As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of athletic apparel, it should come as no surprise that Asics has dozens of running shoe options in its product catalog.
And while choices are usually a good thing, it can be intimidating to sort through the mass and find the perfect running shoe for your needs.
That’s why we’re here to help.
The Kayano and Nimbus are two of Asics’ leading running shoes. Each line dates back decades and has gone through numerous iterations over the years.
Each update combines user feedback, the latest running science, and the most cutting-edge technological innovations to provide a best-in-class product.
The result is the Kayano, one of the premier stability shoes on the market, and the Nimbus, a top-notch option in the high-cushion game.
In this article we compare Asics Kayano vs Nimbus. Keep reading for a comprehensive breakdown on the similarities, differences, and recommendations regarding these two signature Asics running shoes!
Asics Running Shoes At A Glance
Asics has a long history of using the latest technology and innovation to create running shoes to meet the needs of runners of all ability levels. Each of their shoes are engineered with 5 specific characteristics in mind:
- Cushioning – how does the shoe soften impact during foot strikes?
- Support – does the shoe include any overpronation protection?
- Ride – how much ground will you feel with each foot strike?
- Fit – how snugly does the shoe fit around the top of your foot?
- Grip – how does the outsole interact with the running surface?
For today’s comparison, the Kayano is noted for its performance as a stability/support solution, while the Nimbus focuses more on cushioning. However, this does not mean that these two notable shoes neglect Asics’ other engineering principles.
Asics Kayano: What Are You Getting?
The Kayano is noted for being Asics’ premier stability shoe.
Stability shoes are designed to prevent overpronation during strides. Pronation is the inward rolling of the heel as the foot touches the ground. While some pronation is normal, too much pronation can cause a running-related injury.
The Kayano specifically combats overpronation through its Dynamic Duomax support system.
This innovative overpronation remedy applies a firm sponge to the medial side of the midsole. This controls the inward rolling of the heel that contributes to overpronation. It reduces stress and makes for an overall more comfortable running experience for people susceptible to overpronation.
Due to this unique overpronation support, the Kayano is considered a great shoe for people experiencing shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and heel spurs.
Although the Kayano is noted for its support potential, it is not the only distinguishing characteristic.
It is engineered with ample amounts of Asics’ patented Gel technology in the rearfoot, guaranteeing a soft landing for heel strikers. In fact, the shoe is often referred to as the Gel-Kayano.
In addition, its engineered mesh upper promotes a breathable running experience.
Other key statistics include a 10mm heel to toe drop (important for runners with achilles tendonitis issues) and a weight of 10.9 ounces.
Asics Nimbus: What Are You Getting?
Along with the Novablast and Cumulus, the Nimbus is known as one of Asics’ most highly cushioned shoes.
This is accomplished through two innovative technologies:
- PureGEL – this is a lighter and softer version of previous versions of gel cushioning, promoting smoother strides. Like the Kayano, the Nimbus is often referred to as the Gel-Nimbus
- FF Blast Eco Plus – this is an innovative type of cushioning made from at least 20% bio-based material from renewable sources. It contributes to an ample midfoot stack that gives the Nimbus one of the most comfortable landing experiences of any Asics shoe ever
Although there is no denying the Nimbus’ prowess as a high-cushion shoe, it does have some other top-notch features.
For example, its engineered knit upper promotes breathability while also providing a soft feel to the foot. It also comes with a soft, stretchy knit tongue and collar construction that makes the shoe easier to put on and provides a more adaptive fit.
The other major calling card of the Nimbus is that it is made from mindfully sourced materials. In addition to the additional Eco Blast material in the midsole, at least 75% of the shoe’s main upper material is made with recycled material to reduce waste and carbon emissions.
Other key statistics of the Nimbus include an 8mm heel to toe drop and a weight of 10.3 ounces, making it a bit lighter than the Kayano.
Asics Kayano vs Nimbus Design Comparison
Now that you know all of the basics regarding the Asics Kayano and Nimbus, let’s take a detailed look at how they stack up along some important design points.
Like most running shoes on the market, both the Kayano and Nimbus draw attention to their breathable uppers that keep the foot feeling dry and fresh during runs.
The Kayano features an engineered mesh upper. It is soft and supportive to guarantee comfort and breathability. It is important to note that some users do find that the presence of additional stretch material in recent iterations of the Kayano makes the shoe feel a bit thicker and less breathable than previous models.
The Nimbus has an engineered knit upper with a soft, stretchy knit tongue and collar. This makes it easier to slide the shoe on and makes the shoe more form-fitting to the wearer’s foot.
All in all, while there is no doubt that both the Kayano and Nimbus provide a soft, breathable wearing experience, you should probably expect both of these shoes to tend a bit more toward the soft than the breathable when considering the upper design.
As mentioned, both products commonly carry the “Gel” in front of their names, a clear indication that they are cushioned with Asics patented Gel technology.
However, these midsoles offer a whole lot more than Gel.
The Kayano is a premier stability shoe that uses Asics’ proprietary Dynamic Duomax stability system. This is a piece of firm sponge placed on the inside of the insole to prevent the heel from rolling too far inward during foot strikes.
The Kayano also uses Gel technology in the rearfoot and FF Blast+ foam throughout the midsole to help soften landings and increase comfort while running.
The Nimbus is notable as containing one of the most highly cushioned midsoles on the market. Its 41.5mm rearfoot stack is one of the thickest measurements of any Asics product.
This is due to the presence of both PureGel and FF Blast Eco Plus that provide the product with its notably soft landings.
The Kayano uses a generous portion of Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) in the outsole. This promotes traction while also providing durability when running on all types of surfaces.
However, it is not a solid rubber outsole. There is a decent amount of exposed foam on the outsole, which helps improve the shoe’s flexibility.
The Nimbus has significantly less AHAR in the outsole. This is not uncommon with comfort running shoes, but it does decrease durability.
There is some AHAR situated in the heel to help withstand heel strikes. There is some softer AHAR in the forefoot to promote traction and responsiveness. Other than that, the outsole consists of exposed foam.
Asics Kayano vs Nimbus Feature Comparison
Now that you have the specifics on how each of these shoes are designed, let’s take a look and see how they stack up against each other along some key performance criteria.
Neither one of these shoes is a premier option in terms of durability.
The Kayano has enough AHAR in the outsole to get the job done for most purposes. However, some users are discouraged by how the midsole starts to break down in less than 6 months.
The Nimbus has even more durability issues than the Kayano. With significant amounts of exposed outsole rubber, it is easily torn up by jagged running surfaces.
Users also note that the gaudy midsole stack gets shredded up fairly quickly. Finally, the engineered knit upper is soft, but some runners have had problems with the tongue and laces deteriorating too quickly.
Despite the unique advantages these shoes provide, be prepared to have to replace them a bit sooner than expected. Don’t plan on getting much more than 300 miles out of either–especially the Nimbus.
Most users feel like the Kayano runs true to size. Its overpronation features make it a comfortable fit for people with wider, flatter feet.
The one drawback is that some runners feel like the latest iteration of the mesh upper is a bit thicker and more restrictive.
The Nimbus seems to run noticeably small. While it is always a good idea to size up by .5 when buying running shoes, it is a necessity with the Nimbus.
Numerous users complain of a narrow toe box and some cramping in the midfoot. As such, it is not an ideal shoe for runners with wide feet.
Both shoes are highly cushioned and very comfortable.
The Kayano is made up of a Gel sandwich in the midsole. It features a base layer of FF Blast+ foam, applies Asics Gel technology, and then adds another layer of FF Blast+ to complete the design. This provides excellent shock absorption and comfort throughout the run.
The Nimbus is obviously elite in this regard, as Asics designed it as part of its cushioned running shoe line.
Ample amounts of PureGel and FF Blast Eco Plus throughout the midsole give this shoe its highly cushioned and imposing midsole stack. Multiple runners note the landing experience as “cloudy” in the Nimbus. More casual wearers feel like they can be on their feet all day in this shoe without experiencing pain.
Stability & Support
Because the Kayano is the premier shoe in Asics’ stability line, it obviously scores highly in this regard. The Dynamic Duomax midsole sponge prevents overpronation without feeling uncomfortable like many overpronation blocks do.
It may be surprising, but the Nimbus also has some stability features. This is thanks to a midsole Trusstic system. It is a shank that extends throughout the length of the foot to help keep it locked in place. So despite the ample amount of foam throughout the midsole, the Trusstic system ensures that it is not so flexible that it contributes to injury.
The Kayano is a noticeably more affordable shoe. It can be found on most outlets for right around $100.
Like most highly cushioned shoes, you will pay a premium for the Nimbus’ comfort. Expect to pay north of $150 when purchasing this product.
FAQ – Asics Kayano vs Nimbus
A selection of the most common questions regarding the Asics Kayano vs Nimbus.
Can These Shoes Be Used for Casual Wear?
Yes, both of these shoes can be used for casual wear, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
As a stability running shoe, the Kayano is designed with overpronation in mind. The effects of overpronation are not felt as acutely when walking, so some overpronators don’t necessarily feel like they need a stability shoe for day-to-day purposes.
However, as the medial midsole sponge in the Kayano is not cumbersome, most wearers do not find it a distraction when walking, making the Kayano a suitable shoe for casual wear.
The Nimbus is a favorite among walkers and day-to-day users thanks to its elite cushioning. The only point to keep in mind when choosing the Nimbus is that the midsole stack is rather gaudy. Thick stacks are rather fashionable in 2023, but if you are looking for a more understated look, the Nimbus probably won’t be your first choice.
Which of These Shoes Is Better for People With High Arches?
The Nimbus is clearly the better shoe for people with high arches.
It is a neutral shoe, which tends to be the preferred design for people with normal to high arches.
The Kayano is marketed toward people with flatter feet, as these runners tend to have the most overpronation issues. However, there are some reviewers with high arches who note that they have had no issues with performance or comfort when wearing the Kayano, so the verdict is a bit split in this regard.
Do These Shoes Have a Heel Counter?
Yes, both shoes come with a heel counter to prevent rear foot slippage.
The Kayano has a more rigid heel counter, while the Nimbus uses one that is a bit softer. This makes it easier to slide the shoe on and off but could increase the risk of more heel movement than in the Kayano.
The Final Word on Asics Kayano vs Nimbus
Even though Asics has dozens of running shoes in its catalog, the Kayano and Nimbus are two lines that definitely stand out.
The Kayano is a premier stability shoe. It uses its innovative Dynamic Duomax support system to ensure that runners experience no unwanted inward rolling of the heel. Yet it accomplishes this without sacrificing comfort or performance.
The Nimbus is one of the most highly cushioned running shoes on the market. It combines cutting-edge PureGel and FF Blast Eco Plus throughout the midsole to create a formidable stack that runners equate to running on a cloud.
So if stability or comfort are concerns for you as you run, choose between the Asics Kayano and Nimbus and start logging those miles today!