Shoe Review: ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
What do a puffy cloud and a running shoe have in common? If it’s the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25, a lot.
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus has been around for more than 20 years, becoming a staple amongst neutral runners seeking lots of cushioning. The latest version of ASICS’ best selling running shoe is (almost) as soft and light as the cumulonimbus cloud it’s named after.
Many shoe updates come with a new type of foam or internal component that isn't visible to the casual observer. Not so with the GEL-Nimbus 25. Anyone familiar with the legendary shoe can see that the latest model brings a modern new look and feel that sets it apart from previous models. ASICS upgraded the GEL-Nimbus 25 with FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning, which is made with at least 20 percent bio-based materials. A new PUREGEL cushioning technology replaces the GEL used in previous versions, providing the same level of impact absorption with less weight. The latest version of the GEL-Nimbus also provides much more cushioning underfoot—more than any other GEL-Nimbus model to date.
“When I think of the ASICS legacy shoes, I think of Ol’ Reliable,” says Victor Ornelas, Senior Director of Vendor Management at Fleet Feet. “The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is shaking that perspective. It looks so much different from the traditional Nimbus of previous years, with the new midsole, the greater stack height and the flared heel. It looks like a faster, lighter and more modern-looking shoe.”
Fleet Feet reviewers put the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 to the test during recovery days, long runs and everyday training. Here’s everything you need to know.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 24
9.1 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
8.7 oz (W), 10.2 oz (M)
13 millimeters (W), 10 millimeters (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot)
40.5 mm/32.5 mm (W),
41.5 mm/33.5 mm (M)
36.5 mm/26.5 mm (W),
37.5 mm/27.5 mm (M),
Saucony Triumph 20, New Balance 1080v12
Updated Midsole Provides Soft, Dreamy Cushioning
Long-time Nimbus lovers may be surprised to see the latest update to the shoe. You may be wondering, “Where’s the signature midsole gel?”
That’s because ASICS is using an internal gel cushioning system in the Nimbus 25, which they call PUREGEL. PUREGEL is lighter and softer than the gel used in previous versions, and it now sits inside the midsole, hidden from sight. The gel is only placed in the rear foot, instead of both the rear and forefoot, where it was in the previous versions.
Another major difference that may cause ASICS loyalists to do a double-take is the increased stack height of the Nimbus 25. The stack height of a shoe is the difference in height between the ground and your foot, and the Nimbus 25 gained a hefty 6 millimeters in the forefoot and 4 millimeters in the heel, thanks to a generous dose of FF BLAST PLUS midsole material.
“This shoe rides just how it looks,” Max says. “The shoe looks soft and plush, and it feels soft and plush underfoot. While it’s highly cushioned, it doesn’t feel so soft that I’m digging out of the cushion.”
Despite the increased stack height and the plush bed of cushioning, reviewers felt stable and secure while running in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25.
“I’m always a little worried about high stack height shoes feeling unstable since they are on such a high platform,” Nate says. “However, I felt incredibly balanced in these. Plus, the mish-mash of FF BLAST PLUS and PUREGEL cushioning just makes sense. It’s squishy, soft, light and amazing.”
Can Soft Shoes Be Too Soft?
While most of our reviewers loved the updates to the Nimbus 25, some felt the shoe was too soft. Your perception of each running shoe will vary based on your individual preferences and what you’re used to running in, but some runners don’t fancy the marshmallow-y feeling some midsoles provide.
There’s a delicate balance between providing a shoe that offers plush, dreamy cushioning that helps the miles fly by and a shoe that your feet have to dig themselves out of with every stride.
Fleet Feet reviewer Alex enjoyed the fit of the Nimbus 25, but was heartbroken when he realized the shoes weren’t for him.
“My run started off great, and I felt full of hope,” he says. “But, after a depressingly short period of time, my feet started to feel numb. Like a buttocks in an overly soft couch, my feet had sunk into the Nimbus’ padding and settled into a position that just wasn’t comfortable. It felt like I was having to compensate for the shoe’s lack of support with my feet’s tendons.”
It’s worth noting that this was just one reviewer’s experience out of the five who tested this shoe, but it’s something to keep in mind if you generally prefer a firmer, more structured feeling underfoot. The rest of our reviewers enjoyed their runs in the new Nimbus and will keep them around for recovery runs, easy-paced miles, long runs and walks.
“I took these out for a spin on a day where I was extremely sore and fatigued from a prior workout,” Caroline says. “I usually feel clunky and tight during the first moments of a run, but I was able to get into the flow of the run right away thanks to the thick, dreamy midsole of the Nimbus 25.”
Redesigned Upper Softly Embraces Your Foot
Not only did ASICS completely revamp the midsole of the GEL-Nimbus 25, but they created a new, stretchy knit upper that wraps around your foot like a hug and added a hefty dose of padding inside the heel collar.
“The upper and shoe structure of the GEL-Nimbus 25 are completely new and different than ever before,” Kate says. “In my opinion, the upper is magic and the heel collar is one of the most cushioned I’ve ever seen. It’s like ASICS sewed a long marshmallow into the shoe to hug my foot just below the ankle.”
A handy pull tab helps you slide into the shoe, and a stretchy tongue molds to the top of your foot.
“While the tongue is all stretch, the rest of the upper doesn’t have much give, which helps the rest of the shoe have a locked-down feel,” Kate says.
“The upper of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 has a sock-like feel, but I still have the adjustability of the laces to dial in the fit,” Max says.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 vs GEL-Nimbus 24
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus is known as a “legacy shoe”—a shoe that’s been around for decades and has a loyal fan base. The biggest risk when completely redesigning a legacy shoe like the Nimbus is that loyalists will reject the updates. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Nimbus 25.
“My dad has been wearing the GEL-Nimbus since version 7, so I was super curious to get his opinion on the update,” Max says. “I ended up bringing them home with me during the Christmas holiday break. He was amazed that the shoe I showed him was the Nimbus and tried it on. An audible ‘Wow’ came out of his mouth and he mentioned that he was impressed by the amount of cushioning and overall softness of the shoe. He’s excited to get a pair for himself.”
Once tethered to its legacy past, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is keeping with current industry trends of taller stack heights and innovative, renewable materials.
The key updates to the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 are, as mentioned above, the new, internal PUREGEL cushioning system, the increased stack height, and the redesigned upper.
Because of the additional FF BLAST PLUS foam, the latest version of the GEL-Nimbus is ever-so-slightly heavier than the previous version. The women’s version is .4 ounces heavier, while the men’s version is .1 ounces heavier. Reviewers didn’t notice a difference on the run and felt that the hefty increase in cushioning was well worth the minimal weight increase.
Another update worth noting is the decreased heel-to-toe drop, which is the difference in height between your heel and forefoot. Because ASICS increased the forefoot stack height by 6 millimeters but the heel by only 4, the new shoe’s heel-to-toe drop is now 8 millimeters, where the previous version was 13 millimeters for the women’s model and 10 for the men’s.
Shoes with higher heel-to-toe drops tend to place less pressure on your calves and achilles, but they can also place more pressure on your knees and hips. Because the previous version of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus was higher than most other running shoes, the decrease in heel-to-toe drop aligns with current industry trends.
How Does the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 Stack Up?
We took a look at some comparable shoes and how they stack up against the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25. Here’s what we found:
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
9.1 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
8.3 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
8.8 oz (W), 9.7 oz (M)
40.5 mm/32.5 mm (W),
41.5 mm/33.5 mm (M)
34 mm/26 mm
37 mm/27 mm
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25, New Balance 1080v12 and Saucony Triumph 20 are all categorized as high-cushioned, neutral trainers. They’re all on the higher end of the price spectrum within their specific brands, and it’s easy to see why: they’re some of the most plush, soft shoes on the market.
“New Balance has really mastered the feel of soft and light with the 1080,” Kate said when we first reviewed the New Balance 1080v12. “It’s a plush shoe that still feels peppy and keeps me bouncing along without much thought about my footwear.”
The Saucony Triumph 20 also offers a similarly soft, smooth feel.
“I love how cushioned these are, especially in the heel,” Caroline said in our Saucony Triumph 20 shoe review. “The generous amount of foam underfoot feels both soft and bouncy. While they are highly cushioned, they also have a flexible forefoot, which means each stride feels smooth and fluid.”
While the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 outshines the 1080 and the Triumph in terms of stack height, all three shoes provide a plush, premium-feeling ride.
Who is the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 Best For?
The GEL-Nimbus 25 is built for those who want the cushiest experience. If you thrive on plush foam and soft landings, this is a perfect choice for you. It’s ideal for runners seeking a neutral shoe who don’t need extra stability to reduce the effects of overpronation (the excessive inward rolling of a runner’s foot).
The updated heel collar provides much more internal padding than previous versions, ensuring a lock-down fit for your heel and ankle. This makes it perfect for runners with triangular shaped feet, whose heels taper inward. If you aren’t sure about the shape of your foot, head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting with our 3D fit id® foot scanning technology.
“I usually have to tie the marathon loop in all my running shoes to keep my heels from sliding around, but not so with the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25, thanks to the extra padding around the heel and ankle,” Caroline says.
“The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is as exquisitely cushioned as it appears,” Alex says. “I was aware that there was a hard concrete road down there somewhere beneath my feet because I could see it with my eyes, but my feet had no idea.”