I’m a huge sucker for fast running shoes; I get enough of them. Thankfully, high stack running shoes with integrated carbon plates are aplenty these days and being a fitness writer, I also get to test them quite often, which is a real boon. A recent running shoe I enjoyed testing was the ASICS METASPEED EDGE which fits the bill perfectly and reminded me of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% in a good way.
As a matter of fact, I enjoyed training in the METASPEED EDGE so much that it almost ruined my legs.
You see, running shoes such as the ASICS METASPEED EDGE and the Vaporfly mentioned above NEXT% are not meant to be worn for everyday training for the same reason that makes them perfect for racing.
These racing shoes feature a soft foam that’s bouncier than foams found in running trainers, such as the Saucony Kinvara 12 or the Hoka One One Mach 4, as well as an embedded carbon plate for propulsion. The upper of racing shoes also tend to be tighter than usual to make sure there is a minimal amount of chafing during longer races.
And I love all of these features. I love it when the upper tightly envelopes my feet, the bouncy sensation I get when I land on the thick foam, and the carbon plate's propulsive energy during toe-off. It's a fantastic experience, and you feel like you have trampolines strapped to your feet instead of shoes.
When I first ran in the ASICS METASPEED EDGE, I tried my best to pace myself, but after just a few minutes, I started sprinting as it felt more natural to run as fast as I could in the shoes.
The METASPEED EDGE encapsulates all the best aspects of modern racing shoes: it's blisteringly fast, and thanks to its energy return, it feels like you can run for longer and faster with less effort. I felt the same when running in the Vaporfly and other shoes such as the Hoka One One Carbon X 2. These shoes don't make me faster but enable me to optimise the way I run and provide better energy returns, keeping my legs fresher.
The trouble is, you aren’t supposed to be going this fast every day. You run differently in races than you do during regular running training, the latter being slower and focusing more on form and technique. Running trainers enable you to do that, but controlling high stack shoes is a different story altogether.
Landing on and pushing yourself off from the soft foam uses different muscles, or at least uses the same muscles differently, especially around the shin, so running in high stack shoes day after day might result in pain in the lower leg.
This is precisely what happened to me after a few days of running in the ASICS METASPEED EDGE. The problem is, even though I knew what was going on and that I shouldn’t be running in the shoes day after day, I enjoyed the experience so much I couldn’t help myself and kept on using them, despite the pain in my legs. Finally, after a week or so, I gave my legs a break and went on to wear a different pair for running (one I can’t talk about just yet).
And as a final note, the ASICS METASPEED SKY was released in tandem with another, very similar running shoe, the Metaspeed Edge, the former being designed for ‘stride runners’ while the latter for ‘cadence runners’. To find out which one is right for you, head over to https://www.asics.com/gb/en-gb/innovationsummit/ and answer a short questionnaire.