The hardest reviews to write are the ones where you don’t have a strong opinion either way. This is where the Asics MetaRide lands, in the middle. The running shoe equivalent of the “friend zone.”
I will give the Asics team an A for effort here, at least they are trying to innovate in a market that is going to be saturated with knit uppers and carbon plates. The MetaRide achieves a unique ride with its Guidesole- Asics’ term for their rocker midsole. Their mission behind the design is to create less fatigue for the runner by focusing on “the three main elements of efficiency, cushioning and fit… to help you run further, in ultra-premium comfort.” Their FlyteFoam Propel sole is intended to preserve energy (as is the goal of most midsoles); the curved outsole is designed to give a smooth transition through the heel to toe.
Those are lofty goals that sound great. Run further without getting as tired. Who doesn’t want to be able to do that? After running in the shoe, I can say it feels different from most shoes; the MetaRide forces you to land midfoot and then has an extreme toe spring with a fulcrum right on the ball of your feet. The landing feels springy and then launches you forward in your stride. There is a bounding sensation when you first put them on that settles as you get into your mileage. The sticky Gripsole outsole rubber is close to what I imagine Spider-Man has on the bottom of his feet. Loads of traction.
The upper is pretty close to what you expect from Asics. The Circular Knit upper fits well, is breathable, with no hot spots, and runs true to size.Shop Asics MetaRide
The MetaRide is a bit awkward when walking around; the shoe needs to be running to feel somewhat normal. It is heavy at 11.70 lb/331 grams for a size 10.5. That isn’t egregious, but with a price tag of $250 I want part of the running efficiency to come from a lower weight shoe. For starters, I would recommend losing the Gel in the heel. The cushioning isn’t necessary cause you can’t land on your heel with the zero drop. The elaborate plastic on the heel counter can be 86’d too. It is as useful as camouflaged golf balls, and it adds weight. Take a look at the original Vaporfly upper or the Reebok Floatride Run Fast upper as inspiration.Shop Asics MetaRide
Initially, I thought the MetaRide was going to be fun to run in. It has a bounce to it, and the toe off feels lively. The more I ran in the shoe, the more my feelings were ho-hum. The MetaRide is comfortable, but performance-wise, it doesn’t offer enough of an upgrade from a traditional trainer to merit the $250 price tag.
The MetaRide seemed unique until I got deja vu midway through a run; the ride feels similar to the Airia One, a shoe that claimed it was more efficient as well. You can check out another review of the Airia One on Minneapolis Running. The set up of the MetaRide also feels like the footbed is designed to feel like it has a carbon plate without actually having one. I did easy runs in the MetaRide and striders, the shoe performs well at various paces.
My last run in these my calf started to hurt. I took the shoes off and switched to a different trainer and the pain went away. Maybe my muscles aren’t ready for the zero drop rocker sole.Shop Asics MetaRide