NEW YORK — The running shoe wars continue to heat up with Thursday’s planned launch of the MetaRide from Asics.
The brand is touting this new “energy-saving shoe” as “a completely new concept in run efficiency” and one of the company’s “most important innovations” of the past seven decades.
In a launch event here Wednesday, Asics invited media to try out the shoes, which it says have been designed to make running long distances easier.
Designers and scientists at the Asics Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan worked on the MetaRide for two years. Its claim to fame is that it is engineered to minimize movement in the ankle joint, where the most energy is expended, nearly one fifth more than a regular running shoe. MetaRide features a patented Guidesole technology, a curved sole that shifts the body weight forward to help propel runners. The shoe also helps reduce ankle movement with improved fit and grip.
Kenichi Harano, executive officer and senior general manager for ISS, said, “The MetaRide concept and Guidesole technology are fundamentally different from any other shoe we’ve ever made or that is on the market. We looked at run efficiency in a uniquely Asics way to provide a new ‘feel’ while maintaining our commitment to performance and protection.”
Yasuhito Hirota, Asics’ president and chief operating officer, added that he believes the shoe “has the potential to disrupt the world of long-distance running. Our athletes and runners have told us that MetaRide is already transforming how they train, race, run and recover. This is just the beginning of a new era for Asics as we bring the best innovations to our fans while attracting a new generation of runners.”
But the MetaRide is not cheap. The model that will launch tomorrow at Asics stores, online and select specialty run stores will retail for $250. However, the company said the shoe is the first in a series of new energy-saving footwear and less expensive models with fewer bells and whistles will be available this fall.
Two weeks ago, Asics reported that fourth-quarter and year-end earnings were challenged, especially in North America where it replaced its president. The company is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and has made an about-face in its strategy to hone in on its running shoe roots rather than try and chase a lifestyle customer.