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ASICS Magic Speed 2: Affordable Magic?
By Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein and Andrea Myers

The current trend in racing shoes has been toward higher stack heights and softer foams. This has left the majority of these shoes being fairly large in volume. While some are able to maintain their light weight, others can often feel a bit bulky. There are few nimble and simple racing shoes. The ASICS Magic Speed 2 brings the tradition of simplicity from Japan and combines it with a carbon fiber plate This creates a mix of some of the newer technologies from today with the older style of lighter and nimble racing shoes. 

Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Measured Weight: 8.4 oz, 238 g (men's size 9), 7.1 oz, 200 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Men's: 31mm/24mm, Women's: 30mm / 23 mm
Drop: 7mm 
Classification: Carbon Plated Racing Shoe


Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed 2 is carbon plated racing shoe for those who want a nimble, slightly snug-fitting, snappy shoe for workouts and faster running. An engineered mesh sits up top, providing a slightly snug but secure fit. A FlyteFoam Blast+ topsole combined with a carbon plate provides a firmer and snappy ride. Best for those who want a stiffer, firmer and nimble shoe for tempo runs, intervals and racing, the ASICS Magic Speed 2 is a unique and more affordable alternative racing shoe.

The Asics Magic Speed 2 is a firm and responsive shoe that is a nice option for intervals and shorter races. While the original Magic Speed had a 1/2 length carbon plate in the midfoot and forefoot, version 2 has a full length carbon plate that is sandwiched between two layers of FlyteFoam Blast+ foam. I really enjoyed the ride of the original Magic Speed for workouts, but stopped using it due to Achilles blisters from a plastic piece at the top of the heel counter. When v2 arrived last month, I was happy to see that Asics had refined the heel counter, but found a much stiffer ride due to the full length plate. Runners who prefer a stiffer, more responsive workout or racing shoe will find a lot to love in the Magic Speed 2.

: Hoka Rocket X, Atreyu The Artist


Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed 2 fits me mostly true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is slightly short but is normal for a more traditional racing fit. Those who want more room for daily training should consider a half-size-up. Others who want a slightly snug and secure fit should stay true to size. The width is slightly snug throughout the length of the shoe. The forefoot and heel fit snug while the midfoot has a little more room. The tongue is thin, but gusseted and secured by the laces. The wrap from the gusset helps secure the foot even more and I did not have to tie the laces that tight to get a locked in feel. The heel counter in the rearfoot is highly flexible. Those sensitive to heel counters will do well in this shoe. The entire engineered mesh of the upper is thin. There is some mild adaptability to it, with additional lockdown from the ASICS logo in the midfoot. I would suggest using socks for this shoe as the internal mesh is a little scratchy. Overall, the ASICS Magic Speed 2 has a slightly snug fit that will do well for those with narrow feet or those with normal-width feet wanting a light and secure fit.

Andrea: The Asics Magic Speed 2 fits a little snug in my usual women's size 9.5, but not so short that I would go up 1/2 size. It has a performance fit that is ideal for workouts and shorter races, but wouldn't be my choice for anything longer than 90 minutes. Despite the shoe being a little short, I had to crank down the laces to keep my heel from slipping. Once I got the laces dialed in, the shoe fit like a glove and I had no fit-related discomfort. The shoe runs a little narrow the entire length of the shoe, but I did not experience any irritation at my 1st or 5th MTPs as I often do in narrow shoes. I think this is because the taper of the toebox starts at the toes, rather than just past the ball of the foot. The thin tongue is gusseted and is not padded, which also contributes to the performance feel of the shoe. A lace loop on the tongue further helps to hold it in place. The heel counter is flexible and thankfully does not have the irritating plastic piece at the top that tore up my Achilles in Version 1. The top of the heel counter curves in towards the Achilles, which is a feature that I tend to not like in shoes. It feels like it makes the heel less secure, and I think this is why I had to lace the shoes so tightly. Overall, the Magic Speed 2 will work best for runners with narrower feet or anyone looking for a snug fit. 


Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed 2 features a firmer, snappy ride. Although there is a layer of FF Blast+ sitting under the foot, the plate and heel FlyteFoam create a firmer ride that reminds me of more traditional racing flats. The geometry of the midsole is mildly rockered with a small heel bevel and a moderate amount of toe spring. The transition is fairly stiff, which feels a little rough at easy paces but is nice and snappy at uptempo and faster paces. The weight for my size 10 is 8.5 ounces. The smaller size of this shoe makes it feel far lighter and combined with the stiffness makes it excellent for faster running and training. I have used the Magic Speed 2 for a tempo run, hill repeats and shorter intervals and it has done well at all those efforts. For me, it does not do as well over longer distances and training paces given the firmer ride. There is a 7mm drop which has made it more runnable for me during warm-ups and cool-downs. However, the stiff nature of the shoe make it better for shorter faster efforts and training. For those that do not like softer foams, this would make an excellent racing flat for 5k to 10ks distances. Those used to less shoe may be able to take it farther. Outside of that, it makes for a great interval and tempo training shoe if you want to save your super shoes for race day. Despite being a lighter racing shoe, the durability of both the outsole and midsole are good. The ride has remained stiff and snappy, while there is barely any wear on the outsole despite over 20 miles of hard efforts. For that reason, I expect that ASICS Magic Speed 2 to last more like a lightweight/performance trainer, making it a great option as a racing/workout/lighter plated shoe that will last and not break the bank.

I tested the Magic Speed 2 at a variety of paces and found a firm, responsive ride that I really enjoyed. There is no bounce in this shoe, unlike many other super shoes, but I found the stiff midsole and the toe spring to provide nice momentum to keep moving forward. I used it for threshold and critical velocity intervals, hill sprints, and mile pace strides. I did have to stop several times during my warmup in my first workout in the shoe to adjust the lacing, but once I got it dialed in, I forgot about the shoe and could just focus on my effort. I noticed a slightly higher cadence in these shoes due to the firmness and toe spring. The shoe feels like its stated 7mm drop and I found midfoot landings to feel completely natural. Compared to v1, the ride of v2 is firmer, but the toe spring feels like it starts later and is a little more gradual. I tend to like shoes with a later toe spring, and for that reason I prefer the ride of v2. I did notice that the midsole softened up very slightly after about 20 miles, but it remains fully on the firm side.

I would continue to use this shoe for shorter and faster intervals (threshold pace and below), but the firmness and snug fit would preclude me from using them for longer workouts with marathon pace intervals. I found it too firm to use for easy paces and I did change into different shoes for my cooldown. These could also be a nice 5k-10k racing shoe for runners who prefer a firmer ride. The extensive rubber coverage of the outsole should make this a durable performance trainer/racer. 


Matt: The ASICS MAGIC SPEED 2 is a neutral racing/faster shoe with no traditional elements of stability. The sole is slightly narrow and the midfoot tapers quite a bit. The small heel bevel is slightly medially biased creating a slightly early initial contact at the heel for me. There is some small flare at the rearfoot and tiny sidewalls at the midfoot. These add a small amount of guidance but are not major. What does create torsional rigidity is how stiff the shoe is. This provides mild resistance to lateral motion. Overall the ASICS Magic speed is neutral, stiff racing shoe that will work for those who do not have stability needs.

Andrea: The Asics Magic Speed 2 is a truly neutral performance trainer/racer. The overall stiffness of the sole provides light stability and the small heel bevel and toe spring promote quicker turnover from initial contact to push off. Despite the snug fit of the upper, I had the lace the shoe tightly to prevent heel slippage. This is not a shoe for runners with significant stability needs, but will work well for runners with neutral mechanics who prefer a shoe with high longitudinal bending stiffness and a later toe spring. 


The ASICS Magic Speed 2 is a completely different shoe from the first version. Version 1 was a highly rockered shoe, firmer shoe with a stiff upper. It worked surprisingly well for me during long runs likely due to how well it rolled my foot forward. The slightly larger sidewalls and extremely stiff heel counters did lock my rearfoot in better, making them surprisingly stable. This came at a cost, as they felt better at training/uptempo paces and not at faster efforts. The ASICS Magic Speed 2 is the opposite. There is more flexibility in the upper, the midsole is slightly less firm but is far more rigid and snappy. This makes version two far better at shorter faster efforts, but less great for daily training and longer efforts.

Although many things have changed, the geometry differences between the two add to the difference in feel and may emphasize work at specific areas of the lower extremity. Shoes that are highly rockered usually shift work away from the ankle and increase it at the knee and hip (Sobhani et al., 2013; Sobhani et al., 2015; Sobhani et al., 2017). This means there is less stress on the calves and more so on the quads and hamstrings to both land and push forward. On the opposite spectrum, shoes that are less rockered and stiffer tend to place more stress on the calf muscles to push over the rigid platform. We also know that level of stiffness will benefit some more than others because responses are individual (Ortega et al., 2021). Finally, there is also additional evidence that the benefits of stiffness are speed-dependent (Day & Hahn, 2020).

These research articles may explain some of the differences in feel between the different versions of the Magic Speed. One is not necessarily better than the other, but may be better for certain people depending on preferences for stiffness and running speed. The rockered rolling ride of the original Magic Speed make it better for efficient longer efforts. Whereas the Magic Speed 2's stiff ride makes it better for faster and likely shorter efforts given its less rockered geometry and increased longitudinal bending stiffness. Who that will work best for will depend on the mechanics and goals of the individual looking at these shoes.  - Matt Klein


Day, E. & Hahn, M.
 (2020) Optimal footwear longitudinal bending stiffness to improve running economy is speed dependent, Footwear Science, 12:1, 3-13.

Ortega, J. A., Healey, L. A., Swinnen, W., & Hoogkamer, W. (2021). Energetics and biomechanics of running footwear with increased longitudinal bending stiffness: a narrative review. 
Sports Medicine51(5), 873-894.

Sobhani, S., Hijmans, J., van den Heuvel, E., Zwerver, J., Dekker, R., & Postema, K. (2013). Biomechanics of slow
running and walking with a rocker shoe. 
Gait & Posture38(4), 998-1004.

Sobhani, S., van den Heuvel, E. R., Dekker, R., Postema, K., Kluitenberg, B., Bredeweg, S. W., & Hijmans, J. M. (2017). Biomechanics of running with rocker shoes. 
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport20(1), 38-44.

Sobhani, S., Zwerver, J., van den Heuvel, E., Postema, K., Dekker, R., & Hijmans, J. M. (2015). Rocker shoes reduce Achilles tendon load in running and walking in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. 
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport18(2), 133-138.


Matt: If the ASICS Magic Speed 2 is to be a stiffer racing shoe for faster efforts at a more (relatively) affordable price for a plated shoe, it is on the right track. It feels far better at faster paces than the older version but is less versatile over longer efforts. The ride is quite stiff, so if ASICS was hoping to make it more accessible for training paces, it will need to be slightly less stiff. The ride is firmer than expected for so much relative foam underfoot and that is likely coming from the stiffness of the plate(s) with not enough softer foam. This is a fun faster shoe, but the firmness limits it to shorter distances. Having a full height FF Blast + sole might open up its versatility.

Andrea: I think Asics did a nice job with version 2 of the Magic Speed due to the improvement in the heel counter and refining the toe spring. My main recommendation would be to further refine the heel counter to improve lockdown. Changing the heel counter so it does not curve towards the Achilles may contribute to better heel security. While I liked the firm ride of v2, other runners who are accustomed to the bounce of super foams may find the shoe too harsh. Fine tuning the midsole/plate combination may make this shoe more accessible to a greater numbers of runners and make the shoe comfortable for longer distances. 


Matt: The ASICS Magic Speed 2 is a stiffer, plated, simple racing shoe for those wanting a nimble and more affordable footwear for workouts and race day. The fit is slightly snug with a flexible, secure and performance-oriented. The sole is stiff, snappy, and works well for faster efforts. The ride is on the firmer side and this is not a super shoe by any means. It is a more affordable plated shoe that will work well for those that want a firmer and stiff ride for workouts and races from 5k to 10k (maybe half marathon at most). The solid price point makes it a great entry-level racing option for those wanting to test out what stiffer, plated racing shoes feel like. The ASICS Magic Speed 2 is also an excellent durable compliment to other super shoes on workout days as you save those more expensive options for race day.

Andrea: The Asics Magic Speed 2 is a firm, responsive performance trainer and racer. It has a performance fit and an improved heel counter as compared to the original. The relatively lower price makes it a more economical option for a performance trainer or racing shoe. This shoe will work best for runners who prefer a stiff, firm ride for intervals or shorter races. Its stiffness will limit its use to shorter workouts and races 10k and below. Overall, the Asics Magic Speed 2 is a nice option for runners with neutral mechanics who want a stiffer shoe for workouts or races. 


Fit: B+ (Snug racing fit. Thin but secured tongue. May want a half size up if between sizes or true to size for a snug fit)
Performance: B+/A-
 (Firmer stiff ride that works for faster efforts and workouts for those who don't like softer midsoles)
Stability: B [Neutral] (Best for those with neutral mechanics. Not a stability shoe, but not unstable secondary to stiffness)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Unsure the reason for duel plates if that is true. Improved economy comes from the midsole foams, so a softer more resilient foam would be a better idea than two plates. The upper design has improved both security and comfort, but some modifications are needed to the makeup of the sole to get where this shoe could be)
Personal: B/B+ (Solid shoe but missing the pop of newer age racing shoes. Would love to see this exact shoe with the same FF Blast Turbo from the original Metaspeed Sky)
Overall: B/B+ 

Fit: B+ (Runs short and a little narrow. Decreased heel security requires tight lacing.)
Performance: B+
 (Firm ride that provides momentum to keep you moving forward. Best for paces threshold and below, not comfortable for easy paces or long runs due to firmness)
Stability: B [Neutral] (A truly neutral shoe. Mild guidance from refined toe spring and heel bevel as compared to v1)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Change in geometry and plate length from v1 has resulted in a different ride and best use for v2)
Personal: B+ (I enjoyed using it for faster intervals but not a shoe I could use for a full 12+ mile warmup, workout and cooldown due to midsole stiffness)
Overall: B+ 

Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse

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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 provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at ASICS USA 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 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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