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ASICS Dynablast 2.0 Review

Written By Contributor David Salas and Guest Reviewer Andrea Myers

The ASICS Dynablast 2 is a neutral daily trainer that utilizes FlyteFloam Blast for high amounts of cushioning in an affordable package. The shoe is very affordable compared to most daily trainers utilizing similar foams or designs. The shoe is a relatively soft riding shoe that provides a very traditional ride to the neutral category that many should enjoy. 

Lateral view of the Dynablast 2.0. Women's purple upper seen with Asics logo across midfoot. Shoe on a ledge.

Specifications (from Asics):
Weight: 8.9 oz men/7.5 oz women
Stack Height: Unknown
Drop: 8mm
Category: Neutral daily trainer

Medial side of the Dynablast 2.0. Midsole raises slightly in the rear heel. Slight rocker seen.

RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Andrea: Asics calls the Dynablast 2 a “regular” cushioned neutral trainer. The FF BLAST cushioning is soft without the marshmallow feeling of max cushioned trainers. The rearfoot and midfoot are on the stiffer side with mild flexibility in the forefoot. There is a moderate toe spring and heel bevel. The shoe also has mild heel and forefoot sole flare, but it is balanced medially and laterally. This results in a neutral shoe that has some mild stability features. This is a comfortable, moderately cushioned daily trainer for runners with neutral mechanics. The stiffness of the midsole in combination with the gel-like cushioning would also make this shoe a great choice for people who stand for long periods of time.

David:
The ASICS Dynablast 2 is a neutral daily training option that won't break the bank. The shoe utilizes FlyteFoam Blast to provide a high amount of cushioning for the neutral option without being in the maximum cushion category like the Novablast. The shoe rides familiar to most traditional neutral trainers while providing some new generation feeling cushioning throughout. For the price point this is a very appealing option. 


Toebox of the Asics Dynablast 2.0. Standard toebox. Padded heel also seen.
Toebox of the Asics Dynablast 2.0. Standard toebox. Padded heel also seen.

FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Andrea: The Dynablast 2 fit true to size in my usual women’s 9.5. The forefoot is on the wide side, which I appreciate, and the heel fits comfortably without irritation. There is a somewhat flexible heel counter that runs at the inferior aspect of the calcaneus (heel bone). The superior aspect of the heel is very flexible and moderately padded. The FF BLAST cushioning has a different feel as compared to New Balance Fresh Foam or Saucony PWRRUN. It feels like there is a gel insole wedged between the actual insole and the midsole. This is a very pleasant feeling during easy runs after hard interval days. The Dynablast 2 has a circular knit upper which is soft as opposed to stretchy. Runners like myself who tend to get calluses from stiffer uppers will not have an issue with the Dynablast 2.

The knit material did feel warm on 80 degree days, but wasn’t so warm that I would have chosen a different shoe. I experienced no heel or great toe irritation in this shoe, which was a very welcome feature. The tongue is not gusseted and I did initially experience some tongue slippage until I got the lacing dialed in. I do not run sockless, but the smoothness of the knit upper and the lightly padded tongue would likely allow one to do so without irritation. The laces provide very good lockdown without need for heel lock and the shoe overall has a slipper-like feel. The outsole has a centralized cutout in the rear and midfoot and an oval shaped cutout in the forefoot. Asics claims this contributes to a more responsive toe-off. I am not sure if it is the cutouts or the toe spring that achieves this feeling, but I certainly appreciate the responsiveness of the forefoot.

David:
The ASICS Dynablast 2 fits true to size in my normal 9.5. The shoe utilizes a light knit like upper throughout with minimal overlays. The upper breathes well throughout and has some stretchiness through the entire length of the shoe. This works well for natural foot swelling and different foot type accommodation. The shoe is normal width throughout without being overly wide or narrow in any specific region. The tongue is lightly padded and provides decent padding for lockdown of the laces. The tongue however did slip in a few of my runs and the laces bit into the dorsum of my ankle a couple of times. Other than that the upper is done pretty well and the security is pretty decent. 

Forefoot of the Dynablast 2.0 up close.
Forefoot of the Dynablast 2.0 up close.

PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Andrea: I really enjoyed the ride quality of the Dynablast 2. It is responsive while still having enough cushioning to make easy runs feel like recovery for your feet as well as the rest of the body. I tend to not like max cushioned shoes that feel like running on marshmallows. The Dynablast 2 still gives the feeling of being in contact with the ground due to the lower stack height, while the gel-like cushioning protects the feet from the harshness of pavement.

As a midfoot striker, this shoe felt like less than its 8mm of drop due to the compressibility of the midsole. It actually felt like a firmer version of the Altra Escalante 2 and 2.5, which are shoes that I really enjoyed running in before ramping up my weekly mileage, and subsequently finding that I needed more foot protection from the road. The knit upper and softness of the cushioning are similar between the two shoes. The balanced rearfoot and forefoot sole flare does provide mild stability, but does not force the foot in any direction of motion. The toe spring contributes to a comfortable pushoff without feeling early or forced.

I have put 40 miles on the Dynablast 2 and there is no visible wear on the outsole. Traction is excellent, including when cornering and on wet roads. I expect these to be 300+ mile shoes. I mainly tested this shoe for easy miles, but I did use it for several sets of strides at the end of my easy runs. I was concerned that they would feel too soft for strides, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were responsive and did not hold me back.

David:
The ASICS Dynablast feels like an old dog that learned a new trick. The shoe has a very similar ride to most of the neutral training shoes throughout time like the Pegasus, Cumulus to some degree, or the Ride. The Dynablast utilizes the FlyteFoam Blast cushioning seen in the Novablast. While the same foam, the midsole difference does provide a different ride. The shoe has a soft feeling throughout from the heel to toe off. There isn't so much foam though that the ride feels overly soft. You still have a connection to the ground and good ground feel in this shoe. In a lot of ways it is a normal neutral shoe with some improved cushioning.

If you look at the outsole you will notice that there is a midline groove through the middle of the shoe and in the forefoot flex grooves that surround the medial and lateral aspect, making a little island of rubber in the middle. This is felt during the ride as well. You can feel the landing soften through this region, but this little island of high abrasion rubber stiffens up in the forefoot and gives some good ground feel and bounce off of the forefoot. The forefoot also has a pretty normal amount of flexibility. It will flex under load or with your hands, but it is by no means flimsy or rigid. Overall the ride is pretty balanced throughout. It doesn't provide anything other worldly, but the shoe performs as a consistent and steady neutral trainer. 

Outsole of the Dynablast 2.0. Decoupled groove through the rear and midfoot, wrapping around an island of outsole in the forefoot.

STABILITY

Andrea: As a runner with neutral mechanics, I normally avoid any shoes that are labeled as having traditional stability features. As my colleagues here at DOR have been discussing, there are many features of a shoe that can provide stability outside of traditional medial posting. The Dynablast 2 is a good example of a truly neutral shoe that has some mild stability features. These neutral stability features help keep the foot balanced from initial contact to toe-off without actually preventing motion. These stability features include the stiffness of the rear and midfoot, the balanced medial and lateral sole flare in the rearfoot and forefoot, and the moderate heel counter. These features result in a ride that I really appreciate - responsive, cushioned, maintaining ground feel, and neutral.

David:
The ASICS Dynablast 2 provides pretty decent stability for a softer riding shoe at this price point. There isn't any major stability measures in this shoe but there are some sidewall incorporated at the transition point from the rearfoot to the midfoot both medially and laterally that extend through the midfoot. This does seem to help with some form of guidance on the soft foam. The full contact outsole along the edges of the shoe also seems to help with some stability, especially when taking it off of road conditions. The security of the upper is pretty decent as well and trustworthy, I just wish the tongue didn't slip as much. 

Heel of the Dynablast 2 from the medial side. Flytefoam Blast seen with grooves cut it

THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Andrea: One of the features of the Dynablast 2 that contributes to its comfort is the circular knit upper. Shoes with knit or mesh flexible uppers tend to be the most comfortable for me, as evidenced by my current lineup of the New Balance Beacon v3, Saucony Endorphin Speed, Asics Metaracer, and the Nike Vaporfly Next%. Has the running research world looked into why many runners find knit uppers to be more comfortable?

As is often the case with running research, there wasn’t much to be found. An article by Onodera et al (2015), “ The Influence of Shoe Upper Construction on Plantar Pressure Distribution During Running,” was the most relevant I could find regarding this topic. The authors compared what they termed a structured upper versus a minimalistic upper, with the minimalistic upper being “light mesh, synthetic pieces fused by heat, light EVA on heel collar, few pieces sewed, without heel counter and foam in the tongue”. The structured upper had “doubled mesh, synthetic pieces sewed in the mesh, 15mm foam in the heel collar and tongue heel counter.” The authors stated that they expected the minimalistic upper to result in more evenly distributed plantar pressures, but they found the opposite. The minimalistic upper resulted in higher peak pressure but lower total ground contact time. They postulated that this could be due to better congruence between the foot and shoe with a structured upper.

I did not find that the knit upper of the Dynablast 2 was sloppy in any way, but others may need a more structured upper for better foot lockdown. The takeaway message is that when looking at shoes with a less structured/softer upper, runners should ensure that the upper provides sufficient lockdown on the foot. The knit upper of the Dynablast 2 achieves this by being soft without much stretch.

There are a couple of limitations to the applicability of the above study. The subjects were 20 male rearfoot strikers. It is likely that midfoot or forefoot strikers would have demonstrated different peak pressures and ground contact time. The exclusion of women as subjects also limits the applicability of the findings. It is well documented in the literature that females demonstrate different lower limb biomechanics in the frontal and transverse planes and are at greater risk for bone stress injuries as compared to males (see Ferber et al and Hollander et al). When analyzing running research (or any clinical research), it is important to consider the methods of the study to determine if the results are applicable to you or to your patients.

References:

Onodera, Andrea & Roveri, Maria & de Oliveira, Wagner & Sacco, Isabel. (2015). The influence of shoe upper construction on the plantar pressure distribution during running. Footwear Science. 7. S81-S82. 10.1080/19424280.2015.1038620.

Ferber, Reed & Davis, Irene & Williams, D S. (2003). Gender differences in lower extremity mechanics during running. Clinical biomechanics. 18. 350-7. 10.1016/S0268-0033(03)00025-1.

Hollander, K., Rahlf, A.L., Wilke, J. et al. (2021). Sex-Specific Differences in Running Injuries: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression. Sports Med. 51, 1011–1039. 10.1007/s40279-020-01412-7

RECOMMENDATIONS

Andrea: I think Asics did an excellent job with the Dynablast 2. There isn’t much I would change about it, but I would recommend making the upper more breathable to make this a better hot weather running shoe.

David:
I really like the Dynablast 2 but I do think the tongue can be refined. Overall the lockdown through the upper is fine, but the tongue slips around and I got some irritation to my ankle where the laces bit into it after a few miles (a couple of different times). I'm a big fan of the midsole, outsole, and ride of the shoe.  


Dynablast stacked. Bottom pair shows outsole, top pair leaning over.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Andrea: The Dynablast 2 is for runners with neutral mechanics who are looking for a comfortable daily trainer that maintains some road feel. It is not for runners who prefer max cushioned shoes with high stack heights. While the shoe has some mild stability features, it does not provide any motion control, which makes it a better option for those with more stable mechanics. Neutral runners who prefer a wider toebox and knit uppers will be very happy in this shoe.

As a neutral, moderately cushioned daily trainer, it really hit a home run for me. The $100 price tag makes it a less expensive option as compared to some of the premium cushioned trainers that are out there. It will definitely stay in my easy shoe rotation and may be my go-to when my mileage ramps up for the Kiawah Marathon.

David: 
I actually really like the Dynablast 2. I was a big fan of the Novablast and this takes the technology in the Novablast 2 and applies to a lower profile neutral trainer that many can relate to. The Novablast for some can come off as too soft or bouncy, but the Dynablast actually feels really balanced throughout. It is soft and cushioned but also provides good ground feel and rigidity in other regions. This is a well balanced neutral daily trainer that provides a good amount of cushioning throughout. Like I said earlier it feels like an old dog that learned a new trick. 

Dog excited about Asics Dynablast box!!!

GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Andrea
Fit: A (Fits true to size, toe box may be a bit wide for those with a narrow forefoot)
Performance: A- (Great neutral daily trainer, may not have enough cushioning for those who like max cushioned shoes)
Stability: B+ (Not a stability shoe, but its “neutral” stability features contribute to a smooth ride)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (A classically neutral shoe with some mild stability elements. Knit upper was secure and comfortable).
Personal: A (Checks all the boxes for me: neutral, mild cushioning that maintains ground feel, knit upper, drop 8mm or less, wider toe box, unintrusive heel counter)
Overall: A (A great neutral daily trainer at an even greater price)

David
Fit: B+  (Solid upper throughout with decent lockdown and stretchy knit like material, tongue slips though)
Performance: A- 
(Nothing overly flashy but feels nice and balanced, good cushioning and gets the job done)
Stability: A-  (Overall pretty stable throughout for a softer platform, upper lockdown could improve a little)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (I like that they took Blast foam in the Novablast and made it to a more familiar and "normal feeling" trainer)
Personal: A- (Outside of the tongue issue which is quite annoying... I do really enjoy the shoe and get an itch to grab it for a lot of my daily runs)
Overall: A- (A very good daily training option in the neutral category for the price point, upper and tongue could be improved a little bit)

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

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FURTHER READING

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Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 - The $100 competitor from Reebok is already a classic, with a smooth, soft ride. Best bevel in the game?

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WRITER PROFILES:


David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing,

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at ASICS for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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