Talk about big shoes to fill, Asics really left themselves some when they launch the Novablast 3 last year. The response was fairly remarkable and the shoe did deliver, offering a an up-tempo experience that could also be used as a daily trainer, and it’s only real faults fell to it outsole, but overall it was almost unanimously, one of the shoes out a year. So the question is, is the Asics Novablast 4 able to live up to all the successes of its predecessor, or maybe is it something entirely different?
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Weight – 9.1oz or 258g for a US Men’s 9, 7.9oz or 224g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – 41.5mm (Men’s)/40.5mm (Women’s) of cushion and a 8mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $140 USD, available 12/1
- Colors – 4 colors
The answer is yes to both questions, but differently than you might think. We’ve been running our samples now for a bit and have some decent miles on them. The first run alone was 10 miles straight out of the box. Keep in mind we loved the Novablast 3, so with that comes a lot of expectation and so going right in for a decent run was in part due to the fact that we had so much respect for that prior shoe. The ride is awesome feeling, but it actually left us thinking about another shoe and not necessarily the one that came before. That shoe is the Asics Superblast and the similarities between the Novablast 4 and the Superblast are prettiest astounding.
First, the new upper design of the Novablast 4, is reminiscint of the layout, the fit, and the field of the Superblast. It is more built-up, it is wider, and overall just way more comfortable. The addition of the gusseted winged tongue keeps things in place throughout the run, so yay to no tongue migration. There is also enough padding in the tongue to prevent any sort of lace bite while also keeping things secure. Truly that entire upper wrap is built to be more accommodating than the Novablast 3. So it honestly feels like an entirely different shoe.
One thing we did notice is a little bit of side to side movement in the front of the toe box during a really tight cornering, probably due to it being a little more roomy. Put this thing on a straight line and you won’t notice a thing, but make some real hard lefts and rights and even do some steeper downhill, and there was a bit of movement up in the front of that foot. Going with a thicker sock or getting, a bit more of a heel lock does resolve the experience.
The midsole uses Asics Flightfoam Blast+ Eco edition which uses 20% recycled material and its composition. People give these eco midsoles a bit of a bad rap, you would have to be really picky to notice a massive difference. We would describe the firmness level as a medium, the Superblast for us feels firmer, given its use of Flightfoam Turbo, and its goal of trying to replicate a plated trainer. This also doesn’t feel as soft as something like the new New Balance 1080.
As we moved to the outsole, the first thing we are super excited about is the move away from their standard AHAR to AHAR Lo, very similar to the Superblast. This grips the roads better, and especially in our neck of the woods, those wet streets need something more than the Novablast 3 had. Happy to say, this material is much improved, providing a tackier experience. Asics has also added a bit of additional foam on the outsole to provide what they call the “trampoline effect”. What this actually creates is more of a responsive feeling toe off and it does work, but it’s not something that is pervasive throughout the ride necessarily. I would never call this an up-tempo shoe like the Novablast 3 was.
So what is the nova blast for and who is it for you might be asking. The shoe has transitioned into more of a daily trainer as opposed to being more up-tempo. The ride is smoother and more stable as a six has added some support elements to the shoe, but it is also a little heavier and a touch slower. That is not meant to be a gripe however, as this shoe will easily find its place among single shoe runners, who need one thing that can do it all. It also becomes a great everyday partner to the Superblast, making your distance training experience from easy daily runs to long training runs to race day quiver all the more rounded out. Some folks will definitely be dumbed that it lost its lighter, more up-tempo feel, and we would agree, but we also love what it’s become.
Construction and Materials
The Asics Novablast 4’s engineered woven upper offers more stretch, ventilation, durability, and overall comfort, while a tongue wing construction with added stretch improves the fit and reduces tongue movement.
The Asics Novablast 4’s FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning is its lightest and most energetic foam, designed to help create a smoother ride with softer landings and a more energized toe-off, while also being made with 20% recycled bio content.
The Asics Novablast 4 features an AHAR LO outsole that is designed with a lower density in key areas for exceptional durability, while additional foam on the outsole delivers a bouncy and energetic ride, ASICS calls this the “Trampoline Effect”.
Asics has really spun everyone on their head a bit with the Novablast 4. They have delivered a very capable every day daily trainer that is both stable and well cushioned and truly a pleasure to run in, they should sell a ton. What they didn’t deliver was an up-tempo successor to the Novablast 3, so we can understand that there will be a lot of emotions on this one. To that end we will say again, we love what this shoe has become, but we do find ourselves longing a bit for the old fun ride of the 3. Maybe this means they’ve got something else up their sleeve?
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Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.