The Asics Gel Cumulus 16 delivered plenty of impact protection for heel striking with extreme durability as with the entire Asics line. The gel cushioning is more absorptive than that found in the Brooks Ghost, Mizuno Wave Paradox, or the Asics Gel Pursue but with the cost of added weight and a less responsive feel. This shoe is best as an average high mileage trainer for the budget conscious runner who is happy with moderate pacing.
Comfort The Asics Gel Cumulus 16 is the little brother of it’s thickly padded and near bombproof brother the Gel Nimbus. The upper of Gel Cumulus did breath well in 90-degree weather. Thick foam encased the back of my foot and extended over the malleoli without an intrusive feeling. A super rigid heel cup was padded with a layer of memory foam and felt comfortable when simply walking but was somewhat bothersome while running.
Fit The overall length seemed a touch short but not enough to order a size up. Runners planning to do long 15+ mile outings in hot conditions should be aware of this, though: As their feet expand during those hot runs, fit could be an issue. The mid- and forefoot were easily secured but the back of the shoe was a bit sloppy. Asics increased the heel volume, which I compensated for by the way I laced the shoe. Needless to say I was not a fan of the Gel Cumulus’ heel fit system as I was given bilateral blisters at the top of my calcaneus (heel bone). These hot spots persisted after each run even with more than 40 miles in the shoes.
Stability A plethora of high abrasion rubber and rigid midsole gave the Asics Gel Cumulus 16 a solid, stable feeling. Strategically placed gel pods under the heel and forefoot sheltered impact. Centralized foam pods helped shifted pressure laterally, which served the neutral to gentle supinator.
Speed At nearly 12 ounces, the Asics Gel Cumulus 16 is not a friend to speed. That being said I did not feel this shoe was overtly heavy—simply average. The Mizuno Wave Paradox, Brooks Ghost and Hoka line all felt lighter and faster.
Responsiveness The cushioned fluid ride midsole was superbly comfortable yet had sluggish return. This was most noticeable when running uphill.
Durability The 150 mile wear test at the Heelux lab, the Gel Cumulus showcased well above-average durability overall. It showed almost no change n the overall ramp angle after 150 miles, and wear and tear was better than average.
Note in the pressure mapping image how there was very little change in the cushioning profile of the midsole after 150 miles.
Gel-Cumulus midsole pressure map: The blue areas are low pressure zones and the red areas are high pressure zones.