Let’s kick this one off by saying we absolutely loved the Nimbus Lite 2 and if you can still get your hands on it on a discount, then great as it is still a solid shoe BUT the Nimbus Lite 3 is much better. With the entire Lite series, ASICS took some of their more traditional styles and flipped them on their head a bit, lightning them up where they could, and modifying just enough to make the shoes a little more performance-oriented. Our negatives on this one are a real stretch and really more of a hope for where this shoe could go in the future because it’s already headed in the right direction.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Improves on what was already a fantastic shoe in the Nimbus Lite 2.
- Could lose a little more weight and needs a touch more cushion.
- Weighs in at 9.2oz or 261g for a US Men’s 9, 8.1oz or 230g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 25mm of cushion for men, 27mm for women.
- Has a 10mm heel/toe drop for men and a 12mm drop for women.
- Retails at $160.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for men and women.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a radical transformation from the prior version, it feels more like a nip and tuck. First, that a bit too roomy upper from the Nimbus Lite 2 gets a bit tighter and breathes better overall. The same gusset system they’re using on the Nimbus 24 including that really stretchy tongue has also been brought to the Nimbus Lite 3 which leads to a really secure fit on your foot with no pressure up top. Additionally, ASICS is using environmentally friendly materials including recycled elements for this upper, so you can feel good about what you’re wearing.
The midsole is not your traditional FlyteFoam but an eco-friendly alternative composed of sugarcane-infused EVA. Performance is typically the first spot that suffers when companies switch to environmentally friendly products and it does not at all with the Nimbus Lite 3. It still performs just like the standard FlyteFoam which means a nice amount of pop in your stride.
The shoe makes for a very comfortable ride and while we would like a bit more cushion in future iterations, there is enough here for most runners to feel comfortable. That being said, with the trend moving towards maximum cushion, we would love to see them increase from the existing 25mm up to the 28 to 30mm range. There is a decent amount of rubber on the outsole which provides solid control and grip in most conditions, but on this model, we also feel they could lighten it up a bit which would help decrease the weight. This outsole carries almost the same pattern as the standard Nimbus and they could probably accomplish just as much with a different placement of the rubber and a reduction in the quantity of it.
The big thing here compared to the standard Nimbus 24 is that the Nimbus Lite 3 just runs better. Also, the Lite 3 still maintains its nice wide stance giving you plenty of underfoot stability as that landing pad is quite large. The shoe is just more responsive and feels more performant overall. It is also just more fun to run in than you might expect and that leads to a more exciting and up-tempo experience.
The Nimbus Lite 3 features an upper that uses a lightweight recycled technical mesh that offers and highly breathable and fit. While the upper does stretch and also offer a roomy fit, it has tightened up a bit from the Nimbus Lite 2 where it was almost too roomy and tended to bunch upfront. ASICS has also added a full foot gusseted tongue with a ton of stretch identical to the Nimbus 24.
The midsole on the Nimbus Lite 3 uses a version of FlyteFoam that also introduces some sustainable elements featuring infused sugarcane fibers. This does not hamper performance in any way and overall the Lite 3 maintains its same wide stance from the prior iteration. ASICS has also included their GEL technology in the rearfoot and forefoot to help with shock attenuation.
The outsole uses ASICS LITE rubber that integrates some additional environmentally friendly materials to offset the use of virgin rubber. The pod-like layout creates a full ground contact design that grips well.
Style and Aesthetics
This shoe is beautifully designed and our biggest issue with ASICS on this is that they only offer it in 2 colors. While the standard GEL-Nimbus 24 comes in 9 colors, we only get 2 color options on the Nimbus Lite 3, and one is the all-white which (while great-looking) will put some folks off. More color options ASICS, please!!
The takeaway on this one is really easy… this is a fun shoe and very easy to run in. It’s not as secure and cushy in the upper as the Nimbus 24, but it is lighter and performs better while still remaining stable, balanced, and comfortable. Our hope for the next iteration of the shoe is that they add additional cushioning while looking to reduce some weight because a 28 to 30 mm version with another .5 to 1oz weight reduction sounds fantastic. We also hope ASICS gives us more color variety because this one is ripe for a lot of potential options. We do still prefer this over the traditional Nimbus and while it is a bit premium in price, that’s okay because this is a really solid lightweight daily trainer option that works for almost everyone.
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Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.