Asics Novablast 4 vs. 3 – Is New Always Better?


So, we’re diving into the Asics Novablast 4 versus its predecessor, the Asics Novablast 3. Curious about what’s been tweaked and whether it still holds up?

Chances are, you’re here for one of two reasons. First, maybe you’re a fan of the Asics Novablast 3 and you thought it was an amazing shoe, and you’re keen to know what updates the 4 brings and whether it still fits the bill for you.

Or, like myself, you had a bit of a struggle with the Novablast 3 and are wondering if the updates in the 4 might just turn it into a contender for your runs.

Either way, I’ve got you covered with this comparison breakdown. And, as per usual, let’s kick things off by diving into the specs…

Asics Novablast 4 vs. 3

Stack Height, Drop, Weight

Asics has recently followed suit with the rest of the running shoe world by including the rubber on the outsole and the insole in their stack height measurements.


This means the Novablast 4 has 41.5mm of stack height in the heel and 33.5mm in the forefoot, maintaining the same 8mm drop.


Initially, the reported stack height for the Novablast 3 was lower as they didn’t include the rubber and the insole. So, the Novablast 3 features 41mm of foam in the heel and 33mm in the forefoot, also with an 8mm drop.

But honestly, you’re probably not going to feel that extra .5mm that Asics is reporting.

In terms of weight, the Novablast 4 comes in at 8.9 oz. or 255 grams for US men’s size 9, while the Novablast 3 weighs in at 8.7 oz. or 247 grams.

Yes, the Novablast 3 is marginally lighter than its successor, but honestly, you won’t be able to feel the difference once it’s on your foot.



When it comes to midsoles, the Novablast 4 proudly introduces FFBlast+ Eco foam, with a notably more aggressive toe rocker and heel bevel.

Sure, there are tweaks in the Novablast 4, but much of the magic lies in the molding of the midsole, rather than changes in specs or stack height.

This FFBlast+ Eco blend incorporates 20% bio-based material, but I will say the Eco version feels slightly firmer, partly due to the sculpting of the forefoot. Nonetheless, the forefoot foam delivers a lively bounce, particularly with the revamped trampoline effect underneath.


On the flip side, the Asics Novablast 3 features FFBlast+ in its midsole. I’d venture to say that compared to the 4, the 3 has a more mild toe rocker.


Since the beginning of the Novablast series, Asics has been on a quest to enhance the shoe’s stability. The initial Novablast was bouncy and fun, but it got a lot of critiques that it was not very stable.

With the Novablast 2, Asics perhaps overcorrected. They stepped the stability a bit too far and stripped away a lot of the elements that made the original Novablast beloved.

However, in the Novablast 3, I believe they found a happy middle ground, particularly in the heel. The sculpting in the heel of the Novablast 3 was really well done.

Here’s our comparison of the Novablast 1 vs. 2

Heel Strikers & Forefoot Strikers

Novablast 3


It seems that the Asics designers and engineers placed a significant emphasis on enhancing stability, particularly in the heel, with a focus on accommodating heel strikers.

While I’ve always considered the Novablast to be an excellent option for heel strikers, with the 3, I found that the forefoot felt disjointed from the heel because the forefoot could feel flat.

Not only that, the design of the sidewalls on the medial and lateral sides of the Novablast 3 didn’t effectively contain the foam and guide it the way it was supposed to.

As a result, upon forefoot landing in the 3, the FFBlast+ foam, known for its squishy nature, tended to spread outwards, resulting in a mushy sensation that didn’t sit well with me.

Although the Novablast 3 had a great heel, the performance of the FFBlast+ foam suffered due to this meh forefoot experience.

Now, moving to the Novablast 4, many, if not all, of these issues have been addressed…

Novablast 4

You’re going to love the heel on the Novablast 4. They beefed it up even more, giving you extra stability, which means if you’re a heel striker, this shoe is going to be your new best friend.

They’ve really dialed up the stability with some serious sculpting in the heel and they’ve widened the platform by 5 or 6 millimeters to give you that added stability.

But that’s not all—they’ve fine-tuned the heel bevel, pushing it back a bit and adding more to it, so when you land on the 4, it’s going to feel really smooth.

Not only that, the foam setup extends beyond the upper material, which prevents the foam from sort of mushing out to the sides. So, the Novablast 4 now really channels where the foam can go, which makes it feel still soft and squishy but not mushy.

But hey, if you’re more of a forefoot striker, they’ve got you covered too. The Novablast 4 has this sweet zone through the forefoot that just feels amazing to land on and gives you that extra oomph when you’re toeing off.

On the bottom, the deeper decoupled heel on the medial and lateral sides is going to absorb the impact and guide you right into the midfoot of the shoe, keeping you centered and stable.

Unlike the Novablast 3, I think there’s been a lot of design and engineering in the midfoot and forefoot of the Novablast 4, which I think is brilliant.

Rocker Geometry


They’ve increased the toe rocker, building on what they started with the 3. I think this rocker works really well and that seems to be a Hallmark that Asics is going for in 2024, but I found it works way better in the Novablast 4.

Thanks to this revamped toe rocker setup, along with some serious tweaks to the foam setup and engineering in the forefoot, the Novablast 4 is now a very rolly shoe.


Sure, the 3 had some roll to it, but the 4 takes it to a whole new level, which, I think, makes the 4 a little bit more versatile where you could probably do a larger range of faster running.

They’ve also increased the toe spring a little bit in the 4. Toe spring is actually how much the area of the midsole under your toes right under the insole curves up.

However, the Novablast 4 is so flexible now that you’re not necessarily going to feel that.

Let’s talk about the fit in the upper…

Upper & Fit

Novablast 3


I always felt the Novablast 3 fit and looked a bit large on my foot and the heel collar and the Achilles flare design would cut into my Achilles and leave me with blisters at the beginning. However, I never had any heel slip issues and the lockdown was decent.

I think the tongue on the Novablast 3 was a super stretchy neoprene that honestly didn’t do much for me. If anything, it just gave me a nasty lace bite.

As far as the width of the 3, I would say this had a generous width, but the toe volume was a little low for my taste.

Novablast 4


The upper on the Novablast 4 is a woven upper, but don’t worry—it’s just as smooth, soft, and plush as ever. You won’t even notice a difference between the 3 and the 4 when it comes to how the upper feels.

What I will say is the 4 has a proper heel counter, so all that Achilles torture from the 3? Poof, gone. Thank goodness for that!


I would say the eyelet chain in the Novablast 4 is a little too complicated so I can never quite dial in that lockdown to be super snug, but I’m not having any heel slip issues, my foot’s not moving around the shoe, and I’m getting a good lockdown. It’s just not as tight as I want it to be.

The tongue in the 4 is significantly improved. It’s still the neoprene material and there’s still a little stretch to it, but it is not as thin or flimsy as what was in the 3. It’s just a much better tongue. Major upgrade there.

Now, as for width, the new woven material and the way it sort of sits into the midsole makes the 4 a tad narrower than the 3, although I believe both shoes were built on the same last.

If the Novablast 3 fit you well, the 4 is going to fit you just fine. If the 3 was too narrow for you, the 4 is going to be probably a little bit tighter although I will say the woven material on the 4 feels like it does have a little bit more give to it so maybe it will stretch in over time.


Now, even though the 4 is a smidge narrower, the toe box volume is better. Those little ridges on the toe box keep the fabric off the top of your foot, giving your toes more room to move around and do their thing.

All in all, I’m loving the fit and feel of the Novablast 4.


There’s a lot of care on the outsole of both versions.


First off, both the Novablast 4 and 3 have 100 in them, but as you can see, the rubber and tread is still clearly visible in the Novablast 4 than the Novablast 3.


On the Novablast 4, they’ve really dialed in the details. That decoupled groove down the middle and the channel surrounding the trampoline effect work in perfect harmony to center your foot, giving you the best possible toe-off, whether you’re a heel striker, midfoot striker, or forefoot striker.

I think one of the biggest complaints about the Novablast 3 is there just was not enough rubber on the bottom, and what was there was not exactly grippy at all.


Sure, it was fine for road running and okay for slippery wet conditions, but anything beyond that, dirt, gravel, you name it—the 3 just couldn’t handle it.

I think that was a problem that, to me, took a little bit of the versatility away from the shoe that a lot of people wanted this shoe to have.

And that’s where the Novablast 4 steps in. They’ve beefed up the outsole, adding thicker AHAR rubber that’s more prominent over the foam, with a tread pattern that’s been seriously amped up. It’s like they took all the lessons from the Superblast pattern and ran with it, pun intended.

Now, don’t get me wrong—the Novablast 4’s outsole still isn’t perfect. It’s still very much a road-focused shoe. But it’s a vast improvement, trust me. I’ve put it through its paces on roads, wet roads, leaves—you name it—and I haven’t had a single issue.

I think that this outsole design is, again, the epitome of what they’ve been striving for with the Novablast line. They’re giving you rubber where you need it and leaving the foam exposed where you don’t, resulting in a compliant foot strike.

Let’s dive into the issues I encountered with the Novablast…

Problems I had With the Novablast 3

First up, the Novablast 3 had this annoying slappy feel, and it wasn’t just me—lots of other runners felt it too.

But the real headache was that trampoline effect on the bottom. Now, don’t get me wrong—it’s a trademark of the Novablast series. But in the 3, it felt like it was constantly poking into my foot, especially since I’m a forefoot striker. No matter how I landed, it was there, bugging me.

Sure, the discomfort eased up around the first 70 to 80 kilometers, but it always seemed to come back. Just last week, I took the Novablast 3 out for a spin, and lo and behold, that pesky trampoline effect was still causing issues.

The Novablast 4 still has that trampoline effect, but Asics has made some adjustments, increasing the grooves around it. And let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. I can feel it working as intended, without that irritating poking sensation from the Novablast 3.

Now, I am feeling a little extra something on toe-off from this and it feels really nice.

Now, onto some pairing options…

Shoes to Pair With the Novablast

When I first ran in the Novablast 4, I found it paired very well with the Nimbus and the Saucony Endorphin Elite. Those combinations still hold up as fantastic options, but given the Novablast 4’s versatility, capable of handling both recovery runs and long-run duties, I’m introducing two speedier counterparts into the mix.


First up, for those shortest fastest reps, I recommend slipping into the Adidas Takumi Sen 10. It’s my go-to for those fast sessions as it offers the perfect balance of speed and responsiveness alongside the Novablast 4’s daily training prowess.

But when it’s time to tackle marathon workouts and races, I’m staying loyal to the Asics family with a nod to one of my all-time favorite super shoes: the Asics Metaspeed Sky+.


In 2024, we’re in that weird spot where a lot of shoes for an Olympic year are going to get substantial updates. The Metaspeed Sky+ and the Metaspeed Edge+, have been reimagined as the Metaspeed Sky+ Paris and the Metaspeed Edge+ Paris, specially tailored for the demands of this Olympic season.

So, rest assured, the Metaspeed Sky+ remains a top-notch pairing option for the trusty Novablast 4.

Pricing & Alternatives to the Novablast

The Novablast 4 is still a fresh contender in the running shoe market, maintaining its $140 price tag in the United States. There are some killer deals on the Novablast 3 right now. So if that’s your jam, now’s the time to stock up. But trust me, when you make the switch to the Novablast 4, you won’t be disappointed.



Previously, I recommended the New Balance 1080 and the Clifton as formidable rivals, and I stand by those choices. However, I’m going to introduce two additional options into the mix.


First up is a personal favorite from last year: the Puma Deviate Nitro 2. With a racing foam in the forefoot, Nitro foam in the heel, and a carbon fiber plate, I feel like this can handle a little bit more of the speedy stuff than the Novablast 4 can.


The Novablast 4 does a little bit more of the easy chill stuff a little bit better, but there is a significant amount of overlap between these two shoes. And when these two shoes went head to head together last year, I did put the Deviate Nitro 2 on top as shoe of the year.

In terms of pricing, the Puma comes with a premium price tag of $160. Nonetheless, its versatility across various running styles makes it a worthwhile investment, and with occasional sales, you might snag it at a more wallet-friendly price.

The other shoe that I’m going to give you as an alternative is the New Balance Rebel v4. I feel like both of these shoes had undergone a similar transformation from their previous iterations where there were really exciting borderline chaotic shoes that were really fun to run in.

And while I think that the Rebel 4 has gone through an even greater transformation year-over-year than the Novablast had, I do feel like while the previous iterations of these shoes were good alternatives and competitors head-to head, these iterations of these shoes are also going to be good competitors head to-head.

The Rebel 4 is $140 as well so the same price between those two shoes.

So, which is the better shoe, the Novablast 4 or the Novablast 3?

Asics Novablast 4 vs. 3 – Verdict

For me, it’s a no-brainer: the Novablast 4 takes the cake. I’ve been logging miles in this shoe non-stop, and it’s quickly become one of my all-time favorites. The 4 is just a brilliant shoe and I can’t wait to see what Asics does with the Novablast 5 when it drops in December 2024.

Now, I’ll be honest—I’m usually not a big fan of overly soft, max stack, rockered shoes. But this one? It’s probably the best one I’ve ever run in.

For a shoe for long runs where I am needing to do some marathon pace or half marathon pace mixed in with some easy running, the Novablast 4 handles it all like a champ.

Sure, the 3 was great too, but for me, the 4 has that extra range that really seals the deal.

Now, I would say the Novablast 3 is slightly nimbler and if you liked the nimble feel of the 3, don’t worry—the 4 still delivers. It’s just got a bit more roll to it.

But hey, at the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference. What works for me might not work for you.

Thanks for sticking around for this Novablast 4 and Novablast 3 comparison. Feel free to drop any comments below. Stay safe and keep on running! 🙂

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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