The ASICS Cumulus 18 marks yet another in a long line of neutral trainer offerings from ASICS. They did not change much from the 17 to the 18, and considering the popularity of the line, they didn’t need to do so.
This trainer offers ample cushioning and durability for the price tag and can be a go-to for many runners. Although not my favorite trainer I’ve tested this year, I can completely understand why other runners continually go back to it.
Asics Gel Cumulus 18 General Info
The Cumulus 18 is the second-tier high-mileage trainer for ASICS, behind the Nimbus. They were designed for a pounding, and can take almost all the miles you can throw at them.
During my testing I put around 100 miles on the pair I was given, and they looked almost like they had the first day they showed up. The tread and upper were still looking almost new, and that is impressive.
When they arrived, I was excited by their look. Just like the 17s, they looked aggressive right out of the box. With the aggressive upturn on the toe, and the lower profile of the upper, they looked ready to go fast from the beginning.
Also, I truly enjoyed the bright green colorway that was sent to me. I am a fan of bright colors and can get sick of the drab regulars — black, gray, blue — so these were refreshing.
Upon my first run, I enjoyed the feel and weight. They were not too soft nor too firm, and they felt fast. The feel on the first run was overall positive.
Asics Gel Cumulus 18 Sole Unit
The sole unit of the 18s has been updated with some new materials, using Convergence GEL® Technology, where ASICS placed the cushioning closer to the foot — hoping to replicate the foot’s natural tissue, and increase shock dissipation. To be honest, this is something I didn’t even notice on my runs.
The rest of the sole unit was largely unchanged, using ASICS technology including their Impact Guidance System®, FluidRide®, Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Cushioning Systems, Guidance Trusstic System®, and the Guidance Line® Midsole.
This combination of technologies allow for a well distributed cushion and a flexible sole that easily pushes you forward with your natural gait.
This combination leads to a shoe that has a more-cushioned-than-not feel throughout the foot impact. This is great for some runners, however, for me it was a little too cushioned on the forefoot for my longer runs.
This shoe will compete directly against the Brooks Ghost, Mizuno Wave Rider and the Saucony Ride. I have only run in the Ghosts from that list, and my overall experience was more positive with the Brooks offering.
This has nothing to do with poor quality of the ASICS, as much as it is a personal preference for firmer forefoot. The construction of the Cumulus is superb and it will last for a long time.
Asics Gel Cumulus 18 Upper Info
The upper was largely left alone, except that ASICS decided to remove overlays on the toebox of the upper. This relieved some of the pressure that I had experienced in last year’s model.
However, the toebox was still where I had the majority of my issues with the shoe. The space allowed for the height of the toe meant that my big toe was constantly poking up into the material of the upper — the one place of construction that showed wear at the end of my trials.
Take away the smaller toebox, and the rest of the upper is of great quality. The mesh is breathable yet not so porous as to let too much water into the shoe.
The shoe laces up nicely and the tongue stays in one place even for runs of 14+ miles. The overall feel of the upper is good, and despite the toebox, it feels great for runs between 5k-15k.
Asics Gel Cumulus 18 Conclusions
The Cumulus is a solid shoe, and one that can easily make it into the rotation for most any runner. With enough cushion for a beginner and yet lightweight enough for a more seasoned runner.
I know that this model is one that some of the best high school runners in my area rock for their training runs, and I can understand why. With that said, for me, the Cumulus was solid, but not amazing.
When compared to high-mileage trainers with similar cushion that I’ve worn this year — Brooks Ghost, Salming Miles, Mizuno Wave Sayonara — these are on the bottom of that list.
With the extra cushion on the forefoot, they started making my toes tingle and fall asleep after 12 miles. On three different runs over 12 miles, I experienced this feeling each time.
The Cumulus is a great shoe, and I can see myself logging more miles on them in the future. However, I personally will keep those runs to the 5-10 mile range.
Unfortunately for me, the Cumulus has too much of the cloud-like feel for my comfort on long runs. But if you want a well cushioned — almost cloud-like — run, take a look at the ASICS Cumulus.
We thank the nice people at Asics for sending us a pair of Gel Cumulus 18 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.