When I first got my new Cumulus 10s, I really thought that the changes from version 9 were merely cosmetic. After all, while they felt firmer and more supportive, that’s pretty much what you’d expect, comparatively speaking, when your other running shoes have 200 and 400 miles respectively on the clock.
But after reaching the 250 mile mark in my Cumulus 10s, I’m no longer sure that I was right about changes being cosmetic, as these still feel like a firmer ride than my Cumulus 9s which have only a few miles more on them.
Just to generalise for a moment, the Gel Cumulus is a shoe for neutral runners, and while it isn’t quite as cushioned as the Gel Nimbus, it’s still designed for high mileage runners who need a fair degree of cushioning. At least, that’s been the case with the Cumulus from versions 5 through to 9, which shows how many years I’ve been wearing them.
Now, as someone with fairly slim feet, I’ve always been able to get a perfect fit out of the Cumulus right up to version 9, but the version 10 shoe seems designed for bigger, fatter feet than mine, causing me to lace them a little tighter than I’d like in order to get a decent fit.
Looking at some of the web forums, this looks like a popular move with most people, but hasn’t done me any favours, and seems strange when the general fit of the Cumulus hasn’t really changed much in some years. And I’m sure that Asics appreciate as much as anybody that ‘shoe loyalty’ is even more important than ‘brand loyalty’ to running enthusiasts.
On the upside though, the heel cushioning of version 10 seems to be much more ergonomically-shaped, which seems to be reducing the wear I’m putting on them, from the inside anyway.
I’m putting a little more wear on the soles than I’m used to though, so presumably they’ve used a softer sole compound than usual. Again, I’ve spotted complaints about this on web forums, but as the shoes have an average effective life of 4-500 miles from a cushioning point of view, I’m surprised that anyone is bothered what the sole looks like, as the soles really aren’t going to wear out before the cushioning does.
Compared to the Cumulus 9, the Cumulus 10 does actually feel more stable, in fact, very much like my Asics GT-2120s, which are designed to reduce over-pronation. I suppose the question is: if this is now a stability shoe, do I need to get myself to a running store for a full gait analysis again?
Well, it’s about 5 years since I last had this done, so I guess that I really should. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? They tell me I’m now so devoid of knee tissue that I need to wear the Gel Nimbus? Or my local Asics dealer ‘fesses up that the Cumulus 10 is no longer a completely neutral shoe and recommends something that is?
To be honest though, my knees feel happier than ever in the Cumulus 10s, so whether they’re verging towards being a stability shoe or not, I’m still pretty sure that one day, hopefully a long time from now, I’m going to meet the man at the pearly gates, and he’s going to say: “Hey man, is that the New Cumulus MCMXXIVs you’re wearing? Cool!”