The brand name Asics is no stranger to the public worldwide. Founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, Asics is a household name known for their contributions in the world of running for athletic shoes, apparels and sports equipment. The name Asics is acronym for the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano”, which translates to “a sound mind in a sound body”—the solid foundation on which the brand still stands.
Following Human Motion Analysis, Asics has identified and quantified eight footwear functions. Finding, measuring and balancing the right combination of all these functions, depending on type of sports and discipline, delivers a high performing shoe. In 2012, scientists at the Asics Institute of Sport Science had set out to approach a mission with a clear objective that will take Asics to new heights: to create the best Asics footwear for long distance running, the MetaRun. So in 2013, Executive Officer and Head of Research at Asics Institute of Sport Science, Dr. Tsuyoshi Nishiwaki and his team set out to accomplish that challenge with neither limits nor compromise on time or cost, and on the condition that the MetaRun provides better performance for runners.
Running Malaysia was invited to Tokyo, Japan, for the official global launch of Asics’ proudest current breakthrough, the MetaRun.
What makes MetaRun thick…
There are 4 core attributes that Asics looks to incorporate into their long-distance footwear which is the light weight, stability, fit, and cushioning; as in the past, perfecting one attribute means to compromise another. The right balance of these four functions directly affects a runner’s performance and experience. Most importantly, a misbalance can cause stress on the foot and body. Over time, Dr. Nishiwaki and his team of scientists were able to fine-tune every detail for performance, from proprietary midsole formula to the precise positioning of X-Gel. With unrestricted access to the best equipment available, they successfully unearthed new materials and the core five innovative technologies, from building the chemical compounds through rigorous testing, leading to their goal achievement.
“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 Asics Corporation President and CEO Motoi Oyama.
As a result, the all-new MetaRun runners were designed to provide distance runners of all levels, regardless of experience, everything they need to perform at their best form from toe-off till the end of the run—everything compacted into one shoe. The MetaRun has set a high benchmark for Asics with the success of merging all five groundbreaking technologies that meet the desires of every individual runner and maximizes all four of the core long-distance running functions that are constantly sought out by runners from beginners to pros.
ASICS and Their Technology
The biggest hype in the athletic field for runners introduces Asics’ newest technologies that will take runners into a whole new world of experience. Asics has created an all new exclusive FlyteFoam midsole which is a proprietary midsole foam that is about 55% lighter than industry standard foam used in other shoes, helping to reduce the overall weight by 20g. With built-in organic fibers, the FlyteFoam midsole is the lightest ever created by Asics. Not only it is light in weight, but also it is more durable, on top of it having increased cushioning and energy-return to the runner. The built-in organic fibers play a role in returning the midsole into its original shape in the space of each stride, providing the same amount of cushioning all throughout the run. In short, your long-distance run will not be wearing out the soles anytime soon, and you won’t have to worry about leg injuries, as the cushioning is constant from the time you put the shoes to the farthest you can go.
Junichiro Tateishi of Asics Institute of Sport Science’s Advanced Technology team explained, “The lighter the midsole, the more vulnerable and unstable it gets. Asics tested over 300 different combinations, bringing in materials from different fields, to find the solution: organic fibers that are light yet durable and provide good cushioning. This was the key to FlyteFoam, Asics’ lightest midsole ever.”
For cushioning, Asics uses X-Gel, which are two types of high-tech gels in more efficient shapes and precision positioning. The hybrid gels formulation delivers a more unrivalled cushioning—increased rear-foot cushioning by 18%. What gives you the much-desired perfect fit of the MetaRun is the Optimized Upper with MetaClutch exoskeleton external heel counter with built-in memory foam lining. The MetaClutch wraps perfectly around the lateral and medial side of the ankle bone to provide a personalized heel fit, whereby the Jacquard Mesh at the forefoot is a one layer engineered mesh that minimizes friction between the foot and the upper to create a sock-like fit. Using a unique combination of closed and opened weave pattern, the Jacquard Mesh also optimizes flexibility and breathability to enhance comfort for the runner going the distance.
“For MetaRun we didn’t design the shoe, we designed performance. We had to make sure we didn’t compromise any functionality. This is what led to the 1-layered Jacquard Mesh which uses vertical mesh for the first time to optimize fit, breathability and flexibility,” said Hiroaki Nishimura, a member of the Performance Running Design Team at the Global Footwear Product & Merchandising Division.
Another new Asics-developed technology is the all-new exclusive AdaptTruss system. The AdaptTruss is a never-before-seen carbon fiber reinforcement two-piece that provides incredible stability and flexibility that adapts to individual runners. This helps reduce the impact of medial forces on the foot so that the MetaRun will flex safely but become rigid if the arch of the foot rolls too much, hence reducing the possibility of overpronation. This feature also provides progressive adaptive support and smoother transition, minimizing local pressure as the runner’s arch drops during a long distance run. In assisting with stability, the MetaRun also uses the sloped Duomax, a dual density midsole that is precisely shaped and positioned to adjust to dynamic motion. It works seamlessly with AdaptTruss to provide adaptive stability and pressure reduction for a smoother transition by delivering 28% more rear-foot stability and 15% more mid-foot stability.
“The challenge was how to provide stability without causing discomfort. We expanded our research up to 20k to understand how a runner’s pronation levels change over distance. This led us to the new sloped DUOMAX and revolutionary AdaptTruss which unlocks stability based on the rate of individual runner’s pronation during the course of their run,” said Takashi Inomata of the Footwear Function Development Team.
As a pioneer in the sports industry, Asics is driven to continue innovating the performance in running footwear, hence looking into producing more improved products in the future. “We design every shoe to be better than the last, so I am proud of the leap we have achieved with MetaRun,” said Dr. Nishiwaki.
Be Rare and Stand Out
MetaRun is proven to be an exclusive product, with only 60,000 pairs available worldwide. For the extravagant retail price of RM999, you are paying top dollar for the best running footwear that Asics has yet to offer. The limited edition runners have been made available exclusively at ASICS 1Utama, found on the second floor, since December. It is a race to the only retail outlet carrying the MetaRun for athletes to experience all of Asics newest cutting-edge footwear technologies in one shoe.