The Asics Metaride allows heel strikers to clock big mileage with less effort

Kerry McCarthy

From Runner's World

  • Weight: 306g (M) 249g (W)
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: 0mm
  • Type: Road
  • Price: £225

RW summary

‘A shoe for heel strikers to clock big mileage with less effort.’

  • plush heel counter
  • feels heavy and stiff at first
  • easy, consistent toe-off due to curved outsole
  • not easy to run inclines on.

This was Asics’s flagship launch for 2019, and the result of much R&D. It has been put in the same bracket as the Hoka Carbon X or the Nike Vaporfly Next% - but while it propels your foot off the floor quicker than your average shoe that’s as far as the comparison goes. The other two are lightweight speedsters to be used by the masses for shorter races whereas Asics intend this to be a shoe for heel strikers of all abilities to keep on going while minimising the stress of a long run.

Rocker outsole

The usual looking outsole gives the impression the Metaride will have all the grip of a bowling shoe, but in fact it was decent: RW Editor-in-Chief Andy Dixon remarked of it: ‘I thought traction would be an issue as the tread looks minimal, but actually grip was fine in the dry and light wet. It was a bit less sure-footed in very wet conditions however.’

Curved midsole

You can feel the rocker effect - it’s quite pronounced when walking; when running it does feel like the shoe is pushing you forward onto and off your toes. Although it’s quite a firm feeling ride, once you get going the shoe lets you just float along. The transition from footstrike to toe-off is very smooth. Although it’s not a stability shoe per se, because the rocker is guiding the foot through, it does offer an amount of support/guidance simply by virtue of the fact that it does not allow your foot time to wobble inwards at the back on ground contact. This effect is only desirable on the flat though, as your gait naturally changes on an incline in either direction, at which point the rocker becomes more of a slight hindrance.

A thick, plush upper

This actually bucks the trend for ever-thinner and lighter uppers. It’s thick, plush and feels extremely luxuriant, compressing nicely against the foot without pinching anywhere. The toebox is nice and roomy, while the significant padding around the ankle collar is super comfy. It feels like a good shoe for long miles and marathons.

ASICS undertook research in conjunction with Progressive Sports Technologies based at Loughborough University and their claim is that the results show the Guidesole brings about a 20% reduction in energy loss around the ankle joint, which is significant. There’s obviously no way for us to verify this but the shoes feel immediately different when you put them on. It’s a lovely shoe to wear when you get up into the higher mileage runs for marathon training, working with rather than against you – and overall feels like the first Asics shoe for ages that has genuinely offered an innovation that is effective and beneficial.

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