Stride multiplied by cadence – that’s the basic equation people use to gauge their running speed. It’s simple and straightforward enough that it makes it easy for runners to figure out how to improve. Either you lengthen your stride or increase the number of strides you take in the same amount of time. Both will result in clocking better numbers than before. The Asics Metaspeed Sky is designed for those who want to run faster by furthering the reach of each of their strides.
Yes, it’s one of those specialized shoes that are built for serious runners. How serious? Well, it’s so specialized that it’s tailored for individuals with a neutral pronation type. To the unfamiliar, this type of foot movement means that your foot lands on the outside of the heel then rolls inward when coming in contact with the ground, while the front foot gets even distribution during push off, which, we imagine, are the type of runners that can benefit from a stride-style speed boost at some point during a race. Well, if that’s you, this just might be the next shoe upgrade you’re best served picking up.
The Asics Metaspeed Sky comes with a carbon fiber plate, similar to many top-of-the-line running shoes available today, which stretches across the entire length of the sole, ready to guide your foot through every step and propel you forward for every stride. It’s paired with FlyteFoam Blast Turbo cushioning in the midsole, which improves compression and creates a responsive feel underfoot, while being very durable to support all that distance you’re looking to cover both in training and in actual races. The midsole is particularly chunky, too, at 33mm in the heel and 28mm in the forefoot, which supposedly gives your foot the extra vertical rebound it needs to successfully extend your stride.
It uses a curved toe section on the outsole that reduces ankle flexion, allowing runners to conserve their energy early in a run, so they can go all out and extend their strides when coming down the home stretch. The same curved shape is supposed to make pushing off for those big strides much easier, too, while a wide platform throughout the midfoot will enable a more stable ride. That outsole, by the way, is made from Asicsgrip, a lightweight rubber that delivers high grip on a variety of terrain without compromising durable performance.
The Asics Metaspeed Sky gets an engineered multi-directional mesh upper that’s designed for improved ventilation and stability, while being soft and lightweight enough that it facilitates high levels of comfort even through the longest runs. From what we can tell, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the upper when it comes to increasing stride as the rest of the shoe, so it’s purely focused on keeping your foot in place without any discomfort.
According to Asics’ lab tests, the shoes reduced the number of steps during a marathon by over 1.2 percent, which, they claim, is a 3 percent running efficiency gain compared to their top racing shoes. Will you get those same benefits? Possibly, provided you’re the right fit in terms of foot movement.
The Asics Metaspeed Sky is available now, priced at $250.