Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Reebok Forever Floatride Energy Smack Down: 

2.0 vs the OG

In the red corner, we have the OG Reebok Forever Floatride Energy (FFE) which dropped last year and became an instant hit with its lightweight and responsive cushioning system that made for a smooth ride. Best of all, in a world of increasingly more expensive quality running shoes, this FFE OG was available at a listing price of $100, making it nearly irresistible to at least give it a shot. Now, in the blue corner, we have the FFE 2.0, which is available (at the same price point!) and ready to rock. Question is, who is going to win this lightweight trainer smack down?

There are minimal changes noted to the midsole and outsole of this shoe between the OG and the 2.0. Both utilize the Floatride Energy Foam, which is a polyurethane blend used in the FFE/2.0 and the Harmony Road 3. There is a reported 1mm difference in drop, with it going from a 10mm drop in the OG to a 9mm drop in the 2.0. This change was not noticeable between models, it just delivered one of the smoothest rides out there, which I raved about in my review of the OG. The outsole is also the same single piece rubber that has excellent traction. In addition, despite it being a relatively thin layer of rubber, the durability is outstanding and my OGs show basically no wear after over 100 miles.

WINNER: Draw (no major changes to this already amazing ride)

One of the problems some had with the OG was some slipping of the tongue. This has been resolved in the 2.0 with an attached tongue via a thin elastic sleeve that surrounds the foot that spans from the tongue to the last of the shoe. The 2.0 has done the attached tongue right: no irritation/rolling up from the sleeve, the tongue is still adjustable to fit your foot right, and it holds everything down well. The tongue itself also has a bit more padding and a softer material, which has improved the overall comfort as well.

The lacing system has some minor updates as well that help with security of the tongue. Reebok has added a ribbon at the third crossing of laces, which keeps the tongue locked in just fine. There was also an adjustment to the bottom lace to make it diagonal instead of straight across. This didn't effect the shoe much, but did have a little bit of a crease towards to MTP joint of my foot initially. This loosened after a few runs and has not been a problem since. Finally, they updated the laces to include slight padding and elasticity, which keeps them from coming unlaced. 

WINNER: FFE 2.0 by decision because of security of the tongue and updated laces (although the 2.0 did stumble once when throwing a hook because the diagonal lace pushed into his stance foot at the wrong time)

This is where the 2.0 started landing some major punches. The OG heel cup rode high posteriorly and had a very slight curve towards the front of the shoe. Although this did not cause problems for me personally, many other testers I know (and also a few of my family members) had issues with the top of the heel rubbing against the achilles. Well, the producers at Reebok listened, because they created an "elf ear" heel cup with additional padding. The elf ear pattern (love it or hate it), pulls the heel counter away from the achilles, providing protection and decreasing the risk for irritable rubbing. The additional padding also made it more secure around the heel to hold it down well and made it downright comfortable. No heel slippage in the 2.0 either!
WINNER: FFE 2.0 by majority decision because of the increased comfort and lack of irritability

This was one area I expected to see some more significant changes, but they just weren't there. The OG ran slightly long but had a typical width across the board, which led many to go a 1/2 size down (myself included). The only issue with going a half size down was that the width became a bit narrow, and the forefoot platform tended to be more unstable because of the width. The 2.0 carries the same specs for length and width (as far as I know from all the info we've gathered) but due to the upper the 2.0 feels much wider than the OG. So...what do to with sizing? Thankfully I've been able to run in my typical size and a 1/2 size down, and here is what I recommend. If you're looking for a slightly more stable shoe for a daily trainer that has room for your foot to expand during longer runs, I'd recommend your typical size in either the OG or 2.0. If you want a performance trainer for some tempo work, I'd go the half size down. Now, if you are going a half size down and have a slightly wider foot, I'd roll with the 2.0 due to the accommodating upper (more on this in a later round). However, if you have a more narrow foot, you'd do fine in the OG or 2.0.
WINNER: FFE 2.0 by split decision due to versatility of the upper in 2.0 and performance of OG upper in tempo situations

Does this section matter? Maybe...maybe not...but there are definitely differences between the OG and 2.0. First and most obvious, Reebok returned to its retro look, which I think suits the running shoes as it has a "movement" design to it. The "delta" logo, although clean, is stationary in nature and in my mind is fully associated with crossfit (not true in practice...but perception is reality I suppose). Second, there is a heel pull tab, surely good enough for throwing the OG up against the ropes at least ones. Finally, there is a nice little paragraph on the back of the 2.0 reassuring you as a runner that this is a great company and shoe in case you were weary of it. Not sure why, but I love it.
WINNER: FFE 2.0 by unanimous decision because of "movement" in retro logo and pull tab

This is where you will find the largest overhaul going to the 2.0 from the OG, and for good reason. The upper on the OG did the job and felt fine when running, but overall it felt cheap and stiff, especially when walking or on step-in feel. The 2.0 introduces a more accommodating upper of engineered mesh with some additional overlays for security. There is a more "high end" feel to the new upper, feels more robust, and competes with any other upper in terms of comfort. In the OG, the upper was so simple and secure that it performed really well during tempo runs as it felt so light and disappeared on the foot. The 2.0 upper, being slightly more accommodating and robust, functioned better for casual paces (and still performed VERY well for tempo days). The 2.0 upper is a great step in the right direction for comfort and performance as a daily trainer, where the OG upper edges it out for tempo days (slightly).

WINNER: FFE 2.0 by majority decision because of significant increase in comfort and quality (although the OG did land a punch or two on tempo days)

The Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 did exactly what it was supposed to do as an update for a top shoe of this past year -- make some small modifications without sacrificing what people loved about the shoe. You will find the same beautifully smooth ride, but get treated with a significant increase in comfort from the upper and an all around slick shoe with the retro design. Although there wasn't a major change in the sizing "issues", the upper in the 2.0 make the sizing more accommodating even if it runs a bit long. To round it out, Reebok did us all a favor and kept the price point at $100, which is increasingly more rare for quality running shoes these days.
WINNER: FFE 2.0 by majority decision with major update to the upper and overall increased comfort

Fit/Upper        9.25/10 (-0.75 for length/width ratio)
Ride/Midsole  10/10
Stability           9.5 (-0.5 for narrow platform)
Speed               10/10
Durability        9.5/10 (-0.5 for changes in foam)

TOTAL: 96.5%

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 19:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:33 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 8-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon.

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

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.

***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 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 35 miles on my pair. 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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