Asics Gel Nimbus 21 Review

7.7 score
[Editors rating (7.7)] = (WalkJogRun) score (7.7)/10

Editor rating: 7.7 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Asics takes its name from an old Latin phrase meaning a sound mind in a sounds body. Though their philosophy emphasizes peace, their gear prepares you to run faster, jump higher, and push yourself to your limits. These two factors come together to create fantastic shoes. Asics wants to become one of the best brands you can go to for athletic performance wear but unfortunately, they are one step further away with the Gel Nimbus 21. The running option isn't a complete miss, however, it is disappointing compared to its predecessors.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • FlyteFoam Lyte Technology
  • Abrasion Resistant Outsole
  • Gel Cushioning System
  • I.G.S. Technology
  • FlyteFoam Propel Technology
  • Ortholite Padded Collar
  • Unattractive
  • Strange Fit
  • Not Cushioned Enough


To call this pair for running attractive would be a bit generous. Due to the attempt to control the foot strike when running, the outer sole comes out quite a bit from the upper. The fact that it is white gives a stark contrast against the upper of the shoe that honestly looks awkward and dated. The wider toe box on the Gel Nimbus 21 causes the shoe to have an almost two soft appearance.

Like the kind of shoe, a baby wears before they are able to walk. The puffy appearance doesn’t even align with the chunky sneaker trend that is currently popular right now, so the result is just kind of a bland, bulky shoe. The intersecting lines that generally cut across the body of an Asics shoe can usually lend themselves to creating a pretty sleek aesthetic for their sporty styles.

That isn’t the case with the Gel Nimbus 21. This option is pretty boring and overinflated. Some people may enjoy the look of the Gel Nimbus 21, but reviewers agreed it left so much to be desired in so many areas, that its less-than-impressive look really doesn’t help make up for it.


This is one area of the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 reviews that had some disagreement. The Reviews were extremely divided, from raves to absolutely tanked ratings. People said that though the Gel Nimbus 21 was a little weird to get used to at first, it eventually grew on them and was a pretty comfortable option. The bottom is designed to roll pressure from the outside of the foot in towards the middle of the foot, with even distribution on every step, so this is great for anyone who bears weight in uneven distribution.

The fit is considered “improved” because the upper is made of a premium mesh designed to better hug your feet when running or walking. Full-length foam is intended to provide lasting comfort and a feel that is plush and soft on the platform of the shoe. Reviewers had been saying this style takes a bit to get used to but was still a relatively comfortable option from Asics.

Others had claimed the padding felt extremely minimal compared to other Asics. This could definitely cause problems for those who need a shoe with great comfort features, even if it seems to be highly dependent on the wearer and their individual foot shape.


One thing that is fantastic about the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 is the durability. These sneakers are specially designed to be outstanding for durability, outlasting multiple other options that are available in the athletic sneaker category. They are able to achieve this level of longevity due to the materials they used to construct the Gel Nimbus 21. There is a specialized rubber used in the outsole to ensure you will be able to enjoy this sneaker for a long time to come, they call this material High Abrasion Rubber. The upper is also made of a specialized material, this time a mesh.

Mesh is great because the perforations in the fabric make it overall more resistant to pulling and damage. Though it is possible for it to snag, it so rarely does when it is used on a sneaker such as this one due to how reinforced the material is. Shorter laces compared to prior versions of the Nimbus also help to ensure the laces won’t pull from getting caught in gym machines or stepped on during your workouts.


The Asics Gel Nimbus 21 comes in a surprisingly extensive array of sizes. If your foot is wide, you are guaranteed to be able to get your hands on your specific size, even if you usually aren’t able to fit in the average wide sizes. Size accommodations aside, reviewers found there to be several problems when it came to the medium width Gel Nimbus 21. The midfoot of this pair of Asics is exceedingly narrow, causing problems for those used to the normal build of the Nimbus line.

The heel cup also had an issue of being too narrow, some found that even on the wide versions this proved problematic. The Asics Gel Nimbus 21 has a hard fit. It doesn’t flex well with the foot and many said it fits as a cheap knock-off might. Oddly enough, this shoe is made for normal arch wearers, but it seems reviewers who had high arches actually had better luck with this pair of Asics. Reviewers felt that corner may have been cut to shave weight off this pair of Asics. In both the men’s and women’s versions of the shoe there were gripes about the fit and comfort.

Notable Features

Running shoes need a few things to be considered safe for regular long distance runners or joggers. One of those things is a reflective material so that people can see you at night when they are driving from the reflection of their lights. If you run in metropolitan areas or even around the neighborhood or on the street, it is crucial to have something with reflective features. This Asics Gel Nimbus 21 has great reflectivity for night runners.

The Gel Nimbus 21 is built neutral so it slightly pronates to help balance your weight and absorb the shock of the foot strikes against the ground. A collar that is padded with Ortholite helps keep your foot cool and your ankle supported when you step out in the Gel Nimbus 21. On the outsole, high abrasion rubber is added in key spots to keep the outsole performing at its best. There is heel clutching technology that helps to provide support but also gives a tighter fit. This could be partially what is causing issues for some customers with the fit, due to its countered heel.


Asics is great for buying inexpensive footwear for performance purposes. Many athletic options are incredibly expensive for what they are, an unfortunate truth for many people who are active. This option for running is exceedingly affordable, ringing up at about one-third less than even its lower price-ranged competitors. That is extremely impressive for any running style, so if you are looking for something affordable that won’t require much commitment, you may want to look into the Asics Gel Nimbus 21. Reviewers found that this could last for an extended period of time, with its predecessors holding up for almost twice as long as the recommended mileage for runners.

That is definitely something to celebrate! If you are not sold on the current running selection that you see in your price range, considering the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 might be in order. Many people found that this shoe was perfect for the price. Despite there being a good mix of negative reviews, the reviews are either very good or very bad, which could mean that this shoe just has features that do not bode well for a wide range of people. This could be a style that works perfectly for you, and the liberal return policy and low price creates a good opportunity to give it a chance.

Shock Absorption

Shock absorption is a feature of the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 that the brand took extremely seriously. Wanting to ensure that every step had the lowest impact possible on the wearer's knees and joints, Asics designed an option that really diminishes the pressure from running while you’re wearing it. FlyteFoam propel technology helps to make this possible, with its superior energy return, you bounce back from each strike against the ground as you’re running.

An elastomer compound allows for this fantastic energy preservation. The foam being used is called SpEVA 45, and it does more than just decrease shock. This foam will also increase your rebound and conserve your energy during your run. A gel cushioning system in the midfoot and forefoot helps to greatly reduce the impact on the foot. It does this by attenuating the shock during different movements of your gate.

This works during times such as your push-off, or toe-off, from the ground, as well as keeping you steadily moving through multiple different planes throughout your run. This shoe will not only reduce the impact on your body, but it will increase your comfort while running, which is absolutely crucial.


Reviews may be mixed for this Asics Gel Nimbus, but one thing is not up for debate: the support of this shoe is not in short supply. The FlyteFoam uses organic nanofibers for increased cushioning while standing or running. The structural integrity of it is such that it supports you at all times, regardless of your gait or running style. On the midfoot, there is Guidance Trusstic System Technology. Using Guidance Line construction, it will make your running style more efficient, improving your athleticism, and most lining how you feel after a long run.

The collar around the back of the heel offers amazing support but also has other features that make it worth noting. It is made of an Ortholite material, which means it helps wick away moisture and keeps you cool during your extremely grueling runs. A full-contact outsole ensures that you are getting the maximum support at the perfect times throughout your long distance runs. The Asics Gel Nimbus may fall short in some categories like fit or plushness, but it really does have a wonderful construction when it comes to support where you need it most.


One of the most puzzling things about the Asics Gel Nimbus 21 is that it seems to be slightly less comfortable than its predecessors. Reviewers had a lot to say about the downhill nature of the Nimbus line. It appears many feel their earlier versions, from the single digits to the 16 were much more comfortable and effective than this later conception of the style. This was because they said that the cushioning seemed to be less robust, and the overall insole seemed harder.

I would venture to guess that is because this long-distance running shoe has a lot of gait-improving structural additions. Asics wants people to make the most out of their runs, so it seems to follow that when they update a shoe in a certain line, it is going to have features that surpass those before it.

Though reviewers may not like how these features feel initially, calling them uncomfortable or too stiff, it seems that that kind of construction is really by design. Asics wanted this shoe to improve the running experience, not just feel great when you’re wearing it, but make you great. Some reviewers were unhappy with the changes, but they were obviously done with good intentions to offer a better shoe.


While this tries incredibly hard to not be too heavy, a few reviewers found it to be less than light anyway. The Ortholite padding in the upper cuts down on extra weight. The strongly reinforced mesh of the upper is barely-there on the top of your feet. Even the special cushioning is a specific type of EVA, one of the lighter materials for use in midsoles. Their midsole, they call it FlyteFoam Lyte technology, is actually the lightest weight formulation they have on the market right now.

The excess weight most likely comes from the addition of abrasion resistant rubber on the outsole as well as the gel inside of the shoe. Gel tends to be much heavier than foam and could be the source of this complaint, at leave partially., The reinforced sole even looks heavy, as its edges come out much further than the upper of the shoe, to begin with.

Bottom Line

The Asics Gel Nimbus 21 has its problems. Though this long-distance running shoe may not be perfect, it certainly shines in some of its features. Specialized in a variety of needs, the biggest challenges are finding a comfortable and correct fit for you.

This Gel Nimbus 21 by Asics attempts to correct your gait while running improving your form overall. For people who have tried the Asics Nimbus 20, this will exceed their expectations. For people that liked the earlier Nimbus line, this style may prove to be lackluster when they try it in comparison to those earlier styles.