Many runners turn to the Asics Nimbus line for a sturdy, well-cushioned neutral shoe. The Asics Gel-Nimbus 14 is the darling of expert reviewers, who say its cushioning is still tops. Quite a few users, however, are upset with the Nimbus 14's redesigned, lower-volume toebox and what they say is a stiffer, less plush feel overall, which may be too stiff for lighter runners.
Lower-volume toebox. Runner's World U.K. says the Nimbus 14's redesigned upper is "fitted brilliantly around the heel and Achilles," and most users seem to agree. But when it comes to the forefoot, we found quite a few complaints that the shoe feels tight across the top of your foot, or even rubs a bit just behind the ball of your foot. This correlates with complaints that the Nimbus 14 runs a little narrower than its previous versions. Those with lower-volume feet, however, seem to love the fit.
Opinions are also mixed about the Nimbus 14's arch support. Most love it, but a few say the arch is too big and have even developed blisters on their insteps. As always, it comes down to finding the shoe that best fits your foot, as one woman posting to RoadRunnerSports.com has done.She says the Nimbus 14 hugs her heel and offers "enough room in the toebox but not so much my foot slips."
On the downside, lighter runners say the Nimbus 14 is not very flexible. In addition to a few user comments, it receives one of the lowest flexibility scores we've seen from Runner's World (despite receiving an Editor's Choice award in their June 2012 issue). A few reviewers also say the tongue's padding has been downgraded and that it's now stubby and rubs your feet. Several users wish Asics would bring back the asymmetrical lacing from previous Nimbus models.
Still tops in cushioning. Cushioning is usually the reason people buy this shoe and, despite less than universal acclaim for the Nimbus 14's fit, runners are still returning in droves. Testers and editors with Runner's World agree: "From the second you step into the Nimbus, you know you're in for a pillowy-soft ride." After all, it's hard to turn down a memory-foam lining, and the Nimbus 14 is still fairly light: 11.1 ounces for a typical men's shoe and 9.1 ounces for a women's.
"The shoe felt great from the start, as if I was walking on air," says one Runner's World tester, who appreciates the extra padding to cushion his overstride. Runner's World does warn that fast runners might find this shoe a little too soft or unresponsive. However, we found quite a few complaints from Nimbus fans who found this model objectionably stiffer and less cushioned than its predecessor. Some blame new aches and pains on this change in the padding, although the overall consensus is still positive.
Built for neutral feet. The Asics Nimbus 14 is built for a neutral foot strike, so it doesn't have a medial post or other stability features designed to keep your foot from rolling inward. If you have high arches, however, and tend to underpronate -- running on the outside edge of your foot -- the Nimbus 14's plush cushioning may be helpful in maintaining a neutral foot strike.
The Nimbus 14 also has a slightly reduced heel-toe offset: down to just over 10 mm, thanks to additional padding under the forefoot for a cushioned toe takeoff. According to a video review from RunningWarehouse.com, however, testers didn't even notice the different in offset. They also praise the Nimbus 14 for encouraging a smooth heel-to-toe transition.
Promising feedback. We didn't find much commentary on the shoe's durability, but experts at Runner's World U.K. say it's "well suited for long runs," and Canadian Running calls it "an excellent high-mileage trainer." A longtime Nimbus user posting to Amazon.com says his Nimbus shoes always seem to last longer than the Nike models he used to wear. "If past experience is a guide, it should give a good year of hard use," writes another.
1. Runner's World
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 14 wins an Editor's Choice award from Runner's World. In a video review, editors warn that the shoe might feel a little unresponsive to fast runners, but that otherwise the plush cushioning works for everybody.
Review: Shoe Finder: Asics Gel-Nimbus 14, Editors of Runner's World, As of October 2013
2. Runner's World U.K.
The editors of Runner's World U.K. praise the Nimbus 14 for a "brilliant" fit around the heel and Achilles, and select it as one of the best cushioned shoes. They say it's too heavy to be a speed shoe, but that it's "well suited for long runs."
Review: Asics Gel-Nimbus 14, Editors of Runner's World U.K., As of October 2013
3. Canadian Running
With the aid of unidentified testers, the authors pick the best running shoes in four categories; the Nimbus 14 is one of their cushioned-shoe picks. They make a few brief comments about the shoe's positive points, but don't offer any comparison to other models or specifics about how testing was conducted.
Review: Running Shoe Review - 2012 Fall Shoe Guide, Gus Alexandropolous and Mihira Lakshman, Aug. 31, 2012
Over 400 men review the Nimbus 14 on Amazon.com, giving it a 4.5-star average score. Most love its cushioning, but quite a few complain that they don't like the updated fit.
Review: Asics Men's Gel-Nimbus 14 Running Shoe, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
About 85 users review the men's version of the Nimbus 14 here, giving it an average score of 3.5 stars out of 5. Comments on the cushioning are mostly positive, but we found some complaints from owners who say the shoe is too tight across the forefoot.
Review: Men's Asics Gel-Nimbus 14, Contributors to RoadRunnerSports.com, As of October 2013
Eighty-two women share their opinions of the Nimbus 14 on RoadRunnerSports.com's customer review page. They give it 3.6 stars out of 5. Like the men, they're less than pleased with the feel of this updated shoe.
Review: Women's Asics Gel-Nimbus 14, Contributors to RoadRunnerSports.com, As of October 2013
RunningWarehouse.com, an online retailer, usually has several testers try new models. In this case, a male and female tester present what they like and dislike most about the Asics Nimbus 14. There's no comparison to other shoes, but the praise and criticisms are useful.
Review: Asics Nimbus 14 Shoe Review, RunningWarehouse.com, As of October 2013