By Kieran Alger
If you’re looking for a big cushioned daily trainer for your everyday miles, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 and the New Balance 1080v13 are likely to be somewhere on your list. These two plush, soft, high-stacked road eaters offer comfort and protection by the bucketload. But which one is the best? We’ve put in the miles to test and compare and we’re here to help you choose. Read my ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 vs New Balance 1080v13 review to find out which shoe is the right daily trainer for your running needs.
Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
When it comes to midsole volume, the new ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 is as max stack as daily trainers come with 42mm in the heel and 34mm in the forefoot for an 8mm drop.
The New Balance 1080v13 has a smaller stack and a lower drop, with 38mm in the heel and 32mm in the forefoot for a 4mm heel-to-toe offset.
As you might expect with that bigger midsole, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 is a chunk heavier at 11.1oz or 314g, while the New Balance 1080v13 tips the scales at 9.2oz or 260g in my UK men’s size 8.5.
The US price for the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 remains the same as its predecessor at $160. That’s just marginally cheaper than the New Balance 1080v13 which will set you back $165. That puts both shoes around the middle of the daily trainer shelves on price.
Easy miles / daily training
Easy miles / daily training
11.1oz / 314g
9.2oz / 260g
Suggested Retail Price
True to size
True to size
Both shoes have been recently updated but the biggest changes came to New Balance’s big cushioned daily trainer that saw a new midsole and uppers.
The ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 midsole remains largely the same as the Nimbus 25, with a big, wide stack of FliteFoam Blast+ ECO foam that’s made with 20% bio-based content. It’s tuned medium soft to soft with a bit of rebound.
There’s the familiar PUREGel heel insert – a section of very springy, rebounding material incorporated into the midsole – to create soft, cushioned landings with maximum impact absorption. You also get a rockered midsole geometry that aims to smooth transitions.
The New Balance 1080v13 saw some pretty big updates. It now has a bigger midsole stack of new lighter Fresh Foam X, with a lower drop, an updated rocker shape, some extra forefoot stiffness and a decent drop in weight.
The midsole platforms for the Nimbus 26 and the 1080v13 are quite similar in width but the Nimbus is a noticeably longer shoe.
Up top the Nimbus 26 features new engineered stretch knit uppers, the same big padded heel collars and stretchy, knitted and gusseted 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 New Balance 1080v13 also has engineered mesh uppers that offer a wrapped fit overall. The heel collars and the gusseted tongues are generously padded for boosted plushness and good step-in comfort. Delivering that luxe on-foot feel and comfort that rivals the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26
Flip them over and the Nimbus 26’s changed outsole now has a hybrid of ASICSGrip and AHAR rubber. The coverage is about the same as the previous gen but there’s now little studs to provide better grip
The New Balance 1080v13 has a generous outsole covering of New Balances’s Ndurance rubber for boosted grip and durability.
In testing I ran in my regular UK 8.5 running shoe size in both shoes. That’s a 9.5 US in the ASIC S but a US 9 in the New Balance 1080v13.
The fit for me in the Nimbus 26 was good with the plush step-in comfort you expect. The padded collars offer good heel security while the thick tongues ramp up the comfort. The uppers wrap snugly but there’s plenty of room in the toe box and enough flex to feel spacious. I got decent lace lock down across the midfoot, too.
For the New Balance I also found the fit spot on with good step in comfort, good heel hold and decent lace lock down across the midfoot. Like the Nimbus, the padded tongue helps avoid any potential lace pinch. There’s ample room in the toe box for both length and across the top of the toes.
So I’d recommend going true to size in both shoes.
In testing, I covered more than 30 miles in both shoes. That was mostly easy plodding with some runs up to 90 minutes on feet across a mix of road and light off-road river paths.
I found them both good for easy efforts where you just want reliable protection and all round plushness on the foot. I also did a side-by-side mile with one shoe on each foot to get a better sense of the differences.
Both of these super soft, super plush, super cushioned shoes deliver a very similar ride and on-the-foot feel. With oodles of comfort in terms of the way they hold and wrap the foot.
The main difference I notice is that the 1080V13 feels a little bit more natural on the foot. They feel lighter, they're a bit smaller, a bit more compact, and I think that helps with the roll through. They’re a shade more precise with extra agility but on balance the midsole is a little less energetic than the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26.
It runs a little softer and ever so slightly more sluggish. But if you want a shoe that delivers good cushioned protection that makes the impact of the road disappear, it’s still a shoe that does that really well.
In terms of performance and ride, they're offering much the same deal: good comfort over easy miles. But the NB1080 just edges it for me, due to that compactness and lightness. That said, if you like a bigger pillowy platform, maybe go for the Nimbus 26.
I found choosing between the Nimbus 25 and the New Balance 1080v13 a tough call and it’s largely the same deal here.
Based on my tests, I found the ride of these shoes to be incredibly similar. Both shoes are great, easy day shoes, ideal for recovery runs and those happy head-up excursions where you’re running for the joy of moving rather than to hit fast splits.
As easy-day recovery shoes go, I think they’re pretty well matched in all the key areas, with all the characteristics you’d look for in a max cushioned comfort shoe.
The step-in comfort is about even and they both deliver good cushioned protection that makes the road disappear. If anything I’d say the Nimbus 26 are a shade more responsive with a touch of extra return from the midsole. The rocker clips you through a little quicker, too. But it’s margins.
However, I think that slappy outsole on the Nimbus 26 eats into the smoothness of the ride and I think weighing things up on the ratio of performance to price, and that all important value, I don’t really see much reason to spend the extra on the Nimbus 26. I’d even recommend buying the Nimbus 25 over the Nimbus 26.
But choosing between these two capable, big-cushioned running shoes, although I’ve scored the Nimbus higher, based on value, I’d go for the New Balance 1080 v13. Partly because it’s a bit cheaper, partly because it just feels a little more natural.