Shoe Review: Reebok Realflex Transition

The Realflex Transition

BACKGROUNDER

LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER:

  • Recommended for bio-mechanically efficient runners, heel to midfoot strikers who need a light, well-cushioned shoe for fast-paced training or racing.
  • Could be used as an everyday running shoe on paved roads, the track and simple dirt roads
  • Weight 6.5 oz.

Sometime ago in a blog post i did about Reebok, i rued that their running shoes were under-represented in the local running scene as most of their models were catered exclusively to aerobics, gym or basketball enthusiasts. Where were their “Premier” models like their Verona KFS,  Fusion 2, the Phoenix and Trinity models? I didn’t see them sold anywhere locally, even when most of them were rated by Runners World Magazine as its Editor’s Choice, Best Buy or Best Debut picks.

Instead, they came out with blazing marketing blitz on their Zigtech and Easy Tone model, which would later cause the US Federal Trade Commission to order the company to refund a hefty sum to buyers for false advertising on their Easy Tone model.

While the Easy Tone, a toning/walking shoe, that  purportedly provided extra tone and strength to leg and buttock muscles was viewed as a false claim by the FTC, the Zigtech on the other hand sold very well although real runners were still not convinced as to its worth as a true running shoe. However, it had its share of glowing reviews and many runners swear to its admirable performance and have used it in marathons and ultra races.

The Reebok Realflex comes in a time when minimalist shoes are the rage and runners would like to try everything that would allow them to run as naturally as their bodies would allow. While not a minimalist shoe per se, the Realflex Transition might be a transition shoe for minimalist running as it is lightweight, very flexible and and all-around trainer.

I was skeptical with this shoe right out of the box but my perception changed when i was able to run on it on varying distances, speed and terrain.

CONSTRUCTION:
  • Over-all, the Realflex Transition has minimalist construction, the upper is made of synthetic layers with breathable mesh and suede leather around the outer forefoot area and heel cup.
  • This is probably Reebok’s training shoe at the extreme lightweight end of the spectrum and the Realflex takes the minimalist concept as far as construction goes.
  • The shoes’ interior, from the heel to the midfoot area is well padded and the removable insole is thick and cushiony. The outsole is engineered with independent multi-directional “nodes” strategically positioned to give additional cushioning.
 FIT AND FEEL:
  • The Realflex has a nice, snug fit. It’s one of the most flexible shoes i have ever tested. I like the footing which is soft but firm and there are no irritation issues with the upper and even on the heel-counter which is somewhat high.
  • Like i mentioned earlier, the insoles are super thick which looks and feels like an orthotic and gives it a somewhat bouncy ride. Its lightness is palpable as you can immediately discern that this is made for tempo, intervals, fartleks, hill repetitions and racing.

PERFORMANCE:

I was amazed at the lightweight feeling and the cushioning was major, like somewhat of an over-kill. The responsiveness was robust, the upper is seemless and the shoe performed like a racing flat and it glided well on pavements as well as on dirt roads.

The nodes provided great traction and when cruising up hills, it provided some extra bounce which helped to push me up on the inclines. The Realflex performance was solid but then, i would like to put it more on its paces like on technical trails and see how it performs. The slugs are pretty aggressive but because of its soft, flexible built, i have some doubts as to its durability and longevity.

CONCLUSION:

My initial impression of the Realflex Transition is overwhelmingly positive. The slight stability bars along the edges provided some control and the outsole package of the shoe were just fine. The shoes’ interiors are comfortable and well-padded. It is also quite light thanks to its minimalist composite materials of the upper.

It’s nice to see Reebok make conventional running shoes once in a while even if the Realflex main features are borrowed from concepts of minimalist shoes. However, i would like to think that Adidas (the owners of Reebok) would still want to develop newer innovations on their own brand and would rather spend a bigger allocation of funds for their shoes’ development to enhance a better, lighter and mainstream shoes for serious runners. I venture that Reebok would still be concentrating more on shoes geared towards a wider scope of athletes and cross-trainers for their avid users which for many, is still a good thing.

My thanks to Reebok, Philippines and to local Reebok ambassador, Blas Tiangco for letting me try-out this shoe.

Wazzup With Reebok Running Shoes?

Reebok Running Shoes produces some of the best running shoes ever. It has been consistently rated by Runners World magazine for either its Editor’s Choice, Best Buy or Best Debut picks. However, unlike most of its contemporaries like Nike, New Balance, Adidas, Asics and Mizuno, there isn’t much of its shoe marks on the roads in the local running scene and it’s quite puzzling why there is little presence of it in most of the shoe stores around.

During the early 90’s, there was a deluge of Reebok models for running and i admired the brand for its quality and durability. I owned some of their models back then and i would use them almost everyday, injury free until their out soles wore-off. And they really took a beating, logging to more than 700kms before i had to retire them.

I have noticed that their best selling models being advertised at Runner’s World or Running Times are not being sold in the local market and what i often see instead are their Trainers used for aerobics, the gym and mostly for basketball. Their running shoe models are sadly underrepresented and they seem quite content to remain within the confines of aerobics and basketball.

I really would like to see and try their “PREMIER” running shoe models like the Premier Verona KFS; Premier Fusion II, Road Plus KFS5, Phoenix, Trinity KFS 3 and others. Ever since Reebok was sold to sports giant ADIDAS last 2006, the former has remained stagnant locally and its current representation in the local market is comparatively meager.

Reebok Premier Ultra KFS

Ultra KFS 4

Premier Road Plus KFS

Premier Trinity KFS

Premier Verona KFS

I hope ADIDAS unlocks the shackles of this great shoe and let it ride in the current running bandwagon here in this country. I’m only too willing to give this shoe its deserved props as a testament to its fine quality.

And before i forget, what happened too with AVIA running shoes???