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ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 Review: Big Changes (For the Better??)
By Matthew Klein, Nathan Brown, & David Salas

If you've been following ASICS (and other companies like Brooks) closely, you'll notice that certain shoes don't get major overhauls very often. In part, that is due to shoes like the Nimbus or the Ghost having a faithful following, and if you change it too much you might lose some unhappy customers. What companies do instead is start to introduce other lines of shoes. Since those are more exploratory and don't have a huge following, it gives the brand liberties to experiment and play around a bit more with shaping, uppers, cushioning, etc. without the risk of losing people on the journey. With the ability to play around with a model while branding it close to another model (that needs some real updates), it might get some of the faithful "old style" crew to jump over to the "new age" shoes. When the time is right and the kinks are worked out, all the new experiments in these new lines of shoes can be infused in the main line model, leading to a major update that is typically executed so well that you don't lose the faithful following. That's basically what has happened with the Nimbus 25. ASICS has been experimenting with the Nimbus Lite series for a few years, and now you are see the cushioning, fit, and most importantly geometry of that project hitting the mainstream with their signature series.

Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.2 oz, 290 g (men's size 9), 9 oz, 255 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 41.5mm / 33.5 mm (M), 40.5mm / 32.5 mm (W)
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Premium Daily Trainer



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a huge update to ASICS premium daily training shoe. The soft and well-cushioned ride is maintained, but features a completely different, highly rockered geometry. A higher-stack height, now above 40mm, adds even more cushioning than prior models. A wider, rockered sole creates a smooth transition no matter where you land. A new light and padded upper provides a snug but slightly stretchy fit that will delight those who want a slightly snug fit. The Nimbus 25 is a truly maximalist offering from ASICS for daily training, showcasing a true evolution in design process from the company.

Nathan: The Nimbus 25 is the most marked update to the Nimbus series in a long time. ASICS has taken what they've learned through the Nimbus Lite series and infused it with the nature of the Nimbus, which led to a much more refined running shoe than previous Nimbus models. It is a soft, plush, and high-stacked trainer that has a moderate bevel and mildly rockered forefoot. It is a truly maximalist offering from ASICS, something that has been a bit undefined within their line-up until now.

David: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a workhorse daily trainer that blends in some new concepts to this footwear line. The Nimbus has always been one of those "traditional trainers" in my eyes. The Nimbus 25 changes it up by using a new bouncier midsole that is couple with large amounts of sole flaring throughout. The shoe still runs a little heavy like its predecessors, but gives a neutral rockered ride with solid cushioning and comfort throughout. 

SIMILAR SHOES: New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4, Hoka Bondi 8





FIT

Matt: The ASICS Nimbus 25 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is snug, particularly in the forefoot. The engineered knit mesh does have some stretch but hugs the foot like a sock. The forefoot is snug and tapered, so those who want that or have narrow feet will like the front. The midfoot and heel fit normal to slightly snug width-wise. The tongue is knit and gusseted. I had no problems with tongue slippage although did have to make sure it laid down flat. There is a rigid heel counter in the rearfoot, but I did not notice it due to the highly padded heel collar. The heel is highly cushioned like the rest of the shoe, so those with sensitivity may do well here and those that like stiff counters will have to push through the soft upper cushioning to feel it. The upper is premium, thicker and highly secure. I had no slippage or security issues. I did try the shoe sockless and did get some rubbing from the knit tongue, so I would suggest using socks with this model. 

Nathan: The Nimbus 25 gets a new knit upper, which can be extremely hit or miss in terms of security. In the case of the Nimbus 25, it's a hit. The midfoot and heel lock down very well and the padded heel helps with warding off heel slippage. The toe box is of moderate width, and the knit upper stretches well to accommodate various foot types without being sloppy. There is a rigid heel counter, but the padding really prevents any irritation from the heel cup. Overall, the upper gives a luxury feel and is a bit thicker, which has been nice for these winter months. Of a possibly contradictory opinion, I am not a big fan of the tongue. It is a knit, gusseted, and stretchy tongue that is rather thin (present in the previous version of this shoe and the Nimbus Lite 3). I feel that I can get a bit of irritation from the laces if I tie them down as securely as I'd like. So although slippage is minimal, there is a bit of play within the shoe. I'd prefer a more traditionally padded tongue for a trainer like this.

David: The ASICS Nimbus 25 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The fit throughout is dialed in pretty well and the width is normal throughout. The volume of the shoe is normal to slightly snug, especially in the forefoot. The engineered mesh holds its structure well and does not stretch too much. On the contrary the tongue is very stretchy and is made of a knit material. The two pieces together do provide a pretty good lockdown throughout the entirety of the shoe. The heel is heavily padded at the collar and prevents slippage in the region. The upper materials are a little thicker, and so the shoe runs warmer than some other trainers out there.

The one big thing that I noticed with the Nimbus that I wasn't a big fan of was water retention. We recently got a big storm in Santa Barbara and my pair took days to dry out with efforts of doing so. I think making the upper just a little more breathable or wicking could help with moisture retention. Otherwise, they did a great job with balancing comfort and security.




PERFORMANCE

Matt: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a maximal stack height, soft and highly rockered daily trainer for easy and long runs. The stack height is now over 40 mm in the heel (41.5mm in men's size 9, 40.5mm in women's size 8) with a PureGel insert in the heel and a huge amount of FF Blast+ Eco cushioning throughout. This provides a highly soft ride in the heel and a moderately soft ride in the forefoot. With so much stack height, the ride is highly rockered. There is a massive curved and beveled heel in the rearfoot. This transitions in a smooth and balanced midfoot. The forefoot is moderately stiff but features a solid forefoot rocker. This creates an easy transition off the toes. There is some toe spring, so those sensitive to their teos being held in extension should be a little cautious here. The heel is quite large in volume and width. This makes it feel more natural to land farther back than farther forward.

While 10.2 oz is around average weight-wise for a maximal shoe (men's size 9), the volume of the shoe and midsole softness make the Nimbus 25 best for easy runs, recovery runs and long runs. I have picked up the pace in this shoe during hill repeats and strides. While it can handle them, the large heel makes this shoe better for easier efforts and there are plenty of other shoes that work well for faster ones. 

The outsole is full ground contact with additional reinforcement in strategic areas. I have 30 miles on my pair and have not made any dent in the outsole. I expect this shoe to last far beyond most daily training shoes, but will update this review as I get more miles. The traction is average given the smoother outsole. I have had no problems on wet pavement and have used this shoe on smooth trails. It can handle mild trails, but anything more aggressive will need a more aggressive outsole. This is really a road shoe and should be kept on smoother surfaces.

Nathan: ASICS finally has a clear maximally stacked, highly cushioned trainer. The FF Blast+ cushioning is the same that you find in the Novablast 3, but as we've learned over the years, the same cushioning with different shaping and amounts can feel very different. Where the Novablast 3 is a bit more bouncy, the Nimbus 25 is very pillowy, plush, and even a little squishy. The heel also has a PureGel insert, which might contribute to some of the plush experience on an initial step in, but otherwise don't know how much it contributes to the feel as the amount is rather thin. In terms of shaping, there is significant flaring in both directions, creating a very wide and full contact outsole similar to what was seen in the Nimbus Lite 3. There is a well-executed heel bevel and a moderate rocker in the forefoot. Given the bit of stiffness of the midsole (from front to back) because of the higher stack height, you can feel a bit of the rocker sensation, but it is not severe. I found the ride to be soft and smooth but without much pop or propulsion. Therefore I enjoyed it most for long, easy runs or recovery miles, but didn't enjoy attempting to pick up the pace beyond daily mileage pacing.

Finally, there is a good amount of rubber coverage, with the heel being AHAR+ and the forefoot being their typical AHAR material constructed with circular cutouts. I haven't had any issues even in light snow or ice as compared to other trainers and therefore think the grip is about average (and also hasn't shown much if any wear).

David: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a daily training shoe for those looking to just put the work in. The shoe is a mileage workhorse with no real sensation of going quick. The shoe sits at 41.5 mm of stack in the heel and carries a weight of 10.2 ounces. This shoe is a thick boi. [Editor's note: We let this line slide.... this time.]

With that said it still transitions pretty well throughout. The shoe provides pretty good security throughout and I have found I can run road, light trail, etc in it like traditional running shoes. Sometimes the higher stack shoes make for a more road running exclusive experience, but I felt comfortable in the Nimbus off road. The Blast+ foam is not quite as soft as I remember in the Novablast, but it still provides plenty of cushioning. The shoe uses a balanced rocker geometry. You do get a sensation of rolling, though nothing overly dramatic. The large sole flare and sidewalls do help you feel centered. This shoe reminds me of some of the heavy, but rhythmic shoes that I have enjoyed in the past like the Mizuno Horizon series, Karhu Synchron, Saucony Triumph (before the 2022 update). Traction underfoot is decent. The shoe does use AHAR+ in the heel and the normal AHAR in the forefoot to help with some durability in the heel. Outside of getting my clean white shoes dirty, and I have no issues with durability or usage.

I will say the shoe still feels a little heavier than I normally like to run in, though the transitions are smooth throughout and will suit someone who likes a gently balanced rocker vs. a larger quick rolling sensation. 





STABILITY

Matt: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a borderline stable neutral shoe. It features a ton of components that create a stable foundation. The sole has a large amount of sole flare throughout the length of the shoe, the midfoot does not narrow, the outsole is full ground contact, there are sidewalls present on both sides of the shoe in the heel and posterior midfoot, and the ride is highly rockered. However, the midsole is extremely soft. This creates a stable ride for the foot, but those with hip instability (weakness of the deep rotators or other hip stabilizers) may find this shoe to be far more neutral. So those that want a stable neutral ride for the foot will find this to be stable neutral, but those with sensitivity to soft shoes may need to approach with caution. Those wanting a neutral shoe will do fine in the Nimbus 25.

Nathan: There are some aspects of this shoe that make it verge toward stable neutral, but depending on what sort of guidance you need it might act more as a true neutral shoe. The wide platform with the sole flare, sidewalls, full ground contact, and smooth rocker do help create an overall structured shoe. However, the degree of softness introduces some level of instability. If you are in a scenario where your feet are your weaker point (mostly thinking about intrinsic weakness), you might notice some lack of structure that you'd find in a firmer shoe. If that isn't the case for you, this shoe does a nice job stabilizing a softer foam and will work for many with mild stability preferences.

David: The Nimbus 25 is a neutral shoe, but does have some stability elements as well. The shoe feels similar to a bucket in the heel through the midfoot thanks to the sidewalls in the midsole. The shoe also uses a lot of sole flaring throughout and creates a nice broad platform to lever from. The outsole traction is trusty and I had no issues. The upper security is solid and I had no issues with translation of my feet. I had a tiny bit of heel slippage but lacing a little tighter fixed that. Because the Blast+ foam has some give to it, that will make the foot and ankle intrinsic work a little more, though this does not take too much away from stability. From a stability standpoint, ASICS did a good job with this one. It is still a neutral shoe, but this shoe delivers in that category. 



Thoughts as a DPT: Industry Transitions to Rockered Soles
By Matthew Klein

It was a shock to see ASICS change the design of one of its longest-running series. However, it was in need of an update with the large progression we have seen in footwear design. While the ASICS Nimbus series has always been billed as a soft cushioned shoe, the heel design has left something to be desired. We frequently talk about heel bevels not only because our calcaneus bone is rounded, making for an efficient rolling mechanism in our body called the heel rocker, but also because rounded heels reduce the loading rates at initial contact. Most runners are heel strikers (Hasegawa et al., 2006; Kasmer et al., 2013; Larson et al., 2011), so it was surprising that ASICS maintained a sharp-edged heel in what was supposed to be a highly cushioned and smooth shoe. 

With the transition to a great stack height, the bevel is also required. The taller a shoe is, the stiffer it gets and the harder it is to bend. Without creating some way to maintain forward moment, this would make the shoe feel stiff as a board. You have several natural rolling mechanisms in your feet/ankle, one of which being the naturally curved calcaneus/heel bone. This helps maintain forward moment by allowing you to roll forward rather than being pitched forward sharply (as many non-beveled shoes will do). The rounded heel also slows down the transition of your foot to the ground, which may reduce the rate of impact loading and stress into structures like your shin muscles (anterior tibialis, etc) and into other structures like bone, ligament, tendon, etc. This is especially important for newer runners not yet used to the impact forces associated with running. 

The running footwear industry has been moving increasingly toward higher stack/maximalist shoes. While minimalist models/companies still exist, every major running brand has one, if not many shoes in this category. With the taller stack heights and larger rockers, heel bevels are required to maintain smooth forward motion. 

While ASICS has been adding these designs to other shoes like the Superblast, the Metaspeed series and a few others, it was surprising to see it happen to the main line. While surprising, it is a welcome change given what we now know about footwear and I am excited to see what changes (if any) come to the rest of the main line of running shoes. 

Sources:

Hasegawa, H., Yamauchi, T., & Kraemer, W. J. (2007). Foot strike patterns of runners at the 15-km point during an elite-level half marathon. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research21(3), 888.

Kasmer, M. E., Liu, X. C., Roberts, K. G., & Valadao, J. M. (2013). Foot-strike pattern and performance in a marathon. International Journal of Sports Shysiology and Performance8(3), 286-292.

Larson, P., Higgins, E., Kaminski, J., Decker, T., Preble, J., Lyons, D., ... & Normile, A. (2011). Foot strike patterns of recreational and sub-elite runners in a long-distance road race. Journal of Sports Sciences29(15), 1665-1673.



RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: I have been blown away by the ASICS Nimbus 25 for multiple reasons. It finally feels like a cloud with the smooth rockered ride, tall stack height, PureGel and Flyte Foam Blast+ Eco. What I am most impressed with is that ASICS has updated one of their most popular and mainstream training shoes with current maximalist concepts. The entire shoe is rockered, with one of the largest heel bevels I have seen. The stack height is over 40mm, the sole is wider, yet it still stays relatively light for how much shoe there is. This is going to be a shock for many long-time Nimbus wearers, but it is in line with everything we have seen for a premium training shoe in today's footwear world. My only suggestion would be to consider widening the toe box. While the upper does stretch, it is quite snug and tapered. A softer shoe will require every bit of natural stability from the body and being able to spread the toes a little is a great way to add some. Outside of that, I have really enjoyed this shoe.

Nathan: The Nimbus finally fells like a nimbus (cloud). It's soft, there is no clunkiness with the landing or transitions, and it is comfortable overall on the top as well. I think it is a really nice maximal trainer offering. Based on personal preference I'd love to see the tongue modified a bit to have some more padding, but also know this is much more of a minority opinion. My recommendation maybe falls more in line with what to do with the Cumulus now that the Nimbus exists. Given the very soft and higher stack nature of the Nimbus, I think there is now a real opportunity to differentiate the Cumulus from the Nimbus by keeping it a bit more moderate in stack and giving it a bit more versatile trainer feel.

David: The ASICS Nimbus 25 does a lot of things well, especially with stabilizing that much foam. The thing I would like to see slightly modified would be the upper material. I would like something just a little more airy and breathable to help with moisture retention. The shoe is already heavier training model and I noticed once it was wet I had a hard time lifting these puppies. [Editor's Note: "...."]

I also would like the shoe to be a tad lighter if possible, though I acknowledge that isn't exactly the goal of the shoe. For being a workhorse mileage shoe this shoe does pretty well. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Matt: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a maximalist, highly cushioned daily training shoe for those who want a ton of soft shoe underfoot with a large rocker for easy runs, long runs. This is a premium shoe from top to bottom, featuring a ton of soft foam, a durable outsole and a cushioned upper. The fit is snug, especially in the forefoot, so those with narrow to normal-width feet will do best. The ride is smooth, cushioned and lighter for its weight, but the volume of the shoe makes it best as a mileage shoe. While it is a different shoe from the previous Nimbus shoes, it retains the essence of being a premium training shoe, but adds the new elements of maximalism to its repertoire. 

Nathan: The Nimbus 25 is a maximalist trainer for people who want an easy run and high mileage shoe that is very soft, has a moderate rocker, and is focused on comfort. It is for runners who prefer neutral shoes or mild structure, and those who don't mind a little extra bulk underfoot.

David: The ASICS Nimbus 25 is a daily training shoe for someone looking to have a lot of cushion under their feet and a balanced rocker. The shoe is surprisingly grounded for how much foam there is and someone needing mild stability will probably respond well. The outsole traction and stability also give some multipurpose appeal outside of exclusively road running. The shoe does come with some weight, and so if you are sensitive to heavier shoes this may not be the shoe for you. 


GRADING

Matt
Fit: B+/A- (Comfortable, plush upper. Toebox tapers but does stretch)
Performance: 
A- (Soft rockered ride. Large heel works well for posterior landings. Great for easy/long runs)
Stability: B+/A- [Stable Neutral) (Wide sole, rearfoot sidewalls, flare, rockered shoe. Soft sole slightly offsets)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Integration of new age concepts into a longstanding shoe line)
Personal: A- (One of my top trainers if not for the tapered forefoot. Great for long and recovery runs)
Overall: A-

Nathan

Fit: A- (Really nice overall, just a few issues with the tongue and getting it as secure as I'd like, well executed knit)
Performance: 
A (Rides really well for a maximally cushioned shoe, not made for workouts or speed)
Stability: B/B+ (The softer sole is countered by side walls, wide base, and flaring)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Integration of stack, softness, and side walls can sometimes be difficult, but they did well)
Personal: B+ (Sometimes too soft for my tired feet, nice for long runs)
Overall: B+/A- 

David
Fit: B+ (Good security throughout, thick material that does not drain very well, snug volume through forefoot)
Performance: A-
 (Smooth balanced transitions throughout, still carries some weight but grounded for how much stack there is)
Stability: A- (Large amounts of softer foam materials take some stability away, though the sidewalls, sole flaring, and outsole traction help counteract this)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (A good way of keeping balanced transitions of Nimbus in a modern package)
Personal:  (I do tend to like my shoes a tad lighter, though the shoe is still nice enough to take for some shake out runs or warm ups to the track)
Overall: B+/A- 


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FURTHER READING

Brooks Ghost 15 - The iconic every person trainer returns with some nice updates
Asics GT-1000 11 - The most affordable stability shoe in the market
Adidas Adizero SL - A remodernized daily trainer for the Adidas line
Brooks Hyperion Max - A brand new lightweight trainer from Brooks
Asics Metaspeed LD - Flytefoam Turbo and a carbon plate power this super spike
Topo Athletic Cyclone 2 - A huge upgrade lends PEBAX to this nonplated performance trainer

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at ASICS USA for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. 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.

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Brooks Ghost 15

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