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Review of the Puma Ignite (Part 1/2) – First Impressions


Prelude

A couple of weeks back a huge packet arrived from Puma. I was a bit surprised since I didn’t remember ordering anything. Removing the wrapping revealed a large purple & blue box (interest was piqued). On opening the box I was pleasantly surprised to find a pair of purple shoes – the Puma Ignite! It was then that I recalled the casual emails a few weeks back from the Puma PR folks wanting to update their database with some of my stats and coordinates – cheeky folk!

Puma Run Ignite Box

I had been hearing of the Ignite for the past several weeks especially since Puma had been organizing events all over the world to launch the shoe (I couldn’t attend the #igniteDelhi event). Was really excited to get to try out these shoes, unfortunately I have been nursing a right knee issues for some time and I was in the middle of what would turn out to be an 8 week hiatus from running. So eager though I was to run in these I had to hold myself back.

Puma Run Ignitepuma-ignite-41

First the Official Line

For those who are keen, here is the official description of the shoes –

IGNITE features a superior cushioning material that disperses impact forces while providing optimal responsiveness and energy return to make you faster. Our unique PU foam formula offers high rebound and ultimate comfort where you need it the most. ForEverFoam is integrated in the heel to provide durability for long-lasting performance. The shoe’s minimal upper design offers lightweight flexibility and an incredibly comfortable fit.

  • Flexible AirMesh upper with seamless overlays
  • Soft, ultra-thin suede tongue for more comfort
  • Molded EVA sockliner hugs the arch
  • IGNITE Foam midsole for high-rebound cushioning
  • Chevron flex grooves for increased energy return
  • ForEverFoam at heel for optimal durability
  • Flexibility through forefoot flex grooves
  • Transition Line mimics the natural gait pattern
  • Smoother toe-off for a fluid ride
  • EverTrack for durability in high-wear areas

Lot of words – most of which I tend to ignore 🙂 !

Essentially this is a neutral running shoe which is touted to make you run faster. With the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt officially promoting it – you can’t miss that message!

 EEA_IgniteYourCity_hero_012315_1

Visual and Tactile Impressions

A few things hit me immediately, the shoe looks really small for a UK9/US10; and the colour combination of purple with a fluorescent orange sole seems really over the top (and I’ve worn some crazy colours, including parrot green!).

My dress shoe size is a UK8/US9. For most of my running I have been either using a UK9.5/US10.5 or UK10/US11. This sizing has worked well for me with Nike, Reebok and Saucony. The Skechers GoRun2 ran really large and a UK9/US10 worked really well with room to spare. Considering that the Ignite was a UK9 I am concerned it wouldn’t fit me.

Anyway I decided to leave them in the box for a few more days while I complete my 8 weeks of resting the knee, so more on colour and size later. But before all that some basics for the shoe –

Price: Rs.8,999 (this is getting into expensive territory but comparable to shoes from the competition except Skechers which is more aggressively priced). For me price per se is very important but one has to factor in the durability of the shoe. This is where Skechers had a problem, priced very aggressively but the usable-running-life seems less than half of the competition especially if you are running a lot on tar/concrete.
Weight: The shoe felt really light in the hand so I was surprised that it weighed in at around 272gm for a size 9. Still the weight is in, what I consider a good zone for most runners.
Heel-to-Toe drop: Visually this looked pretty aggressive to me, but again was surprised that it was 12mm. After using several types of footwear (including barefoot & Vibrams) I’ve come to the conclusion that a 12mm drop is actually good for most runners.
Flexibility/Flexion: The shoe is definitely stiffer than some of the other shoes in my arsenal like the Nike Free, Reebok Realflex and Skechers GoRun2. It even feels marginally stiffer than the Saucony Kinvara (which itself is fairly stiff). But I have seen with experience that this too is not a bad thing as a stiffer shoe tends to be more responsive.
Upper: The shoe upper seems fairly structured like the Reebok Realflex but not over the top like the Reebok One. The Nike Free, Skechers GoRun2 and Saucony are more minimalist.
Shoe Shape: The shape is more straight than curved (look at the sole of the shoe and the curve from heel to toe). Puma seems to have decided that their running shoes would have a straighter shape – case in point the whole FAAS series and even the Mobium Elite. Once again, not a bad thing for a neutral shoe.
Sole: The sole looks solid and even the rubbery bits look and feel pretty durable.
Tongue: This is pretty rubbery & soft and should provide good protection from pressure from tight laces at the top. The laces themselves are pretty long and if you don’t use the heel-lock-eyelets at the top you may need to do a double bow tie to keep from stepping on them.

Impressions on the Foot

About 7 days into receiving the Ignite I couldn’t hold myself back any longer and decided to take them for a short spin (mostly because I was coming back from a long running break).

As I take them out of the box I am pretty sure there are going to be small for my feet. Surprise surprise, they are actually very roomy in the toe area with a very good fit in the heel and mid-foot. In fact I am now concerned they may actually be too big for me! Now here is the contradiction – they still look pretty lean on my foot compared to the other shoes I have, including the Nike Free!

After using these shoes for a few runs – my recommendation is to not oversize them and maybe even go with your true size (dress shoe size). If you engage the heel lock lacing (Google that) with your true size you will also likely have some space left in the front for foot expansion which invariably happens over a longish run.

Two other comments with the shoe on the foot – the colour combination of  purple and orange actually looks pretty good and in fact might be part of the reason for the shoe looking smaller and slimmer.

The second is the weight; it actually feels quite light on the foot. A walk to my warm-up area feels routinely normal and I am not thinking about the shoe at all. Normal is a great thing when it comes to new shoes!

I said earlier that Usain Bolt was promoting these shoes, as a long distance runner that’s a mixed message for me – is the Puma Ignite a long distance running shoe or are they good only for shorter runs? I am not going to get the answer to this on my short comeback run but this is the questions on my mind as I start my first run in them.

Watch-out for the second part of the review when I’ll talk about my experience running in the Ignite. And do leave your comments below and also let me know if you want to know something more about these shoes.

RunIndiaRun
Sandeep

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Donate Your Old Shoe and/or Running Gear


This idea came out of two shoes that I don’t currently use and therefore wanted to donate to a dedicated runner in need.

Many a times we come across a promising runner who cannot afford expensive running shoes or gear. Much of our own gear is changed while it still quite usable.

I have hosted a “Virtual Running Shoe & Gear Bank” on a Facebook event site. If you have a running shoe or gear you can give away for free then please add the details to this spreadsheet.

If you know someone in need you can recommend a shoe/gear from the list and get the owner and recipient to connect (phone, FB, email,etc).

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of going to Facebook or face problems in accessing the spreadsheet, just leave the details of your donation in a comment below and I will take care of the rest.

https://www.facebook.com/events/756829851046685/?context=create&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&source=49

Is the RealFlex Run 2.0 for you? The Conclusion (Part 3/3)


First an apology that this post is so late. Part 2/3 of this review was published in November 2013 with a promise that the last part would be out in a couple of weeks. Well life and running events caught-up. First Airtel Half in December; then extensive physiotherapy to fix some running injuries during second half of December and first half of January, and finally the Mumbai Full and the several weeks of recovery thereafter dealing with more injuries. Finally have the mental energy & motivation back to conclude this.

The good news is that current mileage on the RealFlex Run 2.0 stands at 270km, which means it’s really been put through the grinder. It has also become a favourite go-to shoe for most of my training runs. I haven’t done any races in these as I kept going back to my Saucony Kinvara 3 which was a tried and tested option. I am looking forward to race in the RealFlex 2.0 at the Budh International F1 track HM in March.

When we talk about shoes and our feature preferences we tend to think in terms of extremes – on cushioning (none to 2 inch springs), on heel drop (zero to 15mm), on flexibility (contortionist “yogi” to rigid planks), on  pronation support (none to big hard wedges) and on uppers (minimalist to extreme padded pillows). And therefore the debate of what shoe is right for a certain person sees some pretty extreme stances being taken.

I personally think the RealFlex 2.0 is a shoe where someone at Reebok has made some really smart design choices and “compromises”, and I don’t use compromises in a negative sense but rather in a sense of saying “maintaining the balance”.

What I mean by this is that the shoe hits the cushioning, heel drop, flexibility, pronation and uppers sweet-spot in a way which will appeal to a wide variety of runners without people having to fight over whether minimalist shoes are good or cushioned shoes are good or whether one needs stability/motion control.

Now that I have said this let’s go back to our runner profiles (if you have read the previous review on the Reebok Cushion you are familiar with this but even if you haven’t don’t worry) and see how things work for each.

Runner Type 1 (used to Cushioned Comfort): If you are a runner who is already running in a highly cushioned shoe. The RealFlex has great cushioning while still being extremely light. I would easily recommend it for people who want cushioned comfort and yet yearn for a lighter, faster shoe.

Runner Type 2 (Heel, mid/fore Foot striker): Two thing stand out for heel strikers, first the heel drop which is 8mm and therefore more than conventional minimalist shoes with 4-6mm drop. Second the extra tough outer rubber in the heel area which gives some extra protection and prolongs the life of the shoe. So a good choice for the heel striker.

And yet the heel drop is much lower than the monsters with 12-15mm drop. The 8mm shoe drop “feels” much lesser and personally I was deceived into thinking the profile was very much like my 4mm heel drop Kinvaras (do read https://runindiarun.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/review-of-the-reebok-realflex-run-2-0-a-little-beyond-the-first-run-with-166km-done-and-dusted-part-23/ to understand the significance of this). This coupled with the flexibility of the shoe also makes it a great choice for the mid/fore foot striker.

Runner Type 3 (Newbie): You are a newer runner; are looking at a comfortable running shoe; are going to do most of your running on hard surfaces (tar or cement roads and sidewalks) without a lot of consideration at the moment for speed, form, gait, etc. Your running style is still evolving and you are apprehensive about the impact running may have on your legs or you may already have some issues. Well choose the RealFlex 2.0 with an easy mind, the added benefit a much lighter shoe and if at any point you want to go aggressively minimal well you are already in a great transition shoe.

Runner Type 4 (Body Weight “irrelevant”): If you recall I had recommended the Reebok One Cushion for the “heavier 80kg+” runner. Well the good news is that this shoe will work for them as well. However because it is lighter and flexible it will also work extremely well for the lighter runner without compromising on the response. So you won’t need the weight of your body to elicit a “response” from this shoe.

Runner Type 5 (You are also fast): If you are already on low profile shoes or racing flats and are a forefoot to midfoot striker but yearn for some more protection then again the shoe is a great compromise.  And since it is very light and relatively flexible the responsiveness is super.

Runner Type 6 (High Mileage Road Runner): High mileage on road means a lot of wear and tear of the lower half of the body. Till now this meant having to wear highly cushioned, bulky and heavy shoes. With the RealFlex 2.0 there is now a much lighter and cushier option available.

Finally a category that I said I would not review for – “The Pronators” since I believe most people can actually do pretty well in neutral shoes and since there is research (new and old) to show that inside the shoe (irrespective of type) the foot is still doing what it is doing ! Read this http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/the-myth-of-pronation-and-running-injuries/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 and this http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021929000001160 if you are interested in this topic. Well the RealFlex is interesting since it has dual density midsole which makes the mid-foot area more rigid then the rest of the shoe. I suspect this would be of help to the mild pronator (and assuming that these shoes actually help).

So if you are looking for a minimalist, cushioned, flexible, low heel drop, stable shoe which runs cool (a lot of these adjectives would be normally mutually exclusive for most shoes) then the RealFlex Run 2.0 is for you. I am almost tempted to call it an “every runner’s shoe”.

RunIndiaRun
Sandeep

P.S. Two other shoes have been patiently waiting on the sidelines – the Skechers GoRun2 M and the Puma Mobium Elite. Hope to complete those reviews before end of March. The good news is that the GoRun2 already has about 150km on it

Review of the Reebok RealFlex Run 2.0 – The Official Line & Impressions Out of the Box (Part 1/3)


It’s official I am not a one review wonder !

About three weeks back as I was concluding the review of the Reebok ONE Cushion I came across another running shoe launch in India by Reebok – this time with a very bare-chested and in your face John Abraham showing off the Reebok RealFlex Run 2.0. This shoe looked really interesting – it was being touted as flexible, minimalist and meant for fast running – seeing that I have a closet full of similar shoes I was eager to test this one out and see how it stood up. Out went a mail to the good folks at Reebok and about a week later a box turned up with a US 11/UK 10 size eclectic blue RealFlex Run 2.0 (Photo 1 below).

RealFlex Run 2.0

Photo 1: The Reebok RealFlex 2.0

I was a little foxed as the courier handed me the box, it felt very light and I wondered for a second if by mistake an empty box had been sent to me. My mind settled as I gazed upon another beautiful shoe from Reebok (remember the really nice looking ONE Cushion!). Part of the fun of being a runner these days is all the sexy, flamboyant and flourescent shoes you get to wear and if you are running (pun unintended) into middle age (like me) it’s almost as good as acquiring a Ferrari to tide over the “mid-life crisis” !

The Official Line:

Reebok says that the RealFlex Run 2.0 is “for the consumer looking for the barefoot / minimalist footwear experience, but is not willing to compromise cushioning” and goes on to describe it as “lightweight, 360 degree flexible, functional, cushioned, minimalist, responsive, etc, etc” a lot of adjectives for a running shoe, some of which actually feel contradictory. They also provided me with a photo with all the little its and bits neatly labelled (see Photo 2) ! But I am going to just ignore all those details because I have a load of adjectives to test instead 🙂

All the Little its and bits!

Photo 2: All the Little its and bits!

First Impressions Pre-Run & Some facts:

It is uncanny how things turn out – at the end of Part 3 of my review on the Reebok ONE I had made three suggestions and if I didn’t know better I would have thought someone at Reebok had read them and then redesigned that shoe as the RealFlex Run 2.0!

  • First I said the shoe needs to lose weight, about 25-30gms. The RealFlex feels really light and in fact I was quite sure that it was as light if not lighter than my Frees and the Kinvara (all below 225gm). I was surprised when I found out the shoe weighed 240gm. Much lighter than the Reebok ONE (at 283gm) but just a tiny bit heavier than the other shoes.
  • Second I said the Reebok ONE needs to be more breathable, well this shoe with its significantly less padding in the heel and tongue area definitely looks more breathable and this has contributed to the lessor weight. I hope this would also translate to better heat management (which I will know only after I run in them).
  • The third thing which I would have liked to see is a perforated fabric insole but I still see a lot of smooth rubber. I am beginning to think that maybe all Reebok insoles these days are made of rubber on top (unlike the Nikes, Saucony and even Adidas I have used earlier). My problem with this is the heat & sweat management but let’s wait and see how this shoe manages that during runs.

Before moving any further let me address that the all important question “whats the price of the shoe” – well the retail price is Rs. 6,999 which compares well with other similar shoes in the market.

I decide to slip the shoe on and walk around.

  • This shoe too feels very roomy and in fact at first I think I have been sent a larger size, I almost pack it back up to send back to Reebok for a smaller size but then decide to compare it with the other shoes. Almost identical, only very marginally bigger – in fact the fit is very similar to my Kinvaras (which are a perfect fit by the way). The Nike Free 3.0 V4 is comparably pretty tight and the foot feels restricted at times. The fit is also very comparable to the Nike Free 4.0 V2
  • The heel-to-toe drop, which I actually only get to know after my first run, is 8mm (21mm-13mm). This is a real revelation and surprise for me since when trying it on (and while on the first run later) I couldn’t make out any difference in the way my foot was landing compared to the 4mm heel-to-toe drop for the Kinavara and the 6mm for Free 4.0
  • The shoe is indeed flexible – however I think Reebok has over emphasized this since it is nowhere as flexible as the Nike Free 3.0 or Free 4.0 or even the 5.0. But we have to do a few runs to find out whether this makes any difference whatsoever. I remember getting my Kinvaras, which are pretty rigid in comparison, and thinking I bought the wrong shoes – it made no difference and as of now they are actually my race & training “go to” shoes !
  • The shoe has a lot of bits and pieces on the top and the side including a different type of lacing system support and side band (called the FitFrame LT) which is claimed to make the shoe very functional and a better fit. Well the only thing I can say is that the shoe felt comfortable and I didn’t have any problems getting the right tension in he lacing nor did I feel any lace pressure on the top.
  • The shoe does feel nice under the feet but cushioning and response are best tested on a few runs (you should read my earlier blog to understand cushioning and response in some more detail – here is the link – https://runindiarun.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/review-of-the-reebok-one-cushion-33-wrap-up-shoe-physics-and-recommendations/)
  • The comparison photos below were actually taken after I did a few runs in these shoes and once again I was very pleasantly surprised. From the runs and the feel and look the shoe felt & looked very similar in height and construction to the Frees and Kinvara (minimalist) and significantly smaller than the Reebok ONE Cushion – but the side by side comparison had another tale to tell – check out the photos below the RealFlex Run 2.0 is actually as tall as the Reebok ONE Cushion ! Doesn’t feel like that at all !
SAM_1423

Photo 3: Length similar to the Free 4.0. To box is a tad roomier.

SAM_1420

Photo 4: Surprisingly taller than the Reebok ONE Cushion !

SAM_1421

Photo 5: Much more formed and taller than the Kinvara 3

SAM_1422

Photo 6: Same situation with the Free 4.0

Reebok made several claims about the shoe and till now (by just observing, wearing and walking around in them) I have been able to confirm that it is indeed lightweight, quite flexible, fits well, feels good under the feet and has a minimalist feel to it overall. For the rest of the test we will have to pound some tar !

The day I got the shoes I had already done a 16k run in the morning otherwise I would have headed out in the shoes for a run right then, I was that excited to get them. Well I did go out the very next day morning and the good news is that I have now already put in 86km in them !

So watch out for the impressions of the RealFlex Run 2.0 from my first run and also for a personal learning and lesson in “breaking-in” new shoes which I learnt the “hard” way !

Till then …

…RunIndiaRun

Review of the Reebok ONE Cushion (2/3) – First Run Impressions


The title of this post is a bit misleading, by the time I have sat down to write part 2 of my review on the Reebok ONE Cushion I have already done not one but actually three runs in it with a total distance of 38km. But in this post I will restrict myself to the first run impressions.

For those who have been running regularly the last few weeks, Friday the 13th of September lived up to its reputation! The weather looked like turning invitingly cooler during the day with clouds turning the sky dark by afternoon and even some rain our side of town (East of the Yamuna). All a big deception by the weather gods !

So why am I talking about the weather in a shoe review? Well the simple reason is that in a test you want to keep the variables as low as possible so as to be able to differentiate what is an outcome of the object being tested versus the general environment in which the test is conducted. The hot and humid weather has made that task difficult, especially since I decided to start my first run around 5.30pm on Friday the 13th! Read on…

5.30pm: I am lacing up the Reebok ONE Cushion shoes:

  • I am struggling a bit with this. The shoes inner volume seems a tad larger than my regular running shoes (Free 4.0 & Kinvara 3)
  • Two eyelets are still unused so I decide to run the lace through the 2nd last one. Still feels a little loose so I tighten up the entire lace pulling as hard as I can. Now there is a bit of pressure building on the upper foot but I think this will settle once I start warming-up.
  • Bigger problem, the lace seems to be humongously long – so double knot it, still hanging a little too low for me but hopefully it won’t snag on anything.
  • Walk out of the house – 5.40pm’ish shaking my foot and leg around to get the shoe to sit more comfortably. Still feeling the tightness at the top.

5.43pm: Ready to warm-up

I start my runs with a warm-up routine (courtesy Coach Jay Johnson) which includes 5 Lunges (google it for now, I do intend to do a piece on my training routine at some point) plus some hip girdle strengthening and loosening through a partial Myrtl routine (again please query “doc google” on this).

  • Walking up to my warm-up spot feels good, the feet are feeling more comfortable and I can feel the deep cushioning along the entire length of my foot unlike any of my other shoes.
  • Switch on the Phone GPS (with Endomondo) and start the GPS search on my Timex Run Trainer watch so that I have stable locks on satellites by the time I start my run (why I use both is another story !)
  • As I go through the warm-up the shoe feels very stable. When I am warming up in my Free’s I usually feel unstable and am constantly trying to balance myself. With these shoes, my feet feel very planted.

5.55pm ish: I am ready to go

Have the phone and Timex Run Trainer GPS locked and ready to go. I usually start my run with a fast walk & jog of about 300m. As I start walking the shoe is still feeling a little tight on top but the feet feel very comfortable with lots of room inside for them to splay out.

  • As I transition into a jog from the walk – Whoa ! I actually feel the kick from the shoe (as described in the marketing stuff that I have read & the videos I have watched). Looks like it’s going to be a really comfortable run 🙂
  • Ok, I am into my run now which is going to be 13k at around 6:15 min/km pace. After about 12k I will do 8 x 100m fast striders (essentially run at about 95% of peak speed with exaggerated hip extensions, arm swings, with shoulders loose & head aligned, helps in fixing postural problems and gets the body used to running correctly when tired).
  • The lace is still feeling a little tight on top but I don’t have the patience to stop and try to fix it (will come back to bite me in the rear-end later !).

6.35pm ish: I have covered around half the planned distance

Man, it’s really hot and humid, I was expecting cooler weather after the clouds and some rain around noon ! I have also worn slightly thicker, New Balance, socks today (no specific reason, just usual rotation).

  • The shoe is running pretty hot compared to my other shoes. Although the shoe upper fabric looked like it was pretty well ventilated I think the problem is the thick padding around the heel cup & shoe tongue and the thicker sole overall.
  • After the initial “kick” at the start I am not feeling the “push-off” from the shoe any more.
  • I am also thinking too much about my footwear, over thinking foot landing, gait, etc. Part of this is because I am in research mode but also this is natural when you start using a new shoe which feels different.
  • Reached around the 6.5k mark and now turn around for the run back. The run back on this route is always tougher since there is a very slight uphill (about 10-15 degrees) which lasts for about 3 kms but it tests my resilience so I love-hate doing it (as a fellow runner you understand the love-hate concept of doing a run, right ?).

6:50pm ish: About 3 more kms to go

The last few kilometres have been tougher than usual, part of it is weather related. But there is definitely some other stuff going on around my foot.

  • I should have really fixed the shoelace, the pressure on the top of the feet is not pleasant (Note to self: Need to fix this next time)
  • Feet are still too warm inside, not sure if it’s the weather or the shoe or the sock. Have run in worse weather but don’t remember getting the foot so hot (Note to self – need to wear lighter socks and check this again during the next run).
  • Remember, I have just been through the slight uphill section and even though the shoe is only about 70-100gm heavier than my other shoes (Reebok has officially said it is 270gm but they didn’t say for what size. I still think my UK10 is more around 300gm), my feet have been feeling heavier – psychological !?
  • I usually run landing around mid-foot, then heel coming down and then push-off. I am still trying to run like that but the higher heel-to-toe drop (Reebok by now has confirmed it is 10mm – 23mm heel and 13mm toe) means my heel is not reaching where it is normally used to getting to (in my 4mm drop shoes), this seems to be causing more feet drag and maybe that’s what’s making the shoe feel heavier?
  • Tried changing the foot strike a couple of times to heel first but just can’t make that work for me.

7:10pm ish: Finished around 11.5k now ready for the 8 x 100m striders

Really wondering if I have energy left for the striders – but I always like to “Finish What I Start” so park the water bottle on a fence post and am ready to belt out those back and forth 100m sprints with about 100m walk intervals in-between.

  • Whoa ! and another Whoa ! The “kick” has kicked in again and the striders which are normally brutal on the legs after a 12k feel very very comfortable (now the engineering brain is starting to purr, trying to figure this out. Do read about my “shoe physics” and some theorizing when I conclude my review, but meanwhile try to come up with some explanations/comments of your own on this so we can compare notes).
  • So even though the middle part of the run felt a little uncomfortable I finish on a high, which is always a great feeling and motivator for the next run !

7:30pm ish: Run over now cooling down with a full Myrtl routine and some Active Isolated Stretches

Well folks, that concludes my first run impressions in the Reebok ONE Cushion.

Since then I have done two more runs in these shoes – an 18k medium long run and a 7k recovery run. I will cover these briefly in the last & concluding part of my review. Also don’t miss my theorizing on “shoe physics” and my recommendations on the Reebok ONE Cushion.

Till then …. RunIndiaRun !
Sandeep

P.S. I have tried to do this part of the review in a narrative, story style. Let me know if you liked this or you would prefer to just get everything straight up next time. As always would love to hear from you.

Review of the Reebok ONE Cushion (1/3) – “The Official Line” and First Impressions Pre-Run


(You might want to read the preface to this post first to figure out whats going on – https://runindiarun.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/my-first-shoe-review-reebok-one-cushion-preface/ )


Some Background First:

My reviews will be about “neutral” running shoes with high, moderate and at times no cushioning. Before I start, some confessions/facts to help you put things in perspective – I am a runner who is moderately overweight (5ft7in; 68kg); completely flat-footed; a mid-foot striker (however the soles of my shoes also show significant wear near the back of the heel).  I run 45-55km per week in non-running season which goes up to 70-90km in the few months before a race (usually September – January). My best race times are 10k-50m31s; HM-1h53m5s and FM-4h19m12s. Almost all my running is on tarmac or concrete roads and sidewalks. Since mid-2010 I have been mostly running in “minimalist footwear” from the Nike Free series (although some would debate whether the Nike Free is truly minimalist). I have also put significant kilometres in the Vibram Bikila (about 600k) and done some mileage barefoot (probably less than 50k a few years ago). I currently use a Nike Free 4.0, a Saucony Kinvara 3, and a Nike Free 3.0 in that order of mileage. So my basis for comparison will be these shoes.

Finally, shoes are a very personal choice therefore in these reviews I have no intention of commenting on what type of shoe you should be wearing (stability, cushion, motion control, rigid, flexible, etc) or if you should be wearing shoes at all !

Here are some pictures of my shoe collection including my dress shoe for some visual comparison.

Shoes Visual Comparison

Photo 1: Shoes Visual Comparison
(click to see a bigger image)

The Official Line:
So what’s the big deal about yet another running shoe ? Below is what Reebok has to say about the Reebok ONE series which has been launched in two versions, the neutral running “Cushion” (being reviewed) and the “Glide” (not being reviewed) meant for mild to moderate overpronators.

“The Reebok One Series is the introduction of a unique running concept based on a function-first design philosophy– featuring technology you can feel.  Built from back to front instead of the standard bottom-up method, the Reebok One Series features ‘Zoned’ technology that mimics the way the foot moves, meeting the demands of the runner through each phase of the Gait Cycle.  The goal of the Reebok One Series is to give the runner the smoothest ride possible.  A new seamless fusion of zones is engineered to ensure the upper and bottom work harmoniously as one system.   

The state-of-the-art technology in the One Series features 3 distinct zones that complement the runner’s needs at each phase of their gait. Zone 1 is the Contact Zone – featuring a soft foam compound that provides shock attenuation with every stride.  Zone 2 is the Midstance Zone – engineered to provide a smooth mid foot transition. Zone 3 is the Propulsive Zone – featuring an ultra-responsive high rebound foam compound to help propel the runner forward during toe-off.”

First Impressions Pre-Run:
Out of the box here were the first impressions and comparisons –

  • First the price, the MRP is Rs. 8,999. Definitely seems more expensive than the minimals (Rs. 6,000 – 7500) but I know for a fact that Nike has running shoes which go north of Rs. 10,000.
  • Visually very appealing. I received the flourescent green and electric blue combination which looks great
  • “CUSHION” is an apt name for this shoe – the sole, the upper, the heel cup all look, feel and are signficantly “cushioned”.
  • Shoe felt bigger then most of my other shoes and I was concerned if this was going to be too large for me. If you look at Photo 1 above, although marginally “longer” versus the minimalist collection, it compared well with the Lunarglide (which incidentally is a half-size smaller). However the real difference was visible in the side profiles (Photos 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 below) – even if one discounts the thicker sole the shoe upper is definitely taller than all the shoes in my collection.
  • The sole too was definitely much thicker then all the minimals (Free 3.0, 4.0 – Photo 5 & 3) but was comparable to the Lunarglide (Photo 2).
  • Although I couldn’t get the official weight of the shoe, I did some research. This weighs in around 283gm v/s the Nike Free 3.0 around 204gm v/s the Nike Free 4.0 around 215gm v/s the Kinvara 3 around 225gm. With a thicker sole and the upper cushioning this is not surprising.
  • The sole of this shoe is significantly more rigid and harder than the other shoes. The Frees are of course highly flexible; the Kinvara 3 less so and the Lunarglide+ almost as hard as the Reebok ONE Cushion.
  • The upper of the shoe is also quite stiff even more stiffer than the Lunarglide+ and I think this “stand-up-ness” contributes to the shoe looking really tall. The Frees, the Kinvara and of course the Vibram have extremely pliable uppers, to an extent that they tend to settle/sag down on themselves. Not the Reebok ONE which stands at attention!
  • Heel-to-toe drop is another thing which I was trying to determine for these shoes. In spite of trying my best I could get the numbers for the Reebok ONE Cushion. I also don’t have the tools which would have allowed me to do the measurement myself. However a very rough measurement puts it in the 15-20mm range which is way higher than 4mm for the Free 3.0 and the Kinvara 3; 6mm for the Free 4.0 and 0mm for the Vibrams !

Hope you enjoyed the preliminary report. Please do give me your feedback below.

While I was writing this report I also completed two runs in the Reebok ONE Cushion – first on the evening of Friday the 13th Sept (ominous!) – a 13km Aerobic run with 8 x 100m striders at the end; and the second today morning, Sunday the 15th Sept – an 18km Medium Long run. Watch out for the first run report in the next few days.

Till then…
…RunIndiaRun!

Closer in sole thickness with the Lunarglide+

Photo 2: Closer in sole thickness with the Lunarglide+. Overall height comparable.
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Significantly thicker than the Free 4.0

Photo 3: Significantly thicker and taller than the Free 4.0.
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Although the sole near the heel is about the same verus the Kinvara 3 the ONE is way taller.

Photo 4: Although the sole thickness is about the same as the Kinvara 3 the Reebok ONE is way taller.
(click to see a bigger image)

Photo 5: Towers above the Nike 3.0

Photo 5: Towers above the Nike 3.0.
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Photo 6: The Vibram looks puny in comparison!

Photo 6: The Vibram looks puny in comparison!
(click to see a bigger image)

My first Shoe Review (Reebok ONE Cushion) – Preface


I always knew my running was taking me places (literally !)  and I have enjoyed expressing my views on everything and anything related to running on various facebook groups/page; email groups and here on my running blog  but that was about it, well until a few weeks ago when I got an email first from Reebok India and then another shoe company (which will remain unnamed for the time being) expressing interest in associating with me and my running blog. Sounded interesting but sometimes these things just remain that – interests. Well today I received a pair of Reebok ONE Cushion shoes which have just been launched by Reebok in India with a request to put them through the grind and then review them on my blog.

Will this be a one test wonder? I don’t know but the engineer in me decided to set-up a shoe test protocol just in case. So here is what those that are interested can expect in the next few weeks –

  • First just some stock photos (below) & a video
  • Next will be an initial pre-run review with primarily stock stuff from the company and maybe some comparative photos with my other footwear (Nike Free 3.0, 4.0 & 5.0; Vibram Bikilas; Saucony Kinvara 3 and yes, my dress shoes – a pair of Hush Puppies!)
  • Watch out for the first run impressions from a 13k with 8x100m strides that I have planned for tomorrow
  • I will then start putting the shoes through various type of runs over a few weeks & miles – recovery, aerobic, medium long (18k-24k), long (24k +), tempo/LT and some speed work (VO2 Max runs)
  • Finally will do a wrap up review and hopefully be able to give you some recommendations.

Wish me luck for stepping into the unknown and do have a look at the review as it happens

RunIndiaRun

Disclaimer: I get to keep the shoes after the review. No other monetary gain.

Reebok One Cushion

V47299_02V47297_06V47300_05 Reebok One Cushion

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