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Asics Gel Nimbus 22 Lite vs Nimbus 22 Comparison Running Shoe Review

by Sportitude
11 Mar 2020

Josh reviews the new neutral Asics Gel Nimbus 22 Lite running shoe and weighs it up against the Asics Gel Nimbus 22. He identifies how the Asics Gel Nimbus 22 family compares; from the similarities in the upper to the differences in structure and stability that define what runner profile they’re best suited for. 

The Asics Nimbus 22 Lite caters to a midfoot striker, prioritising lightness and full ground contact, while the Nimbus 22 is more heel striker-friendly, offering a Trusstic beam for support and extra protection at the heel impact zone.

Both are high mileage cushioned shoes with cloud-soft FlyteFoam technology to dampen impact forces and fight off fatigue over long miles, and Gel pods with varying degrees of cushioning.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hello guys, Josh here from Sportitude and it is shoe review time. This one is exciting. It is going to be on the Gel Nimbus 22 Lite. You heard correctly, I said Gel Nimbus. It is a slightly lighter take on the current mileage shoe from the Asics family, the Gel Nimbus 22.

There is a lot of similarities between the two but there is a lot of differences as well. They’re specifically targeting two different runners.

There is a lot to get through with this review. I will show you my Nimbus 22 Lite that I have been using for the best part of about 6 weeks now and I put some serious Ks in them. I’ll give you some honest feedback and tell you what I think of this shoe. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

Weight

Like the namesake, the Nimbus 22 Lite is lighter than the current Nimbus 22. I’ll get the men’s up here and as I said before, it is a little dirty because I’ve done some serious Ks in this shoe.

Men’s wise, let’s weigh up the Nimbus 22 Lite in comparison to the Nimbus 22 which I have done a review on as well. The difference between the two is 310 grams for a men’s size 9 in the Nimbus 22 and 270 grams in the men’s size 9 in the Nimbus 22 Lite.There’s 40 grams difference between the two. That is a lot of change in terms of weight reduction.

They’ve been very clever about how they’ve taken out the weight but kept it nice and stable. I also need to harp on the fact that it is pitching to two different runners.

Outsole

I’m going to go outsole, midsole and upper. What we’ve got here with the Nimbus 22 Lite is a shoe that has full ground contact. You can see in the women’s model that I am holding that there is no Trusstic beam through that midstance phase. This is weight reduction #1.

You can see in the men’s Nimbus 22 that I have here there is a little thermoplastic TPU beam that gives structure and integrity through that midstance cycle.

You may sit there and go, “I want stability, why doesn’t this shoe have it?”. The Nimbus 22 is seriously targeting a heel striker. If you’re a midfoot runner you can still run on it, you’re not going to break down.

But if you’re a heel striker, when you come down and strike ever so slightly out of the front of the centre of gravity, you need a little more cushioning, a bit more oomph underneath your heel. That’s where that beam through midstance gives more support as you go from your breaking to midstance phase. That is why the Nimbus 22 has that extra rigidity.

Let’s talk about the Nimbus 22 Lite and why it doesn’t have it. Yes, you can still heel strike in this shoe. However, there is a little more flexibility through midstance. You will lose a bit of torsional stability as you go through to midstance.

We’re not necessarily looking at a heel striker. We are looking at someone that hits more of a midfoot pattern, providing more purchase area underneath your foot. That’s why the full ground contact, the exposed rubber through midstance is fantastic. It is a reduction in weight, but it gives that midfoot runner a lot more purchase with the ground when you’re coming down on that impact zone in your gait cycle.

As you transfer through to the forefoot, the Nimbus 22 Lite is almost identical to the Nimbus 22. You can see the outsole flexibility, the flex grooves that go across the horizontal plane. We’re talking five flex grooves in the Nimbus 22 and five flex grooves in the Nimbus 22 Lite. Essentially, we are talking the same amount of flexibility through toe-off from the Nimbus 22 to the Nimbus 22 Lite.

Midsole

Coming through to the midsole. Again, this is where a lot of the weight reduction has come out of the shoe. With the Nimbus 22, you can see the Gel pod at the rear and the Twist Gel pod through the forefoot as well.

Without cutting the Nimbus 22 Lite in half, you’re going to have to trust me on this one. There is a small pod at the back of the shoe encapsulated inside the FlyteFoam midsole and the same thing with the Twist Gel through the forefoot as well. They’re still providing an element of Gel cushioning, however the size of the Gel pod has been reduced every so slightly.

Again, why is that important? Why can they reduce the size of the Gel pod in the heel? Because it is not necessarily for a heel striker. This shoe is for a midfoot runner.

Most of the vertical impact in this shoe is going to come down through contact, so when your foot sinks into the shoe or your heel sinks through midstance, you’re not really going to rely on the bigger Gel pod that the Nimbus 22 has. That’s why they can make it ever so slightly smaller but still provide an element of comfort and cushioning through the heel unit as well.

As I said, it features a full FlyteFoam midsole that’s really nice and spongy on the foot. It feels fantastic when you put it on. You know you’ve got a cushioning shoe on. You can feel the cushioning underneath your foot compressing with every single step and I really like that with this shoe.

Upper

Coming through to the upper, there is not a lot that is different from the Nimbus 22 Lite to the Nimbus 22. You’ve got a nice deep heel counter around the back. Again, that’s going to cater for that runner that has an orthotic, allowing you to take the sockliner out and put your orthotic in.

There is plenty of depth back here for the variety of heel raises inside orthotics. You’ve got a little bit to play with as well which is fantastic. As always, remember to do the heel lock lace if you have an orthotic to lock that heel in a little bit better.

As you’re coming through to midstance, it’s almost identical to the Nimbus 22. You can see all the stitching, all the overlays. The actual upper material itself is identical, it’s just different colours.

The idea being, it’s going to breathe the same and it’s going to feel the same on top. It is going to give a lockdown through that midstance area that you require and still provide plenty of wriggle room through the toes when going through the toe-off phase of your gait cycle.

Widths

The Nimbus 22 Lite is only available in the one width. That’s probably the downside if anything. You’ve got the B in the ladies’ and D in the men’s. Obviously with the Nimbus 22 they’re going to carry that width family across.You’ve got a variety of widths available for the Nimbus 22.


That’s a wrap of this specific shoe, the Nimbus 22 Lite. I want to grab mine to validate the fact that I’ve ran some serious Ks in this shoe as I said for 6 weeks now.

I’ve got to be honest, this now is my mileage shoe and what I’m doing my longer runs in. I love it. I’m a midfoot runner so when my foot comes down and hits this region through here, I know I’ve got a really cushioned shoe underneath my foot.

It feels stable up top which is great when I get to the back end of my longer runs when my foot can get a bit loose or I lose a bit of form. The heel support around the back of my calcaneus, around the back of my heel gives me the security and structure I need.

I love the flexibility through the forefoot. It almost feels like what I experienced out of the Brooks Glycerin; that nice, flexible toe-off through that shoe. The Brooks Glycerin has six flex grooves, but this has five. It is a nice flexible shoe through that toe-off phase.

However, for me I just love this cushioning system. Again, there’s not the highlight and call out with the Gel and heel and obviously through the forefoot. You may think it’s not going to be quite as soft, but underneath the foot it feels softer. It’s plusher, it’s lighter.

The only downside is the Nimbus 22 Lite is probably going to last 150 – 200km less than the Nimbus 22. I reckon if I get 400 – 450km out of my Nimbus 22 Lite I will take that as a win. It’s a great shoe. I really like it and so from my perspective it’s got two thumbs up.

As always, any questions with all my reviews please contact our Sportitude shoe experts. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our Sportitude YouTube channel. We love to give as much information on all things shoes to you at home.

Until next time, happy running.