Road Shoes

Shoe of the Week: Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 13

This flashy new Noosa also delivers a fun, fast ride. It's not just for triathletes anymore.

Asics Noosa Tri 13 Review

Weight: M7.9oz, W6.5 oz

Stack Height: 5mm drop (25/20)

Price: $130

Top Line

Asics substantially altered the Noosa Tri, changing the ride so that it now feels like a carbon-less super shoe that rolls you right onto your toes.

Asics Gel-Noosa 13 side view

What’s New

The Guide Sole tech alters the geometry with a higher stack, increasing a full centimeter, a lower drop, and a wider platform — changing the dynamic balance, with the aggressive early rocker action essentially taking you almost immediately from rearfoot to roll-through. The action is dramatic enough that the performance now matches the dramatic statement of the upper’s appearance.

This is the shoe for you if…

You are a perky runner who enjoys high turnover and quick feet. You’re comfortable making a loud statement, want a fun performance to match, and looking for something to spice up your training or racing, even if it isn’t following a swim and bike ride.

First Runs

Noosa fans will notice a rather dramatic update from the 12 to the 13, even though the shoe retains its LOUD appearance and quick lace options, at least the latter of which appeals to triathletes. One tester noted, “They look like someone melted a box of tropical colored Crayola Crayons on them!”

The 13 is more rockered and uses Asics’ Guide Sole tech which has a lower drop but greater stack height, moving from 20/12 to 25/20. The geometry makes them well suited for up-tempo action and the cushioning keeps them comfortable for a wide variety of distances. The Noosa 13 runs like a carbon-less super shoe, performing best at a quick clip. It features a firm yet energy-returning midsole and a steep, early rocker that almost immediately rolls you forward from the stance phase into a push off from the big toe, making for an energetic performance. These lightweight trainer/racers are well suited for tempo work or racing half to full marathons.

Photo: 101 Degrees West

The gusseted tongue was appreciated by our testers, as was the stretchy engineered mesh. The team universally enjoyed the comfort and security of the fit (which is true to size), and the seamless, one-piece upper’s lack of hot-melt overlays. Past Noosa models had caused blisters, especially when worn with bare feet, a problem solved in this version (duly tested by going sockless). “Because it looked like just a statement shoe, I was surprised how well the shoes felt running,” one tester commented. “They were a fun ride.”

The combination of rocker and higher stack height made for some instability and lack of responsiveness, so the test team didn’t find the Noosa all that versatile. Fortunately, the Noosa 13 still cornered well because of the wider platform, neutral design and firmness of the FlyteFoam midsole that managed to provide ample cushioning when compressed. Testers reported that the shoes performed better the faster they ran, possibly due to the toe-spring of the rocker.

Similar Shoes

HOKA Carbon X2; Saucony Endorphin Speed; The North Face Flight VECTIV; adidas Ultraboost 21; Newton Distance 9