If you’re looking for a rigid speed shoe with a firm ride, the Magic Speed 2 is a good option. It has good stability and a comfortable upper. It doesn’t have a very lively ride but it makes up for it in durability and bang for your buck.
If you enjoy a soft, flexible speed shoe with a highly energetic ride, the Magic Speed 2 is not for you. The Magic Speed 2’s midsole doesn’t provide much bounce or responsiveness.
I can remember how excited I was for the launch of the Magic Speed last year, ASICS’ first training companion to their Metaspeed Sky and Edge racers. The Magic Speed turned out to be a bit of a flop: it was firm, had a flat ride and felt nothing like the Metaspeed series.
Compared to the other training companions from other brands, the Magic Speed was behind the furthest. I didn’t put many miles onto my pair- it lacked cushioning for long runs, wasn’t fast enough for tempo runs and it didn’t have a fun ride either. It had a comfortable upper and was very durable but it definitely wasn’t deserving of its $150 price.
I think ASICS knew that the Magic Speed 1 was a miss, so they’ve completely redesigned version 2. It now has a better midsole foam in FF Blast+, a longer and stiffer plate and a design which is very similar to the Metaspeed series.
The Magic Speed 2 weighs 8.1 oz (234 g) which is slightly heavier than the first version which was 7.9 oz (239 g). It also has an increased stack height of 34 mm in the heel, 27 mm in the forefoot compared to 29/24 of the previous version.
The price remains $150 which makes it one of the cheapest plated shoes and great value for money.
The first time I tried the Magic Speed 2 on in the store, I could feel the increased toe-spring immediately as I walked around in it. The forefoot also felt much stiffer which combined well with the high toe-spring for an enhanced rocker.
The length felt short and the toe-box felt narrow so I had to try on a half size bigger which felt much more comfortable than true to size. The new upper felt more like a racing upper than the previous version.
My first run was a 30 kilometre long run. It felt really comfortable from the get go and it didn’t need a break-in period.
I was surprised how firm the ride felt, considering it has FF Blast+ in the midsole. It’s the firmest version of FF Blast+ I’ve felt to date.
It felt much more like a long-distance racing/speed shoe now compared to the last version which was very unforgiving and not suited to long distances.
The higher stack height made the long run feel comfortable although the ride didn’t feel as plush as other plated shoes.
Stability was good and the stiff forefoot with the high toe-spring made it feel more efficient than a regular daily trainer.
I enjoyed the long run but I felt that it was more suited to faster tempo runs or interval workouts due to its firm ride.
The Magic Speed 2’s upper is really comfortable, breathable and provides excellent lockdown. It’s also made with at least 75% recycled materials. The engineered mesh material is ultra thin and doesn’t absorb much liquid.
The collar has enough padding to prevent hotspots and the gusseted tongue sits comfortably on top of the foot without sliding sideways. There is a small amount of downward tongue slide but it didn’t annoy me too much.
The laces are the same cheap laces as the ones that were on the Metaspeed Sky 1. They are too soft and they fray easily so they definitely don’t belong on a $150 shoe.
The other downside of the upper is that the fit is off- it runs a half size too small so I’d recommend going up a half size. I did, and the fit was perfect. Sadly, there’s also no reflective elements on the Magic Speed 2.
The Magic Speed 2 has a carbon-TPU plate sandwiched in its midsole. You can’t tell that it’s a carbon-TPU plate when you’re running; it feels like a regular, carbon plated trainer with a rigid midsole. The new, full-length carbon plate makes the ride feel more consistent compared to the first version which only had a ¾ length plate in the midfoot/forefoot.
It feels noticeably faster now thanks to the higher toe-spring and the stiffer forefoot which produces a forward rolling sensation that wasn’t present in the first version.
I really enjoyed using the Magic Speed 2 for speed workouts and tempo runs. The firm ride makes it easy to pick up the pace and its relatively light weight makes speedwork fun. The new, higher 8 mm drop also assists you to transition through your gait cycle faster.
The firm midsole of the Magic Speed 2 doesn’t allow the plate to move downwards during loading or snap back to shape so you don’t get a springboard-type forward propulsion. The Magic Speed 2 relies on its high toe-spring and stiff forefoot to make transitions faster.
I do think the Magic Speed 2 has a flat ride which is missing bounce and energy return. It feels a lot flatter than the Endorphin Speed 3 and the Skechers Razor Excess 2 which use more energetic midsole foams. The FF Blast+ in the Magic Speed 2 feels very ordinary, like Flytefoam in ASICS’ cheaper shoes.
It’s a dual foam setup in the Magic Speed 2 with only the top layer being FF Blast+. They don’t state what the bottom layer is but it’s probably FF Blast or Flytefoam, and it provides a more stable, more durable base. Durability is excellent and there isn’t much wear showing on my pair at all. You can definitely put a lot of mileage onto the Magic Speed 2 without it wearing down quickly.
You can use the Magic Speed 2 as a half marathon or full marathon race shoe if you enjoy a firmer ride. It’s not a harsh ride and its medium stack height provides enough cushioning depth for long-distance races so it’s a good budget race day option.
The Magic Speed 2’s outsole looks remarkably similar to the Metaspeed Sky+ and Edge+. Rubber placement is brilliant and the durable exposed midsole foam has not shown abrasions or scuffs in the first 80 kilometres.
Grip is also very good in wet and dry conditions.
The Magic Speed 2 is a vast improvement over the original Magic Speed. It now has a thicker midsole with deeper cushioning so it has more long-distance comfort.
It also has a ride which is more similar to the expensive Metaspeed series thanks to its new, full-length carbon plate.
Runners who are looking for a budget racing shoe and are not prepared to shell out $250 for a Metaspeed will be satisfied with the Magic Speed 2 as a marathon race.
It doesn’t match top-tier super shoes in terms of energy return and propulsion but it does feel much faster than a daily trainer or non-plated speed shoe.
Runners who already have the Metaspeed Sky+ or Edge+ for racing will also be satisfied with the Magic Speed 2 as a training companion for workouts and tempo runs because it won’t break the bank, it has excellent durability and it has better stability due to its firm ride.
Compared to the other plated trainers, the Magic Speed 2 doesn’t do much to stand out from the crowd. It’s now as stiff as the Boston 11 and the Zoom Fly 5 but its midsole foam lacks liveliness compared to say the Endorphin Speed 3 with a PEBA midsole.
The Magic Speed 2 does have the most durable outsole of the bunch and it undercuts the other plated trainers by $10 to $50.
If ASICS can soften up the midsole of the Magic Speed by adding a bouncy layer of FF Turbo foam instead of FF Blast+ for a price point of $160 or below, it will become a very, very popular speed shoe.