Following the recent trend in innovations in running shoes that are a departure from more traditional designs, Asics introduced their contender earlier this year in the form of the MetaRide. Positioned as a direct competitor to the Nike Vaporfly 4%, we asked the Run4It Aberdeen team to put it to the test and give us their verdict on the new shoe.
The Aberdeen team comprising of Lucy (Shop Manager and seasoned club runner), Jason (a road runner competing regularly in the North-East racing circuit), Hamish (an experienced hill and cross country runner) and Nick (the veteran of the team) each tested the shoe and put their thoughts to paper.
Here's what they have to say about it…
For a shoe that is pumped full of tech, Asics set the bar high. With the MetaRide, Asics are offering a shoe that makes running longer, easier, by reducing energy wastage and giving you a little push along the way. A zero mm drop shoe that is a little weightier than my usual shoe of choice and a vastly new direction for Asics.
I found the curved sole an adjustment, however once I got into my stride, it worked well to push me off of my toes and I honestly believe anyone who is a heel striker will really notice the propelling motion of the curvature… especially towards the end of long run. My calves usually let me know when I’ve worn a 0 mm drop shoe, but the effects this time were next to none and I was back out the next day with fresh feeling legs (rare for me). I find it the best fitting ASICS shoe to date thanks to the updated knit upper, which felt secure even on my narrow little feet.
If I was being picky my only bugbear is the grip on the outsole… when traffic forced me to run on the banks along the country roads I had little grip, but this is primarily a road shoe so what can I really expect?!
The MetaRide makes some bold claims about efficiency and energy loss and I was intrigued to see if their lab measured data really translated into a notably different running experience.
I found that the uniquely curved sole design provided a remarkably quick transition from landing to toe-off which quickened my cadence and made for a feeling of almost gliding through each stride. This effect did seem a little more noticeable during the easier paced sections of the run and when I began to land more rearfoot as I fatigued. Usually after a tempo run I’d be very slowly plodding back home however my legs did seem to feel a little less tired than I had expected, especially given that I’d had a hard race only a few days beforehand.
I did find the fit initially challenging to get right - to get a secure fit around the heel I felt that I was having to tie the laces quite tight around the midfoot - however after a few attempts I got it comfortable and haven’t had any issues since.
Asics latest running innovation, the MetaRide, features a zero mm drop and precision curved midsole comprising FlyeFoam and FlyteFoam Propel that is designed to reduce ankle flexion whilst offering excellent cushioning and a responsive toe-off, all with less energy expenditure that a traditional shoe. Its raison d'être being to make those longer runs easier by reducing the effort required.
Recovering from a medium term injury meant I wasn’t able to test the MetaRide out at a pace I would have wished. Still, I did put them through a 53 minute 10km run. Although this would be a comfortable pace for me normally, it was certainly more noticeable how much easier it felt than I would have expected. If there was a negative, towards the end of the run both my big toes started to ‘burn’ a little. I suspect this is explainable due to me being a forefoot runner whilst Asic’s suggest the MetaRide is ideally aimed at heel to mid-foot strikers. I purposely started to heel strike and any pressure experienced soon subsided.
At 5.30 second km pace you could clearly feel the MetaRide performing as Asics suggest but they claim to be at their most efficient at 4 minute km pace. With this in mind I suspect runners competing in the top 25-50% of events are arguably going to reap the greatest benefit from the MetaRide!
I was expecting a racing shoe to challenge Nike’s Vaporfly 4% as phrases such as “reduced energy expenditure” were taunted before the release. Alas, the shoe is actually aimed at the more recreational marathon runner wanting that long Sunday run made a little bit easier – it’s good to see a company striving to provide the best products for all standards within the sport!
The shoe’s cushioning feels much softer than most other Asics models giving it a very nice ride when the legs are tired! The meta-rocker design definitely helps roll the shoe forward on to the toes giving a quick heel to toe transition which feels best when picking up the pace to a steady-tempo. Unlike many other zero drop shoes the calf muscles don’t get fatigued and tight with the MetaRide. The grip on the shoe is also excellent, even on wet tarmac.
I thought the upper could be designed a bit better. They have a very deep toe box and the heel counter is a little too wide for my liking. A neater fitting upper and this shoe would be brilliant as the feel under the foot is so much better than any other Asics shoes currently available!
The Asics MetaRide is available exclusively in our Run4It Aberdeen store. Please email us at email@example.com if you are interested in buying the shoe from us online or from another Run4It store.