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Different Than Previous Nimbus Models, But Also Better
on March 29, 2010
The Nimbus 12 is new for 2010 and is a worth successor to the excellent Nimbus 11. If you are a neutral runner (with maybe slightly higher arches) that optimizes for comfort over distance ahead of absolute speed this is a good shoe for you or at least a good shoe for you to train in to avoid injuries.
The Nimbus line is one of Asics franchise shoes; it is at the higher end of cost and purpose made for running. Note that there is little lateral support, so if you are cross-training in other sports you may need another pair of shoes. The Nimbus is particularly well suited for high-mileage runners (those running 25 miles or more a week) and those with a "neutral" gate and slightly higher arches - there is greater cushioning for the arches.
For background, I am 6'1", 175, and run three to six miles several days a week - 2/3rds of the time on a treadmill and 1/3 of the time outside. Some seasons I kick up the miles for a marathon, but in general running is part of a cross training program. I have traditionally, oscillated between New Balance and Asics, but tend to favor Asics (in part because the numbering system used by New Balance makes it more challenging to find the same types of shoes from year to year). The Nimbus 12s are probably my 5th or 6th iteration with the Nimbus line.
When you first see these in person you will notice two changes from previous versions:
1. more flash
2. an asymmetrical lacing pattern
The toe caps and portions of the shoe are shiny and look jazzier (to some maybe more expensive) than previous versions. The asymmetrical lacing pattern means that the laces follow an angle from the front of the shoe to the back, rather than the traditional parallel line (along the middle) from front to back. In theory this is to follow the contour of your foot more closely for comfort. Personally, I cannot feel a real difference, but I don't cinch my laces very tightly either, and the tongue of the shoe tends to provide enough cushion from the laces. Would rate this as much marketing as a value add feature.
The real difference from earlier versions is evident when you put them on. Instead of your foot sitting on a traditional wedge of foam, your heel actually sinks lower into the footbed of the shoe. At first they feel almost a little big, like you are wearing a low top shoe that comes up to your ankle and is also one size too large. But your foot also feels like you just slid into a well fitted shoe - strange paradox that is a little disorienting...until you go for a run.
Running is where these really stand out. If you are looking for cushioning, these are the softest version of the Nimbus yet. Running on a treadmill or anything short of hard cement and you will feel like you are running on soft earth. Not so soft that you feel like you are running on sand, but soft earth - like a well kept grass soccer field. The clunky feeling that you felt in first trying them on disappears and they feel great. You can run many miles and your feet still feel good. On the flip side, if you feel that the cushioning robs you of energy, then would suggest another shoe.
Two asides: (1) if you are new to Asics, most people order one size larger than their street shoe - ie, if you where a 10 in regular shoes, you may need and 11 and (2) maybe in the minority on this, but I continue to be bothered that the stock insoles on the Nimbus are pathetic. For a shoe you are investing more than $120 in, the insoles are barely better than cardboard. But almost all running shoes suffer from this issue, so I am not deducting a star for this.
In summary, if you like the Asics feel, these are significantly different from previous iterations externally and internally, but an excellent shoe overall.
Hope this review helps you.