By Brian Metzler
Looking for a new pair of everyday training shoes with a high-stack midsole profile? You’ve got to check out the new ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25. But if you’re going to give it a try, please forget what you knew about the previous version of this neutral-oriented daily trainer. The Nimbus has always been a workhorse of a training shoe, ideal for a wide range of runners. And it still is. Only it’s not remotely the same shoe as it was in the past.
Two of the biggest trends in running shoes in 2023 are thicker midsoles and midsole foams made from new, luxuriously cushy and responsive foam materials. ASICS has reimagined the Nimbus based on those key points, but in doing so it took the Nimbus from a basic, utilitarian family sedan and converted it into a luxury SUV with leather seats and a megawatt stereo system. That’s not a bad thing at all, but in doing so, it’s also eliminated the versatility, agility and handling the Nimbus once had. Since January, I’ve worn the Nimbus 25 as one of my go-to training shoes and have worn it for a lot of 8-12 mile runs. I don’t have any complaints at all about its comfort or durability, but the more I run in it, the more I am reminded that it’s not nimble or speedy.
Every training shoe is getting bigger and cushier with more luxurious drip, which is great for long runs and recovery runs, but it means that you definitely need other shoes in your quiver for faster workouts. A lot of shoe reviews talk about a shoe feeling like you’re running on clouds. This shoe has long been named after a type of cloud that’s thick enough to block out the sun, but it’s only now that it truly seems appropriate.
Everything about the GEL-Nimbus 25 is new or revamped. There’s 20 percent more FlyteFoam Blast+ Eco foam in the midsole than the previous version and a 4mm increase in thickness from heel to toe. There’s also a new PUREGEL cushioning pod that improves impact absorption with less weight than the previous GEL pods. Plus, the Nimbus 25 no longer has a midfoot Trusstic system (aka plastic midfoot shank) which allows the new midsole formulation to serve up a smooth, uninhibited transition from heel to toe without any torsional rigidity. And the shoe now has an 8mm heel-toe offset—previously 13mm (women’s) and 10mm (men’s), respectively. The upper has also been changed from an engineered mesh material to a breathable, semi-stretchy knit fabric with a bootie fit from a fully gusseted knit tongue. A new outsole includes three segments of perforated rubber (two pads of durable rubber on the heel, one larger segment of lighter and more responsive rubber under the forefoot) plus large sections of exposed foam, which combine to keep the shoe as light as possible while also being plenty durable and very grippy on wet and dry pavement and concrete. Whew! That’s a lot of changes, to be sure. Somehow it retains the same name of ASICS’ best-selling training shoe that’s been a favorite of runners for a quarter century.
The GEL-Nimbus 25 fits true to size with a medium-volume interior from heel to midfoot but with a slightly more narrow toe box. (A few wear-testers said they might consider sizing up by a half size, so it’s important to try this shoe on before you buy.) The step-in feel is unbelievably plush, with softness surrounding your feet from all directions. It fits like a fleece-lined glove. Once you lace it up, it feels like a mix of the comfiest bedroom slipper you’ve ever worn and the best foot massage you’ve ever experienced. Walking, jogging or running produces a gooey soft sensation with plenty of bouncy action in every stride. Once you lace them up and start running, you realize this is nothing like the GEL-Nimbus shoes you used to know. It’s a true maximally cushioned trainer that produces buttery smooth transitions from heel-strike to toe-off, thanks to a mild rocker geometry. For a shoe with such an enormous midsole, it’s surprisingly stable, too. (But not enough to accommodate for overpronators.)
Why It’s Great:
The dramatic improvements—especially the thicker midsole, the lower heel drop and the soft new upper and tongue—have turned it into a luxury high-mileage cruiser. It’s now on par with shoes like the Brooks Glycerin and Saucony Triumph models when it comes to top-tier comfort and cushioning, and not surprisingly, it carries the same $160 price tag. That’s the cost of doing business nowadays, but it’s a good investment if you’re looking to up your running game this year.
Weight: 9.1 oz. (women’s size 8), 10.2 oz. (men’s size 9)
Stack Height: 40.5mm/32.5mm (women), 41.5mm/33.5mm (men)
Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm
Why You’ll Love It: Whether you’re a high-mileage marathon runner or a relatively new runner who logs modest mileage a few times per week, you’ll love the plush feeling and soft, resilient ride of the GEL-Nimbus 25. It’s an exceptional shoe for long runs and recovery runs, which, if you’re like most runners, probably makes up the bulk of your weekly running. It’s not a light or fast shoe, but it’s a very comfy and reliable model that will give your sore feet and legs a break when you lace it up—both because it feels so good and because it reduces the impact shock to your joints.
Pro: One of the nice aspects of the new Nimbus is the greater attention to environmental sustainability. The sockliner is produced with a solution dyeing process that reduces water usage by approximately 33 percent and carbon emissions by approximately 45 percent compared to conventional dyeing technology. At least 75 percent of the shoe's main upper material is made with recycled content to reduce waste and carbon emissions.
Con: The new GEL-Nimbus 25 is about a half ounce heavier than the previous version. While that’s not a detrimental factor, it’s not an easy shoe to run fast in because of the mass of material under your feet. Its top comfortable speed is somewhere around your marathon pace, which means you can run moderate tempo runs in it but nothing too much faster