Hot on the heels of the launch of Saucony’s Endorphin Pro, ASICS have jumped into the increasingly busy waters of the carbon-plated racing shoe market with their offering, the Metaracer.
After an extended design and prototype program, the long-awaited and hotly-anticipated shoe is almost here. We'll have to wait just a little bit longer, with the Metaracer expected to arrive on Run4It shelves mid-to-late August.
Since summer 2019 ASICS-sponsored athletes have been training and racing in pre-launch versions of the shoe, among them Eilish McColgan who won last year’s Great South Run in a non-plated prototype of the shoe, wiping her illustrious mother’s name from the Scottish record books in the process!
"I've been running in the Metaracer for the last few months and absolutely love them. They feel light, fast and are reactive enough for my track sessions too. I get a lot of traction from the ground." ~ Eilish McColgan
Originally designed to be launched in the lead up to the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and tapping into the brand’s Japanese roots and heritage, it perhaps speaks volumes for the confidence ASICS have in their latest creation that they’ve decided to launch the shoe as planned (you can’t miss the ‘TOKYO’ detail on the upper!)
Designed to deliver fast finishing speed
Unashamedly designed as a long-distance racing shoe (theoretically for distances from 5k up to the marathon), the Metaracer, while utilising the speed-enhancing benefits of a carbon plate, does things slightly differently from some of the other models currently on the market. The shoe in essence strikes a balance between the highly-stacked carbon-plated shoes out there (like the Nike Vaporfly Next% and Hoka One One Carbon X) and more traditional racing flat designs (think ASICS DS Racer or Saucony Type A9). So what the shoe should provide is some additional cushioning and protection over traditional flats but with the benefit of the propulsion added by the forefoot carbon plate.
The Metaracer builds upon the design practices and learnings from other recent ASICS models like the MetaRide and the GlideRide, and utilises the GUIDESOLE technology developed in these models.
The main aim of the updated GUIDESOLE technology is to increase the rolling motion of the foot, helping to propel you forward both quickly and efficiently, with this aim being absolutely key in the creation of a racing shoe of this type.
The stiffness in the forefoot of the dynamically curved sole acts to reduce the movement of the ankle joint to some degree. By reducing the amount of ankle flexion, ASICS believe that other lower leg muscles such as the calf don’t have to work as hard as they otherwise would. Excessive ankle movement at speed wastes energy (up to 20% less loading will be put on the calf muscles through the design of the shoe and the rolling effect it creates), with the energy saved being ready and available for use later in your run, just when you need it most!
The ASICS Metaracer also has a few other eye-catching innovations and the attention to detail is both painstaking and absolute.
Super-grippy rubber and a brand new outsole grip pattern are designed to enhance traction in both wet and dry conditions. While an ultra-lightweight hydrophobic upper will help your feet remain cool and dry (hydrophobic materials repel moisture, keeping the shoe light through not absorbing rain and sweat).
Another small but striking detail is the hole in the front of the toe cap. It is there for very good reasons though, namely to aid airflow into the shoe and around the foot, and to allow the efficient movement of any moisture out of the shoe. No stone is left unturned!
So what ASICS strive to provide with the Metaracer is:
- a cushioned, protected footstrike through the use of ASICS FLYTEFOAM technology in the midsole (with a higher stack height than seen on traditional racing flats)
- energy savings through reduced ankle flexion with less loading on the lower leg muscles
- a fast, springy toe-off which promotes increased cadence and running efficiency.
If the shoe is able to deliver each of these in such a lightweight and eye-catching package, then ASICS really will be taking the fight to some of the other brands who have already firmly established themselves in this highly-competitive area of the market.
Ready to race?
Rest assured there will be many runners out there eyeing up the latest revisions to the racing calendar and looking forward to racing again in the coming months. I’m certain many of them will be toeing their next start line in a pair of Metaracers! Maybe you’ll be one of them?