ASICS has announced the release of its latest shoes, both of which will be added to the company’s ‘Speed Series.’ Named the Metaspeed Sky and Metaspeed Edge, the two shoes look pretty much the same, but they are designed for completely different types of runners. Both are carbon-plated, joining the Metaracer as some of the fastest road-running shoes that ASICS has ever produced. The Metaspeed Sky will become available in men’s sizes on March 31, with the women’s shoe on its way in mid-April, and the Metaspeed Edge will be released on June 4 for both men and women.
When the team at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS) started their research for the Metaspeed, they discovered that there are two main styles of running, and they dubbed these ‘cadence’ and ‘stride.’ Cadence runners increase both their stride length and cadence when they want to go faster, but stride runners maintain the same cadence while lengthening their stride.
While there are two main types of runners, the ISS determined that the top running shoes on the market mainly benefit stride runners, meaning that cadence runners had to adapt to shoes that weren’t designed for them. ISS sport scientists decided to eliminate that issue, and instead of designing a shoe that would suit one of these runner types better than the other, they created one for each group. That’s how the Metaspeed was born, with the Edge designed for cadence runners and the Sky for stride-style runners.
Looking at exact numbers, ISS says the Sky can reduce a the number of steps a runner takes in a marathon by 1.2 per cent compared to previous ASICS shoes, working out to an estimated 350 fewer steps for stride runners. With the Edge, cadence runners can save a whopping 750 steps over 42K, which is about 2.6 per cent fewer than one would use in other shoes. Fewer steps means you’ll save energy, which can help you run faster overall.
A closer look
The main differences between the Sky and Edge are weight, midsole thickness, heel-to-toe drop and forefoot curvature. The Sky weighs more than the Edge, coming in at 199 g for stride runners compared to 188 g for cadence style. Considering the fact that it’s the heavier of the two shoes, it makes sense that the Sky has more midsole cushioning than the Edge. The Sky’s heel has 33 mm of foam for men and 31 mm for women, compared to 29 mm and 28 mm in the Edge.
Despite having less cushion underfoot, the Edge sees more of a drop, with 8 mm from heel to toe versus 5 mm in the Sky. Finally, the Sky has a sharper curve in the shoe’s forefoot, while the Edge’s curvature is much less severe.
Other than that, the two shoes have a lot in common, especially in the materials used to design them. Both have a carbon plate in ASICS’ FF Blast Turbo cushioning, which is the lightest and bounciest midsole foam that the company has created to date. The Sky and the Edge both have a mesh upper, and they’re the same underfoot as well with the ASICSGrip Outsole, which is lightweight and durable with plenty of grip. The price for both shoes is the same, too, and once they’re both released, they will be available for $325.00.
When comparing the Metaspeed shoes to the Metaracer, which ASICS released in 2020, the ISS team says this year’s product uses “a completely new” technology.
“The idea of extending the stride lengths [was] an idea we had for a while which started to formalize about a year ago,” says Norihiko Taniguchi, general manager of the Future Creations Department at the ISS. When designing the Metaracer, he explains, they weren’t focused on stride length, and the ISS instead paid attention to the shoe’s upper structure, hoping that it could help save energy at a runner’s ankles.
Taniguchi adds that the “discovery of the two distinctive running styles” was a “breakthrough” for the ISS, and it’s the inclusion of these two styles that he and his team are excited to see in their shoes. “Through tests, we did observe that runners improve their performance by wearing the model made for [their] running style,” he says.
Some of those tests Taniguchi mentioned took place in actual races when elite athletes from the ASICS team wore the Metaspeed shoes, and they have yielded some impressive results. Sara Hall owns two of those, both of which were PBs in the marathon. She ran to a second-place finish at the London Marathon last October, crossing the line in 2:22:16, four minutes faster than her PB. Just a couple of months later, Hall won The Marathon Project in Arizona, where she bettered her PB again and ran the second-fastest marathon result in U.S. history with a time of 2:20:32.
On the men’s side of the sport, Japanese running star and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi ran to a 47-second PB earlier in 2021 at the Lake Biwa Marathon, where he posted a time of 2:07:27. Like Hall, Kawauchi wore Metaspeeds to help him to that huge result. The Metaspeed Sky and Edge haven’t been around for too long, but they’re already making an impact in the world of running.
Both versions of the ASICS Metaspeed will be available online at asics.com and at select running stores across the country.