One of the classic legacy shoes in the ASICS line, the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 is a neutral everyday trainer with sufficient cushioning, a comfortable ride and a versatile, do-everything vibe. It’s been updated slightly from the previous edition, with a slightly softer feel and a more forgiving ride.
The previous edition of this shoe was pretty good, so ASICS smartly didn’t change it too much. The biggest changes are that there is little bit more Flytefoam cushioning in the midsole and a new gender-specific construction. The gender-specific construction allows the shoe to more optimally flex and adapt to men’s and women’s footstrike patterns.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 has a classic ASICS fit. It is perfectly true to size length-wise and not too narrow and not too wide. The step-in feel is comfortable and moderately cushy, but not overly plush.
It has an easy-flexing demeanor in the forefoot, but the slightly lower-to-the-ground forefoot provides good feel for the ground. The shoe feels slightly firm as you transition to the toe-off phase of a stride. That allows it to run at moderately fast speeds, although it isn’t quite as plushy and comfortable as a result.
The ride is smooth, semi-soft, natural and consistent, but not exceptionally energetic or bouncy — especially compared to other shoes out there with more advanced foam midsoles.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
This is a great entry-level shoe for new or novice runners, but it can also be a reliable everyday trainer for experienced runners who log modest mileage every week. It’s one of those shoes that does everything pretty well without having one exceptional feature, and that’s a good thing.
Its wheelhouse is slow and moderate paces, but it’s versatile enough to handle faster paces for shorter distances, though not quite peppy enough for speed workouts or racing.
PROS: ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 23
The new, one-piece engineered mesh upper is smooth, soft and comfortable, wrapping the forefoot while accommodating for a wide variety of foot shapes. It really helps dial in a connective, comfortable fit and makes up for the lack of a gusseted tongue.
The rear of the shoe is comfortable, secure and supportive. This is thanks to a rigid internal heel counter and copious amounts of padding around the heel and ankle collar. Also, it has a slightly softer, and more shock-absorbing GEL component.
The outsole has been reconfigured with more segmented narrower bands or soft rubber in the forefoot and a lateral decoupling groove pattern of firmer, more durable rubber in the rearfoot. The new configuration contributes to the softer more accommodating ride without giving up traction or sturdiness in every stride.
CONS: ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 23
This shoe actually got slightly heavier — by about a half ounce — compared to the Cumulus 22. That might not seem like a lot, but it was enough to put at the higher end of the everyday trainer category. It’s not heavy, just heavier than last year’s edition.