Monday, August 29, 2022

Asics Magic Speed 2 : Unboxing and Review

Thanks to Garmin Malaysia and Asics Malaysia, Pacers for the upcoming Garmin Run Asia Series received a pair of Asics Magic Speed 2 running shoe. What makes this a little special is that the shoe will only be launched (in US) on September 1, 2022. What makes it extra special is that by the grace of my current sponsor Brooks Malaysia, I am allowed to receive this without breaking any contract clauses. So, thank you Brooks and Asics (and of course Garmin Malaysia)!

Look Like Me. Likely Me.
Unboxing the Magic Speed 2
This is a tough one as I've never had an Asics. I've wanted to try but the price point has been high 15 years ago (those damn pretty Tri Noosa) and it remain to be high now (carbon plated shoes not withstanding). So when I was presented with a US11 Magic Speed 2 (MS2), I was excited as this was told to me by the other pacers that it is a "carbon plated" shoe. I've been very curious of these technology and seeing how everyone running are either on a pair of Nike carbon plated (and with air pods), Adidas carbon plated, even Brooks carbon plated (which I am still manifesting by the way)... this FOMO is real. 
As Real As It Gets
Initially asked for US12, but they do not have the size. I was afraid of tight toebox as my previous experience trying a pair of Asics (Tri Noosa) forces me to upsize by a full 2 size. Even my retired Adidas Supernova is a US12.5 (partly due to tight toe, and mostly due to a cheap bargain of RM150 for that pair). I know my sizing in Skechers. I know my sizing in Brooks. So, let me start by sharing that the US11 MS2 is "true to size" for my stuck-between-D-and-E-width-foot". This is the same reason why I opted for a US12 for my Hyperion Tempo as it run a bit tight on the front vs the Launch 8.
Not the lightest I have, surprisingly
To start with, the MS2 is light. But not as light as my Hyperion Tempo at 239grams (US12). That gram-grannies aside, it is still light for something that look this bulky. The stack height looked thicker than any shoes I had. Addtional foam (FFBlast+ or FlyteFoam Blast+) FFBlast is Asics foam that is light, agile and provide positive energy with every stride. So the FFBlast+ meant it is lighter, and well, more responsive. Compared to DNAFlash on the Tempo, they felt similar but due to the full length carbon plate, the MS2 felt significantly stiffer - I was not able to "bend" the shoe.

Wife got a pair too. A MS2 in US8.5 women sizing at 204grams!
My wife got a pair too. Her colorway is Safety Yellow and boy (or girl), it's super bright and it makes my Safety Yellow/Green colorway looked dull. Its officially her lightest ever shoe and it is Carbon plated (obviously). So for this unboxing, you get to feast your eyes on TWO different colored Magic Speed 2.
Almost full length outsole. Heel striker may find this pair eating up fast

The Yellow pair has a green outsole. So cool
The upper material of the Magic Speed 2 is made up of two different material. When I consulted my speedy friend Nor Amin, he mentioned that Magic Speed 2 is actually classified as a daily trainer. Wait - a carbon plated daily trainer? Like it will be affordable carbon plated daily speed/tempo trainer? Now I am sitting up straight as that would meant many would be able to afford it and start experiencing a sub RM800 CF shoe. Do give Amin's IG a follow, and his review of the Magic Speed 2 is more learnt as he has the racing iteration of Metaspeed Sky and Sky+
Very breathable. The yellow colorway showed the inside better
This shoe is designed with minimal padding. It is not padded except at the collar and near the achilles. If you are looking for something cushioned and padded, this is not for your liking. 
Dual material with varying density
The insole is stuck on, and you can't remove it. Do that this into consideration if you require specialised insole for your feet need.
Stuck On Insole
The tongue of the MS2 is also not padded. However it is gusseted and it will not move/run out of place when you wear it. Do check for fit or any potential hotspot if you run sockless, in case some part of the tongue bites into your feet. Also, due to the dual-type material construction, you may want to consider ensuring your toes or feet will not develop blisters if running sockless. I believe many readers here wear socks, so not so much of an issue. 
gusseted. Take note of the collar padding

See why the wife's yellow version so much more attractive
Based on how I felt, and devoid of any technical data even on Asics website (because this shoe only launches on September 1, 2022, remember?), I would say the drop is circa 8mm. It felt right at home for me. If you noticed, the shoe has significant up-turned shape. This shoe helps transition fast and take off from the mid-to-the-toe. It has all the promises to be snappy and peppy. Now add in the CF (ok, I need to calm it down on the fact i have a CF shoe now). 
Rocker Guide  promising to rock you forward

The laces is not stretchable, which is a good thing, as it limits how the shoe may move on the upper part. Stretchy laces is hard to predict when you tie it down, as it can provide some movement and comfort when you are running long - but detrimental if you are pushing the shoe hard in your run. 
The yellow mellow fast fello from the top

In case you do not know it's a Magic Speed

Magic Speed sign more obvious on the Green version

See, Magic Speed magically disappear in yellow

There isn't much more to write about the shoe from unboxing perspective. Enjoy these photos. Consider this a first hand look of this yet to be launched shoe in Malaysia. Captions will lend some explanation.
Pronounced rocker guide

Stable looking heel

FFBlast+ with green sole in sight

45 deg view from top. Dual material upper obvious but not as obvious as my Green

Why men do not have this colorway?
Testing The Shoe
I wore the shoe twice. Once for an easy run the next day at the Garmin Run Club clinic. First feel of the shoe at motion running at 6mins pace. It felt neutral, the feet turnover quicker despite the slower pace, so had to reduce my stride length to maintain the pace of the group. I could not "feel" the carbon plate working at this pace, but I felt the foam to be soft and responsive - reminds me of my Brooks Hyperion Tempo. 
I wore socks because it's a new shoe... I do not want to dirty it with my overly sweatly feet
The data from my Stryd showed everything to be normal. Nothing unusual happening. It felt, normal. I picked up the pace somewhere towards the end, turning from pace 6:00 to near pace 4:50. I then felt the shoe pushing me to go faster, almost like asking me - what takes you so long to know what you want to do? I brushed it aside - it might be the new-shoe feel talking.
Spot the Magic Speed amidst the sea of shoes
However, my wife has other idea. She went for a quick 400m around the KJ car park. Her verdict - not sure i fast or the shoe fast. It got me super curious but I can't just go and run a 5km TT unprepared...right?
Muse In Motion
The next day, in my usual routine of run streak, i laced up and took the Magic Speed for a spin around the neighborhood. I had just completed a workout of 25mins TT three days prior, and the result was as expected around my neighborhood with elevation gain of 40m over 5km. The only "hard" section is a 500m up slope that makes up this elevation gain. I know this route like the back of my hand. 

Wife went for an earlier run and came back telling me this shoe is sick
So when i took the Magic Speed 2 out, I intend to run it as I always does - Easy zone 1/2 pace 5:15 average no frill Zone 1/2 power. Within the first 500m up the road, i realised that I was pacing at 4:30 - no. I did not do this on purpose. KM1, average was 4:30. OK, that's 20s faster. Is this a sign I should just turn this into a TT?
Yes I did.
I was running at a pace I do not usually (able) to hold at this route. sub 4:00 pace. I tell myself maybe this is a fluke. But KM2 brought in 3:59. KM3 at 3:58. KM4 3:56. KM5 3:53. I rewrote my course best timing from 21:50 to 20:18. I average out 20s faster per km. At a lesser effort (2bpm HR) and at higher power (302W), and reestablished a new CP at 301W. This Magic Speed 2 saved almost 9.4% of power in this 5km.
And I wasn't pushing. I was thinking the whole of the last 4km - Is this pace real. Yes I had time to think and that was how lesser effort I was running. RPE8 vs RPE10. Just like that.
I wrote a 15 points summary on this in my Instagram . Give me a follow for more sharing.

Bear in mind that this Magic Speed 2 is not even the top range Carbon Plated shoe. But it is my first. And this is my first ever experience running with anything this high-tech. I've been hoping I will get the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 or even the upcoming Elite 3. Unfortunately they do not have them in my US11 or US12 size. It would be super sweet to break my 5km PB of 18:50 on my sponsor brand. Until then, I may consider training up for another round of 5km and keeping the Magic Speed 2 for this purpose.
Until that happen, enjoy the Magic Speed 2 - Duo
This unit (and the other unit of my wife) is courtesy of Asic Malaysia and provided as part of being pacer for Garmin Run Asia Series taking place on September 11, 2022. I will be pacing a 3:00hours 21km and my wife will be pacing a 10km 70mins effort. I have had clearance from my sponsor to recieve this with no conflict as it is for the Garmin event. Thank you Asic, Garmin Malaysia and my fellow pacers. 

Asic Magic Speed 2 is scheduled to be launched in September 2022. Unknown date, unknown pricing. However US-based reviewers that got hold of the test shoes has indicated September 1, 2022 and priced at USD150. If indeed this is true, this may be the most sought after daily carbon-plated trainer suitable for tempo, interval and fast run - and for some (like me) likely a racing day shoe - that is until I taste a proper carbon plated racing shoe... manifest it for me!

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