Who should buy the Asics Gel Nimbus 26 ?
If you’re looking for a shoe that can handle most types of runs while having a good amount of cushion, this is a great shoe. Beginner runners will love this shoe as an all-around shoe while intermediate to advanced runners will likely use this for recovery, easy, slower tempo, and long run days.
Who should not buy the Asics Gel Nimbus 26 ?
If you’re not a fan of a higher stack shoe or are looking for a fully plush shoe, then this shoe won’t be something you’ll love. Also, if you’re needing a shoe that is lighter in weight, I would also look elsewhere. If you’re an intermediate to advanced runner looking for a speedy shoe, this shoe will not meet your demands.
Asics Gel Nimbus 26 Introduction
Now in its 26th edition, the Gel-Nimbus is one of the longest tenured running shoes in the Asics lineup.
For this edition, a little bit has changed from the Nimbus 25 and it would seem that the changes were improvements all around.
This year’s shoe has a redesigned upper, better rubber outsole, an added rocker to the outsole, and a slightly firmer midsole that lends itself to some up-tempo running. As a result, the shoe gained about a half ounce in weight, so some runners might not like the added weight to their daily trainer.
The Gel-Nimbus sits in the cushioned line of Asics shoes (Gel-Cumulus is in that line as well).
This is considered one of their maximum cushioned daily trainers in line with the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 or the Brooks Ghost Max.
Within the Asics family, there is also the Novablast 4 that has the same midsole foam. What seems to make the Novablast 4 feel a bit firmer and less cushiony is that the Nimbus 26 has added PureGel™ technology into the heel.
The Nimbus 26 also has a different outsole grip that increases traction.
Asics Gel Nimbus 26 First Impressions
When I first opened this box and looked at the shoe, my first thought was, “that’s a lot of midsole!” I haven’t had to many shoes with a super high stack height so it was interesting to see so much midsole. The shoe felt relatively lightweight in my hand and then again on my feet.
My first run in the shoe was an easy 5 mile recovery run. It was the day after a long run so I wanted a shoe with good cushion and support. This shoe provided that. While it wasn’t nearly as soft as the New Balance 1080v13, it was still plenty soft for a recovery run while also providing a stable ride that the 1080v13 didn’t provide.
The upper of the shoe felt great. It wrapped around your foot nicely. The lacing system was interesting and looks to be changed from the Nimbus 25. It didn’t have any impact for me in terms of comfort on that first run.
The shoe did feel heavy overall and I could tell even from that first run that this shoe was not going to do so well if I wanted to do some faster intervals.
Asics Gel Nimbus 26 Upper
The upper on this shoe was well-constructed. The entire upper is made of soft, stretchy engineered mesh. This helps the shoe conform to your foot while creating a plush feel all around.
The tongue is gusseted and feels as soft as the rest of the shoe. It is flatter than most shoes would make for a max cushioned shoe but I thought the stretchy, plush feeling of the tongue enhanced the comfort of the shoe.
I had no issues with hot spots or rubbing.
The lacing system is a bit changed from the previous version but I’m not sure most would notice much of a difference.
Overall, the shoe fit true to size.
In a previous review of the Nimbus 25, it was noted that the toe box was a bit narrow. This shoe felt like the forefoot area was wide enough and there was sufficient length overall. This shoe does come in wider widths for anyone needing that.
Asics Gel Nimbus 26 Sole Unit
As mentioned earlier, the midsole unit here is made of two major parts: the PureGel™ in the heel surrounded by the FF Blast™ PLUS ECO foam. For those that are Eco-conscious, the development of the FF Blast™ foam helps reduce the shoe’s carbon footprint by 25%.
The heel drop is 8mm, with a height of about 42mm in the heel and 34mm in the forefoot. This makes the shoe fairly neutral in terms of your stride and the midsole composition makes your run feel firm and stable.
One change from the previous version is that they added a bit of a rocker to the heel. It helps a bit with making the ride smoother.
I took this shoe on tempo, interval, easy, and long runs. It didn’t quite feel snappy for those intervals and I wouldn’t recommend for most intermediate to advanced runners. In terms of the tempo and for strides, the shoe responded well to picking up the pace.
It was comfortable for those runs and I felt like I wasn’t sacrificing too much in spite of the heavier weight of the shoe. Asics advertises this shoe to have cloud-like cushioning.
I would stop short of saying that as I think there are softer shoes out there and this shoe doesn’t necessarily feel completely plush on your feet.
One upgrade in this version compared to Nimbus 25 is the upgraded rubber outsole. The new outsole is a combination of Asics®Grip™ and their AHAR™PLUS. This improved the grip on this shoe as I can verify after running on wet streets with the shoe. In all of my runs, I always felt secure and stable taking any tight turns at any speed.
Asics Gel Nimbus 26 Conclusions
Overall, the Nimbus 26 is one of my favorite shoes and will remain in my rotation for all of my easy, recovery, and long runs.
I might take it out for a tempo run here and there if it is on the slower side. Asics has gone a long way in terms of redesigning this shoe for maximal comfort, while delivering a stable ride with high traction.
This shoe does nearly all of that, although it is not the softest, plushest midsole out there.
I highly recommend this shoe for all runners. There is a place in every runner’s shoe rotation for this shoe.