Listen, I won’t beat around the bush, I’ve long used Reebok as the butt of many a running shoe joke. Yes, I make a lot of running shoe jokes. Yes, that is not a particularly compelling source of comedy for the greater population, but I stick to what I know for my humor. Mostly, I’ve focused on the brand’s constant reversion to gimmicks to sell sneakers, rather than just making a good pair of running shoes, think DMX cushioning. I say all this not to rag on Reebok, but to say to you that I came to the Reebok Floatride as an extreme skeptic, prepared to add it to the heap of previous efforts, notably the “all-terrain” shoe.
So, with that introduction, we come to the new Reebok Floatride shoe. The shoe is built around Reebok’s new Floatride cushioning. According to Reebok, the cell structure of the midsole foam, which delivers “the optimal mix of cushioning and responsiveness so you can float through your run.” It is supposed to be lighter than traditional EVA foam as well. This foam took Reebok 6 years to develop and, based on my experience so far, it was time well spent.
Here you can see some of the other features that set the Floatride apart from the competition, in particular the lace cage (the black plastic diamonds), the stretchy knit upper, and the heel cup. According to Reebok, the heel cup is made in a bra factory, which seems to be a trend in the shoe industry these days. I don’t have a weight to report, but I can say that this shoe feels light. I’d put it in the same category as the Brooks Launch. Drop is 8 mm.
The combination of the heel cup and knit upper that extends fairly far up the foot can make putting on this shoe a little bit of a challenge, particularly because the upper can get bunched if you aren’t careful. For this reason, I can’t recommend it as a triathlon option, even though I do think it would be comfortable barefoot. That said, once you get it on, the “socklike” fit is comfortable, with the heel cup feeling soft but supportive enough, and seamless knit upper wrapping your foot.
When it comes to the lacing, I was worried about how the cage system would work, particularly with only three eyelets.
As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry. You can’t tie the shoes up like you normally would with your other shoes, but it is definitely possible to tie them up to the point where you feel like your foot is locked in. Personally, I leave the top knot a little looser on these shoes than I might with a different shoe, otherwise I get a painful spot on the top of my foot.
Traction comes via a sort of conveyor belt/waffle looking tread that seems to get the job done.
Once you get the shoe on, you immediately can feel the difference in the Floatride cushioning, much the same way you can feel the bounce in a pair of adidas Boosts. It’s the kind of bounce that makes you go “ooooh, I want to run in these.” Sure, it sounds hyperbolic, but put a pair on and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve now put in two treadmill runs with these shoes, and can comfortably say that I really do like this shoe a lot. There is most definitely a springiness to the ride that doesn’t veer off into the bouncy softness of early Hokas. It’s just there enough to provide a unique run experience that makes a run fun, and this is from a guy who generally likes a fairly firm shoe. As a “Barney Rubble” footed individuals (narrow heel, wide forefoot) I can report no blister issues.
Now, during my first run I had some pain along the outside of my feet where the lace cage met the midsole. That pain disappeared after about 20 minutes and I didn’t have it the second run.
A second caveat is that if you believe you need a shoe to prevent overpronation, this is not the shoe for you. I overpronate. I used to wear motion control shoes to prevent overpronation, but no longer do and have been much happier in neutral shoes. But, again if you are looking for a shoe you will not overpronate in, this is not that shoe.
So, my final verdict? The Reebok Floatride should absolutely be on your list to consider if you are looking for a lightweight, neutral, “responsive” cushioned trainer. I consider myself a convert to the Reebok brand and look forward to what they come out with featuring their Floatride cushioning in the future.
Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge from Reebok as part of their Reebok Elite program, but all opinions expressed are mine, and mine alone.