ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review TL;DR: Carbon-plated shoes for mostly racing that rival similar offerings from Adidas and Nike. Best suited for sub-3-hour marathoners but slower can also benefit from wearing them.
I’ve been among the few UK journalists who were invited for the launch of the new ASICS METASPEED range in Malaga, Spain, and while most journos were given the METASPEED SKY+, I was among the few people who received the EDGE+ instead. I wasn’t unhappy; I liked the original ASICS METASPEED EDGE and thought this will be a great opportunity for me to compare the two.
The ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ is a racing shoe that follows the now-usual recipe: add a lightweight upper on top of a lot of foam, employ a cushioning system that provides excellent energy return and insert a carbon plate in the middle of the bottom unit for explosive toe-offs. And while the METASPEED EDGE+ follows this recipe to the T, it also puts a very ASICS-like spin on it by adding SCIENCE to the mix.
ASICS’ science-y approach can sometimes be confusing – I was genuinely perplexed when the original METASPEED shoes were launched. Am I cadence or a stride runner? What happens if I choose the wrong shoes? Will I still be able to run faster? And while I’m still not quite sure which shoes are best for me, at least now I know that it doesn’t matter. Let me explain.
Check out T3’s best running shoes roundup for more info on top kicks from all brands worth considering.
ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review: Price and release date
The ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ and SKY+ shoes were announced in late April 2022 and will be available to buy from 14 June directly from ASICS (opens in new tab). Both models retail for the same price: $250 in the US and £225 in the UK (AU price TBC).
The first iteration of the shoes was notorious for not being stock ever but I hope ASICS sorted out its supply chain issues and will be able to keep up with the demand. However, I’d advise you to keep your eyes peeled for when the shoes are supposed to drop if you’re interested in them to avoid disappointment.
ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review: What's changed?
ASICS completely overhauled the METASPEED EDGE+ to help cadence style runners better. Cadence runners take more steps when running faster, whereas stride runners take bigger steps – at least, this is how ASICS defines the types of runners the METASPEED shoes are supposed to help run faster.
Therefore, the METASPEED EDGE+ has been changed to even better cater for runners who like to take smaller steps in quick succession. The stack height stayed the same – 8 mm – but there is now more foam underfoot. The position of the carbon plate is also different: it now sits closer to the ground, meaning there is more foam between the plate and your foot.
The upper has also been changed – tweaked, even – as well as the laces that now have a sort-of serrated edge to make sure they don’t come undone when you’re 30k in a marathon. The sole geometry is different, too, if only slightly. All in all, the METASPEED EDGE+ is an entirely new shoe!
ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review: Tech
The most important tech is admittedly the FF BLAST TURBO cushioning. This foam is said to be almost half as light as standard EVA foam (whatever standard EVA foam is and where it’s used), making the shoes lighter than daily trainers such as the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24 or the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39. That said, the new METASPEED Edge+ is actually heavier than the EDGE v1: a UK size 10 shoe is 233 grams, 15 grams heavier than the same size EDGE v1.
The ASICSGRIP outsole has also been tweaked and now covers a slightly smaller surface area without compromising grip too much (or at all). The stack height increased from 34/26 mm in the EDGE v1 to 39/31 mm on the EDGE+. According to ASICS, there is 16% more FF BLAST TURBO (volume) underfoot now.
ASICS recommends the METASPEED line to sub-3-hour marathoners – I’m not one of those, at least not at the moment. This was mentioned at the event I mentioned earlier: all data, charts and stats referred to athletes who run faster than your average Joe parkrun enthusiast. Knowing this, I wondered if they were worth the price for someone like me who enjoys running faster but doesn’t run quite as fast as the elite athletes ASICS worked with?
ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review: Running performance
I liked the original METASPEED EDGE as it provided a similar running experience to one of my all-time favourite running shoes, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. They were fast, tight and well-cushioned; all I can ever ask from marathon running shoes. After attending the press briefing about the shoes and learning all about fast runners, I wondered if the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ would be any good for me?
Good news: the shoes are good. Really good. I not only ran faster, but the METASPEED EDGE+ also preserved my legs so I could run longer without fatigue setting in. I wasn’t running near as fast as the athletes the shoes were designed for, yet, I found myself running faster without as much effort as usual.
What I enjoyed the most wasn’t the carbon plate but the extra stack height. Landings are super soft in METASPEED EDGE+ and energy returns are also superb. I literally bounced back when I did my sprints in the shoes and had to allow myself extra space to slow down as the shoes wanted me to keep going. I wanted to keep going.
This made me realise one thing: you don’t have to be a sub-3-hour marathon runner to enjoy the benefits of the METASPEED shoes. If you’re one of those runners, you’ll benefit from wearing the right METASPEED, but for the rest of us, either version will provide tangible speed improvements. It doesn’t matter which one you choose – the SKY+ has always been more popular among elite runners – because unless you’re really fast, both will act more or less the same running experience.
One final thing to note is that although most runners would benefit from wearing the shoes – they will make you faster – given the stack height and minimal support, beginner runners might find the shoes uncomfortable or downright painful to wear. I’d recommend them for neutral runners who are at least somewhat experienced and have some ankle strength to keep the shoes in line.
ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review: Verdict
The ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ has been completely revamped to help cadence-style runners run faster. The shoes have been designed for sub-3-hour marathon runners, but slower runners can also enjoy the speed boost the METASPEED EDGE+ provides.
The increased stack height and the position of the carbon plate make the EDGE+ a competent racing shoe for those who attend races in the hope of beating their PBs over the 26.2-mile distance. Some suggest the EDGE+ is more suited for half-marathon distances while the SKY+ is best for marathons; it’s probably the same difference unless you’re super fast.
The FF BLAST TUBRO foam is light and responsive, providing excellent energy return at any distance – and now there is more of it underfoot compared to the EDGE v1. The upper is more comfortable, and the laces are also different. Long story short, the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ is an entirely different shoe than its predecessor but all in the right ways.
ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ review: Also consider
The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 (opens in new tab) (retailer link) is one of the sexiest running shoes of 2021. It's not just good looking but also highly performant thanks to the high stack foam and the embedded carbon plate. The UK size 10.5 shoe is 241 grams – slightly heavier than the EDGE+, and it also costs ever so slightly less than the ASICS.
The Adidas Adios Adizero Pro 2.0 (opens in new tab) (retailer link) is one of the fastest racing shoes ever to exist. It's significantly cheaper than the METASPEED EDGE+ (still expensive in general) and goes equally as fast (if not faster). The UK size 10 shoe weighs 248 grams and features Adidas' lightweight Lightstrike foam and Energy Rods system.