Our verdict

We found the NOBULL Aspire (previously known as Knit Runner) to be a comfy athleisure /jogging option with an eye-catching design. It may be struggling with competition in the performance running shoe segment, but we had cozy rides during our shorter daily miles and walks. If unique looks and comfort are a priority for you, this could be a worthy investment.


  • Well-cushioned
  • Works for all-day wear
  • Stretchy sock-like upper
  • Long-lasting outsole
  • Simple yet attractive design
  • Grippy outsole
  • Reflective elements


  • Lacks stability
  • Not for wide feet
  • Quite expensive

Audience verdict


Who should buy the NOBULL Aspire

The NOBULL Aspire is a one-of-a-kind running shoe that is likely to make you happy if:

  • you want a comfortable daily trainer that easily doubles for all-day wear
  • you enjoy knit, sock-like uppers
  • you have a preference for niche brands and non-mass-market shoe models (these also get you lots of attention)


Who should NOT buy the shoe

If you want a serious running shoe to tackle daily miles, run some long distances on the weekend, or train for a marathon, we believe that you are better off with shoes like:

And if you prefer something speedier and springier, we recommend checking out Saucony Endorphin Speed 2. Same price but a huge difference in performance.


A well-cushioned daily running shoe

Overall, we found the Aspire's cushioning to be quite comfortable for everyday runs. However, it is not as soft as many of our tested road shoes.

With a durometer measurement of 30.9 HA, this NOBULL shoe is 23% firmer than the average!

Disclaimer: the photo below shows one out of five durometer measurements that we took.


But the good news is that the foam on the NOBULL doesn't get much firmer after being exposed to cold temperatures. It only gets 4.1% firmer, whereas most shoes firm up by 21.8%.


Measuring the shoe's stack height, we got 31.8 mm in the heel and 19.8 mm in the forefoot. This is a little lower than average, especially in the forefoot (about 5 mm less!) but gives the shoe a higher-than-average drop of 12 mm.


This means that more cushioning is concentrated at the back which is a normal drop for daily running shoes as well as walking shoes.


Aspire works perfectly for all-day wear

Apart from running, we can see how this NOBULL shoe can be comfortably used for all-day wear and coaching. We never experienced foot fatigue, even after wearing the Aspire for extended periods of time.

Not a summer shoe

Breathability doesn't seem to be the Aspire's strongest point. While the knit upper lets some air pass through, it is still running a bit behind most running shoes.

You can see how porous the knit material is in our light test below.

Knitty comfort around your foot

This NOBULL shoe's knit upper makes it feel a lot like a woven blanket, offering a comfy, seamless, and secure feel. It kind of reminds of Adidas’s Primeknit.


Contributing to the comfort, there is some strategically placed internal padding around the ankle.


If you happen to have a bunion, the Aspire’s upper stretches enough to kindly accommodate that.


On the downside, it’s not the most stable and supportive shoe

However, that same stretchiness of the upper can become a problem. It doesn’t seem to provide enough structure to keep the foot securely locked in place. This made us feel as if our feet were spilling over the edges of the shoe a bit.

That sensation is amplified by the fact that the shoe's platform is also narrower than average. Measuring it with a caliper, we found that it is critically narrower! By 8.2 mm in the forefoot and by 5.3 mm in the heel.


Should we mention that the shoe's heel counter and collar also fall short of providing the needed support?

But the bottom line is that the above-mentioned makes the NOBULL Aspire a no-go for:

  • wide feet
  • uneven terrain and agility work

Outsole is a nice surprise

The NOBULL has really got its outsole game right! After 30 miles of run tests, the Aspire proved to be so tough in the outsole that we could barely see any signs of wear!

In the lab, we found that the shoe's outsole is actually thicker than what we are used to seeing in running shoes. It is a whopping 4.1 mm, given that the average is 3.5 mm.


The outsole rubber is by far one of the firmest ones we've encountered, with a durometer measurement of 87 HC. This is 10% denser than the average.


We are also intrigued by the shoe's toothy outsole treading and its ability to grip. What is especially cool about it is that it doesn’t even let the small pebbles get stuck at the bottom of the shoes.


There is plenty of flex too

We are glad that despite having a thick rubber outsole, the shoe does not feel heavy or blocky. It actually remains rather soft, flexible, and easy on the feet.

The NOBULL Aspire is definitely in the flexible range. Based on our force gauge measurement, it turns out to be 72% bendier than the average!

The shoe's flexibility makes it feel quite natural underfoot. There was no stiffness or aggressive rocker to propel us forward but in turn, we experienced pretty neutral heel-to-toe transitions.

NOBULL Aspire combines simplicity and uniqueness in its design

Visual appearance is definitely among the most notable things about the Aspire. So, even if it doesn't work out as a running shoe for some reason, it still has a solid plan B of being one's stylish casual sneaker.


It has a clean, no-frills design that is also capable of collecting compliments as you go!


The fact that laces become reflective in low-light conditions is a nice bonus.

It’s a lot to pay for a “non-performance” running shoe

For $160 with no discounts, we believe that you can get a much more reliable running shoe for less.

However, if you mostly need a shoe for shorter runs below 5K and also want it to double for your day-to-day use, the Aspire could work. Especially if you are hooked on its visual appeal and overall cozy feel.