Just a few days after they were launched last year, triathlete Beth Potter set what was then a world-best time for 5 km on the roads in the new Asics Metaspeed Sky, setting the shoe up as the new “go to” weapon for triathletes and runners around the world. Both Kristian Blummenfelt and Flora Duffy took gold in the Metaspeed shoes at last year’s Olympics, and many athletes looked to the Metaspeed shoes as a shoe that was every bit as fast as the famed Nike Vaporfly models that turned distance running around after the 2016 Olympics.
Since the engineers at Asics never seem to rest, they’ve come up with a new version of the shoe that is even faster – meet the new Metaspeed +, launched today at an event in Malaga, Spain. The shoes will be put to the test tomorrow in a special “made for PB” event in Malaga that includes 5, 10 and 21.1 km races.
For those who need a bit of a refresher on how the Metaspeed shoes were developed, what sets the carbon-plate speedsters apart from other company’s shoes is that there are two different styles that suit runners with different styles. In its research, Asics realized that to increase their speed people use two different approaches – either maintaining a similar cadence but increasing their stride length (“stride” style runner) or increasing their cadence or turnover to generate more speed (“cadence” style runner). With that in mind the first version of the Metaspeed shoes included the Sky to accommodate the first style of runner, and the Edge for those who fit into the second style of running.
Data driven development
Scientists from the Asics Institute of Sport Science (ISS) looked at data from elite athletes to see how they could improve on the original Metaspeed shoes. Based on that research, they realized there were benefits to be gained by changing the placement of the carbon plate and by also modifying the volume of foam in the shoes. The shoes still utilize the company’s FF Blast Turbo foam, but that foam is utilized slightly differently, allowing for more compression and bounce, effectively helping runners extend their stride length.
The research showed that the “stride” runners needed the carbon plate to be higher to allow for more compression during toe off, while the “cadence” style runners needed the plate to be lower to make the rolling motion easier.
The end result is the Metaspeed Sky+ and Metaspeed Edge+. The Sky+ features four per cent more foam than the first generation, while the Edge+ sees 16 per cent more FF Blast Turbo foam compared the first generation. The Edge+ also sees an increase in stack by 4 mm.
The end result are a pair of shoes that Asics is confident will be even faster than the already super-speedy Metaspeed offerings. They’ll be putting that theory to test tomorrow during a series of time trials with elite athletes taking on 5, 10 and 21.1 km races in the new shoes here in Malaga, Spain.
The new shoes will retail for US$250 (Canadian pricing to be announced soon) and will be available sometime this summer.