Sunday, April 16, 2023

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25 Review: 9 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25 ($140)


Sam: The Cumulus has traditonally been ASICS middle of the range neutral daily trainer. For the 25th edition it gets 2.5 mm more stack height front and back of a now single density Flyte Foam Blast Plus taking it to a max cushion 37.5 mm heel 29.5 mm forefoot stack while actually losing 7g. 

The GEL is now embedded with a lighter and softer rear Pure Gel unit with the geometry of the midsole and outsole all reimagined. And we get a plush new upper.  

Many changes. Still a Cumulus? We’ll get into it in the review but in context of the other 2023 ASICS trainers the Superblast super max , Nimbus inherently stable neutral and more up tempo Novablast 3 it appears to fit in as the more flexible “traditional riding” daily training option 


Versatile max cushioned daily trainer with a more traditional 8mm drop and front flexibility

Drop in weight, increase in cushion stack

Strong weight to cushion ratio at 9.38 oz  / 266g (US9) for a big 37.5 heel / 29.5 mm forefoot stack height

Softer, forgiving ride with a broad stable heel landing and smooth flow to a flexible toe off yet still with some trademark Cumulus muted front response.

Th non rigid or semi rigid rocker trainer in the current ASICS lineup.

Very plush comfortable upper

Great value for a state of the art max cushion daily trainer at $140


Wish ASICS had not increased stack height to give the shoe yet lighter weight and more response.

Overly soft and broad landing especially at the heel (but no bottoming out or lingering there)

Upper and the especially tongue and rear collars are so comfortable but I find overdone adding to weight.


Approx. Weight: men's 9.38 oz  / 266g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

  Samples: men’s  9.13 oz  /  259g (US8.5)  

                             Cumulus 24 9.37oz / 266g (US8.5)

Stack Height: men’s mm 37.5 heel / 29.5 mm forefoot 

                      women’s  36.5 mm heel / 28.5mm forefoot

Compared to Cumulus 24: +2.5 mm stack height overall

8mm drop

Platform Width: 115mm heel / 80mm midfoot / 110 forefoot

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The upper is made of an engineered mesh with a soft feel. It is not a particularly light thin mesh as say the Novablast 3 and Supeblast. It resembles, fits, and feels very much like the engineered knit of the Nimbus 25. 

This is clearly an upper focused on plush comfort and it clearly delivers this with not only its soft mesh but a thick padded tongue and copiously stuffed collars. 

The toe box is broad yet secure. Wider higher volume feet should have few issues with wide sizing is also available. 

Lace up is easy and I have never had to adjust on the run despite the quite voluminous upper. The combination of small alternating suede lace holders, gusset tongue, plush collars, and pliable mesh wrap the foot in a comfortable and secure cocoon. 

The fit is true to size (as are all 2023 ASICS trainers for me) with a rounded roomy toe box with nice overhead room from a relatively pliable high toe bumper.

All good and comfortable if a bit overbuilt for my tastes. 


The Cumulus 25 has a single density Flight Foam Blast Plus midsole with an embedded (and no longer seen) PureGel unit at the heel. The single density Flyte Foam Blast Plus is a change from the 24 which had a dual density FlightFoam Blast Plus foam midsole. 

The new heel Pure Gel unit is softer, lighter and is no longer glued in, floating below the strobel board and is clearly felt on landings as a very vibration absorbing and soft element.  Flyte Foam Blast Plus is plenty shock absorbing and decently rebounding all by itself and here the GEL takes it to another level. I personally prefer the heel feel of the Novablast 3 with identical foam and no GEL as it delivers a bit more pop and a little less softness. 

The geometry is changed with not only a new midsole side walls design but 2.5 mm more midsole stack height than the 24. It is important to note that the 24 had 3mm more stock height at the forefoot and 1mm more stack height at the heel than the 23 shifting  from a 10mm drop shoe to an 8mm drop which remains the drop in 25.  If your last Cumulus was the 23 you will for sure find the 25 more cushioned, more mellow and soft and feel and not quite as snappy and quick.

At 37.5mm heel / 29.5 mm forefoot in the men’s,  we are clearly in max cushion territory and this is clearly felt as the cushion is deep, forgiving and has some rebound of the more bouncy variety. Go over to the the mostly supercritical FlyteFoam Turbo midsole of the Superblast if you want a quicker springier feel.  

Unlike its ASICS stable mate max cushion trainers, the Superblast, Nimbus 25, and Novablast 3,  the Cumulus 25 has a traditional front flex to go along with some rocker. Its gum rubber type outsole joins all that midsole stack and flex to deliver some response reminiscent of the lively front toe off of prior Cumulus but here with a considerably more cushioned and softer overall feel.


The Cumulus has a gum rubber type outsole. Usually I am not a fan of such rubber (Saucony Freedom, Trackmith Eliot) as this kind of rubber has a dull dense feel. Here it works well in combination with the big stack of softer rebounding Flyte Foam Blast Plus as it delivers a well matched and noticed response of the road, if not an exactly snappy one. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

The ride focuses on the middle miles of training but can easily range to slower recovery runs.  During my last test run I thought: ideal shoe for the 2nd run of the day and for long, easier pace miles. 

While we have that big stack front and back there is some road feel, a relatively easy flex and toe off and plenty of stable but not overdone (looking at you Nimbus 25..) rear stability. The heel is broad, the broadest of all of the ASICS max cushion trainers at 115mm and 10mm broader than even the more inherently stable Nimbus 25.  I think it could be narrowed out back to reduce weight and firmed up and get me off the heel quicker. 

So after highly cushioned soft and stable heel landings, transitions are surprisingly  easy and smooth and for sure easier than the Nimbus 25 which, while a “neutral” shoe, clearly has some pronation control through its vertical rear midsole side walls and feels comparatively blocky at the rear. None of that in the Cumulus 25.  

Further forward its relative flexibility had me to an easy toe off at all paces with some response in the mix off the front rubber.  The flexible toe off and response reminded me of older Cumulus but with more cushion and softness. I did wonder what it might feel like removing a few millimeters of stack height or firm up the foam a bit to give it a bit less softness, more pop (as prior Cumulus had)  and less weight. 

Weight here is not an issue at a quite svelte 9.13 oz / 259g in my US8.5 as the ride is very well balanced but the softness of so much foam is felt.

The upper is for sure plush and very close in many respects the fit and feel of the Nimbus 25 upper. As with the midsole and ride,  it is a bit overdone with a thick tongue, lush collars and relatively thick mesh. Weight savings with a bit more streamlined upper? Oops, that would make it closer to the Novablast 3 but for me its more flexible traditional ride that is what really distinguishes these two.

The Cumulus 25 is a daring update to a franchise shoe taking it far from its traditional stack and look and into the “modern”. 

Yet, it retains characteristics of Cumulus of old especially when compared to the positioning of its ASICS stablemates.  It remains the lighter, “lower” stack, more neutral daily trainer in the line up with Nimbus 25 the more stable highly cushioned neutral, Superblast the premium super max and Novablast 3 the somewhat more uptempo paces lighter trainer. 

While the $200 Superblast is the special one, so light, lively riding and super cushioned, for $60 less, the Cumulus 25 holds its head high as a soft and practical all around trainer at a great price for its lightweight, big cushion and super comfortable upper.

For runners doing big mileage it is an ideal 2nd run of the day shoe and long, easier paced runs cruiser. For those seeking a single all around trainer focused on comfort, lots of soft cushion and a traditional flex that is never ponderous it is a top choice.

Sam’s Score: 9.14/10

Ride: 9  Fit: 9.2 Value: 9.5 Style: 9


8 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 24 (RTR Review)

Sam: Softer, plusher, broader the Cumulus 25 is a completely new max take on the model but one that retains some flexibility and front pop. Fit in both is true to size with the 25’s upper more comfortable and plush

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 (RTR Review)

Sam: A step up in cushion and stability compared to the Cumulus 25, I prefer the more easily flowing, less rear blocky and more flexible Cumulus here. Similar uppers and similar true to size fits. 

ASICS Superblast (RTR Review)

Sam: The “special one” in the 2023 ASICS trainer line up, the Superblast is lighter higher stacked in cushion and has a quicker return due to its supercritical foam midsole. It is a bit less easy going and is not flexible as the Cumulus is. It’s engineered mesh upper is thinner, more breathable and less plush with a slightly pointier but still true to size fit.

ASICS Novablast 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The performance oriented trainer option from ASICS, the Novablast is somewhat lower stack (same foam with no GEL)  more linear in ride and fit with a somewhat pointier toe box. It is a superior choice for tempo and longer fast runs with Cumulus the easier days pairing to it.

Please Watch our 2023 ASICS Max Cushion Trainer Comparative Review

ASICS Glide Ride 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: Somewhat higher stacked, a bit firmer and more responsive with a rocker based geometry vs the Cumulus’s flex the Glide Ride is a faster big shoe that is somewhat less suitable than the Cumulus for slower easier runs.


Saucony Ride 16 (RTR Review)

Sam: Direct competitors here checking in at about the same stack height (Cumulus 25 being a bit higher) and 8mm drops. The Ride 16 is somewhat lighter, firmer, more responsive and more performance oriented. The performance lean of the Ride also goes to the uppers with the Ride yet more secure at the rear (a bit overdone) with a roomy but not super plush toe box. Bottom line the Ride 16 remains a more traditional, aggressive riding daily trainer while the Cumulus 25 now leans more towards comfort cruising.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13 (RTR Review soon)

If you think you might miss a more old school firmer 8mm drop daily trainer ride, the 880v13 with its new firmer outsole is one of the last of the breed. It has plenty of pop from its firm extensive outsole, is stiffer and has a snugger upper. Certainly not as pleasant as the Cumulus now is but effective in "serious" way.

Puma Foreverun Nitro (RTR Review)

Sam: The new Puma has a similar broad heel, easy transition and more flexible toe off. It is somewhat more stable, with stability focused at the heel and less so midfoot but is not overwhelmingly so for this neutral shoe runner. The dual density Nitro foam midsole is plenty soft and more energetic in return than the Flyte Foam Blast Plus of the Cumulus. The Puma has a more secure upper with a touch less of the plush and a somewhat pointed toe box. I prefer the Puma in this match up.

Nike Invincible Run 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: Nike’s big trainer is less suitable than the Cumulus for slower paced runs as it has a stiffer profile that favors a front landing to activate its mild rocker. Heavier by one ounce, the Nike Invincible is more stable due to its extensive outsole and new lasting board, the combination somewhat masking its fine Zoom X foam. For slower, easier running paces I clearly prefer the Cumulus 25. For faster paces the Invincible, You won’t find much plush in the Nike with its somewhat rigid Flyknit upper not as smooth fitting as the Cumulus. Both true to size

Tester Profile

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was 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 if he gets lucky,, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run or nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

The GEL-Cumulus 25 is available at our partners below 

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

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Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, how does the Cumulus 25 compare to the Triumph 21? Which is softer, roomier, easier to turn over and more enjoyable for easy runs?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, except for room (wide available) the Triumph 21 would be my pick. If you want a touch softer and roomier the very sustainable Triumph (21) RFG is yet more towards what you are asking for
Sam, Editor