Shoe Review: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 18 "The Cloud Runner"
The Gel-Nimbus 18 is ASICS’ newest iteration to their world-renowned shoe that has spanned for 18 years. Honestly, ASICS is doing a pretty good job in maintaining and updating the quality of the Nimbus-line; considering the fact that there are only a handful of shoe models that lasted for more than a decade. It’s like watching your favorite TV series in its 18th season.
Last year, a lot of runners had their personal take about the Nimbus 17. Many are curious about the updates done to their favorite neutral shoe after the Nimbus 18’s release date was announced several months ago.
I went to a local ASICS concept store and purchased the Gel-Nimbus 18 right after spotting it on the racks. Here are some of my impressions after having the Nimbus 18:
Weight has been one of my top qualifications when it comes to picking a shoe. I used to run in my Saucony Kinvara 5 & 6 while I train using the Adidas Supernova Glide Boost. These models are under the lightweight to semi-lightweight category. I never had a pair which is way heavier than them. The Nimbus 18 weighs 11oz at least, compared to my Kinvara 6 which only weighs a little less than 8 oz (via runningwarehouse). Logic tells me that I’m looking at a shoe which will add 3 ounces to each stride.That's just how I see it.
However, the significance of weight when it comes to running efficiency or speed is a subjective issue among runners. Some would say it will slow them down while others tell that it’s not noticeable during a run. I tried jogging inside the store to get the slightest feel of its ride. To my surprise, the weight wasn't really that much of an issue. (This is just my first impression).
One must understand that ASICS has always been producing premium high-mileage trainers. Compared to other brands, the Nimbus-line can take a very long beating (proven). It’s made to be highly durable and top quality materials. As a consequence, the shoe will definitely become heavier. If you are a minimalist runner or someone who prefers lightweight shoes, you may have doubts in getting this pair.
2.) FIT &UPPER
I love these shoes! The fit is just PERFECT. The toe box is spacious enough to give my toes enough room to move. My feet were secured well, thanks to the supportive heel counter and plush ankle collar at the rear, and a non-restrictive fit of the upper (Fluidfit). ASICS retained the engineered mesh used on the Nimbus 17 for lightweight breathability.
I featured the Nimbus 18 last March as one of my most anticipated Neutral running shoes for 2016. I highlighted the modified placement of the ASICS Gel at the rear foot region of the shoes. I was curious what would it feel like if there was Gel inserted closely below my heel. The answer was noticeable.
The heel felt remarkably “bouncy” or “cushy”. This catered my special fondness for a shoe that has a soft heel cushioning. Compared to my Glide Boost, the Nimbus 18 felt a tad softer in the heel area. It corresponds to the purpose of the ASICS Gel to increase support by absorbing and reducing ground impact during strides. This is a great update for those who are hauling long-miles during training or actual runs.
I almost forgot about the weight issue after walking around while wearing the Nimbus 18. They are just so comfortable to wear! I have both Adidas Energy Boost ESM and Glide Boost in my rotation. I believe that the Boost technology of Adidas has become synonymous to the word “COMFORT”. In this particular matter, I can attest that the Nimbus 18 is a very competitive rival when it comes to that category. The “Cloud Runner” truly lives up to its name.
The suggested retail price of the Gel-Nimbus is PHP 8000. Compared to other brands that retail Php 4000- 6000 worth of running shoes, this pair is considered to be a very expensive (Trivia: The ASICS Metarun has a 5-digit price tag to it). The price could possibly explain the quality of the materials fused into the shoe.
In a way or another, buying an ASICS pair is like purchasing a mobile phone that has a long-lasting battery life. I know some runners whose ASICS beaters have outlived two running shoes. For a Php 8000 worth of pair, I think that’s worth every buck.
You may get your pair from local ASICS concept stores near you.
[UPDATE: 04/24/16]- After testing the performance of the Gel-Nimbus 18, here are some of things I observed:
The Gel-Nimbus 18 truly deserves to be called “The Cloud Runner”. The level of cushion provided by this shoe is luxurious. It’s one of the plushiest pairs I have reviewed so far. If I am going to associate it using the materials of other brands, it felt like I was running on Adidas Boost and Skechers Memory foam combined. I put premium on comfort, and I’m happy to announce that the Nimbus 18 got a 10/10 in that aspect.
To fully test the performance of the shoe, I decided to run the Nimbus 18 on both flat and uneven road surfaces for 35 kilometers (accumulated). Whenever I tried to shift my foot motion to avoid bumps and rocks, the upper of the shoe (particularly the mesh) had no problem adjusting the stretch it needed to support my feet. My feet remained perfectly locked in place while being allowed it to move naturally inside the shoe.I coursed through the uneven roads comfortably, thanks to the gel unit that absorbed/reduced the ground impact. Traction won’t be necessary issue since there is plenty of rubber coverage on its outsole.
As I reached asphalt roads, the steady ride of the Nimbus 18 became more noticeable. I could barely feel the solidity of the road because of the gel units inserted below the heel and forefoot areas of the shoes (same case while I was running in trail). My toes felt like they were sinking deeply into the forefoot cushioning pads. It felt unnatural at first, but it never became a huge problem throughout the entire testing phase.
My strides were slower than usual. It took my feet a bit longer to achieve toe-off because of the cushioning granted by the shoe and its stiff flexibility. It wasn’t much of a big deal for me. However, some runners find it a bit difficult to run on shoes that are “too cushioned”. Excess midsole cushioning systems may cut the responsiveness of the shoe or reduce ground feel. This often leads to a sluggish pace while running. The shoe’s weight could play a significant factor as well. If you are the type of runner who prefers a “snappier” ride, you may opt for lighter and less cushioned neutral shoes.
The Nimbus 18 is a great all-around shoe for training and actual runs. It worked well with me. Aside from its sluggishly cushioned ride, Neutral runners may expect a very comfortable running experience as they run short or long distances. The Nimbus 18 comes with a hefty price (Php 8000) and heavier weight compared to other shoe models in its category. However, the durability/life span and performance of this shoe is definitely unquestionable. In comparison, it may not have the competitiveness of a racing car but it has the quality and comfort of a luxury car.