On paper, the Reebok Floatride Run Ultraknit is a slam dunk of a running shoe. That’s especially true if that paper includes a picture, because it’s a bit of a looker even with – or maybe because of – the slightly odd cage system around the midfoot. Unfortunately, the excellent first impression didn’t last through my first run in them, and my opinion of the shoe only diminished over time.
When I first laced up the Floatride Run, I had concerns that the plastic cage on the upper wasn’t going to do enough to keep my foot in place during a run. That proved to be the case. The instability was especially pronounced during fast runs or on light trails in parks, and I slowed to almost walking on a steep downhill track, but even when rounding sharp corners on the road there was the worrying feeling that my foot was sliding a little.
All shoes with a knitted sock-like upper can suffer from this, but the Adidas UltraBoost and Nike Epic React Flyknit have a closer fit that keeps the foot locked in place and I’ve had no fears about pushing the pace in them. No matter how I laced up the Floatride Run, I couldn’t achieve a similarly secure fit.
The ride of the shoe also disappointed. The Floatride Run is impressively light (under 250g) for a cushioned shoe and Reebok makes big promises about the bounce in the midsole. However, I found it a curiously flat shoe, with little bounce and no real feel for the ground. The transition from heel to toe also felt sluggish and I was conscious of the hard feel of the shoe throughout each run, which is never a good sign. I’ve tried heavier shoes that feel lighter and springier when I actually ran in them. Sadly, the Floatride Run is seriously lacking in va va voom.
Given its impressive cushioning-to-weight ratio the Floatride Run should be a good option for all kinds of training runs, but the lifeless feel of the ride means it doesn’t really shine as a responsive shoe when running fast or a comfortable shoe on easy runs. I tried a variety of runs in it and I’d say it’s better for easy sessions, especially on roads where the instability of the upper isn’t so much of an issue, but I’d still pick a number of other shoes over it.
Reebok has not been a major running shoe player for some time and the Floatride Run was to meant to be the comeback shoe. Unfortunately, while it looks the part, the Floatride Run isn’t good enough to push Reebok back to the top tier. If you want a stylish, knitted-upper shoe that’s also good for running, the Adidas UltraBoost or the Nike Epic React are both stronger options, and when it comes to all-rounder training shoes, the Saucony Ride ISO is far more impressive.
£129.95, buy on reebok.co.uk