With a more minimal level cushion, these do great with road feel but as you start pushing the pace in these you will feel the cushion working and giving you exactly what you need. The MetaRacer is not for anything but speed. They work well for fast-paced road workouts and races up to a half marathon.
A surprising speed machine is upon us and it's not in the form of a shoe with a swoosh! Rather, it's Asics that brings a lightweight-plated racer to the show. The MetaRacer isn't trying to replicate the perfection of the Nike Vaporfly/Alphafly line, it's bringing its own take on speed and it's darn good!
Who should buy it
As opposed to other plated shoes that are focused on half to full marathon distances as seen with the plush level cushioning, the MetaRacer is for those looking for the benefits from a carbon-plated shoe but with the response and feel you need for sprint effort, mile races to near max exertion 5ks.
Who should NOT buy it
Consider other running shoes if you are looking for a:
more affordable, non-carbon plated racing shoe (the lightweight, do-it-all Noosa Tri 13 is $70 cheaper)
running shoe that offers stability features (consider a pair from the DS Trainer line)
A snug fit for a fast feel
The Asics MetaRacer fits very snug, as do many racers. The shoe does fit true to size, however. It’s secure and connects to the foot seamlessly allowing for your fast runs to shine.
Firm Cushion for aggressive speed!
The Asics MetaRacer has an excellent design and engineering of the midsole which focuses on high-speed performance. There is not any excessive spongy type cushion like you may see in a Nike plated shoe such as The Vaporfly Next %. Instead, Asics was just fine going by their own design.
It brought forth a moderate firm midsole which is rigid and curved, leading way to an excellent performer for sprint-type efforts. It doesn't really give you that cushioned-propulsion feel until efforts sub 8:00/mile, however. Anything less, you just achieve a rigid and uncomfortable experience.
High response with high speed
The Asics MetaRacer separates itself from other carbon-plated races in that it has a pretty firm midsole designed to give you an even more push when exerting yourself for high efforts.
The feel of the responsive cushion seeps in at high speed leading to a nice feel. When pushing at high efforts in other plated shoes with high cushion the gait cycle gets a bit sloppy as I felt during a recent 1-mile race in the Nike Vaporfly Flyknit 4%. The experience is much different in the MetaRacer. They set up perfect for a mile race and a recent 5k that I PRd in.
The MetaRacer needs no break-in period
These Asics are ready to go. Due to the stiff nature of the MetaRacer, no need to break-in. I would try it out before a race though so you can get used to the plated feel.
MetaRacer: Light and fast
At 6.7oz/190g, these bad boys entice you to run fast. The weight is highly intentional and comes from great design. The upper is superb in weight/lockdown ratio and the cushion is sufficient even in the minimum foam concept.
Reduced outsole protection for heel-strikers
I noticed a high-quality upper with zero concerns about durability. The outsole has no rubber at the heel, however. I am a moderate heel striker and have noticed pretty significant wear with less than 50 total miles. If you are a midfoot striker, you'll be just fine.
Strange but effective grip with the MetaRacer
My first thought of the outsole was very positive. A shoe made for road speed should reflect the minimum tread tires of a sports car. The MetaRacer's outsole is very effective and I had zero loss of traction. This thought process should carry over to other brands.
Superb breathability in the MetaRacer
Breathe baby breathe! Ventilation is the best it could get in my opinion. Out of all the aspects of this shoe, the upper design and ventilation is my favorite part of the MetaRacer.
Locked and ready!
As said already, all aspects of the upper are great! A superb lockdown takes place, which is required. The MetaRacers stiffness doesn't allow the midsole to move with the foot for stability during turns and sharp movement. A secure fit is required so you don't suffer any rolled ankles.
My preference is a very flexible and minimalist type of shoe but all that changes when it's race time. The explosion of plated-racing shoes is for a good reason...They work! I have yet to discover a plated shoe without tons of cushion though. The Asics MetaRacer is a welcomed sight to the market and fills a missing space in the shoe world. This short distance(1-10k) racer shines in its role and I am grateful for it.
I love people, and I love life. My love for people has lead me to the field of Physical Therapy and specialize in treating athletes, as well as runners. For the past 3 years, running has become my exercise. I have gone from 5k's to 1/2 marathons and now to marathons. My current PR is 3:28.