REVIEW: ASICS NOVABLAST 3
Written By: SportsShoes
Blast on, Blast off!
Running with the new ASICS NOVABLAST™ 3 is an energising and uplifting experience for the body and mind. Perfectly mixing style and substance, the NOVABLAST™ 3 shoe is the perfect companion for all your runs - from easy shake outs to speedy tempo sessions. Featuring FF BLAST+ foam technology for a lighter feel and an energised run.
|Most suitable for:||The perfect companion for all your road runs - from easy shake outs to speedy tempo sessions.|
|Length:||True to size|
|RATINGS:||(out of 5)|
I am a massive fan of ASICS and they have been my go-to brand for easy run shoes over the past couple of years, with the majority of my mileage being clocked up in the DYNABLAST 2; a slightly trimmed down version of the NOVABLAST 2. When I found out that ASICS were dropping the weight of the new NOVABLAST 3 to 253g, down from 275g in the NOVABLAST 2, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them! First impressions out the box and I was not disappointed; the shoe just felt lighter and more nimble than the older iteration, yet there was no indication that they’d sacrificed any comfort and cushioning. On paper I was getting my perfect shoe; the lightweight feel of a DYNABLAST 2, combined with the protection of a NOVABLAST 2.
The upper on the NOVABLAST 3 just feels premium. The materials are lightweight and breathable and I had no issues with my feet overheating during my 80km of testing. With regards to the laces and overall lacing system, it’s pretty standard but does everything it needs to; I was able to get a good lock down and this wasn’t compromised when running in the rain. The only thing I would add here however, is that the tongue of the shoe is relatively thin. Personally, I had no issues with this, but for those who prefer more padding around the tongue, I would air on the side of caution. The heel of the upper feels great to me; not so high that that it impedes my achilles, but not completely cut-off either, so my foot didn’t slip at all at the back. Overall, I found the upper to be extremely comfortable and everything I need in a daily trainer.
ASICS employ their top-level foam, FF Blast+, in the NOVABLAST 3 and it feels great! In older iterations of the shoe, we had FF Blast, but FF Blast+ really takes it up a notch. It’s somehow softer, more cushioned, and more responsive, all at the same time. For me this is where the shoe really shines. This midsole foam provides great comfort and protection for your feet and legs when you’re running slow, but when you start to pick up the pace it feels very natural. Looking at the rest of the market I’d compare it to Nike’s Invincible, though without the bulky silhouette and clumsiness that comes with it.
One of the few gripes I had with previous ASICS shoes in the blast series, was the wear and grip on the outsole. With the NOVABLAST 3 however, despite looking almost identical to the older models, the outsole durability seems to have improved massively and, after 80km, the shoe still looks brand new. Regarding the grip, there are improvements again and the shoe performed well in wet road conditions and on light trails. Despite the improvements through, I still don’t think the NOVABLAST 3 is ever going to be the grippiest or hardwearing shoes on the market; but I’m perfectly fine with that, as it keeps the weight down. Asics do offer a trail version of the NOVABLAST 3 though too, and they’re definitely worth checking out if you’re concerned about grip!
I wore the NOVABLAST 3 in my normal size and had no issues with fit at all. It’s the same size I wear in all other ASICS models and Nike too. There’s plenty of room in the toe box, which is great if, like me, you like your toes to have some wiggle room! This is a great feature on all the ASICS shoes I’ve ever tried and one of the reasons I continue to use them. The shoes are spacious and comfortable, without losing any lock around the foot.
Overall, the shoe feels extremely light, somehow even lighter on feet than the 253g they weigh in at and this adds to the overall comfort of the shoe whilst running; I’d normally expect a shoe with this much cushioning to feel more obtrusive.
Overall, I think the ASICS NOVABLAST 3 is a fantastic running shoe. It’s my new favourite daily trainer and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a neutral shoe to run the bulk of their mileage in. It feels great when you’re plodding along, but also when you pick up the pace towards more steady running and, for me, it’s a great upgrade on the NOVABLAST 2 that was a great shoe already. Whilst I personally use a relatively large shoe rotation, the NOVABLAST 3 could easily fit into a 2-shoe rotation, alongside a racing flat such as the ASICS METASPEED Sky+. The NOVABLAST 3 could take you through all your easy and steady paces, perhaps even light tempos, then the METASPEED could take over for faster work and race-day!
Oli Lum is the Co-Host of The Sunday Plodcast, the show that gives you a weekly insight into the lives of top distance runners and coaches.
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