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A year ago ASICS unveiled the MetaRun, which most observers at the time dubbed a “concept shoe.” With only a few thousand units produced and a $250 price tag, it was obvious the Japanese shoe brand wasn’t targeting the MetaRun at a mass audience, but rather using it as a vehicle to strut their design technology stuff, the way auto makers do at the yearly auto shows. And to be sure, the MetaRun incorporated some half dozen design features aimed at making it lighter, more responsive, and more stable.
Now, what was perhaps the most significant of those innovations, the FlyteFoam midsole material, has made its debut in a mainstream production model, the DynaFlyte. With the shoe, ASICS has broken the 300g barrier for cushioned shoes; a men’s size 9.0 tips the scales at 270g or 9.5 ounces. (A women’s size 7.0 is 221g or 7.8 oz.) In a comparison with blown rubber EVA, the midsole material in most shoes, FlyteFoam is about 55 percent lighter.
Additionally, the proprietary material has organic fibers mixed in, which serve to limit the amount of deformation that occurs under load. This has the effect of making the DynaFlyte both cushioned and stable, a seemingly contradictory achievement that has been the Holy Grail of shoe designers for years.
Strategically placed forefoot flex grooves provide the DynaFlyte with flexibility that might be unexpected in a full-length midsole of FlyteFoam.
At Tuesday’s rollout event in New York City, Ryan Hall, the retired American marathoner, noted that he particularly liked the added cushioning when he runs on the roads, especially since he is now carrying an extra 20 pounds of muscle from his new weight lifting regimen, while sprinter Candace Hill, who recently turned pro after becoming the first high school girl to break 11 seconds for the 100 meters, said it’s the only training flat she tried that allowed her to run workouts using sprint form.
The DynaFlyte will be available July 1 with a $140 price tag.
This post originally appeared on Competitor.com.