If you’re a runner who loves the Novablast 3 but you want a smoother ride with more cushioning and stability, the Superblast is the shoe for you. The Superblast is also for those wanting a versatile trainer/racer which can be used for virtually every type of run.
If you want a soft ride with a high level of speed assistance, the Superblast is not for you. It doesn’t have a carbon plate so it’s not as propulsive as a conventional super shoe.
What usually happens in the running shoe industry when one brand tries something completely unique and receives success with it, is that the other brands follow suit. They try to imitate the technology while putting a twist on it so that they don’t fall behind and lose sales to the other brands.
We saw this with rocker geometries, PEBA foams, carbon plates, and now super thick, above-the-limit midsole stack heights.
We all knew it was coming. ASICS wasn’t the trendsetter, but their first above 40 mm stack height running shoe has now come to the market in the form of the Superblast, a non-plated trainer designed for long runs and tempo runs (according to their website).
For many runners, a running shoe above 40 mm doesn’t make sense because you aren’t allowed to use it in official World Athletics races and it makes the shoe really bulky.
After testing and training in various above 40 mm stack height running shoes, I can without a doubt say that above 40 mm midsoles offer unique benefits to the runner such as propulsion and cushioning advantages.
The majority of runners are also running in non-World Athletics races where their shoes are not checked by officials so they can run in whatever they want.
Here is a summary of the current above 40 mm stack height shoes on the market:
The Superblast is basically a super shoe without a plate in its midsole. It uses ASICS’ most premium, racing midsole foam in FF Turbo as well as their premium training midsole foam, FF Blast+.
For such a thick midsole, it has an extremely lightweight build. It weighs 8.4 oz (239 g) for a men’s US 9, and has a 45.5 mm heel, with a 37.5 mm forefoot for an 8 mm drop. It costs $220 which makes it one of the most expensive, non-carbon plated shoes on the market.
After seeing multiple reports of the Superblast being too voluminous, I decided to order a half size down from my normal size. When it arrived from overseas and I tried it on, the width was perfect but the length felt slightly too short and I regretted not ordering my normal size however, I decided to keep it and use it.
My first run was an interval workout of 1 km, 500 m and 200 m intervals. The short length didn’t bother me too much and the Superblast performed exquisitely- it was a lot faster than I thought it would be. I managed to reach paces below 3 minutes 30 per km relatively easily and it felt like I was wearing a super shoe.
It felt really smooth, cushioned and stable. The shoes that it reminded me most of were the ASICS Novablast 3 because of the midsole geometry and also the Hoka Mach 5 because of how padded landings felt.
It didn’t feel as propulsive as the Metaspeed series but I felt a good level of energy return from the midsole foam. This was the closest feeling to a super shoe of all the non-plated shoes I’ve tried.
If you like the upper of the Metaspeed+ series, you’ll like the upper of the Superblast because it feels very similar. The jacquard upper of the Superblast is slightly softer than the Metaspeed+ racers and it conforms to your feet better.
The tongue of the Superblast is semi-gusseted and flat. ASICS calls it a winged tongue design and while there isn’t any lateral movement, I experienced a bit of downward tongue slide during runs.
The heel tab and collar are lightly padded while there is an internal heel counter which locks down your heel perfectly. I experienced no heel slippage in the Superblast.
While some will recommend you going a half size down, I recommend going true to size due to the length of the shoe. At true to size, it will have a comfortably roomy forefoot and toe-box so it’s suitable for wide-footed runners.
The best way to describe the Superblast is a premium version of the Novablast 3: it has a lighter build, with deeper cushioning, and more efficient transitions. In another universe, it would be called the Novablast Pro.
The Superblast has a really enjoyable, engaging ride even though it has minimal ground feel and I find myself racking up the miles in it faster than most of the shoes that I test. It reminds me of a luxury limousine ride because of how smooth and silky it feels underfoot.
The Superblast is deceptive because by looking at its gargantuan, 45.5 mm stack midsole, you would assume that it would possess a very soft, marshmallow-like ride (similar to the NB Supercomp Trainer) however in reality, it’s not like that at all.
The FF Turbo foam in the Superblast, which makes up most of its midsole doesn’t compress all that much when it’s loaded so there’s no squish.
This results in landings which are padded and cushioned, but not soft. It’s comparable to daily trainers like the Brooks Ghost or Hoka Clifton in terms of cushioning softness but the Superblast’s midsole feels much more airy and lively.
With such a thick forefoot, the Superblast doesn’t flex very easily and I think this is the main reason that ASICS decided to make it plateless: the forefoot feels rigid and snappy enough without a plate. The stiff forefoot and the high toe-spring harmoniously combine to create energy-saving, efficient ride transitions during long runs.
For me, Superblast rivals the NB Supercomp Trainer as best long, slow day trainer. Both of these trainers have deep cushioning, smooth transitions and energy-saving geometries. The main differences are that the NB shoe has a plate while the Superblast doesn’t but the Superblast is 3 oz (85 g) lighter.
Versatility is one of the Superblast’s main strengths and you can use it for virtually every type of run. I feel that it performs best on long, easy runs above 20 kilometres. It can however also do faster uptempo stuff like interval workouts, tempo runs and even races of any distance because of its light weight.
It doesn’t have the punchiness that carbon-plated super shoes have but, 3-hour marathon runners and slower runners will still find the Superblast fast enough to race in.
Stability is excellent in the Superblast because of how wide its base is and how its midsole doesn’t compress much so there isn’t much lean bias. This is a shoe that doesn’t put stress on your ankles during long-distance runs and sharp cornering.
ASICS says on their website that the Superblast has a trampoline-inspired outsole for a more responsive bounce back but I don’t feel it at all during runs.
It feels very flat compared to the trampoline-feeling Novablast 1 due to how firm the midsole foam of the Superblast is and its lack of a deep decoupled groove in its outsole.
There’s a thin layer of FF Blast+ at the bottom of the FF Turbo in the midsole and while there is some rubber coverage, there is a substantial amount of exposed midsole foam on the outsole. This is what makes landings so soft, similar to the Hoka Mach 5. The layer of FF Blast+ at the bottom makes the Superblast more durable because it’s less prone to scuffing than FF Turbo.
I haven’t noticed a lot of wear on the outsole and the Superblast is more durable than most of the racing super shoes in its price range. It picks up small stones and debris in the gaps in its outsole which you might find annoying. Grip is acceptable in all weather conditions because of how soft and tacky the outsole is but it could be improved by having protruding lugs.
The Superblast is a really stable, cushioned, smooth-riding trainer but what makes it most enjoyable is its super light weight of 8.4 oz (239 g). It’s extremely versatile and can fill 2-3 roles in your shoe rotation.
The Superblast is for 3 different types of runners:
I’ll continue using the Superblast in my rotation as a long run shoe but if you’re looking for a long run shoe, I’d recommend the NB SC Trainer over the Superblast which costs $40 less. The SC Trainer has a softer ride and its carbon plate makes it more dynamic and punchy.
I think $220 is too much to pay for the Superblast. For that price, you expect something really special.
The Superblast’s 45 mm midsole stack height doesn’t offer that many advantages over shoes 40 mm and below: there’s no extreme propulsion and it’s not a very soft shoe. It’s a hefty $80 more than the Novablast 3 which makes the Novablast 3 much better value.
ASICS could improve the Superblast by making its midsole softer/more responsive and by creating a bouncy trampoline sensation by using a deep decoupled groove in its outsole.