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Reebok Forever Floatride Grow Multiple Tester Review


     After the great success of the Forever Floatride Energy v1 and 2.0, Reebok has decided to take a new approach to the Forever line with a friendly carbon footprint to the earth. The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is a 100% plant based running shoe that is engineered to revolutionize the way running shoes are created. The goal is a sustainable and eco friendly shoe that still performs at the highest of training levels. 



Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 9.7 oz (Men's 9), 7.9 oz (Women's 7)
Stack Height: 26mm/17mm
Drop: 9mm
Classification: Lightweight Daily Trainer


HIGHLIGHTS

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is an exciting shoe that expands beyond just the concept of sustainable performance. The shoe genuinely is a good training shoe and leaves a better carbon footprint on this earth. The construction and geometry of the shoe is essentially the same as the Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 model, but with completely plant based materials. Eucalyptus bark upper, castor bean oil midsole, bloom algae insole, and rubber tree outsole. The shoe is an aesthetically pleasing and training viable addition to the running market.

Matt: The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is the plant based evolution of the Floatride Energy 2.0. "Sustainable performance" is the key phrase here, as the entire shoe is made of plant based materials. Although the castor bean oil midsole is not as responsive as floatride foam, the ride ends up being a more stable and dependable right for lightweight performance. Featuring a little thicker, but still breathable upper, the upper looks good casually and on the run.


FIT

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow fits true to size in my normal size 9.5. The upper is constructed of Eucalyptus bark and feels very soft and comfortable. The upper does not sacrifice any breathability. The upper has no overlays or toe guard in the forefoot and feels very comfortable. The Reebok logo adds some overlay to the midfoot along the sides of the shoe along with an extended semi-rigid heel counter. The tongue is on the thicker end, but still very soft and padded well. The laces are thick and feel a little more like a casual shoe than a running shoe, however still lace the shoe down well. This is personally one of my favorite uppers I have run in. The material is so soft and comfortable without holding excessive moisture and has just enough reinforcement through the heel and midfoot. My only recommendations here are to thin the tongue and laces slightly to make it feel less puffy and more like a running shoe.

Matt: The Floatride Grow fits me true to size in my normal size 10 (mens). The eucalyptus bark upper is extremely soft and comfortable. I have been able to run and walk with these sockless with absolutely no trouble. The upper is very comfortable, but slightly thicker than many of the mesh uppers on the market. It still remains very breathable, even with the thick tongue. The upper security is ok, but not great. It does fine with easy efforts and shorter runs, but longer faster efforts and turns are not the most secure. It doesn't feel unstable, but it isn't secure enough for me to do hard workouts or race in. The fit is slightly wide thanks to the flexibility of the upper. The heel fits fairly average and is actually a bit more secure than expected. I did not have to lace lock the shoe and there is a very mild but flexible heel counter in the rear (I almost didn't not notice it). This opens up into a flexible and slightly wider fitting midfoot and forefoot. This upper disappears on the foot, fits a little wider and is extremely comfortable.


RIDE

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting the ride to be a little flat since it was coming entirely from plant based materials, but it wasn't. The midsole is constructed of castor bean oil compound. The foam itself feels protective with a slight bounce to it. It is noticeably less cushioned and bouncy than the Floatride Energy foam, but still protective and smooth at daily paces. The foam is a little less responsive, but arguable smoother at daily paces. The ride is a little more firm than the original Forever Floatride Energy 2.0 but in no ways hard. Outside of the midsole the ride is really similar to the original model. The heel flare is still present but it didn't bug me too much. The full contact outsole feels nice and the grooves underneath feel well placed. The shoe feels a little bit more stable than the original for me with the outsole feeling a little more firm and grounded. My maiden voyage was 18 miles out of the box and the shoe felt great with no blisters or irritation.

Matt: The ride of the Floatride Grow is mildly soft and smooth. The castor bean oil midsole is firmer than Floatride Energy, making it more stable and slightly less responsive. The midsole has come great flex grooves, particularly in the forefoot, that makes for a smooth toe off. There is a heel flare, but the foam seems to compress well and it isn't super noticeable. The Forever Floatride Grow is more of a smooth roller than a really bouncy shoe. It is decently stable, but overall the shoe tends to glide fairly well. The ride is also fairly protective while being a lightweight trainer. The 9mm drop was not as noticeable as expected as the foam does compress, but there is enough there that those who need some of this will be fine.


STABILITY

David:
Being a neutral shoe the Forever Floatride Grow does not have any specific stability measures. Some components that help with stability though is the full contact outsole and the extended heel counter (heel to midfoot). The foam is also a little firmer than the original Floatride Energy foam and creates a little more ground feel to the shoe. There isn't much structure to the upper, but it seems to hold pretty well in turning situations and I had no slippage or translation. Overall the shoe is decently stable with some mild give in the midfoot, but this is a neutral shoe and nothing I am concerned with. The heel flare construction might create some early initial contact and reduce some stability at the heel, but this would be more concerning with the hard landing heel striking community. 

Matt: The Forever Floatride Grow is a neutral shoe and does not feature any formal stability methods. The good full ground contact outsole, heel counter and slightly firmer midsole and what feels like a slightly wider last make for a decently stable neutral shoe. The castor bean oil midsole is much more stable than Forever Energy foam (just less response). The midsole is flexible, but in a good way forward, so forward moment is easily maintained. For those that need decent stability, this shoe will not have enough but for those with more neutral mechanics, this shoe has plenty.



SPEED

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is best at daily training paces. The shoe is light enough to pick up the pace a little bit, but the foam itself isn't overly responsive when pushed. At daily training and easy paces the shoe feels a lot smoother and consistent.

Matt: The Floatride Grow is really best for easy runs and daily training. This shoe has been perfect as a shorter recovery run shoe and moderate length easy runs. The foam can move as I have used this shoe for post run hill repeats and strides, but it isn't the most responsive. As mentioned, this is more of a smooth rider than a bouncer, so some may be able to use this as a versatile easy run/uptempo shoe. At all out speeds, the lack of good responsiveness from the foam is evident, so again this is best as a lighter weight shoe on easy and moderate length mileage days.


DURABILITY

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow also surprisingly pretty durable for a 100% plant based shoe. Instead of utilizing a carbon rubber outsole seen in the original Reebok Forever Floatride Energy the Forever Floatride Grow utilizes a natural rubber tree outsole. After wear testing the shoe does have some visible wear, but nothing overly concerning. The outsole should last as much as most lower profile performance training shoes. The midsole still feels consistent and has not lost any bounce or responsiveness. The upper seems to be holding really and feels more resistant to translation than the upper for me. Overall the durability is pretty good for the materials used!

Matt: The durability of the Floatride Grow is fairly good. The upper, although it has dirtied very quickly, has remained in good condition even after 40 miles. The outsole has begun to wear at a decent rate at the heel and forefoot, so expect fairly average outsole durability for a lightweight trainer. The midsole however has remained very consistent. So overall fairly average durability, which is great for a plant based shoe!


THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

David: Today the DPT section is going to be different than normal. I want to focus on carbon footprint and the efforts towards building a sustainable future for the running community. Because the Forever Floatride Grow is a plant based version of the Reebok Forever Floatride Energy, if you would like our DPT section to the shoe and construction the link is HERE.

     The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is the introduction to the new ReeGrow project that Reebok is doing to help with their carbon footprint on the earth. The main goal is to remove virgin petroleum-based products from the market and utilize plant based materials and recycled plastics for production instead. Their production is LEED certified and they take active efforts to compost and recycle materials at their locations. The shoe itself isn't compostable... but they want to work towards that in the future. In the meantime the materials are sourced from Eucalyptus cellulose for the upper, castor bean oil for the midsole, bloom algae for the insole, and natural shaved rubber for the outsole. The sourcing is either regrown or taken extracted from proteins (algae source) to help create the platform you stand on. This is a new frontier for the running world, and things may not be perfect at this time, but at least there is a conscious effort towards utilizing natural and sustainable materials to do less harm to the world we live in. 


RECOMMENDATIONS 

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow was a big success in my opinion. For utilizing 100% plant based materials the shoe performs really well. My recommendations for the shoe mainly lie with the upper in the tongue and lacing. The tongue is on the thicker and poofy end. It is soft and comfortable, but feels more like a daily wear shoe. The lacing is thick and wide as well and I would love to see that thinned down a little as well. I would also like to the heel smoothed out a little bit to make the landing easier for the heel striking community.

Matt: The Grow is an excellent introduction for plant based footwear. My suggests are for the upper and midsole. I would suggest looking for ways to secure the upper without making it too bulky, if anything trying to lighten it may be helpful. The midsole, while smooth, does not have a ton of responsiveness for a lightweight trainer, so potentially changing the durometer may help. Also that heel flare, while not super noticeable, still should be switched out with the awesome feel of what the Symmetros has going on.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

David:
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is for an avid runner or active person looking for an eco-friendly 100% plant based shoe that is sustainable and rides well. I differentiate from the runner part a little bit because this shoe honestly is so aesthetically pleasing. It can be a daily trainer one minute, and a shoe that really pops an outfit the other minute. The shoe is protective and slightly firmer than the Floatride Energy, but does run pretty similar to the Forever Floatride Energy. It's a neutral slightly firm protective trainer that runs well in most conditions.

Matt: The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is for someone looking for a lightweight, smooth eco friendly plant based shoe. The ride is fairly good, slightly firmer/more stable and works just as well casually as it does on the run. The castor oil foam is protective and smooth. The fit is a bit more generous and should work for a variety of foot types. This is a great shoe to "Grow" from and I am excited to see the next generation of sustainable footwear!

GRADING

David
Fit                     9.75/10 (Amazing upper, but tongue and laces very thick and poofy)
Ride                  9.25/10 (Consistent, protective, though a little unresponsive when pushed, heel flare)
Stability            9.25/10 (wider platform, full contact outsole, slightly firmer, midfoot slight translation)
Speed                9/10 (Lightweight enough to pick up pace in a little bit, but best at daily efforts)
Durability         9/10 (Outsole has decent durability, some wear noted in forefoot and heel, midsole and upper should be good)

David
Fit                     8.5/10 (Super comfortable upper, but not most secure)
Ride                  8.75/10 (Smooth ride, flexible forefoot. Heel flare slightly noticeable. )
Stability            8.5/10 (Good for neutral shoe)
Speed                8/10 (Best for easy/moderate efforts at most. Smooth not bouncy)
Durability         8.5/10 (Average wear on outsole, upper doing well but dirty)

Total Score: 8.85% (M: 8.45/10  D: 9.25/10 N: IP/10 )

Thanks for reading!

PODCAST REVIEW

Interested in learning more about the Grow? Visit our Podcast episode for more thoughts from the Doctors of Running team. 

YouTube | Apple Podcast

TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew 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.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 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

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 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. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning



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

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

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 Running and Run Republic (Walnut, CA) for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 40 miles (Matt), (in progress) miles (Nathan) and 38 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on our 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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