It’s a well-known equation in running that speed = stride x cadence. That is to say, the length of each stride multiplied by the number of strides you take per minute.
Asics has spent some time making these factors the centre of its R&D and the result is the release of two new models: the Metaspeed Sky (available now) and the Metaspeed Edge (available from June 4).
The brand’s theory is this: not all runners try to increase their speed the same way, so why should they all wear the same shoe?
Lab tests at Asics’s HQ in Kobe, Japan, showed that some runners increase their speed by lengthening their stride (‘a long, loping gait with large periods spent airborne’ says the brand – think Mo Farah coming down the home straight on the track), while others speed up by increasing both their stride length and the number of strides they take (‘smaller steps while hovering over the ground with minimal up-and-down motion’ – think most of the rest of us).
The Metaspeed Sky is for the former group (‘Stride’ runners) and the Metaspeed Edge for the latter (‘Cadence’ runners).
Here’s what both shoes have in common:
- Engineered upper made from 100 per cent recycled polyester
- A full-length lightweight carbon fibre plate
- FF Blast Turbo cushioning, which is one of Asics’s newest, lightest cushioning foams, designed to be durable as well as offering excellent rebound
- A high toe spring (a more curved toe section) to make pushing off easier and to reduce ankle flexion
And the differences:
Asics’s tests showed that ‘Stride’ runners require a greater vertical rebound from the midsole to extend their stride, so the Sky has a chunkier midsole of 33mm in the heel and 28mm in the forefoot to give extra bounce, compared with 29mm and 21mm for the Edge.
The lower drop on the Sky (5mm) coupled with a more pronounced toe spring allows the foot to transition more quickly through the gait cycle and up through toe-off.
According to Asics, ‘Cadence’ runners need more control of force from footstrike to toe-off, which is why it has the higher heel drop of 8mm, to give a greater sense of stability and control.
Incidentally, the Metaspeed Sky is the shoe Beth Potter was wearing when she ran the second-fastest road 5K ever on Easter Saturday.
There’s a lot to unpack here and with the shoe being ambitiously priced at $330 to match the claims the brand makes (among them: over the course of a marathon the Sky improves your running economy by 3 per cent, while the Edge will reduce the number of steps you make during those 42.19 kilometres by 2.6 per cent), the RW team are looking forward to taking a good look at them when samples arrive with us very soon.
The Asics Metaspeed Sky is available to buy now via the Sole Motive website.