By Kieran Alger
If the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 is all about delivering big, plush cushioned comfort to your daily training miles – particularly at the easier end, then the Gel Kayano 30 is all about similar levels of road protection but with added stability features to provide extra support and prevent overpronation.
Past iterations of these, two popular ASICS running shoes offered quite different rides but they’re now much more similar. So which are the best cushioned daily trainers and which might suit your running best? Read on to find out in my ASICS Gel Kayano 30 vs ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 review.
Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
First up the key details. The Gel Kayano 30 stack height comes in at 40mm in the heel and 30mm in the forefoot for a 10mm drop. That’s 4mm extra compared to the the Kayano 29.
The Gel Nimbus 26 packs 41.5mm in the heel and 33.5mm for a larger stack but a lower 8mm drop.
When it comes to weight, in our US test size 9.5, the Nimbus 26 weighs in at 11.1oz or 314g. The Kayano 30 tips the scales at a slightly lighter 10.8oz or 307g.
On price, both the ASICS Gel Kayano and the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 are $160. That’s notably more budget friendly than the Nike Invincible 3 ($180) and a shade cheaper than max-cushioned daily rivals like the New Balance 1080v13 ($165).
Easy miles /
Easy miles /
11.1oz / 314g
10.8oz / 307g
Suggested Retail Price
True to size
True to size
Now, not much has changed between the Nimbus 25 and the Nimbus 26 and there’s a good argument to fish for deals on the Nimbus 25. In which case you’ll definitely find our Nimbus 25 vs Kayano 30 head to head useful.
Like we said in that review, if you put the Nimbus 26 and the Kayano 30 side by side and there’s a lot of the same design DNA. The Kayano is now much closer to the Nimbus. You could even think of it as a more stable Nimbus.
The Nimbus 26 and the Kayano 30 both use the same combination of super soft FlyteFoam Blast Plus Eco foam and PureGEL technology in the midsole. The PureGel inserts add some springy, rebounding material at the heel to create soft, cushioned landings and absorb maximum impact.
One major difference here: the Kayano 30 has less midsole foam underfoot. Generally speaking, the bigger the stack the less stable the ride. So that makes sense.
The Kayano 30 also features ASICS’ 4D Guidance System, a combination of elements designed to support the foot each time it hits the ground for better stability. This includes a more pronounced heel bevel, a sculpted midsole, and additional medial foam that guides your foot on landing.
Up top, both shoes feature dense but quite pliable uppers and gusseted tongues. The Nimbus 26 has new updated, engineered stretch knit uppers, the same big padded heel collars and stretchy, knitted tongues. There’s also an update to lace eyelets with more robust design that ASICS says should create a more supportive midfoot hold. They ought to be more durable too.
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, and the Kayano has a generous covering of ASICS AHAR+ rubber to provide grip and durability. The Nimbus 26 now has a combination of AHAR+ and ASICSGrip to fix one of the main gripes about the Nimbus 25, the lack of grip.
I ran true to size in my regular running shoe size in both shoes. The fit is very similar with some room in the toe and reliable hold across the midfoot in both shoes.
If there’s one slight difference, it’s that the narrower heel of the Kayano 30 offers a shade more tightness and security. While the Nimbus 26 tongue makes the 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 35 miles in each of these shoes. That was mostly easier, low and slow but I logged some faster efforts to test the pace range versatility. My test miles were mainly on asphalt but I threw in some light off-road park paths and river trails to test the Kayano 30’s stability. 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 surprising how similar the ride is. For feel on the foot, the landings, roll through and response, the Kayano is now much closer to its stablemate.
These are both big, soft, plush shoes that prioritise easy comfort, particularly at slower paces. Neither shoe offers the responsive or snappy ride that you’ll find on range-topping rival super daily trainers and if you want running shoes that offer slow-to-all-out range, there are better options. However, if your priority is guaranteed easy-cruising comfort, they both offer that big time.
The stability elements of the Kayano 30 are quite subtle. But I think that’s a good thing. The best stability shoes should feel natural and unintrusive. I’m not generally a support shoe wearer but I could happily clip along in the Kayano 30 that almost feels like a more stable Nimbus.
There are differences to the ride though. The Nimbus 26 is softer with a marginally smoother ride. I found the Kayano 30’s landed firmer with marginally less efficient transitions. That’s not so apparently on shorter runs but becomes more pronounced over longer distances and longer time on feet.
When it comes to durability, both shoes are built to handle big miles with resilient foams, strong uppers and all-round robustness.
If you get along with bulkier shoes, the Nimbus 26 and the Kayano 30 shoes both offer cushioned, protective rides geared towards slower daily miles, long run comfort and easier recovery runs.
The design tweaks bring the Kayano 30 much closer to the Nimbus and with only minor upgrades to the latter, which shoe you choose basically comes down to whether or not you need stability.
If you do, the Kayano 30 is the shoe for you. If you run in neutral shoes, the Nimbus 26 is the better option. It’s also a better shoe overall with a somewhat smoother ride, more response and more overall agility.
If you’ve used the Nimbus and found yourself wanting a similar ride just with some added stability, the Kayano 30 now fits that bill.