Looking at it from a pilot’s perspective, it would appear to be a poor trade. Cumulus are gentle, cotton-looking fair weather clouds that simply reflect the presence of vertical instability and rising warm air. Nimbus, on the other hand, relate to rain as in the case of nimbostratus – dark, massive rain clouds often associated with bad weather and embedded within storm systems.

But hey, I was not looking at this from a paragliding angle, it was the  runner in me that needed new shoes. So when the rather flashy Asics GEL-Nimbus 12 arrived yesterday, hoped like an excited flea and immediately went on a 10K test run.

Sized exactly like my previous pair of shoes, they fitted me like gloves right out of the box, and will even improve after a couple of runs thanks to the use of memory foam to better adjust to foot shape. The Nimbus 12 are a pleasure to wear and indeed reminded me of running on a cloud. They aren’t cheap, being at the top of their line, but aren’t that expensive either and can usually be bought online at close to 20% off the suggested retail. They are advertised as neutral-cushioning shoes and recommended for runners with normal to high arches looking for a bit of added stability, but I’ve even read reviews of pleasantly surprised mild overpronators who enjoyed the ride.

I know that a lot has been said recently against modern running shoes that would encourage a departure from what our body is anatomically designed for, and preaching a return to a more natural running style, i.e. barefoot, but I must say that wearing the new Asics beats anything I could imagine in terms of comfort and enjoyment. 

What remains to be seen is how they will affect my form in the long run, pardon the pun, and whether neck and shoulder pain will be somehow alleviated – if they were related in the first place. But this is very encouraging and I am launching into the next running chapter with great relief and high hopes. 

Next on the running list: South African trails, fynbos and solitude.