The Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 is one of the best cushioned shoes available, but that is also true of the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25. After extensive testing of both, I prefer the older shoe, which is now likely to be available at a lower price.
- Highly cushioned ride
- Better grip than Gel-Nimbus 25
- Padded, comfortable upper
- Similar to Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
- New outsole is “slappy”
- Expensive in the UK
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The Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 was a substantial update for the Nimbus line and so the Gel-Nimbus 26 was always likely to receive a relatively modest update. Asics has mostly stuck to the same max-cushioned design of the 25, with a new outsole designed to improve grip, and a tweaked upper modifying the fit.
Given that the Gel-Nimbus 25 was one of the best cushioned shoes available, I expected these minor changes would only more firmly establish the 26 as a top option. However, I’ve found the new outsole on the shoe “slappy”—distractingly noisy when it hits the ground—and the Gel-Nimbus 26 is less comfortable than the 25, which means I’d recommend trying to find a deal on the older shoe myself.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 26: Price And Availability
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 will be available from January 15, 2023 and costs $160 in the US and £180 in the UK. The US price, while expensive, is on par for a max-cushioned shoe that’s at the top of Asics’s training range. However, the UK price is above par, and a £5 rise on the list price of the Gel-Nimbus 25.
How I Tested This Shoe
I’ve run about 50 miles in the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26, using it mostly for easy runs, along with one 90-minute long run and a hard interval workout. I have also tested the past two versions of the Asics Gel-Nimbus line, along with a range of the best running shoes from other brands.
Design And Fit
The big change Asics made with the Gel-Nimbus 25 was to increase the stack height and turn it into a max-cushioned shoe. The midsole on the Gel-Nimbus 26 is mostly the same, with a big chunk of FF Blast Plus Eco foam and a little PureGel under the heel, but the stack height is 0.5mm higher than on the Gel-Nimbus 25: 42mm at the heel, 34mm at the forefoot.
This keeps the drop at 8mm, the same as on the previous version of the shoe, but the weight has increased slightly with the Gel-Nimbus 26. It weighs 11.2oz/318g for my UK size 9, compared with 11.1oz/315g for the Gel-Nimbus 25 in the same size.
Asics has made adjustments to the upper on the new shoe, which features redesigned eyelets to create a more secure hold around the midfoot. It’s an engineered knit upper with a stretchy tongue. I found that the shoe fitted well in my usual running shoe size, but didn’t notice an improved fit or more comfort compared with the Gel-Nimbus 25.
The most noticeable change with the new shoe is the outsole, which is now a blend of Asics AHAR and ASICSGRIP materials, with the aim of creating a better grip than with the Gel-Nimbus 25. I found the Gel-Nimbus 25 a bit slippery on greasy paved surfaces when I first used it, but didn’t have any substantial problems with grip after that. The Gel-Nimbus 26 is tackier on slick paved surfaces.
However, this improvement in traction doesn’t come without a cost. The new rubber on the outsole is firmer and I found I could hear the shoe hitting the ground more; it’s less comfortable under the forefoot as a result of this.
For the most part, the Gel-Nimbus 26 performs like the Gel-Nimbus 25 on the run: It’s a great cushioned cruiser for easy and long runs. The ride is soft and comfortable, but not squishy in a way that makes the shoe feel unstable, and the slight rocker profile helps to roll you through your footstrike.
It’s at its best for slowly ticking off long runs and easy daily training runs, but it’s too heavy for fast sessions. I used it for one hard workout while on vacation, since I didn’t have a speedier shoe to hand, pushing through two miles in 11 minutes, followed by timed intervals and another hard mile.
It didn’t feel great for this, not only because it’s a heavy shoe designed for slow runs, but also because I started to feel significant forefoot discomfort because of that slappy ride. I also noticed this a little on an easy long run, though it only became pronounced during the session when I was running hard and putting more force through the shoe.
I haven’t experienced this discomfort with the Gel-Nimbus 25 on any of the several long runs I’ve done in the shoe, though I haven’t done a fast session in it. I think the new outsole on the Gel-Nimbus 26 reduces its comfort, marginally—though what it takes away there, it gives back in improved grip.
Is The Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 Worth It?
Early in my testing of the Gel-Nimbus 26 I considered it only a small improvement on the 25, in that it was the same with slightly better grip. I’d have recommended getting the older shoe in a deal as a result. Now that I’ve done more running in the new shoe, I’m clearer about why I feel the Gel-Nimbus 25 takes precedence. I found it more comfortable, as well as being the better-value option.
There are many other great cushioned shoes you should look at, with the Puma Magnify Nitro 2 and Brooks Ghost Max being similarly comfortable shoes that are cheaper than the Gel-Nimbus 26. The Saucony Ride 17 is another good shoe that is more versatile than the Gel-Nimbus 26 because it has more pop for faster runs.
I also suggest checking out the Asics Novablast 4, which is cheaper and lighter than the Gel-Nimbus 26 and a better all-rounder, and proved just as comfortable during my testing.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.