Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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 ASICS Gel Cumulus 22 Review

     The ASICS Gel Cumulus line has been around for quite a while and is one of the staple shoes put out by ASICS. The Cumulus 22 is a wonderful update to the reliable everyday running shoe and consists of soft cushioning underneath, a soft and stretchy upper, and of course some GEL cushioning in the posterolateral heel. This update shaves off about an ounce of weight compared to the 21 and was designed with a "comfort-first" goal.

Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 9.2 oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 31mm (heel), 21 mm (forefoot)
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Daily Trainer


     The upper of the Cumulus 22 is one of the stretchier uppers that I have put on my feet in a while. This makes it very soft, accommodates really well, and does not restrict the toes. The other beautiful part of this design is how they made such a stretchy upper still feel secure. The first thing to help secure this shoe is that toe guard in robust and internal (compared to external on the previous model) and helps secure the end of the toe box and protect the toe from sliding on the platform. The second thing that secures this upper is the ASICS logo and other overlays throughout the midfoot, which prevents slippage there. 

     As for fit itself, we will go from back to front. The heel is a rigid counter, has plenty of padding, and is of moderate width. In addition to the high amount of cushioning around the heel counter, the tongue is also on the ticker cushioned end (a little too cushioned for me, but fine overall). The midfoot is slightly on the narrow side, but the upper accommodates very well. The toe box is of moderate width, but as stated previously has a lot of give to the upper for several different kinds of foot types. Overall, this shoe is true to size, with it being just slightly long for my normal men's size 9.

     As far as the upper goes, ASICS has achieved their goal of emphasizing comfort, but also has enough security to lock the shoe down.


     The best way to describe the ride of this shoe overall is soft and smooth. The midsole is made of ASICS's Flytefoam, and this new blend is softer than the previous models. The heel is soft, and there is a lot of GEL in the posterolateral heel (landing spot for heel strikers) that extends forward to the midfoot and medially to the inside of the heel. Despite not having much of a bevel, the landing is soft. Moving forward, the outsole really seems to dictate the ride a bit. There are a lot of flex grooves that start even at the lateral midfoot, which promotes a lot of flexibility. This flexibility for toe off combined with the softer Flytefoam promotes -- here it is again -- a soft and smooth ride. 


     Let's start with stability. This is certainly a neutral shoe. Despite having some characteristics that add some stability like the full contact outsole and thick rubber that is found on the medial outsole, the soft midsole foam and slightly narrow midfoot make this shoe most appropriate for runners who don't need extra stability measures built in. We've talked in other reviews about the impact of a softer surface under our foot and how that impacts our mechanics, but I'll give the short version here. If the surface is softer underfoot, that will create a more "unstable" platform that we need to compensate for. This typically (but not always) is seen in the entire kinetic chain "stiffening", meaning that all of the joints in our lower extremity do not go through as much motion. This is not a bad thing, but it does show that people without inherent stability (or trained stability) will need to work for stability even more in a shoe like this. 

     Now let's move on to speed. This shoe is wonderful for daily miles. It smooth at casual paces and shines there. It's also great for walking and standing during a work day (just throwing that out there). The nice thing about this shoe is that they did shave off an ounce, so it has some versatility for giving some effort in the run as well. However, the foam is more soft and cushioned than soft and bouncy, making it better for those daily miles. 


     The Cumulus 22 is a solid update to a traditional daily trainer. For someone looking for a softer and smooth ride that isn't trying to push the boundaries on "responsiveness" and speed, this would be a fantastic option. If you are looking for an ASICS shoe with more bounce to it, check out some of their models with FF BLAST in it, like the NovaBlast or Dynablast. However, not everyone thrives with something as bouncy as these newer models coming out, so the Cumulus 22 is a fantastic option for high comfort, smooth, and reliable daily training.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for their full US retail price.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. As this is an initial review, we will update our mileage when we post the full review Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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