ASICS GEL Nimbus 18 Review Facts
One of the leading names in running apparel over the past few years, popular footwear manufacturers ASICS derive their name from the Latin phrase “Anima sana in corpore sano.” In English, this translates to “A healthy soul in a healthy body.” In pursuit of this goal, this Japanese company has designed many products, including high-quality running shoes and the popular running app Runkeeper. Among ASICS’ entire catalog, one of its most popular and well-received lines of running shoes is their Gel Nimbus series. The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18, in particular, is a noteworthy example as to why they are so highly acclaimed. With the design intention of providing ample cushioning hand-in-hand with high adaptability, these shoes are incredibly helpful for runners looking for an edge.
The outsoles of these shoes implement a proprietary material known as Asics High Abrasion Rubber. AHAR
is designed for the purpose of providing supreme durability alongside excellent cushioning and high flexibility. This rubber material is hard yet slightly pliable and is found primarily in the heel area. The forefoot primarily features soft blown rubber, a lightweight cushioned rubber with many small air pockets, marketed by Asics as Durasponge. This version of the Gel Nimbus line
features a slightly different outsole design from previous iterations in order to provide runners with a better ride. This includes narrowing the gap between the side lugs on the heel and deepening the center of the outsole. These changes cause a minimal difference in positive qualities, such as durability or traction, but have the benefit of easier gait transitions.
The feature of these shoes that is the most immediately eye-catching is the gel. Gel
placed in the midsole was intended by the manufacturers to provide runners with a ride that is more cushioned and responsive. To accomplish this feat, the gel is meant to serve as a shock absorber when striking the ground during a running session. In addition to the gel, Asics implemented FluidRide
technology for an extra degree of cushioning and durability. The strongest benefit offered by these technologies is that they don’t add any extra weight to the shoe; this is very fortunate considering that these shoes are fairly heavy to begin with. Some runners have complained about the asymmetry of the midsoles since the medial side is a bit wider than the lateral. This can make the toe box feel a bit more constrictive on one side, but it isn’t a particularly awful design flaw.
The upper portion of the Asics Gel
Nimbus 18 is comprised mainly of an engineered mesh fabric. Lightweight and breathable, the seamless construction of this upper portion allows for a comfortable fit free from chafing or blisters. Asics implemented FluidFit technology to provide a sensation to the upper portion of your foot when worn that is similar to that of a sock. The rear portion features a plastic heel clutch that sets the foot in place securely and adds some additional comfort. No particularly noteworthy changes have been made to a traditional lacing
system, although an extra hole has been added that allows for a tighter fit. All in all, the upper for these shoes is very similar to the previous model in the Gel Nimbus line.
These Asics running shoes weigh above the average for other products of its kind at just a hair below 12 ounces. The primary cause of this extra weight is changes made to the design of the heel counter and midsole. This weight is equivalent to what you would commonly find among heavy-duty trail shoes; however, the Gel Nimbus 18 doesn’t share the traction or durability benefits offered by those lines of footwear. That said, any discomfort caused by the extra weight is offset to a degree thanks to a lightweight and breathable upper. Unfortunately, many runners are dissatisfied with the weight and rigidity of the midsole, so runners looking for a lighter stride may want to look elsewhere.
Thanks to a seamlessly engineered mesh fabric upper, the Asics Gel Nimbus 18 has excellent breathability. A soft, airy feel is provided to the foot thanks to the highly comfortable upper material, with the excellent airflow provided by its design maintaining that same level of comfort throughout the duration of a running session. The included sock liner helps to provide moisture management on top of the impressive airflow, wicking away any sweat or water from puddles that a runner may encounter. If it so happens that this impressive degree of ventilation still isn’t enough for runners, then further breathability can be accommodated by loosening the laces on the upper portion.
The comfort of these shoes will vary depending on what kind of runner is wearing them. Gel Cushioning technology in the midsole absorbs shock from impact during foot strikes, increasing comfort as a result. The mesh upper provides comfort with a secure fit and excellent airflow as well. Soft cushioning in the heel and forefront provides plenty of give during a run, but a few runners feel as though the midsole is too stiff. Complaints have also been levied regarding the plastic heel counter, with some finding it to be too tight. However, aside from these two small criticisms, the majority of discomfort complaints have to do with the toe box. Many runners feel that it is too narrow, even after a period of time spent breaking in the shoes, and recommend that runners with wider feet should purchase a larger size than normal. If this is something you wish to do, any loose feelings can be fortunately mitigated with the extra lace hole on the upper allowing for a tighter fit.
If you order through the manufacturer’s website, the GEL Nimbus 18 can be purchased in six different color schemes. This offers an excellent degree of color variety but even more options are available through other online retailers such as Amazon. Everything from more subdued color schemes to bright neon palettes is accommodated here, making it very easy for fashion-oriented runners to find a color pattern that suits their preferences. Aside from the colors, the rest of the shoe is excellently designed with an eye for style; the logo on the side blends in with the rest of the design seamlessly and upper showcases a nice, smooth webbing.
Much like most other comparable running shoes, the average mileage runners can expect to get out of the Gel Nimbus 18 is between 250 and 300 miles. The most durable part of these shoes is the midsole with its extremely sturdy construction. In addition, the outsole has been highly praised for its excellent resiliency. Although the forefoot is primarily made with soft blown rubber, hard rubber embedded in the arch and heel add extra durability to compensate. Because of these features, many customers enjoy using these as both a training tool and casual walking shoes. In a few rare cases, customers have noticed holes in the heel but this is fortunately extremely uncommon.
The GEL Nimbus 18 offers an impressive degree of fully protective coverage. The plush upper manages to weigh very little while still being thick enough to provide excellent protection to the upper foot, thanks in no small part to the sock liner. The rear plastic heel counter on the back provides extra foot protection as well as keeps your foot stable through each stride and foot strike. These elements all work in tandem to not only provide padding that protects from injury but also stability
in order to prevent any potential for injury in the first place.
This is one unfortunate flaw in the design of the Asics Gel Nimbus 18. It would be a lie to say that no responsiveness whatsoever can be felt in these shoes; however, there’s definitely a noticeable and very upsetting lack of competency in this design aspect. This is due mostly to the stiffness felt in the midsole and the excessively heavy weight of the entire shoe. The exception to this rigidity is the upper portion, with its breathable and pliable material, and the forefoot, with its soft blown rubber construction. However, these two factors alone don’t contribute enough responsiveness to satisfy more serious runners with discerning tastes.
Despite being lower than some runners may be used to, the amount of arch support present on the Nimbus 18 is adequate. Stronger support can be found in many other areas of the shoe as well, such as the exceptionally firm midsole and plastic heel counter. The design choices made to these shoes by Asics have been met with high praise from many satisfied customers who appreciate the effect they have on cadence and running efficiency
Despite having a weight comparable to most trail shoes
, the Asics Gel Nimbus 18 shoe meant only to be used on roads, track, and sidewalks. Some customers have used these shoes on trails and say that they work adequately; however, this is not recommended since they weren’t designed for this purpose and will likely degrade much faster if used in this way. Aside from that, the best surfaces to use these shoes on are flat and hard, without too much debris or too steep of an incline.
The GEL Nimbus 18 is priced on the higher side for a running shoe. This above average price may turn off some of the more frugal runners but the price is definitely justified. Despite being incredibly comfortable, durable, and stylish, it’s true that there are other competing products on the market with comparable features at a lower price. Ultimately, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the hefty investment.
In order to provide a personalized level of traction for each runner, the amount of midsole cushioning is carefully calculated for each gender. This means that women purchasing women’s sizes of the Gel Nimbus 18 will have a shoe designed specifically to cater to their needs when running, ensuring a high degree of control. Aside from this, the highly durable outsole provides further traction, provided that you use it in appropriate running environments.
Two areas of the Asics Gel Nimbus 18 that are pleasantly flexible are the forefoot and upper. Aside from that, the rest of these shoes are disappointingly rigid. Thanks to the higher than normal weight and an incredibly stiff midsole, there simply isn’t enough flexibility to accommodate more experienced runners. The best choice for these individuals is to find a shoe with less weight and material, such as a minimalist barefoot-style road shoe
What this shoe lacks in flexibility it more than makes up for in stability. This is due to many design factors, starting with its higher than average weight. This allows for Asics to devote more resources to maintaining a fluid foot movement, compensating for pronation and gait issues. A tight heel counter and an outsole that accommodates fluid transitions help to promote stability, but by far the most significant contributor to this aspect of the Gel Nimbus 18’s design is the midsole.
These Asics running shoe
s feature an impressively high heel drop. There is a difference in elevation from the heel to the forefoot of around 12 mm. This provides two benefits; First, the forefoot is closer to the ground which allows for more responsiveness, and second, the heel is protected from pain due to extra padding. This is standard for most running shoes of its kind, but individuals who are used to naturalistic shoes or trail runners may need time to adjust.
- Fluidride Midsole provides soft cushioning
- Fluidfit upper provides stretchy, comfortable fit
- Heel clutch system provides extra support
- Gel cushioning system absorbs shock from foot strikes
- Guidance Trusstic System adds support and stability
The GEL Nimbus 18 is great for runners looking for a durable and comfortable shoe. It’s perfect for all-day use, including both walking
and running. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they feature an appealing design. Unfortunately, the significant weight and high price tag are sure to turn off some runners, as will the lack of flexibility. That said, if you’re interested in a shoe that combines excellent style with unparalleled comfort and aren’t worried about some extra calf strain, these are not a bad investment despite their high price tag.