Friday, February 3, 2012

Shoe Review: Asics Sky Speed

More than any other running shoe company, Asics likes tinkering with its lines.  New models will arrive one year, only to be completely discontinued the next.  Such was the case with the Gel-Bandito, which I loved.  And such is the case with the DS Sky Speed.

The Sky Speed was originally released in November 2010.  A slightly updated Sky Speed 2 followed in June 2011.  Then, in December 2011, the Sky Speed line was discontinued entirely.  It's now possible to pick up both the original Sky Speed and the Sky Speed 2 at clearance prices from online retailers.  I picked up a pair for $42.

So what is the Sky Speed?  It was designed to be a high-end, lightweight, neutral shoe.  If you think that sounds something like the Asics Speedstar, you are right.  But where the Speedstar was known to have a narrow fit, the Sky Speed was built on the same, wider platform as the very popular DS Trainer shoe, but without the DS Trainer's stability features. 

 I found the Sky Speed, like most Asics shoes, to have very firm cushioning.  In addition, the cushioning feelsto be more built up in certain areas, including under the joint of my big toe, and along the inside of the heel.  This felt awkward when I first stepped into them, but the sensation quickly disappeared while running.

One of the best things about this shoe is how well it holds my foot in place.  When running up and down steep hills, my foot did not slip inside the shoe at all.  For me, this shoe will make for happier, healthier feet when doing hillwork.

Some runners have complained about the asymmetrical lacing, which runs diagonally across the top of the foot.  For me, the lacing felt perfectly comfortable.   

While I have nothing against the bright orange color, the shoes do look a little plastic-y.  The overlays on the side and the toebox seem excessive.  (Some of the overlays are even designed to look like mesh; the silver "mesh" in the above picture is not mesh at all.)  Given this I worry a little about whether this shoe will feel hot in the summer.

In case you are looking at both the Sky Speed and the Sky Speed 2: not much has changed between the two versions, although Asics did modify the lacing system a little bit, and reduced the overlays.  I think the blue color of the Sky Speed 2 also looks better (although, to me, not worth paying more for.)

I'll report back on the Sky Speed once I've put down some more miles.  Drop us a comment if you have any questions.

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  1. Hi,

    I bought my Gel Skyspeed in Dec 2011 and ran a half marathon in them in Jan 2012 (only my second marathon since i started running a year ago). They performed far better than my previous Reebok Premier Verona's. Though my timing wasnt great at 2:20, it was still a full 12 minutes faster than my previous finish.
    My only problem with these is that after long runs, 8 kms and above, my calves turn very sore and tight. Otherwise the show is fantatstic
    Have you had similar problems?
    I have a mildly high arch, and mild underpronation.

    Mumbai, India

  2. Harish,

    I've not noticed a particular with problem with my calves after running in these shoes. But then, I usually do shorter runs in these shoes and longer runs in the Brooks Launch.

    Congratulations on your PR!

  3. But HeLp! What's to be done if you love the Sky Speed and it's SOLDOUT everywhere in my size! I used to wear the Nimbus. After being off running 3 months due to torn hamstring, I came back in the skyspeed and built up my mileage. Wow. The best shoe ever. Just had 2nd best marathon of 13 and after an injury! But my womens 10 1/2 are all gone (I'ce bought 6 pairs)! What shoe can compare. Just ran in bew Asics Nimbus 14--I don't want to go back to big shoe land. Tried Saucony Kinvara 3 today and tho felt graat, no way this shoe gives ne what the skyspeed does--and for a 57 y/o I would like a little more ride from my shoe. Any ideas???

  4. Hello,

    You said you are looking for a women's sky speed in size 10-1/2, right? I found some online retailers that have it:

    You could also try the Sky Speed 2, which is similar, though more expensive. Here are some retailers that have size 10-1/2:

    Good luck - and congratulations on the marathon!

  5. I love the Sky Speeds, and am very disappointed that they were discontinued. I bought three pairs at clearance price, and now they have 600, 400, and 300 miles...

  6. Brian,

    Thanks for visiting our blog!

    While ASICS no longer sells the Sky Speeds in the United States, it looks like they continue to sell them in other countries. The latest version is the Sky Speed 3:

    I dig the retro color scheme!

    If you browse around the Canadian site, you'll see that ASICS has a lot of other shoes for sale abroad, that they don't market and sell in the United States. I don't know why that is -- probably jus lack of demand. Since they are manufacturing the shoes anyway, perhaps a grass roots effort by Sky Speed lovers could convince them to bring the shoe back to the United States! (After all, us Brooks Launch wearers managed to convince Brooks to change their plans to discontinue the Launch!)

    Good luck!