Weight: About 250g
Price: $139, available at selected RSH outlets
Superb pliability, excellent ground feel and a moderate amount of cushioning – these performance features are a given for most minimalist shoes. But the Reebok ZQuick goes one up above the competition – by adding a surprisingly stable ride to the usual equation.
– Midsole offers excellent pliability and superb ground feel
– Midsole foam offers a moderate amount of cushioning
– Well-designed upper adds surprising stability to this minimalist shoe
– Good value for money
– Bootie in the shoe’s interior becomes worn and stretched very quickly
The ZQuick is being touted by Reebok as the running shoe equivalent of Z-rated tyres – fancy pieces of high-performance rubber which are capable of burning up the road at over 240km/h. Save for its top speed, Reebok’s claims about the shoe’s performance aren’t too far off the mark – as we found out during our fortnight with this minimalist shoe.
Impressive performance from the midsole
Thanks to its scythed-up midsole – supposedly inspired by the design of those speedy tyres – the ZQuick served up excellent pliability and ground feel. On the move, the shoe followed every flex of our foot – never interfering with our gait cycle. Cushioning was also delightfully firm: Even when it was gobbling up impact, the midsole did an admirable job of retaining feedback from the ground.
Still, these performance characteristics didn’t feel exactly groundbreaking – as any fan of shoes such as the Nike Free and, arguably, Reebok’s own Real Flex, can attest to. Reebok, after all, isn’t the first to put diced-up rubber foam on a running shoe.
Well-designed upper adds stability to the shoe
What sets the ZQuick apart from the competition, however, are the stability elements built into the shoe – both at the heel and around the mid foot area. The soft upper has been reinforced with a net-like structure. Composed of a moderately stiff rubber compound, it extends from the lacing system and wraps around the heel counter – which has itself been reinforced with a heel cup.
A bootie-like second layer is built into the interior of the ZQuick. Attached to the forefoot part of the upper, it also serves as the shoe tongue. Don’t tug too hard at it though – the bootie was looking decidedly stretched out after two weeks of intensive use.
This uniquely designed upper offered not only a comfortable, glove-like fit, but also enabled the ZQuick to feel more stable than most minimalist shoes – including the Nike Free. Add superb traction from the outsole to the picture – and we found a shoe which handled fast workouts and longer runs with aplomb. The versatile
ZQuick was also good enough for static gym exercises.
Good value for money
What more can we ask from a shoe which is priced at a very reasonable $139? Newcomers to minimalist running, you’ll want to place this affordable, easier-to-handle natural running shoe at the top of your shopping list.
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