Shoe Review: ASICS Novablast 2
The ASICS Novablast 2 is a neutral-oriented everyday training shoe that offers a comfortable fit and a soft, well-cushioned, lively ride.
It incorporates subtle but significant changes in the stability, fit, ride and look that build on the success of the original Novablast last year.
ASICS updated its next-generation FlyteFoam Blast cushioning material (now called FF Blast) found the original model to be slightly softer and more deformable to allow runners to experience a more bouncy and responsive sensation in every stride.
A new TPU heel stabilizer was added along both sides of the heel to help support the foot and create more stable, balanced strides, while additional foam under the forefoot improve the stability and responsive feeling of the new edition.
The double-jacquard woven mesh upper has been updated slightly from the original version, offering increased breathability and enhanced stretchiness in the forefoot. The trampoline-style responsiveness is created by open channel in the FF Blast midsole foam under the heel.
It creates a lateral decoupling effect that creates a secondary bounce effect that energizes the stride as the foot proceeds toward the toe-off phase.
The moderately wide footprint of the Novablast 2 creates a bit of inherent stability for runners who have a neutral gait, though it’s not a shoe recommended for overpronators.
More foam in the forefoot and the wider outsole, along with the new TPU support overlays at the rear of the shoe, have definitely made it more stable than the original version.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Novablast has a classic ASICS fit, true to size length-wise with a medium volume interior. It serves up a secure, locked-down sensation in the heel and midfoot and has just enough space in the forefoot for toes to wiggle and splay.
It’s not excessively cushioned on the interior, but it provides plenty of softness from the padded tongue and heel and the premium footbed. The new upper material and gusseted tongue have improved the fit and feel from the original version.
The ride is very soft, bouncy and resilient, providing a noticeable amount of responsive “pop” in every stride. ASICS has built the shoe to allow the foot go through a “trampoline effect” and there is certainly a sensation of bouncy propulsion after the initial impact.
WHO IT'S BEST FOR
Runners who run with a heavy to moderate heel-striking gait and those who like cushy, shock-absorbing shoes will really appreciate the Novablast 2.
The maximal cushioning in the extended heel design engages the ground and start the process of absorbing the impact with the ground while helping the foot transition into the midstance phase of the stride.
It’s a great training shoe for slow, moderate and up-tempo running and short to long runs. Our wear-testers believe it it could serve as a fast trainer or a race-day shoe for mid-packers.
PROS: ASICS NOVABLAST 2
The Novablast 2 has a good cushioning to weight ratio, thanks to the featherweight and airy feeling of the FF Blast midsole foam. It is soft and compresses easily, but it’s not mushy or sloppy.
It’s responsive and rebounds quickly, delivering an energetic bounciness as the foot approaches the toe-off phase. The outsole is almost identical to the original version of the shoe with sections of high-traction rubber around the perimeter of the shoe and another segment under the middle of the forefoot.
There are more extensive segmented flex grooves in the forefoot as well as new cuts through the front pads on the lateral and medial sides for improved grip. Overall, our wear-testers found the Novablast 2 to be a fun, energetic shoe to run in, one helped keep our legs feeling fresh during and after long training runs.
CONS: ASICS NOVABLAST 2
The Novablast 2 isn’t as light as some of its contemporaries and it actually gained about a half ounce from the first edition. It’s not a deal-breaker for most training runs, but it’s just not as light as some runners might prefer.
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