Asics Novablast 2 running shoe review: a versatile shoe for a smooth run

The Asics Novablast 2 is a responsive and comfortable shoe that proves to be a great upgrade over its predecessor

Asics Novablast 2
(Image credit: Lee Bell)
Fit&Well Verdict

Asics’ Novablast 2 fixes the issues that let down its predecessor and proves to be a great running shoe for beginners and experienced runners alike. Expect a comfortable ride complimented by soft and balanced cushioning and decent levels of shock absorption.

Reasons to buy
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    High levels of cushioning

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    Greater stability over previous version

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    Versatile

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    Smooth ride

Reasons to avoid
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    Heavier than previous Novablast

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    Heel might be too bulky for some

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    Fitting a little on the large size

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    Designs won’t be to everyone’s tastes

In this Asics Novablast 2 review we give you all the info you need to decide whether these shoes are really worth your money. First launched in 2020, the original Novablast grabbed the attention of running enthusiasts across the world thanks to a design concept not previously seen by Asics before. It was a lightweight trainer with a new, unique ride that felt different from the brand’s other running shoes, which focused mostly on stability. Gone were Asics’s familiar support features such as medial posts and guidance trusses and instead, the Novablast introduced a hefty midsole constructed of FlyteFoam Blast, a bouncy, a more cushioned material that some runners found a little unpredictable when it came to landings.

Still, the shoe garnered critical acclaim for its innovation and quickly became a success in the running community, especially among the faster, younger generation of runners who were looking for something fun, light, and bouncy. Now, the Novablast is seen on roads pretty much everywhere and could even be recognized as one of ASICS’ most popular running shoes.

It comes as no surprise, then that the Japanese sports company has launched its successor, the Novablast 2. In this shoe, we see a new upper, midsole, and outsole design with a reduced drop from 10mm to 8mm alongside a slightly increased weight. But does this bring any welcome improvements? And will the shoe prove to a worthy contender for the best running shoes for men? Read on to find out. 

ASICS NOVABLAST 2 REVIEW: PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

The Novablast 2 was launched in late 2021 and is available to buy now in both men's and women’s sizes (US 6-15/ UK 5-15) for around $130/ £70. 

There are nine different color options to choose from: Black/Pure Silver, Clear Blue/White, Black/Glow Yellow, French Blue/Pure Silver (our review model), Lake Drive/Ice Mint, Clay Grey/Shocking Orange, Black/Fiery Red, Hazard Green/Carrier Grey, and Metropolis/Clear Blue. 

Asics Novablast 2

(Image credit: Lee Bell)

ASICS NOVABLAST 2 REVIEW: DESIGN

The first iteration of the Novablast trainers was majorly let down by the upper. In the Novablast 2, ASICS has gone to great lengths to fix this by installing some premium-feeling materials with greater attention to detail. Now, there’s a revised mesh upper in the form of a double-layer jacquard textile that not only offers a high-end finish but is more breathable and not as loose as in the original design and thus delivers a more snug fit. This, combined with a wider platform and higher walls on the sides means there’s way more stability and comfort on offer - something that many runners said was lacking in the original Novablast.

As for the heel, the Novablast 2 boasts a new thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material in the heel counter, which provides excellent grip thanks to a sturdier heel cup as well as a better foot lockdown that, again, improves stability.

Lastly, ASICS has updated the heel tab and collar on the Novablast 2, filling them with more foam to make them plusher, which pushes your foot further forward in the shoe and creates less space in the forefoot. This might be why ASICS has made the Novablast 2 a little longer in the fit than its other shoes to accommodate this. Still, it’s not a major issue. 

While there are plenty of colorways to choose from, most are a little too “busy” in our opinion, with no truly minimal offering, such as pure white or black. This is a shame, as not all runners like garish, maximalist designs. 

ASICS NOVABLAST 2 REVIEW: SIZING AND FIT

When it comes to sizing, the ASICS NOVABLAST 2 possesses a somewhat longer fit than your average running trainer, so you might need to come down half a size over your usual kicks. This will better help you take advantage of the cushioning available in the shoe. Everything else seems about true to size.

Asics Novablast 2

(Image credit: Lee Bell)

ASICS NOVABLAST 2 REVIEW: PERFORMANCE

When it comes to performance, the Novablast 2 proves to be quite the nimble running shoe. Perfect for those who want a speedy and responsive trainer suitable for most scenarios, ASICS’ latest design proves to deliver great levels of cushioning for long, steady runs. This is thanks to the new and improved midsole, which offers more bounce for your buck. 

On every footstrike, the foam in the midsole takes so much impact that you feel like you sink slightly before rebounding. This offers a fantastic push-off, helping to retain speed with minimal effort. Although, of course, this sensation won’t be for everyone. Nor will it be suitable for every terrain. But it’s definitely something worth having in rotation. 

The Novablast 2 isn’t a super stable shoe by any means, so won’t be the show for you if this is something you’re in desperate need of, but it’s definitely an improvement over its older sibling, feeling much more supportive when running over uneven terrain.

Overall, a great shoe for easy-going, long-distance jaunts for those who want agility and responsiveness above all.

ASICS NOVABLAST 2 REVIEW: USER REVIEWS

So what do real-world users think of the Novablast 2? As the shoes are relatively new, there aren’t so many user-generated reviews out there just yet, but the ones that we have come across are largely positive. On Amazon, for example, one user describes the Novablast 2 as a “very comfortable ride tied in with a plush fitting upper”. Although the same reviewer does say the cushioning didn’t feel quite right on their first run but improved on the second.

It’s much of the same from users on other sites too, with comments including "extremely comfortable ride” and "exactly what I wanted; cushioning and fit [are] spot on".

Asics Novablast 2

(Image credit: Lee Bell)

ASICS NOVABLAST 2 REVIEW: VERDICT

The Asics Novablast 2 is a clear upgrade from the first version and while it is a little heavier, it fixes most of the flaws found in the original version such as an unstable heel, a less premium upper, and a forefoot that lacked proper cushioning.

With the Novablast 2, you can expect a comfortable ride complimented by soft and balanced cushioning, decent levels of shock absorption, and an innovative midsole geometry, making it perfect for beginners and experienced runners alike.

Despite a narrow platform that can present issues for overpronators, Asics’ latest Novablast trainer is a good, responsive daily running shoe that can handle a host of training scenarios, especially those looking for a speedy, soft and plush ride. Just remember to order half a size down from your usual sizing to make the most of that cushioning and stability. 

Also consider

Adidas Solar Glide 4

(Image credit: Adidas)

Adidas Solar Glide 4

The Solar Glide line of running shoes has long been a go-to for casual city runners and the Glide 4 is no exception, being super versatile and thus ideal for running in urban environments. Exceptionally lightweight, this easy-going and agile runner is enhanced by the midsole that features Adidas’ infamous Boost material, which is renowned for offering runners ample energy return. Every footstrike absorbs the shock of impact, leaving your feet feeling super-cushioned while boosting take-off so you can go harder for longer. 

Nike Pegasus 37 Air Zoom

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Pegasus 37 Air Zoom

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is another excellent option for an everyday running shoe that can handle a little bit of everything. The Pegasus brand is tried and tested and now features the revolutionary Zoom foam tech in the forefoot that combines the supportive React foam with Zoom Air pockets. For non-competitive runners who like their Nikes, these are the shoes for you.

Lee Bell is a London-based journalist, copywriter, specializing in all things tech and lifestyle. He is also a qualified personal trainer. He started his journalism career a decade ago as a reporter covering the latest gadgets and innovations at tech tabloid The Inquirer. Lee went freelance in 2016 to broaden his expertise, moving into news, reviews and feature writing for a host of national print and online lifestyle titles such as GQ, Forbes, Esquire, Men’s Health, Wired, The Metro, and The Mirror. He has an insatiable appetite for travel, Dharma yoga, and the odd outdoor challenge.