Today, I’m comparing the Asics Metaracer vs Saucony Endorphin Pro. Having run in both shoes for quite some time now, I think I’m ready enough to compare these two great racing shoes.
This comparison is going to tackle the performance of both shoes and so I’m not going to focus much on the specs and features.
Before we dive in, here’s two really interesting comparisons you might want to check out when you finish this one, Saucony Endorphin Pro vs Endorphin Speed and Saucony Endorphin Pro vs Nike Vaporfly Next%
Let’s get right into it…
Asics Metaracer vs Saucony Endorphin Pro
What we have here is FlyteFoam versus PWRUN, or, old-school versus new-school in this head-to-head battle and it’s pretty exciting.
Asics comes in with an old-school style racer, but don’t be fooled because the Metaracer has tons of new technology in it.
We’ve got a new formulation of FlyteFoam which is a little bit different than the FlyteFoams that we’ve seen in the past and also very different from the FlyteFoam Blast that we’ve seen in the Novablast.
Again, this is a unique type of EVA midsole material which is absolutely fantastic to run in.
This Metaracer comes in at 6.7 oz so it is a featherweight with just 16 millimeters of cushion in the forefoot on an 8-millimeter heel drop shoe.
In contrast, what we have in the Saucony Endorphin Pro is more of that thick yet fast new school of racing shoes where we’ve got a bunch of midsole cushioning.
The Pro has 25 millimeters of stack height in the forefoot on an 8-millimeter drop.
Both the Metaracer and the Endorphin Pro are fantastic shoes. They’re both extremely fun to run in. They’re both definitely racers considering their snug uppers that are extremely breathable and comfortable from a racing perspective.
So, this isn’t something that I’d necessarily want to put on my feet everything day, but when it comes race time, they’re my go-to racing shoes.
These have a little bit more give in the uppers than I’ve seen in other racing shoes, which makes them very comfortable for their intended purpose.
Horsepower vs Torque
The way that I would differentiate these two shoes is I’d like to think of it as a story of horsepower versus torque.
So, when I ran in the Saucony Endorphin Pro, this sensation that I got was there’s definitely a lot of midsole cushion and there is that full-length carbon fiber plate that gives you a strong sense of push-up that I found particularly pleasant.
I was able to get up to those marathon paces or marathon efforts and even exceed them a little bit at times so I find myself pulling back a little bit.
It’s very easy to set it and forget it and get into cruise control. It’s the Grand Tour of marathon racing shoes. You just get to that speed and you can cruise for a long period of time because it feels very comfortable to run at those marathon paces.
The thing that I didn’t know is while I like the Endorphin Pro for regular marathon paces, I love the shoe more when I’m running downhill.
For some reason, even the very steep downhills where I would normally find myself braking a little bit and trying to slow down and control my momentum down the hills, I find myself really pushing it with the Endorphin Pro.
This makes me wonder if perhaps I’m not loading the carbon fiber plate enough to really get the full benefit of this shoe. Maybe I’m not light enough or maybe I’m not running fast enough and it’s only when I’m getting into those really faster speeds that I’m loading this carbon fiber plate.
The way the carbon fiber works is when you impact the ground, you load that carbon fiber plate and it’s very stiff, but as you move it, it wants to become unbent, and then it pops up.
So, I really felt the carbon fiber plate asserted itself very pleasantly on the downhills and I really felt like this shoe lets me push it really hard and I don’t feel unstable.
The tall stack height and the relative stiffness of this shoe all disappeared and turned into a really fantastic shoe that kept surprising me the faster I went.
I’m not sure what that means. Maybe it’s just this is a great shoe for downhill running or maybe I’m not extracting the full benefit of all the engineering that’s going on in the Endorphin Pro.
It’s not like I didn’t enjoy the shoe at other points, but it just exceptionally shined on those downhill running efforts.
One of the things that I did feel as I got towards the end of my workout as I was feeling more tired, I felt like I wish it could just give me a little bit more and it wasn’t always able to do that.
The Metaracer has got gobs of torque and just even thinking about running faster, boom you’re running redline and probably running a little bit faster than you intend.
I found myself as I was going in between intervals going from my recovery pace back up to my marathon effort pace that the moment I tried to pick up momentum, I was instantly running much faster than I was intending and I had to constantly dial it back.
I’m also not the most disciplined when it comes to running at a certain pace or at a certain level of effort. I find myself still kind of dial that in and so that weakness of mine was definitely exacerbated by the Asics Metaracer.
I think it’s just more precise of a shoe in that regard that if you want to go fast, it will definitely help you get there sometimes to your peril.
So, I found myself putting too much into the shoe very frequently.
Is The Metaracer A Marathon Shoe?
I was worried that taking this shoe on the 15-mile run would be a bit too long for it because it does get to redline so quickly. I feel like it’s not necessarily a marathon shoe and that’s something that I had questions about from the first time I ran this shoe.
Is this a marathon racer? For me, I don’t think that it is. I think that I would love to take this on long hard workouts which are 15 miles. Maybe I could take it to a 17-mile or even a 20-mile run, but would I want to race 26.2 at that marathon effort pace? I’m not sure that I could handle that.
I just feel like the 16 millimeters of stack height was not enough. I felt myself needing just a little bit more cushion.
Carbon Fiber Plate
The other thing that distinguishes the Asics Metaracer from the Saucony Endorphin Pro is the differences in the way that they’ve applied the carbon plate in these shoes.
I mentioned that in the Endorphin Pro, you’ve got a full-length carbon fiber plate. In the Metaracer, you’ve only got forefoot carbon.
In the Endorphin Pro, the carbon fiber plate is in between the black layer of foam and the blue layer of foam and that’s where it goes in most carbon fiber plated shoes.
In the Metaracer, I believe that the carbon fiber plate is kind of more bottom-loaded and so there’s foam, foam, foam, carbon fiber plate, and then pretty much just the rubber on the outside. I don’t know if there’s a little bit more foam underneath that carbon fiber plate or not.
One of the things that I do notice is that the feel of running in the Metaracer is very different than the feel of running in the Endorphin Pro.
The feel of running in the Metaracer is more like running in a racing flat that doesn’t have a carbon fiber plate. It feels like running on a very bouncy, very stiff midsole foam material. It’s almost as if the carbon isn’t there except, again, when you’re really trying to get up there and get onto those faster paces, then you start to feel it a little bit.
So, if you’re not a huge fan of that carbon fiber push that people get in their stride when they’re running in racing shoes, the Metaracer might be exactly the type of shoe that you’re looking for because it is so subtle. It has it in there, you’re getting that benefit but without kind of the assertiveness that carbon can sometimes have.
How I Use Both Shoes
For me, when it comes to marathon racing, I’m definitely going to go with the Endorphin Pro because I do like the stack height that’s in the shoe. The cushion definitely helps me for those longer runs where I just don’t have the toughest feet. Also, when the carbon fiber plate is noticeable, it is really very nice.
But what about the half marathon distance?
At the half marathon distance, I think I’m picking the Metaracer just because I just feel so fast in this shoe and I just love the ability to pick up the pace at a moment’s notice.
For a race like the half marathon where you’re pushing speed a little bit more than you’re pushing the discipline and maintaining pace, I think that that’s where the Metaracer really becomes strength.
So, those are my opinions on the Asics Metaracer vs Saucony Endorphin Pro.
I’m sure that lots of you guys are going to disagree and I’d love to talk to you guys about it more in the comments down below.
That’s all I have for today, everybody. Thanks for making it all the way to the end of this comparison. I’ll see you in the next one.