Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro Review 2.0: An Update to the Only Sub 4 oz Racing Flat

Article by Bryan Lim

Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro 2.0 ($250)


Introduction

Bryan: The Reebok Run Fast Pro (product code EF7871 to identify Version 2 from its first iteration) provides an updated upper and a slightly more forgiving offset to its predecessor whilst maintaining its weight below 4 oz. The biggest question is the relevance of racing flats with high stack, cushioned and plated shoes dominating the market’s appetite for novice runners to professionals. Off the bat, I’d say the Run Fast Pro is highly relevant as unlike other flats on the market, it is the only one that is significantly lighter than the lightest plated racer, the 6.6oz / 187g Nike Vaporfly Next%. The relevance of the flat has been reiterated by recent race results, including the adidas Takumi Sen 5 which was used in Kirptuo’s 10k road record set in January, and the Asics Tartheredge 2 which was used in toppling Sweden’s ladies’ half marathon record just last week. The racing flat truly has its place in the running scene. The recent implementation of stack height limitation on shoes used especially at track events further supports the relevance of the racing flat. In a nutshell, this shoe is extremely versatile in its potential applications! 


Pros and Cons


Pros: Extremely lightweight. Cushioned beyond its weight. Breathable upper. 

Cons: Extremely dear price tag (USD$250/ AUD $330). Not necessarily a con but it is unplated.


Stats

Weight:: men's / (US9) 3.88 oz / 110g men’s US9  Official:    3.92 oz / 111g men’s US9

Stack: No official stack height. 6mm drop.

Available now. $250


Tester Profile

Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He is a consistent sub 1:25 half marathoner and is presently chasing a sub 3-hour marathon. He is 176cm/ 5'9" tall and weighs about 63kg / 140lbs. 



First Impressions and Fit


Bryan: Holding the box in hand, I knew this was a special shoe. The box felt empty! This shoe is the equivalent of saffron in terms of price per unit weight! The fit is snug and race ready. The last I would consider to be on the narrower side. It is true to size for me, length and width-wise, however I fit fine in narrower shoes such as the adidas Adios 3.


Upper

The most striking update to the upper is Reebok’s choice to “rebrand” the ‘Delta’ logo used between 2014 and 2019, to its iconic vector which is splayed over the outer facing side of each shoe. Whilst it appears that the heel collar has had a slight alteration to its shape, I will not make any forced comparisons not having worn Version 1. The heel counter is not reinforced, but I found no issues with slippage or lack of support.

Version 2 retains its predecessor’s single layer engineered mesh upper and print overlays on both medial and lateral sides to provide some support. As you can see from the image above, where the shoe was held against some sunlight, you will notice the ample breathability the upper provides, especially with the perforated forefoot and cutouts in the already very thin suede tongue.


The main concern I had with the upper was the suede tongue, which is paper thin and non-gusseted. On my runs, my concerns were quashed as it was secure in its place and surprisingly never folded in any part. 


Midsole


This is where most of the changes have been made. Unlike Version 1, which sported a Pebax Floatride Foam midsole with an underfoot EVA stabilizing layer, which can also be found in both versions of the Run Fast and Panthea, Version 2 features a Pebax only midsole. Another main change is the drop, which has gone from 3mm to 6mm. However, you will see that the insole states 3mm in the image below, but Reebok’s website claims a 6mm drop.



Outsole

No changes were essentially made to the outsole where it is entirely constructed from SpeedTrac lugs rising from a thin transparent plastic plate / sheet. Without the EVA layer in the midsole, the plastic plate still seems to provide some form of stabilizing in the ride. The grip is absolutely phenomenal and this is a unique take on the traditional “waffle” or DSP outsoles found on other racing flats.


Given that the lugs are made from TPU plastic, they will likely last beyond the lifespan of the Pebax midsole. As in the image above, you will notice that the weakness in the outsole is its ability to pick up debris. And now looking at the image below, you will also notice that the Reebok is one of the few racing flats that does not feature some form of a midfoot torsion plastic plate. Despite this, I found the shoe to be very stable in its ride, which I will speak of more below.


Outsole comparison between the DSP waffle forefoot of the Asics Tartheredge 2 (top), Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro 2 (middle) and the “Quickstrike” DSP waffled adidas Takumi Sen 5 (bottom).


Ride


Having worn several flats prior, this is the most forgiving of them all. The Pebax midsole provides both surprising cushion yet “pop” in each toe off. The analogy I think of when running in other racing flats is like using a graphite tennis racquet from the 90s; raw power that shudders with each stroke. The Run Fast Pro however, provides a modern and refined, and importantly, confident ride. The responsiveness in the forefoot is phenomenal and provides for a smooth transition of stride mile after mile.


Whether or not the drop is 3mm or 6mm, my feet did not feel as beaten up when running in other flats with a more forgiving drop e.g. Nike Zoom Streak Flyknit and adidas Adizero Sub 2 (both 8mm drop), adidas Takumi Sen 3 and 5 (9mm drop) and Asics Tartheredge 2 (10mm drop). Naturally, the high energy returning nature of Pebax largely reasons for this.



Conclusions and Recommendations


Bryan: This is my favourite flat so far. The main concern for most would be its versatility and price. As a relatively lightweight runner who has spent a large portion of my ‘career’ mileage in flats, I would argue that these shoes would be suitable to run in from a fast mile up to the half marathon. 


In saying that, the ample of lightweight, cushioned and plated racers on the market makes this shoe less suited for longer distances. For most, I would imagine that these shoes would be reserved for track / speed sessions and race day for 5k and under. 


I would go so far as to say that I would not feel disadvantaged to race on track in the Run Fast Pro, and it would provide athletes a non-spiked, and more forgiving racing option. Remember, this is lighter than the Nike Dragonfly (4.37oz / 124g), which has a ZoomX midsole (also Pebax) and the 10k road record holder adidas Takumi Sen 5 (5.99oz / 170g). The Run Fast Pro is 50% lighter than the 6.6oz Nike Vaporfly Next% whilst providing a similarly reduced level of cushioning.


My only recommendation is for Reebok to add a bit more stack height, which would allow the shoe to be a true option for distances between 10km and the half marathon. Not so much of a recommendation this is, but reflective in my score for value below is the steep price which would eliminate the Run Fast Pro as an option for many. These two would go hand in hand, where a higher stacked Run Fast Pro would justify its price tag better. Ah, if only! 


Bryan’s Score: 9.0/10 

Ride: 10 (40%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value (including durability): 7 (15%) Versatility 9 (10%) Style: 10 (5%) 



Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Reebok Floatride Fast Pro 1 (RTR Review)

Bryan did not run v1.


Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 3 / 5

Likely the most direct competition to the Run Fast Pro. The Takumi weighs in almost 2oz heavier but has some notable results and records under its belt. The upper is as breathable and comfortable as the Run Fast Pro. The outsole is potentially superior, with a blend of Continental rubber placed at the extreme forefoot and rear for durability, and proven DSP waffle throughout for grip. The use of the torsion midfoot plate is also noticeable in providing stability and rigidity in its ride. However, the use of a boost insert in the forefoot and EVA (Lightstrike in the Takumi Sen 6) throughout results in a harsh and raw ride. Placing them side by side, I would pick the Run Fast Pro over the Takumi Sen as it is lighter and offers a more pleasant ride.


Adidas Adizero Adios 3 / 5   (RTR Review)

The successors to the previous marathon WR Adios 2. The Adios has lost its purpose in today’s market, with the Adizero Pro and Adios Pro being the brand’s flagship marathon shoes, and the Takumi Sen being its prominent racing flat. However, the Adios 3 is a fiercely versatile shoe that is capable of a quick mile to the marathon, all in a minimal package. The Adios 5 is less versatile with the utilisation of Lightstrike midsole hardening the ride and making it more akin to a pure flat. The Adios serves a different purpose to the Run Fast Pro. The much heavier Adios has substantially more heel cushion and is less capable at shorter distances.


Adidas Adizero Pro (RTR Review)

This is essentially the Adios 5 with a plate and provides for a partial waffle outsole. It certainly feels like a plated flat that is suitable up to the marathon distance, and quick enough for shorter distances down to 5km. The main downside to the shoe is the bottom rear-end heavy feel to it caused by the almost excessive use of Boost midsole there. The adizero Pro weighs in at 8.3oz and is a versatile shoe which is more suitable for longer distances. It wins on versatility, but appears more so as a jack of all trades while the Run Fast Pro is a specialist in shorter distances.


Adidas Adizero Sub 2 

The Sub 2 weighs in at 5.60oz / 158g and features a Boost Lite midsole that offers slightly more stack height. It also features a full slab of durable Continental outsole rubber. However, the ride is harsh and its purpose is muted by this as it is not cushioned enough for longer distances yet not responsive enough for shorter distances like the mile. I raced a 4km in the Sub 2s where I found this to be the optimal ‘range’ of the shoe. The Run Fast Pro wins hands down in providing for a versatile and responsive racing flat option. 


Adidas SL20  (RTR Review)

At half the price of the Run Fast Pro, the SL20 provides stiff competition in terms of value for money. The SL20 is a budget friendly flat that utilises the harsh yet responsive Lightstrike midsole. Whilst the SL20 offers a sound level of performance and versatility, the Run Fast Pro is superior in terms of ride.


Asics Metaracer (RTR Review)

The only plated racer that is track legal. The Metaracer is responsive and a quick shoe that offers a meta rocker. The relatively smooth outsole does not provide the same grip that the lugs on the Run Fast Pro offers. As with any other shoe, the Metaracer weighs in heavier but offers the benefits of a rocker, if this suits you, and a plate. Personally, I would pick the Run Fast Pro over the Metaracer on track, and the Metaracer over the Run Fast Pro on road for distances over 10km.


Nike Zoom Streak 6 Flyknit 

An old but classic racing flat that offers a modern upper and traditional racing flat ride. The Pebax plate and EVA midsole fostered a smooth and quick, but hard ride. The Run Fast Pro wins on all aspects for me.


Nike Vaporfly Next% 

A different beast, the Next% is to me the long distance sibling of the Run Fast Pro. It is high stacked and plated, and mind blowing in many aspects, like the Run Fast Pro is in its own right. The Next% is far more versatile in its usage (although no longer track legal for racing), being a mere 6.6oz but yet providing enough protection for the marathon. 


Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed is a personal purchase. The opinions herein are the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Swede David Nilsson has run a 2,11 marathon in Run Fast Pro, so you can use them on longer distances, but you have to be very efficient and light on your feet.