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Asics Nimbus 20 vs Cumulus 20 vs Pursue 4 Neutral Running Shoe Comparison

by Sportitude
4 Jul 2018

Josh gives you the low-down on three key Asics running shoes in their mid to high mileage running shoe family, the Gel Nimbus 20, Gel Cumulus 20 and Gel Pursue 4.

He provides detail on their specific features to determine which is best suited to the way you love to run – whether you prefer consistent speeds and longer slower runs, a faster pace and shorter distances or mixing up your training routine with varying speeds.

They’re ideal for a neutral foot type and are available to take for a spin in store or online now.

Check out the full review with transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh from Sportitude here today. I’m going to be doing a comparative shoe review all on Asics footwear. 

We’ve got the Gel Nimbus, the Gel Cumulus and the Gel Pursue. That’s three shoes from the neutral family from Asics, all in that mid to high mileage category. 

They’re very similar in regard to what foot types should be running inside these shoes, however they’re quite different in their engineering configuration. 

We’re going to give you some tips at home and hopefully give you enough information to make the right choice if you happen to be falling in this category. 

Foot Type

Let’s talk about the foot type that sits inside the Nimbus, Pursue and the Cumulus. We’re talking about a neutral foot type, with a high navicular region and quite a gap between the ground and the arch. 

When we go through our running gait cycle, we’re talking about a foot that doesn’t necessarily flatten out that plantar fascia. It stays quite pitched, quite high and almost what we classify as under pronates or supinates through that gait cycle, so a lot of pressure can be on the outside of the foot. 

Also, with these shoes if you do have an orthotic and you do mildly pronate your orthotic will fit in the Nimbus, Pursue and the Cumulus quite well. 

Runner Type 

I’m going to do this review in three different sections. We’re going to talk about the runner that’s going consistent speeds for their running training program. When we’re talking about consistent speeds we’re referring to the runner that probably sits around that 5:30 minute split and above. 

Then we’ll talk about runners that like to vary their running speed with slower longer runs and quicker short speeds. We’ll also talk about the runner looking to do mainly tempo running, or that turns their feet over quite quickly no matter what distance they’re running. 

Gel Nimbus 20 

We’ll start off the runner that’s going to be going for consistent speeds, 5:30 minute kilometre splits and above. We’re talking here the Gel Nimbus. 

Why am I talking about that style of running inside this shoe? Because this little guy here is stacked full of cushioning. You’ve got Gel assistance through the heel and forefoot. You’ve got your FlyteFoam cushioning layer which provides a really plush feel underneath the foot. 

Also, you’ve got a slightly higher stack height for the ladies, a 13mm heel-to-toe gradient with 32mm in the heel and 19mm in the forefoot. That provides the runner that needs and really relies on cushioning, with cushioning on the impact zone on heel strike. 

You can use the Nimbus for shorter quicker runs, however I’d like to talk about energy return. When you’re going from contact zone to midstance until breaking zone you shouldn’t have too much variance in relation to the compression rate in the shoe itself. 

What we find when I use a Nimbus personally and when all our other runners use this specific shoe and pick up the pace, we’re still sinking too much in that breaking phase in that midstance region because it's jacked full of cushioning. 

If you’re the type of runner that likes to vary their speeds, I’ll jump into the next shoe. 

Gel Cumulus 20

If you’re a runner that likes to go for slower runs then change it up two days later and go for a quicker run, I can’t speak highly enough of the Gel Cumulus. 

It has a considerable amount of cushioning underneath the foot, but it also has FlyteFoam and a FlyteFoam Propel layering as well. You’re getting a combination of impact cushioning for your longer, slower consistent runs. I’m leaning towards that 5:30 minute and up kilometre split. 

That’s a considerable amount of foot contact time with the ground because the slower you run the more time your foot stays in contact with the ground. 

You need a little bit of cushioning impact guidance underneath the foot to take the stress off the whole foot, including your navicular region, metatarsals and plantar fascia fibre. You don’t want to put it under stress when you’re running those longer, slower speeds.

However, if you wake up two days later and you want to go for a quicker more tempo style run, the Cumulus 20 is a great option. 

It’s got that FlyteFoam Propel layering on top which is a more responsive layer of the FlyteFoam family, so you can get that energy return when you’re going through midstance which is called the breaking category, right through to toe-off. 

The FlyteFoam Propel will kick you through that midstance region a little bit quicker than traditional FlyteFoam which the Nimbus has. 

What this little guy does have as well is a full contact area. No, we’re not talking Trusstic System as you can see with the Nimbus on the medial and lateral side. That is essentially designed to hold that shoe in a good position for that foot through midstance phase.

The Cumulus doesn’t have it. It has got a full contact area, no matter whether you’re heel striking or hitting midfoot-forefoot. 

Having plush contact with the ground is great with the Cumulus 20. I’m a big fan of the Cumulus 20, I like what Asics are doing with that shoe. 

Gel Pursue 4

Let’s move along to the runner that’s potentially not going to drop anywhere below that 5:00 minute km split, so really turning the legs over quite quickly. We’re talking about plenty of energy return inside their running game. 

We have the Gel Pursue. This little guy looks pretty similar to the GT-2000 from Asics, and the reason being it’s because it is a GT-2000 version 6, without the DuoMax support in the medial side. 

It’s a clever move by Asics, they kept the engineering of globally one of their more popular shoes, the GT-2000 and they just rolled it over and said “Hey, if you’re a neutral foot type, you can now run in this little guy”. 

Same thing with the 2000 and the Pursue, it’s for a runner that likes to stay on top of the ground. It’s a nice responsive feel underneath the foot. 

It has the same flex grooves underneath that you get out of the GT-2000. You’ve got the Trusstic beam which is going to give the shoe plenty of support through that braking phase or midstance phase. However, the layering of the FlyteFoam midsole is going to give this shoe a bit more response. 

If you’re talking about softness rating out of the three shoes, we’re going to go Nimbus, Cumulus and then Pursue. 

I’m not saying the Pursue is rock-hard underneath the foot, it's just the more responsive shoe so you’re going to get that energy turn and that kick back through that gait cycle as you go through to toe-off phase. 

As we’re talking about this shoe, I do like it. It’s a nice deep solid heel counter at the back. If you’re talking about a runner that’s going to be a little quicker, you want quite a structured heel counter through the back. 

The internal heel counter is nice and stable and will hold the calcaneus in a great position. We don’t want it to move too much at all, especially when heel striking or even when midfoot striking you don’t want any movement towards the back of the ankle. 

The calcaneus plays a critical role in holding that foot from the platform to then take you through your vertical and skeletal setup. 

This calcaneus shouldn’t be moving at all through any part of your strike zone, whether heel striking or midfoot striking. You need it to be nice and stable, and that’s why brands make solid heel counters. The Gel Pursue has that. 

Widths

The cool thing with Asics is they do offer a variety of widths in their key running shoes. The Nimbus, the Cumulus and the Pursue do come in a variety of widths. 

Just because you happen to be wider or narrower, doesn’t mean you should be hemmed by a footwear option. Asics and other brands do that quite well, but Asics especially. 

Stack Height

What I’d like to do now is talk about the stack heights in all three shoes. The only difference is the women’s Nimbus, with a 13mm heel-to-toe gradient.  The men’s however is a 10mm heel-to-toe drop. 

In the men’s and women’s Gel Pursue we have a 10mm heel-to-toe gradient and the same thing with the Gel Cumulus 20 for both genders. The only difference here being the women’s Nimbus which is a 13mm stack height.  


There we have it guys, the Gel Nimbus 20, Gel Cumulus 20 and the Gel Pursue 4. Hopefully that’s given you enough information at home to make this decision as easy as possible. 

As always with all my reviews if you need something clarified contact our Sportitude shoe experts. If you want to subscribe to our YouTube channel, please do so. 

Until next time, happy running. See you down the road.