Monday, August 05, 2019

Reebok Harmony Road 3 Multi Tester Review

Article by Michael Ellenberger, Hope Wilkes, Sally Reiley, Dominique and Sam Winebaum

Harmony Road 3 ($120)

Sam: The Harmony Road 3 is Reebok’s neutral daily trainer joining the Floatride Run 2.0  in that category with the Forever Floatride Energy and Floatride Run Fast slotting in as the performance trainers and the upcoming Grasse Road 3, beefed up with additional support features, the support/ stability offering (see our RTR 2020 Reebok Preview here). 
The Harmony Road 3 along with Grasse Road and Forever Floatride Energy all have Reebok’s new Forever Energy midsole foam . Our crew loved the sprightly cushion of the Forever Floatride Energy (RTR Review), at $100 one of the great new shoes of we did  Reebok’s Floatride Fast (RTR Review) and sub 4 oz / 114 gFast Pro (RTR Review) in 2018 with their PEBA based super light midsoles. 
With Harmony Road, and its new stable mates Reebok has cooked up yet another neat new foam in Forever Energy. An expanded pellet TPU bead foam, as parent company adidas’ Boost is, it is lighter and springier while not quite as bouncy and hard to control requiring plastic pieces as Boost shoes are. Apparently it also less expensive as the Harmony Road 3 comes in at a very fair $120.

Dominique:  The Harmony Road 3 is my first pair of Reebok running shoes and after running in them for over a month now, they are clearly the shoes of the moment for me.  Out of the box the traditional look of the shoes appealed to me, especially its color scheme (mist-lime), which is both attractive and great at hiding the dirt.  In terms of comfort, performance and durability, the Harmony Road 3 rates among my top 5 favorite running shoes -- Salomon Predict RA; Under Armour HOVR; Saucony Kinvara; and Hoka Clayton.  

Michael: Many of us RTR reviewers have been noting Reebok’s recent rise to prominence in running shoes , so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the Harmony Road 3 is an extremely competent daily trainer. It’s not perfect - and it’s certainly not as flashy as its Nike or Adidas counterparts, if that appeals to you - but Reebok has once again outperformed its expectations and delivered a trainer packed with new technology at a fair price.

Hope: My experience in the Harmony Road 3 was so different from the others’ above that I almost question it I received the same shoe! This could be a case of a different last/build for women’s sizing yielding a different result on the run. I was impressed by the Floatride Run of a couple years ago and similarly dazzled by the Sweet Road 2 (which nabbed a spot on my list of top shoes from 2018), so I know Reebok can make excellent running shoes . For me, the Harmony Road 3 fell short of even merely “good.”

Sally: I was in the same camp as Hope when testing this shoe: I wanted to love it based on the marketing and the glowing comments from the other testers, but the shoe just didn’t work for me. I have a narrow woman’s foot that feels right at home in the Nike Epic React and other tight fitting uppers, so perhaps the roomy toe box of this Reebok, so appealing to others, just didn’t fit my narrow foot.

Dominique/ Sam:
Highly breathable 
A big fan of the wide yet well held toe box.
Comfortable and responsive under foot, if firm. 
Well designed with an attractive look.
Sam: stable heel from the EVA clip and springy midsole foam
Michael: midsole material is responsive; fit is true; good durability and breathability.
Hope: outsole durability, sleek look, generous reflective trim for low-light running

Dominique/Sam: A bit stiff and firm at first, it took me a few runs to get used to the feel of the shoes. 
Too much outsole coverage; not segmented enough up front mutes great foam, hampers toe off and makes forefoot somewhat firm feeling
Toe bumper is a little low, medial side toe overlays overdone and noticed. 
Michael: Some irritation from upper overlays; slightly clunkier than next-generation competitors
Hope: overly roomy upper, “slappy” outsole, dead-feeling midsole
Watch our initial run video review & comparisons

Tester Profiles
Michael is his 20’s and is a 1:07 half marathoner. He runs 50-60 miles per week, generally in lightweight trainers or racing flats at around 6:00-6:30 minutes/mile. 
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.
Dominique has run for over 35 years, consistently about 20 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10. Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.
Sally is a mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past six Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $200,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday (and hopefully crush the new age group), she will run the NYC Marathon in November. Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2” and 105 pounds.
Official Weight: 9.5 oz men’s 9 , W 7.7 oz
Sample Weights:
US8.5 men’s:  9.27 oz / 263 g
US9 women’s: 8.96 oz  / 254 g
US9.5 women’s: 9.17 oz / 260 g
Stack Height: 31mm heel / 21 mm forefoot, 10mm drop
Available June 2019 including Running Warehouse here

Reebok says:
Mesh upper for lightweight breathability
Designed for: Everyday running
Flexweave® woven textile upper provides resilient stretch and targeted support at key performance areas
Floatride Energy Foam provides lightweight cushioning and a responsive ride; Litestrike EVA sockliner for comfort and support
Energy Return EVA heel clip for impact protection and stability; Reflective heel detail

First Impressions, Fit, and Upper
Sam:A good easy to dial in true to size fit, and on both feet, as my left is considerably wider than my right often leading to varying fit and lots of adjustments. It was lace up and go although I did find things looser with thin socks.  This said it is a roomy trainer type fit and not a snug performance shoe fit as the Forever Floatride Energy has. I did notice the area just behind the toe bumper on the medial side is low. 
The look is nothing flashy but is subtly bright enough and well coordinated visually. 
Dominique:  Sliding my foot into the shoe, I noticed the wide toe box, whose shape is more tapered than in the Altra’s.  A comfortable and perfect fit that is snug in comparison to the Salomon Predict RA (RTR Review), which I have just retired from due to wear and tear. The flat shoelace system works well for me in terms of controlling the tightness of my shoes.  No extra fabric in the upper, just a slight fold from running in them for more than 100 miles. The entire mesh upper, including the tongue, is designed to maximize breathability helping me keep my feet comfortable during my runs in hot and humid weather along the coast of New Hampshire.  With all the technologies incorporated into this shoe, it might help me boost my performance as I have been running slower paces over time.   
The simple engineered mesh upper, very light stretch bootie, and moderately padded tongue and collars all work together very well. But there is more to the fit story. 
Reebok incorporates a triangular panel of Flexweave, a very open but very much non stretch material with in the horizontal direction what look like very thin dense plastic cords with vertically a softer material in a weave wider than the rest of the engineered mesh upper. The panel extends down and to rear to lock lacing to heel and at more abrupt angle down at its front to provide support at midfoot  It reminded me of the mid foot non stretch mesh of the first generation Salomon Sonic RA but here the design does not get in the way of flexibility as the more extensive Sonic panel did. The result is superb no pressures mid foot lockdown and as a bonus breathability. Getting the rear and mid foot right and locked down allowed Reebok to open up the toe box and its comfort without compromising overall hold to much although as my fellow reviewers with narrow feet noted this upper and fit is not ideal for low volume, narrow feet. 
The toe box is broad with no vertical overlays at the flex point making the met head area particularly open and soft yet at the same time well held. One can see how soft in the picture above as the upper folds. This said the mesh while pliable is not as soft and pliable as for example the Sweet Road 2’s upper is and has more front overlays. 
The toe bumper overlay is high and soft on the sides but as Michael also notes below it is too substantial and thick over the big toe where the reflective accent (also thick) is located.
I I I have had no issues but do feel my big toe pressing the top more than I would like The overall fit is I would say just right for a heavier mileage varied paces daily trainer: smooth fitting all over, soft and secure.  This said it is not a plush soft sock like fit as the softer mesh, no overlays except medial side non stretch panel Sweet Road 2 was.
I particularly noticed and appreciated the copious reflective accents on both sides of the heel and medial side of the toe. 

Michael: First impressions of the HR3 are very good; the general construction and visual style is reminiscent (especially in my colorway) of a Nike Pegasus or Vomero of recent pass, albeit with a distinctly TPU midsole (not found on the Nike competition). 
While the upper is extremely comfortable - especially the rear quarter, with adequate lockdown and no signs of hotspots or blistering - I immediately noticed where the forefoot mesh turned to the toe cap. That seem bothered me at first try-on (if slightly), and did cause some general irritation on a run. Even so, a minor inconvenience should not distract from a wholly well-constructed trainer, and a true-to-size fit. 
Hope: Swap out the Reebok logo and this shoe would look at home in the Kinvara line. It’s a good-looking upper with clean lines and ample reflective trim. Unfortunately, I can’t praise the lockdown and fit as the others did. 
The throat of the shoe is somehow too wide with the flat laces not doing enough work to cinch things down. 

The welded overlays that provide reinforcement for the eyelets limit the shoe’s ability to flex and mold to my foot. Fit is tricky! These feel maybe a half size too long. Combined with the already roomy toe box, the fit up front felt far too loose and out of control, especially while going downhill.
Sally: I love the aesthetics of the shoe. My pair arrived in an attractive classic color combo of black, white, and carolina blue. 
I ran in them several times, tweaking lacing each time in an attempt to get my foot to lock down. Disclosure: I have a narrow woman’s foot that feels right at home in the Nike Epic React and other tight fitting uppers, so perhaps the roomy toe box of this Reebok, so appealing to others, just didn’t fit my narrow foot. The forefoot was loose and sloppy no matter what I did to the lacing, and I felt as if my foot was sliding around. I would NOT recommend sizing up in length. I think they run TTS, but because my forefoot was so sloppy, my toes were hitting the end of the upper to the point that I dreaded my usually preferred downhills.

Sam: So to go with a very fine upper we have a brand new underfoot platform combining Reebok’s new Forever Energy expanded TPU pellet foam as found in the entire midsole of  the Forever Floatride Energy (RTR Review) with a gray EVA foam rear of shoe “clip” or carrier. The clip is essentially a shell holding the Forever Energy midsole and stabilizing landings. The clip is not overly firm and actually feels, when pressed, about the firmness of an EVA midsole in a conventional shoe and is in no way as firm as a post in a stability type shoe,

The clip is slightly longer on the medial side (bottom) with vertical bars at mid foot  for a touch more support there than the lateral side (top). Given the carrier’s foam is not particularly firm the support is there but in no way obtrusive but does stand in contrast to the feel of the rest of the midsole. 
Last year’s excellent Sweet Road 2 had a similar design but used an insert of very soft Koosh foam at the heel and two densities of EVA elsewhere. The shoes are similar in feel in having a stable rear but the all Forever Energy foam midsole in the Harmony Road leads to a smoother front to back cushion feel (isolating from the outsole, more on that later) while retaining the stabilizing effect of the rear EVA in both. Upfront the story changes somewhat, less due to the midsole from what I can tell, as the Sweet Road has a more segmented more flexible, softer front outsole.

The midsole overall is relatively firm and springy with not the dense feel EVA foams can often have, unless they are softer where they tend to get bouncier, which to a certain extent the Sweet Road 2 was. 
Michael: Reebok’s TPU composition here is solid; in terms of feel (at finger-press), it’s somewhere in-between Adidas Boost (very firm) and Nike Zoom X (very pliable). That said it’s closer to firm than squishy, to be sure, and while it undoubtedly has that TPU-pop sensation, it is not a squishy foam. At time of writing, I’m reviewing another trainer - the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 (RTR initial review) - and the midsole compositions are quite different in feel. I appreciate the stability and firmness of the Reebok underfoot - it’s springier than another recent workhorse, the Nike Pegasus 36, but at no added weight or durability consideration. I tend to prefer TPU midsoles to EVA, and Reebok has done a stellar job here. The rear third of the shoe, including the plastic molded piece, does not stand out while running and I found a forefoot strike to be easy, without feeling as if the shoe was “clunky” or otherwise backweighted (as was the case in, for example, the newest Brooks Ravenna). 
Dominique: It took me a few runs to adjust to the firmness of the midsole as I had been running in the Salomon Predict RA, which had more of a sinking feeling at the heel.  I tend to like a lot of cushioning in my running shoes to help protect my articulations and although the HR3 don’t feel as plush as a HOKA, they are certainly springier.  The motion of my feet is more energetic from heel to toe than in the Salomon Predict RA, which feels flatter.

Hope: I’ll confess that in most cases, I prefer EVA midsoles. My appetite for Boost only extends to models that pair Adidas’s flagship tech with EVA, like the Boston Boost and the Adios Boost. Like its parent company, Reebok has innovated a TPU midsole material and then combined it with EVA instead of the plastic pieces found in the two Boost shoes mentioned, but with poor results in this application. While the EVA carrier might be comparable in density to conventional all-EVA midsoles, relative to the TPU used in the Harmony Road 3, it’s very firm. 

As this is a 10 mm drop shoe in which the heel manages to “get in the way” during footstrike, this firmness was unwelcome. Worse, the carrier seems to have been glued to the TPU midsole while the TPU was held under pressure. 

Here’s what I mean: flip the shoe upside down and you’ll see a rounded convex belly of TPU peeking through. This feels noticeably firmer in hand and underfoot than other parts of the TPU midsole. Okay, but what does that signify? It flexes less! I felt zero pop from the Harmony Road 3 — energy from each footstrike was deadened by the midsole rather than being (partially) returned via a springback action. 
Sally: My experience mirrored Hope’s. She did a fantastic job of diagnosing the issues and then analyzing the why’s, so I won’t be redundant. Suffice it to say that the midsole was stiff and inflexible for me, with minimal pop and energy return. Dull to run in.

Sam: I think the key to the road feel and performance of the Harmony Road for good and for not so good is heavily influenced by its outsole. This is often the case as outsole design combined with how it integrates with the midsole ultimately determine the final cushion feel and ride.
We have a relatively firm rubber that appears just as firm at the heel as elsewhere despite the different colors. There is no softer blown rubber upfront as the Sweet Road or many other recent shoes have or for that matter any exposed midsole beyond the heel cavity. Often, extensive rubber can lead to a slappy noisy shoe but here I didn’t notice much of that at any pace faster than easy and after some break in. Before talking about outsole performance I have to believe all this continuous rubber must add to weight yet interestingly with the coverage and 31/21mm stack we still have a shoe checking in at 9.5 oz, surprisingly little. 

The result is a very stable heel to toe platform suitable for long hard miles day after day. Durability for just about any wear pattern is so far proving outstanding. See Dominique's comments after about 125 miles below.
The rectangular “Windlass Mechanism”  pad on the medial side is much like a similar toe off platform on the Sweet Road 2 but here as with the entire forefoot platform things feel firmer and on the thinner side with lots of road feel but lacking some of the forward agility and flexibility the Sweet Road 2 and more performance oriented Forever Floatride Energy have but at the same time with noticeably more forefoot stability. I think the differences clearly come from the outsole design more so than the Forever Energy foam itself which is 2mm thinner in the Forever Floatride.
The Harmony Road has more continuous larger surface lugs and smaller through cuts to the midsole than Forever Floatride leading to a stiffer but more stable front of the shoe. 
Compared to the Sweet Road 2 (left above) the outsole is clearly less segmented. This design clearly makes the front of shoe more stable but also less lively in transition and toe off with a forefoot feel reminding me more of the Salomon Sonic RA Max (RTR Review) and to a lesser extent the Sonic RA (RTR Video Review)  than either Reebok. Note in the picture above the Koosh foam heel insert, also TPU as in Harmony Road but seemingly made of heated and pressed "noodles".
Dominique: So far the outsole (shown above) has proven to be extremely durable.  At approximately 125 miles, I have literally no wear at all with the highest wear areas at the heel and toe off for all intents and purposes barely scuffed.
Michael: A rare instance where there’s almost too much  rubber, we have an outsole here that looks more like a trail shoe than a 2019 daily trainer. Of course, with that amount of traction, the HR3 really is capable on all sorts of terrain, but I wonder if another ounce or more could  have been saved through a lighter application of rubber. While the forefoot could have some added separation (to allow for a greater flexibility of the shoe), I never felt as if the outsole was holding back a footstrike, even at faster (5:30+/mile) cadences. Plus, while Sam highlighted the width across the midfoot (certainly visible from a glance at the outsole, here), the landing zone in the HR3 is quite large; it’s near impossible to take a “bad step” on these, even in tight cornering situations. You’ll stick to the ground in these, no matter what.

Hope: Basically I agree with Michael. Grip is terrific, but it comes at the cost of an ounce or so. I have noticed very little outsole wear, so long term durability is likely excellent. Aside from the added weight, my chief complaint about the outsole is that it’s loud. I can generally be ninja silent when running with good form, but not so in the Harmony Road 3 which sounds very slappy.

Sally: Excellent traction and plenty of rubber, but I once again agree with Hope. The firm outsole of this shoe makes it LOUD. There is no silent sneaking up on other runners in these! I am a big fan of the soft and silent type. 

Michael: The Harmony Road 3 is built as a daily trainer, for easy-to-moderate miles and lots of them. As such, the ride you get here is smooth - certainly comfortable - but perhaps uninspiring. At faster paces, even with the TPU underfoot, I didn’t quite have the spring effect I found in other higher-end 2019 trainers (or even in some low end shoes, like the Brooks Revel 3). Not to say the HR3 is dull - I think overgeneralizing would be a mistake, here - but it’s just not that exciting. It puts in the work, with its head down. 

Faster running was the main (and perhaps only) place the Reebok really disappointed me - it didn’t have that 1:1 connection I appreciate when trying to up the pace. It’s firm enough certainly, but something between the landing and toe-off phase just didn’t quite connect for me. Adjusting the lacing to a snugger-than-usual fit helped some, but some of the effect is simply a shoe that prioritizes comfort over a quick transition. But it’s not all (or even mostly) bad! While I didn’t love the ride at faster paces, I really appreciated the TPU cushion on workout cooldowns and hot summer slogs, where I felt as if the adaptability of the material gave me just a little more energy return compared to the often dull EVA feel. 

Sam: I tend to agree with Michael. A classic 10mm drop heavy duty training ride updated with a lively new foam but at the same time retaining lots (too much) unsegmented durability and inherent stability from the outsole. Slow it felt a bit firm and ponderous and faster the forefoot outsole coverage with lack of segmentation and decoupling from mid foot forward and relative stiffness got in the way of snap.  

Bottom line Harmony is a very solid most of your (many) miles trainer that isn’t as much fun or effective on either side of most of your miles The Forever Energy foam is a clear step up over EVA or the EVA/Zoom Air combination such as found in the Pegasus, another heavy miles firm and well cushioned and yet firmer shoe. Springier for sure than EVA, with less of a wild bounce to control with plastic pieces than Boost, its presence in the Harmony Road makes the ride more enjoyable than it would have otherwise been, but not exactly exciting. Overall for heavy mileage, and many elites likely would agree, go for the durability protection and stability and not the fancy jazz, and for that purpose the ride here delivers at a decently light weight. 
Dominique:  Most of the time I run at a fairly slow pace, around 11 minute mile, zoning out to the sound of my music. The ride is somewhat conventional and firm, however, when I make the effort to pick up the pace, I feel I am using the “Windlass  Mechanism” in the medial forefoot resulting in a more dynamic stride and toeoff. In short, this is a ride that is best at a faster pace -- 10.50 minute mile for me. The HR3 ride reminds me of the Under Amour HOVR Sonic (RTR Review) which I tested in March 2018 -- a responsive and comfortable ride, if firm.  

Hope: The deadening effect of the midsole plus the overly roomy toe box made this kind of an uninspiring slopfest for me, especially on hills. It’s a comfortable shoe, but was not a joy to run in for me.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Michael: There’s actually a whole group of runners and running shoe geeks that Reebok needs to specifically target with this new trainer: Nike Pegasus-devotees who need a little something exciting for one from their trainers. The HR3 is, in many ways, if not a Pegasus Turbo, a Pegasus+ (or, if we wanted to borrow Apple’s slang, a Pegasus S). The upper is slightly more refined (if a little rough around the toebox), the outsole a little more durable, the ride just a little more fun. Plus, the wider fit of the HR3 will appeal to way more runners who find the Pegasus increasingly narrow. 

Not a Nike fan? That doesn’t mean the Harmony Road 3 won’t be for you - in fact, this shoe should draw a lot of other brand loyalists to Reebok. Frustrated with the uninspiring Launch? Not loving the new Boston? Is ASICS frustrating you with… every shoe? Give Reebok a second look. Much like Skechers, I think runners will start finding brands that they long deserted have begun making consistently excellent shoes.
Michael’s Score: 9.1/10
-0.5 for fit (toe cap irritation, mild lacing lock-down struggles)
-0.4 for clunky ride (toe-off inefficient, slightly too back-half hefty)

Hope: By all means don’t sleep on Reebok — they’re doing great work and keeping the pressure on other core running brands to continue innovating softer, lighter, faster midsole compounds. The combination of a too-roomy toe box, lifeless midsole, and overabundant outsole struck an off note for me. Not the Harmony they were looking for. I think there are better workhorse trainers out there. That said, if the shoes done in men’s sizing genuinely perform differently, check those out. Some brands will deliberately make men’s and women’s shoes different based on physiological differences between the sexes. Michael and I have never disagreed so radically about a shoe, so I suspect something like that is at play.
Hope’s Score: 6.75/10.0
-1.0 for dead-feeling midsole
-1.0 for sloppy fit, especially in the toe box
-1.0 for slappy outsole
-.25 for high drop and somewhat harsh heel
Sally: It is as though Hope and I received the same shoe, the others a different model. I have been looking forward to trying some of Reebok’s newer and reputably faster running shoes, and thought I would love the Harmony as a daily trainer. Nope. The wide loose fit did not work for my narrow foot, and the lack of lockdown affected the ride. My foot literally slid forward within the shoe on downhills and cornering, regardless of my lacing creativity. The loud slapping of the stiff outsole compounded my dislike of the experience. Bottom line, not the shoe for my foot, no fun. And I am all about fun.
Sally’s score: 7.0/10.0
-1.0 for overly loose, wide, sloppy fit  (note: that might be a plus for a high volume foot runner!)
-1.0 for lifeless midsole and zero pop
-0.5 for loud slapping sound on the road
-0.5 for the tenderness on the tops of my big toes (almost blistering) after a medium long run that prevented me from running the next day!

Dominique: Grateful to be testing the HR3 among this group of reviewers as it has given me the opportunity to discover a new brand of running shoes: Reebok, with a shoe that now among my top five favorites. There is a lot to like about the HR3 -- cushioning; response; comfort in terms of fit and breathability; as well as reasonably priced and attractive looking.  I have not noticed any wear after running more than 100 miles in them. I am enjoying the ride and my pace has been gradually improving! There are lots of innovative features and solid execution here that makes this shoe worth trying! 
Dominique’s Score: 9 /10
-1 for somewhat firm ride and thin firm feeling forefoot. 

Sam: The Harmony Road 3 is a traditional 10 mm workhorse trainer with a lively new Forever expanded TPU Energy midsole foam. The midsole is wrapped at the rear in the EVA carrier for a reliable stable landing. The full coverage, thin but firm outsole, delivers durability and a stable if not exactly snappy toe off platform.  The rubber outsole, with more coverage than I think is necessary, can make the plentiful 21mm overall front stack “feel” thin and not as agile as I would like. The upper is a fine blend of room, hold, and breathability but as some of our testers found is not ideal for narrow low volume feet. Runners with broader higher volume feet will appreciate the fit. It takes clear aim, as Michael says, at the Pegasus 36 with a lean towards the lively ZoomX foam and React foam Peg Turbo 2  with a higher volume fit than either. 

Got lots of miles to do at moderately fast paces? The Harmony Road is a great new option at a reasonable weight and price and is a strong value for that heavy miles purpose.. Given its inherent heel and forefoot stability it also a strong option for runners seeking a touch of pronation support without resorting to posted traditional support shoes. 
Sam’s Score: 9.1/10
-0.5 for front outsole while providing a broad and stable toe off platform is not segmented enough, could use better decoupling and deeper flex grooves to move toe off along better.  Somewhat less rubber would also reduce shoe weight.
-0.2 for lower than ideal height of toe bumper and overly thick medial overlays over the big toe.
-0.2 for upper hold. While I had no issues, I think the rear achilles collar could be higher (as it was in the Sweet Road) to  better lock the foot to the platform further forward for narrower low volume feet. 
Index to all RTR reviews here
Reebok Sweet Road 2 (RTR Review)
Hope (US M8, true to size): The SR2 is so sweet. Better flex up front, better fitting upper (which manages to be better looking, too), zippier midsole foam. It’s easily my favorite of these two. 
Sam: Weighing the same and sharing a heel clip, I too prefer the Sweet Road overall but more barely than Hope. For me it depends on use. For fun, faster running Sweet Road is a better choice but it has less support under foot especially upfront and marginally less up top as well. So for heavy mileage the Harmony Road is a better choice for me.  I don’t agree with Hope that the midsole foam of the Sweet Road is “zippier”. Its injected EVA midsole plus Koosh TPU heel insert is bouncier and softer and overall the combination of midsole and outsole is better integrated with more flexibility and a smoother toe off. Somewhat “hidden away” by the outsole, the Forever Energy foam is for sure livelier, zippier and springier.  The ideal combination? The midsole of the Harmony with the outsole and upper of the Sweet Road 2.

Reebok Forever Floatride Energy (RTR Review)
Sam: The Floatride Energy dispenses with the EVA heel clip and has a clearly more flexible and agile forefoot and toe off due to a more segmented less dense outsole coverage. 2mm of stack is removed front and back with the result a shoe weighing 0.5 oz less than Harmony. They differ in upper fit with the Floatride Energy lower volume so a better choice for narrower feet although pointier. It’s upper is somewhat crude and rough in comparison but adequate for sure with somewhat better foot hold for faster paced running.  For heavy miles the Harmony Road, for more uptempo work the Floatride Energy. True to size in both with Forever Floatride running a bit long and pointy.

Lighter, faster runners running moderate mileage should lean to the Sweet Road or Forever Floatride. Heavy mileage use, heavier runners, and those desiring some light support should lean towards Harmony Road. 

Salomon Sonic RA (RTR Video Review)  and Sonic RA Max 2 (RTR Review)
Both Salomon share 3 key characteristics with Harmony Road: a stable forefoot, lots of outsole coverage with the Salomon having thicker yet rubber, and a relatively firm ride. All three live in the borderlands between a neutral shoe and a support shoe and are built for lots and lots of miles. While the Salomon are stiffer flexing, their more extensive decoupling and segmentation makes the Sonic RA slightly more agile than the Harmony Road and the Max about the same in agility but both with less road feel. The Salomon’s Energy Cell+ EVA foam is denser and not as lively as Forever Energy but overall when the outsole is brought into the picture slightly more responsive. The Salomon uppers are more dialed and better suited to narrower feet but not as comfortable for me as the Harmony Road 3’s. On balance I give a very slight nod to Harmony Road. True to size in both.

Nike Zoom Vomero 14 (RTR Review)
Sam: A somewhat close comparisons as both are heavy duty trainers with a very stable heel contrasting with a more agile forefoots with lots of outsole rubber in the mix. I prefer the Harmony Road’s rear of shoe as it is not as clunky and bottom heavy and prefer the Vomero’s transitions and toe off as it is snappier and more dynamic at speed due to the deep decoupling groove all the way to the front which the Harmony lacks. Pick the Vomero if you want bomb proof rear of shoe stability in a neutral shoe with front agility and excitement for faster paced training. Pick Harmony for a more balanced all arounder which also does a bit better at slower paces back on the heels. If asked to pick between the two, Vomero for me. True to size in both.

Hope (US M8 and US W9.5, both true to size): The Vomero has far more pop and features a more precise-fitting upper. Sam called it right in terms of the heel cup: the burly heel cup in the Vomero 14 makes it a good comp to the “almost stability” Harmony Road 3. For my money, the slightly pricier Vomero 14 is the way to go. It’s a lot of fun and picks up the pace well.  

Brooks Ghost 12 (RTR Review)
Sam: Softer for sure the Ghost has a superb upper. It is more lumbering than the Harmony Road and softer cushioned and not really as fast a mover. True to size in both. If the use is daily training and especially slower paces the Ghost 12 gets a slight nod. True to size in both with Ghost a more precise and secure fit.
Hope (US W9.5, true to size): The Ghost 12 has a fantastic upper, but has a somewhat stiff, overstuffed heel, not unlike the Harmony Road 3. I didn’t find the Ghost 12 all that enjoyable, but it edges out the Harmony 3 because of its superior fit and quiet outsole.

Enda Lapatet (RTR Review)
Michael: We’re big Enda fans at RTR, having reviewed both their first-generation, made-in-Kenya Iten trainer, and their second-generation, Kickstarter-success Lapatet. The Lapatet is undoubtedly a polished shoe - the knit upper rivals even the biggest manufacturer's offerings in mid-2019 - but the ride is noticeably more subdued than on the HR3. Enda wins a lot of points for making their shoes in Kenya, and bringing a social message - and those wanting to back both a vision (and wear a supremely comfortable, cable-knit upper) will have many good runs in the Lapatet. But the HR3 is an overall more lively shoe, and with a wider platform, should fit more feet than the Enda.

New Balance 1080v9 (RTR Review)
Hope (US W9.5, true to size): The 1080v9 has perhaps even more outsole than the Harmony Road 3, but manages to be more flexible and way, way faster. Even with some heel slip issues (easily solved via heel lock lacing), the 1080v9 is the superior shoe.
Sam: If we were comparing to the earlier very stiff and dull 1080's hands down the Harmony Road is superior top to bottom in room and ride, but we are not. As Hope says NB finally put some flex in the 1080 with v9 and it makes a big difference. This said it is stiffer to hand flex with a further rearward flex point than the Harmony Road. In a stiffer shoe I prefer a more forward flex. The 1080 has 1mm more stack and a more consistent underfoot feel from heel to toe with less contrast between the stable heel and firmer thinner forefoot of the Harmony.  As a result of these differences I get a smoother all paces ride in the 1080 but a less distinctive and exciting one when the Forever Energy foam of the Harmony is also put into consideration. I was true to size in both with the 1080v9 having a more secure forefoot.

Nike Pegasus 36 (RTR Review)
Michael: If you read my review above (and our corresponding review of the Pegasus 36), you’ll know these are two shoes I appreciate for their longevity and consistency. Neither shoe will do you wrong but - as I highlighted above - the Reebok HR3 should work for a lot more runners than the Pegasus does. Unless you need the swoosh, you should give the HR3 a good look.
Sam: Clear Harmony Road preference for me. The snug low volume especially over mid foot Peg 36 upper while improved just is not that comfortable for day in day out more moderate pace running. You will get tons of rubber coverage and thus durability with both. The Harmony Road ride while equally stable and almost as firm as the Peg’s is far more pleasant while the Peg has a somewhat smoother transition due to its decoupling groove. True to size in both but even with new upper, just so in Pegasus 36. Might size up a half.

Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 (RTR Review)
Michael: Like Reebok’s new Forever Energy midsole foam, Nike’s Zoom X midsole composition in the Turbo 2 is what drives the shoe. And while Reebok has opted for a stiffer, almost EVA-like option here, Nike has gone for a squishy (though firmer than last year) ride that stiffens up when compressed with more velocity at a faster clip. For the price ($180), the Pegasus 2 is a tough sell, but if you can find it in the budget, it’s worth a look. For everyone else, the HR3 is a fine hybrid between new and old tech, and an enjoyable ride (albeit less flashy). 
Sam: I concur with Michael. I would add the Harmony Road is more stable feeling with a wider feeling on the ground platform while the Peg Turbo 2’s upper is lighter and better executed all around if not quite as high in volume. True to size in both

Nike Epic React Flyknit  (RTR Review)
Hope (US W9.5, true to size): These are radically different shoes. The ER2 has good pop and features a gorgeous sock-like upper. It’s a delight to run in at a range of paces. The Harmony Road 3 is neither as versatile nor as dynamic.
Sam: Differ with Hope here. I find the Epic React FK ride dull (if somewhat improved over v1) with a noticeable lag at mid foot as there is no decoupling at all. React foam and the shoe itself  is just not as springy and dynamic as Forever Energy here despite the Harmony outsole and the considerably 1.5 oz lower weight of Epic React. While not as refined or “modern”, the more generous non constricting (in comparison to Flyknit) fit and materials of the Harmony will suit higher volume feet (and does my medium volume foot) better than Epic React’s while the Epic React fit will work better for narrower, lower volume feet.

Salomon Predict RA (RTR Review)
Hope (US W9.5, true to size): While the Predict RA didn’t wow me in terms of ride, it’s better fitting, so I give it the edge over the Harmony Road 3. 

Skechers GORun 7 Hyper (RTR Review)
Michael: Skechers lightweight, Hyperburst-based trainer was a reasonably divisive shoe for our testers, both during the review period and after. It was a shoe I kept going back to for its incredibly fun midsole, only to be beaten down by its uncomfortable and often downright painful upper - and I have the blisters to show for it. The HR3, in context, is a practice of mediums. The ride is not as fun nor bouncy as the Hyperburst-based Skechers, but the upper is worlds more comfortable, and the width far more accommodating. Runners wanting to try something cool at any cost may enjoy the Skechers, but the HR3 should work for a far wider set of milage beasts.  
Hope (US W9.5, at least a half size too big): When Skechers gets the upper dialed in, everybody needs to watch out. This shoe is a monster even with the difficult upper. Call me crazy, but I’m happier in the blister-causing yet bouncy GR7H than the zombie-fied Harmony Road 3.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review as always. I love how roadtrailrun has a variety of testers for one shoe to give a broader perspective of who the shoe maybe suitable for. Looks like the Reebok HR 3 did not suit everyone and fit issues for some.

Did you find the Reebok HR3 soften a little underfoot overtime? Sam - did you actually prefer the 1080 v9 or Reebok HR3 overall ? as you mentioned the 1080 was smoother but the Reebok more exciting with the new foam - which would you say is more versatile (recovery and tempo and short/long runs etc)? Thanks.