convergence gel’. Essentially, the gel within the shoe is lifted slightly higher and closer to the sole. This serves to increase the lateral stability of the shoe while minimising the compression through heel-strike, which makes for a nice addition to comfort levels.
The shoe feels slightly heavier, due largely to the altered gel profiling. Some people may love it, while others won’t be a fan: it’s going to come down to personal preference. I found the added weight increased cushioning and softened the impact at heel-strike.
There is also the addition of a newly designed heel counter to improve stability and reduce heel slippage. I honestly didn’t notice a massive difference, although I don’t usually suffer from the effects of heel slippage while running. Runners who find they regularly slip within their shoes may find the improvements more noticeable.
Keeping good form.
The upper of the Gel Nimbus 18 features a form-fitting design, slightly altered from the previous model. The 18 hugs closely to the shape of the foot and improves overall feel.
After having previously tried running in the newest version of the Brooks Glycerin, I found the form-hugging design of the Nimbus upper to be a welcome addition.
Without the support and stability of a fitted upper to offset the softness of the convergence gel, your foot can feel ‘sloppy’ or unstable within the shoe. With a more robust upper section, the Nimbus 18 offers a great blend of comfort and support.
Overall, a few simple changes have improved the feel of the shoe. I feel that the true neutral runners among us – those with high, rigid arches – will find the Asics Gel Nimbus 18 a welcome addition to their wardrobe and running equipment options.
The shoe is an improvement that retains all of the benefits of previous models while tinkering just enough to push a winning formula further.
If you’re looking for a cloud running shoe that offers equal parts comfort and stability, you’ll be on cloud nine with the new Nimbus 18.