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ASICS Marathon Racing Shoes 2024 Review: MAGIC SPEED™ 4, METASPEED™ PARIS Series, NOVABLAST™ 4 - Sole Mates [Episode 23]

Hybrid athlete and running shoes connoisseur Samuel Chua is the lastest runner to join John Yeong on set as review marathon racing shoes for the upcoming TCS Sydney Marathon 2024, reviewing ASICS' latest CELEBRATION OF SPORT Collection


"Sole Mates" is a series made by runners created for runners, and a initiative to help you find the right running footwear for you and your runs.

As part of this series, has teamed up with local running content creators, Key Opinion Leaders and athletes to have them share their thoughts on the latest running footwear.

As a hybrid athlete and HYROX Singapore ambassador, Samuel Chua may be known as much for his lifts and sled pushes as he is for his passion in running shoes, and with the 26 year-old is looking forward to making his Sydney Marathon debut this year.

"But just what does Samuel look for in a good pair of marathon racing shoes?" asked host John Yeong, particularly if one is looking to run in this year's TCS Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS?


"Some of the main things I look out for in a marathon racing shoe firstly will be the upper and how breathable it is especially in humid conditions, as well as the lockdown of the upper. I would ensure that there are no hotspots for the shoes," shared Sam.

"I would also be looking at the midsole, a combination of something with a carbon plate and a pliable midsole foam to ensure that the shoe itself has a dynamic response during the race."

While durability isn't a huge factor since it’s a race shoe, Sam shares that outsole grip is particularly important for those tight corners and wet weather conditions.


Taking reference from ASICS' latest 'CELEBRATION OF SPORT' collection, the duo compared three pairs of shoes from ASICS in particular that have been known to be used in international marathon races - the NOVABLAST™ 4, MAGIC SPEED™ 4 and the hugely popular METASPEED™ PARIS series - METASPEED™ SKY PARIS and METASPEED™ EDGE PARIS.


John Yeong, who ran the 2023 Sydney Marathon in a pair of NOVABLAST™ 3s, shared that while it isn't the most popular choice for a marathon among local runners given that it doesn't come with carbon plates, he felt the shoe is a comfortable choice especially if you aren't going for performance or timing. A sentiment which Samuel Chua concurred.

"Runners who want to look at the NOVABLAST™ 4 as a race day option, are runners who would probably prioritise comfort. The upper is very padded, coupled with a thick midsole and a durable outsole. The NOVABLAST™ 4 is going to carry you through the marathon comfortably without you having to worry about whether the shoe is too stiff or if it's not comfortable and padded enough," said Samuel.

The outsole of the NOVABLAST™ 4 comprises ASICS' proprietary FLYTEFOAM Blast+ Eco foam, and while it may not give you the propulsion that you see in some of the top end carbon plated super shoes, it still provides a decent amount of energy return, as compared to more cushioned softer shoes such as the GEL-NIMBUS™.



Next looking at the newly released MAGIC SPEED™ 4, the duo discussed the most prominent difference between the MAGIC SPEED™ 4 as compared to its earlier iterations - its stack height.

Sam enthused, "The stack increased quite significantly. I believe its 43.5mm stack in the heel now and so with this, comes a very different ride, something that you expect closer to your marathon super shoes and your racing shoes compared to the MAGIC SPEED™ 3. This would be a close training partner to your marathon races and you’ll be able to mimic the feel of races without compromising on durability as much."


John then asked Samuel what kind of qualities he expects the MAGIC SPEED™ 4 to bring runners for their marathon training or in races, to which the hybrid athlete replied: "MAGIC SPEED™ 3 did offer a unique aspect in terms of its ability to perform during shorter intervals and track workouts but the MAGIC SPEED™ 4 comes more in line with a marathon racer — what would you would usually see more of in the past with the METASPEED™ SKY or METASPEED™ EDGE."

Chua added: "Even if you choose to take this out for a race, this will still give you an increased dynamic feel compared to the NOVABLAST™ 4. You still have the carbon plate, a slightly different foam which may not offer you that much of a spring to you step but you definitely have much more durability from the outsole itself."


When it comes to the pinnacle of racing shoes - the METASPEED™ PARIS series, John and Samuel both agreed they are a significant upgrade to the previous METASPEED series of racing shoes.

John shared: "One of the things we noticed between its predecessor and this series would be its comfort. I would say that while the predecessor did give us a very aggressive toe off which is fantastic for races up to half-marathons, if you were to wear them for much longer distances like a marathon, many runners have shared it became a bit of a problem in terms of comfort because it was quite stiff."


"Over those longer distances, you will feel a lot after that. Whereas for the METASPEED™ PARIS series, I would say it’s a lot softer and a lot more forgiving without compromising too much on the toe off or the pop that you get from the previous edition."

But how should one choose between the METASPEED™ SKY and the METASPEED™ EDGE PARIS? What exactly are the differences?

Here, Samuel Chua attempts to debunk some common myths that have surrounded the choice of whether one should opt for the METASPEED™ SKY or the METASPEED™ EDGE.

"I think many runners get confused by this but if you want to pick the EDGE, it’s for when you’re transitioning from your cruising speed to a faster pace and you notice your cadence increases together with your pace, then you should pick the EDGE."

Runners who pick the SKY, based on how ASICS classifies it should be deemed as stride runners, meaning when you pick up the pace, your cadence stays relatively the same but your stride length increases."


Common Misconceptions

"I think the main misconception I see when runners pick the SKY or EDGE is they focus on whether their stride lengths are big or if they have a high cadence. One thing you should definitely take note of is when you want to choose the SKY or the EDGE, you need to see how your cadence or your stride corresponds to an increase in pace, not just at one particular pace."

Yet to decide which pair of ASICS running shoes to go for, for this year's Sydney Marathon? Here's a quick recap — if you’re going for comfort for marathon racing, you can consider the NOVABLAST™ 4. While it is non carbon plated, it does give you a very comfortable ride on race day and can definitely last the distance.

If you are looking for speed and performance, the METASPEED™ PARIS series (SKY or EDGE) is definitely an upgrade worth considering from the previous edition of the series if you do not have budget constraints.

If you want the best of both worlds, having the carbon plated experience but you’re kind of on a bit of a budget or it’s your first pair of carbon plated shoes, then you might wish to consider the MAGIC SPEED™ 4.

Heading to this year's TCS Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS? Find out more useful resources and enjoy partner discounts on our specially curated Sydney Marathon page here.


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