A super comfortable, triathlon focussed shoe for a very reasonable price on today's shelves. What's the catch?
ASICS Noosa Tri 15 – Not For the Shy
Firstly, the ASICS Noosa Tri 15 is aesthetically a show stopper. There’s no doubt about that. However, is it a triumph of style over substance?
The Noosa Tri 15 is one of ASICS’ familiar models. Known as being a triathlon oriented shoe due to the ease of getting it on and taking it off in account for the pull tabs on both the heel and the tongue. However, I have found myself not even needing to use them with how easy it is to slip these shoes on with no hands and get out the door. This works even better if you put some elasticated triathlon laces on them!
This year they came back for the 15th iteration with some upgrades. The midsole is made up of the much loved FLYTEFOAM foam and they’ve integrated GUIDESOLE technology into the design.
They offer a light-weight, comfortable and fast shoe for anyone looking to add to their current shoe rotation.
Weight in ASICS’ sample size: 227g (8oz)
Stack height: 27mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot for a 5mm drop
Upper – A standout for more than one reason
The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the upper is “WOW!”. Here, the fantastic colour scheme is supposedly inspired by Vincent Van Gough’s painting style. If one thing is for sure, I haven’t ever had so much interest in a pair of shoes before among my running team mates. Moreover, the upper is breathable but feels well cushioned and wraps around your foot. Overall, it gives the shoe a moulded feel. Furthermore, ASICS have implemented a dyeing process for the sock liner which uses 33% less water and reduces carbon emissions by 45% in comparison to conventional dyeing techniques.
With regards to the tongue, there isn’t much padding offered. However this isn’t needed as the lock-down of the shoe is so good that it doesn’t require the laces to be tied down very tight. I would also like to thank ASICS for putting a decent pair of laces on these shoes (which match the vibrant colour scheme). Nothing is worse than getting an amazing new pair of shoes with a cheap pair of laces on them.
The heel of the shoe is built up and nicely padded, giving the shoes a much more padded and fitted feel. Consequently giving a great lock-down sensation to the shoes. I have come to really enjoy this.
The upper of these shoes is extremely breathable due to the mesh design of the toe-box. For those triathletes out there, I haven’t been able to test whether the shoe dries quickly or holds much water, however, due to the light-weight materials and the super breathable nature of the shoes, I can only imagine that they will dry off quickly.
Much like Josh, I very much appreciate the aesthetic of the Noosa Tri 15. ASICS claims it is inspired by Van Gough. However, it reminds me greatly of urban graffiti and helps to brighten up dark, wintery morning runs. As stated above, the fit is excellent, I have no issues with attaining a suitable lockdown. Overall, these are a very fuss free pair of shoes as far as the upper is concerned. The foot slides in with ease, pull the laces, tie the knot and away you go. Not much need for tinkering and tampering at all.
The breathability, as Josh says, is clear and evident from the design of the mesh upper. As my testing period for these has been the wintery months, I can’t really say how it will perform during a triathlon at the height of a Hawaiian summer but I can’t see breathability being a huge issue. Unlike Josh, we have had a rather wet period here. I have run through puddles which would make pretty perfect open water swimming courses. As a result of this, I can say that the drainage and drying capabilities of the Noosa Tri 15 are more than competent. When wet, the shoes have not rubbed or irritated my feet regardless of the socks I have been wearing which is a real bonus.
Noosa Tri 15 Midsole – Aggressive and not for the soft of foot
The full FlyteFoam unit underfoot offers a dampened yet responsive ride. This makes the ASICS Noosa Tri 15 perfect for faster paced efforts. I have used this shoe most often for tempo sessions since they feel stable and aren’t too plush, meaning it doesn’t feel like your energy is getting stripped away.
There doesn’t seem to be any arch support or plate in the shoes. This has the benefit of working your feet, however it comes as a double-edged blade. The positive of the shoe is that they work your foot, strengthening it as much as possible. However, the drawback is that if you aren’t used to these kinds of shoes you might experience discomfort and accelerate the chances of getting an injury in your foot or knee since they are such an aggressive shoe.
The midsole is designed using GUIDESOLE technology. Here the foam is curved to help make the toe-off transition quicker and easier. This is also said to help running economy by reducing ankle flexion.
I agree with Josh’s opening statement about the foam. It isn’t the liveliest foam on the market, it allows for a smooth roll when the rocker kicks in and really helps my toe off. I would probably prefer something with a little more energy return if it was going to be my main workout shoe. My old legs need all the help they can get to stay fresh and recover.
Furthermore, I have had no issues with the lack of a plate or or the aggressiveness of the shoe causing injuries. Although, I think my feet might benefit from years of karate involving running around and jumping barefoot on hard, wooden floors in village halls. This has left me with fairly resilient feet which find this a comfortable ride.
Overall, I really enjoy the ride of the Noosa Tri 15 and how smooth the roll is through the gait cycle for me. However, as a predominantly forefoot striker, I think I reap the benefits of the aggressive curvature of the foam. I’ve enjoyed the shoe both as a daily trainer and a more uptempo shoe for a couple of sessions
AHAR – Durable but disappointing
With regards to the outsole, these feature ASICS’s signature AHAR which has an excellent durability and performs pretty well on dry, flat surfaces. The full cover of the rubber on the outsole leads me to believe that these shoes will last a long time. Sadly that is about as far as the positives go. As soon as you experience any moisture on the roads with these shoes they seem to lose all traction.
Here, I mostly echo Josh’s sentiments. The rubber is fine on dry pavements and concrete. During sloppier autumn and winter runs, it’s like the outsole is made of Teflon. Leaf strewn corners become moments when your life may flash before your eyes. A muddy patch of pavement leaves you like Bambi on the ice. This is a real shame as a Northern European residence means many days like this. Hopefully ASICS can fix this in the 16.
Noosa Tri 15 Conclusion – Versatile, affordable and quick
The ASICS Noosa Tri 15 is a great shoe for someone looking for a do-it-all shoe. They are great at a wide range of paces from easy runs to harder, interval sessions. However, due to the lack of arch support and them being a non-plated shoe I would not recommend them to anyone who has weak feet or is coming back from a knee injury. If this isn’t you and you’re looking for a non-mechanically supported shoe which will help strengthen your foot for fast and snappy toe-off then this is for you!
I would recommend adding this shoe to your line up if you’re looking for a plate-less shoe which can be used for anything from easy runs to interval sessions. These could even be used for 5km races.
Retailing at €135 the ASICS Noosa Tri 15 is amazing value for money. Within the same package you get a shoe which is ready for anything from easy runs to hard interval sessions.They are a well designed and manufactured shoe which is accessible to many people at that price point.
Overall this is a solid single shoe rotation. Easy runs are comfortable. Harder paces are smooth and manageable with the rocker really helping me roll through my gait cycle. The upper is very comfortable and fuss free lockdown is always a massive benefit when you just want to get out of the door and run.
Whenever there is a shoe which can take the place of a couple of others in the rotation, especially when the price is so reasonable, it’s a good purchase. As ever with an ASICS shoe, durability is very unlikely to be an issue. The build quality, in my experience, is excellent and the outsoles eat the miles without complaint albeit a little skittishly at times.
In the next iteration, I would like to see some more sure-footed rubber and perhaps a little more softness. However, for versatility and value, this is a very hard shoe to beat! Hopefully the colourways continue to dazzle and delight too.
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