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Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel Review:
The Pro Model of the CTM Family
By Senior Contributor David Salas and Chief Editor Matt Klein

Craft has been a company that has shown tried and true success throughout the ultra community on both the trails and the roads. The shorter distances (marathon and down) have not been explored in great detail for the brand though. The CTM Carbon Race Rebel looks to change this by bringing a new midsole foam called UD Foam Pro and integrating carbon fiber technology with midsole. The shoe was helped design with several of their athletes, one of the main ones being Tommy Rivs.

Price: $250 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.05 oz, 200 g (men's size 9), *Women's weights not provided*
Stack Height: 40 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Racing Flat


Matt: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a ultra-distance road racer featuring an high stack height, high drop, stiff carbon plate, firmer midsole and lighter weight. A stiff shoe that has little to no bounce but can roll along for those who do not do well with soft midsoles. The upper features a higher volume fit like other Craft shoes, while fitting slightly short to give it some essence of a racing fit. Fitting alongside other ultramarathon shoes like the Carbon X, the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a firm carbon plated shoe for long efforts and potentially fast efforts if you can already move at higher speeds. 

David: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a long-distance road racer that integrates high stack height and lightweight in the same package. The foam doesn't have quite as much bounce or softness as some of the other players on the market, but the shoe still proves to be responsive thanks to its geometry configuration at faster speeds. The lightweight racer reminds me a lot of a hybrid between an ultra road shoe like the Carbon X2/3 and marathon racer with a good rocker like the Endorphin Pro.


Matt: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel fits me slightly short in my normal men's US size 10. Like the CTM Ultra, the fit is voluminous throughout the length of the shoe. This required me to tighten down the laces and to lace lock the shoe, which seemed to mostly solve the issue. For that reason, it will likely work for those with normal to wider width feet. The fit is slightly short, but fortunately the upper is quite flexible and is not something that has ever bothered me. For that reason, I would suggest sticking with your normal size. Like the other Craft shoes, there is no heel counter in this shoe. The heel collar does have pads that help secure the heel a bit, but I had to lace lock the shoe for security. The mesh material is see-through and is extremely breathable. The tongue is not gusseted but stays in place due to being slightly thicker and curving around the foot. The midfoot and forefoot have some flexibility to them, allowing for stretch as necessary. Locking down the laces helps secure the midfoot. The forefoot is slightly wider for a racing flat and does not taper on the lateral side as much as others. This gives it a bit more anatomic fit, which combined with the flexible upper allows for plenty of toe room. Overall the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel features a higher volume fit with an extremely breathable upper that still feels a bit racier due to the slightly short length.

David: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel fits true to size in my normal men's 9.5. The shoe does fit rather voluminous through the forefoot but when laced down tight the material does seem to pull together pretty well. The width is normal to slightly wide in the forefoot and midfoot. The heel is normal width and pulls together nicely with a heel lock. I did have to heel lock these just because of the increased volume mentioned before to prevent heel slippage but once I did I had no problems. The heel does not have a heel counter but has a light reinforcement with some suede-like materials on the inside that also seems to grab the sock pretty well and prevent heel slippage once in contact. The upper is an ultra lightweight engineered mesh that is very lightweight throughout. It has light stretch to it but does hold itself pretty well. Overall, the upper is very well done, but could be a little more dialed in with volume. Even for an ultra event it might lean a little on the roomy side vertically through the dorsal aspect of the midfoot and forefoot. 


Matt: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a firmer carbon-plated racing shoe. Featuring a full-length UD Foam Pro, the ride is firm throughout the length of the shoe. The carbon plate is extremely stiff and takes a few runs to break in. Like the other Craft shoes, the sole is rockered with a significant heel bevel and a solid amount of toe spring. The forefoot is stiff enough that my calf spasmed during the first run in them and it took me a few short jobs to break them in enough to run in them. The 10 mm drop is noticeable in a positive way. Once the shoe broke in my calves didn't get as sore. It was not intrusive as the heel bevel makes for smooth rearfoot landings. The Carbon Race Rebel feels best when you land rearfoot first. This engages both the foam and the plate, which combined with the geometry rolls you forward. It does not have a bouncy ride, but a firmer efficient ride. The rocker is significant and rolls you forward while the plate provides a moderately snappy toe-off. The ride is conducive to consistent paces.

This is not a current-day super shoe, but a more traditional feeling midsole with a stiff plate. It is best for workouts given the stiff ride is not great for easy runs. The lighter, 200g weight and carbon plate make it a great option for faster efforts like intervals. Efforts in the mid range like tempos or longer intervals were difficult due to the lack of responsiveness from the midsole. Uptempo efforts and easy runs were actually decent as the rocker and plate make consistent paces feel decent. The Carbon X series is probably the closest competitor for a shoe like this and this may do well for those who want a firmer ride over longer efforts. If you like a stiff, firmer riding, higher drop racing flat, then the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel may be something worth considering.

David: I really enjoyed my time in the Carbon Race Rebel though I'm still chewing on my favorite usage. My men's 9.5 weighs 7.6 ounces and certainly rides in a competitive weight range. The shoe does utilize a carbon fiber plate and a rocker design similar to many of the other new generation racing shoes. The interesting thing with the Race Rebel is the midsole composition. It doesn't have much pop to it but it is still protective and "responsive enough" for me. The composition is 100% EVA per their website and does feel like it is their own proprietary blend of an EVA midsole. That doesn't mean the shoe is bad but I notice the shoe really shines just off of race pace for me. The performance of the shoe almost feels like a hybrid between the Saucony Endorphin Pro and the HOKA Carbon X2. The ride itself isn't crazy responsive but the rocker design is done really well and does seem to adjust well to the paces put into the shoe. It feels very momentous once you pick up the pace in it. I have multiple sub 5:05 miles in these and multiple 5:30's miles in these and it feels buttery at those more controlled paces.

For me this almost seems like an ideal ultra racing shoe on the roads. There is plenty of protection with the stack height being at 40mm through the heel and its lightweight and momentous. You could certainly use it as a marathon racer, though I'm not sure I'm sold on it for half marathon or under, at least compared to all of the other options on the market. The traction is really good for a racing shoe as well giving this shoe some versatility. This is one of the few new generation racing shoes I don't really hesitate going offroad in. I wouldn't say it is a trail outsole, for it certainly leans road but does give you just enough traction if you need to. A really solid workout shoe for me but can definitely race marathon and up. 


Matt: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a neutral racing shoe. However, there are some elements that provide mild stability at the rearfoot and forefoot. The rearfoot features mild sidewalls on both the medial and lateral sides. This provides some mild guidance, especially when combined with the significant heel bevel. The forefoot has a solid amount of medial and lateral flare, making for a centered ride when the forefoot breaks in. The midfoot is less stable given the significant narrowing in such a tall stack height. Those with excessive motion to the medial side at the midfoot may fine themselves falling off the edge if you are not running fast enough to transition guickly through this area. The torsional rigidity is high in this shoe thanks to how stiff the plate is, however it doesn't totally offset the narrow midfoot. Thus those who need mild guidance in the heel and forefoot will do fine, but not if you need midfoot stability. 

David: The Carbon Race Rebel is pretty stable for a racing shoe. The traction underfoot certainly helps with giving some grip on the ground and firming up the landing a tad. The geometry and carbon plate are done really well and momentum seems to keep rolling forward. The upper is reinforced well enough to handle most situations though does need to be locked down well first. I did have to play with the lacing a little before getting it right. Outside of some upper integration, the stability is quite good. 


Matt: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel sits in a category alongside the On Cloudboom Echo, Hoka Rocket X, Brooks Hyperion Elite1 and 2. These are shoes without super foams that feature max stack height, rockered soles and a plate. It is well known from the literature that not everyone responds to shoes the same way. Even the initial vaporfly studies showed large variations in running economy changes, with some having 10% improvements and some having large decreases (Hoogkamer et al., 2019). Additionally, many of the shoes are quite stiff and some runners may do better with extremely stiff shoes (McLeod et al., 2020; Ortega et al., 2021). The comfort filter is also key and some people, particularly those with stability issues, may do better in these types of shoes compared to the softer, super foamed racing flats like the Asics Metaspeed Sky, Nike Vaporfly/Alphafly and others.

However, as shown by more recent research, foams are the most significant part of the economic changes. Roy and Stefanyshyn (2006) demonstrated that sole stiffness could at max add 1% economy improvements. Carbon plate designs have changed a great deal since that time, with new curves and designs that may change that. However, there is no research to suggest they are different. In fact, recent research has demonstrated that not only do the carbon plate only shoes not match the super foamed shoes, cutting the plates in shoes like the Vaporfly do not change the running economy improvements (Healey & Hoogkamer, 2021; Joubert & Jones, 2021). The plates do stiffen the shoes up, which may be beneficial to stabilize some of the new softer foams. However, based on the available research, shoes with EVA foams and carbon plates do not match the performance of those with PEBAX, PEBA or whatever Asics is using in the Metaspeed Sky ("Nylon based foam" is not really clear).

What these non-super foam shoes do offer is a firmer and more stable ride (usually) for those that do not do well with softer shoes. All the shoes listed, including the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel, On Cloudboom Echo, Hoka Rocket X, Brooks Hyperion Elite 1 and 2 are all firmer, which may do better for those needing more stable/firmer shoes. Not everyone does well with softer shoes. For that reason, these shoes still have a place, but as seen by Joubert and Jones (2021), they are not on the same competitive level as the others.


Healey, L. A., & Hoogkamer, W. (2021). Longitudinal bending stiffness does not affect running economy in Nike Vaporfly shoes. 
Journal of sport and health science.

Hoogkamer, W., Kipp, S. & Kram, R. (2019). The biomechanics of competitive male runners in three marathon racing shoes: a randomized crossover study.
Sports Medicine, 49(1), 133-143

Joubert, D. P., & Jones, G. P. (2021). A Comparison of Running Economy Across Seven Carbon-Plated Racing Shoes. (Pre-Print).

McLeod, A. R., Bruening, D., Johnson, A. W., Ward, J., & Hunter, I. (2020). Improving running economy through altered shoe bending stiffness across speeds. 
Footwear Science12(2), 79-89.

Ortega, J. A., Healey, L. A., Swinnen, W., & Hoogkamer, W. (2021). Energetics and biomechanics of running footwear with increased longitudinal bending stiffness: a narrative review. 
Sports Medicine51(5), 873-894.

Roy, J. & Stefanyshyn, D. (2006). Shoe midsole longitudinal bending stiffness and running economy, joint energy and EMG.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: 38(3), 562-569.


Matt: The slightly shorter fit and ability to lace lock the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel makes the upper fit me fairly well. I have enjoyed the lack of a heel counter and the wider forefoot. The midsole is the major area I would suggest reworking. If this is to be marketed as a racing shoe for $250, I expect a highly resilient and energy-returning foam. The UD Foam Pro does break in and soften slightly with time, but the overall ride feels more akin to the firm riding, traditional, pre-super shoe racing flats. The ride is not bouncy at all and is nowhere close to any of the major players in the super shoe market, despite costing as much or more than the majority of other tried and true current-day racing shoes. I do like the geometry of the shoe and the lower weight, which makes me feel that this shoe has potential. It just needs a far better midsole foam. As it stands now there is little reason to choose this shoe over any of the options out there unless you want a stiffer, firmer and more traditional feeling midsole. However, it looks like Craft is experimenting with new midsoles and I am excited to try the Pro Endure Distance.

David: I think the upper can certainly be re-worked a little bit. The material itself is really nice and the overall wrap of it is good, but the upper still has too much volume. I like the use of suede in the heel to give some hold without a counter. The midsole is tricky. I actually like it for long controlled efforts as I would potentially grab this if I was running north of a marathon on the roads but I know the aim is at that marathon/half marathon distance. If they want this to be on par with the other racers on the market they might need to make something with just a little more responsiveness through the midsole to compete at those distances. Otherwise the shoe is really nice, but a tad underwhelming for the half marathon and under distances. It feels much like a marathon to ultra-marathon racing shoe.


Matt: The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a longer-distance road racing shoe for those who want a well rockered, high drop, high stack, firmer and stiffer ride. The midsole is protective despite being firmer, which makes it better for longer efforts rather than middle-distance races. The upper fits slightly short and has a higher volume, which will work well for those whose feet swell or have wider feet. Fitting in the ultra road category alongside shoes like the Hoka Carbon X series, the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel will work for you if the other super soft/bouncy foam racers do not. 

David: The Craft Carbon Race Rebel is a long-distance road racing shoe for those that want a little more firmness and ground feel on their high stack racer. The shoe is has a max stack height with 40mm in the heel and is very protective. The ride of the shoe is a little more dependent on momentum than forceful responsiveness. The midsole is a little firmer and not as poppy as some other midsoles on the market so if you are sensitive to really bouncy midsoles this is a lightweight racer that uses some other components to make a fast shoe rather than soft/bouncy foams. A really good lightweight protective shoe, though my personal usage leans on the longer distances.


Fit: B+ (Slightly short fit with higher volume. Upper is breathable and stretchy, which combines the width I want with a racing-style length)
B (A high stack, rockered, stiff ride that takes time to break in. Best for consistent longer efforts and has difficulty with tempo/uptempo efforts)
Stability: B+/B [Neutral] (Stable heel and forefoot due to flare and sidewalls. Narrowed midfoot makes for less stability at that point in a high stack shoe).
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Rationale for grade)
Personal: B- (I like the upper in this shoe, but the sole is not something I would choose over any other racing shoe out there. I found the plate to be too stiff and result in a mild calf strain during the first run.)
Overall: (A firmer, higher volume racing shoe with an extremely stiff and firmer ride for ultra/longer distance racing. )

Fit: B+ (I really enjoy the material and overall construction, though there is definitely too much volume. I needed to lace lock the shoe to make the upper work. Other than that it is done really well.)
B (I like that Craft is looking into the road racing distances and this is a good start. The shoe is really rhythmic and the protection is certainly there. It is fast,  but still not quite as responsive as some of the other options. This will be a good marathon and up racer.)
Stability: A- (This shoe is quite stable for a racing shoe. The platform, geometry, traction all good. The upper just needs to be locked down much better.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Nothing overwhelmingly advanced here, but I like the all terrain lane that Craft is taking with their shoes. It adds some versatility to the footwear.)
Personal: B+ (If I had a road 50k or up I think this would certainly be on the table. I just think it lacks some of the responsiveness that other racing flats have. A good workout shoe, long run shoe, and potential marathon racer.)
Overall: B/B+ (A well done long distance performance shoe. The midsole isn't anything revolutionary but has good geometry, good weight, good traction, and will fit well for those that have issues with softer midsoles.)


Price: $250 at Running Warehouse

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Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 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.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything.

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

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,

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 Craft Footwear and Running Warehouse 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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Craft CTM Ultra Carbon 2 Review

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