Saturday, May 01, 2021

ASICS Novablast 2 Multi Tester Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Jacob Brady, Renee Krusemark and Sam Winebaum

ASICS Novablast ($130)

Introduction

Sam: The first edition of the Novablast was a somewhat unexpected 2020 favorite. It took ASICS into new territory with a high stack, bouncy, fun shoe sharing little of the brand’s usual serious feeling (dense and on the firm side) and seriously stable rides no matter the shoe. 


With a narrow on the ground geometry and big stack the Novablast 1 introduced FlyteFoam Blast, an energetic, bouncy, softer foam. The Novablast 1 had some flaws for some. It was not particularly stable, requiring good well aligned form and focus, and its plasticky upper was tricky for some to lockdown and especially so given its big stack height.


Novablast 2 seeks to address those issues with a number of updates:

  • 2mm more forefoot foam for more cushion and stability

  • Redesigned rear midsole sidewalls for a more gradual compression and more stability

  • An extended TPU rear heel overlay, again for more rear stability on the narrow base platform

  • More segmentation of the outsole for a smoother flow

  • A  soft Jacquard mesh upper with a gusset tongue


Coming in at about 9.85 oz / 280g in a US 9 it does gain about 0.5 oz / 14g. At first glance, given the changes that seems OK and worth it, at least for me. But what will my fellow testers think?


The Novablast now appears more stable, more cushioned, and better secured up top thus opening it up as an option for more runners than v1 as an all around daily trainer while retaining its exciting ride. So what did the team find out when we took it to the roads?

Jacob: The Novablast is ASICS’s modern, high cushion trainer with a soft, bouncy, and fun FlyteFoam Blast midsole. Released in 2020, the Novablast was ASICS first shoe to use FlyteFoam Blast and was at the front of ASICS recent progression in innovation and modern designs. The Novablast was a personal favorite of mine and I recommended it as a general purpose trainer to five other runner friends (for two of them single shoe quiver) and they all had great experiences with it. It is a fun shoe capable of recovery runs as well as cruising at a faster pace. For me as well as other reviewers, the fit and upper was the definite weak point of the Novablast 1. The other possible negative, though it wasn’t an issue for me, was the Novablast 1 didn’t have high stability, combined with the loose upper it was a bit unwieldy. The Novablast 2 seeks to resolve these two criticized points of the first version with a totally new upper and widened platform with higher midsole sidewalls.

Women's Color. PC: Sally Reiley

Pros:

Energetic, well-cushioned, bouncy, smooth - Sam, Jacob, Peter, Renee

Daily trainer class (near max cushioned) shoe with a distinct narrow linear and directed ride feel - Sam, Peter

Considerably improved rear stability - Sam, Jacob

More secure, more comfortable upper - Sam, Jacob, Peter, Renee

Well-directed bounce, especially for a non-plated shoe - Jacob, Peter, Sam

Moves along well given the highly cushioned feel - Jacob, Peter, Renee

Enjoyable at a range of paces from recovery to near marathon pace - Jacob


Cons

Weight gain of 0.5 oz /14g US M8.5 - Sam, Renee

Feels slightly less agile and quick than the first version - Jacob, Renee

More refined but lower fun factor than the first version - Jacob, Renee

Still minor issues with lace pressure - Jacob

Women’s color PC: Sally Reiley

Stats

Estimated weight: men’s  9.85 oz / 280g 8.6 oz / 242 g (US W8) 

Samples: men’s 9.6 oz  / 272  (US M8.5), 11.3 oz / 320 g (US M12), 10.94  oz/ 310g (US M11)                  

women’s 8.6 oz / 242 g (US W8) 

Novablast v1 9.17 oz / 260g US M8.5 

Midsole Stack Height:   men’s 22/30, 8mm drop :: women’s 21/29, 8mm drop 

Estimated Full Stack Height: 38/30, 8mm drop

Available June, 2021.$130

  

First Impressions and Fit


Sam: Our samples’ colorway is called “Celebration of Sport” which we all sincerely hope 2021 will be as we get back to post pandemic running and racing, including the Olympics. 

The ASICS tagline for the year on the tongue is “Sound Mind Sound Body”, a translation of the ASICS motto in Latin of "Anima Sana In Corpore Sanoa", It is great theme as we move beyond a grim 2020 to a better 2021.


There is no apparent change to the last itself but for sure to the materials and fit. 


Trying them side by side one on each foot with the Novablast 1 getting an advantage  as on my decently wider left foot the improvements in fit, comfort, and hold were immediately evident during a short run. Both fit me true to size but v1 due to its upper material was quite baggy/stiff  at midfoot while v2 with its more foot conforming softer mesh and gusset tongue is notably more secure there.

Upfront the toe box is not wider or different in volume but it's for sure more comfortable if a bit less structured. The difference in the mesh is notable in the picture above with the v1’s 3D, plasticky and far less pliable and soft.


The most strikingly felt difference is at the heel where the new extended TPU overlay really locks down the foot far better,with the overlay in combination with the new midsole sidewalls definitely improving the rear lockdown and stability. 


The rear collars as seen from overhead show the Novablast 2's to be a more padded and less angular and sharp in profile at the achilles hold.


Just walking around and on the run I could feel the 2mm of additional forefoot cushion and due to the resulting increase in forefoot cushion and lower 8mm drop a more stable and more cushioned front of the shoe with a smoother toe off, if a bit less agile one. 


Peter: I can’t for the life of me remember what I didn’t like about the original Novablast, but I wasn’t a huge fan. I couldn’t find it in my stack of shoes to revisit it--but for whatever reasons it was not a shoe I loved. First impressions of the V2 though are totally positive. Materials are plush, step-in feels great, shoe runs true-to-size and the forefoot feels really good. 


Renee: The Novablast 1 made my list of favorite easy/long run shoes for 2020 (second place to the NB 880). The Novablast 2 delivers the same bouncy, smooth ride as version 1, with some changes to improve stability and the fit of the upper. The upper is much improved. The other changes may be welcomed by some runners and other runners may be so-so about the midsole geometry adjustment. Disclosure: this review is an initial impression with having run only 25 miles total (13.11 longest run) in them. 

Jacob: The Novablast 1 was my pick for 2020 all-purpose trainer of the year, despite having issues with lace bite and security. I loved the midsole which has an ideal amount of cushion for any distance, was soft and bouncy without being too squishy or unstable, and was enjoyable at a range of paces. If the fit had been better, it would have been a near 10/10 training shoe. Thus I was quite excited when I heard the Novablast 2 had an entirely new, softer upper. Once I had the shoe in hand, it was clear this could be exactly the update the Novablast needed.


The design of the Novablast 2 is the same as its predecessor with sculpted, geometric midsole, foam “shelf” behind the heel, permister outsole rubber pattern with a central channel, and rigid heel counter and medium-weight upper materials. The upper of the Novablast 2 is much softer and the laces wider and stretchier. Also notable is that the midsole extends further up to hug the foot to increase stability. 


Initial step-in feel is fantastic. It is slipper-like and secure—comfortably snug with adequate space in the toebox and no notable pressure but a locked-in feel. Underfoot it feels similar to the first version in its measured softness and apparent bounce. It feels very cushioned and lively. I love the colorway. Overall, great first impressions.



Upper

Sam: The upper is now a Jacquard knit with a gusset tongue.  The external TPU heel overlay is extended forward to improve stability and it does. The laces are soft, maybe a bit too soft as when pulled tight over a narrow foot they tend to bite a bit. Overall soft and secure this upper just works


Peter: Lots of good stuff going on in the upper. The upper is plush without going overboard anywhere. The tongue is nicely cushioned, the lacing is simple and efficient and the padding around the ankle and heel collar are nice and thick without being too much. 


The thing that really ties this shoe together for me is the heel cup. It’s more than just the TPU heel overlay. That’s great, but what makes the upper work is the foot hold in the heel due to the insole being lower than the foam surrounding it. Essentially the heel winds up sitting about ½ inch under the lip of the foam. I know that this has been done in other shoes, but it’s especially effective here--creating a harmony between the upper and the midsole. 


Renee: The upper of the Novablast 1 was my only negative for the shoe. The fit was too voluminous and I had to pull the laces tight to prevent my feet from sliding around inside the upper. The Novablast 2 upper addresses those concerns: the upper is more comfortable, more refined, and better fitting. The TPU overlay creates a good foot hold, although it creates a different feel compared to the first version. I did not find the stability of the first version horrible; for me, the stability is corrected by having a more refined upper. I do question if the TPU overlay might over-correct a stability issue that does not exist for all runners. 


Jacob: I agree with Sam, Peter, and Renee on several points. First, that the upper is nicely plush and comfortable without being too plush or thick. Also, that the first version upper was the only negative and that is almost entirely resolved in version 2. The upper is unobtrusive, secure, very well-sized with enough space and soft, pliable materials to accommodate many foot shapes. It is vastly improved from version 1 and a high-quality upper overall. The only issue I have is with lace bite, like Sam, due to I think the soft midsole and rebound and maybe the soft and stretchy laces as Sam noted. I’ve felt some slightly uncomfortable lace pressure even on later test runs when I knew to lace more loosely to avoid this. It doesn’t stop the Novablast 2 from being great but does put a slight damper on what I initially thought completely resolved all my issues with version 1.


Midsole

Sam: The midsole is ASICS lively, softer and bouncy Flyte Foam Blast. 2mm was added to the forefoot midsole stack to improve stability and cushion. The midsole stack height is now 22/30, 8mm drop whereas before we had 20/30.

The midsole sidewalls now have more horizontal/linear sculpting at the rear to improve stability by delivering a more gradual and even compression (see photo above). It is clearly felt one on each foot as a less squishy squirrly landing at the heel. The sculpting  works well in concert with the now extended TPU overlay(patterned darker orange red piece above “FF Blast”). The geometry of v1 was squishy and quite unstable at the rear for me at slower paces. This change in drop by addition of the 2mm of front foam is felt as less of a sensation of plunging forward abruptly and maybe a touch less agility but the added cushion is clearly felt and is a plus. 


With the changes ( o the midsole and upper)  I think the midsole geometry can really shine for more runners than just those with well aligned form as v1 seemed to favor. We still have the lively dynamic soft bounce and return but now it is more controlled and less sloppy off to the edges of the big and narrow platform. There is plenty of cushion here as adding (approximately), the 2mm outsole, 2mm lasting board and 4mm sockliner. I estimate we get to a maximal shoe grade of around 28/38 stack.


Peter: Well, Sam has the technical stuff handled above! The midsole feels great! There’s plenty of forefoot cushioning and the 8mm drop feels just right. The FlyteFoam Blast is a great mix of soft and lively. It’s plenty protective but doesn’t feel mushy at all. The midsole is plenty stable, due in part to the foot sitting low into the foam and some nice hardened rubber on the outsole. 

Renee: The midsole feels bouncy and comforting and is similar to the first version of the shoe. The increase in forefoot stack height from the version 1 and reduction in drop to 8mm is a welcome change for what I look for in an easy, long run shoe, particularly for back-to-back long runs. Sam discusses the geometry changes well. The TPU overlay plus the midsole sidewalls may create an overcorrection for stability that some runners might find intrusive. 


Jacob: The Novablast 2 midsole uses ASICS’s FlyteFoam blast material which feels overall similar in underfoot feel to its deployment in the Novablast 1. In version 2 there is more stack height, officially just 2mm in the forefoot but it feels more cushioned underfoot overall (see Sam’s section for details on potential total stack). There is certainly more midsole material in the high sidewalls, which wrap up around the foot for stability. The midsole cushioning is high and the foot feels protected from the ground, 


I really like the midsole feel as it is plush and high cushion while still being lively and energetic. It is soft but not too soft. It leads to a unique directed ride without rocker or a plate.


Outsole

Sam: The outsole design is essentially an almost continuous ring of rubber around the outer edges of the shoe with a deep central cavity for decoupling and weight reduction. The outsole now has more extensive segmented grooves and well as new cuts through the front pads on the lateral and medial sides. 

On the run, one on each foot side by side with v1 I could feel,  and this despite the additional 2mm of stack subtle additional flex at the road and a slightly smoother toe off.

The picture above  illustrates the subtle differences up front between the two outsoles. Note the new flaring cutouts of the Novablast 2 and the slightly more arrow shaped central pad. The Novablast 2 as a result is more flexible in hand and on the run than v1. And in the picture below note the added heel flex grooves for a bit more lateral give on landings.

Peter: First of all, I love the multicolored blown rubber on the outsole of the shoe. It looks great. There’s plenty of rubber to meet the road, with the rubber is segmented in all the right places. Clearly ASICS has done their work here and have designed the shoe to bend and flex with the foot in a way that feels smooth and natural. The exposed midsole is all recessed and will never touch the road, so the outsole should last a good, long time. 

The triangular double pads in the middle of the forefoot really helps propel the foot through toe-off. The rubber grips wet pavement well and when you lay into the pace the shoe grips pavement like a claw. It’s a very effective outsole design. 

Renee: Sam discusses the outsole well. Whatever changes happened between version 1 and version 2 are not noticeable in terms of the outsole. I have run 16 miles total on gravel and the outsole looks fine. Although clearly a road shoe, the outsole seems to have enough hardiness for the occasional gravel road or path. 


Jacob: Firstoff, I totally agree with Peter about the rubber gripping really well, notably in wet conditions. I don’t usually start the outsole section with grip, but since it is remarkably good in the Novablast 2, it stands out.


The outsole pattern is overall the same as version 1 with perimeter outsole rubber coverage, all ground contact material as rubber, and a long recessed channel which is important to the distinctive bounce and ride. The mutli-color rubber looks aesthetically great, durability doesn’t seem concerning so far, and traction is excellent; it’s a well done outsole.  


Ride

Sam: As I have been struggling with an injury, I ran less than I usually would in them but the ride picture was crystal clear as of the first run: highly cushioned, quite soft and bouncy yet well behaved,  tracking straight and narrow and quite stable. 


The ride is different than similarly large stacked soft shoes which rely on a wide platform for some stability. Here the ride is more “arrow” like in the sense that the narrowish for the stack height platform feels streamlined and pointed in the direction of travel with no sensation of a wide heel to pull forward or a broad forefoot to get by such as for example the fine Hoka Mach 4 or New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 have.  


There was a lot of the same in the v1 but it could be a struggle to keep things under control and tracking straight and true, at both the upper level and underfoot, limiting what was a highly cushioned daily training ride to a more “focused” faster running shoe for me. I now find the ride a touch less aggressive, less dramatic, and fast but more practical and versatile with all of the FF Blast fun remaining. The changes clearly put the Novablast 2 into a top notch all around trainer class ride for most any pace for me and much more so than v1.  While v1 handled faster paces with ease the narrow platform wasn’t the best at the rear for slower paces for me when I was more back on the heels. I still don’t see the Novablast 2 as an ideal daily training choice for runners who typically train in some form of pronation control shoe, although it could be a good uptempo shoe them  but for neutral runners it is significantly more stable than v1. 


Peter The NovaBlast is stable and supportive while also gliding through the stride with ease at any speed. The ride is highly cushioned and supportive without feeling clunky. It immediately brought to mind my favorite daily trainer of the past two years, the NB 1080. I put them side to side and was a little surprised to find out that I may, in fact, prefer the Novablast 2. Stable, yes, supportive, yes, easy to run in, yes, relatively fun at tempo, yes! 


Renee: The ride is similar to the first version: bouncy and easy. The roll forward helps maintain a good stride while providing comfort underfoot. I think the stability issue from version 1 could have improved with changing only one thing: the upper. I am not sure how I feel about the TPU overlay and midsole geometry changes yet. Those changes coupled with the slight weight increase seem to slow down the shoe. I used the first version for easy long runs, so I’m not saying those changes are necessarily bad. Having that extra support and stability is useful when running on tired legs.  

Jacob: While reading through Sam’s section, he described the Novablast 2 as having a “top notch all around trainer ride”, and I completely agree. It is a remarkable shoe and my current pick for 2021 daily trainer of the year. The ride is well cushioned, protected, plush, and forgiving, but also somehow easy to run fast in. The stability and ability to move along at moderate endurance pace without much effort is remarkable for a max cushion shoe. It handles recovery days and long runs as well as marathon pace work. At its moderate weight and high stack, it certainly is not a VO2/track workout shoe or racer. It can do everything else well.


The ride is uniquely directed forward with a trampoline style bounce, and it does this without rocker or a plate, which is rare. It reminds me of the New Balance FuelCell TC except it is better at slower paces and guides the foot less, as well as the Hoka Mach 4, though heavier, denser and more directed.




Conclusions and Recommendations


Peter: The NovaBlast 2 is a terrific daily trainer with plenty of cushioning, an easy flow at any tempo and a lively ride that is fun for any run short or long. 

Peter’s score 9.5 

It could be a little lighter, but this is the most enjoyable daily trainer I’ve run in from ASICS. 


Sam: Peter has it right “terrific, plenty of cushioning, easy flow, lively”. This “modern” trainer and its energetic FF Blast ride was promising in v1 and is now refined with the somewhat rough edges of instability, upper not up to the task for the narrow high stack underfoot all smoothed out very nicely. 


As with most high stack shoes the now 8mm drop works better at a variety of paces for me than lower drops or the prior’s more abrupt 10mm which contributed to some of the instability of v1. The narrow on the ground platform with high stack still prioritizes decent form and a more neutral type foot. This said, I think the improved stability should make the Novablast more accessible to a wider range of runners and for a wider range of uses. At just under 10 oz / 283g, it is still in my magic sub 10 oz club for daily trainers although to add cushion to the forefoot and better stabilize the heel, both appreciated and effective it does gain a bit of really un noticed weight. Overall this laser focused update is a success for me by retaining the fun ride and reigning in the rough edges of instability and upper fit.   

Sam’s Score: 9.32 /10

Ride: 9.4 (50%) Fit: 9.3 (30%) Value: 9.1 (15%) Style: 9.2 (5%)


Renee: The Novablast 2 is a comfortable, high cushion, bouncy shoe. Runners who liked the Novablast 1 but needed better stability should be pleased with the changes if they can forgive the slight weight gain. The upper is much more comfortable and secure. The other stability changes (TPU overlay, 8mm drop, and midsole geometry) make the Novablast 2 a good shoe when I need some guidance to my stride (i.e. running on sore legs). Runners who liked the fun, light bouncy nature of the Novablast might find the stability changes intrusive. As a long run road shoe, the Novablast remains one of my top choices.

Renee’s score:9.10/10  

(-.40 weight, -.50 stability changes/additions may be too intrusive)


Jacob: The Novablast 2 is a fantastic high cushion trainer and a well-done update to the original. The Novablast 2 refines both the upper and midsole to increase comfort, security, and stability. The ride has a directed bounce and is stable, smooth, and conducive to cruising along enjoyably across a large pace range. It is comfortable and secure. It is my favorite trainer of 2021 so far. 


I’d recommend the Novablast 2 for all runners—it could have a place in anyone’s rotation. It is forgiving, stable, easy to run in, comfortable, and adequately spacious to work a variety of foot shapes. I think it is enjoyable to run in, whether chilling on a recovery day with tired legs or cruising along at upper endurance pace on a long workout run. For new or infrequent runners it could work as a single shoe quiver and for all runners a general purpose or long run shoe. Overall, a well-done update to a great shoe.

Jacob’s Score: 9.32 / 10

Ride (50%): 10 — I couldn’t ask for more in a modern, high-cushion, daily trainer ride

Fit (30%): 8 — Comfortable, secure, soft, not overdone plushness, but slight lace bite issues.

Value (15%): 9.5 — Performs well at a variety of paces, reasonably durable, good grip, comfortable.

Style (5%): 10 — I love the colorway, mutli-color outsole rubber, and striking geometric design.


ASICS Novablast 2 Video Review (12:52)


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


ASICS Novablast 1 (RTR Review)


Jacob: The Novablast 1 was my favorite daily trainer of 2020 but was not without issue, particularly with the upper and fit, which was insecure and prone to lace bite, thus hard to dial in the lace tightness and never effortlessly comfortable. The Novablast 2 upper completely resolves the security and comfort issue and is a dramatic improvement. The upper is softer, more foot conforming, and much more locked in. I like the aesthetics better as well. Both shoes have similar purposes as do-it-all cushioned trainers with an energetic, bouncy ride that is conducive to easy and moderate paces at any distance. Any day, the Novablast is fun to run in. The Novablast 2 is heavier and more stable with 2mm additional stack in the forefoot and a longer and more forward TPU heel clip. It feels bigger and more cushioned than version 1. This lowers its versatility a bit—I don’t feel that version 2 has the same pop or quick rebound at speed than v1 but it is better overall being more stable and smoother.


Sam: Jacob covers the differences well and I agree with him. In a nutshell. 1. More stable heel counter, more stable rear midsole geometry gets rid of v1’s rear “wobble.”  2.  New upper with gusset tongue delivers a more secure midfoot lockdown and a slightly softer more accommodating toe box. 3. The 2mm additional stack up front and slightly changed outsole design provide more cushion and a smoother if a touch less agile toe off. No question I much prefer v2 to v1.  


Renee: I agree with Jacob and Sam in most areas. Version 2 does not have the same “pop” or “fun factor” as version 1, and I think that’s because of the weight gain and changes to address the stability (TPU overlay and midsole geometry changes). Version 2 does offer more comfort from the increase in forefoot stack height and 8mm drop. 


Hoka Mach 4 (RTR Review)

Peter: The upper on the NovaBlast is more breathable and a little more forgiving overall. The Mach 4 is lighter and has a lower stack. Both are good for long miles. Both are stable. Side by side, the NovaBlast is a little more fun, but over longer miles, the lower weight of the Mach 4 might make it the better choice. 


Sam: I agree with Peter that the Nova’s  upper is a bit more breathable and forgiving. I find the Mach 4 slightly more stable but due to its lower drop, wider platform and rubberized foam midsole as outsole but not as bouncy (Flyte Foam Blast), as responsive (rubber outsole), or quite as agile (drop and geometry) as Novablast. Both are superb modern daily trainers. Lean Mach 4 if you want more stability, lean Novablast for more cushion and a somewhat bouncier liviler ride. I am true to size in both with Novablast having a more generous toe box fit.


Jacob: I completely agree with Sam. Both are great trainers over a range of paces. Choose the Mach if you prioritize stability, light weight and don’t mind a narrower toebox and choose the Novablast if you want a bouncier, more energetic, quicker ride.


New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Rebel v2 is yet more energetic and bouncier than Novablast 2 but not quite as stable at the heel. With v2, the Nova now leans towards daily trainer for me as a result whereas v1 was more like Rebel v2 in being for many a fast fun shoe rather than an every day all runs trainer. Both are loads of fun. 


Hoka Clifton 7 or 8 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Clifton is not as bouncy and lively, has a yet more generous soft toe box and is harder for me to move along at slower paces due to its lower drop and more awkward front rocker. Both have about equivalent rear stability with the Novablast’s rear TPU overlay tipping the balance in stability in its direction despite a narrower platform. The Cllifton 8 is about an ounce lighter but this is not really that noticed when comparing their rides.


ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Cumulus 23 is a more traditional daily trainer design sharing a softer but not as exciting ride with the Novablast. It weighs a few tenths of an ounce more and if you like a softer shoe it could serve  as a nice more stable, recovery oriented companion to the more nimble, faster Novablast.


New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 (RTR Review)

Sam:The Fresh Foam More v3 sits on a considerably broader platform so is more stable. It is a somewhat harder to transition at slower paces than the Nova and really comes alive when pressing hard on its soft and bouncy (although less bouncy than Nova) forefoot. It has a somewhat broader fit. The More v3 may be a better choice if you want a soft bouncy ride with more inherent stability.


Nike ZoomX Invincible Run (RTR Review)

Sam: Battle of Bounce here! The Invincible is 100% Zoom X nothing added and has an extremely energetic and soft ride and one yet bouncier and more energetic than Novablast. It sits on a considerably  broader platform to keep it all under control and as such is not quite as nimble or directed as the Novablast. It is yet more fun but in the end not as practical, versatile, or as good a value as Novablast yet is a special all smiles experience quite unlike any other trainer to date.  Both true to size with Novablast having a far more polished comfortable upper with an easier fitting softer toe box all at a price tag $50 less than Invincible so a better value.


ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)

Sam: The Glideride differs from Novablast in having a very prescriptive ride. While you have to concentrate more in the Nova and stay aligned and forward, the Glideride’s rigid rocker Guide Sole locks the ankle and directs the toes more decisively and consistently. Not as much fun but reliable and very stable, the Giideride is a good choice if you prefer to let the shoe direct you while the Novablast requires more concentration but is considerably bouncier, livelier, more cushioned and fun.


Renee: The Glideride 1 (never wore the second version) was too polarizing for me. The rocker and weight of the shoe did not suit my preferences. I much prefer the Novablast (1 or 2) as a long run shoe. I wore a women’s size 8 in both shoes. The Novablast offers a roomier toe box; otherwise, the sizing between the two is similar. 


Jacob: The Glideride has a dramatically unique ride that is very firm and stiff while also being high cushion. The ride is prescriptive and moves me to strike on my forefoot which feels strange given the thick heel stack. It is a weird shoe though high quality and comfortable so I enjoy it on occasion. The Novablast is more performant, smoother, softer, bouncier, more forgiving, and more fun. It is overall the better shoe for most use cases and I think would be enjoyed by more runners.



ASICS Evoride 2 (RTR Review) and Noosa Tri 13 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Evoride 2 is a lighter shoe that works better as a daily trainer for me (because of the weight). I do not usually like a rocker, but the Evoride 2 provides just enough roll forward without being too intrusive. For shorter, quicker efforts, the Evoride 2 is better. For longer efforts (13.11 or beyond), I prefer the Novablast 2. I wore a women’s size 8 in both and the sizing is similar. 


Puma Velocity Nitro (RTR Review)

Sam: Overall the Puma is a touch more stable and firmer at the rear due to its EVA plug and TPU clip there. It has a more distinct toe off flex point up front while the Nova is somewhat stiffer, more cushioned and bouncier. Uppers are both great but slight nod to the Nova. Both are great choices.


Skechers Performance GO Run Ride 9 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Skechers Ride 9 is significantly lighter than the NovaBlast, turns over faster and is really fun to run in. That said, the NovaBlast has more cushion and would be my choice for recovery days or longer runs. But man, the Ride 9 is fun!


Sam: Concur with Peter 100% on the above. Battle of the foams here with Hyperburst springy and firmer with FF Blast bouncy and softer. Both true to size with the Ride 9 upper lighter and yet more dialed in and Novablast’s a bit more comfort oriented. 


New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11 or 10 (RTR Review)

Peter: This is probably the closest comparison. The 1080 has been one of my favorite daily trainers for the past couple of years. The NovaBlast is a bit lighter than the 1080 and side-by-side is actually a bit smoother. The NovaBlast has more forefoot cushion than the 1080--and while the 1080 is a little firmer, the NovaBlast is a little more fun to run in. The NovaBlast 2 bounces back up off the road a little more than the 1080 and is thus a little more fun to run in. I’ll see how it goes over time, but the NovaBlast may have taken the 1080’s place in my lineup. 


Saucony Endorphin Shift  (RTR Review) and Axon (RTR Review)

Sam: Saucony’s max cushion options are more stable, firmer, and based on rigid rockers. I would reach for the Shift before the Novablast for easier recovery runs, long slower runs, or if I need a touch more stability than usual. Axon ($100) is nearly the same as Shift but a touch softer with a less sophisticated upper. Otherwise Novablast for most training.


Nike Zoom Pegasus 38 (RTR Review)

Sam: This comparison with the Peg 38 (which gets a nice upper update) really shows how dated or let’s just say dull the Peg ride is in comparison with its dense Air Pod upfront and workman like React foam. Not all “bad” as Peg is more stable top to bottom and has a trails worthy outsole which Novablast does not. The Peg can still be a better choice for heavier mid to forefoot runners, those running some light trails, and if you want a firmer more stable ride. Otherwise Novablast is a clear winner for me.


Renee: I agree with Sam: The Novablast is a winner in comparison to the Pegasus (version 37). The Pegasus has a clunky, heavy feel underfoot in the midfoot and heel areas. There is not enough flex for me to have a comfortable stride. Although the Pegasus is probably a better choice for a variety of paces, the Novablast is much more comfortable for me. 


The ASICS Novablast 2 releases June 2021


Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the review! How does it compare to the rebel 2? Currently the two shoes I am looking to get. Does v2 still fit a little longer like v1? Thanks!

Ante said...

Great review as always!
Can you please give a few words on comparison with New Balance Fresh Foam More v3?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic review, how does it compare with Puma velocity? Thanks

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks! A good comparison. Overall the Puma is a touch more stable and firmer at the rear and has a more distinct toe off flex point up front while the Nova is somewhat more cushioned and bouncier. Uppers are both great but slight nod to the Nova. Both are great choices.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Ante,
The Fresh Foam More v3 sits on a considerably broader platform so is more stable. It is a somewhat harder to transition at slower paces than the Nova and really comes alive when pressing hard on its soft and bouncy (although less than Nova) forefoot. It has a somewhat broader fit.
Sam, Editor

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Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks! Rebel v2 is yet more energetic and bouncier than Novablast 2 but not quite as stable at the heel. With v2 the Nova now leans towards daily trainer for me as a result whereas v1 was more like Rebel in being for many a fast fun shoe rather than an every day all runs trainer. As far as fit both Rebel v2 and Novablast true to size. v2 fits about the same as v1 in volume, length, and width but actually wraps the foot far better if the toe box being a bit more relaxed due to the softer thinner more pliable mesh.
Sam, Editor

BDClark said...

Offtopic, are you guys going to review the Skechers Maxroad 5? It dropped out of nowhere on Skechers' site yesterday, apparently has the plate like the Razor Elite.

Sam Winebaum said...

I think we are supposed to receive soon. The plate likely will improve the front stability for some.
Sam,Editor

ChrisZ said...

When you said that Novablast2 can run longer than Gorun 9, can you give a rough distance estimate, 15 vs. 20 miles? Can Gorun 9 handle up to a full marathon or just half?

If stability is not a concern, can Rebel2 be ok for half or full?

Same question for Mach4. I have a hard time to pick one of the three. Any recommendation?

del1357 said...

Got my velocity 10 days ago. Thought they were ok first two runs, then they felt great on half marathon. Best my legs have felt day after. To me they’re a better version of Saucony Ride 13.

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Al said...

Hi folks, is there a trail shoe out there that has the cushion and the bounce of the Nova Blast.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Al,
The first one that comes to mind is the upcoming (US August 1) UltraGlide. Review here: https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2021/05/salomon-ultraglide-initial-review.html

In ASICS while as soft and bouncy the Trabuco Max is a fine choice: Review here:
https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2020/11/asics-trabuco-max-multi-tester-review.html

Also look at NB Fresh Foam More, although it is more mellow trails focused due to its upper for me it has a soft bouncy ride: https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2020/10/new-balance-fresh-foam-more-trail-v1.html

Anonymous said...

How does it compare to the Hoka Rincon?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Some similarities in the sense that both have an energetic ride with the Novablast somewhat bouncier. The differences. Weight for one as Novablast weighs 9.85 oz and Rincon 3 7.4 oz. Novablast is more cushioned with a 38/30 stack height while Rincon is a very stout 29/24. Despite the height difference the improved Rincon is similarly stable but neither ideal if you are a "heavy pronator". As far as use the Novablast is more clearly a daily trainer that can go fast with the Rincon 3 an uptempo shoe even racer that for some can be a daily trainer although even though improved according to Hoka (outsole and midsole) its durability may lag Novablast which has more rubber and what has proved durable FlightFoam Blast.
Sam, Editor