It has been some time since we heard anything new from the Reebok stable. The Flexweave launch comes much after Floatride, which I reviewed here for RunRepeat.com. It was a brave effort, a fairly good shoe but priced too high to encourage buyers to be swayed by a brand with a not-as-established running DNA. It boasted decent uppers but unfortunately, it turned out that the weak spine at the back gave way much too quickly. However, it remains one of the smartest looking shoes I wore last season while out on a run.
Fast forward to 1st March 2018 and Reebok has launched the Flexweave Fast. Here’s a quick sum up.
Things I Like:
- The Flexweave featuring an open figure-8 weave pattern is smart to look at and provides a decent shell, one that’s breathable, accommodative and yet protective. It adjusts for your forefoot, managing to be roomy and yet snug.
- The heel-to-toe drop is barely 6mm which sets you up for a speedy run.
- The shoe rides low all around and is generally on the lighter side.
- The Flexweave is one fit piece of fabric will find a lot more application; it could make for a really sexy run+urban sneaker combo. The Reebok Innovation Collective, the division that came up with this funky material will surely find multiple ways to extends its use and reach: Cool colourful vibe, get a superstar behind it, add a snazzy campaign, and make it a limited release… there you go Reebok, de rien!
Things I didn’t like:
- The sole! I wish they had gone with a regular rubber sole as opposed to this stiff and plastic-to-touch bottom. It flexes in your hands but is rather unyielding under your feet, and that is still not the worst part. The trouble is when you land, it doesn’t necessarily inspire a mid-foot strike but every landing feels more like a thud then a gentle roll-over. I felt like I was stomping through my routines. One does manage to adjust after a while and the clomping experience is more forgiving if you are going fast but it is certainly not a shoe for long runs. 5k tops! (Which is, frankly, a strange category of runners to target as potential clients I would imagine.) But this carbon-rubber sole provides neither adequate traction nor an extremely cushioned running experience. It made me miss old school foam (or gel) shoe constructs.
That’s it, barring that one thing, everything about the shoe is pretty good, especially the price! In times when the average runner can run a pair into submission every 4 months (OK, 6 months), to keep dishing out 20k for a pair each time can make a solid dent. For sub INR10,000/- this is a lovely shoe: good solid construction, premium uppers, lovely colourways and quite durable.
I clocked enough miles in these to form a fairly solid opinion but I must confess some of these runs were hard to see through till the end; that constant striking landing made me wish to abort many times. I kept picking up the pace to lessen the landing hangover.
I would suspect that given the brand’s strong cross-fit DNA a lot of users and loyalists would be using this indoors on a treadmill or for short speed drills in combination with other workouts, in which case, this could be a perfect shoe. It has enough grip and stiffness for those rubber-lined floors of cross fit boxes and also brings enough running-cred to boot.
So that’s that; Flexweave, Reebok’s new and very sexy woven uppers, this particular application of which, however (Reebok Fast Flexweave), could stand to be improved.
By the way, fellows, if you wish to see a collection of my more detailed reviews for various other running shoes, do go to RunRepeat and have a dekko. Not just from me, but fodder aplenty for the tech-nerd in all of us, penned by people who are as obsessed with (running) sneakers as I am, if not more…