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Asics Novablast Review: Enough style and substance to be your next running shoe




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Enough style and substance to be your next running shoe
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It seems that at some point we have to go back to normalcy. With our daily life. Our daily routines. Our fitness regime too. Of course with the necessary precautions. And if you’re thinking of starting your daily runs now, a new pair of running shoes might be in order. Just at the right time, Asics launched the Novablast shoes in India. The positioning is simple: there’s an attempt to tick the boxes for comfort and responsiveness without trying to go above their weight, try something radical, or use complex technology that would make them more expensive. The point is, not only is simplicity a strong point of the Asics Novablast, but these shoes get the job done while also looking really good. The Asics Novablast costs Rs 11,999. That means competing against the Nike Joyride Dual Run (around Rs 10,995) not only because of the price, but also in terms of what they offer.

It’s actually good to see a rather cool colorway from Asics. The Asics Novablast seems to have a mix of many things: black, blue, white, fluorescent green, a fading hint of pink and even some stripes. If this is Asics deciding to go down the path of exciting designs, that’s a very welcome change. It’s not to say that Asics shoes haven’t looked good in recent years, but they have erred on the side of understated colors and elements (for example the Gel-Nimbus series), at a time when the likes of Nike and Puma were trying to some rather bright and attractive designs.

Good start that, and luckily enough, that continues as soon as you slide your foot in. You’ll immediately notice the generous amount of cushioning that cradles your feet, exuding comfort and luxury. Asics has also revamped the upper, especially on the front, for a lighter and thinner (but no compromise on strength) mesh that provides better breathability. Not exactly sock-like, but this is definitely closer to Nike’s knit upper than ever before. Better ventilation is on the cards, and especially in the summer months this will keep your feet cool for longer. The Asics Novablast has a fairly wide toe box and you probably don’t have to worry about going a half or a size larger than your normal running shoe size.

 

Enough style and substance to be your next running shoe

 

If this is Asics deciding to go down the path of exciting designs, that’s a very welcome change. It’s not to say that Asics shoes haven’t looked good in recent years, but they did err on the side of understated colors and elements

The 10mm range (the height of 32mm at the heel and 22mm at the forefoot) fits well into the range of most running shoes designed for speed. The weight is 260 grams, which is also lighter than the 290 grams that the Nike Joyride Dual Run falls on.

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Under your foot is the Flytefoam Blast midsole. It should be more resilient than the Flytefoam in previous Asics shoe launches, as well as lighter than the GEL midsoles. In theory, the extra responsiveness should help you push that much more as you run, reducing the stress on your legs and helping you retain energy for longer. How much responsiveness you actually get depends on which running shoe you’re currently using. I did notice that on hard and unforgiving surfaces, this absorbs the impact feedback quite well and doesn’t pass through to my calf muscle. On softer surfaces it really feels very stable and well adjusted. Still, it’s hard to choose between the Asics Novablast and the Nike Joyride Dual Run in terms of how the midsoles respond – they both take a different route to achieve the same result. This is perhaps a testament to the good work Asics has done with this midsole.

Flip the Asics Novablast over and you’ll notice some rather sharp cuts and angles on the outsole. Much has been done to reinforce the outsole with extra rubber for better grip, in certain areas. Asics say they used the AHAR Plus rubber for the outsole, which is designed to last longer than the Asics High Abrasion Rubber that some predecessors have. At first glance you can’t really tell the difference, but this is grippy and that’s all that matters. But over the years Asics have used outsole materials that last quite a long time and it shouldn’t be any different. Time will tell how long that actually is, but it’s nothing to worry about. There is a lot of grip and even surface transitions from dry to uncomfortably damp or dry to one with standing water, the Asics NovaBlast does not hinder at all. And that means you don’t have to worry about anything either.

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The point is that the Asics Novablast does what it promises. This is one of the nicer Asics shoes in a while, and we hope this is a permanent change. It feels very comfortable for long runs and longer durations. The midsole is definitely responsive and the energy feedback complements your efforts as you run, although it’s not as radical as what Nike has done, in terms of materials or their visual treatment. At the same time, in combination with the new approach of a more ventilated upper, Asics has also made serious progress in terms of comfort levels. Ultimately, it’s a close call between the Asics Novablast and the Nike Joyride Dual Run, which has the TPE beads that work really well with energy return as well. I think the final decision will be yours, and which one you prefer more.

Under your foot is the Flytefoam Blast midsole. It should be more resilient than the Flytefoam in previous Asics shoe launches, and also lighter than the GEL midsoles.

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