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Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 Multiple Tester Review

   Asics has been on fire with their development recently. Releasing both sustainable shoes as well as new and incredible performance updates, 2020 has been good. According to our recent interview with ASICS (shout out to Chad Mullevay, Asics Global Product Line Manager), 2021 is going to be even better. The Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is a great example of this. Updated completely with sustainable materials, men's and women's specific designs for stability and transition and awesome fit and rides. For those who love the Asics Cumulus or Nimbus series, this is an awesome option for faster days or a great all around lighter weight trainer. 



Specifications (per ASICS USA)
Weight: 9.1 oz men, 7.8 oz women
Stack Height: 25mm/15mm men, 27mm/14mm female
Drop: 10 mm men, 13 mm drop women
Classification: Neutral Daily/Lighter Weight Trainer



RUNNING SHOE HIGHLIGHTS

Matt: The Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 returns as a stable, lighter weight, great fitting lightweight trainer. A smooth ride with mildly soft full length Flytefoam midsole provides protection and a little bounce. An eco friendly and very comfortable engineered mesh sits up top, providing a surprising amount of room in the forefoot and still a secure fit in the back. Featuring a beveled heel and great forefoot flexibility, the Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is an excellent continued evolution of ASICS lightweight modern day twist on the Nimbus.

Nathan: The ASICS Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is a modern take on one of the most well-known shoes that ASICS has been producing for years (Nimbus). The blend of Flytefoam used in this model is light and has a soft bounce feel, which makes it great for daily miles, but can dip into recovery runs and tempo runs as well. Most unique to this shoe is the midsole/outsole geometry, which provides stability for a neutral shoe from back to front.    

David: As someone who always felt the normal Nimbus was a little clunky for my taste, the Nimbus Lite 2 delivers an entirely reimagined geometry and feel to the successful daily training line. ASICS has created a lightweight performance trainer that can also dabble in easy runs with responsiveness and comfort in the same package. The shoe utilizes so many new wave running shoe trends in geometry and presents a real competitor to the neutral running shoe market. It is soft, bouncy, and protective. 




FIT

Matt: The Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 fits true to size in my size 10 men's if not a hair long. The engineered mesh upper is very comfortable and the fit is a little on the wider side throughout the length of the shoe. The heel fits slightly wider and although very comfortable I did have to lace lock the shoe for security. There is a low heel counter in the rear, but the heavy amount of cushioning in the heel collar prevented me from feeling it (those sensitive to heel counters will not notice this one). The midfoot fits slightly wide and the thick tongue is fairly stable. I had to rework the laces as I did get some extra pressure on the top of my midfoot around my cuboid/lateral cuneiform area. The laces need to be worked to distribute pressure evenly or they will put a bit too much pressure where you tighten them down individually. Other than that the hold is decent. The forefoot actually fits slightly wide. There is enough room for mild toe splay without being sloppy. The upper mesh can be worn sockless, but I would suggest socks for those without experience with sockless wear. 


Nathan: In talking to the global product line manager of ASICS, we learned that they've been taking feedback from consumers regarding how their shoes typically fit a bit narrow in the toe box. The Nimbus Lite 2 (as well as the Kayano Lyte) are built a a slightly wider last, which is going to suit a lot of runners well as there is ample room in the toe box and midfoot. That said, I did have to lace down tighter to maintain a heel lock. The upper is very comfortable and the tongue has adequate padding to avoid irritation to the top of the foot while lacing down tight (unlike Matt's experience). Again, this is overall a wider fit and will work for many foot types. 

David: I am very pleased with the upper and design of the ASICS Nimbus Lite 2. The mesh is both reinforced well and adaptable. It reminds me a lot of the mesh upper used in the Skechers Razor + but with more space through the midfoot and forefoot for toe splay. There is a heel counter present, though padded nicely. The tongue is padded well and allows you to lace down tightly if you like without fear of irritation. The upper is breathable, but thick enough to prevent any tears or anything getting through. The shoe does utilize a slightly wider last and this is noticeable in a good way. The shoe feels like a nice wide platform to stand on with a mesh upper that holds the foot really well throughout without being irritating. I am actually using Matt's pair and I am running a half size up, but with lacing down the shoe there haven't been any problems. 




RIDE

Matt: The Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 has a unique ride. The midsole is lightly cushioned with Flytefoam with a smooth toe off. The heel does have a bevel, although the posterior heel flare does cause some early initial contact. This does take a bit of time to get used to, but the foam does seem to compress well at the heel. The landing is soft and protective and transitions smoothly once you get over that posterior heel flare. The midfoot is fairly smooth and stable, transitioning to a more flexible forefoot. The forefoot flexibility is excellent and toe off is smooth at both slower and faster paces. The forefoot is a bit firmer than the rearfoot and feels very responsive when you get up on your toes. There is a 10mm heel drop in the men's version, which with the compressible foam at the heel and the bevel was not noticeable. 

Nathan: The Nimbus Lite 2's geometry and foam compound combination give it an enjoyable running experience overall. The cushioning is protective and soft, but it does not feel like you sink into the midsole at all. It seems to have a mild bounce to it and feels mildly responsive. Mild, although the best way to describe it the bounce and responsiveness, doesn't mean that the ride is dull. It felt lively when picking up the pace and smooth at slower paces. Over the first few runs, you may need to adjust to the influence of the geometry of the midsole. The very wide outsole and numerous flares throughout will influence the ride depending on your strike pattern. As Matt mentioned, the heel bevel doesn't fully integrate the heel flare, and there is also a flare in the posterolateral heel, which made heel strike have earlier contact. Thankfully the softer foam does help keep heel strike from being jarring. Lastly, the forefoot is very flexible  which provides smooth toe off at daily paces and for recovery miles. 

David: The Nimbus Lite 2 brings a unique ride to the table. The Flytefoam midsole provides a soft and bouncy platform, while the geometry creates a unique and fun ride. The platform is wide and feels very stable. The outsole has many flex grooves throughout with the rubber not being overly thick in any regions. The result is a flexible and soft shoe throughout. The geometry of the shoe creates really fun transition points throughout as well. The heel is beveled well and transitions into a soft and wide midfoot that rolls nicely into the flexible forefoot. The ride is very smooth at all paces. 




STABILITY

Matt: For a neutral shoe, the Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is very stable. I generally need at least mild stability and had no trouble running fast or long in this shoe. The outsole is full ground contact, the outsole midfoot is reinforced medially with AHAR and the wider last with sole flare in the right spots provides great natural stability. This is a neutral shoe and there are no traditional methods of stability, but this is a very stable one. There is a slight difference in outsole coverage, which provides a bit more stability for women and a bit more durability for men. The men's shoe has an additional pad of AHAR in the midfoot, while the women's does not. This should make that medial AHAR strip a bit more prominent in the women's version and will great just a hair more resistance to medial motion compared to the mens. Like the Kayano Lite (REVIEW), the sole is flared both medially and laterally in the heel and forefoot. The midfoot has a slight medial flare, but none on the lateral side (which will bias the foot laterally at the midfoot). The elevated lateral midfoot is interesting and again should make staying a bit more neutral for those with medial deviation easier. Those with excessive lateral deviation during the gait phase (ie what we used to call supination, but should not), may find this to bottom out a bit here. For those who land at the midfoot or forefoot initially, the flare of the forefoot and that midfoot area have a bevel to them, which makes the ride smooth. An interesting design that is well worth checking out for those either with mild stability needs or those with neutral mechanics that want a stable shoe.

Nathan: Matt digs into some of the geometric design above, but this neutral shoe does feel quite stable. ASICS did a great job with midsole shaping, widening the outsole, flaring the midsole even when there isn't ground contact, and utilizing the rubber outsole design to provide stability for this ride. For those who enjoy neutral runners with flexibility, this shoe would still work for you even with the stability components. For those who need some mild stability, this shoe could also work for you.

David: I never really associate lightweight neutral shoes with stability... but ASICS did a great job in this category. The shoe utilizes geometry to create a very fluid and linear ride from heel to toe without sacrificing what it is that makes this shoe neutral. The wide last and platform help create a larger amount of surface area to utilize. The full contact outsole helps with additional stability and traction in a wider variety of surfaces and paces. The forefoot firms up slightly and adds to some forefoot stability. The toe spring also helps with keeping the toe off smooth as well. The upper also provides trusty stability and reinforcement throughout and I have been able to take into some pretty sharp turns without problems. Overall for a lightweight performance neutral trainer this is an incredibly stable shoe. 




SPEED

Matt: The Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is a lightweight trainer on the trainer side. I have used this shoe for long runs, daily mileage, a tempo and 1000m repeats. While not the lightest shoe, it was able to do decent at the tempo and 1000m repeats. The Flytefoam has some bounce to it, particularly at higher speed and the forefoot flexibility makes toe off smooth. It certainly isn't the fastest shoe and I would prefer something like the upcoming Hyperspeed or the Metaracer for faster workouts and races personally. The posterior heel flare does make the shoe a bit clompy at moderate paces, but slow and fast paces are great. There is plenty of cushioning here for longer mileage and those training in the Cumulus or Nimbus may find this as a protective workout shoe or marathon racer. Others wanting slightly lighter bu still solidly cushioned shoes will find a lightweight trainer with plenty of cushioning for mileage but the responsiveness for a bit of speed.


Nathan: The Nimbus Lite 2 thrives for daily miles and given the bit of responsiveness and lighter weight can handle some tempo miles. Given some of the flexibility it won't hit top paces as easily as some others, but is smooth at slower paces and responsive with a bit of tempo thrown in. Surprisingly, it also is very protective and smooth at slow, recovery paces as well. For those looking for a shoe to hit most of your training efforts, this is a great choice. 

David: Versatility is the name of the game with the Nimbus Lite 2. If you want to take it easy and log smooth and relaxing miles in this shoe you definitely can. If you want to pick up the pace and let the legs fly a little bit... you can do this as well. I see this model as a potential daily training option that becomes an instant competitor in the performance trainer lineup in the likes of Saucony Kinvara or Skechers Razor +. I wouldn't race in it personally since I like more aggressive racing options, but this could definitely be a lightweight trainer or racer option for those in the recreational population. 



DURABILITY

Matt: The Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is a decently durable shoe. The upper has shown zero signs of wear and the Flytefoam midsole is still bouncy after over 80 miles of use. The outsole on my left posterior lateral side however has already been chewed through and I am just beginning to get to the midsole. This is fairly normal for me as I am very hard on shoes, but I am also seeing a bit of wear in the center of the forefoot. Although the upper and midsole will last, the slightly early outsole wear suggests that this shoe will last a fairly average number of miles, probably in the 300-500 range.

Nathan: In past ASICS shoe's that I've worn (several iterations of the Cumulus and the Tartheredge) I've worn through the outsole rubber quickly. The outsole rubber in the Nimbus Lite has held up much better for me thus far, and the upper is quite robust. I expect typical milage out of this shoe, especially given that the midsole foam is robust and is showing no changes in cushion or responsiveness. Given the limited rubber outsole, there will be some earlier wear, but what exists is durable.

David: I am using Matt's pair... so the posterior lateral heel on the left was already bitten through. I did have a little bit more wear to add to it with 35 miles of my own on top of his 80. With the shoe being over the 100 mile mark the midsole is still very fun to run in, though the outsole is showing some wear (even putting Matt the "Destroyer" wear pattern aside). I think you can expect a quality 250 to 300 miles out of this shoe however. Decent durability for a lightweight trainer. 




LONG TERM REVIEW: NIMBUS LITE 2 AFTER 150 MILES
Total Runs: 26

Social media guy back with a long term durability review, featuring the Asics Nimbus Lite 2! The Lite, for me, started out as a fairly firm shoe, almost questionable shoe out of the box. There was a small break in period for me, having such a wide base to land on compared to shoes I've run in recently. Time is everything though, and the foam quickly opened up by the second or third run, transforming into a soft, smooth ride that's remained consistently reliable over the 150 miles and eliminating any signs of discomfort immediately.

I found the shoe felt particular best for easy days, recovery runs, and easy long runs. It can pick up the pace with a slightly firmer forefoot, but with how soft it has gotten over time I found it difficult to push past what I consider my personal 10k paces (+8:20 mi, I'm a turtle). It's certainly faster and more versatile than the traditional Nimbus, and has more long run capability (and a better overall ride) than the Cumulus for Asics fans though.

Durability wise, the Nimbus Lite 2 is a tank. The upper looks as good as day one, and the outsole has almost no wear. The shoe performed well on wet roads and slick surfaces. The combination of AHAR rubber and the wide platform inspires a lot of confidence on the road. I'm confident the shoe has 400+ mile potential, which is what you hope for in an everyday trainer.

Smooth, stable, and eco-friendly with 80% recycled materials in the upper, there's a lot to like about the Nimbus Lite 2. Like many of Asics trainers, it doesn't pack excitement, but once on the road the miles just roll by, and for a lot of folks this will be an ideal pickup as their do-it-all trainer or easy day rotation with a speed day shoe like the Hyperspeed or even Metaracer.



THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Matt
: I have discussed the wonderful recent trend in the running industry to start thinking about men's and women's specific footwear lasts for some time. We know that men and women have different bodies, shapes and biomechanics. The feet are no exception to this and more information can be found in my post on Running Shoe Fit. There was a rumor in Running Shoe Geeks that the heel drop is greater in the women's version as women may be more prone to Achilles tendon injuries. I have not heard this from Asics nor do I believe this to be the case. The opposite is actually true, as women not only have better cross sectional area (CSA) compliance, they also experience lower loads through their Achilles tendons and being male is actually a significant risk factor for Achilles tendon injuries and ruptures (Andrew & Jonathan, 2014; Intziegianni et al., 2017; Vosseller et al., 2013). So based on previous research, women actually have a lower risk of injury as they have more adaptable Achilles tendons and experience lower loads. More recent literature has suggested that higher lower extremity loading with decreased tendon stiffness is actually more of a risk factor than gender, however further research is needed (Lorimer & Hume, 2014; Lorimer & Hume, 2016). Knowing the excellence of the ASICS Sport Science Lab, I am sure this is not the reason for the higher heel drop. There are also differences in ramp and midsole height based on shoe size, so this may be another reason. There may have be a difference in female Achilles tendon length or a difference in comfort with different heel heights in the wear testing group used for the development of this shoe. Whatever the reason, I would love the ASICS development team to comment on this as I know they have a good reason. If there is some recent updated research on gender based Achilles tendon risk factors, let me know!! Regardless of gender, strength of the calf muscles is very important given that they both control forward progression of the tibia during midstance and act in propulsion toward the second half of stance phase. Eccentric training has been frequently suggested for training and as a rehabilitative method for chronic Achilles tendon issues (Lorimer & Hume, 2014; Lorimer & Hume, 2016). So regardless of your gender, keep your calf muscles strong!




RECOMMENDATIONS 

Matt: The Nimbus Lite 2 is a great shoe. The stability for a neutral shoe is great. However, there are a few things that may further progress the shoe. Reducing the posterior heel flare will make initial contact at the heel far smoother. While I do like the bevel, the rear flare does make things a bit clunky, especially at the beginning of runs. The fit is nice and fits slightly wider, but the tongue and upper could be a bit more secure. I think reducing the size of the tongue may help in addition to securing the midfoot a bit better. I would suggest something to improve durability of the outsole, but this is a lightweight trainer, so to avoid adding additional weight, it is fine as is.

Nathan: It has been fun to watch ASICS innovate in "ancillary" lines of shoes like the Evo/GlideRide series and now the Lite series. This is a great trainer with a versatile fit and enjoyable ride. I do think the midsole could benefit from minor tweaks to the flaring that would decrease lever arms during heel/forefoot strike. I also enjoy the wider last of the shoe, but I could see some padding being added to the heel to provide some more stability and lock in. 

David: The ASICS Nimbus Lite 2 is an incredibly fun shoe. If I got this sooner I'd be thinking about potential awards on my year end lineup. My main recommendation for this shoe is to take a look at refining the heel a little better with the heel flare to make the transition even smoother throughout. The transition is pretty decent as is since the foam is soft, but could be further refined. The midfoot lockdown is pretty good, but could also be refined in the upper. 




WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is an excellent eco-friendly, lighter weight, daily trainer that does decent at both long runs and some uptempo efforts for those with average to wider feet. The Flytefoam cushioning compresses well, which combined with a very stable platform and a flexible forefoot makes for a decently flexible ride. The upper fits on the wider side and will definitely accommodate those with wider feet. A great lighter weight cushioned shoe or workout/faster day shoe for those used to the traditional Cumulus or Nimbus, the Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 is a continued demonstration of ASICS forward evolution in footwear design. I am certainly forward to everything else they bring on in 2021!

Nathan: Say hello to a lightweight trainer that is going to work well for a variety of runners. People who enjoy a neutral runner with some flexibility will enjoy this shoe, and those who need a touch of stability would likely do well in this as well. This shoe can handle daily miles and some tempo work, and is geared towards those who enjoy a bit of softer cushion and mild bounciness. 

David: The ASICS Nimbus Lite 2 is a neutral running shoe that will be an immediate player in the market. The ride is soft, flexible, responsive, and stable for a lightweight neutral shoe. I can take this on an easy day, long runs, and for select workouts. I also think the wider platform will work for a large variety of runners. This shoe is fun and brings a smile to my face when I run in it. 


GRADING
Matt
Fit                    9 /10 (Plenty of room, needs some additional security)
Ride                 9 /10 (Slightly soft, smooth forefoot. Heel a bit clunky with flare)
Stability           10 /10 (Really stable ride for neutral shoe. Sole flare, outsole positioning)
Speed               9 /10 (Good speed for a lightweight trainer but not the fastest)
Durability        8 /10 (Early outsole wear, but good durability of cushioning and upper)


Nathan
Fit                    9.25/10 (A little wide in the heel, but versatile fit in the midfoot/toe box)
Ride                 9.5/10 (Very smooth mid-forefoot, some early contact at heel strike makes it slightly abrupt)
Stability           10/10 (Outsole integration and sole flaring positioned well for stable ride in neutral shoe)
Speed               8.5/10 (Best for daily milage and some ability for mild tempos, but lacks higher speeds for tempo)
Durability        9/10 (Improved durability compared to previous ASICS models I've used, decreased outsole coverage may lead to some earlier wear)


David
Fit                    9.25/10 (Pretty good fit throughout and accomodating, midfoot lockdown could improve)
Ride                 9.5/10 (Smooth at nearly all paces, soft, flexible, and responsive, heel could be improved)
Stability           10/10 (Geometry and outsole integration make this incredibly stable for a neutral shoe)
Speed               9/10 (Lightweight performance trainer that can get it moving pretty well. Training paces to mild to moderate uptempo paces)
Durability        8/10 (The durability is pretty decent, but nothing to rave about overall, midsole durability is great though)

Total Score: 91% (M: 9/10 N: 9.25/10, D: 9.15/10)

Thanks for reading!

Interested in a pair of Asics Nimbus Lite 2? Visit Running Warehouse here or Fleet Feet here.
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FURTHER READING:

More ASICS reviews at DOR:
Asics Glideride 2 - Long, steady miles
Asics Noosa Tri 13 - Triathlete special
Asics Hyper Speed - Fun revitalized racing flat
Asics FujiTrabuco Lyte - Nimble trail runner
Asics Kayano Lite - New take on stability

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TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

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.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
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 provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at ASICS for sending us a pair.  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. Currently we have 81 miles (Matt) and 20 miles (Nathan) on our pairs, 115 miles (David). Our views are based on our 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.

** Nathan is recovering from illness with residual symptoms and therefore modified milage from 35 to 20 to be able to review.

References

Andrew, G., & Jonathan, S. (2014). Comparison of Achilles tendon loading between male and female recreational runners. Journal of Human Kinetics, 44(1), 155-159.

Intziegianni, K., Cassel, M., Hain, G., & Mayer, F. (2017). Gender differences of Achilles tendon cross-sectional area during loading. Sports medicine international open, 1(4), E135.

Lorimer, A. V., & Hume, P. A. (2014). Achilles tendon injury risk factors associated with running. Sports Medicine, 44(10), 1459-1472.

Lorimer, A. V., & Hume, P. A. (2016). Stiffness as a risk factor for achilles tendon injury in running athletes. Sports Medicine, 46(12), 1921-1938.

Vosseller, J. T., Ellis, S. J., Levine, D. S., Kennedy, J. G., Elliott, A. J., Deland, J. T., ... & O’Malley, M. J. (2013). Achilles tendon rupture in women. Foot & Ankle International, 34(1), 49-53.

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