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ASICS Magic Speed 3: New Tricks
By Matthew Klein

The Magic Speed series has been a plated lightweight trainer/workout shoe introduced a few years ago as a non-super foam, budget-speed shoe to the Metaspeed series. Both prior versions were great as introductory plated shoes but never really stood out as significant shoes of interest. Version one was excessively rockered and narrow; version two was extremely stiff and firm. Both felt like they were second thoughts, which seems to have been the case for many of the non-super speed shoes on the market. The ASICS Magic Speed 3 completely changes this. Despite having similar components to the prior version, it comes in as a different feeling and riding shoe. A fast ride that works at uptempo, fast and even some easier efforts, the Magic Speed 3 finally brings out some magic. 

Asics Magic Speed 3
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.8 oz, 220 g (men's size 9), 6.6 oz, 186 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36mm / 29 mm
Drop: 7mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Workout/Racing Shoe


The ASICS Magic Speed is a faster uptempo/workout/racing shoe for those who want a moderately bouncy ride and a carbon plate. The fit is snug and slightly short, reminiscent of older racing shoes. The ride is surprisingly bouncy and snappy for a non-super shoe, featuring two layers of FF Blast+. This makes it an excellent and affordable workout/race shoe for those who still want a carbon-plated shoe with the versatility for some daily training and the speed to handle faster efforts all the way to race day. 

: Puma Deviate Nitro 2
PAST MODEL: Asics Magic Speed 2


The ASICS Magic Speed 3 fits me short in my normal men's US size 10. The new Motion Wrap upper is extremely light, thin, and secure. It creates a lower-volume fit that is a little tapered at the toe box. I found thin socks helped with the fit, which feels like how older/traditional racing shoes used to. For short to moderate distances, true to size will fine if you are okay with a snugger/shorter fit. For those who have wider feet, are between sizes or want to use these for longer efforts, I would highly suggest going up a half size.

The overall width is slightly snug. The mesh stretches a little but mostly holds its shape. The forefoot volume is low and tapered in the toe box. The midfoot is snug and features a thin, gusseted tongue. I did not have to tie the laces down tightly in order to get a secure fit and did not have to lace lock this shoe. The heel features a thin amount of heel collar cushioning and a flexible heel counter. There is a little more stiffness at the rearmost portion of the heel, but the counter is flexible and I had no issues. The security throughout the length of the shoe is quite good. The snug fit and good lockdown have kept my foot secure through all paces and turns. The inner mesh is a little scratchy and I would encourage anyone interested in this shoe to wear socks. I had some mild abrasions on my foot using this for moderate efforts sockless, so socks are highly recommended. 


The Magic Speed 3 is a workout/racing shoe with a stiff carbon plate, bouncy midsole and a durable outsole. The new midsole is made up of two layers of FF Blast+, which provides a softer and far bouncier ride than the previous version. It is not super foam bouncy, but there is still plenty of resiliency that makes picking up the pace easy and fun. The carbon plate is most noticeable in the forefoot, where it adds a decent amount of stiffness. This creates a snappy toe-off that works best at moderate to high speeds. There is a slight posterior lateral bevel that transitions quickly and efficiently into the midfoot. The forefoot features a large forefoot rocker, which combined with the bounce and plate make for a fast transition off the front.

The new midsole more stack height than the prior version, coming in at 36mm / 29 mm. There is a 7mm drop and this is exactly how this shoe feels. While the Magic Speed 3 can handle some easier efforts, it is best used at faster efforts. I have used this shoe during progression runs, tempos and fast intervals. It is not a super shoe, but the bounce and plate allow for a snappy ride that works better at higher speeds. At slower speeds, it can feel a little stiff and aggressive, especially over longer runs. At uptempo or faster paces, it feels natural. For most people, the stiffness will lend itself to being a 5k to half marathon shoe. Those who do not want a super bouncy/aggressive super shoe and can handle the shorter fit over longer distances will be able to handle this up to the marathon. I personally would not use this as a race shoe, instead as a workout shoe to save my super shoes.

The durability of the outsole certainly adds to this as I have 30 miles on my pair and there is almost no wear on the outsole. The ASICSGRIP outsole lives up to its name and does grip well on road, wet pavement, and even some trail. Its main function is faster road efforts, so those wanting some bounce and stiffness but don't want super shoe softness will enjoy the ride of the Magic Speed 3.


The ASICS Magic Speed 3 is a neutral shoe, but it has some elements that make it a little more inherently stable. I would not call this a stable neutral shoe, but ASICS is clearly working on this. There are midfoot sidewalls on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe. These are not obtrusive but do provide some mild guidance during midfoot transition. The midfoot is not as narrow as other shoe and the central groove (that exposes the plate) may also direct some motion more centrally. The slightly posterior lateral bevel does ease transitions in, although this may be offset by the additional outsole rubber for durability. The stiff plate also adds some rigidity torsionally, which does help move things forward. Overall, this is still a neutral shoe, but those with mild stability needs will still be able to dabble in the use of this shoe over short to moderate distances. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Single vs Multi-Layered Midsoles
By Matthew Klein

Prior to many recent advancements, running shoes used to be simple in that the midsoles were often a single slab of EVA. Cutting these shoes open years ago was fairly boring, although there were occasionally unique shanks and additional cushioning properties. Multi-layer midsoles have become far more common now. Whether it is to embed stiffening agents between the layers or to use different densities of foams, more companies are doing this. How those layers interact and how the person on top of the shoe responds will vary. 

There is some early evidence on how multi-layered foams can act vs single layers. Recent research has suggested that multi-layered/density midsole foams can demonstrate improved strength (resistance to degradation) and energy absorption (Uddin et al., 2020). Using multiple densities can also provide the opportunity for internal shaping of the midsole, which may allow for the redistribution of plantar pressures. This means that you can not only facilitate foot motion but redistribute forces and pressure. 

The challenge with this is optimizing how the densities of foam work together. The Magic Speed 2 felt extremely firm and stiff, likely due to the bottom layer of material being less resilient/compliant combined with the stiffness of the TPU/Carbon plate. The Magic Speed 3 uses two layers of softer foam, which seems to balance the plate far better while still maintaining a softer feel. This is another great example of how a shoe is a sum of its parts and not isolated to a single piece. How those parts will interact together and respond to unique loading patterns is still being studied, but I suspect that firmer layers will bias the underfoot feeling toward being firm. In order to maintain the softness, much larger layers of softer foam are needed to maintain that feeling underfoot (the ASICS Superblast is a great example of this). Geometry, layer thickness, and more will influence this, which makes me excited to see how the industry will continue to play with these variables.  


Uddin, K. Z., Youssef, G., Trkov, M., Seyyedhosseinzadeh, H., & Koohbor, B. (2020). Gradient optimization of multi-layered density-graded foam laminates for footwear material design. Journal of Biomechanics109, 109950.


The ASICS Magic Speed 3 is the best version yet by far. The sole is far more bouncy, the carbon plate adds a solid amount of snappiness. The upper lockdown is great and the shoe feels fast when you push it. My only suggestion is to fix the half-size short feeling. This was similar to the original version (Magic Speed 1in the US) and will continue to be one of the most limiting factors preventing some people from using this shoe over longer distances without sizing up. A few easy fixes could be to reduce the toe spring, which generally shortens the shoe. The forefoot rocker would need to come up to and meet the toes, possibly requiring a steeper angle. Another option would be to add a little more volume up front although ASICS must be careful not to allow creasing that can cause abrasions. Regardless, fixing the upper will not only improve the fit, but will extend the distance this shoe is usable for. 


The ASICS Magic Speed 3 is for those who want a bouncy, carbon-plated, more affordable racer with a short fit for workouts and races. The fit is about a half size short, which will be fine for those who want a snug fit while those wanting to use this shoe for longer distances will need to go up a half size. The midsole is bouncy with a snappy carbon plate, making the Magic Speed 3 a great option for uptempo efforts to fast intervals and maybe races. Those who do not do well with super foams will find the Magic Speed 3 maintains and complements many of the features found in super shoes while being a bit more grounded.

The FF Blast+ dual layers are a massive improvement from the prior version, making this a shoe actually capable of racing. For me, it functions as a fun short to moderate-distance workout shoe when I need a break from or am trying to save my super shoes. Despite not being a super shoe, $160 for the amount of performance packed into this shoe is impressive. This may function not only as an alternative to super shoes but also as a great introductory fast-performance shoe for those wanting to experiment with racing footwear.


Fit: B+ (Short but secure fit. Light mesh upper holds foot down well, but short fit limits to short/moderate distance efforts unless you want to go a half size up)
Performance: A- 
(Workout/Racing that has a bouncy and stiff ride. Performs at a high level for a super shoe when pushed and works best at faster paces)
Stability: A-/B+ [Neutral] (Midfoot sidewalls, central groove and carbon plate makes for a neutral but working toward stable neutral shoe)
DPT/Footwear Science: A-/B+ (Excellent redesign with double layer of FF Blast +, carbon plate and a $160 price tag. Great faster shoe, but slightly shorter fit not necessary. May need to revamp toe spring)
Personal: A- (Really enjoying this shoe as a super shoe alternative, only bummed out a little by the short fit that can be compensated for with thin socks)
Overall: A-/B+ 


Asics Magic Speed 3
Price: $159.95 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 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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