As an ASICS Frontrunner, ASICS kindly gifted me a pair of the new GEL-NOOSA Tri 13 to try and test out so here is my personal review. I was very much looking forward to this shoe as I used the 12s last year and I was very impressed by them. The 12s changed my opinion of the shoe as before I wasn’t sure if this type of shoe was for me. However the 13s have some big changes so this was a concern for me and whether I would race in it for the 2021 Triathlon season -onto the review.
So what is the GEL-NOOSA Tri 13?
The GEL-NOOSA Tri 13 is designed for triathletes and the model has been around for a number of years now and built for the neutral runner. Gwen Jorgensen who inspired me wore the older versions and this is what got me interested in the previous model. However unlike previous versions which had minor tweaks to them each time the new version was released, the GEL-NOOSA Tri 13 has had a big overhaul which is very visible when looking at the 12s and 13s at the same time which I will go through.
ASICS state: The NOOSA TRI 13 shoes are built for triathletes, but they’re not the only ones who can appreciate this model. With the addition of GUIDESOLE technology, this shoe just got lighter in weight and is now designed for a wide range of runners.
The NOOSA TRI 13 shoe’s GUIDESOLE technology is built around a philosophy that aims to lessen the overall load placed on lower limbs by implementing a curved sole design. These elements help increase running efficiency by reducing the movement of the ankle. This technology is proven to help runners feel fresher longer, creating a smoother and more comfortable ride. The NOOSA TRI 13 shoe has FLYTEFOAM technology in the midsole, which gives the runner a lightweight feel and more cushioning for longer runs.
Some key features include:
FLYTEFOAM TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES LIGHTWEIGHT CUSHIONING
GUIDESOLE TECHNOLOGY HELPS CONSERVE ENERGY
ENGINEERED MESH UPPER IMPROVES BREATHABILITY
AHARPLUS OUTSOLE IMPROVES DURABILITY
SUSTAINABLE SOCKLINER DYE
First impressions are that the GEL-NOOSA Tri 13 look very cool and a funky, right up my street as I do love unusual colours so this ticks a big box for me. However I noticed that they looked bulkier than the 12s and there was no hole in the tongue for getting on the shoe quickly and this rang alarm bells in my head as to whether this is the shoe for my Triathlons and to achieve my goals….
Of course you can use the shoes for normal running and not just for Triathlons, but the shoe is built to dry your feet quickly and so your able to get them on quickly by giving you some comfort as most Triathletes will use this shoe without socks, so being a comfortable shoe is important.
The Gel-NOOSA now is based on the same technology from the EvoRide 2, the shape and sole of the shoe looks very similar. When comparing against the 12s, they have a heel drop of 8mm and weight 249g/8.8 oz. The 13s have a heel drop of 5mm and weighs 219g/7.9 oz. comparing the 12 with the 13s weight wise the GEL-NOOSA Tri 13 feels lighter and indeed it is lighter. Although it looks bulkier, put that to the back of your mind because this shoe felt super light when I ran with it so don’t let it put you off. The 5mm heel drop also allowed me to feel like I was bouncing and running on my forefoot from the Guidesole technology.
Let’s talk about the tongue as I mentioned this was a big concern for me as there was no hole in the tongue and no BOA system like the 451s did, so I was concerned that version would affect me in races and cost me a few seconds; and be a lot harder to put on after a swim or bike leg depending if you’re doing an Aquathlon or Triathlon. Although the GEL-NOOSA Tri 13 comes with standard laces it also comes with tri laces which is a must for Triathletes so you can slip your feet in quickly. However I noticed that on the heel there was a tab, so I tested it out doing a few pretend transitions and trying to get my feet in quickly.
Firstly I found it a bit hard but then realised on the tongue it had a gripping material so that your able to pull it on so that you can get your feet in quickly. I actually found it as quick as the last version which is a good thing after doing some tests with it.
So far so good the shoe had a funky design and colours, felt light on but how was it going to do when running with them? I first tested them on my speed sessions and I found they felt so light and felt comfortable on. The faster I ran the more I felt like I was bouncing along and they felt very responsive. I also found that I was running my reps faster then the previous week when using my go to Roadhawk shoes. Legs also felt fresher and I assume this is due to the Guidesole technology to use less energy. I definitely felt I was being pushed on my forefoot. In regards to long runs I took it out for my zone 2 60 minute runs a few times. I had no problem with it, it still maintained a bounce and my legs did feel a little fresher then normal and it was still comfortable. You can definitely do longer runs with this shoe but I am not sure how comfortable it will be after 13 miles as they are a racing shoe.
The mesh material is impressive, not only does it allow your feet to breath it is light weight, a good feature to drying your feet after coming out the swim, so it lets plenty of air in, very similar to the 12s. In previous tri shoes my feet would get hammered with hard material and therefore toes get very sore. So when testing this out without socks as that’s what I would do in a triathlon, my feet and toes didn’t feel it at the front of the shoe and stayed comfortable.
The grip below the shoe is very similar to the previous model and I am still getting plenty of miles out of them without them wearing down fast.
Onto my conclusion – at first the new design put me off and rang alarm bells that I would have to find another race shoe because it looks heavy and no hole in the tongue, but that was not the case, it’s a very light shoe and still quick to get on and comfortable. This is a great fast race shoe for your shorter races, speed work and a must for your Triathlon races. Triathlons for me are all about how quickly I can run the run section while being tired and I am pretty sure these shoes will be faster and save energy in my races; I can see this in the training I have done with the GEL-NOOSA Tri 13. This will be my 2021 Triathlon race shoe and to be honest I am very excited by them, just as I was with the Metaracer.