Cast your eyes down at the feet of most runners hovering closest to the start line at pretty much any race. The best running shoes you’ll see being worn by those most eager to leave the rest of the pack in the dust will be the ones brandishing the big swoosh: Nike, in many ways, still holds the racing day crown.
Slowly but surely, though, that sea of ticks is being invaded by the Onitsuka Tiger stripes of the Asics Metaspeed Sky+. Asics launched the Sky—its answer to Nike’s Vaporfly—in 2021. A year later came the Sky+, a revamp that tried and succeeded to find parity with the competition. Since then, this trainer has been a knockout option you’ll want to lace up when speed is the goal.
To make the Sky+ a race day shoe that’ll urge you to run ever-faster, Asics has introduced a mesh Motion Wrap upper. Sitting even lighter than the one used on the first Sky, each shoe now weighs just over 100g, meaning it matches more closely to the lightness of competitive racing shoes. Down below is an AsicsGrip rubber outsole that’ll hold strong on roads and pavements—and even when routes start to twist and turn.
In between that almost paper-thin upper and grippy outsole is now a much bigger serving of Asics’ FF Blast Turbo foam, too. There’s still some squidginess here, but this wedge of support also provides some lively bounce when you start to go through the gears. Asics has also repositioned its on-trend carbon fibre plate that sits inside of its curvaceous silhouette to make sure it’s delivering high energy returns when it’s time to take these shoes for a marathon distance.
The result is a shoe that really can go toe-to-toe with the competition. That reworked midsole gives you a spring, and has lead to noticeably increased comfort on longer runs: when you hit your quickest stride, it really hits its stride too.
The skinny upper and tongue keeps feet nicely locked in and it’s instantly one you know is primed for speed the second you pick up yours. The outsole holds firm in dry and rainier conditions too, though can pick up wear quickly, which means—like Nike’s super shoes—it’s one to keep on reserve for those PB-chasing days.
Asics says the Sky+, like the Sky, is designed for runners who increase their stride length when they increase their speed. Whether you’re a ‘stride runner’ or not, though, this isn’t one you’re going to be able to simply amble around in on slower days. If you do wear these for slower runs, you simply won’t be getting the most out of them.
The clue really is in the name here: it’s called Metaspeed because it wants you to go fast. Not built to endure an easy amble around the park or a session on the gym treadmill, here is a shoe that wants you to run your fastest-ever marathon. More comfortable than the original Sky, Asics has truly made a racing shoe that can take on distances well into the double digits. It’s taken some time, but Asics now has a shoe that can rival Nike’s and Adidas’ current racing greats.
This story was originally published on British GQ with the headline, “Asics’ Metaspeed Sky+ was made for your fastest-ever marathon”.