Sunday, July 29, 2012

Asics Gel Nimbus 13 v. Brooks Glycerin 9

So, I waited awhile because I wanted to give these two a real chance to see which one I preferred.  After my trip to Roadrunner Sports I ended up narrowing my choice down to these two, and it was a close one!  They are both fantastic shoes with great cushioning, which I really need.  I used to run on a mix of pavement, grass, dirt and even the occasional treadmill but now I run primarily on pavement, so my shoes take quite a bit of abuse and without significant cushioning, so would my joints.

I have been running in my Brooks Glycerin 8s for some time now, and they have been my absolute favorites, easily beating out my first Nike Zoom Equalon 4s. I have loved my Brooks but did want to try a few others out, you know, just for variety and to be sure I wasn't missing an even better ride ;)

I had tried so many (read previous reviews for that day trip to the store), but I had heard great things about Asics from other runners, so I was intrigued and really wanted to try them.  After numerous test runs in the store, the Asics Gel Nimbus 13 and Brooks Glycerin 9 were in a dead heat and decided I would eventually get them both for my next rotation, though that day I left with just the Asics because, well, I was just going for something different. They are both responsive and comfortable shoes, with great cushioning for running on pavement. I've since put about 100 miles on each of them, so I think I can safely review them.

First the Asics Gel Nimbus 13 seen below (which is exactly the one's I left with). Cute as they can be :)

One of the reasons I wanted to try the Asics is that many runners I know with high arches find them to be then best for them, and since I do have high arches, I figured I should give them a try.

These shoes have decent ventilation, and remain comfortable throughout my regular 3-5 mile runs.  The mesh upper breathes well, though I had gotten used to my Glycerin 8s where I could actually feel the breeze through my toe-sies ;), not so with these but no sweaty feet so that's ok.

They also have a nice heel drop, which is important for me as it helps with my arch support and weak ankles.  Not too high, but just enough for the support I need.

On the treadmill, they were amazing and the midsole was so responsive I felt propelled forward. On pavement, well, a bit less so, but the cushioning is great and absorbs a good amount of the shock from running on pavement.  I sometimes feel like the cushioning absorbs a bit more energy than it should and could have a bit more return on the energy, but all-in-all it's a comfortable ride.

I did notice a bit of heel slippage after the first few runs, but a runner's knot helped with that. I had hoped that after a few more runs I could go back to my standard lacing, but no such luck. With the runner's knot I don't have any more heel slippage, just takes that extra step in the morning that I don't particularly care for at 6am, but it's a minor thing.  If you have very small ankles, you should keep that in mind.

The insole is comfortable enough and the shoe is sufficiently supportive that I can run with or without my orthotics.  For the first 80 miles or so I ran without my orthotics, now I'm using them again (but that's because I'm nursing an overuse injury that's not shoe-related).

Overall it's a comfortable shoe, and I'm glad I purchased them.  I will give the 14s a test run in about 300 or so miles, but they are my 2nd favorite shoe.  It was neck and neck for a bit, but for the reasons set out below, Brooks is still the best shoe for me.

Next up, Brooks Glycerin 9. This is my current favorite ride, the color is cerise, which matches pinks and reds equally well (if that matters to you...)

My favorite shoes in my last rotation between Nike and Brooks were my Brooks Glycerin 8s. After reading numerous reviews and test-running in the store, they never disappointed. For that reason alone, I pretty much figured I'd end up with the 9s, and I was right.

I don't notice a significant difference between the 8s and 9s, though the reviews seem to indicate a bit more support for the midsole in the 9s.

Subjectively there seems to be a bit less ventilation than in the 8s, but moreso than the Asics. I like the mesh upper and appreciate the increased ventilation, for no other reason than it just feels good.

The heel drop is just about right, providing the comfort and support I need. I'd actually be ok with an a slightly higher heel profile, but this is sufficiently supportive for my needs The Glycerin 9 is a bit lighter than the 8, not substantially so, but any decrease in weight without sacrificing cushioning is appreciated.

I have no heel slippage in the Glycerins with my standard lacing, so no need for any runner's knot.  The laces are short, so no double-knotting for security, but after hundreds of miles on 2 pairs of Glycerins, they've never come undone so I guess they got something right in the the lace department and no need for extra long laces.

The midsole is responsive with good energy return, even on concrete. I notice a slightly higher return energy from the Brooks than the Asics. It's not a huge difference, but it's enough to increase my pace slightly - always a good thing. The DNA on the 9s runs the entire length of the mid-sole, which may be the reason for the better energy return. That's the marketing speech, I have no idea what that means but I do know a responsive shoe when I run in one, and this one doesn't disappoint.  Again, on the treadmill, it's very noticeable but on concrete everything suffers.

With these as well, the insole is comfortable and sufficiently supportive that I can run with or without my orthotics. As with the Asics, the first 80 miles I ran without, now back to using them (again, for reasons not connected at all with the shoes). The standard insole is far more comfortable in the 9s than the 8s. Honestly, the 8s insole seemed to be made with the intention that you weren't going to use it, it almost seemed like an after-thought. Not so with the 9s, it's comfortable enough to be of real value in the shoe. I like the option of running with or without orthotics as well as having a choice as to whether or not I use a standard insole or replace it with something else.

Overall, the shoes are very similar and you can't go wrong with either one, but the heel slippage on the Asics and the slightly reduced energy return cause the Brooks to edge out as my favorite. 

Can't wait to test out the Glycerin 10s and Asics 14s. I see they reduced the heel drop in the Asics 14, so it's looking like I will be a Brooks girl in the next rotation as well - but I'm willing to test them both to confirm ;)


Alicia W.B. said...

I've been look for practical comparisons between the Gel-Nimbus and the Glycerin, from people who've put in real time in both shoes. Thank you so much for this review.

Cheryl Hurt said...

Thanks for your feedback. After 300 miles on each, Brooks still won out overall with some better energy return on the sidewalk runs. No appreciable difference on trails. I've never taken Brooks to the beach :)

Amy Baldwin-Granger said...

Not sure if you are still checking replies to your post since it's been awhile but thought I would get your opinion on what you are running in now. I too fell in love with the Glycerin 9s. Then Brooks went and changed them so the 10s and 11s didn't work for me like the 9s did and of course now I can't find any 9s anywhere in my size.

I just bought a pair of Asics GEL-Nimbus 16 but I'm little scared to run in something different since the Glycerin 9s have worked so well for me. I have a feeling that the Glycerin 12s might be closer to the 9s but I can't wait until June to replace my current shoes which are long overdue.


Cheryl Hurt said...

I actually tested a few different shoes at Roadrunner Sports, including the Brooks 10 & 11. The Brooks 10 had an odd kind of feel and I took a pass on those, but the Brooks 11 felt pretty good on my test run. I plan to try those soon. I picked up the New Balance 1080v3, which I like better than the Asics, but not as much as the Brooks. I also like that New Balance is made in the US. I have less than 100 miles on them so I'm not sure how they'll hold up but you might want to give them a try.

Amy Baldwin-Granger said...

Thanks for the recommendation! When you tried the Glycerin 11 did you use the size you normally wear in Glycerins or did you size down? I'm wondering if that might be part of why I didn't like the fit. I normally wear 7.5B in Brooks but the 7.5B in the 11s felt like it was too big in certain areas.

Amy Baldwin-Granger said...

Not sure if the reply I just tried to post will show up or not. Thanks for the recommendation on the NB, I didn't try those on the other day when I was at RRS.

For the Glycerin 11s did you stay with your normal Brooks size? I'm wondering if that is part of why I didn't like how they fit. I think they might have run a little larger than normal so maybe that is why I felt they were off?

Keep us posted! :)


Cheryl Hurt said...

I wear an 8B in my regular Brooks and that's what I tried in the Glycerin 11, which for me felt very similar to the 8s and 9s.

The 10s were really odd, like I could feel the split sole (much like a dance sneaker) - which I so much don't want to run in, felt a bit unstable.

Did you try and size down to a 7 in the Glycerin 11? I love Brooks, they are my go-to shoe, but I also like options.

I want to like Nike, but they're never quite right, and I had high hopes for Asics, but again, not the best fit for me. The NB are good so far, and I'm looking to try Newtons - but they don't seem to have much of an after-life with those lugs. They're good for running, but totally weird for walking.

Amy Baldwin-Granger said...

Yes, I think I need to try the Glycerin 11 again but in a size 7 which would be half size smaller than I normally wear for my running shoes. The 10s felt close to the 9s but there was something about the banding on the sides of the shoes that hit me wrong, caused weird pains that I didn't realize were related to the shoes until I bought the 9s and found out how perfect a shoe can be. :)

So I guess I need to try the Glycerin 11 again, and the New Balance that you recommended to see how they feel. I wish it was June already so that the Glycerin 12s would be available to try...