ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 Review

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26

Can running shoes be too soft? It’s a question we posed when we reviewed the redesigned ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 last year.

As with anything in life, balance is the key. While many runners appreciate a plush midsole underfoot to cushion their strides and absorb impact, no one wants to be digging their feet out of the shoe as they run.

When the Nimbus 25 launched last year, it was a completely new shoe from the ground up. It was also incredibly soft, the kind of cushion that evoked visions of big, fluffy marshmallows. While many of our reviewers loved the new Nimbus, some did think that the shoe had crossed the invisible line in the sand into too-soft territory.

What does this mean for the Nimbus 26, and where on a scale from concrete block to goose down feather pillow does it fall? Read our ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 review to find out.

Tech Specs

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26

Weight 9.1 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 41 mm/33 mm (W), 42 mm/34 mm (M)
Heel-to-toe drop 8 mm
Category Neutral
Surface Road
Price $160
Comparable to... New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13, Brooks Glycerin 21

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

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The verdict is in

The outsole of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26.

The jury (also known as the Fleet Feet reviewers) has reached a unanimous decision—the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 offers a much more balanced ride than the 25. While it’s still a soft shoe, it doesn’t leave your feet sinking down into the cushioning like some testers experienced in the previous model.

“I took the Nimbus 26 out for 9 miles on some extremely sore quads and glutes—box squats, am I right?,” says Max. “I chose these shoes because I knew how soft and plush the Nimbus 25 was, but after a few miles I noticed the Nimbus 26 was certainly a firmer, more responsive ride despite using the same foam combination.”

The foam Max alludes to is the combination of FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning and PUREGEL cushioning, which is also what’s used in the Nimbus 25. Some reviewers found it peculiar that the Nimbus 26 feels a bit firmer, especially since the shoe has also gained a half a millimeter in stack height.

“My perception of the Nimbus 26 could be due to my memory of trying on the Nimbus 25 last January—at the time, it was the softest shoe I had ever tried,” says Caroline. “Now that it’s been a year of running in the Nimbus 25 and other supremely soft shoes, I may just be more used to it. Are my feet getting spoiled?”

Don’t get the wrong idea, though. While the Nimbus 26 has firmed up a bit since last year, it’s still a supremely soft shoe. Fleet Feet reviewers are just extremely perceptive to even the slightest bit of change within models. It’s why they call us the cushioning connoisseurs, after all.

“The first thing I notice when I step into the Nimbus 26 is how soft it is,” says Kate. “From the cushioning in the heel collar to the whole underfoot feel, it’s soft, soft, soft. When I run in these, I feel protected from the impact of the road since there’s such a tall stack of plush cushion.”

The tall stack of plush cushion is rounded out with a brand new outsole, which ASICS designed to be grippier than the previous model. With new technology called Hybrid ASICSGRIP, which is a combination of two different outsole rubbers, the Nimbus 26 offers reliable traction on wet, slick surfaces.

“In addition to my runs, I wore the Nimbus 26 on a pool deck, timing swimmers for five hours,” says Mandy. “Not only did the shoe feel grippy and drain well, but I kept thinking about how amazing they felt throughout the evening.”

Nimbus 26 offers soft, secure fit

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 rests against a curb.

The softness of the Nimbus 26 continues up top with a soft, engineered-knit upper and plush padding in the heel collar. ASICS tweaked the upper to provide a more secure fit throughout the midfoot, and reviewers appreciated the update.

“The upper of the Nimbus 26 is super cushy and premium,” says Kate. “The heel collar feels like it’s wrapping a gel-based pillow around my ankle. There’s also a stretchy pull tab to help you get the shoe on, and a stretchy tongue.”

While Kate mentioned some problems with the tongue creasing around her foot, other reviewers had nothing but love for the upgraded upper.

“When I put on the Nimbus 26, it felt like my body was letting out one giant sigh,” Travis says. “It must have been what Cinderella felt like when she put on that slipper at the ball. The knit material hugged my foot perfectly, the stretchy tongue was barely noticeable on my foot, and the collared heel was designed perfectly.”

Reviewers noticed that the stretchy upper allows the Nimbus 26 to be enjoyed by runners with all foot shapes. If you’re not sure about the shape of your feet, be sure to head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 vs GEL-Nimbus 25

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 with a FF BLAST PLUS midsole.

Tech Specs

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25

Weight

9.1 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)

9.1 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)

Stack height

41 mm/33 mm (W)

42 mm/34 mm (M)

40.5 mm/32.5 mm (W),

41.5 mm/33.5 mm (M)

Heel-to-toe drop

8 mm

8 mm

Price

$160

$160

After the ASICS GEL-Nimbus was completely redesigned from the ground up last year, it makes sense that designers didn’t change much to this year’s update. So, if you enjoyed the Nimbus 25, you’ll likely enjoy this version too. However, the minor tweaks, like the improved midfoot fit, make the Nimbus 26 an even more luxurious experience.

“The 26 seems the tiniest bit more firm,” says Heather. “Plus, the upper is even more comfortable, which I didn’t really think was possible.”

The ever-so-slightly firmer midsole makes the Nimbus 26 more accessible to runners who found the previous model too spongy or too unstable due to its softness.

How does the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 compare?

We took a look at some comparable models to see how they stack up against the GEL-Nimbus 26. Here’s what we found:

Tech Specs

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13

Brooks Glycerin 21

Weight

9.1 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)

7.3 oz (W), 9.2 oz (M)

8.8 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)

Stack height

41 mm/33 mm (W)

42 mm/34 mm (M)

38 mm/32 mm

28 mm/18 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

8 mm

6 mm

10 mm

Price

$160

$165

$160

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 is similar to the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 and Brooks Glycerin 21 in that all shoes are the brands’ most cushioned neutral model. As you can see from the tech specs, though, the Nimbus 26 offers much more stack height than the other two models.

“While the 1080 is similar to the Nimbus 26, it actually feels more similar to the 25 because of its softness. The Nimbus 26 felt a lot more stable than both the 1080 and the Nimbus 25,” says Max.

The Nimbus 26 is a little bit heavier than the 1080 or the Glycerin, likely because it has a lot more midsole foam—making it a perfect option for runners for whom cushion and comfort is the main priority.

Who is the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 best for?

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26.

In addition to cushioning enthusiasts, the GEL-Nimbus 26 is also a great choice for anyone who spends long days on their feet.

“For anyone working on hard floors, the Nimbus 26 has great cushioning and a broad base to be comfortable through the day,” says Travis. The stretchiness of the upper will accommodate swelling throughout the day, too.”

Wear-tester Heather is coming back from a stress fracture, and has been using the Nimbus 26 for her run-walk intervals.

“The cushioning of the Nimbus 26 feels great regardless of whether I am walking or running,” says Heather. “For being a high cushion shoe, it does feel pretty responsive as well as I run—not like I’m sinking down into the cushioning at all. Coming back from an injury, I am very aware of my foot strike and form right now, and somehow this shoe seems perfect for that.”

The stretchy upper will feel accommodating to those with wider feet without feeling too roomy for those with narrow or medium-width feet. The Nimbus 26 is also available in wide sizing, so chances are high you’ll be able to find your perfect fit.

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