Asics Magic Speed 2 Review (2024): Daily Trainer or Racer?
Discover the review of the latest model in the series: Asics Magic Speed 3.
Lightweight cushioned daily trainer with carbon plate for fast workouts.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
Having made a first attempt at a carbon-plated racing shoe with the previous edition of the Magic Speed, Asics found themselves having a lot of work to do to bring that forward propulsion and comfort they’d initially promised runners. In this second iteration, they’ve kept the shoe lightweight and made it bouncier, but does it create magic on the road and the speed we’ve been hoping for?
The Magic Speed 2 comes with a mix of FF BLAST PLUS cushioning with a heel section of Asics’ FLYTEFOAM, making it a little more nimble and giving a faster toe-off. The carbon-infused TPU plate and additional padding around the heel collar and the upper are also welcome changes from the first iteration.
Aiming to be a fast shoe, the Magic Speed 2 inspires its design from the Japanese relay race term “Ekiden” – which is actually the shoe’s full name. The overall look is very much in line with what we’ve come to expect from Asics, but the reliable brand does no more than create a tempo training shoe with its advantages but fails to give us magic speed.
Please read our full review of the Asics Magic Speed 2 for more information.
- Stable and soft without too much-added shoe weight;
- Nice breathable mesh with a relatively good fit for most runners;
- Good heel-to-toe drop;
- Rocker profile has a nice propulsive feel;
- Quite versatile;
- Reasonable price tag for carbon shoes.
- Not much energy return from the midsole;
- Awkward upper fit for some runners;
- Heavier than other fast shoes.
Asics Magic Speed 2 Complete Review Analysis
Pumping out new shoes quicker than we can keep up, Asics have been searching for that perfect cushioning-to-speed ratio for what seems like forever. After their long line featuring the MetaSpeed Sky, MetaSpeed Edge, MetaRacer..etc. it’s now the turn of Magic Speed 2 to try and lure speedy runners to the brand.
However, while improvements make the Asics Magic Speed 2 slightly more comfortable than the previous iteration, it hasn’t quite hit its stride as a go-to tempo shoe. This shoe looks cool, offers a stable ride, an engineered mesh upper that fits well, and a nice combo of the proprietary FF BLAST PLUS cushioning with some FLYTEFOAM thrown in at the heel. It also features a carbon-fiber plate across the whole length of the shoe.
While it’s a good step forward and adds nice toe-off propulsion, good looks, and comfortable sensations to the Asics universe, it’s not entirely clear where the new Magic Speed fits in. Does it want to be a racing shoe and fail? Or does it just hope to be a great shoe for your tempo training runs?
Read on to find out!
Starting with the midsole, most reviewers love the way that Asics have used the Flytefoam Blast + all across, making the Magic Speed 2 potential racing shoes with enough cushioning to go a longer distance, but also good training shoes. The soft foam doesn’t take much away from the shoe’s responsiveness – although the latter is not a forte for this model. It’s also not unstable and feels consistently supportive from heel to toe (many testers compared it to the Asics Metaspeed Edge +).
With a stack height of 37 mm under the heel and 30 mm under the toes, the Magic Speed 2 offer a 7mm drop that will suit most runners. There is an additional 2mm heel stack height compared to the first Magic Speed, which will be welcomed by those looking for a feeling of softer landing and less heel impact, not to mention it’s gentler on Achilles tendons.
Overall, this new Magic Speed delivers improved comfort without being overly soft. Still, it’s not as bouncy as other shoes it will compete with over long-distance racing from a half marathon and above (e.g., the super comfortable yet snappy Hoka Mach 5).
Foot lockdown (upper)
Upon first seeing the Asics Magic Speed 2 Ekiden, you can’t help but appreciate the good looks and overall funky design of these shoes. The coloring is inspired by the Ekiden relay race (1), hinting that Asics also want their shoe to be a top choice for runners’ race day.
The upper fits well. It’s relatively thin and adjusts to runners’ feet – all good elements for racing shoes. The engineered mesh makes it breathable enough that it should feel good at high speeds and on hot days, too. This second iteration of the Magic Speed specifically comes up with many improvements in the upper that was much criticized in the first shoe model, ultimately ending up with a very light design for racing.
Regarding overall fit, most reviewers believe the Magic Speed 2 is pretty true to size. However, it’s a case of trying the shoes on to make sure, as some runners complain about the upper fit feeling “off” and maybe half a size too small.
Grip and durability (outsole)
Priced at $150, the Asics Magic Speed 2 are some of the more affordable plated options for running shoes, which already makes them attractive for runners on a budget. In addition, the Asics design features a long-lasting outsole, which hasn’t been showing signs of wear and tear for the large majority of runners.
The rubber outsole is very similar to the Metaspeed Sky+ and Edge+, with an exposed midsole foam. The grip is good in wet conditions, which is a plus for road running shoes.
Finally, the Magic Speed 2 is not quite as light as other wannabe racers, but this can help them last longer when pounding the road. The men’s size 42 weighs 224 g, while the women’s size 40 comes in at 205 g. This is quite a lot more than the like of Saucony Endorphin Pro with its 200-gram shoe weight, but then again, you’re saving around $80 on price and getting more life out of the Magic Speed 2.
Unfortunately, the one clear weakness of the Magic Speed 2 is its inability to truly become a fast-day shoe. If you like to run fast and get a lot of energy return and response from under your feet, you’re not going to get that with these shoes.
Although they are comfortable and the full-length carbon plate offers decent forward propulsion at faster paces, they fall short of the competition for race day shoe of choice. However, a rigid rocker profile feels quite good during interval training sessions, and the weight-to-cushioning ratio is pretty decent.
We would readily use the Magic Speed 2 for speed workouts and tempo runs but not necessarily pick them to run a marathon PB.
The Asics Magic Speed 2 has come out to fully redeem what was mostly a flop with the first iteration of the brand’s “magic” speed trainer. However, it’s not quite clear what the ultimate aim of these shoes is, between racing and training, faster workouts, and longer runs. There are great elements for all these camps. The Magic Speed ticks a few boxes as a tempo trainer, a good gateway shoe towards full-length carbon plating for runners on a budget, and a potential long run or race shoe for beginner to intermediate runners.
More experienced racers will find it a little awkward and not snappy enough, but there’s one shoe out there for everyone!
|224 g/7.9 oz
|205 g/7.2 oz
|Carbon-fiber plate, Recycled materials, Rocker
|FLYTEFOAM Blast Plus, Carbon plate
|Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon
|Daily running, Racing
Comparisons – Asics Magic Speed 2 vs.:
Asics Magic Speed 1
The transition from Magic Speed 1 to 2 puts the two designs light-years away, for good reason. Asics have improved the cushioning technology, adding more support under the heel and improving fit and comfort overall.
While many testers found the Magic Speed 1 too rigid and lacking in bounce, the second edition softens up despite not increasing massively on the energy return. Finally, the Magic Speed 2 has a noticeable added 2 mm of drop, which will suit many runners looking for a more comfortable ride. Overall, if you are looking for a budget race shoe with some bounce and decent propulsion, the MS2 will deliver just short of the super shoes currently on the market.