asics novablast 3 - feature
RoadShoe ReviewsSite Feature

Asics Novablast 3 Review: Watch the Throne

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 8.9 oz. (253 g.) for a US M10 / 7.5 oz. (212 g.) for a US W7.5
  • Same great bounce, now with lighter Flytefoam Blast+
  • The midsole looks like it’s straight out of an anime
  • It’s still a do-it-all beast of a shoe
  • Available on September 13 (updated) for $140

MEAGHAN: The original Novablast felt like the turning point for Asics. Since its debut, the brand has been churning out some pretty amazing products. From the Metaspeed Sky+ to the Glideride 3, I’ve enjoyed all of the updates over the past few years. So, it’s no surprise that the Asics Novablast 3 is a welcomed addition.

Asics’ latest iteration of bouncy, lightweight foam — Flytefoam Blast+ — is easily one of my favorites. You’ll find this in the Glideride 3, Gel-Nimbus 24, and several other models. Version 3 of the Novablast comes with an extra millimeter of this foam (30mm / 22mm for an 8mm drop, Asics doesn’t count outsole rubber and insole in the stack measurements, btw) and feels even lighter and bouncier than its predecessor. And it’s not just a feeling, the shoes got about 30 grams lighter. My US W7.5 came in at 7.5oz (V2 was 8.2 oz).

The mesh upper has been updated to include a gusseted tongue wing fit system and some extra support through the heel. Both updates create a stable ride and a nice lockdown fit. There’s a thin rubber layer around the shoe’s perimeter (trampoline inspired) for added durability and bounce.

I took the Asics Novablast 3 to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, for a week and ran in it every day I was there. With 100+ miles on the shoe, let’s dive into the good and bad.

THOMAS: The three versions of the Asics Novablast don’t look radically different, yet they have significant differences.

The first Novablast caught us off guard. At the time, Asics was producing stodgy, overbuilt daily trainers, but when we saw the Novablast 1 at The Running Event, we knew the times were changin’. With the generous helping of soft Flytefoam Blast, a well-fitting upper, and a geometrically-angled midsole design, it was the clear start of a radical shift for the brand.

However, the first version worked well for some and was unstable and felt mushy for others. Unfortunately, I fell in the latter group. I saw the potential, but the way my stride worked with the shoe, the power didn’t convert, and I had to spend energy stabilizing my foot strike.

The next version of the Novablast set the shoe straight. Asics kept the style and stack intact but found a way to make the ample cushioning more solid underfoot. I was able to use the shoes for loads of training miles. The formula of the Novablast was a hit with our team and won the award for the best overall shoe in our 2021 Best In Gear Awards.

So, that takes us to where we are now with the Asics Novablast 3. I’ve already put over 200 miles in this shoe (I can’t remember the last time that happened), so I have plenty of thoughts.

asics novablast 3 dark steps

The Good

MEAGHAN: A lot of runners felt the original Novablast was unstable, and while I agreed with this general sentiment, it wasn’t a huge issue for me. All that to say, I don’t think anyone will have a problem with stability in this model. The supportive mesh upper and heel stabilizer provide a secure, sturdy ride even with the extra stack.

I think my favorite thing about the Novablast is its versatility. Whether you’re heading out for a long, slow jog or lacing up for an uptempo run, the Novablast is a solid option. It’s light, bouncy, comfortable, and feels great from mile 1 to mile 20.

As I said in the intro, I’ve logged over 100 miles on the Novablast 3. There’s minimal wear on the outsole, and the shoe feels just as bouncy as it did on day one.

asics novablast 3 toe

THOMAS: Things that stayed the same are the modern aggressive styling, a high stack of foam, and an upper that fits the foot securely over the midsole. The new foam is the star attraction. Flytefoam Blast+ takes the midsole to a place where fans of the first version and those who preferred the second Novablast will come together.

The midsole cushion rebounds and cuts weight while staying stable. Basically, Flytefoam Blast+ is the jam. The Asics Novablast 3 has more foam underfoot but weighs less. My Novablast 2 weighed 10.3 oz. (293 g.) compared to 8.9 oz. (253 g.) for my US M10 Novablast 3. To recap, that’s more cushion in a shoe that loses more than an ounce in weight. Don’t forget that the foam is better with more pop.

The upper doesn’t look like a big update, but the refinements in the material and especially the tongue add to the upgrade. Let’s start with the tongue. It gets thinner and loses the padding without sacrificing comfort over the arch while it still protects from lace bite. Where the last Novablast’s tongue was pillowy, the new version has a thin, soft, felt-like split top tongue that lays flat and molds to the ankle. The tongue stays in place over the arch with elastic gussets.

The Novablast 3 is easy on the body and doesn’t get in the way when you run fast or slow paces. During our GRIT Challenge, I did many back-to-back double-digit mileage days in the Novablast 3 and always enjoyed the shoe’s ride and comfort. So far, the Novablast 3 is my all-time favorite Asics shoe.

Shop ASICS Novablast – Men Shop ASICS Novablast – Women

asics novablast 3 midsole

The Bad

MEAGHAN: The one knock I have on Asics products is the sizing. I almost always size up in their racing shoes (Metaspeed Sky and Edge), but I find the daily trainers can sometimes run large. The Novablast 3 feels just a tad long. As someone who prefers a larger fit, this wasn’t a huge deal, but you may want to go a half size down.

THOMAS: More of a note than a knock against the Novablast 3. I’ve been going a half size down in all the road running shoes, except the Metaspeed Sky+ and Edge+. The standard running shoe for me is a 10.5, in the Novablast 3 size 10 fits me perfectly.

The only other thing I will mention is that the pop-off of the toe after 150 miles isn’t as pronounced as it was in the early miles. So I wouldn’t say the shoe is close to death, but the foam feels slightly compressed. I’ll also say that I don’t usually do several double-digit runs back to back in the same shoes, so there’s that.

Shop ASICS Novablast – Men Shop ASICS Novablast – Women

asics novablast 3 outsole

ASICS Novablast 3 Conclusion

MEAGHAN: The Asics Novablast 3 got lighter, more stack, and softer cushioning. What more could we ask for? This shoe is a top pick for me and may even make trainer of the year. Not to mention, you really can’t beat the $140 price tag.

THOMAS: I said it already. This is my favorite Asics shoe to date. This shoe can cover so many bases. It’s light enough to go fast and cushioned sufficiently to go long. When we went to Eugene, I packed three pairs of running shoes: the Metaspeed Edge+, the Asics Magic Speed 2, and the Novablast 3. Besides the 5k where I wore the Edge+, I clocked all my miles in the Novablast 3.

We ran on roads and soft trails. I used it to dart back and forth from spots along the women’s marathon route. I was on my feet for hours, and the Novablast 3 never let me down. Between the performance of the shoe and the outrageously sexy design that will come in multiple color packages, my prediction is that this shoe will be a smash hit when it releases on September 1. Mark it on your calendars, and when the day arrives, don’t walk — run.

You can pick up the Asics Novablast 3 for $140 on September 1 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop ASICS Novablast – Men Shop ASICS Novablast – Women

asics novablast 3 angle

12 Comments

  1. So I’m gonna ask since you logged most of your miles in the Nova and zero in the Magic Speed… is this gonna be a pass on the MS?

  2. Hi. Great review! I have one question: how would you compare the NB3 and the Endorphin Speed 3? Both seem to be very versatile, good for slow and tempo runs, Speed 3 lighter than the NB3 and pricier. What do you think?
    Thanks.

    1. You’re right, they are very close in comparison. Both are great, but Novablast is $30 cheaper and even though it’s a bit heavier, it can still pick up the pace. If you’re looking for a slightly faster shoe, go with the Speed 3, otherwise we’re all-in on the NB3

  3. Howdy. In the past, you liked the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 (your best daily trainer video review). How do you compare that show to Novablast 3? How about between two shoes? Thanks!

    1. Velocity Nitro 2 is very good but just not as bouncy and exciting of a daily trainer as NB3. We also think the fun feeling of the NB3 lasts longer whereas the Velocity Nitro 2 deadens out a lot quicker.

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