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Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 - Women's Review

While these heavily cushioned shoes provide comfort during extended runs, they fall short in terms of versatility
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Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 - Women's Review (This super-stacked shoe might be a good choice for runners who want to go overboard on the underfoot cushion.)
This super-stacked shoe might be a good choice for runners who want to go overboard on the underfoot cushion.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $160 List
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Manufacturer:   Asics
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 24, 2024
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#19 of 19
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 4.0
  • Stability - 20% 5.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.3

Our Verdict

The Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 rides like a personal, cushioned runway beneath your feet. These shoes boast an underfoot cushion that's so generous you might just mistake it for a marshmallow buffet. However, the Gel-Nimbus isn't exactly the queen of arch support or responsiveness. The pillowy 41mm platform is dialed for runners looking for a max-stacked daily runner, but when it comes to agility, it's more like a dance party in moon boots — visualize it. If your running needs steer you toward ample cushion and you're willing to trade out agility, the Gel-Nimbus will keep you running comfortably. If your needs are a bit more nuanced, we recommend seeking out a more versatile pair of runners with higher scores across the board.
REASONS TO BUY
Ultra-padded
Breathable
Soft upper and lace bed
REASONS TO AVOID
Spongy underfoot feel
Heavy
Lacks responsiveness
Less stable

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Bottom Line These intensely padded shoes are comfortable for long runs but lack the versatility of high-performing runnersThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsWith strong responsive bounce and enough comfort for long runs, this shoe will suit marathon hopefuls and speed demons alikeThe structure and comfort of this shoe make it a highly recommended option for long distance runners who want a reliable road running steedWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easily
Rating Categories Asics Gel-Nimbus 26... Asics Novablast 4 -... Puma Deviate Nitro... Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
4.0
7.5
9.5
6.5
7.5
Stability (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
5.3
6.9
7.4
5.8
9.3
Specs Asics Gel-Nimbus 26... Asics Novablast 4 -... Puma Deviate Nitro... Brooks Adrenaline G... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Weight (per shoe, size 6.5) 8.67 oz 7.36 oz 7.02 oz 8.21 oz 5.55 oz
Style Neutral Neutral Neutral/race Supportive Neutral
Sizes Available 5 - 13 US 5 - 12 US 5.5 - 11 US 5 - 13 US 5 - 12 US
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 10 mm 9 mm 8 mm 12 mm 5 mm
Measured Heel Stack Height 41 mm 40 mm 34 mm 34 mm 30 mm
Measured Forefoot Stack Height 31 mm 31 mm 26 mm 22 mm 25 mm
Claimed Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 8 mm 6 mm 12 mm 4 mm
Claimed Heel Stack Height 41 mm 40.5 mm Not stated Not stated 31 mm
Claimed Forefoot Stack Height 33 mm 32.5 mm Not stated Not stated 27 mm
Measured Outsole Length 10.63 in 10.65 in 10.31 in 10.50 in 10.13 in
Measured Outsole Width 4.25 in 4.32 in 4.00 in 4.25 in 3.96 in
Upper Eingineered knit mesh Engineered knit mesh Mesh Engineered air mesh Mesh
Midsole FF BLAST PLUS ECO FF Blast Plus Eco Nitro/Nitro-Elite DNA Loft v2 PWRRUN, PWRRUN+
Outsole AHAR rubber AHAR outsole PumaGrip ATR Rubber Rubber XT-900 rubber
Measured Outsole Hardness 77 HA at forefoot, 62 HA at midsole, 77 HA at heel 59 HA 65 HA 47 HA 63 HA at inner toe/outer heel, 35 HA rest of shoe
Heel Tab Type Finger loop Finger loop None None Finger loop
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Narrow, medium, wide, extra wide Regular, wide
Heel Compression Stiffness 42 lbf 44 lbf 35 lbf 52 lbf 40 lbf
Toe Compression Stiffness 47 lbf 38 lbf 40 lbf 56 lbf 42 lbf
Toe Box Volume 5.7 in^3 6.2 in^3 6.7 in^3 6.5 in^3 6.7 in^3
Rocker Angle 21.5 deg 22.0 deg 12.5 deg 26.5 deg 26.0 deg

Our Analysis and Test Results

With a wide, 4.59-inch outsole, 10mm drop profile, unrelenting cushion, and a soft and stretchy upper, the Asics Gel-Nimbus is a comfortable shoe for long, arduous road miles.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - the gel-nimbus has taken underfoot cushion and stack to entirely new...
The Gel-Nimbus has taken underfoot cushion and stack to entirely new heights - 41mm in the heel, to be exact.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


The Asics Gel-Nimbus takes “soft landing” to a whole new level, spoiling your soles with an overreaching cushioning extravaganza. While this pair of kicks scored well in this metric, the underfoot stack feels overdone, somewhat spongy, and, ultimately, like it is absorbing the energy of your footfalls instead of returning it. With a total rear stack of 41mm and a forefoot stack of 31mm, this shoe is great for slow cruising runs. If you spend a lot of time pounding pavement and specifically want a shoe with a fat stack of protection, the Gel-Nimbus might hit just right. However, there are some other shoes that are just as cushy and score higher across the board.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - we measured the thickness of the heel and forefoot to ensure the...
We measured the thickness of the heel and forefoot to ensure the manufacturer's claims were correct. They were, with the heel standing at a chunky 41mm and the forefoot at a still-chunky 31mm.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Responsiveness


While the Gel-Nimbus 26 has certainly mastered the art of cushioning, its responsiveness is lacking. The underfoot sponge that makes each step a soft delight also means that the nimbleness takes a bit of a backseat. If you're looking for shoes that can keep up with sudden bursts of speed or quick maneuvers around corners, the Nimbus will likely seem too cushy for the job. While we enjoyed the sensation of walking and executing meandering runs in these kicks, we struggled to truly get moving in them. Speeding up in them like trying to do a sprint on a memory foam mattress - comfortable, yet not especially effective.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - the forefoot is designed for strong energy return, but when married...
The forefoot is designed for strong energy return, but when married to the spongy 41mm stack, we found it lacking responsiveness.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Stability


The Nimbus is a neutral runner that lacks some of the built-ins that create a super stable shoe. The Nimbus holds its own in the stability metric because it has a wide base of support, but its structure doesn't necessarily hold up to the demands that many runners need, especially because of how high it sits above the ground. The Gel-Nimbus does come prepared with a secret weapon - plump heel collars. These substantial heel collars provide a reliable anchor for your rear foot, locking it in for a little bit less squirminess. Even though the inner tube-like heel collar liner is supportive, when coupled with the silky and flexible upper, the shoe feels imbalanced. Runners who overpronate and know they need extra support should avoid the Nimbus for this reason.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - with so much stack below the platform, it is no wonder the nimbus is...
With so much stack below the platform, it is no wonder the Nimbus is one of the heavier shoes in our lineup.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Upper Comfort


The upper of the Nimbus has a luxurious feel that starkly contrasts the less comfortable demands of running. The upper comfort of this shoe is a highlight, with a pillowy heel collar, silky-smooth laces, and a plump lace bed. The abundance of padding in the heel collar almost feels too thick. The upper textile is soft and stretchy, a sensation that some runners love but we don't. This iteration's upper is more breathable than many of the current shoes in our lineup, but not so much that it negates the otherwise basicness of this well-padded plodder.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - the soft and stretchy upper of the nimbus is one of the more...
The soft and stretchy upper of the Nimbus is one of the more breathable uppers we've tested this season.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Weight


It's no surprise that the Nimbus is a hefty shoe. Each women's size 6.5 shoe weighs 8.67 ounces. This isn't outside of the realm of normal when it comes to maximalist shoes, but two of them add up a significant amount of extra weight to be lugging around on your long runs. However, the weight is well-distributed, so if you like the Nimbus, its weight shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - the nimbus weighs more than. others because it has so many more...
The Nimbus weighs more than. others because it has so many more comfort-related features than many popular running shoes.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Should You Buy the Asics Gel Nimbus 26?


For long, plodding runs, the Nimbus is a shoe worth considering, but who wants their long runs to feel plodding? While Asics has made huge strides in the world of maximalist shoes, the Nimbus lacks some of the high-tech thoughtfulness that its higher-scoring counterparts contain. If you want a road running shoe to add to your rotation, consider the Nimbus. If you are looking to purchase only one pair of running shoes, we have plenty of more versatile recommendations for you to choose from.

asics gel-nimbus 26 for women - the nimbus is chock-full of padding for comfort, but its design...
The Nimbus is chock-full of padding for comfort, but its design lacks some of the basic functionality that many runners prefer.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

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What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


Asics hit the nail on the head with the release of the updated Novablast 4. This high-class cousin of the Nimbus is responsive, stable, supremely comfortable, and significantly lighter. It is one of the top choices of the Gear Lab running team. Another Asics-made shoe, the Gel-Kayano 30, earned high marks for its comfort and versatility. If you like the idea of a maximalist shoe but prefer more rigid textiles, the Hoka Clifton 9 and Hoka Bondi 8 might better suit your desires.

Ally Arcuri