Reebok Floatride Run Ultraknit - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Looking at the Floatride Ultra Knit's relatively overall low score, we were not able to award it one of our top awards.
Landing comfort at OutdoorGearLab measures how much cushioning there is on the bottom of a shoe and how well that cushioning protects our bodies from the eventual wear of countless miles. While the Floatride isn't uncomfortable, per se, it doesn't have the great cushioning of some of its competitors.
Compared to our Editors' Choice Award-winning Brooks Adrenaline GTS or our Top Pick for Distance, the Hoka Bondi, the Floatride has a minimal amount of underfoot padding; this isn't necessarily a bad thing, depending on what kind of running you prefer. For short distances and fast missions, the Floatride's padding is sufficient.
With an 8mm drop from heel to toe, the Floatride has a traditional build. For the average runner, the 8mm drop may be just the ticket.
After years of testing dozens of running shoes, we've found that landing comfort and responsiveness are rivals. Most shoes that are super bouncy do not have the cushioning of more comfortable shoes and vice versa. True to form, that's exactly the scenario we found with the Floatride.
The Floatride does not have the cushioning of some models that are built for distance. This shoe does have some great kick to it, though, and it earned one of the highest scores for responsiveness. If you enjoy racing or speed workouts and time trials, especially on even surfaces like a track or treadmill, the Floatride is an excellent option.
Once we've settled into our rhythm, the next thing we notice about a new pair of running shoes is the upper. There's a lot that goes into building a comfortable shoe, from breathability to the cushioning in the tongue and heel. These things are on the heavier side, though most of our most comfortable shoes are not the lightest.
The Floatride has a unique build that is not like the more traditional models that dominate this review. This shoe, like the Ultraboost, has a sock-like, seamless upper. Woven from a knit material, the Floatride's upper is breathable, soft, and stretchy. The rear of this shoe features a firmer, padded material, and the sides are reinforced by a plastic cage that secures around the shoe when you tie the laces. While this is an interesting idea, we missed the cushioning of the Brooks upper found on all their models, especially during longer runs.
Some running shoes are built with stability in mind. They are manufactured specifically for runners with problem gaits, or runners who over or under pronate. Most shoes claim neutral support, made to protect but not change the runner's natural stride. After months of testing, even runners with perfect form preferred a bit of stability, and this can come in a variety of ways.
The Floatride attempts to deliver some stability in the shoe's plastic cage that locks into the sock-like upper. What we, and many other runners we asked found in this shoe, however, was a flimsy product. Unless we were running straight on a treadmill, any deviation in the surface was enough to throw us off, and the shoe's upper is so soft that there was nothing to keep our feet or ankles in line. This construction is only suited for a particular type of runner, and we're not planning on recommending it to the masses anytime soon.
We admit we're a little bit obsessed with weight. We put every product on a scale to see how each one compares. But we know that fractions of ounces aren't everything, and we suggest using the weight scores a bit forgivingly as you try to decide which shoe is best for you.
Our testers know that while we can tell the difference between a 9-ounce and a 7-ounce shoe, we definitely cannot tell the difference between a 7.4-ounce and a 7.2-ounce product. The Floatride, at 7.2 ounces, is one of the lightest shoes in this review; we'd put it in the same weight class as the Altra Escalante, Hoka Mach 2, and Salomon Sonic.
Since the Floatride lacks landing comfort and stability, we'd likely only use this shoe for moving quickly on even terrain. For treadmill sessions and track workouts, this shoe's responsive sole and lightweight design make for a speedy product, but we won't be wearing these on our long runs.
Priced at $150, the Floatride is one of the most expensive shoes in this review. Compared our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS ($130), this shoe is less versatile and likely not worth the cost. If running fast is your jam though, the price tag isn't absurdly high.
The Reebok Floatride Ultra Knit is a unique shoe with a new, trendy design. While we didn't love its lack of support or less cushioned upper, it is quite responsive and light. We'd still choose the Salomon Sonic over this shoe if we were looking for a more traditional, well-rounded shoe with equal responsiveness.
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