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Asics Gel-Nimbus 21: The best shoe for a marathon

May 10, 2019 13:30 IST

Its shock absorption, comfort over long distance and high stability are top-notch, says Veer Arjun Singh.

IMAGE: Asics is known for its reliable running pairs across the world. Photograph: Kind Courtesy asics.com
 

Asics has built its reputation over a long distance.

The Japanese brand has been a pioneer in sports science ever since it launched its first marathon shoe under Onitsuka in 1953.

But not just distance, Asics is appreciated across world for consistently delivering reliable running pairs at all price points, such as the Roadhawk FF (Rs 5,599), the Gel-Cumulus 20 (Rs 8,999), the Gel-Nimbus 21 (Rs 13,999) -- that I put to test -- and the Gel-Kayano 25 (Rs 14,999).

All of them ride on the success of Asics' FlyteFoam midsole (the FF in Roadhawk), with the more expensive pairs getting Gel cushioning for greater impact absorption.

IMAGE: The thick padding on the tongue and collar is comfortable and the premium laces and eyelets keep the pressure off the foot.

Performance (4.5/5)

The Gel is injected in both rear and fore for a fluid flex of the foot.

And combined with a triumvirate of FlyteFoam Lyte (for lightweight cushioning), FlyteFoam Propel (for high-energy return) and Fluidride (for extra stability and comfort) in the midsole, the Nimbus 21 instantly feels like a well-cushioned and responsive shoe.

The durability test would reveal how it feels over long distances.

The shine of a new pair is a great motivator.

After a celebratory slacking of almost two weeks, I took the Nimbus 21 out for more consistent, alternate-day 5 km runs.

The OrthoLite sock liner of the shoe felt plush, without causing excessive sweating.

It's also because of the extremely breathable two-layer upper mesh.

The thick padding on the tongue and collar is comfortable and the premium laces and eyelets keep the pressure off the foot.

While pounding the streets, the midsole cushioning, especially at the heel, was almost surprising.

The ride was stable with just the right amount of bounce for runners who like to feel the terrain, also thanks to the full-contact rubber outsole that grips the ground well.

IMAGE: The overall build of the shoe is comfortably old-school.

Design (3.5/5)

The overall build of the shoe is comfortably old-school.

The black base gets jazzier with the red midsole and laces, and gold accents throughout the upper.

It's a practical colour scheme for running shoes that are not meant to be hidden away in a box.

Also, it's got a wide and high toe box, which, contrary to the claims of a few respected runners, is perfect for my wide feet.

Overall (4/5)

The faster I ran, the more I realised that the Gel-Nimbus 21 perhaps does not deliver the highest energy return, but its shock absorption, comfort over long distance and high stability are top-notch.

It will be my top pick when I graduate to a half-marathon.

Arjun Singh
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