Asics’s marketing pitch: A versatile daily trainer for covering different distances.
Upper: Non-stretchy engineered mesh, tongue gusset, reflective trims.
Midsole: Dual-density Flytefoam, visible Gel pad. 8 mm heel drop.
Outsole: Harder rubber under the heel, thinner forefoot rubber.
Weight: 286 gms/ 10.1 Oz for a half pair of Men's US 9/UK 8/EUR 42.5/CM 27
Widths available: D - regular (reviewed), 4E - extra wide.
Previous model: Asics Cumulus 23.
Country of origin: Made in Indonesia.
In this review:
The Asics Cumulus and Brooks Ghost are two of the safest running shoe choices you can make. When you buy either, you seldom end up feeling that you made a poor purchase decision – even if you aren’t blown away by how the shoe performs.
Neither shoe uses fancy cushioning systems, or change drastically from year to year. Unlike the Nike Pegasus which has its ups and downs, the Asics Cumulus and Brooks Ghost have always strived to deliver a consistent character no matter the year. Other neutral trainers like the Saucony Ride and Mizuno Rider have a somewhat acquired taste.
It’s almost as if the Brooks Ghost and Asics Cumulus have a brief – just be a decent running shoe that appeals to most runners, gait patterns, and use cases. Don’t be too soft, nor too firm. Avoid being stiff or overly mushy. Don’t ask for a lot of money. Don’t be too slow or too aggressive. Be available in most stores, countries, and websites.
And most importantly, don’t make sudden and drastic updates. Just keep the evolutionary engine humming – nice and easy does it.
Of course, there’s no telling what’s going to happen in the future.
The Brooks Ghost could take a different turn, seeing how the Glycerin 20 has swapped its EVA blend midsole with a DNA Loft V3 one – an EVA blend foam that’s somewhat similar to the DNA Flash used on the Hyperion Tempo.
Based on precedent, the Ghost usually inherits the changes from the Glycerin.
For now, the Asics Cumulus 24 suffers from no such risk. It’s a comfortable neutral trainer like the Cumulus 23, and even manages to improve certain aspects of the fit and ride character.
Take, for instance, the new Flytefoam Blast midsole that has more pep, or the internal gusset that puts an end to tongue slide. There are large reflective bits too – in greater quantities than the outgoing model.
But is the Asics Cumulus 24 the ultimate do-everything neutral trainer? To an extent, it is. The new Flytefoam Blast midsole makes the ride more engaging without losing its comfort-focused brief.
The upper is excellent – not just from a fit security standpoint, but from a comfort and proportional perspective as well.
High-speed runs are the only performance area where the Cumulus 24 struggles. For speeds quicker than 5:00 min/km (8 min/mile), we recommend the alternatives that are highlighted in our rotation section.
But all that said – the Cumulus 24 is the best Cumulus we’ve reviewed so far.
THE ASICS CUMULUS 24 COMPARED WITH THE CUMULUS 23
Not counting the $10 price increase, the difference between the latest Cumulus and the previous model can be distilled into four updates.
The Cumulus 24 uses Flytefoam Blast, a material that’s similar (not identical, since the Nimbus uses FF Blast+) to the one used on the pricier Nimbus 24, so the ride is slightly peppier than the Cumulus 23.
The Cumulus 24 also has a redesigned midsole wedge that adds a higher level of under-arch support.
Though the Cumulus 24’s upper fit and material are similar to the Cumulus 23, the newest Cumulus has two things that the 23 lacked.
The tongue is now tethered to an internal gusset, and the heel gets reflective trims.
THE MIDSOLE DESIGN AND RIDE EXPERIENCE
The Asics Cumulus 24 is the quintessential rearfoot striker’s running shoe. Its 8 mm heel-to-toe offset means that the thickest part of the midsole is under the heel, from where it gradually slopes forward.
All three different midsole densities are also stacked under the heel. This isn’t saying that the Cumulus 24 doesn’t work as a forefoot striker’s running shoe, but the 8 mm offset and lack of a heel bevel doesn’t make it the ideal midfoot-friendly trainer.
At the very top, a firmer wedge creates a supportive layer just under the upper. That’s followed by the visible Gel, and finally, the main midsole that’s the softest of the lot.
As we’ve explained on prior occasions, the visible Gel windows act more as a supportive layer than a cushioning agent. Inside the midsole are two coin-sized Gel pads that make no difference in the overall cushioning.
Also, the outside appearances suggest that the grey wedge extends to the forefoot, but that’s an illusion. The firmer layer stops at the midfoot, while the rest of the section is the grey midsole paint.
It’s worth pointing out that the grey (firmer) midsole wedge is larger than the 23. The foam layer now extends under the arch to make that area more supportive as compared to the Cumulus 23.
This is a clever touch; the longer wedge acts as a stability feature and also reinforces the midfoot. The Cumulus bends where it needs to – helped by the wide flex grooves, the forefoot flexes naturally.
Often, running in a mid-tier neutral trainer can be a boring experience. That happens because the midsole lacks a super-foam or plate that makes the ride engaging. For example, we recently reviewed the Nike React Infinity Run 3 – a running shoe with a dull and tepid ride.
But the Cumulus 24 isn’t boring at all. Even though the midsole isn’t bouncy and doesn’t ‘propel’ the foot forward for quick transitions, there’s a sense of plush softness. There’s only the slightest hint of responsiveness.
That’s because the midsole isn’t just about the dual-density foam. A removable footbed and lasting (made of soft foam) add a substantial layer of step-in comfort. The entire foot-strike and loading process feels soft and cushioned, but doesn’t overdo it.
Despite the lively Flytefoam Blast, the Asics Cumulus 24 isn’t as transition-friendly as the shoes like Asics Novablast. The soft midsole lacks a rocker and a stiff forefoot, so the foot has to work through the transition process.
In short, the Cumulus 24 is at its best when used as a trainer for easy to medium-paced runs. To be specific, running speeds of 5:00 min/km (8 min/mile) or slower is the Goldilocks zone for this shoe.
Asics has done a good job with the weight management, with the Cumulus tipping the scales at a respectable 10.1-ounce or 286 grams. The bulk is evenly distributed across the upper and midsole for a non-distracting experience.
From a running speed standpoint, you’ll find greater versatility in neutral trainers like the Saucony Ride 15 or Nike Pegasus. Our ‘similar shoes’ section at the end of this review contains a list of alternatives.
The length of the run poses no problem whatsoever. The high level of ride comfort keeps the feet padded during a long-distance run. Half-marathon distances are easily doable, and so are everyday training runs of varying mileages.
For a shoe this soft, the midsole has decent levels of stability. The heel has a wide base and a balanced sidewall design. This set-up infuses the ride with a neutral overtone – the outer midsole isn’t noticeably softer than the inner side.
The forefoot midsole has a wide flare too, with plenty of outsole rubber coverage. Together, they create a planted ride experience.
The outsole traction is good on dry surfaces, but the telescoping design and absence of defined lugs result in an average grip on wet.
Even with a triple-density midsole, the transitions are smooth from heel to toe. The heel outsole is split into four different pieces (versus two on the Cumulus 23), so that allows the midsole to spread wide when loaded.
There’s a shallow transition groove that makes the ride softer and smoother. This is what Asics calls its ‘3D space construction’ – a fancy name for a basic design element.
Given the exposed design of the outsole, avoid taking the Cumulus on unpaved surfaces or trails. Your needs will be better served by road-trail hybrids like the Nike Pegasus Trail or New Balance Hierro.
The Asics Cumulus 24 fits perfectly into a three-shoe rotation. For your marathon racing needs, consider the Asics Metaspeed Sky or Saucony Endorphin Speed 2.
The M-Sky is Asics’s answer to the Nike Vaporfly; a snappy Carbon plate resides inside a responsive Flytefoam Turbo midsole to deliver the signature plated-racer experience. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is a much cheaper alternative, and delivers a similar effect.
There are a couple of nice short-distance racers that come to mind. The Asics Hyper Speed is a no-nonsense speed racer at an attractive price. Also worth considering is the adidas adios 6; its higher level of kit includes a hybrid Lightstrike Pro midsole and aggressive outsole bite.
IS THE ASICS CUMULUS 24 DURABLE?
The Asics Cumulus has never been a flimsy running shoe, and is usually known to deliver around 400-500 miles of trouble-free mileage.
Expect the usual wear and tear with the Cumulus’s traditional build – components like the insole and midsole will experience a gradual loss of cushioning efficacy.
The outsole rubber lugs will wear quicker where the initial foot-strike happens.
THE UPPER DESIGN AND FIT
As far as the upper fit proportions go, the Asics Cumulus 24 gets everything down pat.
The upper fits true to size, and the toe-box shape is perfect. An internal toe-bumper creates dedicated room around the toes, and the ceiling height is ideal too.
Even though the upper isn’t elastic, the interior strikes an excellent balance between a secure fit and accommodating comfort. The foot never feels hemmed in, but at the same time, there’s a reassuring sense of lock-in.
The entire upper is made of a one-piece shell, so the insides are very smooth. There’s an elastic gusset inside the midfoot, but its thin and slim design doesn’t create pressure spots.
Historically, the Cumulus has lacked a sleeve, so having it on the Cumulus 24 is a relief. The tongue no longer moves during runs, so for that alone, the Cumulus 24 is worth upgrading from the 23.
The heel fit is tenacious, almost vice-like. The superb grip is a combination of three things – the generous padding, an internal stiffener with the right contour, and proper heel height.
Like the Cumulus 23, the 24’s upper uses variable width lacing, meaning that the distances between the opposing eyelets vary.
This design makes the lacing more efficient, as the wider spacing creates a snugger fit by pulling the upper towards the center. On the other hand, the closely-spaced lacing helps the upper fit flush over the foot. The thin, semi-stretch laces are also easy to tie.
The insides are plush – the padded tongue and heel add comfort, and so does the soft mesh lining. The quilted tongue is effective at making the lacing pressure disappear.
In a way, the upper plushness and midsole softness are evenly matched, thus creating a complete comfort package that is the Cumulus 24.
What’s more, the Cumulus 24 is brighter in low-visibility conditions than the Cumulus 23. The heel takes inspiration from the Nimbus 24 and places large reflective strips for dawn and dusk runs.
We didn’t say that the upper was perfect. All the padding and thick mesh extract a cost – the Cumulus 24 suffers from poor air circulation. That’s not a bad thing during fall and mild winters, but can be limiting during warm summers.
PROS AND CONS
The smooth, cushioned ride and plush upper makes Cumulus 24 one of the most comfortable neutral trainers in its price class.
Except for its hesitancy at higher speeds, the Cumulus works for most training and distance runs. The Flytefoam midsole and plush upper go easy on the feet, even if it’s a high-mileage run.
The regular width will accommodate most feet, and there’s an optional 4E (extra wide) for runners who need more room. The reflective trims are an upgrade over the Cumulus 23.
We don’t remember the Cumulus’s outsole grip being this average on wet. Perhaps this could be attributed to the change to the AHAR Lite compound on the 24 instead of the standard blown rubber used on the prior version?
Also, the upper runs warm due to the thick mesh and interior padding.
COMPARISON: THE ASICS CUMULUS 24 VERSUS ASICS NIMBUS 24
The Nimbus has always been a softer, more premium version of the Cumulus, and it’s no different this year. The Nimbus uses a ‘+’ variant of the Flytefoam Blast that feels slightly springier than the $30 less expensive model. Our detailed review has all the goods.
As a result, running in the Nimbus 24 is a more engaging experience. The Nimbus 24 also has a half shank, so the transitions are marginally better.
Though the upper is more breathable and runs cooler than the Cumulus, we’re not exactly fond of the elastic tongue.
SHOES SIMILAR TO THE ASICS CUMULUS 24
If you’ve read any of our Cumulus reviews, you know what follows next. We’ll briefly lay out the alternatives within the $130-140 neutral trainer category to better understand how they compare.
The next version of the Brooks Ghost is due next month, but for now, we have the Ghost 14 – a comfortable everyday running shoe with a smooth ride and plush upper. Though the Ghost 14 isn’t as soft as the Cumulus, its overall character is similar.
The New Balance 880V12 is in the same category as the Ghost. Though the midsole is now Fresh Foam X, it’s not as soft as the Cumulus.
Nike has updated the Pegasus 39 with a softer React midsole and two Zoom Air bags.
From a performance point of view, the Pegasus offers a comfortable and responsive ride with a higher level of versatility than the Cumulus. In other words, the Pegasus can be used as a trainer for runs as quick as 4:00 min/km (6:30 min/mile).
The Saucony Ride 15 is an equally versatile neutral running shoe. Relatively speaking, the midsole is softer than the Ride 14, but firmer than the Cumulus. This ride quality works better than the softer Cumulus for a wide range of running speeds.