By Brian Metzler
A running shoe model always known for its outlandishly bold color motif and a heritage in triathlon, the ASICS Noosa Tri 14 is a fun and functional update to a classic light and fast high-performance training shoe. It might take some sartorial confidence to rock these outlandish-looking speedsters every day, but you’ll appreciate both the flashy colors and considerable giddy-up on hard workout days. They come in several different zany color patterns for men and women.
What’s New: The biggest update to this neutral energetic trainer is the combination of a new, stretchy engineered mesh upper and fully gusseted tongue that create a foot-wrapping, sock-like fit. They also feature a slightly reconfigured midsole/outsole chassis that incorporates a lively formulation of Flytefoam midsole material and ASICS Guidesole Technology for a soft but notably propulsive sensation.
Why They’re Great: They look fast and they feel fast! And they’re comfortable, agile and stable. What else do you want in a running shoe? Even though it doesn’t have a carbon-fiber or composite plate embedded in the midsole, it’s a shoe that inspires quick-cadence running and will put a distinct burst of energy into every stride, especially at faster paces. That makes them ideal for your hardest workouts of the week — like tempo runs, interval sessions and fartleks — and also have enough long-haul comfort for your next 20-miler.
Fit-Feel-Ride: The medium-volume Noosa Tri 14 fits true to size and similar to previous versions, with a tinge of athletic snugness in the toe box. The step-in feel is modestly soft and comfortable, but it’s the rockered geometry that you feel immediately after you lace ‘em up. The ride is a balance of moderately soft to semi-firm — definitely softer than the most recent editions — but extremely agile and energetic. It doesn’t produce a bouncy sensation, but more of a fluid motion with a bit of snap at the end.
Why You’ll Love It: The uniquely curved (or rockered) sole shape, combined with the firm forefoot and full-contact outsole design, produces a smooth, rolling sensation when your foot hits the ground and passes through the midstance phase and then a lively, snappy sensation as your foot begins to toe-off the ground to begin a new stride. The curved sole design and stiff forefoot are designed to reduce ankle flexion and provide a shock-absorbent landing zone to lessen fatigue of other leg muscles and increase runner efficiency.
ASICS Noosa Tri 14 Specs
Weights: 7.0 oz. women’s 8; 7.8 oz. men’s 9
Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (26mm in the heel, 21mm in the forefoot)
Pro: The Noosa Tri model — named after a popular beach in Australia where triathletes train and race — has always been considered a triathlon racing shoe and it maintains tri-specific features like heel pull-tabs and toggled laces that make them easier to put on in a hurry. You might not need to quickly lace them up in T2 after the bike stage of an Ironman — because you should be wearing a carbon-fiber racing shoe in your next triathlon — but those are still convenient features you’ll appreciate before a hard workout.
Con: The Noosa Tri is a ‘tweener of a shoe. It’s not an overly plush, cushy training shoe, but it’s not necessarily an optimal race-day shoe because it lacks the top-tier energy return of a carbon-fiber plate. Yes, it can handle just about everything well, but you might not appreciate the snappy speed it promotes on your slower running days.