The new max stack running shoe category is growing like crazy, and with the Asics Superblast, Asics enters the category like the Kool-Aid man busting through a wall. At WearTesters, we love both the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ and the Asics Novablast 3. So when Asics told us the Superblast is a hybrid forged from both those high-performance (and highly-rated) running shoes, we were all in.
Of course, that also upped our expectations to possibly unreachable levels. Can the Asics Superblast deliver performance that matches or exceeds its high-performing parents? That, my friends, is what we’re here to find out.
Release Date: December 1, 2022
Weight: Men’s 8.4 oz., Women’s 7.5 oz.
Drop: 8mm (37.5mm forefoot, 45.5mm heel)
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Asics Superblast is a fun, versatile, and lightweight shoe with a price that will make you hesitate even though it’s a great shoe.
Drew: When I first saw this shoe in August at Asics America HQ, my jaw dropped. The Asics Superblast is a fast (and cool) looking shoe. And all that stack looked heavenly.
I’m glad to report that it just doesn’t look heavenly. It feels awesome underfoot. Asics took two great foams, FF Blast+ and FF Blast Turbo, and created a soft midsole that’s not too squishy nor unstable. It’s got a nice bounce and speeds up nicely. The rocker shape, looking very similar to the Metaspeed Sky+, feels smooth from the moment you touch down to when you toe off the ground.
I know some people are bemoaning the lack of a carbon fiber plate, but honestly, it’s nice to have a non-plated option in the market. The running shoe industry is plate crazy these days, but sometimes the stiffness of a plate is just too much. A shoe packing a mountain of soft foam and no plate fills a need for runners who just don’t need or love carbon fiber plates.
Above that glorious midsole is an upper that looks like a Metaspeed but is better. It’s still light and plenty breathable, but it’s more comfortable. The gusseted and well-padded, almost neoprene tongue has a lot to do with it. It’s luxurious compared to the tongues on the Novablast 3 and Metaspeed Sky+. It’s a small tweak that pays dividends on long runs. The upper also has plenty of room for feet to expand…making it pretty wide-foot-friendly. It’s always nice when a shoe accommodates lots of foot types without the upper flexing weirdly when the shoe is laced up tight. It’s just great upper construction all around.
Even with the great midsole and upper, the Nike Lebron 20 feels really light. It’s light enough, protective enough, and bouncy enough that I can see people using it as their marathon racing shoe. I even think friend of WearTesters and running shoe reviewer, Kofuzi, is planning to use the Asics Superblast when he runs the California International Marathon (CIM) in December. If someone who has all the super shoes chooses the Asics Superblast as his marathon shoe, that’s a huge endorsement of its abilities.
Tyler: Over the last few months, one of my favorite running shoes has been the Asics Novablast 3, and before that, it was the Asics Glideride 3, so I’ve been a big fan of what the brand has been churning out, and aside from a few small hiccups with the sizing of the Glideride 3, I’ve put a ton of miles in Asics shoes this year. So when the Asics Superblast came in, I was optimistic. My closet is full of plated shoes and this seemed to be just what I would gravitate toward to even out my rotation.
Out of the box, the shoe is extremely light, even in my size 13, and that weight shows (or doesn’t show?) on foot. At no point in any of my runs did I ever feel like the shoe was bulky, even though, in hand, it was quite chunky. But, I was more impressed with the ride than anything and assume it’s the combination of the foams and slight rocker, as Drew alluded to. Even more enjoyable was the toe-off – while the plush cushioning in the forefoot resulted in a nice ride, it is one of the smoothest and most stable experiences when transitioning off your toes.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the upper. Oh, this fantastic upper. It’s almost like something NASA designed. It’s soft, yet structured. It’s comfortably rigid, yet pliable and giving. It’s breathable. Most of all, it’s forgiving and simple. From a design standpoint, I can’t wait to see upcoming colorways, but from a functionality standpoint, this upper may be one of the best on any running shoes I’ve slipped into over the last 2-3 years.
It’s also worth mentioning the flair that accompanied the Asics Superblast. In the box, the paper mimics a newspaper, reading “SUPERBLAST HAS ARRIVED!” with a few “stories” about the shoe. Also included were three pins. It’s the small details like this that make an unboxing experience fun and shows the Asics team knows how to surprise and delight.
Drew: There are a few things to mention here though not everyone will view each of them as true negatives. I know I don’t.
First, the laces are a bit too long. Seeing as how this shoe can be a race-day option, I’d have liked a little less length. No one likes laces flopping around like crazy when they’re trying to go fast.
Second, I know people had issues with the traction of the Asics Novablast 3, so Asics worked to improve that experience by using AHAR+ rubber on the Asics Superblast. For me, it made a difference in terms of gripping the ground. I experienced only minor slippage with the Novablast 3, likely due to my size, and none, even in wet, rainy conditions in the Superblast. However, the traction pattern itself is still the same. If you had trouble with the Novablast 3 traction, this may not be the shoe for you.
Third, the price. The Asics Superblast is $220. AJ has the unfortunate luck of being one of the first to launch a high-end shoe with post-inflation-driven cost increases. I expect a lot of shoes in 2023 to feel expensive. Is the Superblast actually expensive, though? After a lot of thought, I don’t think so. The only thing that’s missing from what would otherwise be a $250 super shoe is the carbon fiber plate. Everything else is included. Paying $30 extra for a carbon fiber plate feels about right. But I’ve always thought of the super foams being the main source of extra cost, not the plate. It may be difficult for others to reframe their thinking with that in mind.
Tyler: The elephant in the room (and across Instagram comments) is my only con: the price. $220 is STEEP. When Nike released the ZoomX Invincible Run, that $180 price point was a lot to stomach, and while I do think the Superblast is a superior shoe to the Invincible, another $40 is borderline ridiculous. I don’t care that it’s not plated, but it’s just downright expensive. I’ve wracked my brain on the pricing strategy here and still come up short.
Asics Superblast Summary
Drew: The Asics Superblast is a fun, versatile shoe that I can use for anything from easy miles to workouts to races. It’s so light it feels like a race day shoe, it’s soft but stable, and even without the plate, it has a nice pop. While you may do a double take at the price, I think it’s worth it. You’re getting a really good shoe for the money. And what’s more, you’re getting a shoe with a ride that will make you want to run more often.
Tyler: I think Drew hits on every single point that you should take into consideration here. The Superblast is such a solid, versatile, and light shoe, and continues to create a lot of enjoyment during each run, but I can’t get on board with recommending it at its price point. If you’re in the Novablast 3 (or have thought about the Novablast 3), I think that’s the route to go (I also think they underpriced the Novablast 3, so maybe that’s their pricing strategy, now that I think about it). So, while you won’t capture all of the magic of the Asics Superblast, you’ll get damn close and have one of the best shoes of 2022.