In recent years, distance runners wearing Nike's Vaporfly and Alphafly shoes have pulled off some unbelievable performances, but now Asics is fighting back with its own $250 thick-soled runners. Dubbed the Metaspeed Sky and the Metaspeed Edge, these shoes claim to have been "scientifically designed with a distinct type of running style in mind."
While most racing models are apparently designed only for long striding runners who spend a lot of time in the air, these shoes are optimized for either stride or cadence style runners. Cadence runners are described as people who increase both their stride length and their cadence as they speed up, preferring "smaller steps made while hovering over the ground with minimal up and down motion."
The Sky has a thicker "FF Blast Turbo" foam midsole that is 33mm high at the rear of the men's shoe, while the Edge has a milder forefoot curve and a thinner midsole that's 29mm thick at the rear of the men's shoe. Both have full-length carbon plates to improve stability and propel the body forward, just like Nike's runners, while the mesh in the upper is made from 100 percent recycled polyester.
According to Asics, these new shoes can reduce the number of steps required to finish a marathon by a few percent — which sounds small but adds up to a lot of steps over a 26.22 mile run, and fewer steps should equal faster times. Specifically, it anticipates that long-striding marathon runners wearing a Metaspeed Sky can save 1.2 percent, or 350 steps, while cadence runners can cut their steps by 2.6 percent, or 750 steps.
Asics executive Kenichi Harano said in a statement, "Optimized for the two most prevalent running styles in elite runners, they are both at the very pinnacle of running innovation. Our initial tests are already showing them to have an impact on the times of the elite runners’ we’ve been working with." The company said marathon runner Sara Hall improved on her personal best by 15 seconds in the 2020 London Marathon wearing an early prototype of the shoes. The Metaspeed Sky will go on sale March 31st, followed by the Edge on June 4th.