Journalist and shoe guru Brian Metzler puts the ASICS GEL Nimbus 23 through its paces. He shares what this new edition has to offer for runners in 2020 and 2021.
The GEL-Nimbus 23 is a premium, neutral daily trainer with loads of cushioning and comfort. The Nimbus has always been reliable daily trainer. It serves up softness and durability and this new version remains true to that with a little bit of energetic pop in every stride.
There are a few minor updates to the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 23 that make it a softer, smoother shoe. The GEL cushioning wedge in the heel is more expansive. This helps create a softer and more absorbing feeling in every foot strike.
The upper has been adapted slightly with a more accommodating lace eyelet configuration. It also features a more pliable mid-foot panel that allows for optimal mid-foot flexibility.
The men’s and women’s versions of the Nimbus 23 are specifically designed for the slight differences in the gait patterns between genders.
The women’s model has decoupled flex grooves in the forefoot and a softer plastic Trusstic support brace under the mid-foot. This encourages optimal flexibility and a slightly steeper heel-toe offset (13mm, as opposed to 10mm for men) for a more active transition from heel strike to toe off.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The GEL Nimbus 23 has the classic true-to-size fit ASICS is known for. It shares a snug, narrow-medium volume interior that secures the heel and mid-foot. However, it provides just a tiny bit of wiggle room in the toe box.
The step-in feel of the new Nimbus is nothing short of luxurious. This is thanks to the premium sockliner, padded heel collar and cushy, wide tongue. The slightly updated engineered mesh upper contributes to improved comfort, flexibility and breathability while also helping cinch down each foot to the chassis of the shoe.
The ride is soft, smooth, supple and flowy without any sense of awkwardness between heel strike and toe off. This edition of the Nimbus retains that vibe, only it’s slightly softer and more comfortable.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
The GEL-Nimbus 23 has always been a great shoe for a wide range of runners with neutral stride patterns and a heel-striking gait.
TheNimbus is a neutral shoe, but it does provide a little bit of stability in every stride. This comes from the plastic Trusstic shank embedded in the midsole under the arch. That extra bit of structure makes this shoe a very good choice for longer runs when your gait starts to show signs of fatigue.
No matter whether you’re running 10 miles a week or 50 miles a week, the GEL-Nimbus 23 is a durable workhorse of a training shoe.
It’s best for slower to moderate paces, but its range can extend from short runs to long runs. It’s not going to be ideal for speedier workouts, but it can suffice for tempo runs and fartlek runs with longer fast segments.
PROS: ASICS GEL NIMBUS 23
The Nimbus 23 has an invigorating dual-compound midsole that consists of a layer of light, soft and durable Flytefoam and a secondary layer of lively Flytefoam Propel, which serves up a bouncy feel with considerable energy return. The bottom line? It’s sufficiently cushions every foot strike and puts a little bit of a spring into every new stride.
The step-in feel and interior comfort features of the GEL-Nimbus 23 are exceptional. The soft heel collar secures the foot but goes easy on the Achilles, while the partially gusseted padded tongue wraps around each foot and stays in place as each foot moves through the stride cycle.
Our wear-testers love this shoe for long runs, recovery runs and random group runs at conversational pace. It’s one of those shoes that’s so comfortable, you barely remember you’re wearing it.
CONS: ASICS GEL NIMBUS 23
As far as training shoes go, the weight of the Nimbus falls in the mid-range of the category. It’s not heavy, but it’s not as light as some of its contemporaries. You will probably only notice it if you have a penchant for lighter shoes.
SHOP ASICS GEL NIMBUS 23
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.
As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”