Monday, November 23, 2020

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 Multi Tester Review: Smooth, Steady, Modern, and a "Safe Date"

Article by Sam Winebaum, Jeff Beck, Peter Stuart, Sally Reiley, and Derek Li

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 ($150)


Sam: The 2nd edition of the Nimbus Lite is really the 1st edition of a lighter, modernized, more nimble Nimbus daily trainer with the same stack height as the regular Nimbus. The Lite 1 was for many of us a flexible, fast and fun shoe which in the end, due to its fit and very flexible forefoot, was limited in its versatility to those faster shorter runs for many of our testers

The Lite 2 has a completely new broader midsole geometry but with the same bouncier flavor of FlyteFoam as Lite 1 as well as a more integral outsole design. Despite its broader platform, it loses about 0.25 oz / 5g in weight. It’s new upper, generous in volume at true to size, is notable in being made from more than 80% recycled material while the midsole has 15-20% cellulose nanofiber from repurposed sugar cane manufacturing. As with all 2021 packaging is 100% recycled materials.

Derek: I missed testing the Nimbus Lite 1, and just reading the input from the other testers, I would tell this was very different from the usual Nimbus. Sam as already done a detailed introduction of the materials involved. I’ll just add that this iteration of Flytefoam is the same as what’s used in the MetaRacer, so really, there’s no reason not to give this a try.

Pros and Cons


Sam/Sally/Jeff/Derek: Consistent and somewhat bouncy under foot feel front to back, well matched outsole and midsole

Lots of cushion and softer than usual for ASICS trainers

Very stable (neutral) landing rear to midfoot from broad platform

Now clearly a daily trainer class shoe.Nimbus Lite 1 was not as supportive up front and could get tiring 

True to size somewhat generous fit


Great looking upper , soft and comfortable. 

Stable and fun ride


Immediately comfortable, very accommodating fit for higher volume foot

Excellent marks for sustainability with 80% of the upper and 15-20% of the midsole recycled or repurposed materials , (hopefully) a trend-setting eco-friendly design approach using recycled materials



A bit broad and stiff feeling at midfoot despite smooth transition, took a few runs to breakin

Forefoot could use a bit more pop

Big fans of Nimbus Lite’s very flexible somewhat loosy goosy, thin faster feeling forefoot may miss it

Premium priced and likely durable but not a super exciting ride, despite great looks.


Ride could be bouncier/more exciting

See Testers full run bios 


Weight: men's 9.52oz / 270 g  (US9), women's  8.5 oz / 243 g (US8)

Samples: men's US 9: 9.52oz / 270 g, US 10.5 : 10.4oz / 295 g, 9.95oz / 282g US9.5

                    women’s US 8: 8.5 oz / 243 g  

Nimbus 22 weighs about 11 oz men’s US9

Stack Height: 

men’s 25mm heel / 15mm forefoot, 10mm drop

women’s 27mm heel / 14mm forefoot, 13mm drop

Derek: I measured men’s US9.5 including sockliner and outsole at 24mm forefoot, 34mm heel using World Athletics reference points

Available Nov.27, 2020  $150

First Impressions and Fit

Sam: Clearly the design is modern and streamlined with a simple engineered mesh upper, sleek midsole with no GEL showing although GEL units are still there embedded at heel and forefoot. My sample was a half size up from my normal 8.5  and clearly generous in volume particularly at mid foot. My narrower right foot is not as secure as my broader left telling me that at true to size, as for sure I should be, that the fit will favor higher volume feet over lower volume ones. The seamless toe box is very comfortable and while the mesh is thicker than in Lite 1 the hold is improved up front.

Peter: Out of the box the Nimbus Gel Lite 2 is clearly a more modern and lighter daily trainer from Asics. The look is sleek and updated and the weight--or lack thereof--is noticeable. The materials, at least partially recycled, are soft and supple and the shoe fits and laces up great. An immediate thumbs up at first try on. 

Sally: Okay, ASICS, you have me at the look. Not the classic ASICS of tradition, but a modernized version with very today colors and innovative geometry. This lightweight beauty fits like a dream, perhaps a bit too spacious of a dream? They go on easily, the laces efficiently assist in ensuring a good secure fit, the padding around the ankle and the tongue cushion your foot luxuriously. All systems GO!

Jeff: ASICS isn’t letting up. A year ago they dropped the Nimbus Lite out of nowhere, which was a solid shoe with some minor issues, and then they followed it up with this? Very impressive ASICS. Fitwise they run true-to-size for length, but they definitely feel like they are designed for a medium-to-wide foot. Lacing took a little fiddling with to get ironed out, but once I did, zero hold issues. Toebox isn’t massive, but is very adequate both in width, as well as vertical stretch.

Derek: ASICS are doing a great job with their new colorways. I really like the way the midsole and upper colors work with each other, even more so here than in e.g. Kayano Lite. The step in feel was excellent for this shoe. Very luxurious padding around the ankle opening and the tongue. There is a little bit of bounce when you first walk around in the shoe, but the wide platform makes the shoe feel very stable. The fit is definitely true to size for me, with a decently wide toe box, but snug padded midfoot feel. Don’t get mistaken by the advertised stack heights. Those do not include the stack of the insole, which for ASICS is often a thicker SpEVA one. My manually measured stack heights (per World Athletics reference points) came in at 24mm forefoot and 34mm heel including sockliner and outsole. That’s plenty of stack of a trainer. 


Sam: The upper is made from an engineered mesh with 80% recycled content which is admirable and follows the 2020-2021 ASICS push towards sustainability in product and packaging. 

The upper is entirely seamless with beyond the Tiger stripes no overlays.

To provide midfoot support we have a tongue gusset which starts quite far forward. A more extended gusset might improve mid foot hold for lower volume feet.

The heel counter and achilles hold is not as massively clutching as most ASICS including the Nimbus 22, and even the Nimbus Lite 1. While the heel counter is rigid it appears lower and does not have a rear exo-skelton (as Nimbus 22 has and even Nimbus Lite 1 had with beyond a fairly thin laminated rear panel. 

Peter: The upper is soft and works well. The Nimbus lite 2 doesn’t take long to lock in. It’s a simple and easy shoe. The seamless upper provides zero friction points for me and I have found it to be an easy choice for daily running. It may be a little warm for summer running, but it’s not summer, so who knows! The tongue and the ankle collar are both well (but not overly) padded and the upper locks the foot in well. 

Sally: This is definitely a simple upper without any gimmicks. The mesh is soft and somewhat breathable. I similarly felt no hot spots while running, at least not until I hit about 8 miles. I have a narrow “low volume” woman’s foot, and I found this upper to be a bit “overly accommodating” and the fit just too loose and not secure enough at midfoot for my narrow foot. My foot had too much room, enabling it to move laterally, especially when taking corners, and forward, such as when running downhill. Perhaps I need more time to tweak the lacing?

Jeff: I’m decidedly in a different position than Sally (with a slightly wide men’s foot) but found a similar fit issue. I was able to resolve it by playing with lacing in order to get the shoe nailed down, but it wasn’t perfect out of the box. Strangely, I had a similar issue with the original Nimbus Lite that felt just loose from the midfoot forward, but I can get a much better fit with the 2. My main upper gripe with the NL2 is the lace ribbon on the tongue that goes over the laces - it doesn’t seem to do much except make it hard to attach my Stryd pod. Not a dealbreaker by any means, and I realize very much a niche problem - but a problem nonetheless. 

The toebox has shrunk just slightly since the NL1, but last year’s shoe had a really big toebox, this shoe is fine, if not great, in that regard. Last bit to add - the film around the heel is incredibly reflective, and makes you very easy to see during early morning/mid-afternoon runs. Okay, evening runs, but I’m still salty about losing that Daylight Saving hour a few weeks.

Derek: This upper, like most other ASICS uppers, works very well for a trainer, in that it is very easy to dial in the fit. I like that the fit leans more towards a performance fit with a snug wrap than a more generous fit often seen among premium daily trainers. I think the overall volume would work well for most feet, except people who are wider across the mid-foot. 

It’s not so much that the platform is narrow, but the midsole does curve up a little big at the sides to give a bit more stability, and that inherently limits how comfortably a wide foot will sit in the cradle. It is not as roomy as e.g. ASICS Novablast or GlideRide, but part of this could be due to the use of a thicker insole in this model. I think people needing a little bit more volume especially in the midfoot may simply switch out the insole for a thinner one to solve the issue. I think the others have done a great job describing the upper. I will focus more on the breathability of the upper, since I run mostly in the 85-90F temperature range. It breathes adequately well. 

The ample padding around the ankle and the denser colors in the mesh may give the impression that this shoe may end up on the warmer end of the spectrum, but I have not experienced any problems with hotspots or heat build-up in this shoe. 


Sam: The midsole has a completely new geometry with the same midsole stack as the Nimbus Lite 1 and regular Nimbus and with gender specific midsole and outsole designs. 

Above:  Men’s on left, Women’s on right 

Note how the women’s mid foot leaves out the central rubber pod and with the midsole there more carved out. The goal is to create a more stable experience for men and a lighter experience for women.

Additionally, based on ASICS research  that has shown gender differences in achilles and calf strain and thus injury potential, the stack heights between men’s and women’s ( as with many ASICS) are different. The men’s has a 25mm heel / 15mm forefoot, 10mm drop while the women’s is 27mm heel / 14mm forefoot, 13mm drop. These stack heights are the same as in the regular Nimbus 22 and 23. 

Clearly, ASICS goes way beyond shoe volume and colorizing to create gender specific versions.

And yes there are still heel and forefoot GEL units but here unseen and embedded. The forefoot unit is a small disc at the first met head intended to provide response and cushion at this key point in the gait cycle as we head to toe off.

The midsole foam is a flavor of Flytefoam with 15-20% cellulose nanofibers repurposed from sugarcane manufacturing. The cellulose nanofibers also help create an internal structure to increase the durability of the foam. This particular foam is shared with the top end Metaracer and Kayano Lite stability shoe. By feel its firmness is about the same as the Kayano Lite and a bit firmer than Metaracer, understanding Metaracer also has a carbon plate up front which firms up the forefoot ride there.

The geometry is broader than Nimbus Lite 1 with a protruding heel and flatter more stable midfoot area with more vertical side walls on the medial side than the lateral.

The foam has a touch of bounce and is notable, in combination with the new thinner wave outsole design, for a very consistent feel through the stack and for its stability which approaches the stability of the similar but broader on the ground with more mid foot rubber Kayano Lite.  As with Derek below I found the platform took a few runs to break in and get some flex as early runs were flat feeling and overly stable at mid foot lagging a bit in smooth transition upfront until it flexed more there. That all changed for the good after about 20 miles!

Peter: Not much to add to what Sam has said about the midsole, except to say that it does, in fact, feel very stable. The midsole feels soft and stable, but is firm enough to provide good efficiency. 

Sally: As Sam said! And since I was testing the women’s shoe, I can confirm that this midsole is not only light, but very stable. 

Jeff: At first glance I thought the midsole geometry was most similar to the New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel, with its lateral flange. Unfortunately, that flange is scalloped out at the bottom, so it doesn’t have quite the same outer support as the Rebel (a nice bonus for supinators like myself) but the NL2 doesn’t feel bad for the scooped out midsole. The result is a nicely cushioned, if just a bit firm, trainer that feels as modern as anything ASICS has ever put out.

Derek: I just want to add that this shoe has a bit of a break-in period. The first 2 runs, the shoe felt a bit stiff and awkward, like there was a flex point where it shouldn’t be, and in this case it felt like the shoe was flexing in the area of exposed midsole at mid-foot just before the segmented areas of forefoot rubber. The good news is all this completely disappeared by the end of the second run and subsequent runs had the shoe running very smoothly and transitioning really well. The shoe also becomes noticeably bouncier after the first 8-10 miles as well, especially in the forefoot. All this is just to say, do not be turned off by that initial run impression. This shoe does need a few miles to wake the midsole up. The end result is a smooth, slightly bouncy, and very cushioned ride that really takes the edge off the road. 


Sam: ASICS calls out that part of the weight loss comes from less outsole rubber. Not to worry there is plenty. The two far rear thick firmer rubber pods are AHAR+ (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber +) while the rest of the outsole is softer AHAR Lite. To date durability has been excellent.

The wave pattern helps provide not only a smooth silent transition and seamless when combined with midsole ride but plenty of grip.They even passed my very slippery when wet wooden  boardwalk test where many shoes fail 

Peter: The outsole is a combination of some exposed foam with five diagonal (ish) lines of rubber across the forefoot with another strip of rubber on the lateral side, one smaller patch dead center and two more on the heel. 

At the very back of the heel are two patches of what seems to be firmer AHARr+ rubber for those who tend to land more towards the heel. The effect is a shoe that has plenty of rubber without getting heavy. Grip is good and the shoe feels efficient on the road. The back of the outsole flares out just enough to make a great little shelf that makes it extremely easy to take the shoe off with your foot. It’s the little things that make me happy. 

Sally: Geez, Peter, I only wish I could still take my shoes off that way! Someday, my hamstring will recover and I will match your talents at shoe removal, but for now…  

The outsole works just fine: good grip on wet surfaces, no gravel magnet grooves, adequately quiet. That’s all I ask for.

Jeff: My colleagues broke the outsole down very well, and I have zero complaints about the outsole. They segmented it well, so it helps keep the shoe very flexible. It does give just a little bit of a squishing noise, but that’s more audible during slower speeds - so if anything it gives me an incentive to pick up the pace a bit.

Derek: As the others have mentioned, outsole durability and grip are excellent in this shoe. In fact, I would go so far to say that the outsole grip is better than my other recent favorite non-plated daily trainer, the Nike Pegasus 37. One thing which struck me as odd about the outsole design, apart from the egg in the middle, was the choice to go with rubber coverage on the medial side of the mid-foot while leaving the lateral side blank. 

It’s almost always the other way around. I can’t off the top of my head recall any other shoe that goes with medial coverage alone. The only logical reason I can conceive for this is to somehow incorporate a bit of medial stability in some way, because the Flytefoam here is softer than most of their other trainers. As a neutral runner, I’m not particularly sure if the midfoot rubber does a whole lot, though I conceive that it may potentially add a bit of long-axis stiffness to the package and aid the transitioning from mid-foot to forefoot in some way. It would be interesting to hear what others think of this. 


Peter: The Nimbus Lite 2 rides really nicely. It’s not the most exciting shoe and it doesn’t feel like it’s from the latest “amazing new materials” club, but it’s a great modernization of the older tech. The ride is ultra smooth , very stable and kind of fun. It’s not laugh out loud fun, but it’s fun. If it were just a little bouncier it would be a total home run, but it’s a solid double, maybe even a triple. I’ve run them way more than I’ve run an Asics shoe in years. 

Sam: I concur with Peter. A totally modern steady and reliable daily training ride and quite different from the wild fun, and then tiresome after not that many miles Nimbus Lite 1, or the more cushioned bouncier and less stable Novablast or the boring in comparison far heavier classic Nimbus. There is plenty of cushion for any type of run and adequate pop for some faster miles but this is a ride based on consistency, neutral flavored stability, and overall comfort. What’s wrong with that!

Sally: This beauty of a shoe provides a smooth, stable, consistent ride. It is the “safe date” that your mother would approve of. Not racy or outrageous or outspoken, but well-dressed and polite and steady, from a good family. It has some spring to its step, but not the bounce of the various tempo shoes making the rounds. It rolls nicely with a smooth transition to toe-off, and is truly admirable for these qualities.

Jeff: Agreed, the ride is good, but not groundbreaking. Which is a little bit of a disappointment coming from the groundbreaking aesthetics of the shoe. If it leaned a little move toward the Novablast for ride fun but had the same level of stability, it’d be in the running for shoe of the year.

Derek: One of the reported negatives about the Nimbus Lite 1 (and they were far and few between) was that the forefoot lacked snap, and the whole ride was a little ponderous at slower paces. I dove into this review with that in mind, and was pleasantly surprised that the shoe actually transitions pretty well for me. 

As far as non-plated trainers go, this is one of the smoothest and most enjoyable ones I’ve tried. It’s not the bounciest cat out there, but it’s cushioned, stable and predictable, and retains just enough liveliness in the foam to keep things interesting. Vibration dampening is surprisingly good here, and better than some of other notable daily trainers like the Saucony Ride 13, Nike Pegasus 37 and Brooks Ghost 13 for me. I’ve used it for some longer training runs and the subjective cushioning is almost at the level of the New Balance FuelCell TC, if stopping short of Tempo Next%-level cushioning. 

I think it does really well for easy and medium pace runs, and the only thing really holding it back from speed work is its weight. I would like to see the shoe shave off another 1.5oz and get it into the 8.5-9oz range in my US9.5, and really give the lighter trainers a run for their money. As is, I think it is limited by the weight of the midsole materials mostly, but using a more minimal upper could shave off maybe 0.5oz. The rest would likely have to come from a reduced stack and perhaps even thinner outsole rubber coverage. Sort of like what the Dynablast does for the Novablast. 

Another thing is the lack of any noticeable forefoot rocker. ASICS are getting pretty good with their forefoot rockers, as seen in the Metaracer, EvoRide and Glideride (as well as a few upcoming 2021 models which we cannot yet talk about), so I would like to see them apply some of that tech to the Nimbus Lite 2 to give it a faster feeling toe-off. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: The Nimbus Lite 2 fits right in next to some other great shoes in the past year. I’d put it next to the NB 1080 X, the NB Beacon 3, the excellent Saucony Ride 13 and the Hoka Mach 4. In fact I will put it side by side with all of those in the comparisons. I think this shoe will work for a ton of folks and should be on everyone’s list to give a try. It’s a comfortable, good looking shoe that runs smoothly and would work for lighter faster runners on easy days as well as anyone else on easy or tempo days. 

Sam: Well over an ounce lighter than the Nimbus 22 and more in “character” as a versatile daily trainer than the Lite 1, the Lite 2 is solid, comfortable and light for substance and cushion at 9.5 oz. As Peter says, it will work for many runners in slightly different ways for different purposes. It lacks some pop and excitement for me but most of our miles should be steady, stable, and consistent in feel and for the bread and butter of daily running Nimbus Lite 2 delivers, and well.

At $150 in a crowded field of daily trainers at about its weight and substance,, it suffers a bit in value and excitement. It is priced the same as the Nimbus 22, and soon to come 23 which are loaded with “extras” such as the external rear clutch and mid foot Trustic plate. These options are quite frankly not required by most neutral runners except those seeking additional support and stability in a neutral shoe who, if they need that, could also be well served by the lighter Kayano Lite.

All of this said Nimbus Lite 2 is a very successful and modern take on ASICS, or any other brand’s, neutral daily trainer. It is consistent in ride feel, versatile, well cushioned, stable and comfortable and can move along.

Sam’s Score: 9.17 / 10

Ride: 9.3 (50%) Fit: 9.3 (30%) Value: 8.5 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)

Sally: This should be a very popular shoe for a whole range of runners , as it provides a smooth stable ride with a light weight modernized classic look. This could easily be one’s bread and butter wear-it-for-everything shoe, for it is very versatile. The fit wasn't perfect for me with my narrow low volume foot, but those with higher volume feet should love it.

Sally’s score: 9.0/10

Ride 9.4  Fit 9.2  Value 8.5   Style: 8.5

Jeff: ASICS followed up last year’s nice surprise with an even better, and more versatile shoe. I definitely see lighter runners taking it for long slow days, while slower and heavier runners can use it for easy daily miles or even some uptempo runs. It’s a little spendy at $150, but has a great feeling upper, a completely competent outsole, and one of the smoother, if a little unremarkable, midsoles around.

Jeff’s Score: 9.2/10

Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 8 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

Derek: As Sam states, the $150 price point is a very competitive one, and you need to bring something special to the table. I think the Nimbus Lite 2 does as well as it could already, given its level of technology. Short of adding a plate to make it plated trainer or doing something to shave weight, this shoe has pretty much maxed out the potential for Flytefoam in a daily trainer for me. 

I’ll dive into it more under the comparisons, but in my mind, there is no question that the Nimbus Lite 2 is more fun than the Nike Peg 37 or NB Beacon 3, by no means an easy feat. It’s not quite at the level of the Skechers MaxRoad 4 or ASICS Novablast for bounce, but it more than makes up for this with a more comfortable and stable heel-toe drop that makes it easy to transition on tired legs. 

That said, if you already have many pairs of shoes and are looking for one more Unicorn to ride, then I would probably pass on the Nimbus Lite 2. It is a darned fine shoe, but it’s not going to blow your mind.

Derek’s Score: 9.02/10

Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 8 (15%) Style: 9.4 (5%)

Watch Sam's Initial Review


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

GEL-Nimbus Lite 1 (RTR Review)

Sam: While the same stack height the Lite 1 is essentially a completely different riding and purpose shoe for most. Lite 2 is more stable overall especially at the forefoot, and is less flexible and lighter. Lite 1 for most/many a fast fun shoe for shorter runs, Lite 2 is a more versatile daily trainer.

Jeff: Last year’s shoe felt like a Nimbus on a weight loss program, this year’s shoe feels more dialed in - like they had a clearer image of what they were going for. The NL2 feels more performance oriented, and has an improved upper and midsole.

Sally: Lite 2 definitely more of a crowd pleasing daily trainer for me. So much more of a modern aesthetic! Seems like it should be more than one model number different. I would pick the newer version any day.

GEL-Kayano LIte (RTR Review)

Sam: Take the Nimbus Lite 2 add a wider platform, somewhat more vertical medial side walls and especially more extensive mid foot rubber and broader forefoot rubber pads and you get the Kayano Lite, the stability support flavor of ASICS Lite variants. 

The Kayano Lite upper is a little plusher and softer overall and has additional medial support overlays. The midsole foam is the same. Add 0.5 oz and $10 and you get the Kayano Lite.  

While the Kayano Lite is mighty fine I’ll take the Nimbus Lite 2 as for me the additional support oriented features are not required and the Nimbus Lite as a result moves along livelier.

Sally: I prefer a neutral shoe that allows my foot to move and flex naturally, so the Nimbus Lite 2 is my choice over the Kayano Lite right off the bat. Both are great shoes, however, and similar in more ways than they are different.  

GEL-Nimbus (RTR Nimbus 22 Review, Nimbus 23 Review soon)

Jeff: Reviewing the N23 and NL2 at the same time has been interesting - very easy to see how much DNA the shoes share. For 1.3 ounces more in my size 10.5, the N23 has a softer ride, more plush upper, and as always the inclusion of their plastic TRUSTIC plate (more subtle than previous years, but it’s still there). II tend to gravitate toward the full-bodied Nimbus over its lighter counterpart, but just slightly. I could see many runners grabbing both as a 1-2 punch, either the NL2 as the daily mileage and N23 for long slow days, or N23 for daily mileage and NL2 for uptempo days. Both really solid shoes, way to go ASICS.

Sally: I am also testing both the Nimbus Lite 2 and the Gel Nimbus 23 at the same time. Both very comfortable, both great shoes, both obviously from the same parents! I do note that my paces are naturally slower in matching runs when I wear the Nimbus 23, a slightly heavier and more plush shoe that excels at mellow runs (though runs/feels lighter than its actual weight). Lite 2 is not a race shoe by any means, but more of a tempo shoe than the 23.

ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)

The Glideride differs in having a rocker based geometry from ASICS Guide Sole which includes a hardened EVA plate up front. The Guide Sole prevents toes from pointing up and ankle flexing up to increase efficiency. the The Nimbus Lite is more traditional having a forward flex point for toe off. The Glideride is somewhat more cushioned with a greater stack but also somewhat firmer especially upfront whereas the Nimbus Lite is softer and bouncier but not as dynamic. The Glideride fit is somewhat snugger especially at mid foot and more performance oriented with a denser upper material.

GEL-ASICS Cumulus 22 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Cumulus 22 represents the more traditional take on an ASICS daily trainer leaning towards uptempo. Slightly lighter than the more and softer cushioned Lite 2 it has copious firm rubber upfront which gives it a more responsive firmer ride, particularly so at the forefoot. It’s upper is less seamless and generous in fit and slightly more locked down while at the same time is overly plush at the rear. 

ASICS  Novablast  (RTR Review)

Jeff: I didn’t review the Novablast, but there were so many raves about it, I had to pick up a pair to see what all the hype was about. While the shoe is a little unstable , it has an incredible bounce to it that makes it a very fun shoe to run in. The Novablast toebox is even roomier than the NL2, but the biggest difference in these shoes is under the foot. Two different philosophies - super bouncy, but unstable, or super stable, but a more pedestrian ride. Ultimately I’d favor the Novablast, but just barely.

Sam: Agree with Jeff here. You might get in trouble with the Novablast if you can’t control your form while you won’t have such issues in the more stable Lite 2. I would give a clear nod to the Lite 2’s more refined less dense upper and its more foot widths conforming fit. 

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Novablast has the overall more fun and lively ride, but the fit of the shoe lets it down a bit, because it has a very relaxed upper, and something with such an untamed ride really needs a performance lockdown to keep things honest. The NL2 is quite the opposite, in that it has an almost performance feel to the upper’s fit, and has a more traditional less bouncy ride. I think if I could have only 1 do-it-all shoe, I would probably go with the NL2 over the Novablast as it covers most bases better. 

Saucony Ride 13  (RTR Review)

Sam: One of my favorite daily trainers of 2020 and similar in purpose and weight , the Ride 13 is more flexible and at the same time has thicker rubber at the forefoot and thus has more pop. More traditional in design it is a highly refined take on the daily training with some zing genre. About 0.5 oz heavier, a bit firmer and more responsive, the Ride 13 is also $20 less and does not quite have the smooth fitting upper of the Lite and has a lower toe box with more lockdown. It is a better choice if your focus is faster training paces with the Lite more comfortable top to bottom and more versatile at the slower end of paces. 

Jeff: Another shoe that is so much better than it should be (the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts), I strongly favor the Ride here. While the upper isn’t quite as soft in a few places, I don’t notice the toebox being any smaller, I appreciate the Ride quite a bit more, it’s every bit as stable, and $20 less to boot. Ride 13 is one of those shoes that I’ve continued to run in well after the review, and every time I put it on immediately I wonder why I’m not running in it at least once a week - it’s that good, and well balanced, of a shoe.

Saucony Triumph 17 and 18 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Triumph 17 was my shoe of the year last year, and although you could argue the 18 is better, in every way, so many other shoes have caught up, making it doubtful to repeat. Up against the NL2, the ASICS comes through much lighter and you can feel the difference on your foot. And while the 17 upper is definitely overbuilt, underfoot Saucony’s PWRRUN+ blows away ASICS very good midsole.

Sam: The heavier Triumph 18 is much heavier as it weighs 1.5 oz more is also a “stable” neutral shoe with a wide mid foot geometry as we see in the Lite 2. While I agree with Jeff that PWRUN+ in the T18 is bouncier and livelier and the T18 is more cushioned there is a lot of it, to much for me, making it more a recovery very easy days shoe than the more versatile Lite 2

Sally: I liked the Triumph 17 and 18 as ultra cushioned recovery day shoes, enjoyable but not exciting to run in. The Nimbus Lite is similar in that respect, but the lighter weight makes it a more versatile choice.

Derek: I wear US9.5 in the T17 and the NL2. I never tried the T18. While the Triumph 17 was hugely popular, it never really worked very well for me, as the upper was a little too warm and I struggled with hotspots beyond 10 miles. With that in mind, the NL2 is just a better shoe for me. Beyond the upper, the NL2 also transitions better for me, with the T17 geometry tending to feel a little flat to me (i.e. feeling like a really low heel-toe drop shoe even though it really wasn’t). Both have decently bouncy midsoles, but I think my running style brings out the bounce a bit more in the NL2. 

Nike Zoom Pegasus 37  (RTR Review)

Sam: A study in ride and upper contrasts here although weight is about the same.  The men’s Peg is kind of a brutal beast with a snug dense upper, a pronounced air pod that requires force/weight to activate with a forward strike vs heel strike and an overall firmer ride. The Lite has a smoother more consistent ride and a softer one. The men’s Peg fit is a bit pointy and snug in comparison (barely true to size) while Lite is true to size and easier on the toes. 

Move over to the women’s Peg with its lower PSI air pod and softer React foam and the competition is tighter. Unlike the men’s upper,, the women’s upper is lighter and softer and at 1.5 size up from men’s in D width, a perfect true to size fit for me. Somewhat less cushioned in feel, the Peg 37 women’s is smoother and just flows along better for me especially at faster paces and even for light trails even if it a touch firmer due to its extensive well lugged outsole. The Lite leans more towards slower paces and with more and softer cushion.

Jeff: Sam calls it true, though this is one of the few times being heavier has worked in my favor - the men’s Peg37 worked well for me, and I think I prefer it’s toe-off over the NL2. But the ASICS has a much smoother and more stable ride, with a more comfortable upper. As much as I like the Peg 37, I’d lean toward the NL2 for most runners here.

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. I really like the Peg37, and it is one of the very few non-plated daily trainers I regularly reach for as part of my training rotation (and aim to not be overly reliant on carbon plates!) 

And so it beguiles me to say it but the Nimbus Lite 2 is better! Transition-wise, both are very smooth, but the NL2 is bouncier and more forgiving underfoot. Furthermore, as good as the Peg37’s grip is on pretty much every terrain, the NL2’s grip is even better on wet surfaces. I think it is important to bear in mind the price differential here, and the so it’s not really a fair fight, but right now, if I had to pick a pair, hands down it would be the Nimbus Lite 2.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10  (RTR Review)

Jeff: New Balance’s big daily trainer has been getting better with each iteration and the v10 is a monster. The little bit extra stack height is much appreciated once a run goes longer than an hour or so, while the upper is a little more form fitting with more stretch to it. The NL2 is a great shoe, but the 1080v10 outclasses it, and unless you are looking for a shoe for uptempo running, stick with the NB.

New Balance Fresh Foam  880v10  (RTR Review)

Sam: Head to head competitors here. The 880 is somewhat firmer and more responsive than the Lite and less softly cushioned. While fine, its upper is not up to the level of the smooth fitting Lite’s. A more traditional riding trainer the 880’s outsole and midsole are in sharper contrast to each other through the whole stack while the Lite has a consistent feel all the way through and as such also a softer cushion feel but a touch less pop. Both true to size with Lite’s softer front mesh more accommodating,

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 and Wave Rider Neo (RTR Wave Rider 24 Review)

Jeff: Mizuno’s bread-and-butter trainer and their upgraded version from across the pond, both line up well against the Nimbus Lite 2. The WR 24 has a similar upper style of “good enough” with a decently sized toebox, and shockingly it has a softer ride (considering Mizuno for years has been producing the firmest shoes around). The Neo takes it even further, using their new midsole material Enerzy throughout, instead of just in the heel for the 24. The result is a fun ride that gives more of a pop than the NL2 can provide. With exchange rates you can find the Neo for just a few dollars more than the NL2, and I’d actually lean that direction of the three.

GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 will be available November 27, 2020

Read reviewers' full run bios here

The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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ChuaRH said...

How are these compared to the Asics Glideride? I love the rocker those shoes provide. The Flytefoam in there isn't super bouncy but decent enough and when combined with the plate, provides a nice peppy ride. Should I try out the Nimbus Lite 2 or wait for the Glideride 2 to be released? Thanks for the great review as always!

Kai said...

How is Nimbus Lite2 compared to Saucony Endorphin Shift?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi ChuRH,
You describe the differences well rocker in Glideride vs. a more traditional flex in the Nimbus Lite 2. The Glideride heas more cushion stack but due to its front hardened EVA plate upfront is somewhat firmer in feel up front. I can't comment on GR 2 yet but to say if will continue in the same vein as GR1
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our index page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
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Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Kai,
Much as the question just above you regarding the Gllderide the Shift is rocker based instead of flex based, has more if firmer cushion and is more stable and somewhat heavier..
Sam, Editor