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Reebok Returns to the Running Game with the FloatZig 1 [Review]

Reebok’s FloatZig 1 bring a little something different to the running market.

Jeremy Proome

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Reebok is going through somewhat of a renaissance with its sports shoe line after being separated from Adidas in 2021, and the American brand, which was once the go-to running shoe brand, is sprinting back onto the streets with its newest top-end runner, the FloatZig 1.

Inspired by some pretty gnarly aeronautical, spaceship innovations, the FloatZig 1 features some interesting technology that helps differentiate the stylish-looking runners from other options on the market.

Firstly, the brand’s Floatride Energy Foam is very soft, simple, and extremely light to allow the shoe to achieve its 270-odd gram weight (in UK9). One of the more interesting tweaks is that the foam sole itself features cut-outs in the base to a) shed some more weight, and b) allow the foam to flex in key points along the soleplate. It’s a smart approach that gives the shoe the cushioning and support it needs while still ensuring that it bends in all the right places.

Speaking of, a rubberised ‘Energy Band’ (basically a flexible but somewhat stiffer rubber cage) has been slapped onto the bottom and acts as the soleplate. This is the element that makes contact with the ground and gives some snapback to the shoe while also protecting the softer second layer of foam of the sole. It’s a clever design that harnesses squishier foam for comfort while the tougher materials handle energy return and the demands of the road, rather than the foam surface itself taking the brunt of the street or surface you’re running on.

The FloatZig 1 also features a heel drop of 6mm, providing wearers a bit of relief for their Achilles and calves, and giving you a more forward-leaning position for running. Despite having a pretty notable heel drop, it doesn’t feel so radical thanks to the stiffer soleplate and dense yet weight-absorbing foam.

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When in motion with the FloatZig 1, the result is a really natural feeling that prioritises comfort rather than radical propulsion or feeling overly guided, which some running shoes tend to rely on. This no-nonsense approach makes the FloatZig 1 a set of daily runners that you can slip on with minimal prep, smash out a 10km run, and feel reinvigorated popping them off.

In terms of comfort above the road, the shoe also features a mesh upper to maximise breathability, along with some reflective overlays so that your shoes are visible and stand out when headlights shine on your footwear. There is a very soft mesh cage on the inner of the shoe that wraps the sides of your foot and provides some stability, which is a nice touch too.

There is also a bit more structure and thickness around the heel area, which is appreciated for more comfort and lockdown, but the midfoot and forefoot area remains extremely pliable and minimalistic to allow your toes to move freely to give you a more barefoot, sock-like feel.

On top of all the tech, the FloatZig 1 also rocks a pretty retro look, with a chunkier sole in the heel area, the option of two nostalgic washed-out colourways (both are awesome), and the 90s-inspired sneaker silhouette, all coming together to give a look that stands out from the hyper-futuristic shoes on the market currently.

Verdict

Reebok’s running shoe revival with the FloatZig 1 is an extremely successful one, delivering a running shoe that embodies the ‘less is more’ approach, focusing on comfort and clever weight-cutting strategies rather than PB-chasing gimmicks.

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The Reebok FloatZig 1 are available from the official Reebok site and are priced at R2,799.

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