The Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 has arrived in stores and our testers have been putting in miles over the last 4 weeks to provide you with a comprehensive review. If you typically run in a neutral shoe and prefer maximum cushioning, keep reading.
By Dave Martinez
What’s New In The Asics Gel-Nimbus 23
Let’s first go over what has been updated over the previous version. A new upper using an engineered mesh. While the previous version also used an engineered mesh, it seems the pattern has been changed to provide a better fit. Asics does state that it’s a softer mesh. The eyelets where the laces go through has changed slightly to improve fit and a new design to improve flexibility. A softer rearfoot GEL™ is said to improve compression in the heel. The Gel-Nimbus 23 now uses a gender-specific support Trusstic™ for improved stability. The Ortholite™ X-55 Sockliner improves the step-in feel is an upgrade from the EVA sock liner in the previous version. FLYTEFOAM™ has been added for cushioning in addition to FLYTEFOAM™ Propel which provides an energetic bounce. 3D Space Construction™ is also new to improve compression at footstrike. It’s basically geometric pillars in the midsole that not only improve flexibility but improve cushioning under the ball of the foot. I’ll get into more detail about why this makes a difference in this update.
What Remains Unchanged
While it seems based on the previous paragraph a lot has changed, they’re really small changes that add up. For the most part, those that have enjoyed the Gel-Nimbus should continue to enjoy this model. The weight remains almost unchanged. Based on the information on the Asics website, the men’s is the same and the women’s gain 0.2 oz.
Testing the Asics Gel-Nimbus 23
The Asics Gel-Nimbus is classified by us as a premium neutral cushioned shoe. Premium does mean that it’s priced higher than some other models but you do get more premium cushion and feel. I have always felt that while the extra cushioning felt great, it always translated to a heavier feeling shoe. And while it certainly isn’t a light shoe by any means (it still retains the same weight as last year), it doesn’t feel heavy. Even better, it doesn’t feel slow either. Let me explain. It has been my experience that a heavier feeling shoe also feels slow and in some instances actually is slower. These types of shoes, I’ve reserved for those days I’m doing long slow miles. Not a shoe I’d do tempo runs or for that matter race in. There have been shoes where pushing the pace meant additional effort, sometimes a lot of effort which made it difficult to maintain a fast pace for an extended period of time. This is where the Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 surprised me. Instead of saving this shoe for that long run, one day a week, I’ve enjoyed it as a daily trainer with some fast paces to boot! I’ll get into all the details on why I think this shoe has greatly improved (in my opinion).
Fit is important and if it’s off, it going to throw off everything else and that’s what happened with Molly from our Kennesaw location. She has a narrow foot and the Nimbus 23 fits big on her. Lacing them up, the toe box puckered up as she tried to get a secure fit. On the plus side, the arch felt good. Molly said, “my foot felt very supported when walking and running.” She also commented on how comfortable it felt.
For myself, the fit is true to size and the toe box is roomy. I ran up to 8 miles with no issues of it feeling tight. My foot felt comfortable at toe-off. If you typically wear a wide width shoe, you will need to wear a wide width in the Nimbus 23. But if you’re like me and prefer a shoe that has plenty of room in the toe box, you’ll appreciate the fit of this shoe.
One of the first things you feel is the ample cushion around the ankle and upper part of the tongue. It provides a secure and comfortable feeling. The tongue is semi-gusseted. It has stretchy side panels to keep it from moving but it doesn’t run the full length of the tongue so it’s a feature that’s easy to miss. I prefer this design feature as I think it helps keep the tongue from moving and overall helps improve the fit and feel of the shoe. You can feel the Gel cushioning under the heel. I remember in previous versions Gel cushioning was also used in the forefoot. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore with the use of FLYTEFOAM™. That being said, the cushioning in the forefoot is noticeable.
This is the fun part of the review where we get to run in the shoe and get a feel for the ride of the shoe. This is where the Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 came to life. In the past, I’ve felt that Asics shoes have been a bit stiff. This is definitely not the case. I immediately noticed the difference. It felt flexible and the cushioning in the forefoot felt good. It was a good combination of soft and responsive (more soft than responsive). The combination of the flexibility and cushioning made running in this shoe fun and made me reach for it regularly. Since I don’t land on my heel, I can’t comment on the cushioning and the feeling of the full transition from heel to toe but I’d expect it to be pretty good considering the middle to the front felt good.
I’ve always preferred a shoe without stability or ways to guide my foot, a more natural and flexible feeling shoe. While the Gel-Nimbus 23 still uses a TRUSSTIC™ device (a plastic-like piece in the midsole) to provide support, it seems like it gets reduced every year and in my opinion, is a good thing. I think both of these items contribute to that more natural and flexible ride. I also think it’s that flexibility in the shoe that made it easier to pick up the pace and maintain it. As I mentioned, there have been shoes that require more effort to go faster and I think it has been due to additional stiffness.
The combination of FLYTEFOAM™ & FLYTEFOAM™ Propel creates a nice balance between soft and responsive. The other feature that helps with the forefoot cushioning is the 3D Space Construction™. These pillars react independently at footstrike but I also think it allows for more compression which increases that feeling of more cushion underfoot. It also allows for more flexibility.
|Weight||10.9 oz||Weight||9.2 oz|
|Drop||10 mm||Drop||13 mm|
As you can tell, I give the Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 a confident thumbs up! While all the technical details and technology can seem overwhelming and even confusing, I can sum it up by saying, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 makes running fun and more enjoyable. It doesn’t get in the way of your run and you don’t really notice the shoe. That’s what we’re all really looking for in a shoe, right? Sure there are shoes that are designed for speed, to go fast, to PR, and even to break records, but this isn’t everyone. Most people simply want to go out and enjoy their run, escape from stress and reality, even if for just an hour a day. If that’s you, then do yourself a favor and try on the Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 at any of our 7 Big Peach Running Co. locations or shop online (FREE Shipping) if this review was convincing enough to do so without trying them on.