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Road Running Shoes • June 14, 2024

Asics Noosa Tri 16 Review: Just Another Shoe?

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What You Need To Know

Weight

7.5 oz. (215 g) for a US M9 / 6.5 oz. (185 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

Men: 34.5 mm in heel, 29.5 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 33.5 mm in heel, 28.5 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Best For

Triathlon training miles

Key Features

Mesh upper, Flytefoam Blast Plus midsole, AsicsGrip outsole

On The Run
Still an eye-catcher Flytefoam Blast Plus is hit or miss There's not much Tri left in the Noosa
Price / Availability

Available July 1, 2024 for $135

Introduction to the Asics Noosa Tri 16

LINDSAY: I’m kicking and screaming and yelling because the changes Asics made to the Noosa Tri ain’t working for me. Before we get there, though, let me settle down and start from the beginning.

The Asics Noosa Tri is a shoe geared towards the daily runner and triathlete, alike. Each version has features that are focused on blending excellent energy return with functionality and style. The bold and funky colorways add a freshness that’s meant to energize the mind and, in turn, the body. Even the pull tab is carefully designed for ease of removal during event transitions for triathletes. In the Noosa Tri 15, the Flytefoam midsole gave a really cushioned platform to absorb the impact on the roads, but this is where I start to tear up. In a move I simply can’t understand, the Noosa Tri 16 says goodbye to the fun, bouncy, propelling Flytefoam and hello to the firm and stable Flytefoam Blast Plus.

Now, some readers may disagree with me on this because FF Blast is also in the Novablast 3 and 4 (which I also, coincidentally, don’t like). I loved the first two versions of the Novablast line, which had Flytefoam… so you might be noticing a trend. I guess it’s safe to say I prefer my Flytefoam sans Blast.

Other features that were changed for the Noosa Tri 16 include the upper, outsole, and a marginal drop in weight. Pair that with the updated midsole, and this is an entirely different shoe! We already know how I feel about it in general, but let’s break things down a bit.

ALEX: We’re back again with another Noosa Tri. However, this latest version feels devoid of a personality, and to paraphrase Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club: “Everything’s just a copy of a copy of a copy.” We’ll get into the details, as unlike Lindsay, I did enjoy the FF blast change-up based on the “soggy” vibes I was getting from the 15, but what I’m truly disappointed in is the Noosa’s further and further devolvement into a shoe without a distinct identity, lost in the proverbial sauce of the Asics daily trainer line.

What we like about the Asics Noosa Tri 16

LINDSAY: I’m usually not a big fan of flashy shoes (which is odd because it seems like most runners are into that sort of thing). Let me tell you, though, I love the funky design of the Asics Noosa Tri line. The 15 had really bold colors that made you feel like you were running with graffiti on your shoes. The Noosa Tri 16 colorway is lighter with white accents, giving a more modern “splattered paint on canvas” feel. Both are great and they truly energize the mind in a way. It’s like the kid in high school who was a little bit quirky but stayed true to themselves. The Asics Noosa Tri is quirky, and we love it, so don’t stop being you, Asics Noosa Tri!

Staying with the upper here, the laces and lockdown are solid. There’s no extra lacing to fiddle with, and one knot is secure for quick and easy transitions for triathletes. There is a large pull tab on the tongue and at the heel that is easy to slip a finger through, and it feels quite durable, so I think the pull tab itself will hold up. A big “welcome back” to the heel pull tab that they took away in the Noosa Tri 15. Again, all solid pros for the triathlete in your life.

Moving down, the only good thing I have to say about the midsole is the weight. It is very light but not so much that it would make me choose this over its predecessor.

The outsole is grippy and durable, like most Asics shoes. Apparently, this outsole has been updated to withstand more wet conditions. I can tell you it’s fine on those slippery, post-rain roads, but I can’t say it’s necessarily better because I didn’t have any problems previously. So, the good thing to note here is the consistent quality of the Asics Noosa Tri. There is no shortage of that in this version.

ALEX: Runner, beware, this shoe is sparkly. The mermaid shimmer has been employed to varying degrees of success the last few years across a number of companies and shoes (my personal favorite in the iridescent subtlety of my all-gray New Balance Supercomp Trainer). Here, it feels as though we have swapped for a completely different color palette than the previous Noosa Tri models, which have been bold and saturated.

If previous efforts were more like a Lichtenstein (complete with Comic Ssans “Noosa Tri” font across the forefoot or heel), the mix on this shoe, especially on the midsole, looks more like what would be left over on a painter’s palette when they had finished mixing orange. I don’t hate the look, and it has been much easier to pair than the Nerf Pink/Yellow/Blue Noosa 15 colorway we tested last year, but it doesn’t thrill me.

Something I have always appreciated about the Noosa Tri is its weight, and I echo Lindsay’s comments that for the weight and the consistency of a grippy, substantial outsole, this contender is still in the game. So far, I have taken this on shorter, longer, and tempo runs, and it may be because I’d been doing a lot of other miles in the Asics Superblast, but I found the FF Blast Plus foam to be fun and responsive. However, as you soon shall see, results may vary.

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What we don’t like about the Asics Noosa Tri 16

LINDSAY: All right, if you’ve made it this far, you know what’s coming here: the wet blanket of a midsole, FF Blast Plus.

Again, it’s a hot take because most people love Novablast 3 and 4 (except me). I didn’t feel the same energy return or bounciness to each step in the Asics Noosa Tri 16 that I loved– loved– in the 15. It just felt like I stepped down and then… splat like a bug on a windshield. With that being said, if you are the kind of person who loves “flats,” you’d probably be ok with this one. It reminds me of the Brooks Hyperion in the way that it is a low-stack shoe with a stable and firm midsole, but even this wasn’t quite as soft as the Brooks Hyperion.

I also felt like it ran a bit small. They certainly fit, but my big toenail was banging against the front of the shoe for most of my runs. That could just be a me problem, though.

ALEX: “Look how they massacred my boy.” This shoe is fine, but in my opinion, everything that made the Noosa what it once was is dead. No extra cinch laces are included in the box, the Noosa branding is blurry and forced onto the back heel of the shoe, and it is nigh impossible to differentiate this shoe in a lineup from other current Asics offerings.

I did run in these over to our pool club, and for kicks while chasing my toddler around after swimming rocked them without socks; and you know what, it does still work. Asics has added a hole in the tongue, presumably for breathability, but I still like the mesh tongue in the last version significantly more. If you’re looking for a Novablast experience with a much more restrained heel, then maybe you’ve found your shoe, but for me and my brethren of Noosa heads who wanted something a little silly but light and super functional, we’ve lost the inklings of what made this shoe special.

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Final thoughts on the Asics Noosa Tri 16

LINDSAY: Well, we’ve made it to the end of the review and the end of my days running in the Asics Noosa Tri 16. I gotta say, when the shoe came, I was stoked– which was not how I felt initially when I got the Noosa Tri 15. I thought they were weird-looking, and I didn’t quite understand the abstract vibe, but man, did I fall in love with that shoe. This update is a total miss for me. Asics even bumped the price by five bucks up to $135, so do yourself a favor and head over to the Running Warehouse and buy the Noosa Tri 15 that is currently on sale for $99 (down from $130).

ALEX: I think I’ve given up on this model (in its current form), and honestly, I think Asics has, too. They’ve taken something quirky but really effective and taken away its purpose. A shoe designated for all takers (in this case, swim/bike/run) absolutely still has a place, and I would love to see the Noosa Tri return to its former glory of the last couple of years. But until then, I’m with Lindsay, enjoy last year’s model and hit skip on your Walkman.

You can pick up the Asics Noosa Tri 16 for $135 on July 1, 2024, from Running Warehouse (featuring free shipping and 90-day returns) by using the buttons below.

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  1. T H says:

    In the intro paragraphs – its worth noting that Novablast 1 & 2 did have FF Blast. Nova 3 had FF Blast+ and Nova 4 has FF Blast+ ECO.

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Authors

lindsey 4
Lindsay Agro
Baltimore Road Reviewer
  • Instagram

Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%

More from Lindsay
Shoe Size

7

Fav. Distance

10-Mile

PRs
  • 3:35

    Marathon
  • 1:42

    Half Marathon
  • 44:52

    10K
  • 22:08

    5k
man running and smiling
Alexander Walker
Culture Vulture
  • Instagram

Alex is a former spy and current cyber threat intelligence analyst who runs with the Faster Bastards. Originally from Detroit, Mich., he has embraced the lovely grittiness that may be his forever home of Baltimore, as well as its unique accent. Alex is a devotee of counter-culture studies, ’80s horror films and innovative sportswear fashion. Alex is committed to promoting advancement in running lifestyle and culture within Baltimore and beyond.

More from Alexander
Shoe Size

9.5

Fav. Distance

10K

PRs
  • 1:40

    Half Marathon
  • 41:42

    10K
  • 19:31

    5K
  • 5:51

    Mile
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