- Weight: 205g
- Heel-toe drop: 5mm
- Type: Neutral/race/road
The Metaspeed Sky + is Asics’ updated version of its top-tier Metaspeed Sky super shoe. It came out in April this year and Scottish distance running sensation Eilish McColgan has already broken four records while wearing it – the British 5km record, the British and European 10km record, the British half marathon record and, most recently, the course record at the Big Half. And it’s not just McColgan. Earlier this year, pro triathlete Kat Matthews was wearing the Metaspeed Sky+ when she became the first woman to break eight hours for the ironman distance triathlon. Given its credentials, the team at RW were very keen to give this record-smashing shoe a whirl and our deputy digital editor Jenny Bozon had first dibs. Here’s what she thought…
How fast are the Asics Metaspeed Sky+?
The Metaspeed Sky+ is one of four carbon-plated shoes now produced by Asics (the others being an updated Metaspeed Edge+ and older Metaspeed Sky and the Metaspeed Edge). These two newer models still follow the design principles of the original models in that they cater for two distinct running styles: the Metaspeed Sky is for runners who extend their stride to speed up, but retain an even cadence, while the Metaspeed Edge is for runners who extend their stride while also quickening up their cadence. While a brief look at my Garmin stats suggested that I fall into the latter category, upping both my cadence and stride during faster sessions, I was still keen to see if the Sky+ gave me a performance boost. And it did! When testing the shoe during various training sessions in preparation for an upcoming Ironman 70.3, including tempo runs upwards of 60 minutes, as well as long runs with race-pace efforts thrown it, I noticed that, when compared to wearing other (non-plated) shoes, I was not only clocking slightly faster split times but at a lower-than-average heart rate.
What does the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ feel like to run in?
So, how do they work then? The shoe utilises Asics’ Flytefoam Turbo foam – its lightest and bounciest foam to date – and in the latest iteration of the shoe there is, according to Ascis, 4% more if it. There’s also a carbon-fibre plate, which in the Sky+ is placed higher inside in the midsole than its predecessor, which lets the foam between the plate and the outsole compress more. The theory behind this is that the foam then stores and creates more energy return, giving runners more propulsion for a higher – and therefore longer –stride. Running in these shoes feels like harnessing the power of mini trampolines – they’re incredibly springy and make running fast feel easier (as reflected in my heart-rate data). However, because of this increase in midsole foam and the shifting of the plate, they do feel quite unstable – particularly when running at a slower pace – and especially if you're not accustomed to running in carbon running shoes.
How much does the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ weigh?
At just 205g, it’s no wonder that running in the Metaspeed Sky+ feels effortless (well, for the most part!). In fact, they are so light that when you hold them in the box for the first time, it’s hard to believe there’s a pair of shoes in there, but there are drawbacks to this featherweight design. The Motion Wrap upper, made from a lightweight woven mesh, is paper thin and while it does provide an excellent foot hold – assisted in part by the thin woven laces and soft tongue which help achieve a wonderfully sock-like fit – they’re flimsy design won’t be for everyone. After wearing these shoes, I consistently suffered with soreness on the outside of my left foot, as well as in my left achilles, which is no doubt due to their lack of structure and unstable base. My calves also felt sore in the days after running in them, which is likely due to their low 5mm drop (you’ll find a higher drop of 8mm in the Metaspeed Edge+).
It's worth noting, though, that as someone who overpronates and is used to running in more structured shoes with a higher drop, carbon shoes across the board don’t tend to suit me (or at least they haven’t so far). Those less sensitive to running in more aggressive are unlikely to have the same problems.
How long will the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ last?
At the cost of shedding weight, like the shoe itself, the outsole has a very stripped back designed – apart from a very thin layer of Asicsgrip outsole rubber underneath the shoe, it’s just exposed midsole foam containing shallow grooves. While I was impressed with the traction they provided when running at speed, I imagine the rubber would wear away quite quickly if regularly training in the shoe, though I haven’t seen any signs of wear so far.
How does the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ fit?
Finally, I found the shoe fit true to size and felt secure around the forefoot while still allowing plenty of room in the toe box for my feet to splay. While the paper-thin upper provides little structure, the flexibility of the fabric helps to create a really secure and comfortable fit.
The Metaspeed Sky+ is genuinely a joy to run in and, as proven by the elites, a great shoe for racing all distances from 5km to marathon. Those accustomed to wearing super shoes with super springy foam, such as the Nike Vaporfly, will love their bounciness and barely-there upper, but those less accustomed to super-shoe might find them challenging to run in. While you’re likely to experience a boost wearing either the Metaspeed Edge or the Sky+, it’s worth digging into your running data to understand which shoe is best suited to your mechanics, so you can get the most of their respective designs. And given hefty price tag – £225 – it really is worth doing your homework.