Brooks and ASICS are two well-known, popular running shoe brands.
We’re comparing two of their plush, most cushioned running shoes to help you find the best one for your foot: the Brooks Glycerin vs ASICS Gel-Nimbus.
Both the shoes are well-cushioned and comfortable. They’re in the same price range—although they are a little more pricey than your typical running shoes.
In terms of differences, the Brooks Glycerin features a wider toe box and a roomier fit, while the ASICS Gel-Nimbus is more snug in the midfoot through the heel.
The Glycerin features Brooks’ DNA Loft foam as its cushioning, while the ASICS includes a gel material in its midsole foam.
The ASICS shoe also incorporates a gender-specific TRUSSTIC device, which provides extra support and creates a smooth transition from heel to toe.
Let’s look at the two shoes in more detail.
The upper of the Glycerin 20 is made from multi-layered, seamless, one-piece mesh that molds to one’s foot.
Brooks used their 3D Fit Print technology for the upper and this provides structure and stretch to the shoe in different zones. This increases the flexibility of the shoe, making it lighter and more breathable.
Runners will find that there’s plenty of space in the toe box for their toes to splay, while their midfoot and heel have a secure, locked-in feeling. The 3D Fit print overlays are minimal and won’t cause any irritation or discomfort while you run.
The heel counter is rigid and will keep your heel locked in, while the heel collar is generously padded for extra comfort.
One of our favorite features is the gusseted tongue, which is made from stretchy polyester and helps to lock the midfoot down. This extra layer of material breathes well and doesn’t create any hot spots while running.
The tongue itself is plush and heavily padded, but it’s soft and doesn’t create pressure points on the bridge of the foot.
Runners will love the tubular laces, as they’re flexible and have enough stretch to get the perfect fit without changing the lockdown of the upper. Runners may find that the foot lockdown is so secure that they don’t have to do heel lock lacing!
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 features a multi-directional mesh upper that hugs the foot and feels durable enough to run miles in. Runners will find that the spacious toe box has enough room for a variety of foot shapes so that the toes can splay naturally.
The tongue on the Gel-Nimbus 25 is plush with thick padding and the tongue’s gussets provide an excellent midfoot lockdown without sacrificing any of the shoe’s flexibility.
The heel collar also features plush padding and this works well with the medium stiffness heel counter. Runners will feel like it wraps around their Achilles tendon and feels secure throughout the gait cycle.
The midsole of the Glycerin 20 will leave runners with a luxurious underfoot feel. Brooks has added more DNA Loft foam to the midsole and this will have every foot landing feel soft but not mushy or as if you’re sinking into the shoe.
Runners won’t feel as though the shoe is bulky. Instead, they’ll find the ride to be smooth, with some responsiveness and bounce.
The shoe is versatile and runners will find themselves reaching for them for long runs as well as speedwork, as the shoe doesn’t feel heavy and the extra cushioning absorbs more shock.
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 is a max-cushioning shoe, but even with the dual-density foam, the stack height isn’t excessive. The men’s shoe has a stack height of 25mm/15mm—heel-to-toe, while the women’s shoe is 27mm/14mm.
This shoe features FlyteFoam Propel technology and Flytefoam cushioning and there’s also a gel unit in the heel; this has been placed in between the two layers of foam.
The gel unit helps to absorb the impact and then distribute it evenly throughout the shoe, while the dual layers of foam provide a smooth, responsive and comfortable underfoot feel.
Runners will notice how soft the heel of the shoe is as soon as they step into the shoe and it compresses. This softer gel unit will benefit heel strikers, as it makes landings easier and softer. Runners will find that it helps the foot to roll smoothly in the transition.
The Glycerin 20 has soft, blown rubber, segmented outsole. There are flex grooves in the forefoot that provide flexibility, as well as a guidance line that runs along the lateral side of the shoe.
Runners will notice that there’s some exposed midsole on the lateral side and that there’s a long strip of rubber that extends from the heel up to where the forefoot begins. This helps to make the transitions smoother and to provide additional midfoot stability.
Some may find that the outsole feels tackier due to soft-blown rubber that’s been used, but it will provide outstanding grip and traction. The one downside to using this soft-blown rubber is that the rubber can wear down faster.
The outsole of the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 has a similar geometry to its predecessor but it has also been updated.
It’s made from two different types of rubber with ASICS high abrasion rubber—AHAR—in the forefoot and a more durable AHAR+ rubber in the heel.
The rubber outsole has exposed midsole foam channels and the rubber lugs are now arranged sideways so that runners will have a softer, flexible ride.
It also features a gender-specific TRUSSTIC device, which provides extra support and helps to generate smooth transitions.
Runners may find that the Glycerin 20 isn’t a very flexible shoe. With that being said, it won’t feel stiff.
The shoe is quite responsive and one will have a slightly springy sensation. It also has plenty of inherent stability, as it has a wider platform which is enhanced by the flared design of the midsole and outsole.
While ASICS shoes have been known to be a bit stiff, the Gel-Nimbus 25 is surprisingly flexible and runners will find the shoe to be both responsive and soft.
Some may find that they have a slight feeling of the road beneath their feet. The Trusstic system isn’t as aggressive compared to stability shoes like the Gel-Kayano, but runners will notice the support it provides.
Both the Glycerin 20 and ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 have a 10 mm heel-to-toe drop, which is a common heel-to-toe drop that you’ll find in running shoes.
There is one difference though, with the women’s model of the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 featuring a drop of 13 mm.
The higher heel-to-toe drop in the women’s shoe is to accommodate for the gender-specific differences of the feet.
These shoes are now designed for a women’s gait pattern, weight, and lower-limb biomechanics, which scientific research has shown is different from men’s.
The women’s Gel-Nimbus isn’t just a smaller version of the men’s shoe—it was designed to cater to the specific needs of women runners.
There is only a slight weight difference between the Glycerin 20 and the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25. The Glycerin 20 men’s shoe weighs 10.2 oz—289.2 grams—and the women’s shoe weighs 9.0 oz—255.1 grams.
The men’s Gel-Nimbus weighs 10.9 oz—310 grams—and the women’s shoe weighs 9.2 oz—260 grams.
While both the Glycerin 20 and Gel-Nimbus 25 are slightly heavier shoes, runners will find that they don’t feel heavy on the feet when running in them.
At the time of writing this article, both the Brooks Glycerin 20 and ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 have an MSRP of $150.00.
While the price for either of these shoes may be more than your typical running shoe, both are max-cushioning shoes that are designed to absorb shock and reduce the risk of injury, while providing your feet with a soft, comfortable ride.
Both the Brooks Glycerin 20 and the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 offer maximum cushioning and provide excellent shock-absorption.
Runners who want more heel cushion may prefer the ASICS Gel-Nimbus, because of the gel unit in the heel. It would also be the better option for those who need a little more stability, as the
TRUSSTIC device provides more support.
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus may also be the preferred choice for women, as it provides gender-specific features.
Runners who are looking for a roomier fit and a wider toe box should consider choosing the Brooks Glycerin. It would be a good choice for those who want softness underfoot without sacrificing responsiveness.