All Running Shoes Are NOT Created Equal

Asics Gel Nimbus 14 Running Shoe

A couple weeks back, I bought a pair of Asics Gel-Phoenix 4 that I found on super-sale. I read some reviews on them, and they were getting really high marks, so I figured for the price, I’d go ahead and try them.

After about 5 miles in them, I made the decision to never let them anywhere near my precious footsies ever again. They hurt so much. Way more than my Asics Gel Nimbus 13 did.

Running was impossible in the Phoenixes–my knees started to hurt when I was outside, and on the treadmill, my Achilles tendon felt like it was being torn in half.

I switched shoes to finish the run, and the pain immediately stopped. So I knew that the new shoes were causing most of the pain, not the way I was running.

So after I finished up the session, I went online and ordered the shoes I wanted in the first place (and shoes that I knew wouldn’t hurt me): Asics Gel-Nimbus 14.

Now, my first running shoe was I’ve been running the Asics Gel-Nimbus 13. I’ve put over 400 miles in them since last July, so I knew the line worked for me.

Asics Gel Nimbus 13 Running Shoes

My first pair of running shoes: Asics Nimbus 13

I have heavy footfalls, and I mildly underpronate, so the Asics Gel Nimbus 13 shoes keep me running without pain or injury pretty easily. I figured if the 14s were anywhere near the quality of the previous model, I was going to be fine.

When I got the 14s in the mail, I did a quick quarter mile on the treadmill, and I couldn’t wait to get more miles in with them.

Like the Nimbus name implies, it was like running on a freaking cloud.

As of today, I’ve put about 10 miles on them, and they’re lovely. I might be too much of a newbie to fully understand the intricacies of running shoe design, because I just don’t get why the Nimbus 14s get all the hate they were. 

Sure, the design changed a little–the 14s have a sleeker profile, and they aren’t quite so rounded in the toebox–but the actual fit didn’t seem any different from the 13s. Not to me, anyway.

Maybe I’ll notice something after I put a few hundred miles on them. (Update: I did, and I eventually got blisters from the Gel Nimbus 14, and had to contact Zappos for a refund/replacement, which turned out super amazingly.)

My only real beef with running shoes in general is that since I have to wear the 4E width, the awesomely bright colors aren’t available to me. I had to get the mundane grey/blue color scheme instead of the bright and shiny ones I really wanted.

To be fair, though, my Gel-Phoenixes were bright and shiny, and they hurt like I was an extra in a SAW movie, so if that’s the price to pay, I’ll wear doo-doo brown kicks if I have to.


So after all that, I think I’m an Asics Nimbus guy all the way through–and it has nothing to do with the title of my steampunk novel, either. That’s just a fun, quirky happenstance.

And as much as I enjoy these shoes, I can’t wait to wear them out and snag the Nimbus 15s when they come out in a few months. I guess I’m just going to have to run a lot more to justify spending the cash on even more brand new–and hopefully gaudy–running shoes.

Oh, darn. 😉

What is your process for picking out and trying new running shoes? Any tips to share?

B.J. Keeton

B.J. Keeton

B.J. is a geek, gamer, podcaster, and livestreamer. He has been the co-host of the Geek to Geek podcast since 2016, and he helped start the Geek to Geek Media Network. His biggest pet peeve is when someone spells Wookiee with only one E. One time, he told his friends he liked vegetables maybe more than he did Star Wars, and they made him put a dollar in the jar. That should tell you everything you need to know about him. Find him on Twitter as @professorbeej or on Discord as @professorbeej#1337.

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  1. Jennifer

    I think you mean “random crazy happenstance.”

    • B.J. Keeton

      AH! I missed such an opportunity there, didn’t I?

  2. Longasc

    It wasn’t easy to find them on the US website of Adidas.
    I have the earlier “20” model, it’s also Red(Orange)-White-Black and not Black-Silver-Yellow. The “Cushion” part of the name is usually not mentioned in Germany, I think they were sold as “Response Trail” and not “Response Cushion” to me.

    Of course the name is not nearly as cool as “Nimbus X”… 🙂
    The selection of colors is also rather poor, but at least they offer more than black, silver grey and white. That’s the usual boring color selection of German cars. 😛

    • B.J. Keeton

      I feel you on the selection of colors, Michael. I hated the garish colors at first, but now I’m really hankering for some brightness, and I can’t get it. My wides don’t come in bright. It sucks.

      That said, I’ve never known anyone to actually run in Adidas shoes. Everyone I know runs in either Asics, Nike, or New Balance. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how cushioned they are. Especially because I’m looking for trail shoes for the summer 🙂

  3. Chelsea W.

    I run in some junky flat $40 nikes…that being said, I don’t run very much, and mostly intervals and sprints. Usually my running is mixed into a workout with other stuff in it, so I have to have a shoe that can translate from running to squatting.

    • B.J. Keeton

      I wanted some junky $40 Nikes, actually (the Flex, I think). When I tried them on, my feet were waaaaaaaay too wide. Even though my buddy tried them on and eventually bought them, AND my other friend runs in the same shoes, I thought they were unresponsive and hard.

      I’m tempted to get some actual cross-trainers for the summer as I start moving into more steady lifting. Right now in my living room, I squat and dumbbell barefoot, but once I’m outside with a kettlebell in the heat, I think I need some good trainers.

  4. Kareem Khanponaphan

    Cushioning shoes are shoes that have little to no lateral support. These shoes are good for runners who do not need this support, and have neutral feet. Generally this type of shoe will be for the runner with a high arch. Instances where this type of shoe is not right is in a case where you are a pronator or an overpronator.’

    My personal web site

  5. Hazel Lill

    I would recommend visiting a running store and having an employee look at your feet to give you a good idea of what category your feet fit in. If you have serious foot complications like extreme pronation, fallen arches, etc I would recommend visiting a foot doctor, as running shoes by themselves might not be enough. You could require orthotics, or even just simple strengthening exercises to get and keep you on your feet.,

    Please do look at our own blog page

  6. tensey

    I had a similar experience with the asics gel phoenix 4. I actually have the right feet for them as I usually use stability shoes because i am a mild/moderate overpronator. I saw them on sale, thought they looked great and fit well. But 10 minutes on and i had a seriously bad lower back ache. I took them off after 20 minutes and it took a couple days to recover from the back pain. I think it is the very soft gel in the heel area and also the lower heel that bothers my back. It’s like there is no firm surface there and my back tenses to create stability. It’s a shame because they were a good deal otherwise.

  7. Fmovies

    A little advice when it comes to colder temperatures: dress for how you will feel about 15 minutes into your tennis workout


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