at the races Shoe review: the brand-new ASICS METASPEED Sky

Shoe review: the brand-new ASICS METASPEED Sky

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Sometimes you get a new pair of sneakers and they practically demand that you also buy all new socks. Such is the case with the METASPEED Sky, the top of the line new racing shoe from ASICS, with a thick midsole and 5mm heel-to-toe height difference. The result of the shoe, as evidenced at the ASICS Institute of Sports Science, is a reduction of 1.2% of the steps you need to take to conclude a marathon.

With a pair of racers like this, of which there are currently only 108 in Canada and only six national retailers licensed to sell them, it’s important to always bring your A game. And for that, for me, it starts with getting all new socks.

I wore the METASPEED Sky was at a speed workout with my group at BlackToe and, after enjoying the oohs and ahhs from my socially-distanced teammates, I put the sneakers to work. Running 2K twice at marathon pace, 1K twice at half marathon pace, 800-metres at 10K pace and then 400-metres at 5K pace—basically, an out and out sprint—I could feel the power surge from my shoes. The METASPEED Sky are designed to conserve energy in stride-style runners, which most of us are. Since 90% of runners land on our heels, these new shoes have an “energetic” midsole foam, and you can feel the difference. Wearing the shoes before a run, they contain a bounciness and the spring-like compulsion adds a pop; it’s uncanny, but you can feel it even while you’re standing still. (ASICS says its foam is among its lightest and bounciest and longtime wearers of the brand will immediately feel this to be true).

Weighing in at just under 7 ounces and containing a 33mm rear midsole stack height, the shoe—which features a carbon plate, which has become the go-to feature in top of the line racing shoes—juts up at the toe: a cool design feature built to make it easier for runners to extend their stride length at faster paces. That’s why you can finish a marathon in less steps wearing this race shoe. And that’s one of the reasons why I felt such incredibly amazing energy return at my workout.

The great American racer Sara Hall was wearing this shoe when she had a marathon PB at the London Marathon and it feels like an edge (watch the clip of her post-race glee for inspiration). The test results from the Institute of Sports Science were that these shoes improve your running economy by 3%. At my workout, where perhaps I was a target by my teammates because I was decked out in my all new gear, I ran quicker than I had on previous excursions. Between the carbon plate and design of the shoe, I felt like a fawn skipping across a lake.

The sensation is one of flying.

In the METASPEED Sky, I could feel the power surge from my shoes. And, by wearing great sneakers, there’s almost a mental edge in wanting to run fast. It’s like taking a Porsche out on the Autobahn. I haven’t used these shoes yet on a long run and I’m not sure how they last over time. Like all of the new carbon-plated race shoes, these are not designed for the garbage miles of a Sunday long run. They’re like an Excalibur sword especially crafted for race day. (The METASPEED Sky are the first release of a new line of ASICS shoes, including the MAGIC SPEED, which also contains the carbon plate, and the METASPEED Edge, out this June). Plus, at $325 Canadian, ASICS makes no bones about putting Sky up on a pedestal. These are racing shoes for runners chasing a serious PB.

I felt my pace quicken and stride extend in these groovy new Sky trainers. A warning though: you get these shoes, you might also find yourself having to throw all your old socks away.