asics superblast - feature photo
RoadShoe ReviewsSite Feature

Asics Superblast Review: Most Systems Go

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 8.8 oz. (251 g) for a US M10 / 7.4 oz. (210 g) for a US W7.5
  • Features dual-foam midsole, Flytefoam Blast Turbo on top, Flytefoam Blast Plus on bottom
  • AHAR Plus outsole rubber provides solid grip and durability
  • Stack height: 45.5 mm in heel, 37.5 in forefoot (8 mm drop)
  • Available in limited supplies at the NYC Marathon expo on 11/3, wide release December 1 for $220

The Intro

THOMAS: These days, shoe companies are real into doing that Portlandia “put a bird on it” thing, except, in the case of super shoes, it’s “Mountain Dew-ing” it. From Pro to Plus to Elite, the mid-’90s fad of X-treming everything is back, and it aims to maximize the more-is-more messaging that we’re finding with max stack shoes from the Prime X to the Supercomp Trainer. That trend may have just hit its pinnacle with the all-new Asics Superblast. How there isn’t a partnership with the Mountain Dew Baja Blast, I have no idea, but someone get on the phone with Taco Bell and make it happen.

The term “super shoe” became part of our lexicon when the Nike Vaporfly 4% changed the distance running shoe paradigm. We went from extremely light, minimally cushioned racing flats to high-stack, carbon-plated, bouncy, lightweight super shoes. Foams improved, and every brand chased after the perfect formula to catch up to Nike. But– as most of you know– to keep things fair, the running governing body put a 40 mm stack height limit on racing shoes for professionals.

The rules opened the gate to a new category of shoes for non-pros. Say hello to the MAX stack cushioned racers and trainers. We currently have the New Balance SC Trainer, the Adidas Prime X (and the much-better Prime X Strung), and the Asics Superblast. While they all exceed that 40 mm stack height rule, they act differently underfoot and meet different needs based on their qualities. 

But the addition of all these shoes bears a new reality: Sooner or later, we’re going to reach a ceiling as stack heights get bigger and better and more super. And as the Incredibles’ anti-hero Syndrome declared, “If everyone is super, no one will be.” Translation to the running world: If all the running shoes are “super” shoes, then aren’t they just shoes now? 

Before we answer that question, let’s lay out the formula for the Asics Superblast. In reality, it’s pretty straightforward. Slap Asics’ two best foams (Flytefoam Turbo top layer and Flytefoam Blast Plus bottom layer) together, add their best rubber (AHAR Plus) to the outsole, and finish off with a solid upper design. Boom, you got Asics’ newest max cushion shoe.

ROBBE: It’s been quite a year for Asics (really the last two years). Some of my personal overall favorites from this year have been the Glideride 3, Gel-Nimbus 24, and Novablast 3, not to mention the Metaspeed Edge+, so it’s safe to say I’ve racked up plenty of miles in some tiger stripes. But still, we always had our eyes forward for what we knew was coming at the end of this year– the max stack, Turbo-blasted, light-as-a-feather Superblast.

Thomas covered all the details in it, so I’ll say this– this was a surprising one. It is what it is, but more importantly– it is what it ain’t. And that makes all the difference.

MEAGHAN: As a max cushion shoe enthusiast, you know I was eager to test out this extra thick trainer from Asics. Thomas and Robbe covered the details (and then some) so I will keep this short and sweet.

asics superblast - heel

The Good

THOMAS: The Superblast upper doesn’t look that radical from the Novablast. The lightweight, breathable mesh has minimal structural components. There is a toe cap underlay and a well-crafted heel counter with light padding around the ankle cuff. The minimally padded tongue is “winged,” the new term for gusseted. That wraps up the upper. Wait— I almost forgot to mention the sturdy pull loop on the back of the heel. I can never hate a good pull tab.

The midsole of the Superblast is the star of the show. The nylon-based Flytefoam Turbo (i.e. non-name brand Pebax) allows the Superblast to have a generous stack height without the weight. The foam isn’t as resilient as some other super foams, but the rigidity helps keep the shoe stable. Flytefoam Blast Plus sits under the FF Turbo to add some softer landings. While the Superblast is the only supermax shoe we have tried without a plate, it doesn’t need one. Even with my hands, I can’t bend the shoe easily. 

Finishing off the outsole, Asics employs their AHAR Plus rubber, which is very tacky and provides superior traction.

The Superblast is the most versatile max stack trainer we have tested. It performs well for daily miles, tempo pickups, and can certainly be considered for longer-distance races. My size 10 weighs 8.8 oz/250 grams. That makes the Superblast the lightest shoe with a stack height of over 40 mm that we have tried. The official stack comes in at 45.5 mm in the heel/37.5 in the forefoot for an 8 mm drop.

ROBBE: What could be more exciting than a full stack of FF Blast Turbo? Maybe a free lightning pass for every Disney ride. Maybe a McDonald’s in your mansion, a la Richie Rich. Maybe dropping a perfect cast into some lake coverage and hooking a lunker bass. Just me? Okay. Nevertheless, after falling in love with the Metaspeed racing shoes, and ever since we saw early prototypes of the Superblast a year ago, we were excited about this shoe that was ready to go hog-wild on the cushion and bounce.

Except… it isn’t really that. But hear me out– it’s kind of okay. Kind of. 

We all threw 30+ miles into this shoe; personally, I was able to get in a hilly 18-mile long run and a couple of shorter runs, so I felt like I was able to get a well-rounded experience. What I found was surprising– this isn’t a super max cushion shoe, not in the way that the New Balance SC Trainer or Adidas Prime X are, anyway. 

It’s not ultra-bouncy as we were expecting (maybe not good), but it’s also surprisingly stable (definitely good). Once I found myself shifting expectations from ultra-bouncy recovery/everyday cruising shoe to Swiss Army knife daily trainer, I found myself falling in love with it.

Because it does provide cushion, but it remains incredibly lightweight, and it can be used for literally any kind of run. In that way, it may be the most versatile running shoe on the market. 

The dual-density midsole provides a responsive ride, but I would not classify it as soft or ultra-bouncy, even though it feels like it would be upon step-in. Instead, it just feels like a more stable Novablast. What did seem to set this shoe apart from both the Novablast and Gel-Nimbus was more forefoot cushioning, which may be due in part to the “trampoline pod” outsole in the forefoot area.

I will say, during my long run with over 1,200 feet of elevation gain, I felt the shoe provided all the protection I needed. My legs felt pretty great the whole time and the next day, and I can assure you I did no recovery aside from eating a breakfast sandwich with fried pork roll, paired nicely with a Bloody Mary. I even picked it up the last two miles of the run and felt like it shifted into faster paces with seamless efficiency, which to me, is one of the most outstanding aspects of the shoe.

Because they managed to keep it so light (still not sure how they did that), you really can use this as a tempo shoe and certainly as a marathon shoe. But also a recovery shoe. Which is wild. I’m not sure there are many (or any) running shoes that can do that right now. So while the price point is bonkers (more on that later), it can be justified if you want a premium shoe that covers all your bases for an entire training cycle.

I can’t believe I didn’t formally address this sooner, but the stability is outstanding, which I was not expecting because FF Blast Turbo is not inherently stable in the Metaspeed models. Because your foot does sit between the sidewalls, and because it has a fairly wide base with a structured upper, and because I feel like the durometer of this Turbo is a little denser, I think this is the most stable 39+ mm shoe out there. 

The upgraded AHAR Plus outsole is great, grip was not an issue.

Also, it looks pretty cool.

MEAGHAN: There is something magical about a simplistic shoe. The Superblast is the no-frills answer to the max cushioned line– no fancy carbon-infused plates nor million-threaded upper materials. Just a simple mesh and a couple of foams underfoot. Flat, stretchy laces atop a very lightly padded tongue do a nice job of locking the foot in place. I found the shoes fit true to size and had no issues with rubbing or hot spots. 

The FF Turbo foam is a light, but firmer material. There’s no real squish upon landing, which makes this a very interesting max cushioned shoe. The lack of ‘mush’ makes it a lot easier to pick up the pace– great for those longer, moderate runs. 

Maybe my favorite quality of this shoe? The weight. My W7.5 came in at 7.4 oz / 210 grams which is easily one of the lightest max-cushioned shoes out there.

Shop Asics Running – Men Shop Asics Running – Women

asics superblast - outsole

The Bad

THOMAS: The initial feel of the Superblast didn’t meet our expectations for a bouncy max-cushioned shoe. Between the other max trainers we have reviewed, the Superblast has the least amount of pop. However, over time the foam did break in, and after 30 miles, we noticed more responsiveness from the FF Turbo.

While the Superblast is very stable, I would love to try a version with an exaggerated rocker midsole.

Finally, $220 will make the shoe a niche product. As a result, many consumers will not risk the investment, especially when you can get the Asics Novablast for $80 less.

ROBBE: There’s nothing inherently bad about this shoe, there are just… things. For starters, it just isn’t what anyone thinks it’s going to be. Initial expectations have to be rooted out and replanted in a separate acreage. The Superblast is a supermax cushion shoe on paper, on foot it is not. If we’re talking about cushion, it falls more into the standard max cushion realm (and maybe even less). I’m not sure if the more resilient and denser FF Blast Plus cushioning is flattening out the Turbo sensation, but the whole thing gives off some major daily training vibes.

It’s not a flexible shoe at all. So I felt like my heel was never totally locked in place, even going the whole way up on the eyelets and adjusting the laces several times. It wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best. 

While I like the winged tongue construction and the asymmetric woven design of the upper, the upper felt somewhat constricting in the same way that the Metaspeed models feel. But they’re race day shoes, so they get a pass. I just felt the toe box was a bit too cramped and the ceiling was low. To be fair, my toes didn’t hurt and it didn’t create any issues whatsoever, but a little more room would’ve been nice.

If I can give a minor, minor additional complaint, it feels a tad… how do I say this… pedestrian. It doesn’t have a ton of excitement in the way that I experienced with the New Balance SC Trainer, which essentially felt like– oxymoron alert– a slow race day shoe. And that may be a thing where it just falls outside of my initial expectations and I need to recalibrate. But it doesn’t have that “wow” factor. Again, sometimes that can be all smoke and mirrors anyway, so at least you know straight-up what the Superblast is delivering. It’s just that the feel defies the looks. Perhaps a more rockered geometry like the Glideride 3 could really take this shoe to the next level, so maybe that’s a solution to ratchet up the “ayooooga” meter.

And then there’s the price point. I mean, $220… we really making that a thing? Don’t get me wrong, I think the $300 tag on the Adidas Prime X Strung is fairly absurd as well, but it also delivers a knock-out punch to the dopamine sensors. Again, you may find value in finding one shoe that excels at everything, so maybe that $220 is indeed a better value than buying a rotation of shoes. But if you’re just looking for “another shoe to add to the rotation,” it’s hard to justify this over the Novablast 3 at $140. Like, they’re just not that much different when it comes down to it.

MEAGHAN: The Superblast requires a break-in period. Step-in feels good, walking feels great, but running feels… not as bouncy as I was expecting. Until it does. The more I run in this shoe, the more I like it. 

I also wish the bottom layer of FF Blast+ was sandwiched beneath the foot and above the FF Turbo foam to create a softer landing (and perhaps that bouncier ride that I am craving from a max cushioned shoe).

Shop Asics Running – Men Shop Asics Running – Women

asics superblast - alley

 

Asics Superblast Conclusion

THOMAS: You know that song that you hear a few times, and at first you’re not that into it? Then something clicks, and it keeps growing on you, and after a while, it becomes one of your favorites. I am still figuring out if the Superblast will become a favorite, but it’s definitely growing on me. Once I got past my expectations of a soft, bouncy trainer and started to just feel out the shoe, I started enjoying my runs. 

The Superblast is light on the foot and protects the legs. My double-digit runs in the shoe felt good, and my legs recovered quickly, especially since those miles came between the month-apart London and New York City marathons. As I reflect, I realize that the extra cushion in both these and the SC Trainer is helping me get to the start line in good shape. The price tag, while high, could be justified by the versatility and the faster recovery doled out by the Superblast.

I typically go down a half size in all the Asics except the Metaspeed Sky and Edge. I suggest staying with your regular size in these. The last seems more similar to the Metaspeeds.

So if everything is super, is anyone? Depends what your superpower is. If you’re looking for trampoline legs with a secondary exoskeleton of rocket propulsion, maybe not. But if you want to be Edward Scissorhands with Leatherman tools for appendages, then go get yourself Superblasted.

ROBBE: I really love this shoe for its versatility. It really can do everything you want in your training, from tempo runs to easy days, from daily training to long runs. It shocked me in that way because I was definitely expecting more of a super bouncy easy day/daily trainer. In many ways, it’s more, in other ways, it’s less.

Whether you can convince enough people to make this their one shoe, or whether people will want a dedicated rotation with a daily trainer, speed shoe, and fancy race day shoe– that remains to be seen. Whatever the case, I’m interested to see if its versatility becomes its selling point, and whether or not that’s translated enough for runners to buy into it. Which, at $220, may be a tough sell. 

MEAGHAN: I agree with the guys on this one. The Superblast is an amazingly versatile shoe but it requires a break-in period. While I was craving a little more squish and responsiveness, for those who prefer a firmer ride, the Superblast may be a real treat.

Available in limited supplies at the NYC Marathon expo on 11/3, wide release December 1 for $220. Pick it up at the link below once that comes around.

Shop Asics Running – Men Shop Asics Running – Women

asics superblast - midsole

asics superblast - outsole1

1 Comment

  1. Because you and other media’ish people often say this – I actually looked it up in World Athletics and you are actually propagating a lie:

    > 40mm stack shoes are technically banned for all World Athletics races, not just for pros.

    It’s just not enforced on non-winners, because race directors are not scanning every participant’s shoes before the race. But of course, winners are examined for eligibility. Granted, not every race is World Athletics-governed – and most aren’t. But it’s simply not true that these shoes are okay for non-elites. They’re banned in those races, just like elites are.

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