I was having a conversation with a (much faster, club-runner) running friend the other day when he asked: “why does everyone suddenly want to run on clouds?” Yet if there’s a trend I’m here for, it’s running brands making max cushioned shoes. I love nothing more than putting a seriously plush, seriously comfortable pair of the best running shoes on, and heading out for chilled, easy miles. Meet the latest neutral running shoe to enter the super-plush market: the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25.
Weight: 292g (M), 260g (W)
Widths: One width
For a shoe to be on its 25th iteration, it must be doing something right, yet Asics has given its popular neutral running shoe a serious facelift. Asics has called its Gel-Nimbus 25 its "most comfortable running shoe yet" — its added new PureGEL technology and more of its FF Blast Plus Eco cushioning. But how does all this feel underfoot? I’ve been running in the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 — read on for my full review.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 review: Price and availability
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 costs $160 / £175 / AU$290 and will be available online and in stores from February 1, 2023. The shoe is available in men’s sizes US7-16 in ten different colorways. In the women’s version, the shoe comes in 11 different colorways, in sizes US 5-13.
For testing, I’ve been running in a pair of the women’s Gel-Nimbus 25’s, in a UK 5/US7 in the papaya/dusty purple color.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 review: Design and fit
When creating the Gel-Nimbus 25, the designers at Asics set out to make some huge changes to its neutral running shoe. The company added 20% more midsole foam, for a cushioned feel underfoot, and new PureGEL technology for better shock absorption.
As part of the launch, Asics commissioned an independent study at The Biomechanics Lab in South Australia, which compared the comfort of the Gel-Nimbus 25 to three competitor shoes, as well as its predecessor, the Gel-Nimbus 24. 100 runners (52 men and 48 women) took place in the study, where they ran on a treadmill at a pace of 10km/hour for three minutes, over an eight-week period. Participants ran in all five pairs of shoes which were made to be completely unrecognizable and were asked to rate the comfort of each shoe based on heel cushioning, forefoot cushioning, shoe stability, and forefoot flexibility. The Gel-Nimbus 25 was rated as the most comfortable.
Everything about the Gel-Nimbus 25 feels completely different from the Gel-Nimbus 24, including the upper. The upper of the Gel-Nimbus 25 is now more bootie-like, with a soft, stretchy tongue that sits comfortably across the top of the foot. The back of the shoe is seriously cushioned, with a lot of padding around the collar to cradle your foot. It’s definitely a pivot away from the classic, thick, sturdy upper we’ve come to expect from Asics running shoes.
Another huge change you’ll notice in this shoe is the stack height — it’s got a lot taller when compared to the Gel-Nimbus 24. The shoe has increased by 4mm in the forefoot and 6mm in the heel, giving it an 8mm drop. There’s still the same Gel in the midsole, designed for enhanced shock absorption as your foot hits the ground, but it’s now completely hidden. There’s also a thick slab of Asics’ Flytefoam Blast+ Eco midsole foam, which you immediately sink into when putting the shoe on. Asics say the shoe has 20% more foam underfoot than previous iterations of the shoe, and you definitely feel this straight away.
The midsole foam is the same as that found in newer Asics shoes, such as the Novablast 3 and Glideride 3. It’s made with 20% bio-based material from renewable sources such as leftover waste from sugar case processing.
The shoe's outsole contains Asics’ AHAR outsole rubber, designed to be durable. This is definitely a shoe best suited to the roads or light trails. There’s not a crazy amount of grip, but enough to keep you running on slippery, wet pavements.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 review: Running performance
I’ve never been a massive fan of the Gel-Nimbus — it’s always been a little ‘meh', a good running shoe for easy miles, but there’s always been far more exciting shoes on the market. The Gel-Nimbus 25, however, is a game changer.
This shoe is super soft and comfortable, up there with the likes of the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run 2 and the New Balance More V4 when it comes to underfoot cushioning. Out of the box, I took this shoe out on a 10-mile progression run and had no issues — Asics has got the bootie upper right, and it cradled my foot on the run.
Asics has transformed this neutral running shoe into something exciting. I looked forward to running in it for long and easy miles. The one downside with this shoe is that it’s definitely not a jack of all trades. All that plushness makes it a little on the spongey side when you’re trying to pick up the pace, and faster runners might be put off by this. At $160, it’s also pretty expensive for an everyday running shoe.
Is it the most comfortable running shoe yet? Probably not. I did experience some slight chafing on the back of my heel after a week of testing this shoe. But is it a significant improvement on the Gel-Nimbus 24? Absolutely.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 review: Verdict
This is, without a doubt, the best version of the Gel-Nimbus to date. It’s a comfortable, plush, everyday running shoe that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed running in. If you’re looking for a max-cushioned shoe, perfect for easy miles and long runs, this will tick all the right boxes.
That said, if you’re looking for a super-cushioned running shoe that you could also race in, I’d spend a little more and buy something like the New Balance Supercomp Trainer — a plush shoe with enough pop to race in.
If you’re on a budget, there are cheaper running shoes on the market that’ll also give you a soft, cushioned ride. Check out the New Balance 1080v12, or the original Nike ZoomX Invincible Run, which has been on the market for a few years now so will likely be discounted.