Asics Novablast 2
The super cushioned and responsive midsole on this design paired with a uniquely designed outsole makes this shoe feel like you are running on tiny trampolines. This shoe is incredibly bouncy, and simply lacing them up will get you pumped to put miles behind you.
Overall, I would recommend this shoe for runners that like to put a lot of road behind them, but it’s not ideal for speedy lap times. While it boasts high-end performance cushioning and support, this shoe can feel a little clunky when speed and agility are the aim of the game. This daily trainer really shines when you pop on your favorite running playlist and head out for a nice and easy tempo run around the neighborhood or at the local gym.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the advanced features that make the Asics Novablast 2 the dark horse that gives some of the higher-end brands a run for their money!
Incredibly responsive FlyteFoam Blast midsole
Energy pods of the outsole for energetic toe-offs
Great for long-distance running or tempo runs
The warm upper is better suited for cooler days
Heavier than expected
Feels a little clunky
Not ideal for speed or agility
What runners love most about this neutral daily trainer is the new and improvised FlyteFoam Blast midsole material. This midsole has been fine-tuned for the Novablast 2 and provides runners with a perfect balance of plush cushioning and a responsive ride. Essentially, it feels like you are running on tiny trampolines. The FlyteFoam Blast runs the full length of the midsole that lends a good deal of support and energy feedback throughout your entire gait cycle.
What I like about this shoe is that it has a slightly lower drop than previous iterations of the shoe. It offers runners an 8 mm drop which shaves down the overall bulk of this shoe, and tunes you into the ground under your feet.
The 8 mm drop hits that sweet spot where it provides a good deal of cushioning for heel strikers but isn’t so steep that it turns this neutral runner into a stiff stability shoe.
The outsole of the Novablast 2 is made to withstand long-distance running while also offering a little extra bounce. What makes this outsole unique is that it boasts a sculpted rubber pod at the ball of your foot that helps offer confident and springy toe-offs.
On the previous version of this shoe, the pod-like design felt a little awkward, and you constantly felt it push back with every step. With this new and improved edition, this energy pod works exactly as it is supposed to. The added midsole material and shaved-down rubber on the outsole work in tandem for a push of easy energy and feels natural.
What I also like about the construction of this outsole is that it is built to last. Even after 100 miles, the rubber on the outsole shows very little signs of wear and tear. It’s a style that you can wear for daily runs and it feels just as good at mile 100 as it did at mile 1.
To keep the weight low, the outsole utilizes a blend of exposed EVA foam with an outsole of durable rubber on high-impact areas. This design keeps your stride light and bright without affecting its overall durability.
It’s important to note that the upper on this design runs a little hot. It is composed of dual layers of mesh materials that really contour to the shape of your foot for excellent lockdown, but it just doesn’t have the same level of breathability as some of the other neutral trainers out there on the market. If you run in cooler weather, the upper of this design is a great choice, but it suffers a bit when the temperature climbs.
The heel of this design has a TPU heel cup that locks the heel in place and prevents the shoe from slipping as you run. It also is covered in a modest layer of cushioning to prevent rubbing and chafing. Overall, runners found that this shoe has very few hot spots and has a relatively short break-in period.
Overall, I would recommend this shoe for neutral runners that want a daily trainer that is incredibly cushioned yet energetic. What I love most about the Novablast 2 is that it finds that sweet spot between high cushioning and excellent energy return. It gives you that classic squish from a comfortable pair of running shoes but doesn’t turn your gait into the mud as you put miles behind you. It’s great for long distances, but not ideal for speed or agility work.
This shoe weighs in at 9.7 ounces, which is a little heavy for a neutral runner, but not quite as heavy as a stability shoe. What I discovered is that while the weight isn’t the heaviest neutral trainer out there on the market, it feels heavier than expected.
This slightly heavy and clunky design makes speed and agility a little more difficult. It’s a great shoe for distance and tempo runs, but it may hold you back a bit when you want to shave a few seconds off of your PR.
Asics shoes tend to run a little narrow, and that is still true with the Asics Novablast 2. The toe box has a slight taper to it, which prevents your toes from naturally splaying inside of the shoe. I would recommend sizing a half size higher than normal to ensure that your feet have plenty of room to breathe. If you have the option, I recommend heading down to your local shoe store to give them a test spin before you buy them.
While the toe box is a little narrow, the upper fits like a glove. It is composed of a slightly stretchy mesh that contours to the shape of your foot, and the lacing system allows plenty of room to play. When tightened down, the laces on this shoe prove excellent midfoot lockdown that doesn’t shift around as you run.
I was a little underwhelmed by the overall styling of this shoe. Personally, I love a running shoe that comes in bright and poppy colors that are unique, and the Asics Novablast 2 lineup plays it a little safe. It’s offered in a few different neutral color options, but these colors didn’t really jump out at me.
Perhaps as this design gains more popularity they will release more dynamic color options, but as it stands right now the color options are a little boring.
The cost of this daily runner is a little bit more expensive than similar designs out there on the market, but I feel that it is well worth the extra cost. This is a shoe that is built to hold up over the long haul and provides excellent cushioning and support that will get you excited to take them out for a run.
When you compare the overall durability to the slightly higher price point, these shoes are certainly an investment that is worth making!
Comparisons to Previous Versions
With the Novablast 2, Asics has not only fixed the things that were wrong with this shoe, but they added new features that will certainly leave this shoe on quite a few ‘best of’ lists this year.
The most important change to this shoe was that they shaved down the outsole pod in the forefoot. This pod is designed to give you an extra push on your toe-off, so it serves an important purpose.
By adding plush midsole foam, shaving down the pod, and lowering the drop from 10 mm to 8mm, I feel that this outsole pod finally hits the mark and adds an extra spring to your step.
What I love most about this neutral daily trainer is that it’s the perfect blend between cushioning and energy return. The FlyteFoam Blast is insanely responsive and is a great choice for long-distance runners.
It’s important to note that I knocked a few points off due to the overall weight as well as the slightly hot upper. These features aren’t deal-breakers, especially when you consider just how fun this shoe is to take out for a run, but it is worth mentioning.