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Shoe Review: ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite

Professional runner Diego Estrada wears a pair of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite running shoes

For ASICS, a big step toward creating a sustainable future is on our feet.

ASICS crafted the GEL-Nimbus Lite with sustainability in mind. The max-cushion running shoe delivers a soft and lightweight ride and is packed full of recycled materials.

Engineers employed an elastic material called cellulose nanofibers to create the Flytefoam midsole, and many components are made from recycled plastic bottles.

But the shoe isn’t just a recycling project—it’s built for serious miles. ASICS says the recycled midsole is more durable than other shoes, and Fleet Feet testers vouch for the upper’s superior breathability.

“Fans of the original Nimbus will find it true to the GEL-Nimbus name, with the added benefit of weight reduction,” says Chase Flemming, ASICS account manager. “Some runners may find it to be a supplemental shoe in their arsenal for fast or racing days, while others may find this becomes their everyday go-to shoe.”

In short, the GEL-Nimbus Lite is built for everything, including a more sustainable future. Fleet Feet testers took the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite out for their workouts to see how it feels in the real world. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite

Price

$150

Weight

7.9 oz (women’s 7), 9.7 oz (men’s 9)

Drop

13 mm (women’s), 10 mm (men’s)

Category

Neutral, max cushion

Surface

Road, track

Use

Everyday trainer

*The women's ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite in Fresh Ice/Pure Silver and the men's version in Sheet Rock/Black are available exclusively at Fleet Feet.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite Materials and Fit

A runner wears a pair of ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite running shoes

The upper is made from recycled polyester, which both diverts plastic from landfills (or bodies of water) and requires less energy to produce than new polyester, according to ASICS. But the repurposed materials don’t end there.

Here’s where ASICS used recycled materials in the Nimbus Lite:

Component

Percent of Recycled Material

Tongue mesh

100%

Shoe laces

100%

Heel counter mesh

86%

Tongue, collar, ankle mesh

31%

One tester says the upper felt a little stiff when he put it on; it dimpled slightly at the toe when he bent down to tie his shoe. After one run, though, the mesh relented and became more pliable.

The upper has a slight bit of loft between the two layers of mesh, which gives it a cushioned feel all the way around. That cushion continues around the heel collar, giving it a narrow shape. But padding on the collar creates the narrowness, so it squishes and conforms to the shape of your food for a snug feeling around the Achilles and locked-in fit in the heel.

To go with the snug heel, ASICS nailed the midfoot fit. Designers gave the shoe enough width in the midfoot for easy entry and exit, and it cinches up smoothly without a second thought. The toe box is similarly roomy, making the shoe comfortable for a range of testers.

Round laces criss cross through six eyelets, and ASICS punched an empty seventh into the top of the Nimbus Lite to give you more options for lacing your running shoes. None of our testers needed to lace the shoe differently, but it makes the shoe accessible to more runners.

The FlyteFoam midsole also packs material that otherwise could have ended up in a landfill. Cellulose nanofiber is a byproduct of sugarcane processing, and ASICS says it enhances the foam’s durability while also making it more sustainable.

In addition to using as much recycled material as possible, ASICS also designed the Nimbus Lite with different fits for men and women. The women’s Nimbus Lite has a higher heel-to-toe drop (13 mm) than the men’s (10 mm), which ASICS says is due to differences in gait patterns, leg mechanics, weight and general foot shape.

The Nimbus Lite goes for subdued style. With the exception of the ASICS logo and a wrap around the heel, there aren’t any overlays on the upper. The mesh construction creates a subtle wavy pattern, and there are a few color variations on the sidewall, but the shoe doesn’t draw a lot of attention to itself, which some runners will prefer.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite Ride and Performance

Professional runner Diego Estrada runs in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite running shoe

It’s not just a good story, though. The ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite can run, too.

The Nimbus Lite—not to be confused with the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22—is soft and bouncy underfoot thanks to that FlyteFoam cushioning. Unlike the Nimbus 22, the Nimbus Lite doesn’t have ASICS’ Trusstic technology, so it’s more flexible, too.

Testers felt that difference.

“The heel is very soft—I felt that just walking around,” one tester says. “The midfoot and forefoot feel very consistent. It’s plush all the way through and feels really light for how much foam is there.”

A women’s size 7 weighs 7.9 ounces, and a men’s size 9 weighs 9.7 oz.

ASICS packed a generous amount of foam into each pair. The men’s Nimbus Lite reports a 27 mm stack height in the heel and 14 mm in the forefoot, and the women’s Nimbus Lite lists the heel and forefoot at 25mm and 15 mm, respectively.

A full-contact outsole gives the shoe a smooth heel-to-toe transition. Grippy, durable rubber improves traction and increases the lifespan of the shoe.

Designers broke up the outsole into wavy strips that run horizontally across the bottom of the shoe, which means you can see shallow channels of foam between each strip of rubber.

The rubber outsole of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite running shoe

That design lets the shoe flex easier than if it were one continuous sheet of rubber, so it feels like it rolls naturally through your entire stride.

Conclusion

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite is a comfortable running shoe with a light environmental footprint thanks to loads of recycled material.

ASICS used plastic bottlers to create recycled polyester for the upper, and engineers took cellulose nanofiber from sugarcane processing to build a new, more sustainable FlyteFoam midsole. But it’s not just the story that stands out: Fleet Feet testers love the soft ride and comfortable fit.

With a flexible feel and smooth transition, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite is a light and versatile trainer that’s as easy on the feet as it is on the planet.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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