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Body in Motion / Fitness for Life  / Reebok Supreme Floatride

Reebok Supreme Floatride

The Floatride is Reebok’s latest offering in the long distance running shoe category. The brand aims to address an existing lacuna in providing a serious solution to the long distance runner, ‘backed by technology, innovation and design’. It’s stated to be ‘Reebok’s most technically advanced shoe to date’. The descriptive #FeeltheFloatride ostensibly steers one towards the expected product experience: “Floatride is cushioning without compromise; soft AND responsive so you can float through your run”.
Is that so? That’s the task I was entrusted with, to test and review the shoe.

** LAUNCH DATE: April 1, 2017

My running shoes have always been lightweight and flatter (lower heel to toe drop – neutral, and bordering on minimal by comparison) so when this shoe arrived for testing, I was curious and skeptical in equal measure. But I decided to put aside any instinctive bias, execute the task at hand and test it some.

Let’s see how it went.

TEST METHOD
Running: Road
Grass (dry and wet)
Pavement
Treadmill
(* Not yet done trails in them)
Pattern: Steady paced runs/ Sprints

Workouts: Floor workouts, Bosu, Plyometrics and Stair Workouts

Here’s what I feel, keeping in mind specifications provided:

WEIGHT AND CLASSIFICATION
Weight M. (size 8/9): 8.2 oz./ 233 gm; F. (size 6): Approx 7.41 oz/ 210 gm
Drop: 8mm (H:26, FF:18)

The heel to toe drop should work well for neutral and mild pronation foot types.

OVER ALL FEEL

Experience: The cushioning and responsiveness were palpable almost immediately. The bounce and glide response presented well. The shoe didn’t feel as heavy as it looked to me at first glance. For those used to near minimalist shoes (like me), it obviously feels heavier by comparision, but Reebok is not making claims of the shoe being anywhere close to the (near) minimalist family, so we can fairly put that weight comparison aside and assess the shoe for it claims to be – providing superior cushioning without compromise. Essentially, balance between quality of cushioning and weight. The shoe felt along the right track there.

Specs: The shoe uses the Floatride Foam. This is stated to be up to 50% lighter than the standard EVA foam used for shoes. Floatride Foam has a consistent cell structure (more consistent cell size leading to more consistent and better physical properties) that delivers integration of cushioning and responsiveness, superior energy return and efficiency.

STRUCTURE –
UPPER AND FOREFOOT:

Experience:

The mesh held up rather well, given the shape of my feet. I like the snug and secure grip of my narrower shaped shoes and I was apprehensive of not getting similar support in the fore-foot area, given the relatively wider structure. Multiple runs and I didn’t find this to be much of an issue. There was no unnecessary fore foot play and the feet found a good grip.
I tried a size smaller of the FloatRide than my regular narrow fit shoes based on the silhouette difference. (This may not always be the case. You are advised to try for size based on your own comfort and foot structure).
With the sock like ultra mesh, thinner socks were enough to get a good fit. There was no friction experienced in the toes with this switch.
The laces of this shoe are thicker and feel somewhat differently textured from the shoes I have worn so far, so I sacrificed the customary double knot. With a single knot I am always afraid of laces loosening or coming undone while running, no matter how tightly or how many times I tie/re-tie them, but the laces behaved over several trials.
Also, I usually lace through all the (multiple) shoe eyelets for firmer ankle support and wondered how the scanty lacing of this shoe would perform. The 3 widely spaced eyelets of the mid foot cage kept the knot and grip intact. So no concerns there about lesser eyelets impacting fit.

Specs: The breathable Ultraknit upper has a seam-free construction to provide adaptive comfort, support and flexibility.

MIDFOOT AND HEEL:

Experience: Being used to lesser heel to toe drop and cushioning, I naturally found a difference in the mid-foot feel of the shoe (the way it fits and feels under the arch), but not as majorly as I expected. With the FloatRide they seem to have finally progressed in a much needed direction, beyond the (seemingly mandatory) arch support prototype and offered a much better fit for those looking for a fairly neutral shoe with some cushioning. This should also work well for those with mild pronation. The cage exterior might also provide a bit of mid foot support from both sides.

Coming to the heel – the cushioning is not too clunky and provides the stated glide, bounce and responsive feel. Good for heel strikers and not a hindrance for mid foot strikers. There was no abrasiveness/discomfort in the way it moulded around the heels from the first trial and during runs across surfaces tested.

Specs: The EVA supportive foam rim centers and balances your foot throughout the gait cycle.

OUTSOLE:

Experience: The shoe held up well in terms of grip and traction on all surfaces I tested on. I did go over some gravel and loose stones to see if anything would get stuck in the grooves of the rubber. So far so good. However, a trail run may be a better test, which like I said earlier, I haven’t done yet. It behaved adaptively to both heel and mid foot strikes upon switching.

Specs: Hi-Abrasion rubber outsole engineered in a ripple design to provide constant ground contact for smooth ride and traction.

LOOKS
The men’s shoe is blue. I’m glad I have the yellow version. The cage makes it look distinct from other shoes and placement of the brand logo strategically within it is stylishly appealing.The logo glows well in the dark.

CONCLUSION
This is definitely an offering along new lines from Reebok. So what’s the verdict?

If you are used to or looking for cushioning and responsive comfort in your shoe – then YES, you could go for this shoe.

If you are used to running in lighter shoes and with lesser heel to toe drop, you may need to get used to greater cushioning and some additional weight. Many runners have more than a pair for different races and terrains, and are able to switch styles rather seamlessly. On a personal note, I am surprisingly happier with it than I expected. So I will be giving it a few more running chances for sure.

If you are ambivalent, certainly worth a try.

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