Asics is a popular brand for runners and is actually one of the only current shoe manufacturers that operates out of Japan while selling to the United States.
The footwear was an international hit following the company’s foundation in 1949, in the aftermath of World War II, and rapidly began to appear in the Olympics and other sports competitions.
Because Asics designs both the Gel Nimbus and Gel Kayano, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two styles at a glance.
The Kayano is Asics' most popular neutral running shoe, while the Nimbus is its most popular stability model. They both have a soft, cushioned stride, but differ in how they manage the runner's gait.
Asics Nimbus vs. Kayano
What Makes a Good Running Shoe?
Shoes may not be one size fits all, but there are actually certain features that do affect whether or not footwear is good for running, walking, and other physical activity.
For example, the standard women’s high heels are a poor choice not only for running, but also for general movement because they stretch and compress the muscles in unnatural ways.
Most shoes designed for comfort, like loafers, are a bit better, but have the issue of being too flat.
For running, there are three categories that are important, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM): weight, slope, and the presence of extra features.
The weight of the shoe refers to how heavy each individual shoe is, while the slope is the difference between the height of the heel and that of the toe.
The presence of extra features simple asks whether or not the shoes have a ton of additional characteristics such as spikes, cushioning, and padding.
The rules of the ACSM can be summed up as follows:
- Each shoe in a pair of footwear should weigh no more than 8-10 oz.
- There should be little to no slope in the shoe
- Extra features should help control posture, not hinder it
The goal of the ideal shoe is to work with the body’s natural posture and pronation without over correcting or ignoring entirely.
Posture refers to how someone stands, while pronation is that natural curve of the ankle and foot when moving.
Some people pronate too much, which Medical News Today describes as when the ankle rolls in too much when stepping, which causes individuals to lose balance and damage their muscles.
Someone who under pronates is someone who doesn’t roll enough – duck footed and flat footed often describe these unusual steps.
If someone has a condition like these, then the ideal running shoe will be one which helps correct them.
Running with Arches
The arch of the foot is the slight curve that people can see at the bottom of their feet.
Is it created by the curve of the bones that form the entire foot, and is then coated with muscle.
The purpose of the arch is to develop space for soft tissue, which can be used to spread the pressure and strain of running or walking evenly across the foot.
People often hear they have high, normal, or low arches. This refers to how acute the curve of the arch is.
Someone with high or low arches is more prone to developing joint pain and injuring themselves when running, making it essential to choose a shoe that has extra protection for the foot.
Physiopedia mentions there are technically three arches in the foot, but don’t be confused – a person can only have one arch diagnosis at a time.
Asics Gel Nimbus Overview
The Asics Nimbus is one of the many lines of shoes released by the manufacturer in recent years.
Overall, these pairs of footwear are characterized by their somewhat tall heels, average slopes, and low weights - a neutral running shoe.
The top slope of the shoes has a surprisingly flat appearance, while the region around the ankle sits high.
There are numerous shoes in the Nimbus brand line, meaning there were several different options to check and compare to get an overall idea of the Nimbus line as a whole.
Every shoe was considered except for the discontinued Asics Gel Nimbus 21, which was pulled from markets because of its poor reviews and tendency to shed its heel after short periods of use.
Since then, Asics has adjusted and rolled out the 22 and Nimbus 23 versions
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System - Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
- Trusstic System technology - Reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity of the shoe.
The Asics Nimbus models tend to have moderate arch support as well as a small slope of only 10 mm, making them comfortable while putting less stress on the muscles and tendons in the foot.
On average, each male shoes weighs 10.5 oz. while the female shoes are 8.5 oz.
Almost all of the Asics Gel Nimbus models use a gel cushioning system, which helps absorb the shock of the foot’s impact while running.
There is an excellent mid-foot support system embedded in these models, and many runners find that the upper mesh on most models is great at keeping the foot cool and dry, even during long distance running.
- Engineered Mesh Upper: Multi-directional mesh material improves ventilation and stability.
- Engineered mesh upper improves breathability:
There are a couple of common characteristics that can also be uncomfortable for some runners and athletes, including the presence of a sometimes tight toe box.
The toe box is the section of the shoe which wraps around the balls of the feet and the toes themselves.
However, the Nimbus line is comfortable overall and tends to cost around $70-$125 for a single pair of shoes.
Asics Gel Kayano Overview
Similar to the Nimbus, the Asics Kayano is another line of running footwear released by Asics and encompassing multiple models that all share similar features. The Asics Gel Kayano is a stability shoe.
Read about the differences between Stability & Neutral shoes here.
After a careful review of the footwear in this line, several averages emerged that provide a good baseline of what individuals can expect when wearing one of these shoes.
All of the models were included in the review because none of the Asics Gel Kayano line have been discontinued, although some did receive a mixed response upon release.
One of the most common trends in the Kayano running shoe line is extra arch support and more stability around the middle of the shoe, which is beneficial for runners with high or low arches.
- SpevaFoam 45 Lasting - Employs 45 degree full length SpevaFoam 45 lasting material for a soft platform feel and improved comfort.
- I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology - ASICS design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance the foot's natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
The Kayano shoe stability is also good for athletes who pronate too much or too little, making the Kayano models excellent for someone who has joint issues or runs duck footed.
The Asics Kayano have a medium slope to the shoes of 10-13 mm, with men’s shoes having a smaller slope than women’s.
There isn’t a legitimate reason to explain the difference beyond design choices.
The shoes are also on the heavier end, weighing an average of 11.9 oz. for men and 9.8 oz. for women.
Each Asics shoe has a gel cushioning support system to absorb impact while running.
The Kayano have a decently roomy toe box and some mid-foot support, making them excellent for individuals who like stability.
The Kayano shoes are versatile and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. They are available in numerous colors.
The biggest downside with the Asics Gel Kayano is that they are heavy and stiff, with many runners noting that their feet blister and chafe more than usual when wearing these shoes.
- Trusstic System technology: Reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity of the shoe.
- Engineered Mesh Upper: Multi-directional mesh material improves ventilation and stability.
Asics Nimbus vs Kayano - A Brief Comparison
In general, these two shoes are very similar, but one key difference: the Asics Gel Nimbus is a neutral shoe, while the Gel Kayano is a stability shoe. For runners, this means the Gel Nimbus can be worn by runners who neutral foot, while the Gel Kayano is specifically designed for runners who overpronate or need extra support for their feet.
The similarities and differences between the Asics Nimbus and Kayano lines can be seen in the chart below.
One can automatically see that there are a couple of similarities between the Nimbus and Kayano lines.
The most significant are the use of the patented Asics gel system, the moderate arch support, and the moderate mid support.
These are understandable characteristics to have in common, since the shoes need to be marketable to a broad audience and most people do not need special arch and mid support.
The biggest differences are in the fit and weight. Nimbus shoes are definitely more flexible but also wrap closer to the foot, while Kayano footwear is stiffer, wider, and roomier.
With this in mind, the better shoe for regular or daily runners who don’t need extra support is definitely the footwear from the Nimbus line.
They bend and move with the feet and also have a small slope and low weight, making them ideal for someone who is always on the go.
While which shoes a runner will enjoy depends largely on preferences, the Nimbus footwear line is inexpensive, includes mesh, and fits closely to the feet without being stiff or sacrificing cushioning or quality.
The Kayano line still contains good shoes, but the stiffness and heaviness is not ideal for runners who will be wearing the shoes for hours every week.
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Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API