Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

In this comparison of Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus we deep dive into the details of design, engineering and performance, and provide and overview of which one is right for you.

Asics classifies the Cumulus as a neutral and versatile everyday trainer and the Nimbus as a plush cushioned, neutral daily trainer. The Cumulus has always been the workhorse, and the Nimbus has been the more expensive luxury sibling.

When looking at running shoes these days, I’ve realized that you have to pay careful attention to what they designed the shoe for, because shoe companies have made their shoes so specialized. You can find so many shoes that are great for racing but just can’t handle the workload of a regular training program or a workhorse that’s simply not responsive enough to do any kind of tempo runs with.

If you have a few shoes in your rotation, that’s great, but if you’re looking for one shoe to do it all, that complicates life. The Cumulus and Nimbus, while both classified as daily trainers, will give you a very different running experience, and that’s what we’re going to focus on in this review.

Asics has been making very conservative updates to these two flagship models for years and frankly, fans have grown tired of it. So this year Asics have gone all out and made the biggest changes to both the Cumulus and Nimbus models in probably more than a decade. But do we like it? 

We actually do. Stick around to the end to get all the details on how these two shoes stack up against each other.

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Engineered jacquard mesh upper
75% recycled content in the upper
PureGEL™ technology
FF BLAST™ PLUS technology
OrthoLite™ X-30 sockliner
Reflective details
AHAR™ outsole rubber
Full-ground contact design
Engineered knit upper
75% of the shoe’s main upper material made with recycled content
PureGEL™ technology
FF BLAST™ ECO PLUS technology
OrthoLite™ X-55 sockliner
Reflective details
AHAR™ outsole rubber
Versatile daily trainer
Good lockdown for faster paces
Enough cushioning for long miles
Stable in turns with wider platform
Reduced weight
Eco-friendly upper
Fantastic shoe for beginners
Good grip on wet and dry surfaces
Extremely comfortable
Very soft cushioning
Feels lighter than actual weight
Sustainable materials
Makes a great casual shoe as well
Gentle rocker geometry gives a smoother ride
Upper is a little warm 
Not for wide feet
Runs warm
Pricier than most daily trainers
Narrow toe box
Firmer ride
Not a very responsive ride
An oven for the feet
Men (US9) 266g / Women (US8) 229gMen (US9) 292g / Women (US8) 260g
Total Stack HeightTotal Stack Height
Men: 37.5/29.5 & Women: 37.5/29.5mmMen: 41.5/33.5 & Women: 40.5/32.5mm
This shoe is for you if you:This shoe is for you if you:
are looking for a versatile daily trainer,
are a beginner runner,
are a neutral runner or a mild pronator
are looking for soft cushioning,
are running with or trying to recover from injuries,
are a neutral runner or a mild pronator
This shoe is not for you if you:This shoe is not for you if you:
need a support shoe,
are looking for a really light shoe,
want a racing shoe,
like to feel the ground while running
need a support shoe,
are looking for a really light shoe,
are looking for a responsive shoe,
like to feel the ground while running

Here’s a Closer Look at the Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

First Impressions—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

At first glance, the newest models of the Cumulus and Nimbus both look different, with the Nimbus being unrecognizable. The upper of the Cumulus 25 has changed little, apart from the colorways becoming busier, but the sole unit looks so different that your eye goes there and almost stays there. Where did the gel go? More about that when we get to the midsole. The overall feel of the shoe is like previous Cumulus models with a little more pop.

When I showed the Nimbus 25 to my sister-in-law who’s been running with the Nimbus for 6+ years, she asked me what shoe it was. Yes, it looks that different, and it also feels that different. The Nimbus 25 looks modern, nice enough to be a casual wear shoe even (I never would have said that of any previous models) also with the signature gel pods and strips gone. The cushioning on the Nimbus 25 is considerably softer than previous models, and where I found it unresponsive before, I think it now has a bit of a lazy feel to it, true recovery-style shoes.

Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Upper—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

While the upper of the Cumulus and Nimbus look very similar, at first glance, there are some significant differences between them. The engineered jacquard mesh upper is fairly breathable, not too stretchy, and is also mostly responsible for the locked-down feeling you get in the shoe. An internal heel counter and added overlays around the laces further contribute to that lock-down and I feel these overlays also add some durability.

The tongue on the Cumulus is plush and gusseted and it stays in place throughout the run. The laces are flat and stay tied, while the inside of the shoe is soft and comfortable but slightly narrow across the mid-foot. It’s an attractive shoe without being too flashy. The color combinations on the darker models are maybe a bit busy for my liking, but that’s just me. I’ve counted only 7 color options, whereas previous models of the Cumulus had up to 20 different color options.

The Nimbus’s upper immediately gives you a more luxurious feel, with the engineered knit upper being stretchy and, unfortunately, also quite warm compared to the Cumulus. If you’re running in colder conditions, of course, that’s a bonus. The tongue is also stretchy, very thin (at least this allows for some breathing), and gusseted to keep it in place.

Asics has labeled this the most comfortable running shoe in the world (they’ve actually done a small test/study, albeit very small) and runners agreed the shoe was extremely comfortable. While the shape of the upper is like the Cumulus, the knit fabric and added knit collar around the ankle with its stretchy pull tab and maybe the added sheen of the fabric gives this shoe that luxurious look and feel. There are 13 color options for the Nimbus, most of them with that sheen look. 

Both these shoes come in wide models, which is nice. Unfortunately, those are only available in one or two color options.

Midsole—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

The midsole in both the Cumulus and Nimbus is now made of FF Blast+ which is softer and more responsive. You’d think that would mean that the two shoes feel the same underfoot, but it doesn’t. I have a feeling it’s because of a difference in densities between the two shoes because the Cumulus has that added pop which is definitely missing in the Nimbus and the Nimbus is definitely considerably softer. Runners have described the Cumulus as much more responsive than before and the Nimbus as much softer than before.

So where did the gel go? Asics has moved the gel from the sides of the sole to right underneath the foot in a thin honeycomb-type layer. They did this in both the Cumulus and the Nimbus. While the gel is now invisible to the eye, it still seems to do its job well.

The cushioning in both these shoes is enough that they can handle longer distances really well, but where the Cumulus that’s firmer can pick up the pace, the softer Nimbus does better at easy paces. One runner said she feels like she’s fighting the shoe when she tries to go faster in the Nimbus.

Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Outsole—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Both Outsoles are very similar, with AHAR rubber on the high-wear areas on the heel and forefoot. The shapes are almost identical, but the pattern is different with the Cumulus having shallow groves and the Nimbus having small holes (I worry about the Nimbus’s holes being a pebble trap). The grip on both is good on most dry surfaces and they both struggle somewhat on smoother wet surfaces. I’d keep that in mind, running in snow or icy conditions.

The durability seems good as well, with both showing minimal signs of wear after 50 miles. Only time will tell how they do with more miles.

Weight—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Cumulus: Men (US9) 266g / Women (US8) 229g

Nimbus: Men (US9) 292g / Women (US8) 260g

The Cumulus definitely has the upper hand in the weight department. While 30 grams doesn’t seem like a lot, when you do the math, it’s actually a ton. My average cadence is 180. That means that I’m doing 90 strides per foot per minute, adding up to 180 strides per minute. If I run for an hour, that means it’s 180 strides times 60 minutes, which gives us 10 800 strides for the total run. If my shoes weigh an extra 30 grams each. That means with every stride I move an extra 30 grams, multiplying that by 10 800 strides gives you 324kg over an hour run. Insane isn’t it?

Ride—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

I think it’s clear that the Cumulus is going to give a well-cushioned, but firmer and more responsive ride, while the Nimbus is going to give you a softer, more protected ride. This doesn’t mean that the Cumulus doesn’t offer ample protection, just that it’s a little less protective than the Nimbus.

The added pop in the Cumulus means that it’s truly a versatile trainer that can handle just about any workout you throw at it and even the odd race. You are going to love the Nimbus on easy and recovery days but might feel frustrated when trying to pick up the pace in them.

Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Stack height and Drop—Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Cumulus stack height:

  • Men – 37.5mm in the heel & 29.5mm in the forefoot
  • Women – 37.5mm in the heel & 29.5mm in the forefoot

Cumulus drop:

  • Men – 8mm
  • Women – 8mm

Nimbus stack height:

  • Men – 41.5mm in the heel & 33.5mm in the forefoot 
  • Women – 40.5mm in the heel & 32.5mm in the forefoot

Nimbus drop:

  • Men – 8mm
  • Women – 8mm

The difference in stack height isn’t that much, but the softer cushioning on the Nimbus makes it feel more than it actually is. The wider platform on the Cumulus also makes it feel like the more stable shoe of the two.

FAQ on Asics Running Shoes

Do they run true to size?

The Cumulus runs true to size, but the Nimbus seems to run a half-size small. Asics have always made their shoes on the narrow side and these are no exception, but they are both available in a wide model as well. You can read more here about picking the right size.

Personally, I don’t find the wide model wide enough and would recommend that if you have really wide feet, you consider New Balance instead.

Is either of these shoes waterproof?

The latest iterations of the Cumulus and Nimbus are not currently available in a waterproof model. There are still some of the Cumulus 23 G-TX models available and those are waterproof. G-TX stands for Gore-Tex and if you see the G-TX after the model of an Asics shoe, that is a sign that it’s a waterproof model.

Which of these shoes have removable inner soles?

Both the Cumulus and the Nimbus have removable inner soles that you can replace with custom orthotics. The Nimbus already has a really plush inner sole though. Try it out first before replacing it.

Which shoe would be best if I’m struggling with plantar fasciitis?

While both shoes are cushioned shoes, the extremely plush cushioning of the Nimbus might be the better option if you’re struggling with plantar fasciitis, but you should always consult your doctor on injuries and health matters for a professional opinion.

Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Final Thoughts on the Asics Cumulus vs Nimbus

Both the Cumulus 25 and the Nimbus 25 are high-quality neutral everyday trainers that can handle any distance up to a full marathon. The Cumulus has not lost its workhorse status in my opinion, even despite the massive makeover it had. It’s willing and capable and will give you more value for your money than most other running shoes.

The Nimbus’s softer ride sets it apart in my mind as a fantastic recovery shoe. I think the Nimbus can be a great option for someone recovering from injury or even currently struggling with plantar fasciitis or other foot injuries. If I had to label it, it would be the rehab shoe. 

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Marlene Baiton

Marlene Baiton is a freelance writer/editor and accounting controller. As a running and cycling enthusiast, she loves spending her free time out on the roads and trails with her family.

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