Monday, September 12, 2022

ASICS Magic Speed 2 Multi Tester Review: A Sweet Fast Ride, Doesn't Break the Bank! 10 Comparisons

Article by Peter Stuart, Sally Reiley and Sam Winebaum

ASICS Magic Speed 2 ($150)


Peter: Oh Asics and your many delights! MetaSpeed, MetaEdge, MetaSpeed +, MetaEdge+...So many shoes, so little time. The original Magic Speed was a nice, if firm, little surprise from Asics. They were snappy and fun–and a little bit punishing. Here comes the Magic Speed 2: a $150 little rocket with Flight Foam Blast + as the top layer, a full-length TPU/carbon plate. Interesting. How does it fit in to the Asics universe? Is it Magic? Is it fun? Read on, reader, read on. 


Stable with energetic softer forefoot drop in squish, spring, and  rebound: Sam/Peter/Sally/Ryan

FlyteFoam Blast+ midsole is race ready and training friendly Sam/Peter/Sally/Ryan

Rigid rocker profile with more foot and any pace friendly TPU/carbon plate than all carbon: Sam/Peter/Sally

Versatile uptempo, race, even faster daily training ride with plenty of cushion and get up and go: Sam/Peter/Sally

At  $150, very strong value for a very near super shoe plated trainer racer: Sam/Peter/Sally



Upper could use some more midfoot lockdown and more forefoot structure : Sam/Sally/Ryan

Not quite as light as some other racers. Peter


Estimated Weight: men's 8.1 oz  / 230g (US9)  /  women's 7.0 oz / 199 g   US W 8

  Samples: men’s  7.96 oz  / 221 g US8.5

                  women’s : 7.0 oz / 199 g  US W 8

Full Stack Height: men’s mm 37 heel (measured) / 30 mm forefoot (7mm drop spec) 

Midsole Stack Height: men’s 31 mm / Forefoot: 24 mm  women: Heel 30mm / Forefoot 23mm, 7mm drop

               Magic Speed 1: men’s 29/24  women’s 28/23. 5mm drop

Available now. $150.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Peter: The Magic Speed 2 is a simple and elegant looking tempo shoe. The pumpkin spice vibes on my colorway are perfect for fall. The upper, though pretty simple, fits well and is very comfortable. I found it easy to adjust and lockdown and fit are dialed in. True-to-size for me in my usual 11.  While the shoe is definitely a modern day plated tempo/racer, it manages to look a lot like a traditional race shoe like the HyperSpeed. The tongue is thin, but protective enough and the padding around the heel collar is just right. Asics knows how to make an upper. The Magic Speed’s upper is engineered mesh and is plenty breathable. 

Sally: I was a big fan of the original Magic Speed, surprised to find such a fun uptempo training shoe at such a reasonable price point. I was excited to try the new Magic Speed 2, and right out of the box was struck by a great looking, and fast looking shoe. My women’s pair arrived in a bold purple colorway that I have received numerous compliments on. This new update looks more like a racer, and surprisingly similar to the much pricier Metaspeed Sky +. The fit is improved over the OG with a secure hold and better padding at the heel, though I still felt a little aggravation to the achilles (disclaimer: perhaps still tender after testing the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 and Speed 3, which definitely rubbed my achilles in a not-so-good way). 

They are true-to-size for me in my usual W8, and somehow make my feet look smaller than comparable shoes.  Pictured above my Magic Speed 2 in W8 next to my Metaspeed Sky+ in unisex M7:

Sam: Fall colors nicely set off by the old school white Tiger logo overlays and black highlighting where in terms of extra support it is only around the eyestay and lace up. Then we have dark blue tongue and laces. Sharp and modern yet harkening back to old days, it’s a distinctive design that says Speed without over shouting in neon.

The upper, an engineered mesh and is somewhat similar in fit and volume to the Metaspeed + racers, but here a bit softer, stretchier, thicker, and less plasticky in feel.

The tongue is thin but has some ridges to hold the laces and reduce bite. It is for sure more substantial than the Edge + series tongue, a very soft very thin suede and here with an elastic gusset which is for sure needed whereas in the Metaspeed the mid foot support is provided by the thinner less pliable mesh and its stitching with no gusset in the mix 

The fit is true to size for me with a very solid overall hold that leans a bit more comfort than pure racer. It is a fit that is appropriate for both training and racing. 

The toe box has plenty of room and unstructured no overlays height yet has a solid hold.  I do think those with very low volume feet may find the fit a bit too roomy at the midfoot while those with more medium volume feet will be just fine.



Sam: Underfoot we have Flyte Foam Blast + with a lower layer of slightly firmer regular Flyte Foam. The top softer FF Blast + layer notably bulges down and out to be thicker at the forefoot. The plate is carbon infused TPU and it is full length. Typically plates with more polymer in the mix are more forgiving and more flexible and that is the case here although the shoe so far remains a rigid rocker type ride with no flex. 

The full stack height is about  37 heel (measured) / 30 mm forefoot (spec 7mm drop)  moving up to a 7mm drop from a 5mm drop in version 1 by adding 2mm more to the heel. 

The midsole feel here is near ideal in terms of being firm and responsive enough without being punishing as there is plenty of cushion here.  It is also not overly soft or unstable . As with the Edge +, it has an all of a piece consistent feel from the heel through the midfoot  The “softer” plate and deeper sinking and rebounding foam at the forefoot to toe off was clearly noticed in an A/B test vs the full on racing Edge+, a sort of joyless overly aggressive riding shoe for me particularly up front with its more rigid, more prescriptive plate and firmer foam. 

The midsole neatly bridges up tempo training, racing, and even daily training for me although in an ASICS mix or any mix I would also include the superb Novablast 3 also with Flyte Foam Blast + as a non plated training oriented option in a rotation if you like your trainers light and lively. 

Peter: The feel of the midsole is excellent. While I found the original Magic Speed to be just a tad too firm, the Magic Speed 2 manages to be snappy and fast while also cushioned and comfortable. I think the combination of the Flyte Foam Blast + with the Flyte Foam below that is a great combination and the plate helps move the shoe along. It is snappy in  a way that is similar to the MetaSpeed Edge + but I can’t feel the plate in the same way in the Magic Speed. This is a good thing as it feels just a bit more organic overall. 

Sally: Sam (as always) did an excellent job of summarizing the midsole construction, so I will simply add that the firm yet responsive, cushioned and yet propulsive result makes for a shoe that blurs the line between race day and training or tempo day. The forward rolling geometry feels similar to the full carbon plated Sky+, a positive compliment indeed for a shoe priced $100 less.

Magic Speed 1 (top) MAGIC SPEED 2 (middle) Metaspeed Sky+ (bottom)


Peter: Just the  right amount of rubber here. The forefoot rubber has lots of little holes and a swiss cheesy vibe. The lateral side of the outsole has rubber covering the length of the shoe and the medial side has a gap in the rubber outsole and then a patch under the medial side of the heel. Wear has been excellent so far as has grip. 

Sam: A fine outsole here. I noted excellent grip over my usual test patch of fine thin sand over concrete.

Sally: The outsole of the Magic Speed 2 now looks like that of the Metaspeed Sky+, which has resulted in improved traction over the OG (I had issues with slipping on wet roads in the OG).

Magic Speed 1 (top), MAGIC SPEED 2 (middle), Metaspeed Sky+ (bottom)     

The outsole rubber is quiet, and there are no grooves in which to collect gravel, so thumbs up from this tester. 



Peter: Smooth, snappy, fun and fast. Magic 2 reminds me of the HyperSpeed from Asics. It’s a no nonsense ride that feels good at any pace. The Magic Speed disappears on the foot and lets me just enjoy running. 

Sam: The ride is fast, forgiving and fun and, as Peter says at most any pace except slow recovery and easier miles. It combines plenty of cushion and rear stability with a dynamic forefoot that allows a rolling motion down into the softer high rebounding Flight Foam Blast + with the plate providing the spring to quick toe offs. I tend to like less rigid “feeling” plated shoes that don’t require either speed all the time to run comfortably or a particular strike type or stride type. The Magic Speed clearly delivers that kind of versatile faster paces ride. While friendly for faster paced training and even daily training, it can clearly also be a race option and for me a far friendlier and less prescriptive one than the Edge + and Metaspeed Sky 1, the two ASICS recent racers I have run. 

Sally: Smooth, snappy, fast, fun, forgiving - all of the above, yes! The Magic Speed 2 encourages a smooth rolling propulsive ride at all paces, and part of the magic is that it works just as well for a mellow training run as it does for fast tempo intervals or for a long endurance run or even for a race. The ride feels closer to the ground and more nimble than some current shoes, with plenty of pop in the forefoot. It would be hard not to enjoy this ride regardless of your tempo.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: The Magic Speed 2 may just be the plated racing shoe for the masses. At $150 it is a great value and is snappy and really fun to run in. Unlike some other racing shoes, it’s a lot of fun at any pace and doesn’t bum me out on warm ups and cool downs. The Magic Speed 2 is a terrific tempo/workout shoe and I’d happily go out and race at least a half marathon in them. The ride is forgiving and fast. The upper is simple but holds the foot well. The Magic Speed 2 is on the simple side of things for a technologically advanced ‘super-shoe’. The technology disappears under foot and, with the 7mm drop, the shoe feels great. For me this is the best marriage of modern shoe technology and a relatively simple feeling old school race shoe. 

At $150, the Magic Speed is a great value and a great ride. One of the best shoes of the year. 

Peter’s Score: 10/10 

Nothing wrong with this shoe at all.


Sam: The magic here is the combination of softer and high rebounding, but certainly in no way mushy Flight Foam Blast + with a more forgiving than carbon TPU/carbon plate. 

Magic on multiple levels as the combination of materials, the geometry, copious near max stack height and reasonable 7mm drop deliver a super fast and fun ride. The rigid “elite” focus of ASICS (and many others) super shoes is toned down just enough to increase versatility and overall riding pleasure over a broad range of paces and for more runners. Like Peter I would happily race them a 5k, 10K and up to a half and this over the Edge+ or Sky.

And also magic as the Magic checks in as at a super solid value at $150. True we do not have a “full” carbon plate and superlight FF Turbo PEBA type foam, or a super low low weight (although relatively speaking at barely over 8 oz many super shoes weigh as much)  or pricing $100 more... 

I think the upper could use a touch more structure and hold at midfoot particularly for lower volume feet but that is my only minor negative.

I am pretty certain that in a blind test many would pick the Magic Speed over many many high end racers for its comfort and lively energetic ride.  Peter chiming in to my conclusion says.. “Agree!!!!!!!!”

Sam’s Score: 9.56 /10

Ride: 9.7 Fit 9.3 Value 9.8 Style 9

😊😊😊😊 ½

Sally: The Magic Speed 2 has worked its magic on me and put a smile on my face during recent runs. Fun and fast, smooth and forgiving with a delightful snappy feel, it is a versatile shoe that blurs the line between racer and trainer. As Peter points out, at an amazing price of only $150 this can be a great plated race day shoe for the price-conscious. Yet it is a versatile shoe that responds with pop and vigor at all paces, so it can also be an everyday trainer or tempo shoe. 

It is an attractive traditional looking (“old school?”) shoe with a very modern midsole that performs as well as the best. Like Peter and Sam, I would confidently wear these in a 5K, 10K, or even a half-marathon.  This is going to be a contender for top shoe of the year, but the question is in which category? It is a fun do-it-all shoe at a great value.

Sally’s Score: 9.7 /10

Ride: 9.8   Fit 9.5  Value 10  Style 9


9 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

ASICS Magic Speed 1 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Magic Speed 2 cleans up some of the things that I didn’t love about the Magic Speed. The Magic Speed 2 works better with my foot, is more comfortable and, most importantly, softens up just enough to take the harshness out of the ride. Well worth an upgrade to the 2.

Sally: (W8 in both) I enjoyed the Magic Speed 1, but the Magic Speed 2 has better lockdown and is more comfortable (particularly at the heel) and is more forgiving and less firm, or harsh, as Peter described the OG. A good shoe became a great shoe!

ASICS Metaspeed Edge + (RTR Review)

Peter: I recently tested the Edge +, and while I really liked them at HMP and faster, I didn’t like them on the warm ups and cool downs. The Magic Speed 2 is a better feeling shoe at most paces. In the Edge +, I could actually feel the plate snapping me forward. The TPU plate on the Magic 2 is just a little more subtle. I’d reach for the Magic Speed 2 first. 

Sam: I agree with Peter. The Edge+ is denser in feel, less forgiving in plate, and while noticeably lighter, duller overall, with less forward driving midsole front “squish”  and is harder to toe off than the Magic Speed 2 and especially so at slower paces. For most the Magic Speed will be more versatile with uses for much of my training and sub marathon racing, except slower daily miles And it will be $100 less.

ASICS Novablast 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: A fun comparison of ASICS two most “modern” and excellent 2022 shoes. Both have FlyteFoam Blast + (partial top layer in Magic), both have nearly identical stack heights and weights, the Magic weighing about 0.3 oz / 9g  less. Where they differ is that the Novablast does not have a plate and has a more flexible geometry.  

Its wider platform and rear outrigger (left above)  is more slower paces friendly and stable. It is also a speedster given its light weight and rebounding slightly softer (than Magic’s) Flyte Foam Blast +. Both are true to size with the Novablast a bit roomier overall and more relaxed in fit. They make a great any training run, up tempo, and race pairing rotation if you are an ASICS fan or really for any runner who likes light, dynamic and fast.

Evoride 3  and Noosa Tri 14 (RTR Review)

ASICS more traditional up-tempo trainers with a firmer lower stack ride and for sure no plate and so no nice front impulse (softer foam and plate) as the Magic has.  Clear preference for me for the Magic despite the weight advantage of the Evo and Noosa due to their  lower stacks.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly (RTR Review)

Sam: The Streakfly features Nike’s always excellent Zoom X which allows it to come in a massive 2 oz / less than the Magic Speed at about the same stack height of cushion. It has a small midfoot plastic plate so it is a flexible shoe unlike the fully plated rocker based Magic Speed. The Streakfly has a softer, less stable ride than the Magic and one without a big plate impulse. Comes down to preferences as both can fill the same training to the racing niche. Flexible and kind of old school riding but highly cushioned and super light go for the Nike, plated more “substantial” and more easily directed the Magic Speed. 

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 or v3  (RTR Review)

Peter: The Magic Speed 3 is a little more similar to the Rebel V3–as the V3 is a little firmer than the V2. The Rebel runs a little short (again), so isn’t as comfortable for me as the Magic Speed 2. I’d say for daily trainer I’d consider the Rebel V3 first, but if you are going to do workouts or race in it, I’d consider the Magic Speed 2

Sam: Both versions of the Rebel are considerably softer somewhat bouncier and for sure more flexible, as no plate. The Rebel is clearly less stable and not much fun for me back on the heels while the Speed can handle slower but while being firm about it. I would unlike Peter daily train in the Magic before the Speed but neither really is daily trainer for me. They serve similar uptempo purposes but go about it very differently. While the Rebel is fun with a capital F, its softness and instability makes it more limited in utility for me than the Speed. In this match up I clearly prefer the Magic Speed but you may have different preferences.

Endorphin Speed 1/2 and 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Endorphins have a PEBA foam midsole and nylon flexible plate. The  Endo Speed 2 has slightly firmer foam than Speed 3 and is less flexible than the 3.  As a result the Endo Speed 3 leans more daily training than the Magic Speed, so maybe a touch more versatile, but at faster paces the Magic Speed takes over. The Endo Speed 2 is a bit more aggressive in ride than the 3 and leans a bit more towards the feel and uses of the Magic Speed. For uptempo I would pick the Magic Speed over either Endo version but for more generalized daily training with fast paces thrown in the Endo Speed 3 is more versatile. Weight, drop and stack of Endo Speed 3 and Magic Speed very close with Endo Speed a few tenths of an ounce lighter. All true to size for me. 

Scott Speed Carbon RC (RTR Review)

Sam: I include the Scott as they have fairly similar rides with the Scott a bit firmer especially upfront as its foam is not as compliant (squishy) there. The Scott’s plate varies in stiffness and rebound depending on how much you activate it in similar fashion to the Magic Speed’s so both are good choices for slower racers where paces during a race may slow. These same attributes apply to training uses for both. The Scott has not as polished an upper and weighs 0.7 oz more but has a somewhat wider platform and is a touch more stable so likely a better marathon choice. That said I am not planning on marathoning the Scott (or for that matter the Magic) so lean towards the Magic for its somewhat more dynamic front of the shoe.

The Magic Speed 2 is available now including from our partners below

Tester Profiles

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past eight Boston Marathons, one Chicago, and two NYC Marathons, with a Boston PR of 3:29 and a NYC PR of 3:26, good for 2nd place AG. Along the way she has raised over $240,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. She has  All-American status in the 10K (44:04), Half Marathon (1:37), 5 Mile, and 5K. She ran the NYC Marathon in 2019 to commemorate her 60th birthday and finished 2nd in her age group with a time of 3:28:39, a feat she repeated in 2021 when she ran NYC again with an all time PR of 3:26:54 (a few weeks after 5th at Boston in 3:32:24).  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he is lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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Anonymous said...

Hey, how would this compare to Skechers Razor Excess, Topo Specter, Craft Pro Endur, and Salomon (New One non-s/lab) Phantasm?

Anonymous said...

How would this feel in a rotation with the Saucony Tempus? Is the ASICS different and race-focused enough?

Anonymous said...

First let me thank you for all of the excellent and thorough reviews on your website.

I too am curious how the Magic Speed 2 compares to the Skechers Razor Excess v2.


Anonymous said...

Hello RoadTrailRun,
I have some questions that I hope you might be able to help with.

a) What is the difference in the feel of the ride, toe-off, half-plate vs full plate. I have no problems with the half-plate of Magic Speed v1. I found the full plate of the Endorphin Speed to be too stiff and not allow a natural foot strike/stride.

b) 5mm drop vs 7mm drop - Do you feel a difference? I am not a fan of higher drop shoes, so 5mm is usually my max. I can start to feel the difference in 6mm or higher since it changes my foot strike and stride. I tried the Endorphin Speed v1 and the 8mm drop was bad. I even ran a marathon in them and my entire legs (glutes, quads, calves, feet) felt beat up, even though I liked the Pebax midsole.

Any extra input would be grateful.

Anonymous said...

I’d love any additional thoughts you have as to why this wouldn’t be a good marathon shoe. I don’t love the super shoes and have been looking for an alternative for the marathon distance. I’ve previously run marathons in the Mizuno Wave Catalyst and Adidas Boston 8.

Unknown said...

Peter - I remember that you LOVED the Skechers Razor Elite Hyper a couple years ago, as did I. I was sad when they discontinued them as I felt their full plated options were pretty stiff and harsh riding.

It was also a half plate with great road feel, and suuuuper light! How would you compare these? I just picked up a pair of Magic Speed 1s and like them. Weight aside, are the 2s more like the Skechers?

BTW, I'm also in Austin. Getting little hints of relief from this summer's heat!