In this ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review, I'll try to find the answer to these questions:
A) what's the difference between the METASPEED SKY+ and the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+, and, most importantly, is the METASPEED SKY+ a better or worse option?
B) why would you choose the METASPEED SKY+ over the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% (or NEXT% 2)?
C) bonus question: is the METASPEED SKY worth including in our best running shoes roundup?
Without giving the verdict away early on, I'd like to say that the shoes are amazing, no wonder most pro athletes who attended the ASICS META: TIME: TRIALS event in Spain earlier this year chose the METASPEED SKY+ over the EDGE+ (around 90% used the former). I loved the METASPEED EDGE+ – still do – and was looking forward to testing and reviewing the METASPEED SKY+. Was it worth the wait? Let's find out!
ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review: Price and availability
The ASICS METASPEED SKY+ was announced in May 2022 and is available to buy directly now from ASICS US (opens in new tab), ASICS UK (opens in new tab) and ASICS AU (opens in new tab) for a recommended retail price of $250/£225/AU$330. The METASPEED SKY+ retails for the same price as its predecessor. For the latest prices, please check the price widgets at the top and bottom of this review and our Asics discount codes for ways to save directly from the retailer.
Third-party retailers such as Sportsshoes.com (opens in new tab) (retailer link) also carry the shoes and often sell them for less, although not just yet. That said, even the first iteration of the shoes is still being sold at full price; however, I expect the price of the OG Sky to drop soon, now that the Sky+ is out.
As a low-cost alternative, consider the ASICS Magic Speed (opens in new tab) (retailer link) training shoes. It usually sells for less than half the price of the METASPEED series and uses a different foam (FLYTEFOAM Blast), but has similar running characteristics to the SKY+.
ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review: What's new?
The ASICS METASPEED SKY+ is a drastic departure from the original SKY and has more FF Blast Turbo foam (extra 4% volume), a new Motion Wrap upper – which is a lightweight woven mesh that's said to provide improved power transfer and optimised reinforcement –, and even the laces have been tweaked to help reduce pressure from the top of the foot.
The ASICSGRIP rubber outsole has also been optimised and changed shape since the last iteration, but probably the most significant change is how the embedded carbon plate is positioned in the foam– the foot sits closer to the plate (there is more foam between the plate and the ground) so the surface compression spread over full width, which is said to provide a higher bounce.
All the changes resulted in the ASICS METASPEED SKY+ having a +2.6% better run-economy; at least, this is what ASICS claims.
ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review: Fit
The fit of the METASPEED SKY+ is similar to EDGE+ (the upper is the same, after all). It provides race fit tightness but with some room in the toe box to help spread those toes. Step in comfort is excellent as the collar can open up wide. The laces hold securely thanks to the wriggly design – you don’t have to double tie it either (although I know you will as you’re superstitious). Gusseted tongue is light – like it’s not even there. The heel counter is medium soft, and the collar is lightly padded.
The weight of the ASICS METASPEED SKY+ has increased to 8.1oz/230g (men’s US 11/UK 10), which is slightly heavier than the OG SKY. What remained unchanged is the drop: the METASPEED SKY+ has a 5mm heel-to-toe drop (39mm heel/34mm forefoot) – the same as the original SKY.
ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review: Running performance
FF BLAST Turbo midsole used in the ASICS METASPEED SKY+ is close to Nike's ZoomX in terms of running characteristics. The SKY+ has a shallower drop than the EDGE+, and you can definitely feel it when you run. You can also feel the difference in carbon plate placement and shape (compared to EDGE+). Of course, you can't actually feel the shape of the plate, but you can feel the difference in running dynamics.
The foot sits closer to the plate – there is less foam between the plate and the foot, so the surface compression is spread over the full width of the shoes as opposed to locally, like in the case of the EDGE+. More foam is compressed by the plate, so the shoes bounce higher.
I love the outsole of the METASPEED shoes. The ASICSGRIP outsole rubber bites into the tarmac and provides you with the stablest of platforms to kick yourself off from. My only concern is the amount of rubber that's applied – it might not last as long as the foam itself. I appreciate adding more rubber would have increased the weight.
Running in the METASPEED SKY+ feels closer to the Vaporfly NEXT% than the EDGE+. The foam feels bouncier and also less stable, which goes to show how important plate placement is in terms of running experience.
The shoes are awesome to wear, though, and the lockdown of the upper is absolutely sublime. Most ASICS pro runners prefer the SKY+, and I can understand why; it's the same reason why people prefer the Nike Vaporfly over other 'super shoes'. The extra bouncy foam might be harder to control, but it preserves the legs for longer and gives back more energy.
You compress the foam locally when using the EDGE+, while the SKY+ distributes the pressure all across the plate – so the full length of the shoes – which makes running in the shoes bouncier.
ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review: Verdict
Much like in the case of the EDGE+, it's a no-brainer to get the SKY+ over the SKY – the updates make the shoes superior to their predecessor. They are more comfortable, agile and faster – and cost the same amount of money.
The addition of more FF Blast Turbo foam, the way ASICS tweaked the upper and the placement of the carbon plate all contribute to the fact that the METASPEED SKY+ are amazing racing shoes. The fit is also second to none; in fact, having tried many carbon shoes lately, I might even go as far as saying that the METASPEED range has the best fit of them all.
The outsole is brilliantly grippy, enabling you to turn faster and gain speed quicker. The running experience is similar to the Nike Vaporfly mentioned above, which means the shoes feel less controlled than the METASPEED EDGE+, but in return, you get better bounce and, probably, better energy return over long distances.
As a side note, I still prefer the EDGE+ of the two, mainly because I like the control and stability the EDGE+ provides. It suits my running style better – these shoes taught me that I'm a cadence runner. That's not to say I didn't enjoy running in the SKY+! They are excellent Nike Vaporfly alternatives, albeit not any cheaper, sadly.
ASICS METASPEED SKY+ review: Also consider
The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 running shoes aren't only brilliant in their ability to propel you forward mile after mile, but they are also an excellent update to the immensely popular OG Alphafly thanks to the updated Atomknit 2.0 upper and reworked midsole. For long-distance racing, the Alphafly 2 might be a better option than the METASPPED SKY+ – if you can stomach the price, that is!
The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 are carbon-enhanced running shoes of the best kind; the extra foam under the forefoot and the rocker shape help push you forward over long distances with ease. However, the fit of the Adios Pro 3 is not as comfortable as the METASPEED SKY+ for runners with wide feet, and the distinct foam cutaway sections might affect the gait cycle of some athletes (especially those who supinate).