Monday, October 30, 2023

ASICS Novablast 4 Multi Tester Review: 8 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum, Renee Krusemark, Sally Reiley, Peter Stuart, Jeff Beck, and Jacob Brady

ASICS Novablast 4 ($140)


Sam: The Novablast 1 ushered in a new era for ASICS with a light, reasonably priced, very well cushioned up tempo trainer with a more “modern” design: visually, in geometry, and in foams. ASICS actually was a bit skeptical it would woo "serious" runners being a design for younger. more style conscious runners. RTR didn’t think so..

The rest is history as they say as this fast fun shoe has become a favorite uptempo to daily trainer for many of us at RTR and others worldwide. While v1 was notably quite unstable if you were not a pace and up on the midfoot to forefoot each succeeding version improved on stability while in some cases losing a bit of the original a bit wild fun.

With the Novablast 4 ASICS retains the more edgy styling, amping it further with a more prominent and angular rear outrigger with deeper angular folds. 

The platform gets wider by 5mm at the heel and forefoot as wider platforms with softer foams have become a clear trend at ASICS and at other brands. 

The stack height stays the same at 41.5mm/33.5mm with the women’s 1mm lower as before. The midsole foam moves to ASICS lightest and softest non supercritical FF Blast + ECO with 20% of its content bio based. We also get a more aggressive toe spring.  

The upper is a woven material replacing the prior engineered mesh. 

Weight does increase by about 19g to 9.1 oz  / 258g (US men’s 9).

So how does it ride and fit? Still that magic faster light daily trainer or something else with a bit more substance and versatility. Please read on to find out.


Excellent ratios of weight to max stack height of “near” super foam: Sam/Renee/Sally/Peter/Jeff//Jacob

Versatility for just about any run type and a solid value at $140: Sam/Renee/Sally/Peter/Jeff/Jacob

More pronounced front toe spring & rocker roll effect for the big 33.5 mm forefoot: Sam/Jeff

5mm wider platform (heel and forefoot) and larger rear outrigger increases stability: Sam/Jeff

FF Blast + Eco is somewhat softer and more energetic and a top non supercritical foam: Sam/Renee/Peter/Jeff

Less road noise than before but still some : Sam/Jeff

Outsole is more durable and textured than Novablast 3 Jacob

More squarely in the daily training category than before: stability, weight, cushion: Sam/Renee/Sally/JeffJacob

Tongue is great! Just the right amount of padding and ventilation:  Peter

C02 footprint labeled for transparency of impacts:  20% of midsole foam is bio based, 75% of upper recycled content : Sam/Renee/Sally/JeffJacob


Broader platform (+5mm) particularly at the forefoot and + 19g weight make them not quite as agile as before and  less of a tempo type shoe : Sam/Renee/Sally/Jacob

Require some break in to get flex: Sam/Sally/Peter/Jeff

Toe spring is appreciated but as a result flex is stiffer and further to the rear than v3: Sam/Renee

Some issues with traction on wet surfaces: Sally/Peter

Midfoot landing still a bit awkward: Jeff

Laces are exceptionally long: Jeff

Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Weight: men's 9.1 oz  / 258g (US9)  /  women's 7.9 oz / 224g (US8)

  Samples: men’s 8.94 oz  /  253g  US8.5 (Nova 3: 8.32 oz  /  236g US8.5)

                     women’s 7.9 oz / 223 g US W8    

Stack Height: men’s 41.5mm/33.5mm | women’s 40.5mm/32.5mm

Platform Width: v4  90mm heel /  70mm midfoot/  115mm forefoot  

                         v3 85mm heel / 70mm midfoot / 110mm forefoot 

$140  Available at the NYC Marathon expo booth Nov 2- Nov 4 with a free pair of Bandit socks to match! General release. 12/1/2023

Novablast 4 Video Review with A/B Comparison to Novablast 3 HERE

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Super bright in all neon yellow with other bright colors top to bottom even the outsole with just a hint of blue for the line “Tiger” logo. There is a shade of “off color” brown in the yellow mix from the lower midfoot around the heel Striking to say the least!

The upper moves from an engineered mesh to a woven material. Wovens have a smoother (and softer) feel when touched and here that is the case with just a few raised lines of raised material at the toe box along with some ventilation holes. 

While it supposedly fall here in New Hampshire, I took them for a run on a very close to 80 F / 26 C day in lower humidity and the upper was very breathable and comfortable. The upper is smoother and softer on the foot than v3’s.There is a soft and quite high vertical toe bumper.  

The fit is moderately broad with some give to the woven material. In an A/B test I found it more accommodating for my narrower feet and with more volume than v3

Left: Novablast v3                           Right:  Novablast 4

The tongue with gusset is very well executed.         

It is slightly thicker than v3’s with the material a thin spongy neoprene like material with nice lace up pads and ventilation holes towards the front.     

The previous sharp “fork” in shaping at the top of the tongue is gone with the tongue sitting more squarely. 

We have a semi rigid heel counter with plenty of comfortable collar padding. 

The achilles collar is higher and more secure than in v3 . The v3  heel counter was considerably more substantial and rigid and even included an external TPU strap. Yet, in the V4 and due to the outrigger midsole and higher collars we are equally as locked down if a bit more relaxed in feel.

The fit is true to size for my narrower to medium feet and should fit broader feet better than v3. 

Wide sizing likely will also be available as it was for v3.

Renee: Sam has all the details. I ran in all four of the previous Novablasts, with version 3 being my favorite. ASICS has not ruined a good thing here. Many of the same characteristics of the Novablast remain in the fourth version: light weight, good cushion, and a peppy midsole. 

One difference, as Sam noted, is the upper is a woven material as compared to version 3’s engineered mesh. The upper is plushy and comfy. Lockdown is okay. With a low volume foot, I have a better/more secure fit with the Novablast 3’s mesh, especially when running at marathon or below paces. Runners with wide or high volume feet might appreciate the version 4’s upper a bit more. 

Sam describes the tongue well. I had issues with the tongue slipping down during a 90-minute run with 60 minutes of tempo mixed in. I had the same issue during a 25-mile run, but it wasn’t uncomfortable enough for me to stop. If you don’t need to pull the laces tight, tongue slippage might not be a problem. I should note I run on gravel, not pavement, and I’m guessing tongue slipping might not be an issue when running flat, smoother surfaces. 

Sally: My first thought when I opened the box of this new Novablast 4 was that it was very clearly a cousin of the SuperBlast: the sizable high and wide midsole simply makes these ASICS shoes seem BIG. 

The Novablast has a similar wide base under the forefoot and the heel. 

But it is immediately apparent that the Novablast 4 is a lightweight, supportive, well cushioned shoe that feels comfortable right out of the box. 

I find the fit true to size as is typical of most ASICS, but with plenty of extra room for higher volume feet than my narrow foot. 

My women’s colorway in “oatmeal and moonrock” is much more muted and subtle than Sam’s neon green (and for that I am grateful). 

I really like the slightly padded tongue and had no issues with slippage. 

I did find the laces on the long side and had to use the extra lace holes to take up length. The heel and ankle collar are well padded without being excessively so, and you have to love a heel tab loop. I do. 

Jeff: I wanted to like the first Novablast more than I ever could, they were too unstable and the geometry just didn’t work with my midfoot landing. The 4 is my first since then, and it’s easy to see that this is still very much the same shoe - just refined and improved in a number of ways. Sam’s spot on with the tongue, it’s very well executed, and as a runner with a decently wide foot (but not quite 2E) there’s plenty of volume. As the resident toebox snob they’re decently wide, in the good-not-great category for more traditionally shaped running shoes, but the stretchy upper makes them effectively larger than they even are.

Some shoes go all in on a dynamic and bouncy midsole, some favor a firmer material and a big toe rocker - the Novablast goes for both. And the result is as striking as the super bright green colorway.

Jacob: The Novablast has been my favorite daily trainer line over the past four years. When I received version 4 to test, I was still regularly running version 3 with over 500 miles on it. I occasionally still run versions 2 and 1 as well. My review for the Novablast 4 is based on over 150 miles of running in it as it has been in my daily trainer rotation over a few months.

My first impression of the Novablast 4 was that it looked bigger and more built up than version 3, particularly larger in the heel. Weighing supported this as version 4 in my US men’s 12 is 297 grams (10.5 oz), nearly 20 g (0.6 oz) heavier than version 3.

I had no complaints about the Novablast 3—I loved it. I think version 3 is a perfect versatile daily trainer, so I was not happy to see the weight gain and the potential increased cushioning in version 4. However, there are definite positives that come along with the weight gain which I’ll cover throughout the review (durability, stability, cushion).

A great aspect of the shoe, and something ASICS has been doing more of, is some more sustainable choices of material and process. It’s still a modern running shoe—a big piece of disposable plastic—and there is still lots of area for improvement. 

However, ASICS says 75% of the upper uses recycled material, the sockliner uses a dying process that reduces CO2 emissions, and the midsole is “20% bio-based content”, with the “the carbon footprint is 23% lower than the industry average”.

As for fit, it is nearly perfect, slightly more comfortable and foot-shaped for me than the predecessor. The upper is soft and also locked in. Finding the right lace tension was tough the first couple of runs—I kept lacing too loosely—but as the materials have conformed to my foot a bit I can get it right easily and have a secure fit with all-day comfort. It is well made and the upper continues to be refined as the Novablast progresses, I think version 4 has the best upper yet.

Midsole and Platform

With a stack height of  men’s 41.5mm/33.5mm | women’s 40.5mm/32.5mm (unchanged) and a broader by 5mm platform of  90mm heel /  70mm midfoot/  115mm forefoot the Novablast is clearly and decisively in max cushion territory. 

When light weight of men's 9.1 oz  / 258g (US9)  /  women's 7.9 oz / 224g (US8) are taken into consideration we are light very light for a trainer with only the ASICS Superblast with its supercritical FF Turbo and original adidas Prime X, both considerably more expensive likely beating it in the weight to cushion ratio. 

The foam is now FF BLAST PLUS ECO which ASICS describes along with the platform as follows:

“FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning is made with 20% recycled bio content. 

Outsole and midsole are asymmetrically engineered to focus

on the ball of foot and heel striking zone to capture more

energy return. This engages the foam with a stronger


Let’s start with the cushioning part of the above. The new ECO foam is light and airy in feel with a quick rebound. This is not a foam with a deep sink in or mushy feeling. It is also a touch less quickly energetic in return and a bit softer than ASICS premium Turbo foam in the Superblast. For a non supercritical (as far as we know) foam, in a big stack $140 shoe, it is not only deeply protective but fun to ride on.

Platform: To help make this softer (than v3’s FF Blast Plus) foam in such a big stack height “work” from a stability and stride flow standpoint ASICS changes  three main elements.

The platform is 5 mm wider at the heel and 5 mm wider at the forefoot with the midfoot width unchanged.  

Further there is a more pronounced rear outrigger to improve landing stability.  

This makes the Novablast 4 more stable than before at landing and toe off. The landings and transition to midfoot works very well. 

ASICS accentuates the toe spring and rocker. 

This was clearly felt during my A/B test run with the Novablast 3. Toe offs are clearly easier especially at slower paces where the v3 felt flat and slappy in comparison. The new deeper grooves in the underside of the midsole clearly assisting as well

Further, the new slightly softer than previous foam and additional forefoot platform width deliver noticeably more forefoot cushion and comfort along with a more distinct and pleasant rebound off the front. What ASICS calls a trampoline effect off the central pod. There is also more forefoot stability .  

There are some minuses for me to the wider front and more accentuated toe spring. The front of the shoe feels slightly too broad, not as nimble compared to the v3. The new rocker and toe spring moves the flex point further back than before making toe offs a bit more awkward and, if you will ,more general training paces focused than quicker efforts. I did note my toes felt a bit warm on an unusual 80 F day in October at  sub 10 minute paces indicating to me the shoe might be too stiff upfront. I do note that the flex needs to break in with some runs and this has subsided.

All of this said the new Novablast’s midsole foam and platform moves the shoe more squarely into a wider range of training paces than its predecessors which were more speed focused and required good well aligned form. The new ECO foam is noticeably more pleasant and competes well with any non supercritical and many supercritical in feel and weight to cushion ratio.

Renee: Again, Sam has the details. The midsole is just as fun and preppy as the previous versions. The midsole has bounce and comfort without being overly soft. I found it great for a 25-mile run in terms of comfort. 

During a 90-minute run with 60 minutes at a tempo (well, attempted tempo thanks to rain), I could tell the difference in the broader platform as compared to the previous version. The platform makes the shoe more stable, but it does reduce the agility. For uptempo or faster paces, the version 4 might not be as “fast” as version three, but it’s trivial at my paces. I’ll note, I run on gravel that is full of tire ruts now that harvest season has begun, so the board platform is not as ideal for me. 

Sally: Sam covers all the details of the midsole well. As a lightweight max cushion trainer , it is soft with a decent amount of bounce and noticeable energy return. I personally find the platform almost too wide - it reminds me of the first times I ran in the Nike Invincible and was kicking myself inside the ankle/calf of the opposite leg as I tried to get used to the wide base. The sheer size and width of the midsole platform might make the shoe more stable, but the tradeoff is less agility - my preference is for a more compact platform and more agility. 

Peter: The midsole finds a nice balance between soft and efficient. It’s soft enough to not feel harsh and firm enough to feel some pep. It’s a nice combination. I agree that it takes a couple of runs to get the shoe to break in a bit. I’ve liked the foam more with each run. 

Jeff: ASICS designers clearly belong to the “why not both” school when it comes to midsole design. Bouncy midsole material and aggressive geometry helps make this shoe much more versatile than earlier iterations. While the other reviewers may not love the wider platform, it definitely makes it easier to put on each day than the first Novablast, which felt more like a gimmick for my midfoot gait. And the others aren’t kidding, it definitely takes a couple runs to get the shoe to break in - even big lumbering slow guys.

Jacob: The Novablast 4 midsole is a big piece of ASICS FlyteFoam Blast+ ECO foam. The ECO version of FF Blast+ is made with 20% bio-based material. It is great to see a manufacturer working toward reducing reliance on petrochemicals. 

It is an airy foam. It is a bit firmer that the FF Blast+ in the Novablast 3. The 4 is thicker/more muted underfoot. The Novablast 4 is lightweight, well-cushioned, and bouncy. The bounce in the Novablast 4 is more subdued than previous models. It isn’t as explosive, energetic, or fast as versions 3 or especially 1. Cushion is bottomless, notably more so than version 3, but.. the ride and feel of the midsole isn’t as dynamic. For a daily trainer, especially for easy runs, it’s a great midsole. It feels good at slow to moderate paces and provides stability and cushion over any distance. 

Since version 2, I have liked running the Novablast on city trails and road/trail mix and the slightly stiffer and more stable midsole in the Novablast 4 makes it even for these uses.


The outsole rubber is now AHAR LO, a lower density formulation. It is clearly both thicker and softer to pressing than the previous rubber. I imagine the added thickness part is to provide increased durability which remains to be determined but I expect overall similar to previous.

The outsole pattern is no longer essentially flat and smooth but has some more pronounced patterning which should improve traction. 

I also note the deep parallel front central grooves into the midsole with a pronounced central pod. I can clearly feel the “trampoline” like impulse off the ball of the foot at faster paces.

Renee: The outsole pattern is similar to the last version, with thicker rubber. The rubber has more notches and grooves to help with traction. I had no issues running on gravel with the shoes. I do notice wrinkles in the exposed midsole sections, but that’s to be expected after running in the rain on gravel in a road shoe. 

Sally: The outsole gets huge points from this lightweight but heavy footed if light in weight runner for being relatively quiet underfoot - a feature I greatly (and maybe weirdly) appreciate. The pattern of grooves looks like it would lead to good traction, but I had some issues on wet roads with traction - I almost slipped on some wet leaves (but I am talking about really wet roads).  There are no crevasses to collect gravel, so that’s a plus. 

Like Sam, I felt the soft pod under the midfoot as a nice trampoline bounce. I would need more miles to get an indication of the durability of this outsole, but the thickness of the rubber makes me think durability will not be an issue.

Peter: Yeah, what they said! The outsole is mostly excellent with traction being the one knock. My first couple of runs were on hot, wet streets and they felt a little bit slippy. Not Meb falls down at the end of the Olympic marathon slippy, but just enough so you can feel yourself not getting great toe-off. 

Jeff: The lack of traction must be speed related, I didn’t feel it at all, and even went into a couple post snow puddles on purpose. I hate to outright disagree with Sally, but I found them to be some of the loudest shoes I’ve ever run in - the forefoot slap with every step drew the attention of my neighbors. It’s not a terrible thing, and some runners may even appreciate it (no surprising people as you run up behind them, the NB4 effectively announces your arrival well before you arrive). All that said, I think it’s a well designed outsole with not too much rubber to weigh the shoe down, and there are no evident early failure spots from having exposed midsole in a crucial place.

Jacob: The Novablast 4 outsole is a great aspect of the shoe. I think it is one of the biggest improvements over version 3. The outsole is thicker and has more texture. The thickness increases durability and the texture increases traction. I feel more confident on trails with the Novablast 4—thanks to the stability combined with the outsole, it has become my favorite dry city trail shoe.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam:The ride is light, airy and fun. The added platform widths clearly make the latest Novablast more stable and slower paces friendly.  The new ECO foam is livelier and softer than previous Novablast’s FF Blast Plus and has a welcome 20% bio based content. 

While it loses some of the arrow like uptempo feel of earlier versions, and their not always friendly to shaky form and rear landings ride, it gains in versatility. It moves towards a daily trainer type shoe and a very light one for the 40mm plus heel stack height at just a shade over 9 oz.

On the minus side the added platform width at the forefoot make them not quite as agile as previous and the more accentuated toe spring and geometry upfront could use a more  forward flex for slower paces. To be updated as I break them in some more.

The upper with 75% recycled content is comfortable, fits well and is secure.

ASICS pulls off a successful update here. It plugs a hole in its current line up for a very light reasonably priced (Superblast is $200)  max cushioned daily trainer.  and the more ponderous and heavier Cumulus 25 and Nimbus 25. While not a supercritical foam,  the ride feel is comparable in energy return and at $140 for so much shoe, and a shoe ready for just about any run beyond slow and recovery, it is a great value. 

Finally, ASICS is to be commended for the sustainability efforts in the midsole and upper and for being transparent about the carbon footprint of the Novablast 4, a trend in the industry I hope expands.

Sam’s Score: 9.48 / 10


Ride (50%): 9.3 more front flex, less front width to go with toe spring and rocker

Fit (30%): 9.7 about as good as it gets

Value (15%): 9.7 light weight, cushion, versatility and $140

Style (5%): 9 a bit bright..

Renee: Like previous versions, the Novablast ride remains fun. Before the Novablast 4 arrived, I used the previous version for several 2-hour runs mixing in tempo paces. The bounce and comfort remain the same. The more plush upper and broader platform give a more stable ride, and for me, make the version 4 a better easy/long run shoe as compared to previous version (which works great for long runs too, and probably slightly better for faster paces). 

The shoe is a great option for a daily trainer , especially easy to moderate paces at any distance. While it might not be my favorite for speed or uptempo paces, the shoe can handle those too, and all at a decent price in comparison to other options. The heel is a bit overbuilt for me to use the shoes for casual use (walking) or truly slow paces. Like the previous version, I’ll reach for the Novablast 4 when I want comfort and fun. 

Sally: I will need more miles to really get a feel for this shoe, but so far I really enjoy the Novablast 4 as an everyday max cushion easy to moderate tempo trainer. As the others have pointed out it has a wider less agile platform than its predecessors which makes it more stable and a bit better suited for mellower paced runs, and it might also be better suited for a wider range of runners. It is an immediately comfortable and easy shoe to lace up for your daily moderate paced runs and your longer runs, though not my choice for a fast paced tempo run. I am finding that numerous shoe brands are moving toward “more accessible” changes in some of my favorite models by making the newest iterations more versatile and appealing to a wider range of runners, which is resulting in less “fun factor” and less of a “wired for speed” feel. 

The Novablast 4 is a great update and a great choice for a max cushioned but lightweight daily trainer at a decent price. I applaud ASIC’s sustainability efforts, and am impressed with the $140 price tag for a shoe with all of this new technology. 

Sally’s score: 9.41/10.0

Ride (50%): 9.1   Fit (30%): 9.8     Value (15%):  9.7   Style (5%): 9.5


Peter: The Novablast 4 is a really nice daily trainer. I think it is what we will consider a more “normal” daily trainer as we go forward . It’s got plenty of cushion, could be used by anyone and is comfortable. It’s not a niche shoe, just a really solid daily trainer with a fun ride and a very good upper. 

Peter’s Score 9.4 / 10


Jeff: Impressive shoe from ASICS. I think they dialed in some of the flaws that made earlier versions more love-it-or-hate-it, while the 4 is one of those shoes that very easy to recommend if you’re looking for a well-cushioned and “fun” daily trainer. The fact it’s $140 makes it that much easier to consider saving $20-30 or more off most shoes in the same category with seemingly no compromises. In a year with a non-stop lineup of killer shoes, this late entrant is easily in consideration for my shoe of the year.

Jeff’s Score: 9.7/ 10

Ride: 9.5 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)

Jacob: The Novablast 4 is an all-around solid training shoe with a comfortable fit, versatile stable, neutral and cushioned platform, and durable outsole.The ride continues the excellence and versatility. It is easygoing, stable, and cushioned. It has balanced softness and bounce. It isn’t overly squishy, is far from mushy, and provides a notable spring and light energy on the run. However, especially compared to the Novablast 3 and 1, isn’t as bouncy, dramatic, or quick-moving.

The Novablast 4 uses recycled and bio-based materials, process improvements to reduce CO2 emissions, and publishes information about the carbon-footprint of the shoe. 

I think the Novablast 4 performs best for easy to endurance runs of any length. I use it for casual recovery runs as well as longer runs at moderate pace. I think it feels like too much shoe and doesn’t have enough stiffness or directed energy return to be ideal for fast running (e.g. marathon race pace and faster). This aspect is different from the Novablast 3 (and 1) for me which were decent at moderate speed, such as marathon pace to threshold and strides. The Novablast 4 is most like the Novablast 2 in usage, though it is more comfortable, lighter, and smoother.

I’d recommend the Novablast 4 for all runners looking for a versatile trainer. For those with only a few shoes, it is ideal. I wear it a few days a week, whenever I am doing an easy long run or a shorter run of any pace when I don’t have a plan. It is comfortable and has an accommodating fit, is easy to run, works well on light trail, is stable and neutral but has some energy in the midsole, and supports runs of any length. 

Jacob’s Score:  9.05 / 10

Ride: 9 (50%), Fit: 9 (30%), Value: 9 (15%), Style: 10 (5%)


8 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE Roadtrailrun 

Novablast 4

Weight: men's 9.1 oz  / 258g (US9)  /  women's 7.9 oz / 224g (US8)

Stack Height: men’s 41.5mm/33.5mm | women’s 40.5mm/32.5mm

Platform Width: v4  90mm heel /  70mm midfoot/  115mm forefoot  


ASICS Novablast 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: Covered in depth in the review. The Novablast 4 gets a wider platform and a more effective toe spring. Its FF Blast Plus foam is slightly softer and more energetic. It now leans somewhat away from its earlier uptempo roots becoming a more versatile and stable neutral daily trainer. 

Renee: I agree with Sam. The newest Novablast leans more toward a daily trainer and easy runs in comparison to previous versions, which handles uptempo paces a bit better. The more plush upper and broad platform are the reason, but those changes also help with stability and comfort. The version 4 has a slight weight gain, likely because of the increased outsole rubber and higher “elf” heel. 

Jacob: I agree with Sam and Renee. I prefer the Novablast 3 overall as I like that it is more agile and faster.

Watch Sam's Novablast Video Review with A/B Comparison Run to Novablast 3

ASICS Superblast (RTR Review)

Sam: At 8.43 oz / 239g (US9) the Superblast is lighter and higher stacked at a giant 45.5 mm heel / 37.5 mm forefoot. To get there, it uses supercritical FF Turbo fam and as such is priced $60 more. Its cushion is yet more bottomless than the Nova’s and, while similar in feel, slightly quicker reacting. While I have some minor issues with Nova 4’s toe spring and front of the shoe the Superblast given its yet higher front stack could use some flex (it has none) and/or  some more toe spring and rocker especially for slower paces. I think Nova is a better value.

Renee: Everything Sam wrote. The Superblast is lightweight. For the price, the Novablast is the better choice and just as good for long runs. The Superblast might have advantages for ultra distances. 

Sally: So many runners LOVE the Superblast, but I sadly think I am the only runner who did not get along with it. I found it too stiff and difficult to get moving - ironic for a shoe that many rave about even as a possible marathon race shoe. So it is easy to say I prefer the Novablast 4! 

Peter: Another vote for the Novablast 4 here. The lack of flex in the Superblast made them less fun to run in. 

ASICS GEL Cumulus 25 (RTR Review)

Sam: The latest Cumulus got supersized  with a 115mm heel / 80mm midfoot / 110 forefoot. It is a giant 25 mm broader at the heel than Nova and 10mm broader at the forefoot while 5 mm narrower at the forefoot. The Nova could use that 5mm narrower foretoot platform. Its platform width, although it is only slightly heavier on a lower 37.5 heel / 29.5 mm forefoot stack height, is overdone at the rear and midfoot even if it more stable. 

It is a more traditional flexing shoe and thus somewhat more slow pace friendly than Novablast as long as you are not landing way back on the giant heel.  It has somewhat less energetic regular FF Blast.. At the same $140 pricing if you are not looking for a mellow slower paces daily trainer the much more fun Novablast 4 is my clear preference. 

ASICS Glide Ride 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: With close to the same stacks but at a 5mm drop the Glide Ride is in many ways the predecessor to the Novablast 3. Its rocker and geometry is a bit stiffer and more prescriptive with its forefoot hardened foam plate providing more noticed propulsion. 

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 (RTR Review)

Sam: With the same 41.5mm heel / 33.5mm forefoot stack height and a broader yet platform at the 95mm heel / 85mm midfoot (+15mm)  / 115mm forefoot (+5mm),  the Nimbus is also more than 28g  heavier at 10.3 oz  / 292 g. If you need more stability in your neutral trainer it may be for you but I found the rear of the shoe far blockier and harder to move past than the Novablast with its front rocker not as effective. Easy choice of Novablast for me. Fits are both true to size with Nimbus a bit more generous upfront but not quite as locked down.

Jeff: Largely agree with everything Sam said. The Nimbus is the heavier and softer shoe, making it a perfect recovery shoe companion to the Novablast 4’s daily trainer duties. The NB4 definitely wants to push pace more than the N25, though both are top of class comfortable.

Saucony Ride 17 (RTR Review)

Sam: The January 2024 Ride 17, at the same price as Nova, represents a slightly different approach to the more classic higher drop unplated trainer. It too has a non supercritical foam, an expanded bead TPU new in the style for 2024, which is about the firmness as ECO but bouncier.  With a 35/27 stack height it is comparatively lower to the road and is more flexible and stable.The Nova is lighter by almost one ounce and that is felt. On the other hand the Ride 17 is more slow pace friendly and easier to turn over. Uppers are comparable in hold and comfort with the Saucony’s somewhat lower volume and narrower up front. If faster tempo paces along with general daily training are your focus go with the Nova, for more general utility the Ride.

Nike Vomero 17 (RTR Review)

Sam: Nike's latest Vomero has a dual foam midsole makeup ( Zoom X supercritical underfoot, Cushlon below). It is lower stack at 39.5 mm heel / 30mm forefoot and about 1 oz /28g  heavier at 10 oz / 283g. Much of that additional weight comes from a more substantial even some trails worthy outsole and a stout and very supportive upper. I think it will prove more durable than the ASICS over time.  It is more flexible with a more traditional non rockered geometry. Even with Zoom X in the mix its ride is not as exciting but more friendly to heel striking and slower paces.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v13 (RTR Review)

Sam: Somewhat lower stack but still big at 38 mm heel / 32 mm forefoot and about 14g heavier,  the latest 1080 has a softer foam and stretchy knit type upper. The clear message is more about comfort and slower oaces than faster paced  performance daily training which is where I place the Novablast. 

Jeff: It’s kind of nuts that we can say the 38/32mm stacked 1080 feels lesser than anything, but worn against the NB4, it’s noticeably lighter in the cushioning department. The New Balance is much softer, and the fit is a little more relaxed, making the ASICS feel much more performance focused.

The Novablast 4 is available now at our partners below

Tester Profiles

Renee is a former U.S.Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who agreed against her better judgment to run her first marathon at age 54; she has since run the past ten Boston Marathons, two NYC Marathons, one Chicago, and one London with the WMM Six Star Medal now in her sights. With a Boston PR of 3:25:55 in 2022 (9th place in AG) and two consecutive 2nd place in Age Group W60 awards in NYC, she competed in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Age Group World Championships at the 2022 London Marathon and ran an all-time PR of 3:24:02, placing 6th in the world in her women’s 60-64 age group.  To add meaning to her Boston Marathon races she runs with Team Eye and Ear and has raised over $275,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. Sally is 5’2’’ and 105 pounds and lives in Marblehead, MA, training outdoors year round. She blames her love of skiing out West for any and all Boston Marathon training challenges.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over five years and averaging 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50mi. He has a PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), sport climbing, and nordic skiing. He is 28 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

 Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! How does the ride compare to Triumph 21? Both are lighter max cushion shoes with some versatility. Which is bouncier, roomier and more enjoyable for easy paces?

Anonymous said...

What is the material about FF BLAST Plus??? ( Eva, tpe, TPU, etc....)

Sam Winebaum said...

@anonymous Triumph
Triumph 21 bouncier softer and more enjoyable for easier paces. And Triumph (21) RFG even more so if you want easy going
@anonymous foam in Novablast
ASICS unfortunately won't say, Suspect an EVA blend that is low density
Sam, Editor

Montavilla Steve said...

Thanks for the review!

Can you comment on the length of the shoe? I've found past versions of this shoe to be a bit long. That is, my normal size is fine in terms of width, but had 1.25 thumbnails of extra length beyond my longest toe. I had to go to a 9 2e compared to my normal 9.5 (In version 2 and 3) because of how long prior iterations of this shoe were.