One of the features we look for to identify a significant running shoe is the ability to forget we even have it on. The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 19 did not allow this, thanks to its narrow toe box and firm padding. Despite decent landing comfort and responsiveness, we just couldn't get over the uncomfortable upper, leaving this shoe with one of the lowest scores in our review.
ASICS Gel-Cumulus 19 Review
Cons: Narrow, uncomfortable
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The stiff, tight upper of the GEL-Cumulus 19 created an uncomfortable ride, and at the end of the day, we just wouldn't recommend this shoe over its many superior competitors.
As the GEL-Cumulus 19 fell to the bottom of our charts, it is readily apparent why it did not go home with one of our coveted awards.
The ASICS GEL-Cumulus has a moderate amount of cushioning that put it in the running for the best all-around road running shoe. However, the padding just wasn't anything to write home about, and we awarded it a very average score in this metric.
This shoe was similarly padded to the three Brooks models we tried, as well as the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante. We ultimately awarded it the same 6/10 as the Altra Escalante for a decent yet inferior performance. We felt that the exterior was stiffer than in some of our favorite models, which is likely due to its significantly heavier weight, which we will discuss more below. We can't deny the impact this had on our running comfort, however, and we much appreciated lighter models like the Brooks Adrenaline that created a cloud-like step.
While ASICS suggests that the GEL-Cumulus is designed to be highly responsive, we just couldn't agree. This may be due in part to its weight, and while it was bouncier than the Altra Escalante, it was still less so than our favorite Brooks models, the Adrenaline and Ghost.
This shoe provides a decent amount of responsiveness, and we were surprised at how bouncy we felt for the amount of cushioning underfoot. Compared to the mega-comfy HOKA ONE ONE Bondi, whose cushioning entirely compromises its responsiveness, the GEL-Cumulus does a much better job at finding the middle ground, though it is still not our favorite.
Our reviewers might have been more likely to recommend this shoe to the average buyer if it were not for this category. We were immediately dismayed by the narrow fit and stiff padding which earned the GEL-Cumulus one of the lower scores in this review.
Our testers found the GEL-Cumulus to be less breathable than some of its competitors as well as less cushioned. The tongue, heel, and sides are fitted with stiff padding that is significantly less cozy that the plush designs of the Brooks Ghost or Adrenaline. The lack of cushioning, when combined with an incredibly narrow toe, create an uncomfortable fit that we noticed immediately.
Despite being less comfortable, the GEL-Cumulus does have a lot of support. The thick overlay at the midfoot helps guide the foot into the proper step, leaving us feeling secure and supported.
When compared to the lack of support in the Escalante or HOKA Bondi, the GEL-Cumulus feels very snug. We appreciated the way the shoe's outer is reinforced, but we did wish for a bit more flexibility in the forefoot. This is one of the more supportive shoes in this review which, if particularly important to you, may help you overlook some of its lesser characteristics.
Generally speaking, weight is less important than the other metrics we scored for. It's hard to deny, however, how heavy the GEL-Cumulus is when compared to some of our favorite shoes, and we couldn't help but dock points.
At 9.4 ounces per shoe, the GEL-Cumulus is the heaviest shoe we tested. While we usually can't feel the difference between a few ounces, we noticed this weight right away. The majority of shoes we tested fell in the 8-ounce range, leaving this and the Brooks Glycerin at the bottom of the charts. We would be happy to overlook the weight if the shoe had incredible performance in another category, the way the Glycerin's weight could be made up for by its astonishing comfort. However, the GEL-Cumulus' weight is just one more reason we didn't favor this shoe.
Budget-friendly and very supportive, the GEL-Cumulus could be a good buy for shoppers with narrow feet who tend to over-pronate. However, its lack of comfort makes it a poor purchase for the average runner who, for the same price, would likely be happier in a more cushioned shoe like the Brooks Ghost.
Ringing in at $120, the GEL-Cumulus is smack in the middle of this review's price range. Unfortunately, it was a much lower scorer, making it difficult to justify buying when the Editors' Choice Award-winning Brooks Adrenaline costs the same amount.
The ASICS GEL-Cumulus is a popular shoe that seems to have narrowed in its latest iteration. We reviewed the previous version of last year's running shoes review and found nearly the same results: despite a supportive, stable construction, the upper was uncomfortable, and the landing was mediocre.
— Lauren DeLaunay