Verdict: Now, this is what we call fun! The Asics Novablast is really springy (trampoline-like) and comfortable, we'd take it anytime for our long-distance runs and tempo sessions. Where it runs to a problem is that the cushioned midsole renders the ride unstable. But in other news, it's a true and solid Asics when it comes to the durability department - it's built to last!
This is not a usual Asics shoe, actually, as one expert said it’s “the anti-Asics Asics”.
It’s no surprise then that this shoe was, well, a surprise: “I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did”, “exciting experience”, “a new and exciting take”, “not your typical shoe [from Asics]”.
Seems like it was fun because it was unexpected. But it just wasn’t enough for experts to go from liking the shoe to loving it. It’s a fun Asics shoe but nothing more.
Who should buy Asics Novablast
Recommended for runners looking for an exciting and cushioned shoe with a really bouncy ride. It’s better for more experienced runners, especially those looking for a shoe for long distances and tempo runs.
Without exception, it’s for runners with neutral pronation and those who run on even and flat surfaces.
Who should NOT buy Asics Novablast
Look away if you are:
A heel striker
Running on grass, track, mud, uphills and downhills
If you’re up for a race-ready and a premium shoe, Asics Metaracer is a good start.
Almost a trampoline: this is THE reason to buy it
The cushioning in Asics Novablast midsole offers the “trampoline-like” experience. This is the shining star of the shoe: “the midsole is what really sold me on this shoe” and “I was sold on the cushioning”.
The most common adjective used by ALL the experts to describe this shoe is “bouncy”:
“Feels springy and very energetic”
“Fun and bouncy”
“Highest energy return to date” among Asics shoes.
One expert even said that it offers a “Hoka feeling”.
All experts agree: this is not a stable shoe. There is a lateral movement you don’t want in a running shoe.
Experts said it has “a lot of lateral movement”. One reviewer even said he felt like he was a “pigeon toeing [himself] while running”. If you're an Asics fan, you should know that Novablast won’t make you feel “as surefooted as a traditional Asics”.
It is especially unstable:
For heel strikers (“always moving around every footstrike”, “strictly for those with a neutral gait”),
When turning (“the second you come at a turn or a corner things get wobbly”), and
On an uneven terrain (“on the grass, where it is unpaved, it was the worst”).
Size: Runs too long and wide (forget foot-hugging fit)
Experts have reported that there’s too much room, especially in the toe box.
All this led to a bad lockdown where experts felt slippage, “occasional feeling of instability”, “sliding about within the shoe”, “not a solid lockdown”.
If you buy a regular size, try different lacing techniques, or
Try half a size smaller shoe.
Smooth & energetic ride in the Novablast
Even though it looks weird, the new midsole provides a smooth and deeply cushioned ride. It offers a “fast turnover with a soft landing” and a “great toe-off”. Heel-to-toe transfer feels smooth and the shoe simply propels you forward effortlessly.
However, a few experts have mentioned that Novablast’s ride offers a “less rolling effect” that Asics EvoRide and Asics GlideRide are famous for.
You need to get used to it
Since it’s unstable and cushioned like hell, you need time to learn to run in this shoe. It is “radically different”. Experts have said that it needs breaking in for at least 20-30 miles and that cushioning did “take some time to get used to”.
Their first thoughts were “I’m not ready for this” and “This is not going to work”. The shoe takes its time to impress you.
One expert went as far as to say it “seems like a prototype”. You’ve been warned.
Works on flat AND even surfaces only
Due to its unstable design, it’s not recommended to run in Novablasts outside of asphalt and concrete. Grass, track, mud, dirt are out of the question.
Also, not even one expert had a positive experience running uphill and downhill in Asics Novablast shoes.
Perfect for long distances and tempo runs
Testers threw everything at this shoe, from fast runs, easy runs, to middle and long-distance runs. The verdict: Asics Novablast performs the best when used for long slow distances and tempo runs.
It might work for easy runs, but won’t for sprints.
Thick, yet breathable
Given the amount of materials used (“a lot of going on in the upper”), it’s surprising to hear it also has “good airflow” and “high breathability”.
Familiar Asics durability
Experts have predicted that this shoe will last for at least 300-450 miles. Even after 100 miles, they haven’t seen serious signs of wear. One expert went as far as to say it’s “exceptionally durable”.
Heel drop you can’t ignore
10mm. It “feels substantial” and experts “felt it immediately”.
Novablast feels lighter than it looks
“Isn’t heavy considering the stack”,
“Lightweight for a long slow distance trainer”,
“Surprisingly lightweight given the amount of stack”.
What this all means is that experts love how Novablast feels lighter than expected.
In a men’s size 9, it weighs 9.2oz (261g). Given the average of 9.8oz for all running shoes in the RunRepeat database, it’s not a lightweight running shoe, but still, a good result given the amount of cushioning.
High price tag
75% of experts’ comments on the price refer to this shoe as pricey. They’ve used these exact words: “pretty expensive”, “damn expensive”.
Also worth mentioning
Two experts mentioned laces being too thin and not elastic enough.
Half of the experts didn’t like the design of Asics Novablast and have described it as a “small disappointment” and “dated”.
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.