Article by Sam Winebaum. Editor
On April 23, 2022 ASICS announced the next generation of their Metaspeed marathon racers the Metaspeed Edge+ and Metaspeed Sky+. Both are expected to release in June in the US at $250.
The first generation Metaspeed proved popular with runners and our test team and particularly so the Sky (RTR Review). It combined very light weight (6.56 / 186g US8.5) with a big 39/34 stack with a dynamic ride with tremendous impulse off the forefoot. Designed for stride runners who drive off the forefoot I found Sky most effective for me at short distances due to the soft Flytefoam Turbo foam and low drop. It clearly was designed for, and requires a strong vertical knee drive, something I do not have much of these days.. I did not run the cadence oriented Edge (RTR Review) with its lower 35mm heel /27mm forefoot full stack height and higher drop but think I would have preferred it.
Enter 2022 and the Metaspeed+ series. Using data, ASICS has determined that each stride type shoe needed to be further differentiated to provide maximum performance. Key findings were that the plate needed to not only be a different shape but be placed differently in the shoe in relation to its distance from the outsole and that more FF Blast Turbo in new geometries was in order. In v1 of the Metaspeeds while having different stack heights, drops, toe spring, and plate designs the plates were located at the same level in the shoe.
To get that maximum vertical bounce/spring for stride runners, the Sky+ plate is now located closer to the foot so that the foam below can compress and rebound vertically at toe off
For the cadence oriented Edge, so as to allow the runner to roll through and maintain their cadence with a more efficient kick back, the plate was placed lower closer to the ground allowing the foot to flow forward into the foam then to the plate further below to toe off.
In addition to plate placement the plates and shoe toe springs are different with the Sky+ having a more abrupt shorter toe spring.
The Edge+ has a considerably longer toe spring rocker that is lower than v1’s reflecting the cadence runner’s need to roll forward and down to toe off while the Sky+ plate is now higher in the shoe reflecting the stride runner’s stronger downward push where they can compress more foam to get more bounce Again reflecting the difference in stride types: vertical bounce Sky+ leading to a longer stride vs. flowing faster cadence Edge+ runners.
The approach is similar to Nike’s differentiation between Vaporfly and Alphafly although Nike never discusses the why’s of the differences. I have been near the finish line of the Boston Marathon the last 2 years and observed hundreds if not thousands of finishers in the final stretch. The Vaporfly shod runners were clearly rolling forward while the Alphafly runners had a far more vertical bounce, some clearly struggling to lift those knees! Were many runners matched by stride type to the model as suggested by ASICS in their differentiation between Edge+ and Sky+? I have no clue.
The Sky+ is as before having a full stack height of 34/39 and 5mm drop but in I think a welcome change for me the Edge+ moves to 39/31, 8mm drop from its prior 35/ 27 so more FF Blast Turbo underfoot and the max allowable height at the heel.
ASICS estimated weights:
men’s US9: Sky+ 7.23 oz / 205g US 9 , Edge+ 7.41 oz / 210g
The Sky 1 came in at just under 6.8 oz / 192 g in a men’s US9 The Edge 1 was at 6.4oz / 182 g in US9.
In part the weight difference comes from the Sky+ having 4% more FF Blast Turbo foam and the Edge+ of course now with more stack having 16% more Turbo foam.
I asked, given the Edge+ has 3mm less forefoot stack than Sky +, why it weighs more than the Sky+ and they tell us it is due to the Edge’s plate shape which includes a v forming to the front and the foam placement.
By further differentiating plate placement/design, while now giving both shoes the same heel height at the World Athletics maximum, if with different drops and forefoot stacks. Doing so ASICS has furthered evolved their runner stride type approach to provide, we expect, each runner type yet more of the benefits of the specific geometry for their stride type with no compromises on long race cushion as before with the lower stack Edge 1.
We can’t wait to test both models and report our findings in our reviews. We don’t have information on the upper or fit at this time beyond what can be seen in the photos provided by ASICS in the article.
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