Shoe Review: Asics Gel Cumulus 11

cumulus 11The Asics Gel Cumulus is the piece of kit that made me a one shoe runner, in road running terms anyway. I had them recommended to me several years ago, when I think we were on the Cumulus 6, and since then I have largely avoided injury, however many junk miles I manage to rack up every year.

I’ve also spent a large chunk of take-home pay on them, as blokes my size can really only expect 3-400 miles out of these things before they have to be consigned to gardening duties.

And yet, I’ve been waiting for the arrival of the new Gel Cumulus 11s with some anticipation and no small amount of trepidation.

You see, as I posited at some length in earlier posts about the difference between the Cumulus 9 and Cumulus 10 shoes, I’m of the opinion that the Cumulus 10 had some of the qualities of a stability shoe, making it slightly less desirable than previous incarnations right up to the Cumulus 9.

Now, while the 10 is by no means a bad shoe; for my money, and quite a few other people’s too, it wasn’t quite as neutral, flexible and comfortable on the road as the 9. So is this a trend that the 11 is set to continue, or is the new 11 going to be a return to all that’s been great about the Cumulus for many, many years?

First Impressions Out of the Box

cumulus 11 heelWell, at first sight, the 11 looks pretty much like the last five or so incarnations of the Cumulus – and as one of the guys from Asics once admitted to me, Asics trainers don’t sell on the strength of their sexy looks…

There are the usual cosmetic tweaks, but the main point of difference is in the slightly raised and broadened heel area. While this is only slightly wider than previous versions of the Cumulus, the visual impression is of a shoe that’s going to give more stability to the heel strike.

Inside the shoe, the main difference is in the new ‘removable ComforDry sockliner’, which is pretty much just a fancier insole with raised edges to keep it in place within the shoe, or to facilitate removal for drying or replacement purposes.

cumulus 11s ocklinerWhich is no bad thing, as the insoles coming loose when you take them off has been a problem for me with most of my Asics shoes once they’ve got a couple of hundred miles on the clock.

The inner part of the heel also seems to be narrower and more highly cushioned than the 10, which I presume is part of the ‘personal heel fit’ they talk about in the blurb? But hey, the proof of the pudding is always when you hit the road in these things.

So despite it being 28 degrees and completely windless, I put something mellow onto the iPod (But Seriously Folks by Joe Walsh, if you’re interested. A soft rock classic album, with lyrics that are just right for Summer running), set my Garmin 405CX to ‘dawdle’ mode, with clear instructions to keep my heart rate below 160bpm, and headed out to see what the 11s could do.

First Impressions on the Road

Well, my concern with the Cumulus 10s was that they seemed less flexible than previous versions of the Asics Cumulus, with a stiffness to the outer edges that put me in mind of a stability shoe.

However, while it was incredibly hot when I took these things for a spin earlier today, my very first act was to breathe a big sigh of relief, and wipe some totally imaginary sweat from my brow, because after their slight wobble with the Asics Gel Cumulus 10, it soon became clear that with the Cumulus 11, Asics have once again created a completely neutral, cushioned performance shoe that is ideal for the slightly larger plodder like my good self.

My feet felt completely supported, and the whole foot cushioning quickly took my ageing feet, knees and ankles to their happy place, as if I was running across one of those rubber kids’ playgrounds rather than concrete.

They’re not quite like the 8s or 9s though. Leaving aside all the technical stuff about Space Trusstics and the AHAR+ heel (which mean very little to me if I’m honest), these shoes do seem to plant themselves very squarely onto the road, yet without any pretensions to being a control shoe. In fact, quite the reverse. If it makes any sense at all, these just feel super-neutral to run in, but more stable than ever.

They’re also slightly less flexible than the 8s and 9s, but no less comfortable. In fact, I have to say that for me personally, the new Cumulus 11s are as close to perfect as neutral, cushioned running shoes can get.

The Big Self-Important Verdict

I try to keep these reviews as neutral and honest as possible. After all, with an RRP of £84 or thereabouts, I wouldn’t want any fellow runners to buy these on my say-so if they were rubbish.

wholedamnbagThe fact is though, that in my opinion, the Cumulus 11 represents a very welcome return to form for Asics, and one that will be pretty popular with all those of us who have been wearing Cumuluses (Cumulii?) for a number of years. In fact, a quick count up in my shoe diary suggests that I’ve now personally racked up around 10,000 miles in various incarnations of the Cumulus over the years.

Thanks to the Cumulus 11, I’m now starting to consider the possibility that I may be wearing them for the next 10,000 miles too. And so, despite having handed out several 4.5 or 5 Jelly Baby Ratings recently, I’m afraid that 5 Jelly Babies just won’t cut it for the new Cumulus 11s.

I’m astonished, but very, very pleased to say that for the first time ever, and probably the last, the new Asics Gel Cumulus 11s are getting the whole damn bag…

Technical Specification

UPPER:
• Air Mesh
• Synthetic leather
• Modified Kimono tongue
• Personal Heel Fit
• 3M Reflective.

SOLE:
• Impact Guidance System (I.G.S.)
• Solyte midsole
• DuoMax
• Visible Rearfoot GEL
• Visible Forefoot GEL
• Space Trusstic
• AHAR+ heel
• DuraSponge rubber Forefoot.

FEATURES:
• Solyte 45 lasted
• Removable single layer ComforDry sockliner
• Gender specific midfoot design.

WEIGHT:
• 340g.

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18 thoughts on “Shoe Review: Asics Gel Cumulus 11

  1. Thank you very much for this wonderfull review. Just one question.
    The Cumulus 10 had a wider forefoot. Does the Cumulus 11 have the same forefoot, or is it narrower?

    • It’s hard to say really, as my Cumulus 10s have got quite a few miles on them now, and the 11s are still very new. I think that the forefoot is pretty much as wide as on the 10, but I have very slim feet and haven’t had a problem with the 11s – it’s really just a case of tweaking the laces when you first put them on. Hope that helps, and thanks for your comment about the review – it’s much appreciated.

  2. I purchased my Cumulus 11s on Saturday night and ran 16 miles in them yesterday morning. I must say, I agree with all of your sentiments. What a great shoe. I have run in Cumulus since Cumulus 1s and have had experience of all incarnations of the model barring maybe the 5s and 10s. They have always been my favourite shoe. Well done Asics.

    PS They also have the best looks (the red Cumulus 9s were very ugly!)

  3. Hey there, thanks for the deep review. How would you compare these to the Nimbus range?… I am neutral, 75kg and always have the doubt between the two of them. Been runnin’ on Nimbus 10’s the last year, but I am considering the change…

    • Hi Javi, thanks for your comment. It’s a while since I’ve tried the Nimbus, but they’re Asics’ most cushioned shoes, even more so than the Cumulus. I suspect that as you’re fairly light (certainly compared to me) that you’d be fine in the Cumulus, and find them a bit more stable and a bit less springy. It’s all about personal taste at the end of the day though – they’re both great shoes.

  4. Oh – thanks for the review! I wondered why I found my Cumulus 10s a bit firmer, and now I know! Just putting in my annual order for 2 pairs of Cumulus 11’s, and at a bargain price too! :o)

  5. I would just like to say,i have had 2 previous pairs of Cumulus (9&10) and have been in my cumulus 11s for a month or so now.
    If you are a neutral runner then shop about online and pick yourself a pair of these up ( i think i paid £65).These are just so comfy you don’t know you are wearing them!.

  6. I am about to buy my Cumulus-11 but not sure about the size. I had Cumulus-10 size 7 in med width and thought they were kinda narrow for me. Did you buy the same size for your Cumulus-6,7,9, 10 and 11?
    Thank you.

  7. Have just started running again and I have started using Cumulus 9 (purchased 3 years ago – it has taken a while to get started).

    I weigh 87 kg and I wear size 11 in 4E width. Like width at forefoot, whish heel was slightly narrower. Although a very comfortable shoe.

    I am thinking of purchasing second pair of shoes – either Cumulus 12 or Nimbus 12. I have read that if you are over 80Kg should go to Nimbus.

    Have you used either Cumulus 12 or Nimbus 12?

    How does the 12 series fit compared to the 9 series. I have to purchase over internet as in Australia they do not sell 4E width in Cumulus.

    • Well, I’ve got pretty narrow feet, but I think there’s tons of width in the 12, and a very narrow, well-fitted heel. I’m also slightly heavier than you and still wear the Cumulus, though the Nimbus is Asics’ most cushioned shoe, so you can’t really go wrong with that one. Hope it all goes well with getting back into running. Remember to start slow and build up to the big stuff though…

      Best, TJBFS

  8. I am 53 and have been running/jogging now for just under a year, mainly to relieve stress from my job. Not a high miler but can now do 4 miles 3 times a week. I started wearing Asics GT2140’s as a running shop advised me they would be most suitable. Well………….
    ……. When I run with them, I get constant blisters on the instep of my right foot. So much so, I have now started wearing 2 pairs of More Mile anti blister socks but they still give me blisters on the very same spot.
    Today I was in my local JJb sports shop just browsing but think I’ve just picked up the bargain of the century and hopefully banish these pesky blisters. I found in their sale items a brand new pair of Asics Cumulus for £20 YES, £20. However, the reason they were so cheap was because the left one was a size 7 and the right one was a size8. Not to worry though, I am sitting indoors typing this with them on and they feel extremely comfortable. The left foot has one sock on and the right one has two socks on. I am just testing to make sure they are comfortable enough in the house before I go for my usual 4 miler tomorrow. Lets hope the blisters are a thing of the past ………..

    • Sounds like a bargain Trev, but not necessarily a great long-term solution for you. The Cumulus are neutral shoes, and you appear to have been recommended stability shoes, meaning that you have a pronation problem (if the recommendation was made based on a proper gait analysis, obviously). If so, you may find you develop knee, ankle or even hip problems in the long-term, by using neutral shoes rather than control shoes.

      With regard to your blister problem, I wear the Asics Cumulus myself, but wear a size larger than I usually need for normal running, to accommodate the natural swelling of your feet after a few miles, and two sizes larger if I’m running a marathon or even half marathon. I’d also be tempted to experiment with different socks if I was you. Personally, I’ve never had a blister while wearing Thorlos running lites, but even if they don’t work for you, I’m sure you’ll find socks that will.

      • Thanks tjbfs. Your comments are most welcome as I am a newbie. I have since been running my usual 4 mils x 3 times weekly with no blisters and feel the shoes I was recommended were perhaps the wrong ones. The Cumulus are so comfy but I understand what you mean by getting sore knees – I just put it down to my age !!!

      • You’re very welcome Trevor. But with regard to the sore knees, this could be just because you’ve upped your mileage too quickly and your body is still adjusting; because you’re in the wrong shoes (you need a gait analysis in a running shop to find out if you under- or over-pronate, or run neutral. The Cumulus is a neutral shoe); or if it’s neither of these things, a decent sports physio should be able to tell you what the problem is and recommend exercises or perhaps orthotic inserts for your shoes to correct it. For example, a lot of my past knee problems were down to weak quads, so I was recommended to build these up with leg curls, and my knees are now fine. So don’t just live with the pain, if you’re planning on making running a permanent thing, it’s well worth getting to the bottom of the problem.

  9. Pingback: Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 | Taking Jelly Babies From Strangers

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