ASICS GEL-Nimbus versus ASICS Novablast

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 next to the ASICS Novablast 4.

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus has had 26 years to build its legacy. The ASICS Novablast has only been around for four years. Yet both of these neutral daily trainers remain bestsellers among the ASICS lineup, thanks to thick FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning, which ASICS labels their softest midsole foam yet. Plus, it’s made with 24% bio-based material.

When it comes to fit, feel and performance, which shoe is best for you? Read on to learn more about the differences between the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 and ASICS Novablast 4.

Buy the GEL-Nimbus 26 if…

  • You enjoy plenty of padding, both underfoot and in the upper
  • You like your running shoes to feel soft
  • You appreciate a wide, stable base

Buy the Novablast 4 if…

  • You appreciate a lightweight ride
  • You enjoy a bit of extra pep in your step
  • You don’t want to sacrifice stability for energy

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ASICS GEL-Nimbus versus ASICS Novablast: Tech Specs

Tech Specs

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26

ASICS Novablast 4

Weight

9.1 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)

7.9 oz (W), 9.2 oz (M)

Stack height (heel/forefoot)

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

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Surface

Road

Road

Price

$160

$140

The ASICS Novablast 4.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus versus ASICS Novablast: Fit & Materials

Both the Nimbus 26 and the Novablast 4 both sport lightweight, breathable uppers. Based on the tech sheets provided by ASICS, the Nimbus is made up of an engineered knit material, while the Novablast is made of an engineered woven material. I’m not a seamstress, but a quick Google search told me that the differences between the two materials come down to the pattern of the threads that make up the fabric (knit is looped while woven is criss-cross).

Reviewers weren’t criss-crossed about either and found both shoes to be breathable and comfortable.

“The moment I slipped the Novablast 4 on my feet, it felt like I was slipping into my favorite hoodie after a long day at work,” says Mandy. “The upper wrapped around my foot so comfortably that I found myself making excuses to go out more, just so I could put them on.”

“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.”

The ASICS GEL Nimbus 26

While both shoes have similar upper materials and thin, stretchy tongues, the Nimbus 26 feels like it simply has more. A pillow-y soft pad of silky cushioning wraps around your heel and ankle, making it nearly impossible to experience any pesky slippage.

I enjoyed the fit of both shoes, but I found the Nimbus to feel a little bit bulkier due to that extra padding. However, Kate appreciated the added details.

“The heel collar feels like it’s wrapping a gel-based pillow around my ankle,” she says.

Both shoes fit true to size and, thanks to the stretchiness of the uppers, can accommodate a wide variety of foot shapes. The Nimbus 26 is available in medium and wide widths, with the men’s version also being available in extra-wide. The Novablast 4 is available in both medium and wide widths.

Unsure about the width of your feet? Head into your local Fleet Feet to try on the shoe in-person. 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 versus ASICS Novablast: Ride & Performance

Both the Nimbus 26 and the Novablast 4 use FF BLAST PLUS ECO midsole cushioning, but that’s about where the similarities end.

The Nimbus combines the FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning with an internal PUREGEL compound, which is the same GEL you’ve come to know and love from ASICS now hidden from view deep within the midsole. The combination is a plush, dreamy ride that’s perfect for recovery runs, long runs or just long days on your feet.

“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 cushioning.”

The ASICS GEL Nimbus 26.

While the Nimbus feels soft and cloud-like, the Novablast 4 is its springier, peppier counterpart. The Novablast 4 uses what ASICS calls a “trampoline-inspired design,” which is a rounded section of springy foam placed under the forefoot, helping you move forward as you’re in the toe-off phase.

“The Novablast 4 midsole is pure awesomeness,” Nate says. “It’s got a density to it, but it also feels very energetic and springy. The midfoot and forefoot seem to spread outwards underneath you, providing an extra stable platform. I was all smiles on my early morning run.”

In fact, both the Novablast and Nimbus offer wide, stable platforms for easier landings and transitions.

“As someone with weak ankles—I’m in the gym working on it!---the instability of some of the high-stack shoes can hardly be considered an everyday option for me. But the Novablast 4 bucks that trend,” says Max. “And the Nimbus 26 feels a lot more stable than other shoes in its category.”

The Nimbus and the Novablast use different outsole materials for traction and durability. I found the Nimbus to be more durable over my training cycles compared to the Novablast, which isn’t surprising considering the weight difference between the shoes. The Novablast is quite a bit lighter, and typically running shoe manufacturers will use less rubber coverage on the outsole as a way to save weight.

The NOVABLAST 4.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus versus ASICS Novablast: Which is best for me?

Both the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 26 and the Novablast 4 are suitable choices for runners who enjoy lots of cushioning underfoot.

The Nimbus will be best for runners who prefer a soft feel with luxurious cushioning and padding from top to bottom. It’s a little bit heavier than the Novablast and a bit more durable. I found the Nimbus to be perfect for long runs and recovery runs when my legs and feet are feeling beat up and in need of some extra TLC.

The Novablast is great for those who love high energy return to put an extra pep in their step. It’s lightweight, too, so you can truly run with nothing holding you back. I found myself reaching for the Novablast 4 for uptempo runs, like practicing goal marathon pace or running with my faster friends.

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