Reebok has two new pairs of running shoes aimed at different groups of people who share at least one common characteristic: solid value. The Floatride Energy 4 are casual running shoes that beginners can feel comfortable with. The Floatride Energy X, on the other hand, are designed for longer distances like 10k, half marathons or even full marathons. These are shoes for people who put in a lot of miles, either all at once or consistently over time.
The Floatride Energy 4 running shoes can be suitable for runners of all skill levels as they can adapt to both slow and fast runs. They’re not exactly cheap, but they’re competitively priced at $110.
A new premium addition to the Reebok lineup, the Floatride Energy X shoes feature a carbon fiber plate in the forefoot. And thanks to the plate, the running shoes provide even more energy return after many miles. Priced at $170, the Energy X rivals other shoes that typically top the $200 mark.
I’ve ridden hundreds of miles in previous Floatride Energy 3 running shoes, so I was eager to see what the new model offered. And even if these two new shoes are not necessarily aimed at the same types of runners, I think they complement each other well.
- Floatride Energy X is comfortable on longer runs
- Floatride Energy 4 presents a new look
- The ribbed laces on both shoes
- The tongue of the two shoes is not the most comfortable
Buy the Floatride Energy 4 and the Floatride Energy X.
Running with the Floatride Energy 4
The Floatride Energy 4 are typical road running shoes with a firm midsole. They have plenty of grip on the carbon rubber outsole to keep you from slipping on wet pavement.
The Energy 4 can be used by any type of runner at any pace, but they favor faster pace over slow recovery runs, due to their firmer feel. Interestingly, the Energy 4 and Energy X share the same Floatride Energy foam for the midsole, as it feels much harder and denser in the Energy 4 than in the Energy X.
Much of my thoughts on the Energy 4 shoes are inspired by the previous generation – the Energy 3. For this reason, the things that disappoint me about the new shoes aren’t necessarily bad, but they deviate from what I liked last year’s model.
The new shoes have undergone a major overhaul. The upper has changed the most, from look to feel. The Energy 4 is much less bulky than the Energy 3. The upper is thinner and the tongue is much less padded. Even though the footprint is very similar, wearing it feels a bit foreign.
With a thinner upper, the Energy 4 is much cooler and more airy. It is certainly a welcome change. The Energy 3 could be a warmer shoe, especially in the summer months. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Energy 4’s upper is as comfortable; I wish the tongue of the new shoes had a bit more substance for padding. This may be a result of the 30% recycled or reused materials that Reebok now uses for this shoe.
I don’t think newcomers to the Floatride Energy line will have such strong feelings about the different upper materials; it still flows nicely around the top of your foot. After 20 miles in the shoes, I can live with the padding change, mostly because, at the very least, it ushers in a new, more appealing style.
The areas that give me the most trouble are the laces, the tongue and an overly firm midsole. I originally got into the affordable Floatride Energy line of shoes because they were a good alternative to Nike’s line of high priced Pegasus running shoes.
The Floatride Energy 3 had a softer touch on its landing compared to the Energy 4. As for its new textured laces, they match those of the Energy X. They are ribbed and have a unique feel. If the texture of the raised ribs provided a better, more secure lock when attached, I think I could go back to their papery feel, but it doesn’t. On the contrary, these new laces always seem to loosen slightly.
Running with the Floatride Energy X
Although I was less enthusiastic about the Floatride Energy 4, I knew the Floatride Energy X would be exciting running shoes from the moment I put them on. They bounced along the sidewalk on my first outing and gave me all the support I needed. I took them for a quick 3 mile ride around the neighborhood and couldn’t wait to use them again the next day.
Most of my runs consist of 3-5 mile distances, so I’m not quite the ideal consumer. According to Reebok’s marketing, these shoes are designed for people running even longer distances. However, at least once a week I run 10.2km and during testing I deliberately did several consecutive 5km and 6km runs, which I usually don’t do.
After 15 miles on consecutive days, I was pleasantly surprised that my feet didn’t feel an ounce of pain from these shoes. There was no stress on my feet, and even a blister that had formed while running in different shoes didn’t cry out for tenderness. These Floatride Energy X shoes aren’t too plush or squishy in the midsole foam, but there’s enough cushioning to cradle feet mile after mile. They reminded me of the feel of the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 shoes.
The other half of the equation, besides comfort, is the firmness needed to sink in and push off, even when your legs are tired. Hitting a hill with 150 feet of elevation for the second time in a single race will test your shoes, as much as your legs. I can feel the extra boost that all plate running shoes provide in this situation. The Floatride Energy X with its carbon fiber forefoot plate is no different. They helped me recover all the energy I had invested to continue at my own pace.
The upper is what Reebok calls Flexweave: “a woven textile for resilient stretch and targeted support.” I was satisfied with its feel. It’s lightweight, but it’s still secure and keeps my feet in place.
The Energy X uses the same, or very similar, laces as the Energy 4, and I still don’t like them. The Energy X’s tongue has a bit more padding than the Energy 4’s, but I still don’t mind the lightly padded, plastic-feel material that sits on top of my foot.
Should you buy the Reebok Floatride Energy X or Energy 4?
I’ve become a big fan of Reebok running shoes over the past few years because you get so much for your money. Even though the Floatride Energy X sell for $170, they are still great value compared to similar shoes designed for comparable running distances. Even if you don’t run marathons, if you plan to spend $150 or more on running shoes, the Energy X should be on your list.
As for the Floatride Energy 4, they have lost a bit of their popularity in my eyes, especially compared to the previous models. I wish the shoes didn’t get so firm under my feet and retained a bit more cushion in the midsole. Still, these shouldn’t be completely discounted for people who are primarily looking for short distance (faster) training shoes.
Buy the Floatride Energy 4 from Reebok for $110 and the Floatride Energy X from Reebok for $170.
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