Tuesday, July 02, 2024

ASICS Noosa Tri 16 Review- The Perfect Middle Ground: 4 Comparisons

Article by Ben David and Sam Winebaum

ASICS Noosa Tri 16 ($135)


Ben: In a run shoe era of carbon-plated super foam trainers and racers sometimes it is a good idea to go back to the future, to those uptempo do-it-all all simple construction trainers, a category I really enjoy to run. The Noosa Tri 16 is such a shoe!

The colorful Noosa Tri 16 is just such a shoe. No plate, no super foam but a very light weight of 7.5 oz / 213g  (US9) with a very decent stack height of 34.5mm heel / 29.5 mm forefoot of Flytefoam Blast +, ASICS GuideSole rocker geometry and some snappy flex to help propel and a reasonable $135 price.

The Noosa Tri 16 is bright and bold as were many of its predecessors. No plate. No mega stack. Just a light, peppy daily trainer with wild colorways and lots of energy return. Everything about this shoe is refreshing and easy, from the loud laces to the crayon-like colorway to the smooth and simple ride. Let’s dive in.


GlideSole tech lives! snappy quick ride: a pronounced rocker with flex, no need for a plate: Sam

Plenty of lively, friendly & responsive cushion, upgrade from FlyteFoam to FF Blast Plus: Sam

All around versatility from faster workouts, to daily training. to racing

Light weight: 7.6 oz / 215g for near maximal 34.5 /29.5 stack height, & 12g drop from prior: Sam

A true trainer/racer : Sam

Performance race ready, secure and comfortable upper : Sam

Good price point, light, peppy, great upper, very durable (Ben)


Wish it had FF Turbo instead of Blast+ but then it wouldn’t be $135 and such a great value: Sam

A tiny bit of added stack and this shoe would rival such heavyweights as the SuperBlast and SuperComp Trainer. (Ben)

Most comparable shoes

Hoka Mach 5 & 6

Hoka Mach 5

New Balance Rebel v4

Endorphin Speed 4


Approx.Weight: men's 7.5 oz / 213g US9

  Sample Weight: men’s  7.3 oz / 207g  US8.5 

Stack Height: men’s  34.5 mm heel /  29.5 mm forefoot ( 5 mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 80mm heel / 67mm midfoot / 100 mm forefoot 

Available July 1, 2024. $135

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Sam:: As always the Noosa Tri is colorful with a fun and beachy vibe! 

I did not test the Noosa Tri 15 so I can’t comment on the differences in upper materials or fit but this is one great fitting performance type upper.

The engineered mesh is thin, soft and pliable yet holds the foot extremely well without over-squeezing as it has some give (unlike say the more mono mesh of the Hoka Mach 6). It is made of 75% recycled polyester. There are plenty of perforations through the mesh so breathability has been just fine.

The toe box is relatively broad and has plenty of toe over head room with the firmer part of the toe bumper only at the very front.  Length is just right and hold is excellent upfront.

The gusset tongue combines soft mesh upfront with leatherette upper tongue with a large hole and wide strap to assist with rapid pull on for tri purposes. The sides of the upper tongue have padding. The nonstretch laces have a bit of friction to their surfaces with lace up quick and secure. Never any on-the-run adjustments in any of my test runs. 

The heel area features moderate collar padding that extends down far  and a rigid heel counter. Compared to images of the Noosa Tri 15 I note the achilles collar is now lower and no longer “elf” shaped. Rear lockdown is excellent.  

The fit is true to size for my medium to narrow feet. I think moderately wide feet will also be fine here due to the soft somewhat stretchy front of the shoe.

Ben: This shoe is extremely comfortable and wearable upon step-in. It fit my size 9 feet beautifully. You can’t help but smile when you open the box and this loud, less-than-serious shoe awaits you. It looks great and feels great. The tongue sits beautifully, no pinching or problems. 

It has, as Sam noted, a nice broad toe box and a highly cushioned, supportive heel collar, both of which add to its overall comfort. 

Somehow the shoe finds the perfect middle ground between not enough stack and too much stack (i.e., it’s not a Hoka Bondi by any measure, nor is it a more minimal-feeling Elliot Trainer or Peg 41). While still paying homage to its triathlon roots with a sizable pull tab on both the tongue and at the heel, the Noosa is ready to compete with the most popular daily trainers on the market. (Ben)

Midsole & Platform

Sam: The midsole moves to ASICS FF Blast Plus (at least  20% bio based) from Flytefoam and this is the key upgrade to the Noosa Tri. Blast Plus and its slightly softer ECO version, as far as we know, is a non supercritical foam found in many current ASICS road and trail shoes such as the Nimbus, Kayano, and as a layer in the Magic Speed 4. It is a light responsive foam and the admirable weight of  7.3 oz / 207g men’s in my sample US8.5 on a near max stack height of 34.5 mm heel /  29.5  mm forefoot demonstrates this. 

The geometry includes ASICS Guide Sole technology found on shoes such as Glideride and Evo Ride, a rocker type approach throughout the whole stride without plates which I have always found effective. And it is super effective here with easy roll at all paces with a snappy flex.

The midsole provides plenty of responsive cushion. It is not as soft and bouncy as say Saucony’s PWRRUN+ and Pb is or Hoka’s new supercritical foam in the competing Mach 6 but is quicker responding, more decisive and more stable than those foams. I particularly noted the deep stable rebound off the heel and the quick toe off feel from the shoe’s flex. This indicates to me that it would be a very solid choice for hilly courses where plates can be an impediment. 

Ben: The identity of the Tri Noosa rests literally on a wonderful midsole, which is slightly softer than the SuperBlast and slightly firmer than the NovaBlast. I found it to be perfect for both cruising and a couple of more peppy miles at the end of the run. It is light and responsive and is not afraid to pick up the pace a bit; the rocker geometry is propulsive and glides you through transitions easily. 

Ben: Like Sam, I found the ride to be considerably more snappy than the Mach 6 (as well as Mach 4 and 5, incidentally). When pushing faster paces, it feels almost like a super trainer / tempo shoe, such as the ever-popular Endorphin Speed 4. 

While I don’t think this shoe is marketed as a tempo shoe, I found it to be much more stable than almost all of the other shoes in the super shoe category, given the ample heel collar and substantial platform. 

At slower paces, it feels very controlled and easy and certainly very comfortable. It would be hard to call a bright fluorescent shoe made by a major retailer a “sleeper” or “flying under the radar” but this shoe has all the makings of exactly that as far as recent daily trainers go. It can compete with any of them and likely can best be billed as a do-it-all shoe for your summer miles.


Ben: The outsole is constructed with ASICS Grip from AHARPLUS. It is reliable and offers good traction. With its origins in the triathlon world of wet feet, quick transitions and the like, it offered a lot of grip underfoot. To my eye, the outsole also promises significant durability. After a number of runs in my pair (85% on roads and 15% on trails) I see almost no wear at all.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

The Noosa Tri 16 is a light and lively daily trainer. While originally billed as a triathlon shoe and still holding some of that in its DNA (especially in the tongue and heel where we see tabs for quick pull-on) it is firmly a shoe for runners looking to log summer miles at virtually any pace. It has a bold, colorful upper that fits beautifully and a fun ride that is willing to roll with your pace, either on easy days or amid some tempo work. The stack is substantial though not overwhelming. Like many of its ASICS siblings, this shoe is well-made, reliable and highly durable. It is a kind of sleeper pick as it flies under the radar even in the ASICS lineup, let alone the broader shoe world at the moment. (Ben)

Ben’s Score: 9.8/10 

A minor, minor deduction as I would’ve liked just a touch more stack


Sam: In a run shoe era of yet higher stacked and priced complex run shoes, the Noosa Tri 16 stands out. Simple, comfortable, effective, fairly priced at $135 it is notably versatile and fun to run. For sure it leans faster paces but it also handled more moderate daily runs just fine and especially if you miss the more direct feel of shoes of a few years ago but here without their harshness due to the excellent FlyteFoam Blast Plus foam. A true do it all shoe, it can also serve as a racer especially if you don't care for rigid plated shoes.

Sam's Score: 9.65 /10

While a very reasonable 7.5 oz / 213g I wonder what ASICS supercritical FF Turbo foam in the mix might do for weight and increased energy return.


Sam's Noosa Tri 16 Video Review (21:00)
with comparisons to Novablast 4, Magic Speed 4, New Balance Rebel v4, and Hoka's Mach 6 and Mach 4

4 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Hoka Mach 6 (RTR Review)

7.7 oz / 218g US 8.5

37 heel mm / 32mm forefoot (5mm drop spec) 

Platform Width (M US8.5): 90mm heel / 70mm midfoot / 110mm forefoot

I wear a size 9 in both. I was disappointed by the Mach 6. I thought it would be much peppier than it was. I also found it somewhat narrow. Noosa Tri is more stable and forgiving with a wider toe box and broader platform. Noosa wins this one for me. (Ben)

Hoka Mach 5 (RTR Review)

8.2oz  / 232g (US9)

A pretty close call probably. I wear a size 9 comfortably in both. I found the Mach 5 to be slightly firmer than the Mach 4 and better at handling faster paces than its predecessors. I still believe the Noosa Tri does better at faster paces and offers more protection on slower runs. (Ben)

adidas Adizero SL 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Same general category of light daily trainers to uptempo with similar pricing, the SL 2 is softer and bouncier, more flexible, somewhat heavier than the Noosa Tri. Its upper is not quite as secure or polished. Both are true to size. It is more fun to run as it has core of top end LIghtstrike Pro in a soft Lightstrike carrier. The Noosa Tri is somewhat firmer and more responsive

and will range better over to racing and up tempo for me.

Atreyu Daily Trainer 1.2 

Ben: Another good comparison to be made here. I wear a size 9 in both. The Daily Trainer 1.2 is very light. It offers no frills. It is highly flexible, very breathable and super comfortable. It is likely Atreyu’s best model for daily miles. That said, the added support, stack and more dynamic foam in the Noosa Tri make it stronger at essentially all paces. (Ben)

ASICS Magic Speed 4 (RTR Review)

Ben: In contrast to the Noosa, the Magic is in its latest version considerably higher stack and has both a top layer of ASICS racing grade FF Turbo supercritical foam, noting the Metaspeed Paris racers have a new lighter FF Turbo+ foam, with FF Blast +  below a full carbon plate. It exceeds the Noosa in both stack height and weight, +0.9 oz  at  8.5 oz / 241g US9. As with the Noosa it is a very fair value at $170 for a carbon plated racer/uptempo trainer.  The Noosa Tri is a better short fast intervals tempo and race shoe while the Magic Speed 4 now moves to longer steady runs. Prior to the Magic Speed 4 the Magic was also a short and fast tempo type shoe, Both are true to size but I prefer the slightly roomier lighter upper of the Noosa Tri. 

Tester Profiles

Ben is the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA. A cancer survivor, he has run 21 marathons. He holds PRs of 3:15 for the marathon and 1:30 for the half. At 46, he still enjoys pushing himself and combining his running with supporting a variety of causes. Follow him on Instagram: @RabbiBPD or Twitter: @BDinPA 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is in his 60’s  with 2024 Sam’s 52th year of running roads and trails. 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.

Shopping at our partners below for the Noosa Tri 16 is much appreciated and helps support RoadTrailRun

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...

vs NB Rebel 4?

Anonymous said...

The stack is similar to Hoka Clifton 9, any chance of a comparison please?