There's a clear distinction between running shoes designed for the road and those designed for the trail. Like the difference between tires, the treads cater to a specific surface for optimal grip and performance — you don't see Formula 1 racers speeding through courses on all-terrain tires.
Still, you're probably more inclined to explore new routes when out on a run than you are when driving down a street. To make this road-to-trail switch as seamless as possible, you need sneakers that can provide a stable, sturdy underfoot on pavement with enough tread and lug depth to battle the looser trail terrain.
Catering to the adventurers in all of us, Reebok has unveiled a new runner designed for these explorative transitions. The Floatride Energy 4 Adventure is the latest release from the brand's Department of Outdoor Amusement, boasting key features to support your off-road thrills.
I was fortunate enough to lace up these stylish road-to-trail kicks ahead of the release, logging a handful of miles to get a grip on what this spunky sneaker could deliver. Here's what you can expect from the all-new Floatride Energy 4 Adventure.
What's Good About the Reebok Floatride Energy 4 Adventure:
There's plenty of support and security; they're built for ambitious running.
It took one look at the FE4 Adventures to see that these kicks were built for the wild. There's plenty of features that cater to more aggressive running without seeming too bulky or braggadocious. I appreciated the 3D-printed lines at the forefoot flex zone and heel that provided a sense of abrasion resistance without sacrificing flexibility. This made all the difference when traversing some overgrown trails that could've scratched and torn less capable kicks.
The extended toe wrap is another prominent security feature, wrapping over the toe box to help protect against rocks and roots. When combined with the ripstop upper made from recycled plastic, this proved to be an effective one-two punch in tackling some rugged terrain and expelling any moisture or debris. While they aren't the most breathable running shoes I've worn, similar to previous Floatride Energy silhouettes, the support outweighs the sweat in this scenario.
The redesigned rubber outsole is a breath of fresh air to the Floatride Energy stable.
While the Floatride lineup typically features an abrasion-resistant outsole that's fine for the pavement and packed gravel, anything more technical could leave you slipping or misstepping on your run. Taking inspiration from the tires you'd see on your favorite gravel bike, Reebok boosted the FE4 Adventures with a redesigned rubber outsole to give you that secure underfoot feeling that's vital on the trail. Larger, more aggressive lugs surround the outer region for premium grip on loose terrain, while a tighter pattern in the center of the foot provides smooth stability when hitting the pavement or sidewalk.
The revamped outsole was a definite highlight of this latest silhouette, and I would like to see Reebok offer it in future Floatride sneakers. I felt more than confident on packed trails and looser throughways, and didn't feel like the aggressive outer lugs took away from the on-road experience. Even after a rough rainstorm, which caused a lot of washout and loose gravel along the roads here in Pittsburgh, I never doubted my stride, something I couldn't say confidently with other running shoes aiming for a road-to-trail moniker.
What's Less Than Ideal About the Floatride Energy 4 Adventure:
Despite the silhouette, the FE4 Adventure isn't a true trail runner.
The latest Reebok running shoes are definitely capable of tackling a paved or packed trailway, and if your normal routes consist of well-trafficked paths, you can be confident in the performance. For anything more aggressive or difficult, these sneakers leave a little to be desired.
The Floatride Energy Foam midsole doesn't have a hard or coated exterior, making it susceptible to durability issues when traversing muddy or strenuous lines. Additionally, if you're using this shoe as a do-it-all trainer, it's not efficient to burn these up on technical trails, as that can compromise the on-road performance.
If you really desire to conquer the most aggressive pathways, I'd suggest getting shoes that are better suited to the tasks at hand.
The Floatride Energy Foam can make for a stiffer ride, especially for longer distances.
The Floatride Energy Foam midsole provides plenty of lightweight pop and response, continuing its prevalence as a popular uptempo training option. That said, though, the stiffer underfoot can begin to wear on you as the miles stack up. I took the FE4 Adventures on a few multi-mile excursions that combined both road and trail, and by the time I reached the end of the trailhead, my feet were clamoring for a rest.
When it comes to trail running, you definitely want a shoe that's well-cushioned, especially when you're striding over uneven terrain or embarking on routes with no true distance in sight — one wrong turn can easily add a mile or two. While these Reebok runners can be great for pre-planned, shorter routes that you know like the back of your hand, if you're trying out new trails, stick to your tried and trusted trail running sneakers.
Reebok Floatride Energy 4 Adventure: The Verdict
For those wanting a blended running shoe capable of on-road and off-road training, the Floatride Energy 4 Adventures deliver. The supportive features can keep the pace for less stressful pathways, and the updated outsole is a nice touch that Reebok should consider keeping in its lineup. Is it a definitive trail runner? No. But for those days that you want to explore the sights and scenery — and know the terrain isn't too technical — you can stride confidently into a new adventure.
The Reebok Floatride Energy 4 Adventures are available online for $120, which is on-par with previous Floatride iterations. One lone colorway is available at this time, but according to the brand, additional hues will be available throughout the season.