Asics Novablast 2 review and lab test

Asics Novablast 2 is a neutral daily trainer built around comfort. It just feels good on your foot and it’s a joy to run in (especially if you like steeper drop shoes). 

This is a great upgrade from the original Novablast. It’s more stable, the tongue is gusseted, and the laces are better. 

Asics Novablast 2 pieces of the shoe

Who the shoe is (not) for 

Buy the Novablast 2 if you are looking for a neutral running shoe that’s:

  • heavily cushioned 
  • soft, springy, and comfortable in all the right ways. 

The updates from the original make this shoe much more agreeable, so if you liked V1, you’ll dig the changes, if you didn’t like V1 give V2 a chance before you write it off. 

Don’t buy the Asics Novablast 2 if you’re looking for a: 

  • superlight and a fast running shoe, or 
  • flatter fitting shoe with a ground feel. 

This shoe is very tall in the heel, making the drop seem exaggerated, beyond my liking. Check out the Hoka Clifton 7, Saucony Triumph 18, or the New Balance 1080 V11  if you are interested in something similar from other brands. 

Go half a size down 

The shoe feels a half size too big, but I didn’t have any heel slip or complaints.

Asics Novablast 2 profile photo

I think I could have sized down a touch. 

Novablast 2 is LONG

Also, at 305.8mm it’s the longest shoe we’ve ever tested (the average shoe length so far has been 295.8mm). My calipers maxed out and I only measured to the dip in the slight swallowtail on the back. 

Length of Asics Novablast 2

It isn’t noticeable as you run, but there’s a lot of junk in this trunk!

Asics Novablast 2 hugs your feet

What I appreciated most about the fit of the Novablast 2 is the wide toe box that has ample room for my fat feet and a really well-done gusseted tongue. The gussets are made from a buttery soft, stretchy nylon that’s non-intrusive and hugs your foot without being constricting. 

Shoes in this category are meant for long runs and daily efforts, which means it needs to be comfortable. 

The Novablast 2 is no different and nails the comfort aspect. The plush but breathable upper hugs your foot and fits like a glove. 

Perfect foot lockdown 

There’s plenty of room up front for your toes to splay, but no movement anywhere else. 

  • I had no heel slip. 
  • The midfoot was snug thanks to the gusseted tongue. 
  • I didn’t have to lace this shoe up very tight. 

It’s not a high-performance shoe per se, it’s meant for cruiser runs.

But, even at a 5 min pace this shoe comfortably stayed put on my foot without it being too tight. 

Ride 

The FF Blast midsole is a joy to run on, it’s both springy and soft underfoot and has enough cushioning to be ideal on long runs or recovery days.

It’s the second softest midsole foam we’ve tested at 19.3HA on the durometer in the forefoot, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run being the softest.

However, the Novablast 2 is considerably more stable and less bouncy than the Nike. 

Asics Novablast 2 midsole design

For comparison: 

  • The average softness of the midsole is 26.5, 
  • Nike ZoomX Invincible Run scored 14.2,
  • The stiffest shoe was On Cloudswift 2.0 which scored 38.7 on the durometer. 

One big concern I had before lacing up the Novablast 2 was if it would continue to have the stability issues its predecessor had. I’m happy to report that Asics tuned in V2 with a much more stable ride. This is the best update for the shoe in my opinion. 

Asics Novablast 2 is too tall

The heel feels too tall in my opinion, giving this shoe a steeper drop than I’d like. Asics claims this shoe’s offset is just 8mm (down from 10mm in the original version), but our lab tests show this to be almost double the stated value at 13.7mm. The average heel drop measured in our lab is 7.6mm. 

Half of Asics Novablast 2

According to ASICS, they don’t include outsole/sockliner in stack measurements, but in our opinion you have to, it’s still material underfoot, and at 39.3mm in the heel the Novablast 2 is tall. 

We haven’t had such a tall running shoe in our lab ever. The 2nd tallest is Nike Invincible Run (38.1mm) and the average heel stack height is 32.3mm. 

Novablast 2 is a cruiser shoe

The Novablast 2 is best used on long slower runs, recovery runs, and daily training efforts where you want to give your legs a bit of a break. 

Asics Novablast 2 has a questionable grip 

The outsole on the Novablast 2 is thin at just 2.55mm (compared to the 3.9mm average), and although it’s a cool tie-dye design, it’s not overly textured.

Outsole thickness on Asics Novablast 2

I ran after large snowmelt, so trails and roads were wet, and there were times I was untrusting of the outsole. 

Forefoot outsole on Asics Novablast 2

If the outsole wears down at all, because it’s so thin, you’d have some issue for sure with grip once that softer midsole becomes exposed.  

Break-in period not needed

The shoe itself required no break-in, but getting used to the steep drop feeling did. Everything else was great right out of the box. 

Novablast 2 is a bit heavy

I will complain about the weight a bit, I have to find something else to complain about anyway right? 

Weight of the Asics Novablast 2

At 9.9 ounces (281g) in men’s US 9, it’s not that light. I think Asics can continue to tune this shoe and drop some weight to make it a bit more versatile. 

Long life ahead

The shoe is made well, it should go 300-500 miles no problem. I even struggled a bit to break this shoe apart with a razor knife. 

Asics Novablast 2 outsole

I don’t think the upper will degrade, but the soft midsole may pack out early. However, with almost 40mm in the heel, you should have plenty of cushion to work through before it’s time to retire these. 

YES for breathability on Novablast 2

The upper is a woven mesh, very Asics-like, and has large vent holes.

Upper holes on Asics Novablast 2

It is breathable and should be acceptable year-round. 

Even laces are plushy

One other update that I want to mention, Asics updated the lace from a round lace to a flat lace, which works better.

Laces on Asics Novablast 2

I know it’s a small detail, but replacing laces on a brand new shoe is a bummer. 

The lace follows suit to the rest of the shoe, it’s plush, and at 2mm thick, it’s a pretty thick flat lace, which can make it harder to keep tight, so I recommend still using a double knot.

Night-run friendly 

There are 2 long reflective elements at the back of the shoe so people behind you will notice you. 

Reflective elements on Asics Novablast 2

Complete lab-specs overview 

Asics Novablast 2
Weight - Left (g) 272
Weight - Right (g)  276
Weight - Insole (g) 20
Weight - Lace (g)  3.8
Length - Overall (mm) 305.8
Length - Insole (mm) 282.55
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 111.3
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 90.7
Width Midsole - Middle (mm) 65.2
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 98.8
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 78
Width Upper - Middle (mm) 76.1
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 25.6
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 39.3
Stack - Forefoot without insole (mm) 21.7
Stack - Heel without insole (mm) 34.14
Insole Thickness (mm) 4
Drop (mm) 13.7
Outsole thickness (Forefoot) (mm) 2.55
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 2.55
Lugs Depth (mm) N/A
Laces (without stretch) (inches) 47.5
Laces (with stretch) (inches) 55.5
Lace Stretch  16.84%
Laces - Thickness (Height) (mm) 2
Laces - Width (mm) 5.8
Room temperature (F) 60.4
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Room temperature) (HC) 77.0
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 83.2
Outsole % of change from Heel to Forefoot (Room temperature) 8.01%
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Room temperature) (HA) 19.3
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Room temperature) (HA) N/A
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 19.2
Durometer Insole (Room temperature) (HA) 26.3
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 25.1
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) (HC) 84.2
Durometer Outsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) (HC) 85.2
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) (HA) 24.5
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Freezer 1 hour) (HA) N/A
Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) (HA) 22.3
Durometer Insole (Freezer 1 hour) (HA) 32.3
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 1 hour) (N) 37.8
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 9.31%
Durometer Outsole Heel (% change with temperature) 2.40%
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 26.72%
Durometer Midsole Heel (% change with temperature) 16.52%
Durometer Insole (% change with temperature) 22.78%
Flexibility of the shoe (% change with temperature) 50.64%
Thickness - Heel Counter/Insert (mm) 1.6
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Front) (mm) 8.3
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Middle) (mm) 11.1
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Back) (mm) 13.4
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 3
Flexibility of the heel counter (N) 85.9
Lace slip test with the knot (N) 16.7
Longitudinal flexibility (0-5,0 being the stiffest) 3
Torsional flexibility (0-5, 0 being the stiffest) 3
Heel counter material Starched fabric
Tongue: gusset type both sides
Tongue gusset material Stretchy nylon
Laces: profile  Flat
Laces: material Nylon
Laces: extra hole  yes
Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole  yes
Heel: pull tab  none
Insole: removable yes
Control devices:
Multi-density midsole
Rigid heel counter
Elevated medial insole under arch
Supportive tensioned medial upper
Medial flare
Thermoplastic medial post

no
yes
yes
yes
yes
no

How minimalist the shoe is in % 24

Note: all the tests were done on a men's shoe US size 9. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 280g / Women 242g
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: Men 22mm / Women 21mm
Heel height: Men 30mm / Women 29mm
Collection: Asics Flyte Foam

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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.