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 ASICS Metaspeed Edge Review
By Chief Editor/Founder Matt Klein


ASICS has been aggressively innovating  pushing their product forward the last few years. Our team found the ASICS Metaspeed Sky (Review) to be a top contender among carbon plated racing shoes in 2021. I (Matt) have used them for almost all races this year, including several off road events (which I would not normally suggest). The ride took some getting used to, but is extremely fast over a variety of distances once the shoe breaks in. Combined with incredible durability (mine are still going strong at 130 miles), I was excited to get my hands on the Metaspeed Edge. However, while the ride is interesting and fills the spaces not touched by the Metaspeed Sky, some sizing issues keep the Edge from being as good as it could be. 




Specifications for the Asics Metaspeed Edge (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 6.5 oz (men's size 9) 5.7 oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 34 mm / 26 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Racing Shoe


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The ASICS Metaspeed Edge is smooth carbon fiber plated racing shoe for those that want the same technology as other super shoes in a slightly lower stack option. Featuring full length FlyteFoam Blast Turbo, a well rockered sole and a carbon plate, the Metaspeed Edge works best for faster and shorter workouts/races. Although it features a similar upper to the Metaspeed Sky, the Metaspeed Edge clearly fits a half size small. Those interested in one of the lightest super shoes out there should go a half size up, but once the sizing is figured out you will have a comfortable but aggressive mile to 10k racing shoe.





FIT 

The ASICS Metaspeed Edge fits me a half size small in my normal men's US size 10. I would encourage anyone interested in this shoe unless you are between sizes (note: I will be sending these to David, who is a size 9.5 for further review). Despite being a racing flat and fitting short, the Metaspeed Edge has a surprising amount of room for this type of shoe. The fit is slightly wider for a racing flat, particularly in the heel and forefoot. The midfoot is more normal width, although the laces make this adjustable. The tongue is free floating and like the Metaspeed Sky must be laid down before you start running. The laces are normal to slightly thin, so tying them too tight can put a little extra pressure right at the talocrural joint/ankle. Like the Metaspeed Sky, there is a light toe guard up front. While I have worn the Edge sockless, I would not recommend this due to the toe guard, which did give me blisters. This me be different if I had a 1/2 size up, but I would encourage most people to use socks with this shoe (and go up a half size). That being said, the heel collar is extremely comfortable against bare skin and gave me no issues. There is a very minimal heel counter in the rearfoot. It is very flexible and did not cause any problems despite my right Achilles insertion being flared up right now. Outside of the sizing issue, the upper is thin and very comfortable for being a faster racing shoe. 



PERFORMANCE 

The ASICS Metaspeed Edge is a racing shoe with a unique twist. There is a full Flytefoam Blast Turbo midsole and with a carbon plate embedded within. Unlike some of the other super shoes, the Edge has a slightly lower stack height. Despite the lower stack height, there is a more traditional (now) 8 mm drop. I did not really notice this due to the solid heel bevel and toe spring. There is a well integrated rocker, with both a solid heel bevel and what feels like a slightly earlier and more gradual toe spring compared to the Metaspeed Sky. While the Sky has a very aggressive ride, the well integrated rocker makes the Edge comfortable during easy running (something the Sky does not do for me). Despite the short fit mentioned above, warm ups and cool downs have been very comfortable in the Edge due to smooth ride and more normal midsole height. I have taken the Edge on several easy shorter runs and the ride does well at the pace, which is rare and surprising for this type of shoe.

The other area it shines is during fast workouts. Short reps, strides and shorter time trials are where the extremely light weight and responsive ride come alive. I have used this shoe for all of the above and the midsole, geometry and plate work best there. It feels like some of the older, super light racing flats, but with a bit more protection and speed. The rocker and plate makes for a quick transition while the more "normal" stack height does not get in the way at high speeds. At longer sustained efforts this shoe starts to struggle. Anything higher than 5k-10k pace I have a difficult time maintaining a consistent pace. Uptempo paces are ok, but make me want to slow down to an easy pace or run all out. Why this happens I am not sure, but the ASICS Metaspeed Edge appears to do all the things the Sky does not. It works well as an all out speedster from mile pace to 5k to 10k and is comfortable enough for easy running. The outsole appears to be just as durable as the Sky, with almost no wear except in my usual spot after 25 miles. The forefoot outsole has decent traction for a road shoe and those interesting in an XC flat may find that this is the best option of the carbon plated super shoes to use on dirt. I have run some trail in the Edge and found that while it does not have as good of traction compared to trail or XC shoes, the relatively lower stack height and traction in the forefoot grips well enough to be used on well groomed XC courses. So those people discovering that XC flats are a bit too much for their legs may want to try this one for the Fall season. 



STABILITY 

The ASICS Metaspeed Edge is a neutral racing flat. As with most carbon fiber plated racers, the forefoot is extremely stable. The plate combined with the outsole flare makes for a very stable toe off and transition through the forefoot. There is a slight sidewall on the lateral aspect, so those supinating will have a little bit of guidance. The heel bevel and foam are very well integrated, which combined with heel flare make for a relatively stable rearfoot. The midfoot narrows, but isn't unstable. What helps the edge is that the transition through the midfoot is so quick I did not notice any issues with it. Those with mild stability needs will do well the Edge, particularly with it being closer to the ground. The overall sole flare does make it more stable, but unlike the Sky, the heel is closer to the ground and is far better grounded. So while this is a neutral shoe, the heel has better stability for those who did not find enough in the Sky. 


THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

I am interested to hear more about ASICS's concept of Cadence vs Stride runners. There is supposedly some actual research studies coming out that will be submitted to peer reviewed journals that I am interested to read. However, this concept isn't completely new. One of the long standing "equations" for speed has been that it is a product of a runner's stride frequency x stride length. Essentially that those with a longer stride and a faster cadence should have the greatest speed. My understanding is that ASICS is classifying runners based on which one they tend to use more of. The exact language is that "Stride' runners tend to utilized a longer stride and more vertical oscillation to achieve their pace, thus they need a more cushioned and aggressively rockered shoe. Whereas those that are "cadence" runners tend to increase both their stride rate and length at the same time. With a higher cadence, they need less weight/shoe on their feet and a differently shaped plate to optimize their mechanics. 


Image from Reddit

What is missing here is that the "speed" calculation is far more complicated than that. Just looking at stride frequency and length tells us nothing about the athlete's power production during the stance phase of gait, does not address mechanics, stability, aerobic/anaerobic capacity (depending on the race distance) and does not address the fact different runners that look the same at one point may completed change their motor pattern when you put them in a race situation or different environment. Also, just because you see a movement does NOT mean you can accurately predict anything else. Kinetics and kinematics are often two separate entities that are not always related. This comes from years of experience as a physical therapist where during a gait/movement evaluation I see something that makes me think there is weakness. Upon further testing I sometimes find that the person is not weak but may have a faulty movement pattern. Movement and strength are not always related, so treating this person with just strengthening may not change the faulty movement pattern (Willy & Davis, 2011). Changing the movement requires movement retraining. Of course if there are also underlying strength deficits those must be addressed first so the person can actually perform the movement in the first place.

This is not a criticism as it is a warning that life is not that simple. I do however appreciate that ASICS has create two very unique shoes that compliment each other well. May people are going to want a carbon plated, super foam racing shoe that doesn't have a high stack height. The only shoe to do this thus far is the Metaspeed Edge. Other runners may want a shoe that has decent traction and works well over the 5k distance and below. In my opinion, most of the super shoes out there are designed for longer distance races. The Edge is light and responsive enough actually be an effective short distance racing shoe. Additionally, many people are not doing well in the higher stack height shoes due to instability. The Metaspeed Edge is a great option for those people who don't want to be extremely high off the ground and want a slightly more traditional stack height (it is still 34/26 mm).

(For a more detailed description of I interpret "Stride vs Cadence" running as a "Hip vs Ankle strategy" please see my Thoughts as a DPT for the Metaspeed Sky HERE)

References

Willy, R. W., & Davis, I. S. (2011). The effect of a hip-strengthening program on mechanics during running and during a single-leg squat. 
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy41(9), 625-632.



RECOMMENDATIONS

My only major suggestion for the Metaspeed Edge is to fix the sizing issue. The lower to the ground ride solves the mild instability issues at the heel in the Metaspeed Sky. Additionally, the Edge does compliment the Sky in that it can do the things the Sky does not do nearly as well at. However, for $250 I expect sizing to be on point. The other minor suggestion like the Sky is to add a medial sidewall to compliment the lateral one.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR 

The ASICS Metaspeed Edge is for those who want a more traditional stack height super shoe with a smooth ride for races 5k-10k (and some easy paces if you really want). While there are sizing issues with the upper that require going up a half size for most, the upper is extremely light, breathable with a slightly wider fit for a racing shoe. There is a well integrate plated and rocker that make for a comfortable ride at easy paces and a very snappy and responsive ride at faster paces. The Edge does struggle at tempo/longer distance uptempo efforts for me, which is where the Metaspeed Sky tends to shine. While expensive, the two shoes do compliment each other well. For me, the Metaspeed Edge will work best for shorter races while the Sky works better for longer ones. Or, if you want less shoe, the Edge will work for you and if you are like me and slam your feet into the ground, the Sky might work better. 



GRADING 

Matt
Fit: B- (Very comfortable upper for a racing shoe but sizing issue requires a half size up)
Performance: 
B+ (Excellent for specific paces. Works best at all out paces and easy paces, but difficulty with those in-between)
Stability: A- (Lower to the ground ride improves stability, along with extensive sole flare and well integrated rocker)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Interesting research but not completely sold on it yet. More peer-reviewed data is needed, so this score may change.)
Personal:  B- (I really want to like this shoe but the sizing issue killed it for me. I will be sending it to David for a more accurate review on fit/feel)
Overall: (A solid and comfortable ride for faster efforts and those who want a super shoe with a little less stack height. Definitely a more stable option especially for shorter distances. The sizing is off, so go a half size up unless you are between sizes)

VIDEO REVIEW OF THE METASPEED EDGE



Chief Editor Matt Klein offers his thoughts on the Edge vs. Sky and goes into further detail about his feelings on the shoes.

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR


Find the Metapseed Edge at Running Warehouse here. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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FURTHER READING

Check out our Carbon Plated Resource Guide for a complete list of super shoe reviews at DOR.

Recently at Doctors of Running
Carbon Plated Research: Which is Best Based on Running Economy? [Podcast]
New Balance FuelCell Prism v2 Review - The mild stability trainer gets some subtle refinements
Adidas SL20.2 Review - The workout shoe turned daily trainer is a solid do-it-all in the Adidas line for those looking for a simple, efficient trainer
Stable Neutral Shoes: What they are, Examples, Supination vs. Pronation

Thanks for reading!

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TESTER PROFILES:


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

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 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.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased with a discount from Running Warehouse in exchange for a review.  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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

NEXT: Which Carbon Plated Shoe Provides the Best Running Economy?

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