Almost exactly a year after ASICS introduced the ASICS Metaracer to the world – one of the best running shoes we tested last year – the Japanese brand is today announcing not one but two high-performance running shoes that "take the power of human-centric design to the next level". With the new shoes, ASICS moves away from offering a 'one-size-fits-all' solution to runners and aims to "help elite athletes to reach the top of their game" by enhancing their own running style.
Long story short, scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science identified two distinct running style: stride and cadence running. Stride runners have "a long-loping gait with large periods spent airborne" while cadence runners use "smaller steps while hovering over the ground with minimal up and down motion".
According to ASICS, "the sports scientists at the ISS were able to measure that athletes perform better when running in shoes that are optimized for their running style". To address the challenge, ASICS has created the METASPEED Sky model for stride runners and METASPEED Edge model for those with a cadence style – both running shoes optimised to "improve runner performance" for each of the two major running styles.
ASICS METASPEED Sky and METASPEED Edge: price and release date
ASICS METASPEED Sky and METASPEED Edge: features
The ASICS METASPEED Sky racing shoe is designed to "help runners go faster by extending their stride length considerably". Stride-type runners take a longer stride once they start increasing their speed. The METABLAST Sky comes fully equipped with the FF Blast Turbo midsole foam and a carbon plate, which is said to aid energy conservation while maintaining their pace at the later stages of the race.
The ASICS METASPEED Edge racing shoe is designed to "help cadence-type runners go faster by extending their stride length while allowing them to control cadence more easily". Cadence-type runners increase both cadence and stride as they run faster. The shoe is built on a different stack height and midsole geometry using the same components as the METASPEED Sky. ASICS claims that the shoes "allow runners to elongate their stride and conserve more energy while controlling their pace".
Truth to be told, it might not be that straightforward for every runner to determine their dominant running style as it sounds, especially for beginners. ASICS does perform gait analysis in many countries in its shops so if you happen to live somewhere where this option is available, you are in luck (once shops reopen, if not already). Some running shoes shops also do gait analysis. That said, even 'just' intermediate runners will have a firm grasp of how they run and this might help them in deciding which new ASICS METASPEED model to get. If ever in doubt, they can also consult ASICS for advice.
Sara Hall tested an early prototype at the 2020 London Marathon and set a personal best of two hours, 22 minutes and one second, improving her previous personal best by 15 seconds. Other athletes who recently joined team ASICS include top athletes Julien Wanders, Sondre Nordstad Moen and Mario Mola also announced they will run in ASICS METASPEED Sky.