As you might have noticed, I am a big fan of the Asics Gel Cumulus series, so I was looking forward to seeing if they've changed. It will also be an interesting experiment, as I have changed my running style since I last owned a pair, so if anything, this will be a decent comparison of how running style effects shoe choice.
Well, I was very excited to put these on, and right out of the box I had that familiar feeling of comfort that I've grown accustomed to with these shoes. Cosmetically, I think they are leaps and bounds ahead of the Cumulus 14, but in terms of comfort, there isn't much to choose from between the two. The mesh on the old ones is a little more flexible, but not so much so that you'd notice when running. They feel snug in a good way, and the cushioning seems, if anything, a little more noticeable. Having gotten used to my Inov8 Road-x 255, these felt fairly chunky, but again, if you are used to a more traditional road shoe, you'll feel right at home in these.
The midsole of the Asics Gel Cumulus 15 builds on the 14. It uses a combination of SoLyte, SpEVA and Gel to offer excellent and adaptive cushioning through the whole stride. The Gel in the heel and forefoot was noticable and felt supportive, yet soft when walking around. Aside from that, the midsole is much the same, and retains the Guidance line from the previous model.
The uppers are made of a breathable mesh, with heat welded overlays in order to reduce weight and prevent irritation from stitches. The branding is still stitched on, which I know from speaking to people can cause some irritation if your feet are a little wider than most. However, I've never had a problem with this, so don't expect it to be an issue. Again, cosmetics have been improved in my opinion and the upper is composed of 3 main sections; the forefoot, the midfoot and the heel. The foreoot uses the most open and breathable mesh to allow the foot to flex and breathe. The midfoot uses a little tighter mesh for some structural support, and the heel has an internal counter for support. The heel also contains PHF (personal heel fit) which is made of 2 layers of memory foam to offer excellent comfort. I have to say the heel certainly felt great, and supported you in a way that felt natural.
The outsole again uses AHAR+ for superb durabiity, and retains many of he same flex points as the previous version. The main update is the split guidance trustic. This mean that the shoe offers he exact same guidance, however has become a little more flexible, which is the natural evolution of this technology. I couldn't feel much of a difference just walking around, and don't know how noticable it will actually be, but we'll see.
I split my run into to sections. A forefoot run, and a heel run. Whilst running on my heels, it was a direct comparison to my previous Cumulus, and is probably more relevant, as the shoes are built around being very cushioned and stable for heel strikers, so we'll start with that. In terms of cushioning, these are superb. I defy anyone that can tell me that they aren't soft enough. They were also very stable, and when I land on my heels in some shoes, I over-pronate very mildly, but with these there was none to be seen. The heel counter and Guidance line definitely work wonders in this department. The sheer amount of cushioning was incredible, and they were superbly comfortable for the whole time. The uppers were flexible, and allowed me a smooth gait cycle. The new split Guidance trustic was not a noticable change, however it was not a negative thing either, you just didn't notice it had been done. In terms of forefoot striking, I think theres just too much shoe there to be good for it. When forefoot striking, you need to feel the ground, and the amount of cushioning in these made it difficult, and with the 12mm heel, it was difficult. However, it can be done, so if you are thinking about transitioning at some point in the near future, but don't want a minimal shoe just yet, these aren't a bad call. However, if I were in that position, I think I'd go for something a little lighter and lower, such as the Gel Zaraca 2, which is just that little bit easier to run forefoot in.
All in all, these shoes are going from strength to strength, and continue the trend of being super comfy, and very well cushioned.