The Asics Metaspeed Sky+ is a shoe that can go toe-to-toe with Nike’s super shoes and is one to save for race day and training at your race pace. Whether the changes Asics has made has made it a vastly better shoe than the first Sky is up for the debate. What you can’t debate though is that if you want a shoe that feels great to run fast in, this is currently one of the best you can do it in.
Increased midsole foam from first Sky
Retains that nice, bouncy feel at speed
Light, thin upper
Durability issues at heel persist
It’s still very expensive
Upper changes don’t feel huge
Why you can trust TechRadar
Weight: 205g (men's size 8)
Heel drop: 5mm
The Metaspeed Sky+ sees Asics update the original Metaspeed Sky, a shoe that arguably brought it firmly into the conversation of carbon plate super shoes alongside Nike and Adidas’ top-end performance options.
With the Sky+, Asics is promising improvements in a host of departments including an enhanced upper, more foam in the midsole and a repositioned carbon fiber plate to make this an even better shoe to run fast in across all distances.
It still feels to us like a shoe that truly comes into its own at half to marathon distances, and it's one of the best running shoes for this. However, plenty will be able to use it to chase PBs at shorter distances as well.
The changes in the upper don’t feel vast, but the extra midsole foam should make it a much better partner for going the marathon distance compared to the first Sky.
It’s still very expensive and there are definitely still question marks about the durability, particularly at the back of the shoe. If you have the running style to match the qualities the Sky+ offers, there’s a shoe here that can rival the best that Nike and Adidas has to offer for those who are already running super speedy 5k, 10, half marathon and full marathon times and want to feel like they can still go even faster.
Asics Metaspeed Sky+: Price and availability
Asics Metaspeed Sky+: Design
Design verdict: 4/5
The Metaspeed Sky+, like its predecessor, is a shoe designed to keep the weight down and provide a design that can assist you best when it’s time to race.
Joined by the Metaspeed Edge+, the Sky+ is the option in Asics’ new performance shoe duo that’s aimed at what it refers to as ‘stride’ runners. These are runners that extend their stride length when they increase their speed but don't increase, or only slightly increase, the number of steps they take per minute.
The Sky+'s sibling shoe, the Edge+, is for ‘cadence’ runners who also increase their speed by extending stride length but additionally increase the number of steps they take per minute.
With the Sky+, you’re getting a shoe that weighs 205g, which is 5g lighter than the first Sky despite the addition of more midsole foam. There’s now 4% more of the same FF Blast Turbo midsole still made from a nylon-based foam that’s built to be light and offer a responsive shoe to run in. It retains the same 5mm heel-to-drop with a 34mm stack at the heel and 29mm at the forefoot.
The carbon fiber plate is still there too, though it’s been repositioned to sit much higher in the midsole now and with that same curved sole design aims to bump up the Sky+’s energy return credentials.
In the upper department, Asics has made some changes moving to what it calls a Motion Wrap upper, that’s still made from mesh, but sees changes made to what feels like lighter, braid-style laces and offers more structure than the first Sky. The tongue is thin, the space in the toe box felt just about right and the fit at the midfoot and heel felt good to us in our UK size 8.
Last and by no means is that outsole, which employs Asics’ AsicsGrip outsole rubber to deliver something that’ll offer strong traction on roads. There’s still more of that rubber up front compared to further back, so if you’re placing most of that force in the forefoot, you should reap the benefits of the satisfyingly grippy outsole.
Asics Metaspeed Sky+: Performance
Performance verdict: 4/5
Like the Sky, the Sky+ is designed to be a shoe you slip on when you want to feel your fastest. Whether that’s race day or training at your race pace, that’s where you’ll get the most out of what this shoe has to offer. Whether that’s the adjusted carbon plate, extra portion of light, or FF Blast Turbo midsole foam wrapped up in that thin mesh upper.
We’ve aimed to test it in those very conditions, running with it for quick 10k runs, putting it to the test in a 5K time trial with Asics, and racing with it at the Edinburgh Half Marathon. We also wore it for two long training runs to see how it handles when you want to go further. Knowing what distance you want to run is key when trying to find the right running shoe for you.
Some love the Sky at shorter distances but we couldn’t quite get on with it on our nippy 5k and 10k race distances. We had a much more pleasant experience racing and training at marathon and half marathon pace. That’s where this shoe really feels like it comes into its own. That midsole foam feels soft and springy and now there’s more of it too, making it better suited for long distances when you want that extra level of support and comfort.
It’s a shoe that you feel you can effortlessly run at a fast pace and maintain that over a distance without feeling particularly tiring on the legs or hard to engage with what makes this shoe a special one. Asics has made some key changes here with the repositioning of the carbon fibre plate to promote better energy return along with adding more of that midsole foam, though we can’t say they dramatically altered our experience of running in this shoe compared to its predecessor.
The outsole grip is the perfect fit for road runs, though like the Sky, there’s not a lot of protection further back in the heel compared to the forefoot. As someone that heel strikes, that meant after around 70km of running in it, there’s been some wear at the heel of one side of the shoes.
It was the same story on the original Sky and definitely leaves question marks over the durability and the regularity you should use this shoe. We say save it for when going quickly really matters.
Overall though, this is a super shoe that can be mentioned in the same sentence as Nike’s Alphafly and Vaporfly shoes and Adidas’ Adizero Adios Pro shoes. It’s built for speed and while it’s going to burn a vast hole in your pocket, the fast rewards are there if you decide to part with your money.
Buy it if...
You want a shoe to go fast in
If you’re looking for a shoe that gives you that speedy feeling, going short or long, this is one of the best shoes to do it in.
You want a Nike Vaporfly or Alphafly alternative
If you’ve tried one of Nike’s performance shoes and they didn’t quite do it for you, the Sky+ is a fine alternative to consider instead.
Don't buy it if...
You want a shoe that does it all
Like the Metaspeed Sky, the Sky+ is one you reserve for race day or your faster training runs. The durability simply doesn’t stack up to be a shoe for all sessions.
You want the best performance shoe available.
The Metaspeed Sky+ is an excellent shoe, but it still comes a close second to Nike’s Vaporfly and Alphafly shoes.
Want a phenomenal running shoe alternative at a bit more of a value price? You can frequently find last year's top Vaporfly model on sale these days, if you shop around, and they'll still last you many years.
Michael is a freelance journalist who has covered consumer technology for over a decade and specializes in wearable and fitness tech. Previously editor of Wareable, he also co-ran the features and reviews sections of T3, and has a long list of bylines in the world of consumer tech sites.
With a focus on fitness trackers, headphones, running wearables, phones, and tablet, he has written for numerous publications including Wired UK, GQ, Men's Fitness, BBC Science Focus, Metro and Stuff, and has appeared on the BBC Travel Show. Michael is a keen swimmer, a runner with a number of marathons under his belt, and is also the co-founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers.