Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

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Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2.0

Dr. Brown reviewed the Reebok Forever Floatride Energy original earlier this year (REVIEW) and described to the rest of us what an incredible lightweight trainer that shoe was.  Setting PRs from 5k to half marathon in it, he raved about this new $100 lightweight trainer.  In the age of $150 trainers, this caught our ears.  Along now comes version two, with the same incredible Floatride foam but a far more adaptive fit.  The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 is a lightweight neutral trainer that blends daily plush training with workout like responsiveness. Bang for buck, this is one of the best lightweight trainers on the market featuring a new flexible upper that folds around the foot well!


Specifications
Weight: 8.7 oz (men's size 9 per our measurements)
Stack Height: 29 mm / 19 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer

HOW DOES IT FIT?

Forefoot: D: Relatively wide M: Relatively Wide

Midfoot: D: Normal width M: Normal Width

Heel: D: A hair wide though still true to size  M: Normal width

David: The FFE 2 is a true to size daily trainer with a relatively wide forefoot. The midfoot is an average width, but can be comfortably snug if laced down tight. The heel has a lightly snug fit without any lateral translation or heel slippage. The back portion of the heel collar rises up somewhat high, but does not give any irritation on the achilles. The toe box is wide without feeling too spacious. The tongue is pressure free and molds around the foot very well. The shoe can become comfortably snug with a good lace down. For those who like a tighter snug feel, they could probably go a half size down without problems.

Matt:  The Floatride Energy 2 surprised me as a Reebok daily trainer with a wider forefoot/toebox.  Sizing wise this shoe fits very true to size. The Floatride Energy 2 has one of the most comfortable uppers I have experienced and is extremely smooth against socks or bare skin.  The mesh is lightweight and very breathable.  It is flexible so those that need an even wider fit will still have wiggle room, but the overall fit is wider compared to the previous version.   The midfoot fits similar to the forefoot but the laces can easily snug down the fit.  The heel is fairly true to size and the extended heel collar has not caused any issues for me even while running sockless.  There is a mild heel counter that I did not feel thanks to the great cushioning around the heel collar.


HOW CUSHIONED IS IT?

Forefoot D: Lightly Plush M: Lightly Soft

Heel: D: Lightly Plush  M: Soft

David: For how responsive the FFE 2 is, the shoe is surprisingly plush. The energy foam has some give to it that recoils back with a good amount of propulsion. From heel to toe the shoe is pleasantly cushioned without being overly unstable. The shoe is built with the same midsole and outsole across the entire shoe making the shoe very uniform and balanced feeling the same cushion heel to toe. There is more midsole in the heel and midfoot portions of the shoe that gradually becomes less as it goes into the forefoot. This gives a nice propulsive drop with some ground feel and responsiveness at toe off.

Matt: The full length Floatride foam provides a consistently mild softness throughout the shoe.  The 9mm drop adds additional cushioning in the heel which provides a slightly softer feel in the heel versus the forefoot. The Floatride foam provides plenty of protection from heel to toe.  Thanks to the lighter weight design of the shoe, the cushioning is not super soft, but instead mildly soft and responsive, providing decent rebound with each step.


HOW DOES IT RIDE (TRANSITION)?

Forefoot: D: Smooth, More Ground Feel M: Smooth and Flexible

Midfoot: D: Smooth  M: Smooth

Heel: D: Smooth, Plush M: Slightly smooth, plush

David: The FFE 2 rides like a daily trainer that loves to go fast. The drop ratio feels in the wheelhouse of 9mm and is very light weight. The midsole's plush nature and the outsoles rigid combination help create a racing flat like feel to the shoe, but with all of the elements of a daily trainer. The shoe feels great at all paces. This will work for easy days and workout days. The forefoot has a little less midsole which gives the shoe a little more ground feel and fluidity to the toe off portion of gait.


Matt:  The Floatride Energy 2 is a lightweight trainer with a mostly smooth ride. The forefoot has a smooth transition thanks to the outsole flex grooves and slightly thinner sole (compared to the heel).  There is a posterior heel flare that does cause a slightly early landing with heel strikes, but the softness of the foam gives and this breaks in with time.  Overall the 9mm drop, lightweight and smooth ride create a unique ride only found in true lightweight trainers.  This shoe will work for some as a daily trainer and others as a workout/race day shoe.



HOW RESPONSIVE IS IT?

Forefoot: D: Very Responsive M: Responsive

Heel: D: mild responsiveness, plush M: Moderately Responsive

David: This trainer is very responsive while still having cushioning. The light weight build is coupled with a plush yet responsive midsole that propels from heel to toe off. The outsole has some portions of tread that help with gripping the ground and provides good ground feel. It is very easy to get into a rhythm with this shoe. It has a a comfortable drop from heel to toe, and a snappy finish in the forefoot. This is mainly because the midsole lessens as it approaches the forefoot, allowing more ground feel and responsiveness from the outsole.

Matt: Floatride foam in my experience has great balanced bounce to it.  The lightweight feel of the Floatride Energy 2.0 combined with this makes for a fairly fast ride.  The foam combined with the excellent outsole grip makes this shoe perfect for tempo runs.  Although it can handle longer track workouts easily, for me this shoe really shines on longer fast efforts where you still need some cushion.  However, when you need to really move, the Floatride Energy 2.0 can keep up.  From long runs (+16 miles) to 200m hill repeats, this shoe can do it.  The forefoot, being closer to the ground is more responsive than the heel, which has a bit more cushioning thanks to the 9mm drop.  This allows for an even faster feel when you get up onto your toes.  The consistent use of Floatride foam throughout the shoe does make it easy to get into a rhythm (as David mentioned above) hence why it excels on tempo runs and for many as a half to full marathon shoe.


HOW STABLE IS IT?

Forefoot: D: a hair unstable though not problematic M: Average

Midfoot: D: average stability M: Average

Heel: D: average stability M: Average

David: Because the shoe has more of a plush midsole, the shoe will be made a little less stable. However, the full length ground contact rigid outsole helps add stability across any surfaces. The outsole also has a little traction built into it, similar to a lug in a trail shoe but more appropriate for roads adding stability. The foam and outsole also seem to extend a hair lateral to the actual upper, widening the landing and also building in some intrinsic stability. For a neutral trainer with a relatively plush landing the shoe is pretty stable.

Matt: The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 is a neutral shoe.  There are no specific elements designed to provide additional stability.  The wider midfoot does provide some inherent stability, but the slightly softer ride neutralizes this.  So for those that need extra stability, you will have to ease into a shoe like this.


HOW DURABLE IS IT?

Forefoot: D: Very Durable M: Very Durable

Midfoot: D: Very Durable M: Very Durable

Heel: D: Very Durable M: Durable

David: For only $100, this shoe is very durable. I have put in about 40 running miles and several walking miles and the shoe looks brand new in both the foam and the outsole. The outsole is also built up and should last a long time before kicking the can. The ride has also maintained beautifully without any moments of the shoe feeling flat.

Matt: Thanks to the full rubber outsole coverage and resilient foam, the Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2 is a very durable shoe.  There is very little wear on the outsole after over 50 miles in my pair, the ride and foam have remained perfectly similar to when I started using them and there are no seams loose or issues with the upper.  I am very impressed to find such a durable ride and upper in a $100 shoe and wish that more expensive shoes wore this well!

THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

    As a way to save weight, the footwear industry (not just running) has made it a point to carve a large section out of the midfoot to save weight in a large number of shoes.  Fortunately thoughts on this seem to be changing, but to this day it still appears frequently.  This was common until recently to completely remove the outsole at the midfoot, with only ground contact at the heel and forefoot.  It was also common, particularly in lighter neutral shoes to have a large section on the medial side missing.  This created what the industry referred to as a "curved last."  The last is what was described as the shape of the shoe.  A straight lasted shoe generally had the midfoot section completely filled in and was supposedly made for high arched runners or to resist supination motions.  This could also even be seen in stability shoes, which usually had more straight lasted soles but there were still plenty of curve lasted stability shoes that just added a post on the medial side.  The concept behind curved and straight is that the more sole on the medial side, theoretically the more stable for those that pronate.  A wide sole should be more stable than a narrow sole (there is no research on this that I am aware of at the time of writing this).  So without using a post, a more straight lasted shoe should have a bit more inherent stability (ie nothing pushing into your arch).  I was very happily surprised to see this in the Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2.0.  Most lightweight trainers have that section of the midfoot carved out, which to me makes the shoe feel far more unstable.  The addition of more material in the Energy 2 not only makes the ride way more smooth, but does add some inherent stability to offset the soft Floatride foam. The great thing about all these new lightweight foams is that there is already so much weight reduction that you don't have to worry about carving out the midfoot. So kudos to Reebok to dong things different and adding that in.  While I mentioned there is not research on this at this moment, I prefer full ground contact soles as I believe they not only contribute to smoother transitions, but also provide more inherent stability without posting or wedges trying to push the foot in a certain direction. While these are great tools that can be used for certain pathologies as you work on strength and mechanics, I don't think as many people need them as are prescribed via footwear or orthotics by a variety of medical professionals. Most people need to work on hip/ankle strength, train smarter (don't overtrain) and not over think things.

     There is a little posterior heel flare in this shoe which I have addressed in previous articles.  The curved heel does offset this and while I think the next version could back this down a little, it is a pretty minor offense for a great shoe.

-Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT


RECOMMENDATIONS/WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

David: The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 is a lightweight daily neutral trainer for someone looking to have a shoe that can do it all. The shoe is lightweight enough to do many workouts and tempos in, and cushioned/structured enough to take on training runs and long runs. If someone does not mind the midsole a little plush, this shoe is fast and responsive in the right ways. If someone is on a budget and needs a shoe that could even carry over to recreational racing, this could be it! I have minimal recommendations for this shoe at this time. The shoe does tend to be a little on the wide side (some can even go a half size down if they like a snug fit) so maybe just narrowing the forefoot specifically just a hair. The upper is great and flexible with no need to change. The heel counter works fine without the additional lip, so the lip could potentially be eliminated as well. Overall I am very happy with this shoe.

Matt: I am extremely impressed by this shoe.  The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 is a lightweight neutral trainer that will excel as an uptempo or workout trainer for a variety of people.  Some may find this to be a great marathon shoe while others used to lightweight trainers will be able to use this as a daily trainer.  The Floatride foam provides a lightweight, responsive and cushioned ride while the slightly wider fit makes this shoe accessible to a greater variety of foot types than previous.  Top that with one of the most comfortable uppers I have experienced, this is a steal of a deal at $100.  Let this be a lesson to footwear companies that you can still produce an incredible shoe at a great price.

GRADING

Score:   95%
Reasoning: Great Fit, Responsive/Slightly Soft Ride, Great Price.  -5% for Posterior Heel Flare


Fit   (0 - Tight  10 - Loose): D: 7.0 M: 7.5
Cushioning (0 - Firm   10 - Soft): D: 7.5 M: 6.5
Transition  (0 - Stiff  10 Flexible): D: 5.0 M: 7
Responsiveness (0 - Dead  10 - Explosive): D: M: 8
Stability (0 - Unstable 10 - Rigid): D: M: 3.5
Durability (0 - Low  10 - High): D: M: 8

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG: @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists


David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Reebok for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 42 miles(David) and 57 miles (Matt) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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