New Balance 1080v4 vs. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 review

New Balance 1080v4 delivers firm cushioning and a little stability to heavier runners. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 is a plush and comfortable running shoe for neutral runners on long runs.

NEW! New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 vs. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18

The New Balance 1080v4 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 are both at the top end of their neutral cushioning categories, so should be comparable.

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The upper of the New Balance 1080v4 is mostly no-sew with stitched-on overlays at the front and back of the shoe. No-sew overlays tend to be less supportive, but there should still be enough to keep your foot in place on the platform.

The upper of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 is quite different in that respect, since it has sturdy stitched-on overlays that wrap the midfoot and then in between those overlays there are smaller no-sew bands to really give you a close-to-foot fit.

At the back of the shoe, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 has an external heel counter to really lock your heel down on the platform and cup it well.

In terms of support at the back, the New Balance 1080v4 has a heel counter (internal) that is asymmetrical, meaning that it is higher on the medial side than on the lateral side.

You can see this as a stability feature where the heel counter prevents your foot from rolling too far inward. The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 does not have such a stability feature.

The midsoles of the New Balance 1080v4 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 differ considerably. The New Balance 1080v4 has a midsole that consists of different types of foam ranging from shock absorbant to responsive.

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 has a midsole that provides heel-to-toe cushioning and that is split in two with GEL cushioning in between those two layers.

When compared in the lab, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 turns out to be much more cushy in both the heel and the forefoot than the New Balance 1080v4.

The difference in cushioning might be felt more by women than by men, since the cushioning in the women's version of the New Balance 1080v4 turns out to be quite firm and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 quite cushy.

The New Balance 1080v4 comes with a second stability feature which is the crash pad under the heel that runs till the midfoot. While the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 does not use softer foam as a crash pad, the GEL cushioning in the heel serves a similar purpose of softening your landings.

The only difference is that the New Balance 1080v4 may offer a smoother transition to toe-off, since its crash pad extends towards the midfoot to join the forefoot on the lateral side.

In addition, the New Balance 1080v4 provides more ground contact than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16, which again adds to the amount of stability provided by the New Balance 1080v4 compared to the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16.

The rubber outsoles of the two running shoes look different. While both running shoes have a midfoot shank, the midfoot shank of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 consists of two pieces at the sides of the midfoot that are not connected, while the midfoot shank in the New Balance 1080v4 is centered under the midfoot to provide stability and support.

This again makes the New Balance 1080v4 a bit more stable than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16.

Both running shoes display a good amount of separation between their rubber compartments for shock absorption and dissipation.

However, the hexagonal pattern in the forefoot of the New Balance 1080v4 really helps it be a flexible running shoe, because running shoe lab tests have shown that the New Balance 1080v4 is quite flexible when compared to the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16, which turns out to be quite stiff in general and which is generally preferred and can be dealt with by heavier runners.

The women's version of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 weighs approximately 9.7 oz (275 grams), while the New Balance 1080v4 for women weighs 8.3 oz (235 grams). The men's version of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 weighs about 11.9 oz (337 grams), while the New Balance 1080v4 for men weighs 10.0 oz (283 grams).

If you are a neutral runner looking for a super soft ride for long runs and do not need any kind of stability, then the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 is worth looking into.

And if you are a neutral runner or a runner who overpronates mildly, prefer firm cushioning rather than soft cushioning, and are looking for something lighter, then the New Balance 1080v4 might be the one for you.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: ASICS | New Balance

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