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ASICS Magic Speed Multiple Tester Review


ASICS is back again with a new carbon plated racing shoe to add to the arms race that has become "super shoes". The ASICS Magic Speed is one of several carbon plated racing shoes to come to the market and features their traditional Flytefoam Blast midsole. The series of racing shoes is designed to cater to different stride patterns and strategies reflected in ASICS' research. An example would be using a hip versus and ankle strategy, or using a higher cadence versus a lower cadence. The series will feature the Magic Speed, Metaspeed Sky, and the Metaspeed Edge. The midsole of the Metaspeed Sky is updated and will feature Flytefoam Turbo. 


Specifications (per ASICS)
Weight: 8.1 oz / 230 g  (men's size 9)  6.5 oz / 184 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 29 mm / 24 mm (men's);  28 mm / 23 mm (women's)
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer / Workout Shoe / Racing Shoe


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed is a long distance racer and lightweight trainer for those who love GUIDESOLE technology but want a little more aggressive ride. A carbon fiber plate sits in the forefoot along with aggressive toe spring that rolls you forward quickly. The Flytefoam Blast is mildly soft, protective but thanks to the plate remains stable particularly at the forefoot. The upper is thin, slightly narrow and structured at the heel. So those with medium to narrow feet looking for a performance fit will find the ASICS Magic Speed great as a lightweight trainer, long distance racing shoe or workout shoe.

David:
The ASICS Magic Speed is a long distance racing shoe for those looking to utilize the GUIDESOLE like sensation seen in the EvoRide 2 or the Noosa Tri 13. The GUIDESOLE is an exaggerated toe spring to help with toe off and unload the calf musculature. The result is a fast transitioning feel up front with a softer and more protected heel. The FlyteFoam Blast is soft, bouncy, and protective, but still carries an aspect of firmness and structure to it. This is especially noted in the forefoot. Essentially this shoe is definitely protective enough for long workouts or racing but is not overly plush or unstable in any way. This is a plated racing shoe for those that like some bounce but still enjoy a firmer ride.  



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed fit me slightly short in my normal US men's size 10. This may be due to the slightly narrower fit and taper at the toe box. This did break in and as someone who likes a closer fit, I did enjoy this upper once it stretched a bit. The upper security is very high. There is a semi rigid heel counter in the heel that I did notice initially, but did not cause me problems. There is additional cushioning along the inner top part of the heel collar that provides a little space between the Achilles insertion and the counter. For those very sensitive to this, be a little cautious. The fit overall is fairly snug. The heel fit very close and I did not have to lace lock the shoe at all. There is a little more volume in the midfoot, but tying down the laces locked that in. The ASICS logo adds additional reinforcement to the upper at the midfoot, but the upper overall is fairly thin. The tongue is very thin and is free floating. It is locked in with the laces and I did not have a problem with slippage. The forefoot is more narrow and tapers quickly along the lateral aspect. This was very noticeable at first, but has broken in a little over my time running in them (~40 miles). This is not a shoe I would wear sockless due to there being a somewhat noticeable toe guard. Overall though if you are wearing socks, this is definitely a more snug fit that should work well for those with medium (if you want snug) to narrow feet.

David:
The Magic Speed fits very true to size in my normal 9.5. The shoe has nice security throughout in the heel, midfoot, and forefoot. The midfoot especially has a nice hold from the engineered mesh upper. There is a semi rigid heel counter present that feels like it is two layered. The layer closer to the foot bed feels a little more rigid and padded while the upper layer feels more flexible and adaptable. The mesh almost feels like a breathable stitching where it isn't that soft like most mesh's or knits. The upper is still comfortable, secure, and breathes really well. I had one run in a rain/hail storm and the upper drained pretty well too, not adding too much weight to the shoe. There is a very light toe guard present that provides just enough structure to maintain the build of the shoe but feels nonexistent on foot. The toe box is pretty wide for a racing shoe and and the forefoot has enough room to help accommodate swelling. Overall the upper is very nice and secure and one of the better uppers in the racing world. Lockdown is also great throughout. 




PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed has a smooth but very rockered ride. The FLYTEFOAM BLAST is soft in the heel and firms up in the forefoot secondary to the plate up front. The ride throughout isn't super bouncy, but is more rolling and efficient. The Magic Speed is fully rockered with a large laterally biased heel bevel. This creates a very smooth heel contact. The toe spring is noticeable very early on and the rocker clearly begins in the midfoot. The transition through the midfoot and forefoot is very quick in the Magic Speed. This again is secondary to the GUIDESOLE design. The toe spring is a bit aggressive as the toes are held in a bit of extension. However, this smooths out as the pace picks up. The ride is protective enough that those used to lighter shoes will be able to use it as a lightweight trainer. I have used this shoe for long runs at easy paces and while it felt a little aggressive at first, the ride broke in well creating an efficient roll. There is a 5mm drop that I almost did not notice. The toe spring and overall rocker reduces a great deal of load through the calves, making for a very efficient ride. For workouts this shoe does very well. It isn't the fastest, but it picks up the pace nicely while still providing some protection. It works well as a workout trainer for intervals, tempo runs and even uptempo long runs for those used to lightweight trainers. The Magic Speed as a racing shoe will vary depending on the runner. Many people may be able to use as a 10k to half marathon. Others used to lightweight trainers may like this up to the marathon. It isn't quite light enough for a 5k, but those used to heavier shoes may look int that direction. The traction and durability are extremely good. The grip is sufficient that I have used this on paved and rocky trails without too much issue. The traction on wet road is phenomenal and very secure. The outsole has zero wear after 40 miles of use and I expect this shoe to last well beyond normal miles for a lightweight trainer.  That makes this shoe a steal at $150 for a lightweight shoe with a forefoot carbon plate.

David:
The Magic Speed is a really fun shoe. This is one of my personal favorites of 2021 so far, especially for workouts. The FlyteFoam Blast midsole is soft but still maintains its structure pretty well when it is compressed. The result is a bouncy foam that is not overly soft. The forefoot is much more firm than the heel because the toe spring and carbon fiber plate are creating the GUIDESOLE aspect of the ride. The toe spring does not feel as exaggerated as the MetaRacer did, but a lot more fluid and natural at toe off. The heel has a crash pad design with an otherwise full contact outsole. The rubber is grippy multidirectional. The traction is really good on the road even in slick conditions. This is a racing shoe that does not feel overly exaggerated in any specific category. What I mean by this is that it is a little bit of a jack of all trades. The shoe is not nearly as soft as say ZoomX in Nike, Nitro Elite at Puma, or its sister shoe Metaspeed Sky with FlyteFoam Turbo, but it is still pretty soft. The responsiveness is definitely present, but not so much so that you find yourself having to alter your form to run in the shoe more comfortably. The shoe essentially provides a nice rocker like ride with a softer heel and firmer forefoot. Don't get me wrong though. There is definitely some snap to this shoe and you can definitely race in it. 




STABILITY

Matt: I did not expect this, but the Magic Speed is pretty stable for a neutral lightweight trainer/racer. It features a full length rocker that rolls the foot forward very quickly. There is a fantastic heel bevel with a significant lateral bias. This will be great for those that may pronate more, although those that supinate should be wary of heel landings due to the bias. However, the midsole does come up just a bit on the lateral side of the heel/midfoot, which creates a gentle sidewall which should counteract this. The transition through the midfoot is very fast and I don't even get a chance to notice that it narrows there. The forefoot is very stable as the base is wider, the plate adds rigidity and there is medial and lateral sole flare. The forefoot is a very stable place to toe off from. The full ground contact outsole only further adds to this stability. The heel counter locks the foot in even more.  Those needing mild to even a hair of moderate stability in the heel and forefoot may be able to use this as a racing / workout shoe.

David:
The Magic Speed is very stable for a racing shoe. The shoe has very fluid transition points throughout that help keep your gait linear and comfortable. The upper has great security and hold throughout. I had no issues with hard turns. The full contact outsole has a solid grip on road and concrete conditions. The heel crash pad is soft but immediately transitions into the firmer forefoot nicely while the foot and ankle just roll forward over the great toe. I am really impressed with how stable the Magic Speed is, especially in the forefoot. 



THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

David: ASICS has reported that some of their research has shown that GUIDESOLE technology has been shown to decrease muscle demand in the calves specifically. Subjectively this matches up with their findings. The toe spring seems to assist with the plantar flexion moment occurred at the ankle and helps facilitate forward motion without needing full flexibility through the great toe. As we know though, energy cannot be created or destroyed. As the load comes into lower extremity, it will have to get displaced. With the Magic Speed I did feel a little more use in the gluteal musculature and my legs felt like they ran through a larger range of motion arc through my hips specifically. My stride length essentially was longer. They did a great job with heel to forefoot transition though. The lengthened stride did not feel unnatural to me, only that it was present and different than I normally run when I open up my stride. This will be talked about further when we review the MetaSpeed Sky as that racer creates a much longer arc of motion for those that naturally utilize hip strategy for generating torque. The Magic Speed seems to fall right in the middle in terms of favoring a "movement strategy". Not to over generalize but normally someone utilizing an ankle strategy will have a smaller stride length with higher cadence and tend to rely a little more on the calf musculature for generating torque. The hip strategy is the opposite, with the runner using the hips to generate torque. The stride length is longer with a slower cadence, but more force usually placed into the ground. Again, we will go into much more detail as we outline the new series of ASICS running shoes but subjectively this one seems to float in the middle a little more than say the MetaSpeed Sky for those that utilize a hip strategy. 

- David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS



RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: I like the Magic Speed, but unless there is going to have a wide version, there needs be some extra width in the forefoot. The narrow forefoot took some time to break in and only works for those who want a snug/narrow forefoot. As the toes need to abduct a little during shock absorption, I would encourage ASICS to think a bit more anatomically up front. Outside of that, this is a well done, very rockered lightweight trainer/racer.

David:
I said this earlier, but I really like the Magic Speed. If I had to change anything about the shoe I would probably lengthen the amount of exposed midsole/crash pad down the midline of the shoe a little further to make the heel to forefoot transition feel a little less substantial. It is already done pretty well but there is distinction with soft heel, firm forefoot. If the midfoot and early forefoot just felt a tad softer (with less outsole coverage in the midline of the shoe) it might feel even smoother.



WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed is a lightweight trainer / distance racing shoe for those who want a carbon plate in the forefoot, a snug/narrow fit and an aggressive amount of toe spring. For those curious about what FLYTEFOAM BLAST feels like with a plate, this is it. With a softer landing in the heel and a rockered, slightly firmer ride in the forefoot, the Magic Speed has some roll to it. Featuring enough cushioning for some people to use for training and workouts, this shoe has some versatility to it. The snug/narrow fit definitely will fit certain people better than others. However, for those who want a seriously rockered ASICS shoe in a lightweight trainer / distance racer packaged, check out the Magic Speed.

David:
The ASICS Magic Speed is a carbon plated racing shoe for those looking to race with a highly protective foam that still has some firmness throughout the forefoot. The shoe has a soft landing in the heel with a firmer forefoot. The toe spring is evident and the runner definitely gets a forward rolling sensation. For those that don't want a really soft foam like Zoom X but still like to have some bounce and protection, FlyteFoam Blast does deliver this. Because of the nice balance of ingredients and elements this is one of my favorite shoes of 2021 so far.



GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: B- (Snug fit. Semi-rigid but noticeable heel counter. Tapered forefoot. Breaks in, but will work best for those with narrow feet. Very secure upper overall)                     
Performance: A- (Smooth ride that works at a variety of speeds. Some will be able to use this as their racer) 
Stability: A- (Very stable ride due to heel bevel placement, extreme rocker keeping you moving forward and forefoot plate creating high level of forefoot stability) 
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Great use of plate for stability, full rocker that is rare for ASICS. However lost points due to tapered forefoot).
Personal:  B (Love the ride but the fit is just too narrow for me to use more frequently. If there was more volume, this would be on the top of my list for lightweight trainers ) 
Overall: B+ (A really great shoe for workouts and a rockered/forefoot plated option for those with narrow feet wanting to train and race in a faster shoe)              


David

Fit: A (Excellent lockdown, great volume in forefoot, heel counter secure but not overly involved, nice hold throughout midfoot)                    
Performance:  
A- (The shoe can handle pretty much everything you throw at it 5k and up. Very smooth from heel to toe. Midfoot could be slightly cleaned up to make the transition even smoother) 
Stability: 
(This shoe is very secure throughout with solid stability in the heel, midfoot, and forefoot) 
DPT/Footwear Science:  
(There really isn't much wasted space. ASICS did a good job of making this soft but responsive at the same time without jeopardizing smooth transitions) 
Personal:  A
 (This is one of my favorite shoes of 2021. I love it workouts and potentially would lean on it for the big day) 
Overall:  (Really solid all around racing shoe that feels like a super shoe, but also like a traditional racing flat at the same time)         


Interested in a pair of Asics Magic Speed? Visit Running Warehouse to check it out. Using this link helps support Doctors of Running. We greatly appreciate it!


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Full review of the Metaspeed Sky coming soon at DOR!

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TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at ASICS for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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