MATT: I vividly remember walking around the transition area of my first few triathlons and seeing the ASICS NOOSA Tri on a couple athletes. I was amazed that such a shoe existed. It was wild, it stood out, and at one point, it actually had the words “Tri” printed in big letters on the forefront and heel. How could there be a more perfect tri shoe??
Of course I had to buy a pair, but after running in whatever version that was, I quickly realized that despite the cool looks, there were much lighter and faster options on the market.
Those early versions of the NOOSA were more like the teenage punk rock cousin of the Kayano or Nimbus. Behind the bold colors, the shoe felt heavy and too rigid for a race day shoe.
As my old professor and football coach in college always said: “You can slap lipstick on a pig … but it’s still a hog!”
Needless to say, I was cautiously optimistic when I saw I’d be getting the NOOSA Tri 13 for review. Let’s just say things have changed quite a bit.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: When it comes to ASICS, I’m only versed in the Cumulus, Nimbus, or Kayano. The steady eddies of the ASICS world. I’ve had to sit on the sidelines for fun shoes like the NovaBlast, MetaRacer, or Ride series, and while I’ve put miles in the Kayano Lite, it was just tight enough to be uncomfortable for my wide feet.
Needless to say, I was more skeptical when Thomas let me try on his Noosa Tri 13 than when Taco Bell pitches their meat as “quality” (I try not to think about this often as I really like Crunchwrap Supremes). Why would Thomas voluntarily let me wear his shoes?! Turns out he had an extra pair. Makes sense. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the review. Hopefully it doesn’t land the same grade as the protein inside a chalupa.
MATT: Okay, so if I thought those early edition Noosas were cool looking, the 13 takes it to a new level. These things turn heads. Not sure I can even provide an accurate description of the colorway; it’s like Japanese anime had a head-on collision with a camouflage rainbow and unicorn sparkles.
Long story short, this is no longer the punk cousin of the Kayano; the Noosa 13 is much closer to the EvoRide or even the MetaRacer (indeed, the Noosa 13 resides on the same platform as the EvoRide 2).
This shoe is much lighter than past iterations, largely in part to the thin, one-piece knit upper attached to a FlyteFoam midsole. The fit is snug and locked in, and becomes even more apparent when on the move. The updated tongue is a small change, but it really accentuates that snug fit with a really plush and comfortable feel.
A couple of the features that ASICS has maintained with the Noosa over the years were retained, while tweaked, and those are where the “Tri” moniker gets its name.
For starters, the heel pull tab is trimmed down, but remains functional and practical for getting in and out of the shoes quickly.
Out of the box, the Noosa comes with both traditional and elastic transition lace options. And finally, the inner liners is quite smooth and comfortable sockless. While that’s not necessary for pure runners, if it’s actually used as a triathlon race day shoe, that’s a big plus.
On the road, I put about 60 miles on the Noosa 13. While the shoe felt great at all paces and distances that I put it through, it really seemed to shine on my temp runs or when pushing things a bit during a fartlek workout.
Did I mention this shoe is a stunner? Seriously, I can’t think of too many better constructed and just plain cool releases the past year or two.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: I usually don’t write about a shoe’s color as the first section of the “good.” That obviously isn’t the case with the Noosa Tri 13. The shoe looks like a crayon box threw up and died on it, and – please excuse my language – I F***ING LOVE IT! The colorway is incredibly loud (turned up to 11), but not with blinding neon. It’s a head turner. While going out for a run in the morning, I’ve had people stare at my feet and ask me what I’m wearing. This right here is the type of design I’m fighting for in a true wide shoe (this isn’t a true wide shoe btw)!
Now that I sound like a certified psycho, let’s get on with the shoe. The upper is a pretty typical engineered mesh. It’s breathable and is supposed to drain well for the folks going from the water to running.
When it comes to uppers, we all know ASICS is far more consistent than the people who suck at rolling burritos at my local Chipotle (seriously, they are the worst. Also, all this Mexican food talk is making me hungry).
Not only is the tongue gusseted, but it also has a pass-through spot for the lacing so that it doesn’t move at all. The tongue also has some rubber on it for easy grip to pull on while holding the heel tab. For the first few runs, I used the stretchy Tri laces. I loved how easy it was to slide the shoe on and off, but I couldn’t get a good lockdown in my forefoot. Once I switched to the regular laces, running was much more enjoyable.
Attention #WideFootFam, we’ve got an accommodating shoe here! I don’t feel any uncomfortable pressure while standing around in the shoe. There are no harsh overlays constricting my wide midfoot or forefoot. Coming in at 8.6 oz. for a size 10.5, the Noosa feels very light on foot. As far as normal width shoes go, this one fits me about the same as the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
The midsole is made up of ASICS FlyteFoam. While it’s not super soft or super firm, I felt it skewed more towards the firmer side. To work with the FlyteFoam, ASICS built the Noosa on the EvoRide platform using the GUIDESOLE rocker. I’ve learned that I’m really liking rockered shoes. It doesn’t matter if a shoe doesn’t flex that well, the toe-off is still smooth.
The Noosa is categorized as a neutral shoe, but feels pretty stable thanks to the wide base. The outsole contains some rubber in the forefoot and an outline around the heel. The rest is exposed FlyteFoam. After 40+ miles, there isn’t much wear on these.
I found myself enjoying the Noosa on both easy and speed days. It doesn’t feel like your traditional ASICS trainer. This thing both rocks and rolls. Once I get going, I hit a groove and my runs feel great!Shop NOOSA Tri 13 – Men Shop NOOSA Tri 13 – Women
MATT: There is not a lot to dislike about the latest rendition of the Noosa, but for those ready to pull the trigger on a pair, there are a few key considerations, namely that there are better race day options available to all of us these days. The NOOSA is no slouch, I felt locked in and smooth during some of my harder runs, so if you fall in love with the look and feel, you could do much worse come race day. We are however living in the era of the carbon plate and anything less just doesn’t compare.
Now if you are looking for a shoe for those tempo days and those longer workouts/intervals, then I think you will be very pleased with this shoe.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: In wet weather, the grip becomes a bit iffy. I was running more carefully and rounding corners a little wider during a few days of gross weather.
I also found that my legs felt beat up on longer runs. I had a 14-mile run and the next day I was wiped. It could be the firmer midsole or the fact that I’m still not completely used to rockers. For a marathon, I’d look for something with more cushion.Shop NOOSA Tri 13 – Men Shop NOOSA Tri 13 – Women
MATT: The ASICS Noosa Tri 13 is one of my favorite releases so far in 2021, and I will wager that when the dust settles this year it will still be sitting near the top of that list. Don’t buy it and be upset when it doesn’t have the same pop as your Vaporflys; after all, that is not this shoe’s competition. But if you want a shoe that will attract attention while backing it up with fit and performance on those hard training days, then make a move for the NOOSA TRI 13.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: The Noosa Tri 13 is really really ridiculously good looking. Don’t fret though, it’s not a one trick pony – it can move too!
The rocker is smooth and comfortable and it feels even better when picking up the pace. Yes, I can run easy miles in the Noosa, but I enjoy it more as I put in a greater effort. Basically, if you like the EvoRide 2, you’ll like this. It’s the same midsole with a slightly different/better upper thanks to a gusseted tongue and heel tab. If you’re strictly a runner, don’t hesitate on account ot the ‘tri’ in the name. The Noosa Tri 13 is a banger!
You can pick up the ASICS NOOSA Tri 13 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop NOOSA Tri 13 – Men Shop NOOSA Tri 13 – Women