Asics Gel Nimbus 26 VS Hoka Clifton 9: What Should I Buy?

Looking for a comfortable daily running shoe that can go the distance? The Asics Gel Nimbus 26 and Hoka Clifton 9 are two of the most popular neutral cushioned trainers on the market. Both shoes provide exceptionally soft and plush rides, making them great options for recovery days and long runs.

But with similarities in cushioning and price, it can be tough to choose between the two. Keep reading as we break down the key differences between the Asics Gel Nimbus 26 and Hoka Clifton 9 in this head-to-head comparison.

Similarities And Differences Between Gel Nimbus 26 And Clifton 9:

FeatureAsics Gel Nimbus 26Hoka Clifton 9
Launched In20242023
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingRuns smallTrue to size
Weight11oz (men’s)9.5oz (men’s)
CushioningPlush, softPlush, soft
OutsoleAHAR+ rubberRubber
MidsoleFlyteFoamCMEVA foam
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$160$145

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Asics Gel Nimbus 26 uses a breathable engineered mesh material in the upper to allow airflow to the foot. The midsole is made of FlyteFoam, a lightweight and responsive foam, while the outsole uses AHAR+ rubber for durability.

Asics Gel-Nimbus 26
NIMBUS 26

Clifton 9
CLIFTON 9

The Hoka Clifton 9 also utilizes an engineered mesh upper for breathability. The midsole is constructed with CMEVA foam, Hoka’s signature soft and resilient foam. The outsole is made of durable rubber.

Durability:

Both the Nimbus 26 and Clifton 9 are built to last, thanks to premium materials in the upper and outsole. The AHAR+ rubber in the Nimbus 26 is specifically designed for long-lasting wear, while the Clifton 9’s rubber outsole also holds up well over time. The Nimbus 26 may have a slight edge in overall durability.

Fit:

The Nimbus 26 runs small, so sizing up half a size is recommended for a better fit. It has a snugger fit through the midfoot and heel.

Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 Top view
NIMBUS 26 TOP VIEW

Clifton 9 Top View
CLIFTON 9 TOP VIEW

The Clifton 9 runs true to size for most runners. It has a wider toe box than the Nimbus but still provides a secure midfoot wrap.

Stability:

As neutral shoes, neither the Nimbus 26 nor the Clifton 9 provide pronation control. Both are best for neutral runners rather than overpronators. The Nimbus offers a slightly more stable platform while the Clifton favors flexibility over stability.

Cushioning:

Plush, soft cushioning is the highlight of both the Nimbus 26 and Clifton 9. The Nimbus uses FlyteFoam technology for responsive yet cushioned support through the entire gait cycle. The Clifton 9 utilizes CMEVA foam to deliver a forgiving, comfortable ride. For runners seeking cloud-like cushioning, both deliver.

Value:

With a $160 retail price, the Nimbus 26 costs $15 more than the $145 Clifton 9. Both shoes utilize premium technologies and high-quality materials which make the prices reasonable.

The extra durability and stability of the Nimbus 26 helps justify its slightly higher price point. Taking features into account, both shoes deliver good value but the Clifton 9 gives you a bit more for your money.

Performance Comparison:

Walking:

The plush cushioning of the Nimbus 26 and Clifton 9 makes walking in both shoes enjoyable and comfortable. The Nimbus offers a touch more stability which some walkers may prefer, but the flexible Clifton is also adept at low-impact walking. Overall, both are excellent options for walking shoes.

Running:

The Nimbus 26 provides responsive cushioning and a smooth, stable ride that adapts well to many types of runs. The Clifton 9 offers incredibly soft cushioning that excels at absorbing impact, resulting in a comfortable run.

For mid to long-distance runs, most runners will be happy with either shoe. The Nimbus has a slight edge for speedwork due to its responsiveness.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The plush cushioning in both models helps provide ample shock absorption and pressure relief for runners with plantar fasciitis. However, the Clifton 9’s extra soft foam is especially effective at reducing heel pain associated with PF. Its additional arch support is also beneficial, making the Clifton a great choice for irritated feet.

Standing All Day:

Cushioning and support are crucial for standing all-day comfort, making both shoes solid options. However, the Nimbus 26 keeps feet happier for longer periods of standing thanks to its stability and ample forefoot cushioning. For nurses, retail clerks, and others on their feet for hours, the Nimbus gets the nod.

Final Verdict:

For runners seeking a well-cushioned neutral trainer with everyday versatility, both the Asics Gel Nimbus 26 and Hoka Clifton 9 are excellent choices. The Nimbus is the more durable, stable option while the Clifton prioritizes softness and flexibility.


If you prefer a responsive ride for faster paces, go with the Nimbus 26. Its FlyteFoam midsole provides bounce while retaining softness. For those needing superior shock absorption or struggling with PF, the Clifton 9 takes the prize with its ultra-plush CMEVA cushioning.

No matter which shoe you choose, you’ll get standout comfort, cushioning, and quality. But deciding what’s most important to you between flexibility vs. stability and softness vs responsiveness can help you choose the best option. With smart trade-offs, the Nimbus 26 and Clifton 9 deliver an exceptional ride for neutral runners.

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