Running product tester Kieran Alger thinks ASICS’ cushioned daily trainer now packs a bit more responsiveness compared to previous models.

The ASICS Novablast 4 is a max-cushioned daily trainer that’s big on comfort. It promises to let you conquer everything from easy miles to your uptempo efforts in plush comfort. The latest edition has some significant updates that change the ride from the Novablast 3, and make it one of the best running shoes on the market right now.

Men’s Fitness verdict

A big improvement on its predecessors, with more responsiveness despite big cushioning. If you like maximal shoes with a softer edge you’ll likely enjoy this shoe.
  • Big, cushioned comfort
  • More responsive ride than the Novablast 3
  • A bit on the bulky side
  • Sometimes a bit too soft

ASICS Novablast 4 design

From a distance the ASICS Novablast 4 looks much like its predecessor. It’s still a hulking great shoe with a slightly mad, geometric, jutting midsole and heel. But get closer and there are some important changes. 

First up there’s a new midsole foam – FlyteFoam Blast + Eco. That features a small percentage of recycled materials. Despite the billboarding of that eco edge it’s not nearly doing enough to have genuine eco credentials. It offers nothing to deal with the afterlife environmental impact.  

The midsole and outsole shape has changed, too. The Novablast 4 now has a much more aggressive midsole rocker, to help with smoother, snappier transitions. There’s also broader forefoot and heel flaring for a wider platform across the whole base of the shoe. That’s there for better stability and a more reliable platform to run off. 

Up top you’ve now got an engineered woven upper. ASICS says those new uppers offer more stretch, ventilation, and durability. It is notably softer and smoother than the uppers on the Novablast 3 but it doesn’t feel that much more stretchy.

The side walls of the shoe now rise higher up the foot and you’ve got an upwards sweeping toe box that almost curves with the rocker shaping, to create space for your toes across the top. 

The tongues have been changed, too. They now have thin neoprene-like wings that wrap the foot. 

Flip the Novablast 4 over and you’ve got a good covering of AHAR rubber for grip and durability. 

This is also the first NOVABLAST™ to be CO2e labelled at 11.2kg CO2e. That’s quite significantly higher than the Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 which comes in at 7.21kg CO2e.  

ASICS Novablast 4 outsole

ASICS Novablast 4 weight, stack height and drop

The Novablast 4 sticks with the same big max stack as the previous generation. The stack height measures up at 41.5mm / 33.5mm in the men’s and 40.5mm / 32.5mm in the women’s, for an 8mm drop. 

The new Novablast 4 tips the scales at 9.4oz or 267g in my test UK men’s size 8.5. 

That’s marginally heavier than the Novablast 3, which was 8.9oz / 253g.  But still lighter than similar big-cushioned rivals like the Gel Nimbus 25 and the Brooks Ghost Max

When it comes to price, that stays the same as the last generation Novablast 3 at $140. That’s pretty standard for this type of max-stack daily trainer.  

ASICS Novablast 4 performance

Cards on the table, I’ve never been much of a Novablast fan. While some runners get cushioning with bounce in each step, I’ve always found them soft, sinking and somewhat sluggish. I never really clicked with the supersized shoe either. 

After close to 35 test miles, at mixed paces from slow plods to marathon pace, I think the Novablast 4 has corrected some of that. The midsole is now tuned to be slightly firmer and more responsive. The rocker and toe spring leans more towards rolling efficiency and forward momentum than sink and spring. So if you like a more rockered, responsive, immediate ride, there’s now more of that sensation underfoot. The soft sink hasn’t gone completely and on some runs, particularly on tired legs, I found that sogginess returned. At times I still felt like I was working against that midsole. 

So fans of the previous Novablasts needn’t worry. They’re still very cushioned and you won’t lose that easy-day, long-run comfort. The soft and protective ride is still present but when you move up through the gears they respond a bit faster than previous Novablasts. 

They’re relatively light by comparison to some other max-cushioned running shoes, but they still feel broad and bulky. There’s a lot going on. You will still need to like big, big shoes. In terms of overall volume of shoe on the foot, there aren’t many bigger ones. There is a benefit to that wider base though. It cradles the foot more and along with the higher sidewalls of the shoe, it creates a more stable ride overall as well.  

Overall, the Novablast 4 is an improvement and the changes add rather than subtract. If you like oversized, maximal shoes with a softer edge then you’ll likely enjoy these.

MaterialsUpper made from 75% recycled materials; FF BLAST™ PLUS ECO cushioning made with 20% bio-based content
Sizes 6 – 15 (US)
Weight 9.4oz
Colours7 available