Posts Tagged ‘running shoe review’

Reebok? Reebok. Time to Floatride.

March 30, 2017

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.

OGPVlqL

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.

reebok-floatride

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.

IMG_7745

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.

IMG_7747

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.

IMG_7744

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.

IMG_7753

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.

IMG_7759

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.

IMG_7743

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.

Advertisements

Skechers GORun Ride 3 Review – Go Like Never Before!

March 19, 2014

As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a Skechers kick recently, with the GOBionic Trail getting its fair share of miles this winter.  I was lucky enough to receive a pair of GORun Ride 3s recently as well from Skechers Performance to try out as a potential race shoe for the Boston Marathon.  To cut to the punch line, I think I no longer need to worry about what shoe I’ll pick for Patriot’s Day!

The Look

I have to say, I really dig the look of these shoes.  I specifically requested the Blue/Lime combo because I figured it looked the most Boston-y.  The shoes feature 3-d printed side panels and are sure to stand out from a crowd of the usual suspects.  To my eye, they just look fast, which makes me want to go fast in them.

Diaganol Shot Ride 3 Heel Ride 3 Overhead

 

Pretty nifty looking huh?  Here you can see them before I take on the New Bedford Half Marathon.

Skechers New Bedford

Rebecca also got a pair, and I think they’re even cooler looking than mine!

1382419_10102141959497800_515423954_n

 

The Specs

Pick up these shoes and your first thought, assuming you’re from Boston, will be “man, these are wicked light!”  According to Skechers, a size 9 weighs 8.4 oz.  For comparison’s sake, the Brooks Pure Flow 3, a comparably situated shoe, comes in at 9.0 oz. and the Saucony Kinvara at 7.9 oz.  A very cool aspect of the shoes is that you can customize their heel-toe drop by either including/excluding a pair of liners in the sole.  With the liners the shoes have a 4mm drop but they go down to zero drop without them.  I have only worn them so far with the inserts, but may try to drop down in the future once I’m comfortable with the 4.

The white portion of the shoe is Skecher’s Resalyte cushioning system.  According to Skechers, Resalyte is “proprietary lightweight, injection-molded compound with memory retention.”  Other Skechers’ exclusive tech includes their GOimpulse sensors and pillars designed to “allow for an even smoother transition and optimized running experience.”  You can see the sensors in yellow on the sole below.

Ride 3 Outsole

 

More from Skechers: “Traditional cushioning deadens sensory isolation, making it difficult to readjust for maximized efficiency. This can lead to lazy running and habitually bad form. Innovative placement allows the GOimpulse sensors to move together and independently as they provide sensory feedback to the brain. This dynamic interaction promotes a natural stride for a more efficient and responsive run.”

Finally, the shoes are designed to promote a midfoot strike through Skechers’ M-Strike Technology.  The M-Strike tech works in conjunction with the shoe’s rockered feel, the midfoot is the thickest part of the sole, to guide you through the midfoot landing and propel you on.

Oh, and it strongly bears mentioning that these shoes are listed at $80, making them a Runner’s World Best Buy.

The Ride

Alright, so the shoes look cool, are lightweight, and are designed for a midfoot strike, all things I love in a shoe.  But, the proof is in the running, as Benjamin Franklin was wont to say.  Although I’ve only put in a few runs with the shoe so far, I was able to really put them through their paces when racing the New Bedford Half.  I knew this race would not only give me a chance to do a longer run in the shoes, but also see how they performed at (what I hoped would be) an uptempo pace.  I kid you not, and employ no amount of hyperbole, when I say these shoes have given me an injection of Instamojo.  The Ride 3s feel admittedly weird when you first put them on and walk around given the sole shape, which makes you feel off-balance.  But start running and you see that they do everything they were meant to, and more.

The best compliment I can pay to running shoes is that they disappear when running in them, meaning they are so unobtrusive that you only need concentrate on moving quickly, and not on your feet.  While they may look flashy to spectators, you’ll completely forget about the Rides when you have them on, with the design allowing for a smooth gait cycle that feels completely natural, but still cushioned.  Unlike some other shoes in the sub-9 oz. range, the Rides smooth out the harshness of the road with the Resalyte cushioning without making you feel like you are running on pillows.  In short, the shoes make you want to run fast and they’ll protect your legs while doing so.

Fit-wise, the Rides feature a wider than usual toe box, allowing your toes to splay naturally on impact.  As someone whose feet crave wider shoes, think Brooks and not Nike, I really appreciated this design aspect.  I wouldn’t say that the Rides fit “true to size” as I went up a half size from what I would wear in Brooks or adidas.

In Conclusion 

By way of disclaimer, Skechers Performance sent me these shoes because I volunteered to wear them for Boston, but with my caveat that I had to be comfortable with them on longer runs.  While I still want to do some confirmatory long runs in them to be 100% sure, for the time being I can confidently say that you’ll see me in Ride 3s on Patriot’s Day 2014, which is about as strong an endorsement as I can give a shoe.  If I didn’t feel confident in them, I certainly wouldn’t ask them to accompany me from Hopkinton to Boylston St.

Now, go get yourself some Rides and Go Like Never Before!

 

Brooks Transcend Review

March 14, 2014

Few running shoes in recent memory have gotten the promotional roll-out that the new Brooks Transcend model received.  Not only did Brooks take out many, many large print ads in magazines like Runners World, they went so far as to include an actual video IN THE MAGAZINE itself as an ad.  The incomparable Pete Larson shot a meta video of the video, as seen below.

Combined with quirky race expo booths and a flashy website dedicated to the new shoe, Brooks did everything it could to get the Transcend in front of consumers, but they saved the best for their pros and specialty running customers, sending them a sweet spaceship shoe box, as shown below.

The Specs

So, what I guess you’re probably wondering is, “what is actually so special about the shoes?”  Well, I’m glad you asked.  The Transcend is ostensibly meant to be Brooks’ entry into the “maximalist,” or highly cushioned, market.  Brooks achieves this through the use of its Super BioMoGo DNA cushioning built into the midsole, an “adaptable” full length foam cushioning system.  According to Brooks: “Super DNA delivers adaptable cushioning that provides 25% more cushioning than BioMoGo DNA and smartly adapts to your every stride.”  You can see the cushioning as the white part of the shoe in the coral version.  Coincidentally, I just happen to have some pictures of the mens and womens Transcends to show you.  Right now!

First, the men’s.

Mens Blue Mens Profile CoralNext, the women’s.

Womens

Womens Pink

Now, you may notice the black band right above the white midsole on the men’s versions, which band is teal and fuchsia on the women’s versions.  That band is what Brooks calls the Guide Rail system.  The Guide Rails, as the name implies, are designed to guide the foot through the heel to toe transition and provide a moderate level of support against overpronation.  So, this shoe is billed as a stability shoe.

Other Brooks tech featured in this shoe includes the Catepillar crash pad, “a segmented crash pad that flexes with the foot, offering customized cushioning and stability for a smooth heel-to-toe transition” and Omni-Flex Grooves, which “enhance midsole flexibility without compromising cushioning” according to RunningWarehouse.com, at least.  You can see both below:

Mens Sole

For the Running Geeks out there, Running Warehouse lists the stack height at 30mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot, for an 8mm drop and 12.2 oz weight.  For comparison’s sake, the same site lists the Adrenaline at 31/19/11.2.  As you can tell from the numbers, despite its looks, the Transcend is, in theory, not as built up as the Adrenaline.  It is, however, more shoe than the Ravenna, which comes in at 28/20/10.7.

Road Runner Sports also has a great page dedicated to the Transcend, including an informative video, which you can check out here: Brooks Transcend | Road Runner Sports

The Ride

With the geeky stuff out of the way, the question becomes “how does it feel when running?”  Now, here’s where I may be a bit contradictory.  For me, at least, the Transcend doesn’t live up to the hype of offering a cloud-like ride, and that’s just fine by me.  Most would probably agree that Hokas have set the bar for those who like a marshmallow for a shoe and I was worried that the Transcend would be similarly squishy.  Instead, while you can certainly tell there is a fair bit of cushioning by the fact that you don’t feel the pavement smacking into your feet with each step, you also don’t get the feeling of pushing through the shoe, such that the Transcend remains responsive despite the wealth of cushioning.  To me, the shoe felt very similar to wearing an Adrenaline and slightly firmer than the adidas Adistar Boost.  Because of its 8mm drop versus the Adrenaline’s 12, the Transcend felt like it encouraged more of a midfoot strike to me.  While some have called the ride clunky, I did not find this to be the case at all, even when doing hill repeats at a hard effort.  I never felt like the shoe was getting in the way of what I wanted to do, which is really what you want in a shoe, isn’t it?

All in all, I would say that the Transcend is an interesting middle child in Brooks support family, with more cushioning than the Ravenna, but less support than the Adrenaline.  Fit-wise, I found the Transcend was true to size and really like the plush upper it offers, which makes it a very comfortable shoe to wear.

I highly recommend the Transcend as a daily trainer for those who like some cushioning underfoot but don’t like squishy shoes.  If you aren’t one to care about having a light shoe for tempo runs/interval work, the Transcend could absolutely be your only shoe, though I know I’ll rotate it in among other models.

Happy running to all!  And, if you like what you see here, please consider supporting me as I run the 2014 Boston Marathon for the American Liver Foundation’s Run For Research Team!

Disclosure: I received these shoes free of charge from Brooks Running for review purposes, however all opinions above are my own and free of any outside influence.

Adidas adistar Boost Review

March 3, 2014

It would not be news to those who have semi-regularly kept up with this blog that I am a big fan of all things adidas Boost.  In fact, I even wrote a rather lengthy entry a little while back professing my great love for the Supernova Glide 6 Boost.  And now I’m back [back, back, from outer space] to talk about the fairly newly released adistar Boost, which is a part of what I’d call the Boost Gen 1.5 line, if one takes the Energy as Gen. 1 and the Energy 2 as Gen. 2.  Because I went into great detail on the technical details of the Boost midsole in my previous review, I’m not going to repeat it all here.  I’d just refer you back the beginning of that review.  That said, in short, Boost midsoles give you better energy return per step than do standard EVA midsoles.  It’s just that easy.

Because I have a tendency to make you read a lot before you get to see a picture, I’m going to get one out of the way right at the beginning this time.

Profile

The adistar Boost is meant to be the motion control/guidance/overpronation entry in the Boost lineup.  adidas achieves this, at least according to Running Warehouse, through “Pro-moderator – a firm, durable material co-molded to the CMEVA midsole to reduce over-pronation and provide a stable heel-to-toe transition.”  You can see the Pro Moderator here as the blue section above the Boost:

Rear

 

The adistar isn’t meant to be a full-on motion control shoe, more of a moderate guidance shoe, think Asics GT-2000 or Brooks Ravenna more than Kayano or Adrenaline, for comparison’s sake.  In the picture above, you can also see adidas’ Geofit collar, which allows “for a more secure yet softer feel around the ankle and Achilles during the running gait cycle.”

As you might be able to guess from the pictures, the Adistars, while not a part of the latest Maximalist trend, are anything but a minimalist shoe, weighing in at 11.1 oz for a size 9.

Finally, on the tech rundown side, you’ll notice the upper of the Adistar looks noticeably different from the open mesh typically found on most shoes.  Instead, the Adistar incorporates adidas’ Tech Fit upper, which was first featured on the original Energy Boost shoe.  The idea behind Tech Fit is to provide your foot with stretchy support while being flexible enough to allow for a more natural gait cycle.  Now, on to the review part.

Before the positives, I’ll start with my honest initial impression, which was not so positive.  I started testing these shoes with very high expectations, built up by my experiences, limited though they were, with the original Energy Boost and the Glide Boost.  My first three runs in the shoes consisted of two 8 mile treadmill runs and one hilly 16 mile road run on the Boston Marathon course.  In each of these runs,  I started getting hot spots on my forefoot towards the tail end of the run.  I began to think that I had found a Boost model that was not going to live up to its brethren, but I resolved not to quit on them…and I’m glad I didn’t.

My last run in the shoes before posting this review was an 18 miler on the Boston Marathon course with the Run For Research team, figuring that a second long run on the roads, and fourth overall, would give me a true opinion of the shoes, after which I could decide whether they would stay in the running rotation or be relegated to just cool-looking sneakers.  Though I started the run feeling sluggish, I actually felt like I was gaining energy as the run went on.  Where my legs should have been feeling more and more beat up with each hilly mile, instead they actually felt fresh as I began the last climb up the Boston Common hill.  I can’t say that I felt the same bouncy feeling that I had with the Energy and Glide, but I also have a feeling that the Boost midsole was at least partially responsible for the great run I ended up having.  I’m perfectly happy with cushioning that does its job quietly.  The best part was that I didn’t experience any hot spots during the run!  I’m rather relieved to say that the Adistars will absolutely be a part of future long runs.

Rave reviews for the Tech Fit upper, which moved well with my foot without making me feel like my foot was moving from the insole because of the stretch upper.  It’s really just a comfortable upper that gives the shoe a more foot-conforming fit.  I’m a fan.  What I’m not a fan of are the laces, which are way too short for me.  Small complaint, maybe, but lacing up your shoes is a fairly important part of running in them.

The other Con that will apply more for some runners than for others is the shoe’s weight.  Let’s be honest, these are not svelte shoes.  If you want Boosts you can fly in, check out the 7.7 oz Adios Boost.  That’s not to say these shoes don’t have  a nice, smooth ride, because they do, but I did find the girth noticeable.

When all is said and done, if you have a tendency to overpronate, the Adistar Boosts should absolutely be on your list of shoes to consider, particularly if you dig the comfort of the Tech Fit upper.  Of course, the other big seller for the shoe is the Boost midsole, which, although perhaps not as bouncy as other models, still provides excellent cushioning for your long runs.  So, go on and Boost your run with the Adistars!

Disclaimer: I was sent these shoes free from Adidas through Greater Boston Running Company but all the opinions above are my own and free of outside influence.