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Asics’ Dual Sneaker Launch Targets Two Different Running Styles

Asics’ two latest running sneakers, unveiled Tuesday at the sportswear company’s virtual Innovation Summit, were born from a simple idea: not all athletes run the same way.

According to Asics, scientists at its Institute of Sport Science (ISS) realized that the type of shoes used by the world’s fastest were only favoring one type of runner, “stride runners,” those who increase their speed by extending their stride length. By designing solely for these athletes, footwear companies were leaving behind athletes who favored the second major running style, “cadence,” which involves both extending stride length and increasing the number of steps taken per minute.

Asics’s two latest running shoes—the Metaspeed Sky for stride runners and the Metaspeed Edge for cadence runners—attempt to account for these differences. According to Asics, initial tests showed that its Metaspeed innovation could help reduce the number of steps a marathon runner takes by 1.2 percent.

“The Metaspeed journey began with the simple insight that athletes run faster in shoes are that specially tailored for them,” Kenichi Harano, executive officer and senior general manager at Asics’ ISS, said in a statement. “Following a lengthy, meticulous research and development process, Metaspeed Sky and Metaspeed Edge were born. Optimized for the two most prevalent running styles in elite runners, they are both at the very pinnacle of running innovation. Our initial tests are already showing them to have an impact on the times of the elite runners’ we’ve been working with.”

Both shoes feature a propulsive carbon plate and what Asics described as its “lightest and bounciest midsole foam to date.” According to Canadian Running, the main differences between the two shoes relate to weight, midsole thickness, heel-to-toe drop and forefoot curvature, with the heavier Sky featuring the thicker midsole, sharper forefoot curvature and shorter drop.

The Metaspeed Sky launched globally on Asics’ website and at select specialty retailers Wednesday. The Metaspeed Edge, meanwhile, is slated to debut on June 4.