Asics Gel Cumulus 15 Review
The Gel Cumulus is Asics’s go to neutral trainer. The Cumulus is a very popular shoe—now in its 15th iteration—but this is my first experience with the Cumulus.
I had the opportunity to review the Cumulus’s big brother, the Gel Nimbus 14 (and I am currently testing the Gel Nimbus 15), so I am excited to compare the two shoes.
Asics Gel Cumulus 15 First Impressions
An immediate difference between the Cumulus and the Nimbus is the upper. The Nimbus 14 has generous amounts of memory foam embedded throughout the upper, which gave it a very luxurious feel. The Cumulus, on the other hand, while has some memory foam, has a more minimal upper. In fact, when I hold it up to the sunlight, I can see light shining through the airy mesh upper. This reduced upper makes the Cumulus 15 breathable and a deceptively light feel.
The Cumulus has a very flexible forefoot. Side-to-side it has some inherent stability. But I don’t think there is enough inherent stability for even a moderate overpronator. The Cumulus 15 is definitely for the runner with a neutral gait. The heel counter is stiff, which should lock the foot down.
The Cumulus 15 felt a little short in the toe box. I feel if the shoe were a half size larger, it would fit much better. Definitely try them on first, if possible. (FYI, both the Nimbus 14 and 15 feel true to size.)
Asics Gel Cumulus 15 Sole Unit
The Cumulus 15 has plenty of Asics patented Gel in the midsole in high-impact areas, such as, the first metatarsal and the lateral heel. The Gel is very soft, and gives the Cumulus a squishy feel on impact. If your preference is for a firmer, more responsive shoe, then the Cumulus may not be to your taste, or at least be an acquired taste.
As soft as the midsole is, when I did a side-by-side comparison with the Cumulus 15 and the Nimbus, the amount of Gel in the Nimbus was noticeable. I would definitely not describe the amount of cushion in the Cumulus as lacking—it’s more a statement about how much Gel there is in the Nimbus. The Cumulus definitely still has enough cushioning for everyday training. In fact, I felt the amount of Gel in the Cumulus struck a great balance between impact-protection and ride-quality. Because of its flexibility, the Cumulus had a nice, smooth transition toe-to-heel.
The outsole pattern is very similar to the Nimbus. There are a couple of fairly substantial flex grooves in the forefoot, and a very pronounced “guidance line” running from toe-to-heel. We received some comments from users that this same outsole pattern in the Nimbus caused some hotspots. It seems that the amount of flex that this particular outsole pattern has can cause a runner with a flexible foot to overflex through the gait cycle. These grooves are quite substantial, so it is also possible that they sit in an area of a runner’s foot that isn’t meant to flex, which could also result in a hot spot.
If this was a problem for you with the Nimbus, then I fear you may experience the same problem in the Cumulus 15. However, if you have a more rigid foot or this particular pattern worked well for you, then you may enjoy the ride-quality of the Cumulus 15.
Asics Gel Cumulus 15 Upper
Unlike its big brother, the Nimbus, the Cumulus 15 has a fairly minimal upper. The upper is quite thin, and light. It is also a fairly airy mesh, which gave it great breathability.
If a luxurious upper is not a priority for you, then you will appreciate the functionality of the upper on the Cumulus 15. The shoe overall weighs the same as the previous model, but the upper makes it feel lighter on the run.
Asics Gel Cumulus 15 Opinion
The Cumulus is what a neutral everyday trainer should be. It provides plenty of impact protection. It is flexible, and for the right foot, it has a smooth and fast transition toe-to-heel.
It has a very functional upper that is both light and breathable. If you are a runner who uses one shoe for training as well as racing, the Cumulus 15 is versatile enough to have you covered. The only downside I can see is that the particular outsole pattern may not work for some feet.
But for most neutral runners, who appreciate big, soft cushion, the Cumulus 15 will be a fantastic shoe.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of Gel Cumulus 15 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.