Our verdict

Our experience with ASICS' Magic Speed 3 was exceptionally favourable. This shoe expertly combines the FF Blast+ foam from the Novablast 4 with design elements and geometry inspired by the Metaspeed Edge+, resulting in a stellar mix of affordability and supershoe features. Priced attractively at just £160, it features a carbon plate, an impressively lightweight build, and a top-quality, breathable upper. However, while the foam provides good cushioning, it falls slightly short in terms of energy return. Also, its narrow design, though beneficial for a snug fit, might not be the most comfortable choice for runners with wider feet.

Pros

  • Perfectly balanced midsole
  • Ample cushioning for extended runs
  • Highly breathable monomesh upper
  • Attractively priced
  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Suitable for racing
  • Grippy and long-lasting outsole
  • Great deal at $160 for a carbon-plated shoe

Cons

  • Likely too narrow for some
  • Midsole could use more energy return
  • Upper could be more durable

Audience verdict

90
Superb!

Who should buy

We believe the ASICS Magic Speed 3 is an excellent choice for:

  • Runners seeking a similar experience to the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+/Edge+ but at a more affordable price point, avoiding the £250 tag.
  • Anyone searching for a feather-light shoe focused on tempo runs or faster paces.
  • Those exploring their first carbon-plated shoe and aiming to spend the least amount possible.

Asics Magic Speed 3

Who should NOT buy

The Magic Speed 3 presents a great mix of features at a reasonable price, but we think it may not be suitable for every runner.

For those chasing peak performance, we know a carbon plate alone isn't enough. It should be complemented by a top-tier foam offering substantial energy return, and unfortunately, FF Blast+ doesn't quite make that cut.

While you might have to spend a bit more, we believe that faster alternatives like the Nike Vaporfly 3, ASICS Metaspeed Edge+, or Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 are worth considering.

Asics Magic Speed 3 parts

Additionally, the Magic Speed 3 might not be the best fit for runners with wide feet due to its very narrow midfoot. If you're looking for an uptempo shoe with a wider upper, the ASICS Superblast or the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 are excellent alternatives to explore.

Breathability

We were totally sure that the Magic Speed 3 would excel in our breathability test. Right from unboxing, the upper appeared super thin to us, promising great airflow. But we're not here to make guesses—we're here to do lab tests.

When we pumped smoke into the MS3 with our machine, we discovered that the upper is incredibly breathable, even without having large ventilation holes. That's a good 4/5 for us.

A major plus of this design is the overall excellent airflow throughout the shoe, not just in the toebox, as our light test showed. This means the midfoot area stays cool, which is fantastic.

Asics Magic Speed 3 microscope

To really get why the shoe breathes so well and evenly, we headed over to our microscope. The sight was astonishing—a single-layer mesh with thousands of mini-ventilation holes in the upper. We were totally impressed.

Asics Magic Speed 3

This is one of the most outstanding uppers we've encountered in the lab, and it looks absolutely amazing under the microscope.

And here's the kicker—ASICS managed to vary the upper's density in a single piece by tweaking the thread patterns. The closer you get to the toebox, the thinner it becomes. Simply awesome.

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 4
Average 3.8
Compared to 235 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Given the incredibly thin mesh, we were worried about the durability test even before firing up the Dremel in the lab.

But, we had to face it. As expected, it's a disappointing 1/5—the upper was totally wrecked after the test.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Toebox durability
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 1
Average 2.4
Compared to 169 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

We then shifted our focus to the heel, hoping for a better outcome—and we weren't disappointed.

With a solid 3/5, this area performed significantly better than the toebox. We're confident you won't see any early wear and tear here.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Heel padding durability
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 165 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Switching to the outsole, we discovered a super soft rubber with a hardness of 69.4 HC that clings like claws in dry conditions.

Asics Magic Speed 3 outsole

The outsole boasts good rubber coverage on both sides and in the forefoot. However, it also aims for weight reduction, featuring plenty of exposed foam.

This shows the shoe's heritage from the Metaspeed Edge+, all around. But here's the question—will this racing outsole work well from a durability standpoint?

Asics Magic Speed 3 Outsole hardness
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 69.4 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 286 running shoes
Number of shoes
52.1 HC
Outsole hardness
93.0 HC

Outsole durability

To assess the outsole's durability, we fired up the Dremel for the third time.

Once the Dremel had worked its magic at 10K RPM, we noticed a minimal 0.5-mm indentation—an exceptional result.

This leaves us with one clear thought—ASICS used the same world-class rubber found in their £250 racing shoes. And the best part? You get it for £90 less.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Outsole durability
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 0.5 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 147 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

In the outsole, we found 2.4 mm of rubber, which seems more than enough to last the entire lifespan of the shoe. It's also 0.3 mm thicker than on the Edge+.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Outsole thickness
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 2.4 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Weighing in at just 7.4 oz (211g), ASICS did an incredible job keeping the shoe under 8 ounces.

In fact, it's a mere 0.17 oz heavier than the Metaspeed Sky+, which is quite a feat. This is especially impressive considering it has more rubber on the outsole and extra padding in the upper.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Weight
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 7.44 oz (211g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The Magic Speed 3 is taller than it appears, as we were surprised to measure a generous 36.3 mm in the heel.

This makes the shoe a delight for heel strikers, and it even allows for comfortable use on long runs if necessary.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Heel stack
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 36.3 mm
Average 33.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot turned out to be a bit thinner than we expected, yet it's still thicker than the average at 26.5 mm.

This means there's plenty of cushioning underfoot for those who strike the ground with the front part of their feet.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Forefoot stack
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 26.5 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
36.9 mm

Drop

ASICS claims the shoe has a 7-mm offset, but following World Athletics' official guidelines, we measured it at 9.8 mm.

Despite this, the shoe feels very universal, suitable for all types of footstrikes, much like a daily training shoe.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Drop
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 9.8 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is impressively thin at just 2.9 mm, aiming for significant weight reduction.

Plus, it's perforated for enhanced ventilation—a fantastic feature that only a few shoes offer and one we truly appreciate.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Insole thickness
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 2.9 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 301 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

We mentioned earlier that this shoe is £90 cheaper than its Metaspeed counterparts, and here's where most of the savings come in.

Instead of the PEBA-based, super-bouncy FF Turbo foam, the Magic Speed 3 uses a dual-layer configuration of FF Blast+. This is a mix of EVA and OBC, the same as in the daily trainer ASICS Novablast 4. And it's really different from the firmer feel that the Magic Speed 2 delivered.

Asics Magic Speed 3 foam

FF Blast+ is a pretty good foam with a soft feel, clocking in at 18.3 HA in the bottom layer. However, don't expect a super energetic foam, as that's not what FF Blast+ is about. But for training purposes, and even for racing for many people, it's more than sufficient.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Midsole softness
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 18.3 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 233 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The top layer (red) is slightly firmer to enhance stability at 21.1 HA, and it sits above the carbon plate. This combination works really well because the softer foam beneath the plate, in direct contact with the ground, provides a more comfortable ride.

All in all, the FF Blast+, combined with the carbon fibre plate, offers a great pop at both aerobic and tempo paces.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 21.1 HA
Average 24.9 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Midsole softness in cold

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

To see how the lower foam—the one that contacts the ground—behaves in cold temperatures, we placed it in our freezer for 20 minutes and then re-tested it with the durometer.

Now, it registered at 20.3 HA, which is almost the same.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 20.3 HA
Average 26.5 HA
Compared to 232 running shoes
Number of shoes
12.4 HA
Midsole softness in cold (soft to firm)
51.3 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

That's only an 11% increase, which is fantastic for an EVA-based foam. It seems that blending EVA with OBC (Olefin Block Copolymers) really paid off!

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 11%
Average 25.5%
Compared to 232 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

In our opinion, the ASICS Magic Speed 3 is a neutral shoe, yet it includes features that add a bit more stability, like midfoot sidewalls. These aren't too noticeable but offer great support.

Overall, we think those needing slight stability can comfortably use it for short to moderate distances or track workouts.

Torsional rigidity

Boasting a full-length carbon plate, we anticipated maximum torsional rigidity, and that's exactly what the MS3 delivered. We had to give it a 5/5 rating since it's nearly impossible to flex or bend.

The carbon plate brings both advantages and drawbacks. It makes the shoe very stable and provides a peppy ride, but it can also be too uncomfortable for long runs. This is especially true for those sensitive to rigid elements, like runners with Morton's neuroma or similar issues.

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 5
Average 3.3
Compared to 284 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel is actually the opposite of stiff, scoring just 2/5 in our manual assessment. Despite this, we found that the MS3 delivers a solid heel lockdown, something that ASICS has consistently excelled at in their latest models.

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 268 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

At this point in our thorough lab review, we were wondering—how on earth did ASICS manage to keep the shoe's weight so low with such a high stack height and more rubber than the Metaspeeds?

Well, here's the answer. At 104.9 mm, the shoe is quite narrow, and that's where its agility and lightness come from. Because of this, runners who prefer wider landing platforms should probably avoid this one and look for something like the Hoka Mach X.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 104.9 mm
Average 113.8 mm
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel follows the same design approach, measuring just 85.1 mm.

These dimensions, along with the carbon plate, are also why this shoe is less suited for everyday runs and more geared towards faster, intense workouts.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 85.1 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Another surprise came during our longitudinal stiffness test. Here, we bend the shoe to 90 degrees and measure the force needed to do so, which was 31.4N this time.

We found that the carbon fibre plate in the Magic Speed 3's midsole is more flexible than those in the Metaspeeds. ASICS clearly understood that this shoe would primarily be used for training, so delivering a hyper-stiff ride wouldn't make sense.

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 31.4N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 288 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Stiffness in cold

Under cold temperatures, the shoe changed slightly. We re-tested it after spending 20 minutes in our freezer and got a pretty similar result at 35.6N.

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 35.6N
Average 38.3N
Compared to 288 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.5N
Stiffness in cold
110.2N

Difference in stiffness in cold

That's just a 13.4% difference, once again highlighting the impressive performance of the FF Blast+ foam.

Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 13.4%
Average 35.9%
Compared to 288 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Grip / Traction

We were totally sure that the Magic Speed 3 would excel in our breathability test. Right from unboxing, the upper appeared super thin to us, promising great airflow. But we're not here to make guesses—we're here to do lab tests.

When we pumped smoke into the MS3 with our machine, we discovered that the upper is incredibly breathable, even without having large ventilation holes. That's a good 4/5 for us.

A major plus of this design is the overall excellent airflow throughout the shoe, not just in the toebox, as our light test showed. This means the midfoot area stays cool, which is fantastic.

Asics Magic Speed 3 microscope

To really get why the shoe breathes so well and evenly, we headed over to our microscope. The sight was astonishing—a single-layer mesh with thousands of mini-ventilation holes in the upper. We were totally impressed.

Asics Magic Speed 3

This is one of the most outstanding uppers we've encountered in the lab, and it looks absolutely amazing under the microscope.

And here's the kicker—ASICS managed to vary the upper's density in a single piece by tweaking the thread patterns. The closer you get to the toebox, the thinner it becomes. Simply awesome.

Size and fit

Length

Boasting a full-length carbon plate, we anticipated maximum torsional rigidity, and that's exactly what the MS3 delivered. We had to give it a 5/5 rating since it's nearly impossible to flex or bend.

The carbon plate brings both advantages and drawbacks. It makes the shoe very stable and provides a peppy ride, but it can also be too uncomfortable for long runs. This is especially true for those sensitive to rigid elements, like runners with Morton's neuroma or similar issues.

Toebox width at the widest part

With its slim platform, we anticipated a tight-fitting upper. But we couldn't be sure until we whipped out our callipers.

Asics Magic Speed 3

Measuring at 93.2 mm, the Magic Speed 3 offers a race-like fit, perfect for those with narrow feet. If you have average-sized feet, it's still manageable, provided you're okay with a snug, performance-oriented upper.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 93.2 mm
Average 98.4 mm
Compared to 306 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Runners with average-width feet can comfortably sport the Magic Speed 3, thanks to ASICS making the big toe area wider than the average, at 79.4 mm.

This creates a unique fit that suits many runners—snug in the midfoot but spacious in the toes. It's also ideal for running at marathon pace and faster.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 79.4 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 180 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue is semi-gusseted, which we believe is the perfect approach for a shoe built for speed.

It doesn't add unnecessary bulk or weight inside the shoe, yet it greatly enhances the lockdown, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

With its 2.9 mm tongue padding, the MS3 hits a sweet spot.

Asics Magic Speed 3 tongue

It's more cushion than what you'd find in a racing shoe—usually less than 1 mm—and less than in a training shoe, which often has over 5 mm.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Tongue padding
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 2.9 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 303 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

Since it shares design cues with the ASICS Metaspeed series, the heel tab wasn't even in the cards.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Heel tab
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 None

Removable insole

You can switch out the insole in the Magic Speed 3 since it's not glued down.

But remember, the original insole is super thin and the heel is really narrow. So, if you pick a different one, make sure it's about the same thickness, or you'll end up with less space inside the shoe.

Asics Magic Speed 3 Removable insole
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

ASICS skipped the reflective elements on the Magic Speed 3, and honestly, we're pretty bummed about it. Maybe they'll add them in version 4?

Asics Magic Speed 3 Reflective elements
Test results
Asics Magic Speed 3 No