The picturesque five-kilometre running route encircling the Tokyo Imperial Palace comes alive in springtime. That’s when the pink cherry blossoms start popping up on the social media landscape, captured in vivid images, snappy captions and envy-inducing posts. But today, at the start of a rather cold winter, there are only pockets of serious runners pounding the pavement. And then, there’s me struggling to keep up, clad in the new ASICS MetaRun. The brand claims it’s the best long distance running shoe it has created in its history and I was putting the shoes through their paces.
Three years and a ton of money went into the ASICS MetaRun shoes. Along the journey, the scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS) managed to create a new foam bed they named FlyteFoam, which is 55 per cent lighter than the usual EVA foam you get in most shoes, running or otherwise, as well as four other interestingly-named technologies that sound like they belong on a spaceship than on a running shoe – AdaptTruss, Sloped DUOMAX, Jacquard Mesh and MetaClutch exoskeleton upper, and the X-GEL.
When you’re essentially given a blank cheque, you do tend to go wild. Kenta Moriyasu, one of the top scientists at the ASICS ISS, mentioned that at times, “up to 45 scientists worked on one single task”. The team also spent three times more money than their usual expenditure on research and development.
Unlike its previous running shoes, the ASICS MetaRun has a surprisingly muted colourway – black and gold. Ever since its first shoe, the Marathon Tabi (which has the distinction of being worn by the first place runner in the 1951 Boston Marathon), ASICS produced gaudy, kaleidoscopic running shoes that just became more intense with each season, as though the colour wheel was going extinct. I’m glad to say the ASICS MetaRun could potentially double up as a high-end sneaker, now that the world of sports, luxe sneakers and technology is blurring in a big way.
But back to the business of running and after about 40 minutes of leisurely jogging interspersed with short bursts of sprinting later, I must admit the ASICS MetaRun, despite its introverted exterior, is probably the best running shoes I’ve ever had the pleasure in pounding the pavement with. My legs didn’t experience any fatigue, as they usually do after a run like this, and my cadence remained consistent, thanks to the cushioning and stability that the shoes provided.
I guess all those money and years the scientists spent paid off.
There are only 60,000 pairs globally and unfortunately, approximately 40 pairs are available in Singapore at a recommended retail price of $399. The ASICS MetaRun will be available at the ASICS store at Suntec City on 19 November. I suggest you make haste.