ASICS Novablast 2 vs Puma Magnify Nitro: which is the better cushioned running shoe?

Soft vs softer: how does Asics' bouncy running trainer fare against Puma's latest squishy kicks?

ASICS Novablast 2 & Puma Magnify Nitro running shoes placed on some steps facing each other
(Image credit: Future)

Fast running shoes are great, but admittedly, everyday trainers will always be more popular among runners than carbon-enhanced speedsters. The Novablast 2 and Magnify Nitro are two of the latest, well-cushioned trainers from ASICS and Puma (respectively), and we thought, instead of reviewing them separately, would it not be more fun if we compared them to see which fares better under everyday running conditions?

But first, a quick introduction of the shoes in question. As you might have guessed from the name, the Asics Novablast 2 is the second iteration of the Asics Novablast, a well-received running trainer from February 2020. The Novavlast 2 offers more everything compared to its predecessor, including more foam, weight and stability.

The Puma Magnify Nitro is the latest addition to the brand new Puma Nitro Collection and was introduced later than the rest of the team in August 2021 as part of the Puma Spectra Pack. These running shoes are chock-full of new running innovation and are said to “give you more of the good stuff”, as Puma puts it.

On the market for new running footwear? Please take a gander at T3's best running shoes, best trail running shoes and best women's running shoes guides. 

Without further ado, let’s see how these chunky running shoes compare.

ASICS Novablast 2 vs Puma Magnify Nitro: price and availability

The Asics Novablast 2 is available to buy now at Asics UK / Asics US for a recommended retail price of £130/$130. It comes in various colourways, including the stunning White/Safety Yellow (men’s) and Birch/Pink Rave (women’s).

The Puma Magnify Nitro is available to buy now at Puma UK / Puma US. Prices from £110/$140. Given how new these shoes are, it’s no surprise that the colour options are limited, but the Puma White-Sunblaze-Green Glare colourway is worth a look for sure.

AUS prices TBC.

a view of the ASICS Novablast 2 and Puma Magnify Nitro running shoes' sole

The Asics has less rubber on the outsole

(Image credit: Future)

ASICS Novablast 2 vs Puma Magnify Nitro: tech

It’s not like the original Novablast didn’t offer enough cushioning underfoot, but the Novablast 2 offers even more. The FF BLAST foam is soft and responsive and allows you to land softly without losing too much energy.

According to Asics, the indentation found on the rear of the foam were inspired by the trampoline and said to allow additional compression for a more responsive bounce back at toe-off. And sure enough, the Novablast 2 puts plenty of spring in your stride.

But wait, there is more! Asics also increased the mid-foot width of the shoe. They carried out asymmetric undercutting to the midsole’s geometry, which works together with a new TPU heel stabiliser to create a “more balanced stride and harness the shoe’s bounciness”.

The Puma Magnify Nitro features the Nitro Foam that’s said to offer responsiveness coupled with comfort in a lightweight package. The Nitro Foam is incorporated into the ProFoam midsole so the shoes can provide even more rebound.

The shoes might not look super breathable at first, but the upper is not that thick and better still, the CoolAdapt cooling technology helps keep you cool on your run.

The PumaGrip rubber compound provides traction and runs from front to end on the outsole. Even Puma admits there is a “generous amount” of rubber present in the shoes that add to the overall durability but also contributes to the weight of the shoes.

close up shot of the uppers of the ASICS Novablast 2 & Puma Magnify Nitro

The Novablast 2 has a stretchier, more breathable upper 

(Image credit: Future)

ASICS Novablast 2 vs Puma Magnify Nitro: running dynamics

It’s an absolute pleasure to run in booth shoes but especially in the Asics Novablast 2.

The Asics Novablast 2 is not a light running shoe; as a matter of fact, it’s heavier than the original Novablast. However – and interestingly enough – the extra foam actually makes the Novablast 2 a more stable running shoe.

I would never expect a cushioned running trainer to provide super energy return, but the Novablast 2 did an excellent job in this regard. The midsole is somewhat flexible, which helps in propelling you forward.

Although the upper is well perforated and comfortable, the shoes run long, and I would recommend going a half size down. The upper is soft and expands well, so the tightness shouldn’t be an issue.

The Puma Magnify Nitro is an exciting shoe in terms of comfort and ergonomics. It’s well-padded, especially the collar and the tongue, but the front section of the upper is not as forgiving as the Novablast 2’s. It’s not uncomfortable by all means, but it certainly provides a tighter fit.

Speaking of stiffness: the midsole is also less flexible compared to the Novablast 2. The latter rolls better, although I can see the Magnify Nitro working for people who prefers a last-second lift-off: the firmness of the sole could help add extra propulsion.

The PumaGrip outsole works excellent on the tarmac, but it would probably benefit the shoes if the amount of rubber was reduced slightly. It would most definitely help reduce the weight slightly. No need to copy the Under Armour FLOW Velociti Wind but maybe just trim it back a bit, Puma.

a top-down view of the ASICS Novablast 2 & Puma Magnify Nitro running shoes

The Asics runs a bit longer than the Puma

(Image credit: Future)

ASICS Novablast 2 vs Puma Magnify Nitro: aesthetics

Cushioned shoes used to be not famous for their incredible looks, but it feels like Asics and Puma are trying to change this. The Asics Novalbast 2 is eye-catching thanks to its unique heel pattern and protruding midsole setup. The tested Clear Blue/White colourway is a lovely shade of blue, and the red outsole accent complements the overall tone of the shoes well.

No matter how cool the Novablast 2 looks, the Puma Magnify Nitro steals the show with its light and vibrant attitude. You can tell Puma knows how to make handsome sneakers: the Magnify Nitro looks excellent on the feet regardless of the occasion. Well, maybe don’t put them on with a tux.

The ASICS Novablast 2 and Puma Magnify Nitro shoes placed next to each other


(Image credit: Future)

ASICS Novablast 2 vs Puma Magnify Nitro: verdict

From strictly a running performance point of view, the Asics Novablast 2 is hands down the better choice of the two. It runs better and feels more comfortable; simply put, it provides a better cushioned running shoe experience than the Puma.

That said, the Magnify Nitro is a new franchise from a company that just started producing road running shoes again. Taken that into consideration, the Puma isn’t a terrible option, especially for those who like to wear running shoes other than just running.

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is a fitness fanatic (a.k.a. fitness and nutrition writer) who's been rambling on about all things health and fitness for over two years now here at T3. His achievements include a short-lived fitness podcast called Fit Mentality Podcast and being a judge on the Fit&Well Awards 2021. In his free time, he works out at home, runs, cycles and loves a good ol' walk around the city. He writes about general fitness stuff, fitness tech, workouts, workout gear/equipment, nutrition and much, much more.