As more and more companies release running shoes with carbon plates in the midsole, it becomes increasingly clear that the magic in Nike’s Vaporfly shoes – the 4% and NEXT% – doesn’t just come from the carbon plate. Nike’s lightweight ZoomX foam is also vital, contributing to the fast, soft and efficient ride the Vaporfly is famed for.
That’s why Brooks’s Hyperion Elite was disappointing – the hard DNA Zero foam used in the midsole had none of that bounce. And that’s also a reason why the Asics MetaRacer might struggle, because in our experience the Flytefoam foam used in the shoe is nothing like as bouncy as Nike’s ZoomX.
However, Asics does have one notable extra trick up its sleeve: the Guidesole design on the shoe, which produces a rocker effect from heel-to-toe. This Guidesole was first seen on the MetaRide running shoe, which admittedly we did not like, and then on the GlideRide running shoe, which we also did not like. However, the third time was the charm, because the recently-released EvoRide is great.
Key to the improvement is that Asics made the EvoRide lighter than the MetaRide and GlideRide, so it lost the cumbersome feel of those earlier shoes. With the EvoRide we could feel the benefit of the rocker in the shoe, and rolled through our runs in comfort and at speed when required.
That bodes well for the newly announced MetaRacer, which will use that rocker in a stripped-back racing shoe that weighs just 190g in men’s and 155g in women’s. The result should be a fast and efficient ride, because the Guidesole tech is designed to reduce the energy lost with each stride.
The MetaRacer also has a new toe-spring shape to improve your push-offs and reduce the load on your calves, which get beaten up badly over the course of a long race like a marathon.
We’ll be putting the MetaRacer to the test as soon as we can to see if it is any match for the all-conquering Vaporfly. The shoe will be available in Japan from 17th April and globally from 26th June, and will cost £180.