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Since Adidas launched its Boost foam every running shoe brand has been falling over itself trying to create a proprietary midsole to match it, with varying degrees of success, but Reebok seemed to be on to a winner with its Floatride Foam.
Floatride uses the same Pebax material that has proved such a success in Nike’s ZoomX foam, which is used in the midsole of the Zoom Vaporfly 4% and Zoom Pegasus Turbo shoes. Pebax is very lightweight and returns a high amount of energy from each step, making it ideal for long runs at pace.
However, when I tried Reebok’s new foam in the Floatride Run this summer, I found the ride flat and uninspiring, and the loose upper dashed my hopes of using the shoe for fast runs. Sure, it was a great-looking shoe and fine for easy runs, but ultimately it disappointed. Fortunately, the Floatride Run Fast makes good on all the promises Reebok made with the new foam, and the shoe is nigh-on flawless for long-distance races and speedy training sessions.
The Floatride Run Fast is an incredibly light shoe given the amount of cushioning it offers, weighing in at under 200g for a men’s size nine. When I pulled it on the lightweight frame made me expect a fairly firm ride, but when setting out on a warm up run I found the opposite was true – the ride is soft and comfortable when you’re taking it easy.
But this isn’t a shoe for taking it easy – it’s when you up the pace that the qualities of the Run Fast really shine through. The transition from heel to toe is as quick as it comes, with a nice pop off the toe when sprinting. Finishing off an 8km easy run with a set of strides really showed off how much more explosive the ride is when you are pushing the pace in the Run Fast. It’s comfortable enough for easy days, but I’ll be saving it for faster stuff – if only because I worry durability could be a concern with the Pebax foam, though I’ve seen no signs of it deteriorating over the first 80-100km.
I wore the Run Fast for two different track sessions, one involving 400m repeats and one 800m, along with a couple of longer tempo runs. It was great for all of these, but I’d definitely say it felt better for sustaining a set pace in the longer efforts, and that’s what makes it a terrific shoe for long races all the way up to marathon. It has enough cushioning for the full 42.2km, but the weight and build of a racing flat.
The ride of the shoe reminds me of the Adidas Boston 7, currently my favourite long-distance racer, but the Floatride Run Fast comes in significantly lighter than the Boston, which is around 250g for a men’s size 9, and it does so without sacrificing anything in the way of cushioning thanks to that lightweight Pebax foam.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the grip of the outsole. A rippled rubber design grips well on wet pavements and light, dry trails, though I doubt I’ll be taking it off-road once the weather turns, if only because the bright white upper is a dirt magnet. Functionally, however, the upper delivers – it is extremely lightweight and wraps the foot in place comfortably and securely
If you’re on the hunt for a new shoe for speed sessions and races, the Reebok Floatride Run Fast warrants very serious consideration. It’s a superb shoe with an unrivalled cushioning-to-weight ratio that makes it a top pick for half marathon or marathon runners hunting down a PB.
Buy from Reebok | £119.95
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.