Asics MetaSpeed Sky + was built for stride runners while the Edge + was for cadence pushers. Did it work?
MetaSpeed Sky + What’s the rationale?
The ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ is a stride-focused, low-drop, carbon plated super shoe. Described by ASICS as a shoe which is tailored for runners who increase their speed by increasing their stride length. Fitting true to size, and offering a slightly firm but well dampened ride it is a super shoe which excels in anything from the 5k to marathon distances. However, we are now one and a half years on from its release. With the amount of innovation and new shoes from other brands – is the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ still a fast shoe?
Weight in Asics’ sample size: 205g (7.2 oz)
Stack height: 39mm heel and 34mm forefoot for a 5mm drop
Firm but bouncy
As a maximum cushioned shoe, the Metaspeed Sky+ is a high-stack, racing shoe. Utilising FF Blast Turbo in the shoe gives it an extremely bouncy, but firm ride. This firmness of the foam becomes especially apparent when running at slower paces. Here the shoe becomes very slappy and feels quite dead. However, this does come with its benefits. When used at race-pace, the shoes come alive as the carbon plate becomes engaged.
The carbon plate in this shoe is positioned closer to the base of the foot than the sister shoe – the ASICS Metaspeed Edge+. The placement being part of the reason why the shoe feels so dense and firm underfoot. This was done to accentuate the springy toe-off. Furthermore, it keeps you on your forefoot and puts much more stress on your calves and achilles. For this reason, anyone with sensitive achilles or calf issues should ease into using these to avoid stress related injuries.
In comparison to the ZoomX found in the Nike Vaporfly Next%, FF Blast Turbo feels much more dense underfoot. Thus offering superior stability, especially when cornering at high speed. This has also resulted in FF Blast Turbo having a greater durability than ZoomX, which degrades quite rapidly both aesthetically and in terms of performance after roughly 100km.
MetaSpeed Sky + Upper: Race ready minimalism
Just looking at the upper of the Metaspeed Sky+ gives you a sense of what this shoe is all about.
Everything about it is light-weight and minimalist. Offering cushioning and protection only where necessary. Looking at the material it is an engineered mesh that is paper-thin and extremely breathable. However, it is quite abrasive so I would not recommend running without socks in them.
The tongue is extremely thin and flimsy, offering minimal protection to the top of the foot from lacing pressure. This makes it very important that you don’t tie them too tight as it has caused me some bruising on the top of my foot after having made this mistake myself. Due to the light-weight nature of the tongue, it folds in on itself very easily, meaning that putting them on is a little more work than other shoes, making this shoe less desirable for triathlon/duathlon competitions where a slip-in shoe is most desirable.
The heel is extremely well padded, paired with a soft synthetic fabric. Giving the shoe a plush and well-cushioned feel when first putting them on. There is no heel slippage in the shoe and I have not found it necessary to do a runners knot to make them more secure. I have found the midfoot to have a fitted, snug feel to it, however this is not as comfortable or as secure as I found the upper of the Nike Vaporfly Next%, which I found to be extremely secure and offer superior lock-down.
In terms of fit, this shoe fits true to size. The length of the shoe is perfect, however I have found the forefoot to feel quite narrow. I consider myself to have normal-width feet for my size, so for anyone with wide feet may want to size up half a size.
Durable grip galore!
Having run on surfaces ranging from the track to wet leaf covered roads the ASICSGRIP outsole never stopped delivering. Evidently however, this shoe lends itself much more to forefoot strikers due to the large volume of outsole rubber applied to the forefoot. The only time I have found to struggle for grip in these shoes was when used on a wet track doing 200m reps. This resulted in the shoes not feeling very planted and they were rotating laterally when putting down the power at the higher speeds. However, this shouldn’t be a surprise as those paces aren’t what this shoe is made for.
With regards to the durability of the shoes, there appears to be very little if any wear on the shoes after having put in 50 km in them, including a hard 10km race. I believe these shoes will have a far longer durability than some of the other super shoes I have tried, and this is mainly down to the midsole compound being much more resilient to being torn apart and the tactical placement of outsole rubber.
MetaSpeed Sky + taking top spot in my race rotation?
Having done a lot of my road races in the Nike Vaporfly, I was hesitant at first to try out anything else, but having put in many miles in the shoe it was time to find a new pair. After having tried the Metaspeed Sky+ I didn’t regret it. I have found them extremely comfortable as I’ve grown to enjoy a firmer, lower stack in my shoes. But would I choose them over the Vaporfly Next%? I can’t say that I’ve been convinced. While the Metaspeed Sky+ is a great shoe and offers a lot of promising aspects, the fact that they caused some agitation on my foot after my first runs in them has put me off them slightly in the fear of causing further injury.
How about the price point and value for money? Now that they have been released for a year and a half, it is likely you will be able to find some pretty great deals on them. With the MSRP at €250 you are more than likely to find them for close to €180. This puts them at a very competitive point in comparison to other supershoes, especially models which have been recently released and may not have discounts available. Whether you’re looking for your next racing shoe or you want a tempo shoe or you just want to add to your collection, you can’t go wrong with the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+.