Asics’s marketing pitch: The Cumulus 19 delivers superior comfort and shock dissipation.
Upper: Spacer mesh, fused and stitched-on synthetic.
Midsole: Dual-density EVA foam midsole with plastic shank. Front and rear Gel inserts. 10 mm heel offset.
Outsole: Hard carbon rubber under the heel, softer blown rubber under the forefoot.
Weight: 320 gms/ 11.3 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 9/UK 8/EUR 42.5/CM 27
Widths available: D – regular (reviewed), 2E – Wide, 4E – Extra wide
INTRODUCTION Asics Gel Cumulus 19 Running
The Cumulus 19 is the Japanese brand’s ‘budget Nimbus.’ Like the latter, it is a cushioned neutral trainer but minus many of the bells and whistles that the more expensive Nimbus comes boxed with.
At an MSRP of $120, the Cumulus 19 competes with the Brooks Ghost 10, the Nike Pegasus 34, the Saucony Ride 10, and many other mid-priced neutrals which occupy a similar price band.
For many years, the Asics Cumulus dutifully delivered what it was supposed to. The upper, while not super-plush, seldom gave any reason for complaint. The midsole packed ample cushioning, making it one of the many shoes suitable for long runs and general workouts of a relaxed nature.
The otherwise good-natured Cumulus changed last year. Misguided by some strange market trend, the Cumulus 18 squashed the toe-box shallow, making the new version a marked departure from the well-proportioned Cumulus 16 and 17 interiors.
ASICS Men’s Gel-Cumulus 19 Running Shoe
Do things change for 2017? Sadly, no. The Cumulus 19 not only features a shallow toe-box but also uses a more flimsy-looking upper.
And in what’s now an emerging trend (for Asics), the Cumulus 19 uses a midsole and outsole stack identical to the outgoing version.
In the past, each successive update introduced a brand-new midsole and outsole with a refreshed upper.
But the last few Asics we’ve reviewed – namely the Kayano 24 and now the Cumulus 19 – appear to indicate Asics’s new (cost-cutting) direction.
There’s nothing wrong with using the same sole design. Nike does this regularly, but then a shoe like the Pegasus undercuts others by $10. If Asics reuses parts or molds from a previous version, then the cost-benefit should be passed to the end-consumer as a lower MSRP.
If the toe-box is still shallow and the sole unit hasn’t changed, does it make sense for an existing Cumulus 18 user to upgrade? Not at all. We’ll save you the trouble of reading the rest of this review and tell you right away that there’s no value in swapping your 18 for the 19. It is a better idea to invest in Cumulus 18 deadstock and save money.
And if you can get your paws on the Cumulus 17, nothing like it.
DESIGN AND MATERIALS Asics Gel Cumulus 19
To say that Cumulus 19 has reduced the number of external overlays would be an understatement. Most upholstery is now either spacer mesh or knit fabric, with synthetic leather only providing coverage in select areas.
The lacing eyestay has synthetic, which is understandable given that this area needs additional reinforcement.
The external toe bumper seen on the past versions of the Cumulus is absent. Instead, there’s a combination of a micro-bumper near the toe-tip and a band-like strip that runs over the toe-box and forefoot.
This doesn’t mean that the front area lacks structure; reinforcement material is underneath the mesh.
Most synthetic layering is on the lateral/outer side of the midfoot. The inner midfoot is missing both the Asics logo and the synthetic panel seen on the previous Cumulus editions.
Much like the new trend of carrying over the sole design, removing inner midfoot layering seems ahead if the Kayano 24 and the Cumulus 19 are considered a yardstick.
Let’s be clear – Asics might tout the ‘cleaner’ midfoot as an ‘improvement,’ but it has no benefit on the fit quality. Similar to reusing the sole design, this change is purely a cost-cutting measure.
In Cumulus 19’s case, the flimsy midfoot area is more of a potential drawback than anything else. In this case, the silver lining is the improved ventilation over the Cumulus 18. We’ll devote more screen space to this topic in the durability section.
Most of the external heel area is covered with a knit fabric. This visually cleaner design replaces the synthetic strips, the molding, and the reflective details of the Cumulus 18. Reflectivity is a casualty here, as it downsizes from a couple of strips to a small logo.
The Cumulus 19 gets a new heel collar design. The prominent Achilles dip, a part of most Asics shoes, is replaced by a rounded collar design with a brand-new lining fabric. This update slightly lowers the heel height, but the generously padded collar counters any (potential) negative effect of the reduced size.
Tongue slides happen, so if you switch from a sleeved shoe like the Pegasus, mentally prepare yourself for this mild inconvenience. The tongue does not have a sleeve, and the flap uses a softer fabric – the same as the heel collar. And by the way, the tongue is slightly shorter than the Cumulus 18.
The interiors have a smooth feel. Like many modern-day running shoes, the Cumulus 19’s upper relies more on fused layers than stitched-on ones. While the insides aren’t entirely seamless, there aren’t any irritating bumps.
If you already have the Cumulus 18, you can skip this section because the sole unit hasn’t changed. But many of you might not be familiar with the series, so breaking down the finer aspects of the Cumulus 19’s sole unit is worth breaking down.
The midsole and outsole are based on the long-continuing Asics design template. This includes a top EVA foam layer, a couple of visible Gel windows, and a giant stack of EVA foam that acts as the primary midsole.
It’s worth mentioning that while the men’s and women’s Cumulus have the same 10 mm heel-to-toe drop, the women’s Cumulus has a softer upper midsole for increased softness.
Mind you. There isn’t much Gel inside the midsole. The forefoot windows are merely decorative; even the rear has a penny-sized unit. Hence, most of the Cumulus’s cushioning comes from the thick foam, not the Gel. This applies to more expensive Asics models such as the Nimbus, Kayano, and Quantum 360.
There’s a plastic shank under the midfoot, a feature that is now fast vanishing from the world of athletic footwear. As for the outsole, you get the standard layout of various rubber pieces separated by great grooves – placed in a sideways and lengthwise orientation.
The groove that runs the shoe’s length is what Asics markets as the ‘Guidance line,’ while the other tracks help with flexibility and ride transitions.
As for the outsole, the Cumulus uses slabs of soft-blown rubber under the forefoot, and the rear is shod with a more complex variety. This is designed because most of the running population are rearfoot strikers, so the rear needs to be more vital to withstand the abuse from heel strikes.
At the top lies a soft, blown foam insole. There’s another sheet of foam just below it, and both combine to give you the initial softness that most people experience while trying the shoe at the store.
We’re not sure what the next year will bring for the Cumulus 20. Since this is the second year running for the same midsole and outsole, the sole should update in 2018. But will the regular foam be replaced by the new Flytefoam? If that happens, the Cumulus 20’s ride will probably turn firmer yet more resilient.
The comprehensive ‘Guidance Line’ causes the forefoot rubber slabs’ edges to be exposed to a higher wear and tear rate. This is limited to the initial days, so this isn’t something to worry about from a long-term durability perspective. The midsole is made of regular EVA foam, so a flattening of ride quality should be expected after a few hundred miles.
The changes on the new Cumulus 19 upper are worrying, however. The inner midfoot is missing a lot of protective covering, last seen on the Cumulus 18, and the thin mesh is directly in contact with the midsole edge.
Based on experience, this design usually ends poorly for the upper. There’s a lot of weight applied by the foot in this area, and the lack of reinforcement could tear the mesh.
These are early days for the Cumulus 19, so we haven’t yet seen examples of the mesh failing. Nonetheless, this is a red flag from a durability viewpoint. We’ll update this review if we encounter premature mesh tears.
UPPER FIT AND FEEL
The toe-box of the Cumulus 19 is shallow and pointy. It is shallow because a synthetic band runs over the toe box in a semi-circular path. There’s an internal bumper, so the Cumulus retains its pointy toe-box profile.
This construction hems in the big toe; while the sensation isn’t uncomfortable, the toe box’s limited height is noticeable. The Cumulus 19’s toe box design reminds us of the Brooks Ravenna 6, which used a similar band design and produced an exact fit.
You should buy a half size larger than your regular size (or the same size as the Cumulus 18). Else there’s going to be a lack of interior space.
The Cumulus 19’s tongue is slightly shorter than the 18. The tongue has a lot of padding and offers adequate insulation from the lacing cinch. The heel-lock lacing (the last eyelet) will apply top-down pressure over the foot.
Regardless of the updated heel design, which appears straighter than the Cumulus 18, there’s no heel slippage. You miss the foam’ pockets’ of the older heel design, but that’s more of a sensory difference than a functional one.
The Cumulus 19 offers multiple widths, ranging from D (regular) to 4E. So if you’re unhappy with the snug forefoot, get a width to upsize.
Removing external layering makes the C-19 breathable, more so than the C-18.
RIDE QUALITY AND BEHAVIOR
The thick foam stack delivers nearly all of the Cumulus 19 cushioning. Asics Gel plays only a minor role in the ride behavior, as most of the Gel is more show than substance.
The soft feel underfoot results from the Ortholite insole, and the remaining foam layers have medium-soft cushioning. The Cumulus has never been a mushy shoe; the same applies to version 19.
Still, running fast in the Cumulus 19 feels somewhat laborious. It’s not just the thick midsole but the generously articulated outsole which slows down transitions. The outsole lugs mounted on a wide area of exposed foam deliver a cushioning (or ‘piston’) effect, but the trade-off is a somewhat slow transition quality.
The ‘Guidance Line’ demarcates two sides of the forefoot with a vast chasm, so the rubber edges feel lumpy – the same as Cumulus 18. Though this is less pronounced than some of the other Asics shoes we’ve reviewed, the abundance of flex grooves proves too much of a good thing.
Read Next – Asics Gel Kayano 24 Review
Nothing remarkable about the Cumulus 19’s ride quality, but there aren’t any glaring faults. It has enough cushioning for running up to a marathon, is moderately stable, and the outsole grips well.
The midsole works for both heel and forefoot strikers. Even with the 10 mm drop, the forefoot has adequate padding; the blown rubber outsole and the midsole work together to create soft landings or transitions, depending on your footstrike.
The following year’s Cumulus will likely feature a Flytefoam midsole, but for now, the midsole is made of regular EVA foam. So being responsive or bouncy isn’t one of the C-19’s characteristics; the ride feels padded but flat.
PROS AND CONS
If the shallow toe box of the Cumulus 19 doesn’t bother you, then the rest of the shoe isn’t bad. The midsole has enough padding without being overly soft, and the upper is breathable. The heel and tongue have a plush fit and feel, and the optional widths make it easier to find a Cumulus that fits you best.
Among the negatives, there’s the tongue slide, the unresponsive ride quality, the shallow front, and the flimsy upper build – especially over the inner midfoot. Lastly, let’s not forget that the Cumulus 19’s 11.3-ounce weight makes it the heaviest in its class.
CHANGES BETWEEN THE CUMULUS 19 AND CUMULUS 18
The Cumulus 19 reuses the Cumulus 18’s midsole and outsole, so there’s no difference in the ride quality. A few changes occur on the upper, but nothing makes the C-19 significantly different from the 18.
The toe area remains shallow, and the overall interior proportions resemble the C-18. The heel area and shorter tongue feel softer, thanks to the updated lining material, which feels smoother than the 18. And the loss of outer covering increases the 19’s breathability.
In the rear, the Achilles dip is toning down to a rounded profile, and the outer heel loses the molded details and reflectivity last seen on the C-18. The inner midfoot loses the synthetic panel.
Both versions match weight (the Cumulus 18 was 0.2-ounce lighter) and the retail price.
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UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE?
At a $40 premium is the Nimbus 19, a neutral trainer marketed as an upgrade from the Cumulus 19. A few years ago, the Nimbus had a softer ride and a plusher upper than the Cumulus. Today, while some parts of the upper – the heel and the tongue – feel more delicate than the Cumulus, the ride isn’t softer.
The Nimbus recently switched to a firmer Flytefoam midsole. The new design makes the N-19 much stronger than the older models, so the midsole density is similar to the Asics Gel Cumulus 19 review. However, a more resilient and responsive ride is different than the Cumulus. This is the result of the Flytefoam layer, which the Cumulus 19 does not have – yet.
At the lower end of the assortment is Pursue 3. It’s a bargain Cumulus, offering a firmer ride with a trimmed-down material package.
The Pursue 3 doesn’t appear widely available, so consider the Roadhawk FF as an alternative. The Roadhawk is a neutral trainer with a 10 mm heel drop and a full-length Flytefoam midsole.
Recommending a three-shoe rotation for the Cumulus 19 is relatively easy. The cushioned Cumulus 19 is suitable for long and easy runs, so pairing that up with a firmer and lighter Dynaflyte makes perfect sense.
The Dynaflyte is excellent for fast training runs and even races up to a marathon. For shorter races, the Asics Hyperspeed 7 will get the job done.
Do you not want an Asics shoe overload? Then consider the New Balance 1400V5 as your short-race shoe and the excellent Adidas Boston 6 as a Dynaflyte substitute.
SIMILAR NEUTRAL CUSHIONED SHOES
There’s plenty of competition in the mid-priced neutral cushioning category, so the Cumulus 19 doesn’t seem to offer great value once you look beyond the Asics assortment. The Asics Cumulus 19 stands for nothing and is an ordinary shoe with mediocrity emanating from its 11.3-ounce weight and shallow fitting upper.
For example, if you want a combination of a plush upper and a supportive yet cushioned ride, the identically priced Brooks Ghost 10 is the shoe. Need lots of soft cushioning with an ultra-durable outsole? That’ll be the Adidas Supernova, sir.
The Nike Pegasus 34 is the lowest priced in this category and offers excellent value. The ride is cushioned and responsive, and the sleeved upper fits better. The Saucony Ride 10 is also a fantastic shoe, its passage offering a touch of Everun responsiveness and smooth transitions.
Don’t need a soft ride? The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 delivers a unique, Wave Plate-powered ride under a spacious upper. And if you wanted something ‘traditional,’ the New Balance 880V7 is an underrated performer.
And now, in its third year, the UnderArmour Speedform Gemini 3’s ride is smooth and cushioned, the same as the previous versions.
So you see, all other shoes seem to have a character in one form or another. And what does the Asics Gel Cumulus 19 Review have, except that it’s an Asics? Amidst all the running shoe newness, the Cumulus 19 struggles to make a compelling case for itself.
This is all for Asics Gel Cumulus 19 Review