Review: Reebok RealFlex

Two belated reviews in one night. What’s not to love?

Given my previously mentioned foot problems, I’m developing something of a love-hate relationship with thin-and-lights, but let’s take a look at this shoe independent of my personal issues. The RealFlex hit the market around the same time as the previously reviewed adidas ClimaCool Ride and a latest iteration of Nike Frees. It’s spring/summer and thin-and-lights are in style and flying off the shelves. The RealFlex is one ounce heavier than the Ride, checking in at 9.2, but it bests the Nike Free Run 2, which weighs 9.4 oz. It’s a relative push between those two though.

Despite what you see in those oh-so-popular RealFlex ads with the talking bits of shoe sole, these actually come with a pretty substantial sole. When compared to the Ride, I felt like there was a little bit more going on underneath. I wasn’t wild about the suede (?) material that was on much of the upper. Just thinking out loud, was the idea to try and keep the elements out? If so, it seems sort of counter to the rest of the shoe that is really ultra-breathable.

Stability, like with the Ride, is my biggest concern with the RealFlex. Just as with its adidas counterpart, you’d never catch me in these doing anything that involved any sort of quick change of direction. Because the sole is a bit more substantial, I did feel almost kind of elevated, which would be fine except the upper material is really flimsy because of its lightweight properties, so I didn’t feel particularly locked in. I was really only comfortable using these for straight-line running.

I have to continue to say to people that if you have any sort of foot needs for special support, be prepared to pop in your own insoles. I’m using $40 SmartFeet insoles at the moment, which might lead you to question why you’d even bother with these if you had that need. (Of course, you can move the SmartFeet around to multiple pairs of shoes, but if you consider yourself a serious runner who also finds himself with special support needs, you might be better off shopping for that straight out of the box.)

These run relatively true to size, although you’ll find yourself with a little bit more wiggle room as the materials in the shoe just aren’t as thick as your typical kicks. (I wear an 8.5 in both these and the Zig Slash. Don’t think I could squeeze in an 8, but definitely could tell I had a little more room, so I slipped on thicker arch-supporting socks.)

I enjoyed walking around in them around the house and just being out running errands. Thin and lights are great for that, and I’ve got every day insoles I can pop in to make them more comfortable for those trips.

The Reebok RealFlex continues to be available in a variety of colorways from Reebok.com for $89.98, and you can get free shipping and returns for orders on $79, so if you’re curious… what’s the risk?

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