Saturday, May 25, 2019

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 Multi Tester Review

Article by Mac Jeffries, Michael Ellenberger, and Sam Winebaum

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21  ($120)
Sam: Nothing fancy or really new here beyond a great new upper, just continuous gradual improvement for the GEL-Cumulus 21. I have run the 19 and 20 (RTR Review) and with each iteration the upper has gotten to be less of a straight jacket. In the 21, the upper goes as plush as any daily trainer out there yet still with that great (maybe to great for some) rear of the shoe hold and stability as the extensive heel counter appears unchanged. The weight also remains unchanged at 10.1 oz / 286 oz so similar to classic daily trainers such as the Pegasus, Saucony Ride ISO, and NB 1080v9. Underfoot, Flytefoam Lyte is substituted for Flytefoam and we see a new EVA sockliner with, as in the 20, a layer of Flytefoam Propel as the first layer under foot for some bounce. The outsole appears unchanged although rear landing grooves are deepened for a softer landing. The overall result of the these minor underfoot changes for me is a very slightly springier and softer ride and a touch smoother transitions.

Mac: I recall a passage in Alas Babylon - that post-nuclear-apocalypse novel you were supposed to read in high school - lamenting the future fictional decline of the US Military: “We designed the most beautiful bombers in the world, and built them by the thousands. We improved and modified them each year, like new model cars. We couldn't bear the thought that jet bombers themselves might be out of style.” Enter Asics and their longtime industry-leading GEL Cushioning. With all of the lightweight “superfoam” midsoles out there, classic brands have been forced to choose between sticking to the guns that brought them this far, or getting creative at the risk of alienating their current customer base. Asics has done a little of both - they continually improve their Gel cushioning and recently released the polarizing $250 Metaride alongside the firing/hiring of CEOs - and they now bring us the 21st iteration of the Cumulus, a beautiful everyday trainer which is an improvement over its predecessor. Asics Gel lovers rejoice!
Women's Color (Photo Credits Sally Reiley)

Mac/Sam: Very comfortable, both in the upper and underfoot. Simple classic styling.
Mac/Sam: Very stable, well directed ride, particularly for heel strikers at slower paces.
Michael: Comfortable mesh upper;
Michael/ Sam: Solid platform should accommodate mild-overpronators
Sam: Expected overall long durability top to bottom

Mac/Sam: Below average cushion to weight ratio.
Michael: Mid and forefoot cushioning is lacking and feels rigid.
Mac: Flytefoam feels dead compared to Freshfoam and HOVR, let alone Hyperburst, Floatride, and Zoom X
Michael: Heavy feeling despite reasonable 10.1 oz weight (and you’ll notice it)
Sam: Dense feeling forefoot and its stiffness dulls ride
Sam: Overbuilt heel counter likely adds weight

Tester Profiles
Michael is his 20’s and is a 1:07 half marathoner. He runs 50-60 miles per week, generally in lightweight trainers or racing flats at around 6:00-6:30 minutes/mile.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains about 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces in the 9 minute range. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.
Mac is a former collegiate defensive lineman who runs to fill the competitive void left after school and to stay in shape. He is in his late 30s, runs 50-80 mpw, and at 6’3”, has come down from his playing weight of 275 lbs to a steady 205 lbs for the last 10 years. Jeff’s PRs are 19:30, 1:33:xx, and 3:23:xx; he also teaches and coaches XC & T&F.

US M9 Estimated Weight: 10.1 oz / 286 g
US M8.5 Production Sample: 9.8 oz  / 279 g
Stack Height: 29mm heel / 19 mm forefoot, 10 mm drop
$120. Available now, including Running Warehouse here

First Impressions and Fit
Mac: Let’s get this out of the way first: this is not my type of shoe. I have spoiled by today’s lightweight trainers and flubber-based midsoles, so a shoe with a built-up upper and a midsole that emphasizes cushion over energy return feel like a step back in time - which is actually why I wanted to try these. That said, they look good out of the box - I like the see-through upper - and the padded collar and tongue promises to be comfortable. The fit is secure, if a bit bulky - if the Nike Zoom Streak is an Armani blazer, then the C21 is a bulletproof vest.  
Michael: I recently tested the Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24 and its flashy new knit upper, so when I pulled the Cumulus out of the box, I was already skeptical. This looks like an ASICS from 10 years ago, I thought. But, pulling it on and going through the spec sheet, you forget about the mid-2000s styling and hefty heel and bask in the comfort it provides. Temporarily. Then, you start running.
Sam: Classic if a bit sllvery flashy styling they had an easy fitting, solid stable feel on initial try on.

I think the silvery accents around lace up are a bit loud but the overlays there are very effective in providing a solid lace up and lockdown and one without the overly stiff wrap of the 20. The shift to a new roomier ball of foot and higher volume toe box last, shared with the Kayano 25 and 26, was immediately apparent when comparing to lower volume Cumulus 20's fit.
My first run was a side by side with Cumulus 20 and I immediately appreciated the softer heel collar which made putting them on much easier with the fit at the rear far more comfortable, The improved comfort story continues at mid foot where the stiff overlays of the 20 are replaced by softer more pliable overlays and lace throat material. Upfront, the toe bumper and toe box height volume are both raised. There is considerably more comfort up front and all over than the predecessor. What hasn’t changed is the very extensive stiff heel counter which clearly stabilizes the foot.

While not the most exciting shoe out there, the Cumulus (and Nimbus 21) have a valued special position in my line up. Whenever I have an incipient injury, earlier this year a touch of Plantars and now a bum knee and ankle from our 13 day 200 mile trek across Switzerland. I reach for these shoes. Why? They are a very stable neutral shoe optionfor the slower paces I run back on the heels more often than not when injured. Their stability at the rear and denser cushion is exactly what is required. Not to say they don’t perform otherwise and are a great choice for heavy mileage if you like a stable denser feeling cushion.

While as the guys say the styling is “conservative” and maybe a bit overdone with the slivery rear accents. and  I tend to agree, my Swiss mother in law from Geneva, a former serious runner pronounced them “sharp looking”. It is interesting to note that during our 13 day trek across Switzerland almost 100% of the runners we saw, and they were mostly women,  ran in ASICS so they must know what they are doing style wise, at least in the European market,

Mac: The upper is bombproof and casually modern even with the clearly conservative vibe. It consists of 2 layers, with the outer layer thin and porous, showing off the flashier inner layer. The upper fits lit a glove, and securely holds the foot in place. I did have to stop a few minutes into my first run to tighten the laces, but overall, it does exactly what it is designed to do: hold your foot in place and stand up to long training miles. That security come at the price of added bulk and weight, of course.

Michael: Mac says “conservative.” I say “dated.”

That’s not to say the upper here is bad - I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort and the fit of it - especially around the heel, which looks like something out of Alien but is actually quite snug and supportive.
Moreover, the forefoot is quite breathable and airy, and even on a rare warm day in Chicago, I had no issues with overheating.

What’s more, I experienced no hotspots, no irritations, and no blistering. ASICS could probably stand to strip some overlays off the Cumulus, but the upper is ultimately a bright spot on the trainer.
Sam: This one heck of a fine upper and the highlight of the shoe for me. The upper fits me as well as any this year in a trainer and the manufacturing quality is impeccable in its finish and detail. Yes, the styling maybe a bit conservative and dated but the materials and execution is thoroughly modern with its multi directional mesh and seamless construction.
I finally got a very comfortable fitting Asics with still that stout rear hold in the Cumulus 21. The change to the Kayano's higher volume last up front and softening of the collars, overlays and upper mesh really make a huge difference.

Some may miss the more performance oriented fit of the 20 but I don’t  At long last ASICS softens the upper mesh and overlays (heel collar, upper mesh, toe box) and increases overall mid foot and toe box volume while retaining the trademark “heel clutching” rear of the shoe (not emphasized in ASICS product descriptions for this shoe)

Quite frankly the heel clutching feature call out was always scary sounding and overdone for my tastes when combined with rough fitting rear collars. Here the clutch is painless and not over felt but for sure present.  Asics adds memory foam to the collars to personalize the fit and it feels great, softening the feel of that still extensive heel counter.
I particularly appreciated the higher toe box and mid foot volume compared to the 20 and in fact compared to many other trainers where comfort increases but often hold “slips” with the new softer engineered mesh. Not so here.
Note in the photo below the clearly more relaxed, higher volume mid foot upper when compared to the 20 on the left.
Part of the secret to retaining good foothold in these newer softer uppers is heel hold and rear stability and the 21 has it in spades, to much really for most uses.
The tongue is more plush and soft than in the 20 and one can clearly see the softer more extensive collar paddings in the photo below.

Of particular note is the rethinking of the rear collars. Whereas the the Cumulus 20 had stiff firm padding to go with the extensive heel counter. in the 21 we retain the stiff heel counter but plush  up the collar cushioning. The difference in comfort is noticeable and welcome with only an insignificant difference in hold, a bit more top of achilles collar slip. While the heel collars area step in feel is sublime I do think the new memory foam around the collars could be touch denser.

Women's Color Photo Credit Sally Reiley

According to ASICS:
“Gel Cushioning System uses a silicone-based gel for responsive shock absorption on impact.Flytefoam Lyte provides lightweight and durable cushioning that is also environmentally friendly. Flytefoam Propel is a softer and bouncier foam added to increase responsiveness while maintaining comfort. Guidance Line is a flex groove that runs vertically from the heel to the forefoot for improved gait efficiency.Impact Guidance System (IGS) design creates a smooth and balanced heel-to-toe transition.”
Mac: Ah, the midsole. As I said, I have been spoiled by the lightness and energy return of the midsoles of many current offerings. This midsole emphasizes shock absorption over energy return, so although it protects your foot, it feels dead compared to many current offerings. This is, plain and simple, a shoe that is designed for comfort rather than performance. The problem is that for all the weight and shock absorption, the shoe isn’t all that protective. I don’t notice any more protection from the stray rock or root than I get from, say, my New Balance Beacons, which weigh a whopping 3 oz less and have much more spring in the step.

Michael: 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the midsole; we have Brooks’s DNA AMP, New Balance’s Fresh Foam, Nike’s Zoom X, Reebok’s Floatride and Forever Energy foams, Saucony’s EVERUN, Skechers’  Hyperburst, even Underarmor’s HOVR. Lots of buzzwords, to be sure, but (mostly) lots of great technologies. ASICS brings Flyefoam Lyte to the table, and while they’ve matched the psuedo-futuristic spelling and sensational naming of their competitors, the feel of the material falls short - especially for forefoot strikers. Just looking at the shoe, it’s obvious it’s built “backwards,” with a loaded feel and sparser (more sparse?) mid- and forefoot. Unfortunately, looks don’t even tell the whole story. Landing on your forefoot feels like slapping down on plastic; it’s a frustrating experience consider just how much cushion there is onboard that feels wasted.

Sam:The Cumulus has a relatively dense midsole designed for stable cushioning and long durability. The combination of Flytefoam Propel under foot, the lateral GEL landing zone with Flytefoam Lyte above the outsole is as the guys say not the most exciting out there but is super stable and well if firmly cushioned in feel.
The GEL unit is only found on the lateral side of the shoe. It is very effective in combination with the foams in the midsole in reducing shock for this more heel striking runner. The plastic Trussic piece at midfoot, which made transitions awkward was eliminated in the 19 and thankfully doesn’t re appear here.
The medial side has no GEL unit. The vertical side walls and density of the midsole provide enough support in my view for mild overpronators.

The forefoot stack is a relatively (these days) thin but standard and conventional 19mm and with the dense Flytefoam Lyte in the mix the forefoot is quite firm, if well protected. The heel with a stout 29mm stack with GEL in the mix provides plenty of dense and stable cushion. The shock transmitted is minimal at the heel and is more noticed at the forefoot.
The deep long Guidance Line (and again no Trussic plastic in the way) makes for fairly smooth transitions.
Mac: The outsole is more than ample: full coverage, flex grooves to both improve flexibility and channel water away, and overall solid traction. Exactly what you would expect from a shoe designed for heavy mileage.

Michael: Here’s another bright spot for ASICS - the outsole is well-designed, and the Cumulus handles admirably on wet and dry pavement alike - even painted elements which can often lead to some questionable plants. No such concerns here. Moreover, the grooves built into the outsole - across the forefoot, and sloping towards the medial side - give the shoe decent flex, even at faster paces.
Sam: A fine outsole here. Lots of rubber with a firmer single flex point at the last full width groove.
The light gray at the heel is ASICS AHAR high abrasion carbon rubber with blue areas DuraSponge a blown version of AHAR. I expect many miles out of this outsole and a life to match the resiliency and slow pack out of the Flytefoam. I would like to see a deeper first flex groove or some kind of scoring of the midsole just ahead of mid foot, When the Propel and Flytefoam Lyte are glued together, combined with the outsole and relatively shallow flex grooves, we get an overly stiff flexing shoe.

Mac:   The C21’s ride has a few standout characteristics. First, stability: I typically land on the outside of my midfoot before rolling across the balls of my feet to push off my big toe. These shoes, however, encourage a centered foot strike and toe-off, almost as it running on a rail, despite the “neutral” designation. Second, the (lack of) energy return: the shoes simply feel dead, and I felt that I was having to work much harder than usual just to make it around the neighborhood. I suppose that could be a useful training tool, almost like resistance training without having to pull a tire or find a hill to run up. Lastly, the cushion to weight ratio is sub par. For a shoe that is relatively heavy - and runs heavier than it is listed - the cushion isn’t spectacular. The C21 desperately needs to shed a couple of ounces or beef up the cushion… or both.

Michael: Most of my complaints are lodged in the “Midsole” section, but I’ll summarize here - the Cumulus carries so much cushion on board, and yet uses nearly none of it effectively. I was surprised by just how jarring the ride is in this, in spite of its updated cushioning and gel technologies. Heel strikers may have better success here, I am a mid foot striker with my training paces generally in the mid lower 6 minutes per mile - I didn’t bother to try and reproduce such a motion - but even if so, they’ll be carrying around a shoe several ounces beyond its class with a mediocre ride.

Sam: The Cumulus 21 has a more traditional ride than some of the latest from other brands: dense, highly protective and stable, and without much bounce or for that matter distinctive character. As a heel striker and for those slow paces when tired and where I seek a touch of “neutral” stability  or when injuries are emerging it is definitely a shoe I will keep in my rotation as I have earlier versions for just that purpose. It does the work of stabilizing and guiding for you and you just don’t have to think too much about where your feet are landing. It is also for many of the same reasons a good shoe for up tempo work on tired legs.   

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mac’s Score: 6.4/10 (Expect my scores to be, in general, lower than those of my peers.)
Ride: the cushion to weight ratio just doesn’t compete in today’s market, and the feel is dead compared to today’s premium offerings. This also hurts its Value, since it is hard to justify $120 when you can pick up some Forever Energys for about half of that with a coupon. However, the Fit is solid - if a bit bulky - and it is a good looking shoe. Someone getting this as a casual walking shoe should get their money’s worth and then some.
I recommend this shoe for casual wear, walking, and hiking - or possibly as a “resistance shoe” to make your runs with your performance-oriented shoes feel easier. That said, there isn’t a comparable dedicated running shoe that I have tried that I would put this ahead of.

Michael’s Score: 7.5/10
The Cumulus 21 is ultimately saved by its upper, which is accomodating, breathable, and just downright comfortable. Moreover, I expect this shoe to fit a wide variety of foot shapes and, with its wider platform and stable outsole, should work for mild-overpronators without much trouble. But, unfortunately, the praise stops there. The Cumulus 21 has a harsh, if not uncomfortable, ride and is considerably heavier than its peer shoes. I didn’t get a chance to run in the Cumulus 20, but know it was generally well-received by our team at RTR. Hopefully ASICS can rekindle some of that magic for version 22.

Sam’s Score: 8.7 / 10
The Cumulus 21 will remain in my rotation and serve, as its predecessor and the Nimbus have, as a sort of specialized shoe for those days, such as when injuries are lurking when I want impeccable rear of shoe stability in a non posted neutral shoe and a dense, well cushioned yet firmer midsole. I agree with Michael it is not exactly the most pleasant ride when pushed hard and up on the forefoot but back on the heels and slower its inherent hold and rear stability provides me great utility when the legs are in rough shape.

Its upper is clearly one of the finest of 2019 for me in a trainer, blending soft comfort, room, and great foot hold. The new roomy comfort oriented upper and long lasting underfoot platform make it a great option as a quite light daily trainer for heavier runners or those with broader, higher volume feet who struggled to fit earlier Cumulus.

I agree it could lose weight and that ASICS should be looking at lighter, springier foams along with trimming down the extensive heel counter without losing the great hold and stability there. Further, what’s the magic of the 10mm drop here? Others have moved on to 6 or 8mm in many trainers for its obvious benefits in up front in cushion by shifting stack from rear to front, at equivalent overall weights. Moving a few millimeters of stack from the heel to forefoot and improving front flex could really improve the cushion, ride and response of the Cumulus.  

At $120 with superb quality construction and durable materials the Cumulus 21 is also a very decent value and can cross over easily to most casual uses as well.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. GEL-Cumulus  20 (RTR Review)
Sam: While the the weight stays the same and the ride differences are slight but welcome with a slightly softer, springier, and smoother ride, the upper improvements are significant. The 21’s upper is roomier all around given the new higher volume last, and considerably more comfortable. The rear of the upper, while retaining that extensive heel counter is noticeably less harsh on the foot with the mid foot and toe box clearly higher volume. A few might miss the more performance rigid fit of the 20. I don’t.
Our Video Comparison Cumulus 21 to Cumulus 20

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. Enda Lapatet (RTR Review)
Michael: The Lapatet is a new offering from Kenya-based Enda. Most runners will be more than happy with the ride of the Lapatet; it may not offer quite the pizzaz of the ASICS, but was a smooth and comfortable ride, in a reasonably lightweight package. The only edge of the Cumulus here is for runners in perennially warm weather; the knit upper on the Enda is quite thick and while we haven’t had enough heat in Chicago to really put it to the test, it’s likely the ASICS is the more breathable option.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. ASICS GEL-NImbus 21 (RTR Review)
Sam: The Nimbus is the next step up in neutral ASICS trainers. They share many of the same elements: similar stack height, combination of GEL, Flytefoam Propel, and Flytefoam Lyte yet the Nimbus weighs almost a full ounce and $30 more. The two shoes share comfortable uppers but the Nimbus adds an external TPU heel cage which I think it could do without. Yes it does have a touch more forefoot cushion feel but on the minus side has the unnecessary (in my view) Trussic midfoot stabilizer plate, although now less extensive than in the Nimbus 20 which I find gets in the way of transitions . More ponderous, heavier, and slower to transition if you are an ASICS fan there are few good reasons to choose it over the Cumulus 21 except for a touch more cushion.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. NIke Zoom Vomero 14 (RTR Review)
Sam: The Vomero 14 was my 2018 shoe of the year. It is exactly what I look for in a daily trainer: stable heel, lively more flexible forefoot. I would give a slight nod to the Cumulus upper for overall comfort and heel hold over Vomero. Yes, the Cumulus also has that stable heel but implemented differently through that stout heel counter while Vomero has higher midsole wall The Vomero’s forefoot while “thin” is plenty well cushioned and has a much more dynamic toe off making them for me a far better choice for longer fast miles.  The Cumulus, while weighing the same just doesn’t have the distinct magic and contrast of stability and cushion out back with get and go up front.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. NIke Pegasus 35 (RTR Review)
Sam: Similar “old school” trainers I have not been a fan of the Pegasus. While lighter I find it stiff, firm, and dull. The Cumulus upper is more refined and comfortable. Neither truly my preference in a daily trainer, but do give an edge to the Cumulus mainly due to upper comfort.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. Brooks Ghost 11 (RTR Review)
Sam: 0.4 oz heavier and with a yet greater 12mm drop with the same heel stack but 2mm less in the forefoot, the Ghost is softer and smoother with better forefoot cushion. It is less responsive while easier on the legs. Both are very stable neutral shoes, the Brooks from its upper design as much as the underfoot, the Cumulus 21 more from its underfoot platform. The Cumulus upper is roomier and more comfortable for sure but the softer smoother Ghost ride, despite the additional weight, tips the balance towards the Ghost for daily training.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9 (RTR Review)
Sam: A bolder update the v9 took a ponderous, stiff and dull shoe into new territory with more flex up front, a softer ride, and a great new upper. At a 30 mm heel / 22 mm forefoot stack the 1080v9 provides more cushion at the same weight without neglecting extensive outsole coverage. The additional cushion is particularly felt at the forefoot in the 1080v9. I do think the Cumulus upper, aside its overbuilt heel counter is superior in comfort and foot hold but nod to the 1080v9 for ride.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. Saucony Ride ISO 2 (RTR Review)
Sam: Very close in weight and stack, the Ride ISO 2 update knocks it out of the park for me. A superb upper with a lively fast yet well cushioned training ride. Of particular note Saucony pulls off the combination of forefoot cushion with fast run flex better than the Cumulus. At the heel the Cumulus is somewhat more protectively cushioned. Heavier runners or those who pronate a touch may be a bit better off in the Cumulus but otherwise Ride ISO is my pick.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon (RTR Review)
Mac: Both $120; hard to believe these have similar stack heights (with the NB actually having MORE under the forefoot): AC21 is 29/19, and NBB is 26/20. For all that, the AC21 gives you a more durable outsole and comparably good upper, while the Beacon is a staggering 2.5oz lighter with a MUCH livelier ride. I suppose devoted heel strikers may prefer the AC21, but this is Beacon all day for me. (Some may say this is an unfair comparison, as these shoes have a different purpose. I’d say the different purposes actually highlights my point: New Balance has included similar cushioning and better energy return at a lighter weight; it isn’t NB’s fault that the lighter weight makes the Beacon a better, say, marathon trainer. NB could have stuck a full outsole on the Beacon - and a small lead weight - and it would still be lighter and springier.)
Sam: While the stacks are somewhat similar the weights, stack heights, expected durability, and uses are not. The Cumulus is a more stable, higher drop, longer lasting daily trainer, the Beacon a super fun well cushioned performance trainer with a lower actual and also effective drop due to the minimal heel rubber. While Cumulus will accommodate slower paced easy running for me. the Beacon is more for up tempo moderate distance use.  

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. Skechers GOrun 7 Hyper (RTR Review)
Mac; Both $120. Again, hard to believe that these have similar stacks, and again, hard to believe that the SGR7H actually has more under the forefoot: AC21 is 29/19, while the SGR7H is 25/21. The Skechers is nearly THREE ounces lighter, and the Hyper midsole is everything the Flytefaom isn’t: light, durable, and springy. Although the Cumulus clearly has the better upper, the GR7H (and the Beacon) are clear illustrations of how far behind Asics is falling.
Sam: While similar stacks, the Skechers won't be for many the steady daily trainer the Cumulus can be. It is more fun to run, way, way lighter for sure but just doesn’t have the support from the upper or for that matter enough underfoot stability for daily miles for me, particularly at slower paces where my use of the Cumulus is focused. I totally agree its Hyper Burst midsole is far superior in performance and dynamism with a springy yet dense feel , and it is also simpler in construction, a single slab vs. the three components of the Cumulus.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 21 vs. Altra Paradigm 4.0
Mac: This is a little more apples-to-apples than the Beacon and GOrun, at least as far as shoe PURPOSE: mileage hogs, everyday trainers. However, at similar weights (AP4.0 comes in at a few tenths heavier), the AP4 offers 31/31 of EGO TPU polymer, which is more durable AND livelier than most any EVA out there. The AC21 looks nicer and is $30 cheaper, though, so there is somewhat of a rational argument to choose it, but my money would be spent on the Paradigm.
 Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Kuz said...

Great review as usual. It's weird seeing all these brands like Skechers, Reebok, Adidas, Brooks, and Nike innovating but Asics stays true to it's predecessor.

Anonymous said...

With flytfoam asics is dead!!!!

Mark said...

Asics is awful now. The Cumulus, Nimbus have a hard, terrible ride. Used to be soft, but that is gone now.

Anonymous said...

Saw a review once where the reviewer cut open an Asics Nimbus shoe and the gel pads inside were about the size of a dime. So it appears that when Asics touts the gel cushioning system it’s really just advertising. All fluff and no substance.

Anonymous said...

Xak - Found the dynaflyt 2 softer than 3's. Cumulus 19 didn't really hit their stride until 70-80 km

Frederick said...

To me, the once great Asics-Tiger empire is long gone. Their last excellent shoe was the Cumulus 9 and I haven't been able to run in any of their shoes since. Their Epirus, GT-II, Gel 101, Gel Lyte, Excaliber GT, and early Cumulus models were all treasures in their day, but the last dozen iterations of the Cumulus have been flops. The midsole feels dead, as you have all alluded to, but the reason seems to be that the arch is curved the wrong way: it is designed like an anti-rocker! This curve is clearly apparent in real life, when you are holding the shoe and looking at it, but it is also clear in the first and third photos of your review. The arch is higher than the ball and heel, making it impossible to "transition" smoothly. It is like running with bricks strapped on your feet. When I learned that the terribly rigid arch "support" had not been included in the newest Cumulus, I rejoiced. Actually, I wept, gave praise, and then rejoiced. So excited was I that I followed that up with a sacrificial offering of a pair of Cumulus 15's (I took my Dremel to them and cut them in half). But when I tried the 21's on, it was the same old story: no flex, no give, no cushion. There should not be two sounds when one runs in good running shoes--the heel touching the ground and then the ball of the foot slapping down--but this is exactly what the Cumulus STILL delivers, version after version, year after year. I'm not bitter, but I am disappointed. I was a long-time Tiger fan. I miss good Tigers. I miss being a part of the whole Japanese distance runner culture. I miss watching Juma Ikangaa, Toshihiko Seko, and the Soh brothers on old race videos and thinking that we ran in the same shoes, so we were sort of on the same "team." No more. Well, lucky for me that the NB 1023, Saucony Triumph ISO 2, and the Brooks Glycerin (10 and up) came along when they did. There is no real need to go back to Asics-Tiger now, which is a shame. "A sound mind in a sound body" needs a sound midsole, and the Cumulus' problems lie squarely in that midsole. :o(