ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 vs. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 review

ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 provides a secure fitting upper and a plush ride to moderate overpronators. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 delivers a very cushy ride to neutral runners...

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The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 are both ASICS top-of-the-line running shoes in their categories. The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 provides maximum comfort to overpronators, while the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 provides the same to neutral runners.

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The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 have uppers consisting of breathable mesh, sturdy stitched-on overlays, and thinner no-sew FluidFit overlays in between.

So both running shoes provide runners with a glove-like fit. Both running shoes also have a Heel Clutching System at the back of the shoe to provide a firm lockdown of the heel on the platform.

The uppers of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 do not differ that much except for how the overlays – especially around the midfoot – are placed.

The only minor difference is that the bunion window of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 is more open than that of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21, so should feel more comfortable.

The midsoles of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 are also almost identical. Both running shoes have a FluidRide midsole that has cushioning as well as bounce back properties. And both running shoes have a softer layer of foam that is closest to the foot and a more responsive layer closer to the ground.

And in between those two layers, there is GEL cushioning in both the heel and the forefoot, so both running shoes should provide you with an extra soft ride.

Where women are concerned, there is almost no difference in the amount of cushioning you get from either the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 or the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21. However, for men, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 turns out to be the softer running shoe with more cushioning both in the heel and in the forefoot.

Note that the FluidRide technology used in the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is newer than that in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16, which is probably why the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 turns out to be lighter and more cushy than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16.

The big difference in the midsole is the Dynamic DuoMax Support System of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 on the medial side of the shoe that stops overpronation. Because the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 is not meant to provide such pronation control, it does not have such a system.

The outsoles of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 are similar in that they have a traditional rearfoot and forefoot separated by a midfoot shank.

However, the midfoot shank of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 consists of two separate plastic pieces on the medial and lateral sides of the shoe, while that of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is connected by two plastic bars that go across the midfoot. This again is an indication that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is more to control lateral movement of the foot than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 is.

The rubber compartments under the heel of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 are well-segmented to dissipate shock, and the forefoot of both running shoes have enough flex grooves to maintain flexibility.

However, because the minor cuts in the rubber compartments in the forefoot of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 run from side-to-side and front-to-back, they encourage flexibility more than the rubber cuts in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16. And running shoe lab tests have shown that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is the more flexible running shoe of the two.

The women's version of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 weighs approximately 9.7 oz (275 grams) and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 for women weighs 9.5 oz (269 grams). The men's versions of the shoes weigh 11.9 oz (337 grams) and 11.3 oz (320 grams), respectively.

The choice is simple: If you are an overpronator who requires stability and support and who wants a very cushy and comfortable running shoe, then the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 would be the one to go with.

And if you want a similar type of comfort as the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 provides, but then in a neutral running shoe, then the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 would be an option.

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

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