By Kieran Alger
With soft cushioning, knit uppers and plush, padded heel collars, the max-stack ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 is all about bringing comfort to your daily training miles. The Gel Kayano 30 offers similar levels of cushioned comfort but with stability tweaks to offer more support and prevent overpronation. In previous generations, these two shoes were quite different but they now sit much closer together. So which of these same-but-different daily trainers should you choose? Read on to find out in my ASICS Gel Kayano 30 vs ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 review.
Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
Let’s start with the main design details. ASICS lists the Gel Nimbus 25 stack height at 41.5mm in the heel and 33.5mm for an 8mm drop.
The Gel Kayano 30 has a lower stack height with 40mm in the heel and 30mm in the forefoot for a 10mm drop. The Kayano 30’s midsole stack also now has 4mm extra over the Kayano 29.
When it comes to weight, in our US test size 9.5, the Nimbus weighs in at 10.4 oz or 295g. The Kayano 30 tips the scales at a slightly heavier 10.8oz or 307g.
On price, both the ASICS Gel Kayano and the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 are $160. That’s a shade cheaper than max-cushioned daily rivals like the New Balance 1080v13 ($165) and a chunk more wallet friendly than the Nike Invincible 3 ($180).
Easy miles / daily training
Easy miles / daily training
10.4 oz / 295g
10.8oz / 307g
True to size
True to size
Put them side by side and these two shoes now carry much of the same overall design DNA with the Kayano moving closer to the Nimbus.
Starting with the midsole, the Nimbus 25 and the Kayano 30 both use the same combination of super soft FlyteFoam Blast Plus Eco foam and PureGEL technology – very springy, rebounding material incorporated into the midsole – to create soft, cushioned landings with maximum impact absorption.
Where the shoes really differ is that Kayano 30 features ASICS’ 4D Guidance System, a combination of elements designed to support the foot each time it hits the ground for better stability.
This stability system components include an increased heel bevel, a sculpted midsole, and extra medial foam to guide your foot on landing. The medial post is now much smaller than on previous generations.
Up top, both shoes feature dense but quite pliable engineered stretch knit uppers and gusseted tongues. The Nimbus’ stretchy knit tongue is much less padded than the Kayano. The heel collars on both shoes are highly padded and the Kayano’s is slightly narrower and pinched, to boost that heel hold security.
Flip the shoes over, they both have generous coverings of ASICS AHAR+ rubber to provide the grip and durability. The Nimbus 25 has one main forefoot panel and two patches to protect the heels. The Kayano’s features more grooves to bring more flexibility.
I ran true to size in my regular running shoe size in both shoes. The fit is very similar with good room in the toe and reliable hold across the midfoot. The narrower heel of the Kayano 30 offers a shade more tightness and security on the heel while the thinner tongue makes the Nimbus 25 fit a bit more wrapped – and I think marginally more comfortable. But I’d recommend going true to size in both shoes.
In testing, I ran more than 30 miles in each of these shoes. That was mostly at my easier pace but I put in some faster efforts to test the versatility. I ran the majority of those miles on the road but also covered some light off-road park paths and river trails to test the stability elements of the Kayano 30. I also did a side-by-side mile with one shoe on each foot to get a better sense of the differences.
When you wear them side by side, it’s notable how similar they feel. The Kayano is now much closer to its stablemate in terms of overall feel on the foot, the landings, roll through and response.
If you’re new to the Kayano and Nimbus, these are both big, soft, plush shoes that prioritise easy comfort, particularly at the slower paces. Neither are as responsive or snappy as some of the range-topping super daily trainers we’ve started to see and if you’re looking for a shoe with slow-to-all-out range, there are better options. If you’re after guaranteed easy-cruising comfort, you’re in the right place.
I found the stability elements of the Kayano 30 were quite subtle. But that’s a good thing. The best stability shoes should feel natural and unintrusive. It almost feels like ASICS has made a stable Nimbus and called it a Kayano. I’m not generally a support shoe wearer and I could happily clip along in the Kayano.
There are differences to the underfoot feel though. The Nimbus 25 offers more softness and a marginally smoother ride. I found the Kayano 30’s landings just a touch firmer and the transitions marginally less efficient. You notice that most over longer distances and longer time on feet.
When it comes to big mileage, both of the shoes are built to last, too. You’ve got resilient foams, strong uppers and all-round durability. From my early tests I’d expect to easily get big mileage without any trouble.
Provided you enjoy bulkier shoes, the Nimbus 25 and the Kayano 30 shoes are both capable, cushioned, protective options that perform well for slower daily miles and recovery runs.
The design tweaks bring the Kayano 30 much closer to the Nimbus 25 and the shoe you choose basically comes down to whether you need stability or not.
If you need stability, the Kayano 30 is the shoe for you. If you’re ok in a neutral shoe, for me, the Nimbus 25 is the better shoe overall. The ride is somewhat smoother, I get more response and a touch more overall agility.
Finally, if you’ve been a Nimbus user in the past but have always wanted a Nimbus ride with a little more stability, the Kayano 30 now offers that but with those added protections.
For good stability alternatives to the Kayano 30, it’s worth looking at the Saucony Tempus and the Brooks Glycerin GTS. If you don’t need stability and you’re looking for Nimbus 25 alternatives, the Brooks Ghost Max is a very similar shoe that performs well and is worth a look. The new Saucony Ride 17 is another daily trainer that delivers soft protective landings but maybe has a touch more faster-pace capability.