I’m more than a creature of habit. Like many runners, I’m deathly afraid of change. Especially when it comes to shoes.
After two years in the Asics Gel Nimbus 16 (I went through at least 15 pairs), I was forced to find a new trainer, when I could no longer acquire the Nimbus 16 in my size anywhere on the World Wide Web.
(Read my review of the Gel Nimbus 16, plus how I shop for new running shoes, here.)
I, of course, played it safe, venturing into new shoe territory. I tried the Gel Nimbus 17, over a year ago. I loved the cushion and arch support of the shoe, but the toe box was unfortunately too roomy for me. The shoes creased over my metatarsals and caused significant blisters after just a four mile test run, so I returned them, and returned to my faithful Nimbus 16s.
I moved onto the Gel Nimbus 18 a couple of weeks ago.
Asics fixed the toe box problem in the newest version of its premium, high cushion trainer, and the 18 works much better for me than the 17. I was thrilled with the color selection of this model, as well. My local running store, Haddonfield Running Company, carries a sleek, gender neutral black colorway in women’s sizes, so I scooped up a pair and prayed I’d like the shoe as much as its predecessor.
I’ve run about 100 miles in the Nimbus 18, so I decided to write a review of my impressions so far.
In summary: There are many things I like better about the Nimbus 18 (vs. the 16) and some things I don’t.
Relatively lightweight: This is probably psychological, because, at 9.2 ounces, the Nimbus 18 is only .2 ounces lighter than the 16. But, because there is so much less stitching and overlay material, the effect is of much better economy. If you run a lot of miles, every ounce makes a difference.
More cushion: As its name states, the Gel Nimbus uses a gel cushioning system. I like this kind of cushion, compared to standard foam cushioning, because it feels softer. The Nimbus 18 seems more cushioned and retains its “just out of the box” effect much longer than the 16. With the 16, I felt super fast and springy on my first run in a new pair. But, after about 15 miles, they felt totally broken in. I ran about 50 miles in the Nimbus 18, before the “fresh gel feeling” (that sounds like a toothpaste advertisement) subsided.
Better color selection: As stated above, I love that Asics offered a black/gray colorway in the women’s version of the Nimbus 18. I’m getting sick of pink and pastel color palettes.
Less arch support: I loved the Nimbus 16 so much because it hugged my arches like a pair of custom Klingbeil ice skates. I can be prone to plantar fascia problems, so perfect arch support is a big deal to me. The Nimbus 18 offers slightly less arch support than the 16. I thought this might be a problem, initially, but I think my feet are adjusting nicely.
More expensive: I was snagging pairs of Nimbus 16s for less then 70 dollars a pop, since they were a discontinued shoe. A new pair of 18s costs over twice as much. However, because the 18s offer more cushion (and because they were more recently manufactured), I believe I will be able to eek more mileage out of each pair. I was only able to run 350 miles tops in the Nimbus 16, which means I needed a new pair every two months. I’m hoping I can get 400 miles out of my Nimbus 18s.
In conclusion: I’m satisfied with the Nimbus 18, and I’m glad I found a shoe to carry me through my next two years of running.
In all seriousness, I would like to try even more shoes (I have my eye on the Mizuno Wave Rider 19), because I think it’s better for your feet (and your entire body) to switch up your trainers every few days. I’ll report back on my updated Nimbus impressions, plus reviews on any other new shoes I’m brave enough to try.
Questions for the Internets:
Are you scared to try new running shoes?
Which shoes are you currently training in?
How many pairs of shoes do you have in your current rotation?
Do you donate your old trainers?