ASICS MetaRide Review Facts
The Asics MetaRide is the result of 2 years of research and development including 7 prototypes and 70 samples, by a team of scientists and designers in Japan. The MetaRide sole design is meant to promote this idea of effortless coasting. The standout feature is the bright red rocker shaped guide cell with a stiff forefoot design, made to cut down ankle movement and save energy.
This shoe is visually striking with its black and red and also because of the curved midsole that is quite a throwback to the MBT shoes popular a decade ago. The makers of this shoe promise a ‘“completely new running sensation” and we can agree as the rocking motion of the shoe is quite unlike anything you’ve experienced in an Asics shoe.
The outsole is made of a proprietary new compound from Asics called ‘Grip’ which feels and looks like red plastic. But it sticks to wet and dry and dry pavement very well. There is a large cutout in the midfoot where you can see some of the Flytefoam. You can see several guidance lines that are fairly aggressive in the curvature.
In the lower midsole, the Flytefoam Propel, 3D Guidance line and Gel technology work in synergy to provide perpetual cushioning to support runners during long-distance running. The layer closest to your foot is the Flytefoam light which is nice and responsive which allows you to feel the cushioning when you’re making contact with the ground. Right underneath is the Asics GEL which is primarily focused on the heel providing a dampening force. The GEL splits the two foam layers and the holes in the midfoot and the heel of the shoe also deepen the segregation.
The layer closest to the ground is the Flytefoam Propel that claims to be more responsive and bouncy so that when you’re propelling off the ground, you get a little more of a kickback.
The upper is made of 2 different kinds of material- circular knit above the toe box. At the rear is a nicely padded Achilles collar and can be comparable to the Nimbus 21
. There is an external heel counter called the MetaClutch which provides a nice secure grip. Instead of being symmetrical as most other shoes, it is asymmetric. On the lateral side, we can see in sinking for a little more release and on the medial side, it stays up higher. The wing outlays also curve upwards to hold the foot together without over impeding things.
We can see linear support lines that follow the length of your foot, keeping it pressed down on the midsole. The tongue of the shoe is not attached, unlike the one-piece upper trend which is the case with many other shoes. Still, the laces go through the tongue and prevent it from moving around too much. It is a little old-school but workable. The tongue is also standard in size, soft but not too puffy.
The shoes weigh 10.6 oz for a men’s size 9 which is fairly lightweight for a shoe with intense cushioning. The presence of a hole in the midfoot is one attempt by Asics to reduce weight and also provide a distinctive look. This is quite different from other ASICS shoes which have a plastic Trussic piece inserted in the midfoot for stability.
If you prefer minimal shoes with a lightweight body, the MetaRide may be very different than what you’re used to. It’s certainly not the heaviest shoe on the market but there is quite a lot of padding here. It’s designed to help you run for longer yet not fatigue easy so cushioning is imperative to the shoe and Asics have no plans of removing this feature anytime soon.
At first glance, it looks like there’s only a spot of knit material but it actually comes all the way from the side of the foot and wraps all the way around. Around any part that would touch your ankle, there is plush foam and the padding continues towards the tongue. Given its superior cushioning, you would expect it to be hot but the knit upper gives this shoe a lot of breathability and ventilation. The circular knit upper definitely enhances the comfort of the shoe and moves very well. Breathability is the best that we have seen from Asics in a while.
The Asics MetaRide counts on its cushioning and its responsiveness to differentiate from other shoes and it gets a thumbs up for these features. It is a 31mm stack so it is a maximally cushioned shoe with a zero drop. The midsole relies on two systems of midsole cushioning which explains the high stack.
Comparable to Adidas’s Boost midsole, the Asics MetaRide relies on the bouncy Flytefoam which gives it the softness of a daily trainer and the minimal weight needed in a marathon racer.
Combined with the patented gel cushioning, the midsole ensures that your foot is protected from shock from heel strikes and superior comfort. As a bonus, the ‘Metaclutch’ proprietary heel counter is light and flexible enough to cushion your heel and keep it in position.
MetaRide is quite large in appearance but has a structured and colored midsole, a bright red outsole and a classy upper. Its design is quite unlike its competitors and certainly stands out from the crowd. The upper is made of a soft circular knit with the classic ASICS Tiger logo overlays. It may seem like a nitpick but many reviewers wish that the logo was part of the weave of the shoe. This shoe should mold to a wide variety of foot types and fits true to size.
While this shoe is too new to give a verdict on the durability
, one runner who ran the initial hundred miles reported that the Grip outsole did not show the usual signs of wear and tear. Given the price of the shoe, expectations of its durability are quite high and runners are hoping the shoe will last several hundred miles to be completely worth its price.
Asics is known to make shoes that protect your feer over long-distance runs. And because this shoe is not minimal, you can expect it to amp up on the protection aspects. With the use of stiffer mesh in the toe cap and along the midfoot and a circular knit in other areas, the shoe holds the foot steadily allowing for enough movement to feel secure but not tied-down. The heel counter gives the shoe a good structure but is a bit more rounded. The majority of the shock absorption comes from the GEL that is laid out between the two foams.
Many runners found the shoe to be more efficient the faster they ran. Further, the center of mass is further back than normal which means there is less of a lever at the rear when you take the next stride.
Asics intention behind the shoe is to make it easier for runners to go long-distance and speed isn’t the goal. Nevertheless, the 3D guidance lines help the shoe with smooth transitions and move the foot towards the front rocker. These lines begin at the rear, travel through the midsole and the midfoot to reach a wide decoupling groove in the front of the shoe.
To make running easier, Asics wanted to reduce the amount of energy lost during running. They describe their vision as an eco-car that’s more fuel-efficient. While running the heel-contact phase and the propulsion phase consume the most energy. To counter this the midsole is designed with Guidesole technology to embody an actual curvature that reduces the flex angle at the joint
. Many runners felt the stack height while running and mentioned feeling off the ground.
This shoe is designed for long-distance running and can work well on asphalt, pavements, rocky terrain and even gyms
. Some runners used these shoes on treadmill workouts and were pleased with the amount of cushioning that was felt from the first step. Though the grip was quite strong over most terrain, these shoes did not provide a secure feel on the snow. Some reviewers mentioned that the shoe was more suited for long-distance racing than everyday training.
The cost is a bit steep in comparison to other long-distance running shoes but is a really beautifully crafted shoe that will last hundreds of miles. Asics has justified the price by calling this shoe a ‘concept’ that stands out from its competitors. Seeing as they spent 2 years of scientific research and used the best proprietary materials, we can understand the pricing however amateur runners will find the price off-putting. This price will seem well worth it to Asics fans and serious runners.
The outsole is a thin layer of patented Grip rubber that is quite similar to the rubber on New Balance shoes
. Reviewers had no complaints about the shoe’s traction and remarked that they felt secure and stable on dry, rocky or wet terrain. One runner also mentioned that she ran on wet road paint and still didn’t feel slippery. Given that it is not built for extremely muddy or snowy terrain, the MetaRide’s traction on snow was shaky. A side-effect of the superior grip is the squeaky noise produced sometimes on very smooth surfaces.
The MetaRide was built to eliminate how much the foot has to work during your run. It does this primarily by structuring a curvature on the bottom of the shoe. This makes the shoe extremely rigid so that when your foot is ready to approach the ground and make contact, the rounded heel decreases the necessity for that foot to dorsiflex (upward motion).
When you run in more flexible shoes, you have to use your calf muscles more to propel your foot forward and push off your big toe. But the MetaRide does most of this work for you because of its rigidity and curvature. You can keep the angle of your foot and the shin the same throughout the course of your run.
Although the Guidesole technology aims to save energy while running, it also performs the task of adding structure to the feet, keeping it nice and stable within the shoe. In the heel, you can see a reinforced heel counter that gives the shoe more than enough structure. The laces contain raised fiber dots that help to retain the knot and hold throughout the run.
With both the heel height and forefoot height at 30 mm, this shoe has a 0mm drop, which is a big departure for most Asics shoes. The zero-drop and the front rocker is a part of the system that prevents the ankle from flexing up and the toes from flexing down. This shoe can be considered a neutral shoe but mild pronators would enjoy it too. Some reviewers commented that the GEL in the heel was not really necessary as the zero-drop meant that they wouldn’t land on the heel anyway.
-Flytefoam light technology in the midsole
-Flytefoam Propel for a supreme boost
-Circular Knit Upper
While many brands are moving towards innovations in speed, with the MetaRide and 3 upcoming models, Asics has chosen to make running easier. They claim in their PR that this shoe reduces energy loss by one-fifth by allowing a heel-to-toe rocking motion thus making your gait natural and efficient.
While we have no way to test the statistics, we will go ahead and recommend this shoe for neutral runners who are looking for the ultimate in cushioning with good support and stability. This is a good choice for fast runners and overpronators who are rough on their outsoles and midsoles. Another segment can be runners looking for recovery shoes because they can help you stay consistent with your stride.
This shoe does get polarizing opinions due to its price and the extremely curved sole. Seeing as years went into its making, we can definitely appreciate every piece of ASICS proprietary technology that has been added to the shoe.