home      my running story      races from the beginning      talk to me       product reviews      

Monday 10 October 2022

ASICS Magic Speed 2: Do Carbon Plates Make You a Faster Runner?

* These Magic Speed 2 were sent to me for free as part of being an ASICS FrontRunner. I don’t get paid for reviewing them but I chose to review these as I like them. It’s an unbiased review – I’m saying exactly what I think.* 

Sometimes things just come together.

When I realised that my new ASICS Magic Speed 2 would be landing a few weeks before Ironman Copenhagen, my A-race of the year, I was delighted. I'd heard of the benefits that a carbon footplate could make but I'd never tried a pair of shoes with these.

I'd read all the hype, some manufacturers were claiming a 4% faster run time with no extra effort, just by wearing a pair of shoes with a carbon plate in the sole. Wow … if this is true then my marathon time would drop from 3 hrs 23 mins to 3 hours 14 minutes just by changing my shoes. No extra training, no difference in nutrition or sleep. Literally just by lacing up a different pair of shoes.

As the shoes arrived a couple of weeks before my event (Ironman Copenhagen), I had the opportunity to go out for a few runs in them and try tempo, long and speed-work runs. I was impressed at how light they felt and while the rigidity of the shoe was surprising at first, it wasn't unpleasant. The carbon plate in these shoes runs the full length of the shoe and it provides additional structure to the shoe and assists the 'toe off' propulsion, meaning it feels quite springy. The carbon plates help the foam compress and expand more quickly which returns more energy to the runner. They've also got the additional benefit of stabilising the ankles and keeping toes straight which reduces fatigue on other parts of the body.

And yes, the trainers did feel fast. I'm not sure how much was placebo effect and expecting them to be a speedy shoe, but I found I was running quite significantly faster for just a moderate effort. Which is a lovely feeling coming up to a race.

The shoes were very comfy too. I didn't find they needed a 'wearing in’ period – I would have been able to just buy these and race in them straight away. Which was lucky really, considering how close my event was.

The shoes are designed for neutral runners which was a little concerning as I do tend to over-pronate to a degree and wear ASICS GT 2000s or similar for long road runs but I didn't find this caused any issues. I certainly didn't pick up any niggles or twinges and didn't find my form significantly different.

So … how did the shoes perform?

The race went well overall. The shoes were comfy and despite the event being a nice toasty 23 – 24*c, my feet didn't feel too warm or overheat which is something I've noticed in some of the heavier and more cushioned shoes. I'm not sure how good my running form was after a 3.8km swim and a 112 mile bike ride, but it felt ok and I certainly didn't feel as though I was dropping into my ultra-runners shuffle. Also more tellingly, the race run photos weren't too terrible – hard to hide the drooping hips and low leg lift from a race photographer. All positives, however my run was slightly slower than my last ironman (which I ran with broken ribs) but this was more down to my stomach getting grumpy at sugary gels and insisting on portaloo stops. Removing these stops would mean I'd have been about 12 minutes quicker … an improvement of around 3% … fairly close to the estimated 4% benefit.

I'm sold. I'll definitely be running my A-races in these shoes or similar in future events. Extra speed with no additional work? It's a no brainer for me.

And if this isn't enough to convince you, at least 50% of the shoe’s main upper material is made with recycled materials to help reduce waste and carbon emissions. So not only are you running quicker, you're choosing a more eco friendly way to do it. More speed and less guilt. 

Need more convincing? Have a look here.

No comments:

Post a Comment