Asics have modernised their line-up of running shoes over the past year with a slew of new models. The Asics Novablast follows the same pattern and represents something new from the Japanese company.
With these shoes, Asics has entered the market for highly-cushioned daily trainers. The company brands the Novablast as having a “trampoline effect that propels you forward” which indicates properties such as bounce and energy return.
Do they deliver? With more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) in these shoes, I am ready to share my opinion. Read on to find out if the Novablast deserves a spot in your line-up.
Asics Novablast: The Specs
– Weight: 264 gr. / 9.3 oz. (US men’s size 9)
– Stack Height: 31 mm. / 21 mm.
– Drop: 10 mm.
– Support: Neutral (somewhat unstable) •••The Novablast combines a relatively high stack with a soft cushion, and a narrow foot print. As a result, it may be unsuitable for runners who prefer more stable shoes. Or, at the very least, it will require a gradual introduction into your shoe rotation.
– Cushion: Very soft
Fit and Upper
The Novblast comes equipped with a breathable mesh upper. It is not incredibly thin or especially well-vented but compared to Asics shoes of the past; the upper is downright minimal. The traditional Asics decal features on both sides and adds structure to the upper.
When it comes to fit, these shoes have more to offer than what is apparent on first look. Despite appearing narrow, there is plenty of space through the midfoot and toe-box. The heel features generous padding. Although I sometimes felt that the shoe did not lock my foot properly down, I have never had any problems with actual slippage.
My only real complaint about the shoe is the combination of laces and tongue. The laces are thin and flat, while the tongue is narrow and without much padding. These two features combined to form some uncomfortable pressure hot-spots over my metatarsals. Over time I’ve found a balance between tightness and lockdown of the foot that alleviates the problem.
Sole and Ride
The Novablast is a cruiser. It’s not a fast sports car or a rugged off-roader, but a comfortable ride that will get you where you want in a pleasant manner, no matter the distance.
Asics, as mentioned up top, invoke imagery of jumping on a trampoline in their marketing campaigns for the shoes. Once in the shoes, you quickly realise that the claim is not far off the mark. The midsole comprises a new blend of foam, called Flytefoam Blast.
Carefully sculpted to give the shoes a characteristic look, the foam provides a bouncy ride and an enthusiastic response that only pricier, less durable racing options such as the Nike Vaporfly can rival. In terms of daily trainers, the combination of bounce and response is unlike anything I have experienced.
The added durability comes at the expense of extra weight, however, so nobody should be in danger of confusing them for dedicated racers. Even interval sessions and speedwork lie beyond what this shoe does best. Instead, I favour the forgiving ride for recovery and aerobic runs, as well as steady and up-tempo long runs.
A durable rubber layer makes up the outsole of the shoe. After taking the Novablast out for road running in all conditions, bar snow, I am satisfied with the grip. Even during rainy days and wet roads, the outsole keeps me well connected to the surface.
One point to note about the Novablast is that this is not a very stable shoe. It features a relatively narrow footprint, especially through the midfoot. In combination with the high stack and soft midsole material, it can give the shoe a wobbly feel.
Wear and Tear
After more than 400 kilometres out on the road, the shoes show some signs of wear. However, this is nothing beyond what you would expect at this mileage, and my conclusion is that the shoes are fairly durable. You can click on the pictures to see high-resolution images.
Verdict on the Asics Novablast
I am a big fan of this new and improved offering from Asics. After peddling a dated line-up of running shoes for years, they are now responding to the challenge of their competitors. The Novablast acts as proof and signals an intent to bring the company up to speed.
With a modern feel and highly-cushioned, yet responsive ride, it is one of the most enjoyable trainers on the market today. Not to mention, it is hands down a nice looking shoe. And with Asics now offering the shoes in a multitude of colourways, every runner should be able to find one that suits their aesthetic preferences.
Yet, the shoe is not perfect. The tongue, laces and lockdown of the upper could be more comfortable. And runners who are partial to more stable shoes might want to give the Novablast a wide berth. If you are unsure as to whether that would be a problem for you, I encourage you to try the shoes. The potential upside is a new favourite daily trainer.
Check out all the specs at the offical Asics website.
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