Our verdict

Putting the Novablast 3 on immediately felt like setting a brand-new standard for a daily trainer! We found it to be an exceptionally comfortable daily running shoe that can go fast and can go far. What's more, we felt as if we could even race in it in our next marathon too. Talk about versatility! And if you just want a light shoe that won't drag you down, the ASICS Novablast 3 is the all-rounder you need.

Pros

  • Super bouncy
  • Cushy feel for miles
  • Breathable
  • Light AF
  • Ready for cornering
  • Locks you in
  • Tongue stays in place
  • Grippy outsole
  • Mad durable
  • Sets the bar for a do-it-all shoe

Cons

  • For narrow-to-medium feet only
  • Stack heights higher than advertised

Audience verdict

91
Superb!

Who should buy

This shoe can do many things. And if you're eyeing a shoe that's any of the following, we think that the Novablast 3 might be the one for you: 

  • a running shoe for jogs and long, slow runs 
  • a daily trainer that's light and responsive for uptempo training 
  • a solid option for marathon runs

Asics-Novablast-3-review

Who should NOT buy

Even though we find the ASICS Novablast 3 to be nearly perfect, it still has a few caveats here and there. One, it's a tad narrow. And two, it's more expensive now by £20.

If you need a little more wiggle room, have a look at Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. And if you want a shoe that won't break the bank, the Brooks Launch 10 is a budget option that will surprise you.

Breathability

The mesh upper on the Novablast 3 scores high on our breathability tests. You can see how much more smoke passes through it compared to the ASICS Kayano 29 on the right.

But on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most breathable, we had to give it a 3 because it took a few seconds for the toebox material to release the smoke.

You can also see how porous the upper is not only in the toebox but all throughout its length.

Test results
Novablast 3 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 226 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Outsole hardness

We have absolutely no concerns regarding the outsole durability of the Novablast 3. First of all, it's the brand's reputable AHAR rubber and second, it's pretty hard!

Our durometer shows a reading of 83.0 HC which is firmer than the average measurement of road shoes.

ASICS Novablast 3 outsole hardness

Test results
Novablast 3 83.0 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 277 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole thickness

The Novablast 3 manages to be a lightweight speed trainer without sacrificing outsole protection.

Measuring the thickness of rubber layering the shoe's bottom, we got 3.1 mm. This is as thick as the average!

ASICS Novablast 3 outsole thickness

Test results
Novablast 3 3.1 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

The lightness of this ASICS shoe made it feel at home for both fast and slow paces. 

Putting the shoe on our scale, we found that the ASICS Novablast 3 weighs only 8.5 oz (242g)! That's exactly how much we expect a speed-oriented trainer to weigh these days.

Test results
Novablast 3 8.54 oz (242g)
Average 9.35 oz (265g)
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The ASICS Novablast 3 is a massively cushioned running shoe. And it was easily confirmed by our calliper measurement.

Our tool showed an impressive 37.2 mm of heel stack height! That is almost 4 mm taller than the average road running shoe and is within 16% tallest shoes in our lab!

Asics-Novablast-3-heel-stack

We got tonnes of impact protection and underfoot comfort from the Novablast 3, no matter what distance we covered that day.

Test results
Novablast 3 37.2 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The shoe's forefoot cushioning is just as generous, measuring 30.4 mm of stack height. That's a good 6 mm taller than average!

Asics-Novablast-3-forefoot-stack

Test results
Novablast 3 30.4 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

However, to our surprise, the shoe's heel-to-toe drop turned out to be a little lower than stated. We measured it at 6.8 mm, while it is stated to be 8 mm.

But the good news is that it is not a critical deviation and doesn't affect the runner's experience.

ASICS Novablast 3 drop

Test results
Novablast 3 6.8 mm
Average 8.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

This ASICS shoe features a moderately padded insole. With a thickness of 4.4 mm, it is just about the same as the average.

ASICS Novablast 3 insole

Test results
Novablast 3 4.4 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The shoe is comfy as hell! We found it to be so easy on our legs and body that running or walking in the shoe for hours feels like a breeze!

We attribute that to the shoe's very cushy and forgiving ride.

Checking the foam softness with a durometer, we can confirm that it is indeed one of the softest shoes not only from ASICS but on the market in general. At 13.5 HA, it is It is 77% softer than the average.

Asics-Novablast-3-foam-durometer-softness

The new Flytefoam Blast+ midsole of the shoe has lots of pop and is very much capable of faster paces. 

Test results
Novablast 3 13.5 HA
Average 21.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 224 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Even when exposed to cold temperatures (20 minutes in our freezer) and getting 52% firmer, the Flytefoam Blast+ still remains much softer than most running shoes at room temperature.

With a durometer measurement of 20.5 HA, the Novablast 3 is 47% softer than the average "frozen" foam.

Asics-Novablast-3-freezer-test

Test results
Novablast 3 51.9%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 223 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Despite the extra stack, the ride felt quite stable and secure to us.

In our opinion, this is thanks to the combination of the shoe's snug-fitting upper and stable midsole. Prior to this version, the foam was too squishy, which compromised the shoe's surefootedness. 

But in the third iteration, our feet never felt as if they were about to topple over!

Torsional rigidity

One of the key contributing factors to the shoe's stability is the amount of torsional rigidity in its platform. And the best way we can assess this is by twisting the shoe with our hands.

The Novablast 3 has a lot of stiffness to it! It convinced us to rate it as 4 out of 5 on a scale where 5 is the stiffest.

Test results
Novablast 3 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

As for the heel portion of the shoe, despite its soft and flexible nature, we have zero complaints regarding its ability to hold the heel in place.

Subjectively assessing the heel stiffness, we gave it 2 out of 5, where 5 is the stiffest.

Test results
Novablast 3 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 259 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The Novablast 3 also gets a good deal of stability from a rather wide platform.

Based on our calliper measurement, the widest part of the shoe's forefoot midsole is 115.9 mm. This is almost 3 mm wider than average.

ASICS Novablast 3 midsole width forefoot

Test results
Novablast 3 115.9 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Back in the heel, we also found that the midsole gets wider than most road shoes.

Our calliper shows that the widest part here is 93.9 mm, almost 4 mm wider than average.

ASICS Novablast 3 midsole width heel

Test results
Novablast 3 93.9 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The ASICS Novablast 3 is not from the flexible bunch but it's right at the average across all of our lab-tested shoes.

We should note, however, that a moderate level of stiffness makes the shoe's ride more propulsive.

Test results
Novablast 3 30.6N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Grip / Traction

Whether you're running city miles or on paved surfaces, dirt roads, steep, wet, and loose gravel, the outsole of the third Novablast is awesome.

Asics-Novablast-3-traction

Size and fit

The ASICS Novablast 3 is a massively cushioned running shoe. And it was easily confirmed by our calliper measurement.

Our tool showed an impressive 37.2 mm of heel stack height! That is almost 4 mm taller than the average road running shoe and is within 16% tallest shoes in our lab!

Asics-Novablast-3-heel-stack

We got tonnes of impact protection and underfoot comfort from the Novablast 3, no matter what distance we covered that day.

Toebox width at the widest part

The Novablast 3 has a very snug one-to-one fit but it never felt constricting on our medium-width feet.

Asics-Novablast-3-forefoot

Measuring the toebox at its widest part, our calliper showed 96 mm which is only 2 mm narrower than the average of road shoes. But this might still be narrow enough for wide-footed runners to consider more spacious alternatives.

ASICS Novablast 3 toebox width at the widest part

Test results
Novablast 3 95.9 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The shoe's tongue comes in a unique shape that moulds to the ankle. But it works! We experienced no shifting, sliding, or bunching throughout the run. Plus, it's protective against lace bites.

Asics-Novablast-3-tongue

And it stays in place, thanks to its gussets.

Asics-Novablast-3-gusseted-tongue

Test results
Novablast 3 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

To our great surprise, the tongue is only 1.3 mm thick and yet does the job!

Asics-Novablast-3-tongue-thickness

Test results
Novablast 3 1.3 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 294 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

ASICS Novablast 3 vs. 2

They may not look radically different but the ASICS Novablast 3 and 2 have quite significant differences. These are the changes that make the third Novablast different: 

  • lighter by an ounce!
  • has more spring
  • new mesh upper plus gusseted tongue creates a more supportive fit

Asics-Novablast-3-lab-measurements

A true all-rounder

Whether you're running fast or slow or running short or long distances, the ASICS Novablast 3 will keep you covered. It's an out-and-out versatile shoe. Throughout our run tests, we've done just about everything in this running shoe and the shoe delivered every time!

Asics-Novablast-3-all-arounder