Asics Novablast vs Nike Invincible – How is FF Blast & Zoom X Performing

asics-novablast-vs-nike-invincible

Today, I’m going to be comparing the Asics Novablast vs Nike Invincible. The Asics Novablast 2 and the Nike Zoom X Invincible are two great running shoes that were at the top of just about everyone’s list for best daily trainers.

But the more time that I spend with each of these shoes, the more that I find that one is clearly better than the other. Which one is it?

Just before this comparison, I did two similar easy medium long runs with some strides thrown in towards the end in both shoes, which is a great way to test out the Asics Novablast and the Nike Invincible one last time.

Let’s dive right into it…

Asics Novablast vs Nike Invincible

In a hurry? These are the main similarities and differences between the Novablast and the Invincible…

Quick Comparison

  • Both are daily trainers and handle easy paces and longer runs really well.
  • Both offer a squishy ride, but the Invincible is a little bit softer.
  • Novablast handles faster paces better. 
  • Invincible encourages midfoot striking.
  • Novablast lets you control how you strike.
  • Both weigh almost exactly the same.
  • Invincible is more cushioned in the midsole.
  • Novablast 2 feels smoother to run in.
  • Novablast is more stable underfoot.
  • Novablast has a better double jacquard mesh upper.
  • Both have a good midfoot lockdown and no heel slipping.
  • Invincible has a wider landing platform.
  • Novablast is more comfortable.
  • Novablast is cheaper and more versatile. 
  • Both are true to size.

Related: Do Asics Running Shoes Run Small or True To Size

Novablast vs Invincible – Performance

Both of these shoes are supposed to be daily trainers. So one of the things that they’re going to need to be able to do is handle that daily pace and that easy pace that you’re going to be doing most of your running at.

But both shoes have a very different approach to softness or at least to absorbing impact from the road.

Related: Asics Novablast vs Hoka Mach

Nike Invincible

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nike-invincible-run

The Nike Invincible is one of the softest running shoes of all time. The Zoom X in the Invincible is an amazing novel type of feeling that I haven’t felt before because it just really lets you bop along for your easy days. The miles just click by and you won’t even notice how far you’ve run.

With the Nike Zoom X Invincible Run, as long as you’re going straight, it’s really comfortable on those longer-distance runs where pace really isn’t your main concern. When you try to pick up the pace, I did find it not as easy to do that as I found in the Asics Novablast 2.

Related: Best Nike Shoes For Marathon

Strike Pattern

Another thing you really have to take into consideration is to be able to get the most out of the Invincible, you really have to be landing squarely in the midfoot for it to feel the most comfortable. So, when I’m striking right at that midfoot/forefoot borderline, I just feel like I can go for miles and miles.

It still feels good if I forefoot strike, but if I shorten up my stride a little bit and make sure I’m landing a little bit more squarely on the ground hitting exactly in the midfoot, that’s when I feel like the Invincible lifts your heel up right away.

It’s kind of a rocker sensation, but I don’t really feel like I’m rolling forward. I feel like I’m popping forward from the back.

It’s a really unique sensation which, for me, takes a couple of miles to get used to. But after the first mile or two, then I feel like I’m in a rhythm with the shoe, and then everything is just set it and forget it.

Unfortunately, I’m not always in that zone and so it’s pretty easy to fall out of that sweet spot. When I get outside that sweet spot, the Invincible does feel a little bit clunky to me.

In terms of heel striking, the Invincible has a partially rounded heel that is really comfortable and I didn’t have any issues when I was heel striking. But again, the Invincible feels best when you are striking right about at that hinge area.

Related: Proper Foot Strike

Speed

I don’t feel like the Invincible is built for going faster and I do have a harder time getting up to speed in this Zoom X configuration. There’s no problem with the Zoom X foam in terms of going fast, but the way that it’s set up in the Invincible in terms of the geometries, it just doesn’t like to go fast in my opinion and I just feel the weight and bulk of the shoe when I’m trying to pick up the pace.

Asics Novablast

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asics-novablast-2

The Asics Novablast 2 is for those longer comfort runs where comfort is king. When you just want to log a lot of miles very comfortably, the Novablast does a really great job with that.

With the FF Blast, I feel like I’m getting a much more traditional soft squishiness without the usual penalty that when a shoe is squishy, it tends to get a little bit muddled and it feels like it is kind of a little bit heavy and soggy.

Well, I’m not getting that with the Novablast 2. It almost feels like you’re running on memory foam, but then the shoe still feels nice and lively and you’re really able to keep moving without any of the ground really beating you up at all.

Strike Pattern

I mentioned that the Invincible wants you to strike squarely on the midfoot. But unlike the Nike Invincible, the Novablast really feels good regardless of how I’m striking the ground and flowing through my gait cycle. I feel I can run a little bit more naturally in the Novablast 2 than in the Invincible.

I like to be a little bit more forefoot than squarely in the midfoot in terms of my foot strike and that’s really where the Novablast likes to be at least for me. I feel like I can just put the shoe on and I don’t have to think about it like I do with the Invincible.

Also, I think the Asics Novablast does handle a variety of paces better than the Nike Invincible does. So, when I do pick up the pace to run those faster strides, the Novablast is the clear winner.

Speed

The Novablast doesn’t feel like a shoe that’s heavy at all and it doesn’t feel like a pure easy day shoe or a recovery day shoe. Even though there is a relatively high stack height, the shoe feels very happy to pick up the pace. I just feel like I’m getting a little bit more pop off the toe thanks to that trampoline effect underfoot.

When I’m trying to get up on my toes, I feel like there’s not a lot in the forefoot to really get in my way. Also, all the stuff that’s in the back kind of almost tucks in a little bit and I don’t feel like there’s a big weight on the back of the shoe.

The upper fits really well and so I feel like when I’m trying to pick up the pace, I still have lots of room for my toes to be able to make sure that I’m moving quickly through that gait cycle and pushing off with power.

It’s not to say that the Novablast 2 is a slouch when it comes to easy paces because it makes easy days really enjoyable.

Overall, at faster speeds, I definitely appreciate the Asics Novablast 2.

Related: New Balance Fresh Foam More vs 1080

Weight, Stack, Drop, Fit

Asics NovablastNike Invincible
NeutralNeutral
Everyday trainingEveryday training
Men (size 9)
→ 9.7 oz (274 g)
Men (size 9)
→ 9.8 oz (277 g)
Women (size 8)
8.3 oz (235 g)
Women (size 8)
8.1 oz (229 g)
Heel: 30mm
Forefoot: 22mm
Heel: 37mm
Forefoot: 28mm
8mm drop9mm drop
FitFit
True to sizeTrue to size
Arch: MediumArch: Medium to high
Midfoot: MediumMidfoot: Medium
Toebox: MediumToebox: Medium
Heel: MediumHeel: Medium

Now, let’s move to where the magic happens…

Midsole

Asics Novablast

asics-novablast-2-midsole

What we have in the Asics Novablast 2 is another tall stack height full of a miracle foam called FlyteFoam Blast (FF Blast) which is the same midsole foam that we first saw in the original Novablast.

There’s a number of geometric shapes and designs that are cut into that midsole foam and that’s really to maximize the bounce, spring, and cushion built into the shoe. I think that’s part of what Asics is doing to use the way the foam is sculpted to help make it so that this foam can stay soft but doesn’t lose structural integrity.

There’s also some additional sculpting right around the outer portion of the forefoot which we also saw something similar in the Metaspeed Sky.

The forefoot has a pretty decent rocker design with a little bit of flexibility. The Novablast is really soft and cushioned especially when you’re midfoot or forefoot striking. There just seems to be a lot of bounce.

The Novablast has a swallowtail heel design, but they didn’t go all crazy with it. This is to help heel strikers have a little bit smoother transition.

The FF Blast midsole feels a bit denser underfoot compared to the Invincible, but it’s by no means firm. It is a very soft foam, but the Invincible feels more airy and just a lot more compressive than the FF Blast.

Nike Invincible

nike-zoomx-invincible-run-midsole

The Invincible has a slab of really soft Zoom X foam goodness in the midsole. Zoom X is definitely a much softer feeling underfoot and you essentially just squish into that Zoom X midsole.

Again, the Zoom X midsole does feel very bouncy underfoot. However, the FlyteFoam Blast is no chump either. It definitely has a little bit of response, but again, when I compress these two midsoles, it just feels a bit more bouncy in the Invincible.

So, in terms of bounce, we’re going Zoom X Invincible.

In terms of the rocker, the Invincible is almost hinged. So, unlike the Novablast that offers a smooth transition through my toe off thanks to that rocker geometry, the Invincible has this almost hinged or breaking point.

Which one of these midsoles feels smoother to run in?

Midsole Smoothness

Absolutely, the Novablast 2 feels smoother to run in. That little bit more of conservative drop at 8 millimeters, the geometry of the midsole, and the overall less bounce and compression you’re going to get in the FlyteFoam Blast makes this foam just a bit more enjoyable for daily runs and all that type of situations.

The Novablast just feels a bit more smooth and I can get into a rhythm a little bit better than I can do in the Zoom X Invincible.

Midsole Freshness

After a long grueling run, which one of these midsole foams makes my leg feel pretty fresh? To be honest, both of these shoes are very nice in terms of non-fatiguing factors.

I can wear either of these shoes for whatever type of run and the midsole foams make my leg feel much fresher than something like the Nike Pegasus 38, for example. While the Pegasus is still a great shoe, it definitely fatigues my legs more than the softer Invincible and the Novablast.

So, it’s a tie for the fatigue.

Which one of these midsoles is more fun to run in?

Midsole Fun

I’m surprised that I’m going to go this direction, but I do find that the Novablast 2 is more fun to run in.

The reason for this is that the Zoom X Invincible has a very limited range of fun. It excels in certain pace ranges but not so much in the slower stuff and not so much in the faster stuff.

However, with the Novablast 2, you definitely can have fun at all different paces. It’s soft enough that you can use it for those easy and very recovery-based days, and it feels fantastic when you pick up the pace. It’s not the best shoe for faster efforts, but that doesn’t mean that if you are feeling fresh out there on a run that you can’t pick it up.

The Zoom X Invincible midsole is awesome, but after much hard consideration, I have to go with the FlyteFoam Blast midsole foam in the Novablast 2 for my preference.

The Zoom X Invincible was the chosen one, but then the new kid on the block had to come by and smash it out of the park.

So, for me, the Novablast 2 is more fun than the Zoom X Invincible Run.

Midsole Stability

nike-invincible-run-softness-test

With those weak ankles of ours, we need a little bit more tender love and care. Unfortunately, with all of the big stack height and all of that soft cushioning of the Zoom X Invincible, you kind of give up a little bit of stability. The Invincible is so bouncy and so compressive that it just feels a little jarring at certain paces.

What I mean by that is when you’re going slower but you don’t want to be bounced along, the Invincible can feel a little bit awkward on foot. Also, going around corners can be a bit tricky and I found it to be a lot of stress on my ankles. So, although the Invincible does take the bounce and softness crown, that’s not necessarily a great thing in all situations.

Also, Asics recommends the Novablast for neutral runners and those that underpronate. However, I happen to overpronate just a little bit but I still find the Novablast to be really comfortable to run in.

So, in terms of stability, the Novablast 2 takes that crown as well.

The changes that they’ve made to the ankle collar and the geometry and sculpting of the midsole just make this Novablast 2 that much more stable in comparison to the Novablast 1 and the Zoom X Invincible.

Although the Invincible has a bit more of a wide landing platform and the heel has more structure with that TPU clip, it’s just not a very stable shoe, again, due to that very soft compressive nature of the Zoom X midsole foam.

Also, the tall high stack height makes it a bit unstable for runners with those weak ankles.

Again, I feel like the energy return or the bounce is much more directed while the Invincible is really much more like a trampoline.

So, while the Invincible is not the worst, definitely the Novablast 2 takes the crown in terms of stability.

If you feel you need more support through your gait cycle, you might want to check some of the best stability running shoes on the market.

Upper

nike-zoomx-invincible-run-upper

On the Invincible, Nike uses their Flyknit material but it doesn’t have the stretch of the Novablast. I’ve been saying from the beginning that this does not feel like Flyknit to me. If you’ve run in other Flyknit shoes like the Vaporfly 4% or the Zoom Fly Flyknit, the Invincible feels very different.

It is some sort of knit material and overall, it’s pretty comfortable. It’s just not as comfortable as I would expect for a shoe that has the word Flyknit in the title.

Related: Running Shoes with the Best Best Energy Return

asics-novablast-2-midsole-upper

The Novablast uses an engineered double jacquard mesh upper which is soft and stretchy as well and the toe box offers lots of room for your toes to splay. Even though it’s a double jacquard mesh, it’s still more breathable than the Invincible thanks to those wider perforations on the toe box.

The Novablast loses those perforations at about the start of the eyelet chain and it also loses that stretch in the toe box across the midfoot section and that’s to allow you to get a nice snug lockdown feeling across your midfoot back into your heel.

There is more padding on the shoe as you get towards the back right around the parts that are going to be touching your heel and your Achilles area.

There’s also a bunch of structure in the way that Asics tends to make sure there’s just a lot of control in that heel and ankle area.

Again, the upper is very comfortable, more breathable, and very enjoyable to wear. 

Heel & Collar

asics-novablast-2-ankle-collar

On the Novablast, the padding around the heel collar is a moderate amount but it’s plenty for this shoe. I didn’t have any comfort issues and no hot spots.

It’s kind of that pillow style that rests up more around the collar to help keep you comfortable. It does develop a nice heel pocket for your heel to set in and so I didn’t have any heel slippage when I was running in the Novablast 2.

asics-novablast-2-heel-counter

The heel counter has a little bit more structure with that TPU clip that they have on the sides. So, I find the Novablast to be much more stable in the heel.

nike-zoomx-invincible-run-heel-collar

The Nike Invincible Run has got a lot more padding around the collar and heel than the Novablast 2.

nike-zoomx-invincible-run-heel-counter

There’s also a lot of padding that protrudes out the back, which I’m just not really sure why they chose to do that. I guess it’s just for aesthetics because it’s certainly not providing any comfort on the outside of the shoe.

Again, I think it’s just a little bit over-padded in the Invincible Run.

The heel counter has got a fair amount of structure, which does help to create that nice heel pocket for your heel to set in. However, it doesn’t do much in terms of pronation control.

Tongue & Lacing System

The Novablast has a lightly padded tongue but doesn’t cause any comfort issues. It’s not the thinnest of tongues but it’s not a super-padded tongue either.

The Novablast has a basic eyelet chain. But one of the things that I like about this is the notches at the start seem to reduce any kind of bunching that I would get up in the toe box.

The tongue on the Invincible is a little bit more padded than the Novablast, but it’s still very comfortable. Both tongues are semi-gusseted so you won’t have to worry about either one migrating around or bunching up at all.

asics-novablast-2-lacing-system

The Invincible also has a basic eyelet chain with a bit of the notch in the front to help reduce some of the bunching that you might get in the toe box.

The Invincible has the widest laces that I’ve run in so far this year or maybe ever. They do the job pretty well, but I’m just not sure why they are so wide or why they need it to be so.

I just want to mention that Nike didn’t really give us a lot of lace to work with. So, if you do like to run with the runner’s knot, your laces are going to be a little bit short to be able to get that extra knot in there for safety.

Lockdown

The lockdown in both of these shoes is actually quite good and I haven’t had any trouble in either of them. When you cinch the laces up, you pretty much stay right in place. Just like the Novablast, the Invincible has a nice heel pocket for your heel to set in and to make sure you get no heel slippage.

Breathability

nike-zoomx-invincible-run-upper-perforations

Neither one of these shoes are very breathable. The Invincible gets hot and while the Novablast 2 doesn’t feel super-hot, it still isn’t the most breathable.

asics-novablast-2-toe-box-perforations

But I have to say, compared to the Flyknit upper and the padding that they’ve added on the Zoom X Invincible, the Novablast 2 is definitely a bit cooler than the Invincible.

So, for breathability and overall coolness, we’re going to go with the Novablast 2.

Overall, the Novablast upper just makes much more sense to me than the Invincible upper and it just feels better on foot. I think it’s because the stretch material gives more of a form-fitting feeling to the shoe.

The breathability is just a little bit better, but the lockdown is about the same compared to the both of them.

Again, I just enjoyed the Novablast 2 upper that much more.

Outsole

Asics Novablast

asics-novablast-2-outsole

I think Asics did a good job in how they protected all that soft midsole foam with their strategically placed high-abrasion rubber called AHAR+. They have it in all of the areas where that FlyteFoam Blast foam would be in any kind of ground contact.

It’s the same AHAR+ formulation of rubber that they used in the original Novablast and I expect that we’ll get about the same amount of durability as we did in the original one.

There’s some exposed FF Blast to cut down on the weight a little bit.

So, I think the durability on the Novablast is definitely going to last.

While the Novablast isn’t quite as wide on the bottom as the Invincible, it still has a pretty good wide landing platform. It’s narrower in the forefoot and it does snug up a bit in the midfoot section much like the Invincible Run does. Then it kind of stays a little bit more narrow in the heel area.

The bottom has a unique outsole design that features a pod and a pretty deep groove going from the midfoot to the heel section of the shoe. The pod, which kind of feels reminiscent of the airbag in the Pegasus, and the giant groove do maximize that trampoline effect and improve the overall ride of the shoe a little bit better

So, as you’re landing on the Novablast, it compresses, and then as you’re moving through your gait cycle, it kind of bounces you back up much like a trampoline would.

Nike Invincible

nike-zoomx-invincible-run-outsole

Nike has got the Zoom X foam all covered from heel to toe with a thin layer of rubber that’s holding up really well after over 100 miles at this point. So durability-wise, this waffle design rubber outsole is doing a good job in protecting all of that fragile soft midsole foam.

But the more important thing for me about this outsole is not the fact that it’s holding up well, it is the fact that it’s not interfering with my ability to feel what that Zoom X midsole can be when you’ve got nothing but Zoom X for that ride experience.

Just like the Novablast, the Invincible has a wide landing platform in the forefoot and it gets narrower in the midfoot section.

However, while the Novablast stays more narrow in the heel, the Invincible stays wider in the heel area. This setup gives you plenty of rubber that meets the road. I’ve always felt safe when I’ve been out running even under some wet conditions.

Overall, the Novablast 2 is going to take the crown for the outsole just because of that more innovative design with the decoupled groove and the strategically placed coverage of the rubber. I found the grip to be pretty much the same and both shoes did an adequate job in keeping me tight to the road.

Comfort

In terms of comfort, this is where things get more one-sided specifically for the Novablast 2.

Nike Invincible

As I said above, the Flyknit on the Zoom X Invincible just doesn’t feel like Flyknit. The upper is a little bit more rigid and not quite as soft and stretchy as the Novablast 2.

I’m sure that a lot of people appreciate this upper, especially in a soft and springy shoe as it’s going to help them make sure that they feel secure in the shoe. But ultimately, I really would have loved to see what it would have been like in a more traditional knit.

I’m not saying that the shoe is uncomfortable, but I feel like the upper is not as comfortable as I wish it could be.

The Invincible has that typical Nike snugness in the forefoot. On certain recovery days, I really don’t feel like putting the Invincible on because I just know that I’m not going to have as much room in the toes that I might want for the day after a very long run or a very hard workout for example.

The padding and puffiness around the heel collar works fine for me. I think they could probably do away with a lot of it because a lot of it is there for the look and not necessarily for actual function.

So, I do think there’s a lot of work that can be done on the upper on the Zoom X Invincible. For the most part, it’s a good upper, but it’s just not as comfortable in my mind as the upper that’s on the Novablast 2.

Asics Novablast

The Novablast 2 uses a double-engineered jacquard mesh and I find it just a bit softer and overall more comfortable than the Flyknit upper on the Invincible.

The Novablast doesn’t look super fancy or flashy in terms of the upper, but it’s all working really well. Everything fits really snugly in a good way without giving me too much constriction in that toe box.

So, for a day after a long run, I feel like I have plenty of room and it is a really great experience even though my feet are a little bit beat up.

Even when I’m trying to do strides, I still feel like the Novablast was still snug enough and gave me enough security that I felt like I could really move quickly.

Again, while the Flyknit upper on the Invincible doesn’t feel bad on foot, it’s definitely not as comfortable as you’re going to get with the double jacquard engineered mesh. 

So, the winner for the overall comfort goes to the Novablast 2.

Value

In terms of the price, the Invincible is considerably is $50 more expensive than the Novablast 2.

So, the Novablast 2 is going to take the value crown as well. You can do much more different types of variations of your runs in this shoe and it’s going to perform very well. 

At first, I thought the Invincible was going to be more versatile, but as I’ve used it more and more, I’ve realized that it is great for certain pace ranges and intensities and it’s not that great at different paces.

So, in terms of value, the Novablast 2 is the value champion, which leaves me now to talk about which one’s the overall champion…

Champion

asics-novablast-2

I think it’s pretty obvious from this comparison up to this point that for this battle, I’m picking the Novablast 2.

I absolutely love the Invincible on those long-distance runs where pace really isn’t that a big of a concern. I can get a lot of miles and my legs do feel pretty fresh at the end of those workouts.

The Novablast 2 has taken me by surprise especially because the Novablast 1 wasn’t that good and was very unstable. So, the changes that they’ve made to the Novablast 2 have made the shoe so much better, so much fun to run in, and so much more versatile than the Invincible. 

I thought this battle was going to be a lot closer than it was. But because the Novablast 2 does recovery days better, does faster paces a lot better, feels more comfortable in the upper than the Invincible, the Novablast 2 is the clear winner in this Asics Novablast vs Nike Invincible daily trainer championship battle.

It’s not to say that the Invincible is a bad shoe. It’s a really great shoe, but it’s just going up against another really great shoe.

For you, if you can only buy one of these two shoes, I would recommend the Asics Novablast 2.

Where to buy the Novablast and the Invincible

Amazon

Asics Novablast 2

Nike Invincible

Runningwarehouse

Asics Novablast 2

Nike Invincible

Roadrunningsport

Asics Novablast 2

Nike Invincible

So those are my thoughts on these great shoes and please do let me know what you think about them. Or, if you have any questions, make sure you use the comments down below.

That’s all for today everybody. Thanks so much for making it all the way to the end of this Asics Novablast vs Nike Invincible comparison. Hopefully, you guys are staying safe out there on your runs and I’ll see you in the next one.

About Jamal Tasmamat

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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