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Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 vs 1 Comparison Shoe Review

by Sportitude
3 Dec 2020

Josh reviews and weighs up the new Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 running shoes against their predecessor the Asics Gel Nimbus Lite to identify whether it’s the best high mileage shoe for you to add into your rotation.

Smoother transitions and more responsiveness set it apart from the earlier model, yet the heel-to-toe drop and stack height specs remain the same for loyal Nimbus Lite runners.

It caters primarily to a midfoot runner, but Asics have also included heel striker friendly engineering with hard-wearing rubber underneath the rearfoot. Runners that tend to land lighter will gravitate towards this lightweight ride, but for heel strikers that want a running shoe that's truly targeted to them the Asics Gel Nimbus 23 fits the criteria.

Both the midsole and upper of the Nimbus Lite 2 are made with a high content of recycled materials to reduce your carbon footprint.

It’s free of support systems – meaning there’s no overpronation guidance or arch support for flatter foot types. This makes it an ideal option for neutral foot types that keep pressure central to the foot on foot strike, or under pronated (high arched) foot types that focus pressure on the outer edge of the foot when running.

It provides a supportive fit around the midfoot and arch region with a consistent amount of wiggle room in the forefoot as the version 1. Just-right padding around the heel counter hugs snugly to your feet without being restrictive out on the road.  

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude and today it is shoe review time. We're going to be doing it on the new Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2. I happen to be holding my pair in front of me. I've had these for around three months and there is a lot to like about this update.

I was pretty surprised by this running shoe and out of the box it does present quite differently in regard to its engineering features.

On the foot performance-wise I was really satisfied with what Asics had taken from version 1 and rolled over into version 2. I was not let down at all.

In today's review we're going to touch on the three engineering components of this shoe being the outsole, midsole and the upper. We're going to cross it over and compare it to where the v1 was and talk about all the changes.

We’ll profile the runner that should be considering this shoe and give you all the information you need at home to decide on whether this might be your next high mileage running shoe. Without further ado let's get stuck in.

Runner Profile

Firstly, we're going to talk about the runner that could be considering this shoe. It is a neutral running shoe, which essentially means there's no extra dynamic or fixed arch support on the medial side to assist that overpronator through midstance who happens to roll in over the arches.

Technically a neutral foot will have a higher arch, with a little bit of real estate between the arch and the ground. A higher arched foot may also be an under pronated foot type. For an under pronator, we're talking about an external, lateral pitch from entry point to midstance where the arch sits up and the majority of the pressure is on the outside of the foot.

However, there is the foot type that is relatively neutral but has a slightly flatter arch. When they come through the midstance phase through their gait cycle we don't tend to see too much tibial rotation. A lot of the pressure is through the central part of their foot.

With that being said, neutral to slightly under pronated or supinated foot types could be considering the Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2. 

Outsole

Let’s get talking about the engineering features of this shoe. First things first, we'll start from the ground up and we'll talk all things outsole.

As I said in my intro, when I got this out of the box I was really surprised with the dramatic changes to the naked eye which Asics have made. If you look at v1 you can see that the outsole set up, where the flex grooves are positioned and even the width through the midfoot is executed completely differently to the v2.

The biggest thing that stood out to me was the full ground contact, which it still is. However, with the full ground contact on the lateral side of the v1 you can see the rubber that goes the whole way through on that lateral column.

When you hold up the v2 you can see it has a little bit of a cutaway on that midstance phase through that entry point. There is no rubber in that region, and I was a little bit concerned about not having a really good grab with the purchase point on the ground. However, I didn't notice it when I was running.

You can see that I'm still wearing this running shoe quite evenly and this is after about 50km of running in this shoe, so I've done some Ks. If that was going to be a problem there'd be some form of wear right now and it doesn't seem to be the case. The foam itself is holding up quite well, probably due to this little pod which is strategically placed where you would normally see a Trusstic beam.

It’s protecting the lateral column of your outsole. Asics have placed that rubber to give the shoe a bit of integrity, support and obviously to protect the asset being the midsole inside this shoe.

There is a little bit of hard-wearing rubber through the outer column and the heel. It features AHAR rubber which again I sort of question because it is designed at the back to really target that heel striker, but this shoe is designed for more of a midfoot runner. Asics have said it themselves, but they have to keep in mind that people are going to buy this shoe.

If a heel striker happens to buy this shoe and they're running and purchasing the ground with the first part of the heel, you still need to have some durable rubber at the back. That's important to strategically place that harder wearing rubber at the back of the shoe.

As you come through to the forefoot you can see the subtle changes with the flex grooves. We have five flex grooves on offer through the forefoot. That provides a nice flexible transition through the toe-off phase of your gait cycle in comparison to last year which is not too dissimilar with five flex grooves as well.

It’s almost the same angle from the lateral to medial side. Although the actual materials have changed and the shape of the rubber has changed, the actual execution, angle and flex groove set-up is the same. The only real changes are through that midsection in regard to how they've set up that torsional region of the shoe.

Midsole

Let's move on to the midsole. First things first, for the stack height we have 25mm in the heel and 15mm in the forefoot in the men's for a heel-to-toe gradient of 10mm.

In the ladies’ we have 27mm heel and 14mm forefoot for a variance of 13mm. That is the same as v1 for both men’s and women’s. They’ve kept that nice and consistent from one season to the next which is great, so you're not going to lose a lot of runners that like that heel-to-toe drop inside v1.

The midsole is quite unique regarding how it feels underneath the foot. From my experience with v1, I did like the softness. It felt incredibly soft underneath the foot, not only from the first step in but from that first step in my first run inside this shoe, I knew I was going to be really satisfied with the level of cushioning on offer in the v1.

If I have to be honest when I put the v2 on my foot and I stood in it, I wasn't disappointed because I know this is a high mileage shoe, but it didn't feel as soft as what the v1 did at first step in.

However, when I was running in the Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 at the first entry point in that midfoot range, it felt plush, soft and feels a little bit more responsive through the forefoot.

If I have to be honest as well, it kind of had New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v10 vibes about it. For those of you that have used the 1080 v10, we know it was a very popular shoe through 2020. It received great reviews across the board globally and what I felt inside this running shoe had similar vibes.

With the landing region, it has a slightly more responsive feel and a bit of a rocker sensation through the forefoot. The Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 felt very smooth on entry and release. I really liked what this shoe was doing.

I would say that maybe the v1 is slightly more cushioned on that first entry but the v2 is smoother and it is slightly more responsive. I would take the v2 every day of the week with regards to that transition through to the forefoot. The midsole execution and the function of the midsole is on point with v2.

Just touching on the final aspects of the midsole, it is a neutral shoe so there's nothing on offer with regards to dynamic support systems on the medial side. It's designed for a higher arch to a mildly supinated foot type which happens to put a bit more pressure on the lateral side of their running gait cycle.

Let’s talk about the Gel cushioning because there is an element of cushioning inside this shoe and it is Twist Gel which sits right underneath the first metatarsal. It's not going to offer a lot of cushioning, it's more there to protect your big toe from excessive load on your longer runs. It is strategically placed right under your big toe which is great.

What we’re going to have a conversation on next rolls over to the upper. 70% percent of the midsole and upper combined is made with recycled materials. I think it's a good call out by Asics. We're all trying to do our little bit with reducing our carbon footprint and if brands are going back to the drawing board and using recycled materials I tip my hat to you, so well done Asics.

Upper

Let’s get talking about the upper. First thing I noticed when I put my foot inside this shoe was the extra support through the navicular region or the arch region. I liked that when I put my foot in and I did my laces up to my preferred tension I felt a little bit more secure.

Coming through to the forefoot the fit and feel is pretty similar to the v1. The v2 is a little bit more secure through the midfoot versus the v1 but the forefoot fits pretty similar. There’s around about the same amount of wiggle room so if you like the fit and feel of the upper in the v1 I'd be almost certain that you're going to like the fit and feel of the v2 as well.

The main difference probably is the height of the heel counter or the heel collar. To the naked eye you can see the v1 has a slightly higher heel collar, so it comes up a little bit higher up the back of your Achilles. However, the internal heel counter support is the same. The actual height of that plastic support system around the back is the same so you're not losing support, you're just shaving a little bit of weight around that heel collar.

The lining around the inside is nice with a bit of memory foam so it's padded enough to get that secure, comfortable fit but by no means is it going to suffocate the back of your foot. Unfortunately, some brands over pad the back of that heel collar which is in my opinion is a little overkill. It’s about the right amount of foam through the back to get a secure but comfortable fit.

Widths

This shoe is only available in standard widths for both men's and women's. The standard width is a D for men's and a B in the ladies’. In years to come they might broaden that out and go for a D in the ladies’ and maybe throw a 2E in the men's, but at this point in time it is standard widths only.


There you have it guys, that is my take on the Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2.  As we touched on, they rolled over a lot of things with regards to the tech aspects of the v1 and ever so slightly changed the alteration of the outsole, midsole and the upper. They've kept it consistent enough where they're not going to lose v1 runners and they may even get a few more runners into this shoe from other brands.

I like what they've done. It is a premium high mileage plush running shoe for that neutral foot type and targeting more of that midfoot runner as I have touched on before. The Nimbus franchise which is your Asics Gel Nimbus 22 and Asics Gel Nimbus 23 is targeting your true heel striker. The Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 is targeting that runner that gets up more towards that midfoot region and lands just a fraction softer on the ground.

If you have any questions, comments or queries with regards to the Asics Gel Nimbus Lite 2 running shoes, please contact our Sportitude shoe experts. If you have a pair or tried on a pair and you want to let us know your thoughts please do so. I'd love to hear how you fit and what you feel about the running shoes out there.

Please hit the red button and subscribe to the Sportitude YouTube channel if you haven’t already done so and we’ll keep you up to date as much as we possibly can in all things running shoes and running shoe related.

Until next time stay safe, happy running and we'll see you on the road. Take care. 

FEATURES

  • Support: Neutral
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: Asics FlyteFoam Nano

Men

  • Heel Height: 25mm
  • Forefoot Height: 15mm
  • Offset / Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: 275g / 9.7oz

Women

  • Heel Height: 27mm
  • Forefoot Height: 14mm
  • Offset / Drop: 13mm
  • Weight: 220g / 7.8oz