Wednesday, April 27, 2022

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 24 Multi Tester Review: a More Mellow Riding Cloud! 8 Comparisons

Article by Dominique Winebaum, Ryan Eiler and Sam Winebaum

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 24 ($130)


Dominique:  I am excited to be testing another “cloud” shoe from ASICS, the Cumulus 24 after testing the Nimbus 24 in late December.  New to both models, I have been pondering which one might be better suited for me – the Nimbus or the Cumulus.  This new iteration of the Cumulus comes with significant changes, both in the upper and in the midsole, namely a new Jacquard mesh upper with gusset and FlightFoam Blast throughout the midsole with 3D Space gender specific construction of hexagon pillars in the top of the midsole.  

The drop has been reduced from 10 mm to 8 mm, which is significantly lower than the 13 mm drop for the Nimbus in the women’s version.  In parallel, I have been testing the ON Cloudmonster (RTR Review), another “cloud” shoe,

Sam: Not my first Cumulus that is for sure. In recent years and especially with the Cumulus 23 (RTR Review)  they have gotten softer, less Trusstic and big heel counter structured with the last edition the 23 one of my favorite all around trainers of 2021 for its soft enough forefoot and lively snappy any pace ride.  

The 24 gets a new dual density softer yet and for sure bouncier Flightfoam Blast Plus midsole with 3mm more forefoot and 1mm more heel stack of foam and yes in a trend shaping up here a softer engineered Jacquard mesh upper.  Would the magic of forgiving do it all trainer with some get up and go be improved especially given FF Blast which is so great in the Novablast ( slightly firmer flavor of Blast) or fade away in all the new found softness? 


Pleasant, eager to please ride - Ryan

A velvety yet stable feel during footstrike - Ryan/Sam

Lots of impact damping from the midsole - Ryan

Highly comfortable upper - Ryan/Sam

Plenty of toe room minus a wide toebox –  Dominique 

Extremely comfortable from the midsole to the upper – Dominique/Sam 

Welcome weight drop of 0.6 oz / 17g with 3mm more forefoot stack height

Upper made from recycled materials


Lacking depth of cushion as compared to competitors - Ryan/Sam

Overly soft lacking in snap mid to forefoot (3mm more stack of FF Blast Plus +soft outsole) Sam


Non-propulsive ride characteristics. Is the softer than FlightFoam Blast new Plus flavor too soft for this geometry?- Ryan/Sam

Not as bouncy as Novablast with FlightFoam Blast – Dominique 

A bit too “casual” soft and friendly a daily trainer upper fit for narrow feet in regular sizing with wides also available. Sam

Tester Profiles

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Ryan A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.  More recently he has solo time trialed the super shoes, often sub 15 minutes for 5K with 10K’s close to 30 minutes and in 2021 set a marathon PR of 2:27 at the Maine Marathon.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.


Estimated weight: men's 9.6 oz  / 273g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)


         men’s  9.37oz / 266g (US8.5), 10.1oz / 289g (M9.5)

            Cumulus 23 9.93 oz / 281g (US men’s 8.5)

         women's 8.9 oz / 252 g (US9)

Midsole Stack Height: 

men’s 24 mm heel / 16mm forefoot :: women’s  heel 23 mm / 15 mm forefoot

Approximate Full Stack Height: men’s heel 35 mm / 27 mm forefoot

1mm more at the heel, 3mm more at the forefoot compared to Cumulus 23

Available May. $130.

GEL-Cumulus Video Review with comparisons

First Impressions and Fit

Dominique: True to size, the fit is extremely comfortable with plenty of room in the toebox.  This said, the hold is not as snug as for the Nimbus. Likewise, I am missing the bouncy and propelling feel of the Nimbus. The new all FlightFoam Blast midsole is not as responsive as in other ASICS models while the shoe feels quite soft. The Nimbus is a higher end trainer than the Cumulus, with a better hold and a more energetic ride, but also pricier by $30. To be noted, this  new version has a lower drop than its predecessor, going from 8 mm to 10 mm, which is more of a middle of the ground drop, and this in comparison with the Nimbus’s 13 mm drop.  I received mine in Oasis Green/Black (available in 7 different colors), a color that is growing on me.  

Ryan: I was initially happy to see that Asics decided to incorporate FF Blast into this iteration of the Cumulus. The combination of thick rubber, a wide, stable stance, and a soft midsole made for a very friendly first introduction. The speckled/staticy pattern on the upper’s mesh stood out, and was clearly sculpted to provide a voluminous toe box. Inside the heel, huge amounts of padding, especially around the collar, made for a luxurious sensation, although I was worried about heel security for that very reason. Overlays on both sides of the shoe along with a sturdy heel counter gave the shoe a feeling of a high-quality construction. The men’s US9.5 as pictured is denoted as ‘Black/Shocking Orange’.

Sam: The Cumulus 23 was one of my favorite ASICS of recent years for its relatively soft and forgiving yet snappy ride. About the ideal daily trainer for all but fast uptempo stuff. I could see that the Cumulus 24 right away had a yet more mellow vibe. The upper is softer, broader in fit and not quite as secure. 

I find these softer Jacquard mesh uppers most often require a gusset tongue (present here) with the midfoot side “logo” overlays needing to be stout, and here they are quite thin and minimal in width.  The security of this kind of mesh is not always the best but here it is at least adequate if the comfort is for sure present and appreciated.

The new FlightFoam Blast midsole was clearly softer in feel, walking (then A/B test running with a C23 on the other foot) with the midfoot platform feeling broader and lower/flatter. The heel hold as always with ASICS is excellent.  No question a generous true to size fit for my narrower feet with wides also available. Nice and comfy but how would they run?


Dominique: The new Jacquard mesh upper with gusset is extremely comfortable, however, I do prefer the snuggier feel of the Nimbus.   After running in the On Cloudmonster and Craft CTM Ultra 2, which were a tad small in my regular size 9, I am enjoying the better fit of the toebox in the Cumulus.  Less performance and fun but more comfort for my toes.  This is a very protective upper that keeps the foot comfortably and securely in place with a toebox that is quite roomy without being a wide toebox, fewer may need the wide sizing also available.  The padding around the ankle is quite generous, especially after running in shoes with a minimalist upper, in like manner to the tongue.  As per specs, the heel fit has been improved  to enhance comfort level.  Overall, the upper is extremely comfortable and keeps the foot securely in place but not as snuggly as the Nimbus 24.    


I agree with Dominique’s general sentiment here — I doubt anyone will complain about the comfort of the upper, but it doesn’t offer the same level of lockdown as other options.

To heighten the level of friendliness, the tongue is nicely gusseted and moderately padded to prevent any of the usual issues. 

The Asics’s logo is a conveniently effective shape to use as an overlay, and in this case does a sufficient job of handling lateral forces. 

There is an abundance, or perhaps a slight excess, of padding in the heel. It provides a sublimely comfortable fit, but leaves a slight sensation of not enough lockdown. However, I never had an issue here, and it is probably nothing more than a false perception, given the solid build of the surrounding heel counter.

Sam:  I agree with Dominique and Ryan. The upper is super comfortable and is soft and roomier than Cumulus 23’s with a fit and feel I might associate more with a “plush” cruiser than a daily trainer suitable for daily miles as well as faster efforts. This is not that the lockdown is lacking, not at all, but things do stretch and coddle a bit more than I prefer.


Dominique: FlightFoam Blast midsole and 3D Space gender specific construction of hexagon pillars in the top of the midsole.  The women's midsole stack height of 23 mm/15 mm feels a bit low after testing the On Cloundmonster and Craft CTM Ultra 2 –both having more maximalist midsoles.  In addition to adjusting to the lower stack height midsole, which is also a matter of preferences, I find that the Cumulus is lacking rebound and feels a bit soft underfoot in comparison to other shoes I have run in recently.  As per Specs, “FF BLAST cushioning keeps the shoe lightweight while providing a softer feeling underfoot” –  I  agree the cushioning is very comfortable and protective, yet it lacks rebound and is a bit soft for my taste.  Let’s not overlook the  “Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Technology Cushioning System” which adds another layer of shock absorption and allows for a smoother gait cycle.  So in conclusion we have well cushioned and protective midsole without a high stack height with a soft feel and stable ride. 


Quiet and soft without sacrificing stability, the combination of Flytefoam and FF Blast compounds makes this shoe more capable and less boring than its predecessors. While it is obvious that the Cumulus lacks the depth of cushion that is now in vogue, the 24mm midsole stack (in men’s) in the rear is still pleasantly absorptive of impact. 

While other trainers skew softer and less structured (looking at you NB FuelCell Rebel), the Cumulus refuses to forsake stability for energy return. The entire length of the midsole works well to dissipate impact force, and can best be described as eager to please. I found that even the audible feedback from striking the ground was quieter than most other shoes. 

The ‘Gel’ technology (born way back in 1986!) almost certainly helps to damp the harsher vibrations felt on asphalt, although it comes at a slight tradeoff to weight and turnover. 

I think an 8mm drop is appropriate for this type of shoe, and will be more suitable than the 10mm drop of the previous version, given the mellow types of running for which it is intended.

Sam: Mellow is the word here. The now softer, lighter dual density FF Blast replaces what was a softer than usual Flytefoam in the 23. 

There is a slightly firmer Blast foam on the medial side (above) which provides a tiny touch of support with the lateral side having extended GEL for landing impact protection. 

There is that characteristic Blast rebound as in the Novablast but the wider platform, quite flat and stable midfoot, and especially I think the use of a soft forefoot blown rubber in the outsole, adds up to less midsole get up and go compared than its predecessor.  While not a high stack shoe at 26 /14 midsole stack there is plenty of friendly cushion and with 3mm more forefoot stack than the 23 which was at 23/13. 



ASICS LITE outsole rubber, which is light and durable.  


There’s a bit less rubber here than there was on the 23, but the difference is so minimal that it won’t be noticed. However, the new ‘AHARPLUS’ compound on the heel is allegedly 3x as durable as conventional rubber. The ‘Asics Lite’ outsole rubber here does a very fine job of damping road impact and providing a velvety first touch on the road during touchdown. 

Thicker outsoles can often play a noticeable part in aiding the midsole in decelerating the foot, and this midsole, to me, felt like a prime example of that effect. The simple, relatively flat geometry also worked well on gravel paths, and provided enough stability and protection to still be confidence inspiring and enjoyable. 

Grip on any type of asphalt is fantastic, and it felt like I always had a wide and stable platform underfoot throughout my entire stride.

Sam: ASICS always has outstanding outsoles and no exception here. Plenty of grip and expected durability. Yes “velvety” in feel as Ryan says but I think contributing to lacking, when combined with the soft FlyteFoam Blast, some of the pop off the road of the C23. 

My qualms with the outsole are at the forefoot. While it may be close to the same firmness as the C23, maybe a touch softer, to pressing and comparing the front platforms the C24 overall is notably softer and also more flexible as a shoe. I think the soft front rubber over soft FF Blast  contributes to the more mellow ride here and lack of toe off snap/pop, something clearly felt in the C23.


Dominique: I run fairly slow and mostly short distances (5 miles), and I have been enjoying the ride comfort level of the Cumulus.  In short, the shoe is a good fit for the type of running I do.  Yet, I am not overly excited about the ride finding the midsole lacking responsiveness despite the FlightFoam Blast.

Ryan - The standout attribute here was the shoe’s ability to deaden impact, rather than allow it to reverberate back up into the shins. There is a distinctly velvety feeling upon initial contact with the ground. 

That said, while it damps impact impressively, it isn’t as keen to return the energy back up into the body. What I admire most is the Cumulus’s ability to be supportive and predictable without becoming overly assertive in trying to control pronation. No, it doesn’t give you the deep, gushy cushion that a 38mm stack would, but because of its more traditional height, you feel much more in control. 

After wearing a variety of highly stacked shoes, sometimes it’s nice to feel closer to the ground — and to not be bounced and plate-propelled all over the place on your easier runs. It comes as no surprise then, that the transition is very fluid and predictable, even if it lacks in the propulsion department. There isn’t any rocker shape to this geometry, and I think it will adeptly handle a wide range of pronation and foot strike tendencies.

Sam: Ryan and Dominique have it right. Great impact absorption, plenty stable but lacking some in response and pop the ride here. Run side by side, one on each foot, the C23 had more response, a faster turnover and a more present feel of the road and quicker final toe off while the C24 feels softer and bouncier.  Given the soft ride feel, cushion stack and weight we are sort of between worlds in ride: of recovery paces and mellow runs and more dynamic daily training. I wish the C24 was somewhat more focused on the fast side as the C23 was with close to the same cushion and protection. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Dominique: A solid neutral trainer with a very comfortable fit and enjoyable ride but lacking rebound.  This is a more affordable option than the $160 Nimbus as a daily trainer and with a more middle of the ground drop at 8 mm versus 13 mm for the former in the women's.  The model longevity of the Cumulus does not create the excitement that newer brands/models do, however, with each edition, new technology is being incorporated to improve both the performance and comfort level of the shoe.  This new edition is my first exposure to the Cumulus and I am impressed with the craftsmanship (Jacquard mesh upper) and overall feel of the FF Blast foam midsole, which is “velvety” comfortable to borrow Ryan’s term, and very protective, but with a rebound factor that could be improved. 

Dominique’s Score: 9.1/10

Deduction for lack of rebound. I am more a Nimbus than a Cumulus fan.  


Ryan: Sure, the Cumulus is an entirely different species as compared to its form from 1999 when it was first launched, but there's something to be said about the continual evolution the line has undergone. You can knock the name all you want for being tired or boring, but as for its performance, it remains a top-tier, do-it-all daily trainer. To me, the Cumulus is that introverted, loyal type of friend that's always nice to have around — there won't be any drama or crazy stories to tell, but you know they'll predictably have your back for the long haul. The 24th Cumulus is an inviting, high-mileage daily trainer with a velvety ground feel, and a traditional stack height that should be comfortable on nearly any foot. Asics have made some smart but subtle tweaks throughout the shoe that are likely to appease Cumulus fans.

Ryan’s Score: 9.2/10

Deductions for lack of ride energy, excessively padded heel, and less overall protection than some competitors.

Sam: The Cumulus 24 gets lighter, softer and more cushioned. The new Jacquard mesh is very comfortable and roomy and while not quite as locked down as previous overall is an improvement and matches the C24’s new more mellow vibe well. In somewhat of a shift, the C24 becomes a more mellow daily miles daily trainer whereas the C23, and certainly for sure previous versions, were more performance daily miles training oriented. I kind of miss the C23’s combination of relatively soft foam backed up by a firmer acting and more responsive outsole/ride and their snappier flex. This new character, while pleasing, reduces the Cumulus versatility somewhat for me but overall at $130 it remains a very solid and I expect durable value. 

Sam’s Score: 8.95 /10

Deductions for somewhat overly soft ride lacking in pop and response for my tastes. 

Sam's GEL-Cumulus 24 Video Review with Comparisons

8 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

ASICS GEL- Cumulus 23 (RTR Review)

Sam: As discussed above, the Cumulus 24 is now lighter, softer, more comfortable in fit and underfoot and less responsive and snappy. I prefer the Cumulus 23 overall but wish it had the C24’s fine new upper.

ASICS GEL- Nimbus 24 (RTR Review)

Sam: More structured, 0.7 oz / 20g heavier, more shoe and more drop with a 26mm heel / 16 forefoot men’s midsole stack height. The  Nimbus 24 is ASICS 'other core neutral daily trainer and at $160 the more premium option although the Cumulus 24 upper comfort and fit is mighty close.   I am true to size and fit about the same in both.

Nimbus is a more guidance oriented neutral than the simpler more flexible Cumulus 24 with just enough stability from its dual density FF Blast + and Trusstic plate to even serve those with light stability needs. It’s FF Blast + foam is for me a bit more energetic, and while softer than regular Blast, the shoe overall is more responsive and snappy if a bit more lumbering due to its weight and construction than the C24.

ASICS Novablast (RTR Review)

Sam: With a considerably higher midsole stack height of 22/30, 8mm drop on a narrower more arrow like underfoot platform the Novablast also has a FF Blast midsole. It is a more rocker based shoe to the Cumulus 24 flexible profile.  Nova 2 improved the model’s stability but this fast and long training paces oriented shoe still requires well aligned form in comparison to the more mellow riding and more stable (lower to the ground) if less dynamic Cumulus. I would not recommend it over the Cumulus for beginner runners.

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12 (RTR Review)

Sam: The new 880 v12 has a similar soft riding feel on about the same platform height but on a wider base. It is somewhat more cushioned in feel and has similar easy flex with a layer of FuelCell upfront providing some of the pop and snap the C24 lacks.  It is 0.8 oz / 23g heavier. It’s upper is a very similar a very comfortable mesh but lighter and for me lacking in support in the regular width compared to the C24 as it has no gusset tongue and needs one. Rarely do preference come down to fit for me as the deciding factor but here if you have a narrow foot and seeking a more mellow daily training ride as both have go with the Cumulus  if you have a wider foot and are really neutral and well aligned go with the 880 v12 for its slightly superior ride.

Puma Velocity Nitro 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: About 0.5 oz lighter on a slightly lower overall stack height the Puma combines supercritical Nitro foam with a lower firmer EVA layer. It is not quite as pleasingly soft and mellow in ride but is far snappier actually reminding me more of older Cumulus than the 24 does. The ASICS upper is superior for sure in comfort with the Puma’s a bit more secure and performance oriented.  Bonus feature for the Puma the PumaGrip outsole which I found fantastic on hard packed snow and light dirt trails.  


New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 (RTR Review)

Ryan (M9.5) - The Rebel, by contrast to the Cumulus, lists high energy and low inertia as its main objective. Because of this, the Rebel behaves much differently than the Cumulus, with the NB delivering a highly energetic but very unstructured ride. I hesitate to put these shoes head-to-head, as they don’t even pretend to try and deliver the same kind of experience. Both the Cumulus and the Rebel are high performing shoes which largely accomplish their different aims. While the Rebel redefines a daily trainer to include gobs of bounce, high turnover, and an unstructured midsole, the Cumulus impresses at delivering a crowd-pleasing, pleasant ride with an indulgent, comfortable upper. Where they’re similar is in their both delivering a ride that feels close to the ground. Because of these stark differences, I’m happy to have both on hand, as they each suit for different styles of recovery runs. The burlier build of the Cumulus is likely to hold up longer than the Rebel’s comparatively minimal construction. Both fit true to size for me, although the spacious toe box of the Rebel made it effectively longer, but only by a hair.

Brooks Glycerin 20 (RTR Review)

Ryan (M9.5) - Moving from the Cumulus to the Glycerin, we add 10mm of stack in the heel, which makes all the difference when comparing these two. While the Brooks focuses on maximal cushion with a firm stack of its new DNA Loft v3 foam, the Cumulus sticks to a more modest construction of comparatively soft FlyteFoam (with a hint of FF Blast) and a ‘Gel’ insert. The most apparent differences are in how much further from the ground you feel when running in the Brooks, as well as how much more bounce/energy return it provides. I think for heavier runners, or for those with a more forceful gait, the Glycerin may come out ahead for the massive depth of cushion it offers. 

For runners less focused on maximal protection, or who favor the feeling of a more traditional geometry, the Cumulus is likely to be the better bet. Whereas the ASICS is inclined to take the impact force and deaden it, the Brooks uses its DNA Loft to try and return that energy back to the stride — pick your preference here. Weight-wise, they are comparable and feel like ~10oz shoes, which is perfectly fine for a daily trainer in my opinion. The Glycerin will set you back $30 more, and at $160, starts to feel a bit steep for a non-racing shoe. Both fit accurately size-wise, although the toe box of the Cumulus is a bit looser and feels a touch larger as a result.

Saucony Ride 15 (RTR Review)

Ryan (M9.5) - The Saucony’s focus is on turnover and low interia — a great shoe for tempo work or quicker running. Its ride is both harsher but far more responsive than that of the Cumulus, and the Ride feels much lighter on the foot. While the Cumulus aims to deaden and absorb impact through its multifaceted midsole, the Ride doesn’t provide the same plushness of ride, and instead tries to waste as little energy as possible. While both shoes are inherently stable, the firm, wide stance of the Ride’s PWRRUN asserts itself underfoot much more than does the FlyteFoam of the Asics. The Saucony wins on turnover, responsiveness, and breathability hands down, but for more mellow runs, I would reach for the more pleasant ride of the Cumulus. Both fit similarly lengthwise, although the Saucony offers a more secure hold thanks to a tighter toe box and less padding at the heel.

Sam: Hands down for me the Ride 15 in this particular match up. Yes, while firmer in feel but softer than with prior PWRRUN foams, the Ride 15 has just about the same stack height, weighs 0.8 oz less, has a more secure if not quite as plush upper and moves along livelier for me. It has greater training versatility and more responsivness if not quite as mellow a ride as the C24.

The GEL-Cumulus 24 is available at our partners below.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposesRoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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David said...

Great review, this sounds like a potential daily trainer for me. I found this comment interesting "with the midfoot platform feeling broader and lower/flatter". Would this mean the sidewall foam "arch" is less prominent, and the shoe has a straighter last through the midfoot? I tend to have trouble with high sidewalls that dig into my low, wide arch.



Nadia said...

Any chance of a comparison with the GT-2000? I don't need the stability but I could get the GT-2000 at a discount, whereas the C24 isn't available to me yet. I'd be interested in any differences between the outsoles as I'll be using whatever I get offroad.