Many brands took advantage of 2023 to start reinventing some of their more classic silhouettes into something a little more future looking and one of our favorite brands, was ASICS. At the start of 2023, they launched the updated Gel-Nimbus 25, much to everyone’s surprise. This classic silhouette that was reinvented for today’s market, and it was beautiful to say the least. Featuring a fully reinvented upper, new, an updated midsole technology and geometry, really it was just a reinvention of what most were expecting from the brand. So as we got our first miles on the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 the question was, are they going to do it again or will they leave close to perfection somewhat alone.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Weight – 10.7oz or 303g for a US Men’s 9, 9.2oz or 240g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – 41.5mm (40.5mm Women) of cushion and a 8mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $160 USD
- Colors – 3 colors
The answer to the question is a simple one, ASICS didn’t mess with it… much. Sure, there are some subtle changes to this year’s model, but for the most part, it retains everything you loved about the 25 and actually answers a couple of the gripes we had.
First off, the Nimbus 25 ran warm. That upper, while incredibly comfortable, tended to retain a lot of heat, which made it great for the winter, but as we got into spring and summer, the shoe started to warm up quite a bit up top. As we look at the Gel-Nimbus 26, we get a fully redesigned mesh upper, slightly more traditional, but the design and form stay nearly identical to the 25. This means it fits just as well, it just breathes better. We are also happy to say ASICS did not mess with that unbelievably well designed tongue and heel cup entry system, which is soft and velvety and cradles you oh so well. It still is one of the most comfortable step ins out there.
The other big complaint we had was around the outsole grip level. It did use their AHAR+ rubber formulation, which does provide an improved grip, but they laid it out in kind of a circular cell shaped pattern that worked just okay. With the Nimbus 26, we get something that is more like a true lug, albeit a very small lug, but still something that grips a lot better than before. Huge improvement here with such a small change.
The midsole sees no real changes, still using a mixture of PureGel in the heel, which provides a nice soft cushioned landing for heel strikers, blended with FlightFoam Blast Plus Eco across the mid to forefoot. People complained that the Nimbus 25 lost a little bit of its up-tempo experience over time, but we truly never felt that. In fact, the Cumulus 25 we thought felt flatter, whereas the Nimbus always seem to retain a nice liveliness. We really enjoyed the ride honestly and very glad ASICS maintained this with the Nimbus 26.
We do have one small nitpick with the Nimbus 26 and that is the adjustment to the lacing column. We actually liked the lacing better on the 25 because the new ghillie loop system can create a little bit of bite across the top of the foot. This is very dependent on how tight you tend to go, but we did experience a little bit of rubbing up top, and this definitely wasn’t there before.
The inevitable question will be is there enough here to make the Nimbus 26 worth the upgrade from the 25 and we think the answer is yes. The improved upper breathes better and while not as silky smooth as the 25, it performs better from it heat dispersion perspective. The other reason, living in the Pacific Northwest, is the outsole. It just grips better, and for us during this time of year, that’s a no-brainer.
Construction and Materials
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 boasts a lightweight, breathable knit material that minimizes the need for additional overlays, ensuring a comfortable and ventilated foot feel. The updated knit collar and tongue construction, coupled with a revamped midfoot fit, provide a supportive and snug fit throughout your run.
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 utilizes FF BLAST PLUS ECO, ASICS’ lightest and most energetic foam, which delivers cloud-like softness and responsiveness. It is also the brand’s most sustainable cushioning midsole ever, with 24% bio content. Additionally, the shoe features REARFOOT PUREGEL, a lightweight and 65% softer material than conventional visible GEL technology, which provides exceptional shock absorption and cushioning for a comfortable and responsive ride.
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26 boasts a hybrid outsole that combines both ASICSGRIP and AHAR rubber compounds, delivering exceptional grip, enhanced softness, and long-lasting durability. The combination of these two materials ensures that you can tackle any terrain with confidence, while the outsole’s durability will withstand the demands of even the most challenging runs.
The good news is ASICS did not mess with success when it comes to the Gel-Nimbus 26. They took everything that worked in the 25 and kept it intact while improving the areas most of us struggled with. An improved upper coupled with a new outsole design delivers a better run experience, but the core of the shoe stays just as well fitting. The 25 was one of our favorites of 2023, and the 26 will be an easy recommendation for folks as we move into 2024.
These shoes were provided by the manufacturer or its partners for the sole use of review. No implied or explicit guarantees were provided as it relates to the provision of these products and all editorial commentary is strictly the property of Running Northwest. In short, the fact they allowed us to test these shoes does not mean we are required to give it a favorable review… every product must earn it. We appreciate our manufacturer partnerships and if you have any questions, you can read our Disclosure Policy in further detail.
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.