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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > ASICS Gel Cumulus running shoes > Owner Review by Andre Corterier

ASICS Gel Cumulus running shoes
BY ANDRÉ CORTERIER
OWNER REVIEW
December 31, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: André Corterier
EMAIL: andre.corterier@freenet.de
AGE: 35
LOCATION: Bonn, Germany
GENDER: m
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 176 lb (80.00 kg)
CHEST 100 cm (39.5 in)
WAIST 84 cm (33 in)
STD. CLOTHING SIZE L
SHOE SIZE 11-12 (US), 46 (EUR)

I have started out with backpacking slowly – single-day 24 km (15 mi) jaunts by myself or even shorter hikes in the company of my little daughter. I am getting started on longer hikes, as a lightweight packer and hammock-camper. I’ve begun upgrading my old gear and now carry a dry FSO weight (everything carried From the Skin Out except food, fuel and water) of less than 9 kg (22 lb) for three-season camping.

PRODUCT INFORMATION Asic Gel Cumulus running shoes (used)

Manufacturer: Asics
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website: www.asics.com
MSRP: US$ 90
Listed Weight: 11.5 oz (326 g) (assumed per shoe, size not given)
Measured Weight: 16.23 oz (460 g) (per shoe, size 13)

FIELD USE

I have worn these shoes a LOT. I initially bought these as running shoes, and have used them extensively in this function. I have also worn them as my casual pair of sneakers a lot. Having done so, I sometimes just left them on when I left for a spontaneous day hike. I have progressed from there to wearing them more and more on the trail. My longest trail experience with these was one week spent on the Rheinsteig (Rhine Trail) in Germany, during which time I walked roughly 210 km (130 mi) in them, with about 8000 m (26000 ft) of elevation changes. I have worn these shoes in temps from -5 C to 35 C (23 F to 95 F) and all sorts of rain, across terrain both smooth and rugged, dry and soggy, level and steep. These shoes have gotten wet on my feet and dried on my feet.

While I have other shoes which I also find very comfortable, unless forced to by conditions (rain etc.) I wear the Asics Gel Cumulus running shoes to hike in.

Temperature Range:
I've found that these shoes do not insulate my feet much. That is good in higher temperatures, less so in the lower ones. Below freezing (and even just above), I've found thick socks (or even two pairs worn over each other) helpful. At just above freezing, thick hiking socks and a brisk walking speed kept my feet (and the rest of me) warm enough, thank you. But below freezing these shoes are still decent running shoes (though they confer no grip whatsoever on icy surfaces), but at slower speeds my feet quickly freeze.

Toward the high temperatures, anything up to and including the high twenties C (say 80 F) is fine. The thin mesh upper makes for good moisture transfer to the outside, so as long as the socks worn in them do a good job of wicking the moisture away from my feet in the first place, I've been comfortable. At higher temperatures, my feet start swimming. At a reported 35 C (95 F) - in the shade, which unfortunately wasn't where I was walking - they were drowning.

I find this a rather broad temperature range and have been happy with it. No complaints there at all.

Precipitation (etc.):
After the dunking, having walked the shoes nearly dry These shoes do nothing to keep moisture out (except help it evaporate quickly). So in the rain, the mesh upper gets soaked pretty quickly, and after that my feet get wet. This has happened a number of times already. I've tried using an aftermarket water repellent treatment, but that didn't seem to change anything (maybe I used it wrong - by the time I found out it hadn't helped, I'd thrown the package away).

There are two factors which mitigate this finding, however. One is the fact that the shoes do not seem to change their comfort level to the worse when wet. Except for the squelching sounds and the fact that the shoes feel a few degrees colder than the ambient temperature would seem to suggest, they work wet just as well as dry. The other good thing is that they dry quickly, and will even dry on my feet while I walk (once it's stopped raining, that is). On my Rheinsteig hike, I got totally soaked by hard rain and hail. I kept the shoes on (with wet socks, too) and kept walking briskly for two or three more hours, trying to warm myself up (and dry the clothes on my body). This worked pretty well, even thought the temperatures hovered around 10 C (50 F). While the shoes weren't bone dry after that, they weren't sodden any more, either. I hung them from the ridge line of my hammock that night and they felt pretty dry the next morning.

Cushioning:
Well, whether it's a gel pack or an air pad between me and the ground, running shoes - to me - seem to be the most comfortable shoes around. These are no exception. I truly feel like I'm walking on clouds - the thick, heaped eponymous ones, too. My other hiking shoes have less in the way of cushioning between my feet and the trail, yet I've always found them sufficient. Even with my light hiking shoes, I've never been tempted to carry "camp shoes" with me on a trip. If I had, I'd probably taken my running shoes...
So it seems that I save a lot of weight with these!

Weight:
They weigh what I say they did up top, of course. I felt it opportune to mention at this point that these are the lightest pair of shoes I have by several ounces (100 g or so). The shoe manufacturers invariably seem to base their given weights on the smaller sizes. I'm generally between size 11 and 12 in shoes, which means I go for size 12 in hiking shoes, but was told to go even higher for running shoes. I've never regretted it. These seem to fit like a glove. In my experience, they are very lightweight for a pair of shoes in size 13.

Comfort:
Their comfort, apart from their excellent cushioning, is very good as well. I can lace them tightly or less so depending on my perceived needs at the time. Rugged terrain and fast travel make me go towards tighter lacing (and - particularly! - steep inclines and declines), while smooth trails and leisurely paces make me relax the lacing as much as it relaxes myself. I've never had a blister in these shoes (of course, I wear them with decent socks - no hiking in cotton socks for me). I've had a few hotspots during the latter third of long, hard hiking days in high temperatures. Airing the shoes (and my feet!) out for a few minutes and a change of socks usually let me continue soon thereafter without any problems.

Durability:
I'm impressed with the way the shoes have held up. I'm guesstimating (with a rather significant margin of error, I'm afraid) that I've put about 1500+ km (1000 mi) on these shoes. I've read somewhere that after 1000 km (620 mi) or so one should get a new pair of running shoes because the midsole etc. begin to break down, with a concurrent loss of support for the foot. I do not know whether this was cooked up by the shoe manufacturing industry to keep us consumers retooling at higher speed and of course do not know whether this is happening - I can't see any such indication. With the exception of the top of the toe protection becoming partially unglued on my right shoe and a few blemishes where my feet tend to contact each other while I walk, these shoes show no significant signs of wear. I'm impressed - the sole does not seem to continue coming off, and other shoes I have show much more significant damage at my feet's contact spot after much lower mileage.

On the Rheinsteig, across from the Marksburg

Traction:
I have nothing good or bad to report in this section. Their traction seems no worse than my dedicated trail shoes, though a look at the sole seem to indicate that they're not meant for cross country use. They don't do anything for me on ice and very little on snow, but that wasn't unexpected at all. They do comparatively okay on muddy ground - better than I had initially feared. On smooth, dry surfaces they're excellent, but then I've never had a pair of shoes which had problems there.

Looks:
The one thing I really don't like about these shoes is their stupid shiny silvery appearance. If I could get a pair in subdued nature colours (without reflective tabs, too) I'd be totally happy.

Next Steps:
This is the second pair of these shoes that I own. The earlier one was in dark blue - didn't look like a hiking shoe, either, but looked a lot less bad. But I liked them so much that when they began to look quite unappealing due to accumulated damage (though much of it cosmetic), I bought another one. Finding these on sale was an added bonus. I may well go for another pair of these with my next shoes, though I'm still thinking of maybe going to a very similar one with a more subdued "look".

SUMMARY

Excellent running and hiking shoes. Not waterproof, but very durable and comfortable and light. Not easy on the eyes, though.

This report was created with some help by the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of ASICS gear
Read more gear reviews by Andre Corterier

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