Asics Nimbus 22 Lite Intro
Many other shoemakers have been focusing on providing highly cushioned shoes with almost impossibly light specs. Asics have been watching this and spun off the Gel-Nimbus Lite variant of their Gel-Nimbus shoes to compete in this arena.
Featuring a sizable 25mm rear heel stack, 15mm forefoot stack height, the overall 10mm drop sits on a solid amount of foam.
All this foam, however, doesn’t add much weight to the shoes as they come in at 9.7 ounces (more than an ounce lighter than the regular Gel-Nimbus).
Throw in the fact that these shoes have thick and ample rubber coverage on the outsole with a padded upper and you have a new winner on the Asics product line.
Other shoes in this lightweight cushioned category would be the Nike Pegasus at a tad heavier 10.0 ounces, similar 10 mm drop, slightly cheaper $120 MSR and similar cushioned react foam.
A similar plush experience can be found with the Hoka Bondi 6 with a 4mm drop, but so much foam that the weight is a heavier 10.9 ounces at $150 overall.
Asics Nimbus 22 Lite First Impressions
The GEL-Nimbus Lite sits on the same track as the Gel series of shoes from Asics which are designed to reduce shock and provide comfort. So this Nimbus variant off the Gel series of shoes is set up for comfort.
And you can now see that the Gel-Nimbus Lite variant of a shoe is supposed to be the lightest, most comfortable, most shock reducing shoe of the Asics line!
Well, maybe not the “most” in each category, but Asics really wants a lot in this shoe. I found the shoe to be light, fast, comfortable.
But the real question is how does it compare to the regular Gel-Nimbus shoe, and how does it perform overall?
I tested a set of regular Gel-Nimbus shoes years ago and was impressed with how cushioned the ride felt. It was almost too cushioned though, and I avoided those shoes for races/speed work as they felt clunky.
The newer Gel-Nimbus 22 is a little less clunky, but still somewhat heavy, so I was impressed when I tried on the Gel-Nimbus Lite shoes and got the same extreme cushioning but with a speedier and more responsive feel.
So the main difference is that the lite version is just lighter. That and Asics removed the TRUSSTIC system (stability plate under the midfoot to help with those that underpronate).
So if you need support for underpronation, go with the regular Nimbus. The rest of the Nimbus Lite is very similar to the regular Nimbus (size, outsole layout, upper design, price, comfort).
Asics Nimbus 22 Lite Sole Unit
Asics uses their strong cellulose nanofiber in the Nimbus Lite shoes, which has become more of a commonplace foam in the high-level running shoes by Asics.
This foam, debuting in 2018, utilizes little fibers in the bubbles of the foam to increase the strength. Asics calls this foam FlyteFoam, but I think cellulose nanofiber enriched foam is way cooler.
Either way, it is the real deal as all my runs in this shoe from 0.2 to 20 miles felt comfortable.
Additionally, the foam stayed durable through the 200-mile mark without any major signs of sagging. We always test shoes up to 50 miles.
But I ended up bringing these shoes much past that mark as they became my daily runner since the comfort was so reliable.
You would think the Gel insert that Asics has patented/trademarked/advertised the heck out of would be the selling point of this shoe.
But it’s really just now a “special sauce” that nearly every shoe from Asics has and seamlessly adds shock reduction to a shoe.
I’ve never noticed the Gel patch in the shoe, so it’s pretty subtle. Considering even their budget line of shoes like the Gel-Excite 7s have this Gel tech, you should expect it to be in their higher-end line of shoes.
The outsole of the Nimbus Lite has great rubber coverage and has a design rugged enough for trail running if you wanted.
I actually wore these shoes on a trip to Hawaii and ran up the Koko Crater trail (and back down) in these shoes. I would have not done that with a pair of Nike Vaporflys.
The rubber is also plenty thick on the outsole, so you can get away with wearing these shoes a little longer than other lightweight trainers if you are known to wear down rubber quickly.
Asics also adds some high abrasion rubber in high wear areas (less soft rubber, but more durable) to add to the life of the shoe. Greatly appreciated.
The last item on the outsole is actually something missing. There’s no “TRUSSTIC” support system/plastic support under the midfoot.
Asics has this on the regular version of the Nimbus shoes to provide more support, but they omitted it on purpose and put in a bit more rubber for the Nimbus Lite version.
Personally, I think Asics should have made it the Nimbus Liter and just omit filling the gap with rubber to leave exposed foam.
Loads of other shoes out there skip adding rubber directly below the midfoot to save weight, my hope is the Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 2 will be lighter with this change (and maybe they can shorten the name to just the Gel-Lite?).
Asics Nimbus 22 Lite Upper Unit
Like almost all Asics shoes, the primary layout of the upper is defined by the massive Asics logo. The rest of the upper is a breathable mesh, and it has a special secret.
Asics uses recycled content to make up most of the upper.
It’s hard for me to give an unbiased opinion of this upper material as it fared fine during the first 50 or so miles of my training, but I took these shoes above and beyond what we normally test.
Around the 150 mile mark in these shoes, the upper started to develop rips in high-stress areas.
Somewhat disappointing to see since I’ve had shoes that could go 300 miles before developing rips, but we are dealing with a lightweight shoe.
I liked these shoes which is why I ran in them a lot, but that extra loving exposed a flaw so I’ll be marking these shoes down a little for that as a result.
The lacing system is very pleasant as Asics keeps a standard tongue on this shoe (no minimal thin fabric or oddball neoprene material).
The laces loop through a leatherette style overlay on the upper which provides enough of an anchor point to the shoe to get you a snug fit.
Some might prefer a little flex in the shoe which these laces don’t provide, so make sure to leave a little room for your feet to breathe if you’re lacing up for the long run.
Finishing out the upper is an impressive and shiny heel counter.
I thought this was to help differentiate the Nimbus Lite from the regular Nimbus, but they both have the same hefty heel counter with the silver overlay with embossed names.
This heel counter is hit or miss with folks as it definitely provides support for your heel, but a poor fit or need for heel flexibility will leave you feeling out of touch with your shoe.
I found it to be perfectly comfortable and encourage you to take these shoes on a test run before committing to a purchase.
Asics Nimbus 22 Lite Conclusion
So, the Gel-Nimbus Lite shoe stands up to what it claims to have and tosses in a few surprises like an upper made from recycled materials.
But $150 is $150 and you have lots of options in a crowded field of cushioned lightweight shoes.
I’d cautiously recommend this shoe to those in that field since I had a blast running in these shoes but have a minor concern with durability along with a disclaimer that some folks might find the fit of the heel to be not to their liking.
If you test these shoes out and love the feel, you’ll have a good value on your hands…err…feet.