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 Floatride Energy 3.0 Multiple Tester Review

Note: Our review of the Floatride Energy 4 is out now! Read it here.

The Reebok Floatride Energy has been a versatile lightweight trainer since the original version. Version 2 was the first one that our whole team got to test and it was a great mix of being a shoe that fit well, could handle miles and could go fast (REVIEW). It even won our 2020 Best Bang for your Buck award, being so affordably priced for such a great shoe (2020 Awards). While the transition between version one and two was moderate, version three returns with some large changes. We are excited to see the integration of the beveled heel and outsole guideline from the Symmetros (REVIEW), as well as a refinement of the upper. This is a serious shoe at a fantastic price point.

Specifications (per Reebok)
Weight: 8.5 oz (men's size 9)  7.1 oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 26 mm / 17 mm
Drop: 9 mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer


Matt: The Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 returns almost completely redone. A new heel bevel and guidelines in the outsole have been integrated, creating a much smoother heel transition. The upper features a new square knit upper, providing a little more security but maintaining breathability. The Floatride Energy foam continues to be soft but responsive, allowing this lightweight trainer to handle both workouts and mileage. The outsole continues to make this shoe super durable, while lugs in the forefoot provide a little more security on trails (this is a road shoe though). Continuing to stay at $100, this is a great lightweight trainer that won't weigh down your wallet.

The Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 is an entirely reimagined Floatride Energy that I think improves on the footwear line. The shoe still utilizes Floatride Energy foam that gives it a soft yet bouncy ride to it but comes in with a thicker full length outsole, a beveled heel design, as well as a new mesh upper that locks the foot down a little better than the previous version. Overall the shoe has a lot of "bang for buck" at its price point and is definitely worth looking at.

Nathan: The FFE line has been a favorite of mine since I first purchased my pair of the original and it made me really appreciate and enjoy the Floatride Energy midsole foam. The 3.0 is the most drastic change since the introduction of the shoe including refined midsole geometry, a new outsole and upper, and a softer compound of the Floatride Energy midsole. Fans of the first two will still like this shoe, but it isn't the exact same shoe as before. Is that for the better or worse? Let's talk about it. 


Matt: The Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 fits true to size in my normal men's size 10. The fit is fairly average/normal width from heel to toe. The heel fits normally and despite the slightly below average thickness, still feels nice and cushioned. There is a heel counter, although it does not come all the way up. I do not notice it during running, so those with sensitive heel will be fine. The elf-like fit around the Achilles fits very well. Sometimes this can cause some slipping at the heel, but the rearfoot was very secure for me in the Energy 3.0. I did not have to lace lock the shoe at all, even during trail runs. So security is good, but subtle. The midfoot has some overlays that do a great job of provide a gentle lockdown. The tongue has normal thickness, but is attached to the upper in a bootie like construction on both sides of the upper. This feels really good against bare skin, but slipped around a little more than I would like during trail running. The forefoot is also medium width. It isn't as wide as the previous version, but is not narrow. There is a tiny taper that I notice with socks at the toebox, but the toe guard is very mild. The mesh does stretch as well, so you may be able to get a little more width. The Floatride Energy 3.0 is really comfortable sockless. I have done up to 8 miles in this shoe without socks without issue. So big points there!  Overall a simple, breathable upper that does what it needs to and gets out of your way so you can focus on the run.

The upper is reimagined and utilizes different materials than the 2.0 did. The mesh on the Forever Floatride Energy 3.0 is a little bit more synthetic in nature and doesn't feel as soft as a mesh like in the 2.0. This upper seems to be more in line with materials used in the Symmetros for the upper, though distributed differently. Overall the materials are a little bit more breathable and also hold more structure with reinforcement. The tongue is lightly padded throughout and doesn't slip around at all when running. The shoe has normal width throughout from heel to toe, with a slightly wider toe box for toe splay. There are some sidewalls integrated into the shoe right as the heel and midfoot transition both on the medial and lateral aspects of the shoe. This is a little noticeable in the ride as well. The heel counter is semi rigid and does a good job of securing the heel without any irritation. The upper is a good example of using lightweight materials and still accomplishing a pretty good lockdown throughout the shoe.

Nathan: This iteration has a very new fit. I found that the original and 2.0 fit quite long and even a bit wide and therefore enjoyed a half size down. This isn't the case for the 3.0. The shoe fits more true to size for length, but still maintains some of the roominess in the midfoot and toe box. In relation to the Symmetros, it is slightly wider, but similar in fit for length. The upper is constructed of a more synthetic and breathable material, but the inside is lined by the gusseted tongue and is very comfortable on the foot. The heel maintains the comfort found in the 2.0 with the padded heel counter that has the retrocurve away from the achilles. TO get a good lockdown, I really needed to synch down the laces, but the tongue was padded enough to avoid any irritation to the dorsum of the foot. Overall a comfortable, better fitting, and slightly roomy (particularly in the midfoot and toe box) shoe.


Matt: I did not start impressed, but after putting the Energy 3.0 through a variety of paces, came away quite surprised. I like Floatride Energy Foam, but the extra amount, particularly at the heel, felt very soft at first. I was worried it was too soft, but the midsole seems to match what you need depending on the pace. The ride is certainly on the softer side at the heel and is still soft but firms up slightly in the forefoot. The ride is very smooth. Gone is the early initial contact from previous versions. The beveled heel and segmented crash pad at the rearfoot makes rearfoot landings extremely smooth and soft. The midfoot transition is fairly smooth and this opens up into a flexible and smooth forefoot. There is a 9mm drop that is not noticeable to me. The beveled heel and softer sole compress well, making for a dynamic heel drop depending on where you land.

The midsole is both soft and responsive. I have used this shoe for short fartleks, mile repeats (5:22 mile pace last rep), easy runs and long runs. There is plenty of protection in the sole for long runs, but this lightweight trainer can also move at higher speeds thanks to the Floatride Energy Foam. So for both workouts and easy miles this shoe does well. Even those who want a soft but flexible ride for marathon distance races may enjoy this shoe as a racer. The outsole lugs on the forefoot outsole are awesome as they provide additional traction that works well on dirt and mild trails. I have taken these on a 20 mile trail run on well groomed trails without issue. The outsole is extremely durable. I have well over 50 miles on my pair with very little wear, so I expect at least the industry standard of 300-500 miles out of these.

The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 3.0 has a different ride from the 2.0. The foam still feels similar with its normal softer and bouncy feel throughout but the components of the shoe makes this very different. One obvious change is the outsole and heel bevel. The heel has a significant bevel to it to help with the initial contact and loading response phases of gait to allow for smooth transitions. The outsole is also thicker and features more of a lug design. Because of the outsole thickness and contact points it actually does feel a little firmer throughout the shoe with a snappier forefoot than previous models. The foam is still on the softer side and the ride falls right in the middle of soft and firm when the outsole is taken into account. The transitions are very fluid throughout and the midfoot transition has been refined as well. There is a sidewall that is created from the midsole in the medial and lateral aspect of the shoe as the heel transitions into the midfoot. The soft foam use to make that region a little unstable for me but these sidewalls did seem to help a little bit. The shoe has great traction on all surfaces and did decently on trail for me as well. The outsole also has a cut in the midline of the shoe that does seem to help keep gait linear and through the midline of the foot. For $100 this is a lot of value. Incredibly durable midsole and outsole as well as a fluid transitioning shoe throughout. The shoe is light and will be able to do a little bit of everything for most people. For me I like primarily as a daily training shoe, but it can do a little uptempo as well. I think I would like a little more structure for easy recovery day efforts.

Nathan: This is where the biggest changes are felt. Again, the shoe got a new midsole density (it's softer), a new geometry (heel bevel), and a new outsole. The short of it is that this shoe runs more as a true trainer than its predecessor. I had a lot of success using the 2.0 and original as a performance trainer, but with the softer foam of the 3.0, I had more luck using this at casual and daily paces. 

Digging a little into the major changes, the heel bevel, softer foam, and outsole "crash pad" really smoothened out heel strike. I felt that the first two has a slightly jarring heel strike (with the posterior heel flare), but this one is very smooth just like in the Symmetros. Additionally, I felt that the thicker outsole crash pad helped stabilize the foam in the heel during heel strike and kept it from feeling "mushy". For fans of the previous versions, the ride continues to be smooth and bouncy throughout...just slightly less bouncy and more soft. The heel is particularly soft with it getting slightly more firm as you approach the forefoot. Given the softer foam the forefoot seemed to "bottom out" after longer periods in the shoe, and therefore I see this shoe functioning best for mid distance runs (1.5 hour max for me). It still has some good bounce and propulsion (and is relatively light), so it may still work for some as a performance trainer.


Matt: The stability of the Energy series has always been a tiny bit iffy for me. The Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 did not feel stable on initial step in, but thanks to the guidelines and bevel, there will be plenty for those with very mild stability needs. The bevel and lateral crash pad do a great job of creating a smooth heel transition. The midfoot does narrow a bit and that is where I felt the least stable. However, the forefoot, with its great flexibility and broad guidelines, feels better. The softer ride does make it a little less stable with easy paces but when the speed picks up, the transition feels very stable and directed. So overall there are some elements that make this shoe more stable as the pace picks up, but the Floatride Energy 3.0 is very much a neutral shoe.

The Forever Floatride Energy 3.0 is not a stability shoe, but does its best to incorporate some stable components. The foam itself is very soft and difficult to stabilize. The FFE 3.0 does integrate some side walls in the midsole as well as a firm full contact outsole with great traction to add some stability. The beveled heel and cut down the midline of the outsole do seem to help keep things more linear. Overall though this is definitely a neutral shoe and people should have pretty sound mechanics before running in it. I noticed a tad bit of instability from the midfoot to the forefoot medially so maybe keeping a slight sidewall throughout might help improve that. Stability mechanisms aren't bad though for a neutral lightweight shoe like this though.

Nathan: We will always touch on stability, even in neutral shoes. In some ways, the FFE has always been more on the neutral and slightly less stable end of the spectrum. This, for me, continued but is slightly improved. One change is the softer insole and midsole, which puts a bit more demand for stability on your intrinsic foot and ankle musculature. However, the stability is improved a bit thanks to the geometry, full contact outsole (slightly thicker than previous), and wide platform. The heel bevel and cutouts in the middle of the outsole help provide smooth transitions. Also, even though the foam is a bit softer, it responds well when running and doesn't feel mushy, so it is not as unstable as some other softer platforms I've tried. The reality of the slightly wider fit in the midfoot and toe box did make the forefoot a bit less secure...but I wouldn't say "unstable". 


Matt: I know I sound like a broken record on beveled heels, but they are a very important component in distance running shoes. Given that a majority of the running population are heel strikers, ensuring that you maintain the heel rocker of the foot is important. The calcaneus or heel bone is rounded on the most posterior side. When you land there, the rounded edge helps roll you forward, maintaining moment and decreasing the work required to ease the front of the foot to the ground by the pretibial muscles (the anterior tibialis being the most prominent). This in general helps smooth out the initial contact and loading response phase of running gait for heel strikers, where they are dealing with the impact forces of hitting the ground. Reebok did a great job with the heel bevel in the Symmetros and it feels equally good here in the Floatride Energy 3.0. This also helps with stability in a way. There is a significant improvement in the heel transition of the Energy 3.0 compared to the previous version. Reebok says there is a crash pad as well, which I assume is designated by the curve that starts on the medial heel outsole. I think the softer foam and heel bevel compress enough anyway whether or not there truly is a crash pad. Regardless, the heel bevel and guidelines especially seem to smooth out and stabilize the ride. I do not know if there is any research on guidelines in the sole facilitating transitions or guiding motion. That would be an interesting research topic and all you would need to do is cut lines in the sole in different directions while doing a motion analysis on runners. So anyone that does know if research has been done here please reach out!


Matt: This is a great shoe, but I only have a few.  I would consider filling in the midfoot a little more for stability, as this was something I liked in version 2 (more broad platform). I would consider redoing the laces as they felt a bit flimsy (but held up well up well). The last thing is that I would look into securing the tongue just a bit more. For whatever reason I had some tongue slippage during a long trail run. While I know this is not supposed to be a trail shoe, this was a bit bothersome after 17-18 miles. Other than that, this is a great update!

David: I really enjoyed the Forever Floatride Energy 3.0. I feel like my main recommendations for this shoe would lie in stability mechanisms. I think they did a great job with redoing geometry and smoothening out the ride of the shoe from the previous version and now just need to fine tune a few things. I hinted above but I think the sidewall that they use right at the heel and midfoot transition did a decent job of helping stability, but doesn't run very long through the length of the shoe. If they utilized the midsole to create a raised sidewall or soft guidance frame that could help stabilize the shoe more through the midfoot and forefoot transition points and ultimately make the ride more pleasurable.

Nathan: I appreciate this shoe for what I think it's best for (daily training, some tempo, and moderate distance runs). I also love the direction of the geometry of the shoe and encourage Reebok to continue this, particularly in ridding the shoe of the heel flare. I think my biggest recommendations would be 1) to include a slightly firmer insole given the softer midsole, 2. Synch up the upper in the midfoot and maybe a bit in the forefoot, and 3) utilize different laces (if not double looped they seemed to come undone regularly).


Matt: For those looking for a fantastic, soft and versatile lightweight trainer at a great price, the Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 is still one of the best. The upper fits fairly average, so for those with medium, slightly wide or slightly narrow feet, this shoe will have you covered. The Floatride Energy midsole is soft, but responsive when the pace picks up. From fast miles to long easy runs, there is enough foam for protection but a light enough weight to move quickly. The outsole continues to be very durable, with new mild lugs in the forefoot that improve traction on a variety of surfaces. The new heel bevel smooths at the rearfoot really well and gives the shoe a great transition from heel to toe. The Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 may win our Best Bang for your Buck award for a second year!

The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 3.0 is a great option for anyone looking for a high quality training shoe at a lower price point. This shoe is much more than a budget trainer and is definitely comparable to most daily trainers out there. The foam itself is of a softer midsole but the outsole is firmer and helps with responsiveness and traction. For those who like a beveled smooth heel transition and softer midsoles in a lightweight neutral package this definitely a good shoe to look into adding into the rotation!

Nathan: The FFE 3.0 is a wonderfully smooth, enjoyable, and simple neutral shoe that will work for many as a daily trainer with some capacity to pick up the distance. For people who are doing longer runs (>1.5 hours) but like the feel of FFE 1.0/2.0, I'd consider looking at the Symmetros (slightly more expensive). Honestly, this shoe fits the bill for many recreational and serious runners as a daily trainer who do well in neutral shoes. For fans of the 1.0/2.0, you won't be disappointed in this update, but it will be the biggest change so far, becoming slightly softer and with a refined, better fit. If pressed to choose between this and the Symmetros, I'd take the Symmetros for the slightly more stable ride, more protection underneath, and firmer Floatride Energy foam utilized (personal preference). That said, I still really like this shoe and think the update was a win.


Fit: B+ (Slightly more performance fit. Normal width, upper flexible and breathable. Could use a little more structure in midfoot)                     
Performance: A (Improved ride from heel bevel, great at faster and easier paces. Smooth and responsive ride!) 
Stability: B- (Better than previous, but softer foam and narrower midfoot make this shoe best for runners with neutral mechanics) 
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Massive points for redoing this shoe with a great heel bevel. May want to consider additional methods for stability though) 
Personal:  A- (Great shoe, just wish it was a bit more stable for me.) 
Overall: B+ (Fantastic shoe for $100. Great improvements, just needs a touch more stability)              

Fit: A- (Lightweight with good reinforcement throughout, though the sidewalls could be improved in the midfoot and forefoot)                    
Performance:  B+
 (Feels great at daily training paces and slight uptempo but a unstable at recovery paces and bottoms out at faster paces) 
B+ (Would like to see improvements through midfoot and forefoot, great improvements at the rearfoot though) 
DPT/Footwear Science:  
A- (Successful update to an entirely new geometry! Instability and lack of side walls in the midfoot and forefoot though) 
Personal:  A-
 (A really fun shoe with a great price point. I think the stability could be improved a little especially in unstable conditions like trails but overall a pleasant shoe to run in) 
Overall:  A- (Really solid lightweight daily training option that can do a little bit of everything. Some instability in the midsole through the midfoot and forefoot or in trail and unstable conditions but overall a solid improvement.)      

Fit: A-/B+ (More true to size than previous, but slightly sloppy in the midfoot)                    
Performance:  A-
 (Smooth for daily miles, not great for long runs) 
B+ (Softer midsole and looser upper in the midfoot, still has smooth transitions) 
DPT/Footwear Science:  
(Great geometry for a smooth ride) 
Personal:  A-
 (Really enjoyable shoe, but I do miss the midsole firmess of V2/V1...and I'm feeling spoiled by the Symmetros) 
Overall:  A-      

Thanks for reading!

Shop local with our friends at Run Republic for a pair of Floatride Energy 3.0. 


Compare Trainers
Reebok Flaotride Energy Grow - A sustainable version of the Floatride Energy 3, featuring a softer, more relaxed upper and slightly firmer, but more durable foam for distance running
Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 Adventure - Reebok's trail model of the Energy 3
Reebok Floatride Energy 2.0 - Compare with the previous model
Asics Nimbus Lite 2.0 - Another plant based trainer with a fun, bouncy ride

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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. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

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.

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 for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. 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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