The ASICS Metarun was a limited edition running shoe that was under development and testing for 3 years with the project name of BOB (best of the best). It was launched via a social media campaign starting late October 2015, a countdown on the ASICS website and going on sale November 28 2015 ('Black Friday'). It was only on sale until 1 January 2016, at which time retailers were instructed to return all unsold inventory on that date. The initial production run was limited to 60 000 pairs. The shoe was in a different direction to the recent trend of less technology and design features in running shoes by adding even more technology and design features. The price point for the retail value of this shoe was at the higher end. The launch of the shoe was accompanied by a press release that, in part, said:
Three years ago, scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science set out on a mission with a clear objective: make the best ASICS long-distance running shoe possible. The result – MetaRun – will be available in the United States beginning November 28.
Introducing five new groundbreaking technologies :
FlyteFoam: newly patented, ASICS' lightest, most durable midsole, with organic fibers for high-level cushioning
AdaptTruss: newly patented and revolutionary carbon reinforced adaptive stability system
Sloped DUOMAX: dual density midsole that adjusts smoothly to dynamic motion
Optimized Upper: featuring a glove-like, one-layer Jacquard Mesh and MetaClutch exoskeleton external heel counter with built-in memory foam
X-GEL hybrid high-tech gel
MetaRun is designed to provide distance runners of all levels everything they need to perform at their best from start to finish – all in one shoe. Equipped with five new groundbreaking technologies that adapt to individual runner requirements, ASICS scientists have gone further than ever before to maximize all four core long-distance running functions. MetaRun sets a new benchmark for ASICS, with improvements in every area. It incorporates ASICS' lightest midsole, provides stability that kicks in when needed, has a glove-like fit, and cushioning that absorbs every impact to deliver an unparalleled ride from the first stride to the last.
"As a leader in performance running, ASICS needs to stay ahead of the game. We challenged our team of experts at ASICS Institute of Sport Science to develop a shoe that transcends current design limitations and ensures our future success. MetaRun is our most technologically-advanced shoe ever and marks a significant breakthrough for ASICS. I am delighted that our team has raised the bar higher than ever before to set a new standard for long-distance running footwear," said Motoi OYAMA, President and CEO, ASICS Corporation.
The technology and design features incorporated in the the Metarun are based around five key functions that are also underpinned by patents:
This is a new midsole that is a polyolefin foam which is 55% lighter than the usual standard midsole material. It is also claimed to be more resilient and the cushioning last longer due to "organic fibers".
This is a carbon reinforced two-piece adaptive stability system that is beneath the arch area. The system adjusts stiffness in response to changes in terrain. The AdaptTruss is claimed to flex under a more normal footplant but then become rigid if the arch of the foot 'overpronates'. By doing this it is claimed that it will adapt to the support needs of the individual runner.
The MetaClutch is an external thermoplastic cage to support the heel.
This is a thin one layered mesh to decrease friction and increase breathability.
X-GEL hybrid high-tech gel:
This is a further development of the h=gel that was previously used by Asics.
Minimalist Index: Not sure
- ASICS have not stated the reasoning behind having the shoe on the market for such a short time, but there was some speculation:
1) Its a concept shoe (like a concept car that the car makers release in very limited numbers), but we could see the technologies developed for this shoe rolled out in other Asics models over time?
2) Asics have tried to position themselves as the most eminent 'technical' and innovative running shoe maker; they have probably lost a bit of that edge or image recently, so this strategy is part of a positioning play to re-establish that dominance?
3) They trying to create some sort of 'aura' around the shoe to being unique and limited edition, so that runners who buy it feel "special"
4) They trying to do something like what happens with the limited edition sneakers culture that are made in collaboration with music stars and athletes ... however, I can not see any sneakers heads camped out overnight outside stores to buy this shoe.
- Reviews by those who have used the Metarun are generally very positive.
- Comments in social media by those who have not used the Metarun are generally negative with one-liners about the overuse of technology in the shoe by Asics
The Asics Metarun - 'Performance Mastered' (Podiatry Arena)