Overall Review: [4.5 out of 5 Titanium Crosses] The new REEBOK Zigtech Lite offers a better ride, forefoot cushioning and a breathable fabric that allows a runner to keep moving forward faster and longer because you can hardly feel the hard pavement. Indeed, REEBOK outdid itself with its latest edition of the Zigtech as it has expanded to included runners who are biomechanically efficient and runners who have just embraced the sport and are still learning to run effectively.
It’s been more than six months since I last used a pair of REEBOK Zigtech running shoes. The main reason is because I fell in love with the ZigNano, the thinner version of the Zigtech line. In addition, I also fell in love with the REALFlex, the most flexible training and performance shoes that REEBOK is offering right now which is being promoted by their CrossFit tie up. And so, when they said that there are improvements with the REEBOK Zigtech running shoe, I was really excited to get my hands on a pair and try out what they have to offer!
1. Comfort [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses] The REEBOK Zigtech is being positioned as the ultimate ride for the feet. It is also their most expensive shoe, regardless if it is a running shoe or a basketball shoe. Of course, being a runner I would naturally review the version that is meant for runners. And after running close to 25 kilometers with the Zigtech Lite, I can say that the shoe offers the most comfortable ride for the feet. It lives up to it’s price tag which is currently at P4,999.00 pesos in the Philippines. At the moment, there’s only one design that is being sold for the Zigtech Lite. I am sure that for REEBOK fans all you need to do is wait a little longer as other exciting colors arrive. I’ve expanded my definition of comfort to include the ability to use either thin or thick running socks. I’ve run these Zigs with thin dryfit socks and I’ve even tried it with cotton socks. Mind you, it still felt great and the comfort level really makes me want to rung longer!
2. Cushioning [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]. If you are one of those who are already using the Zigtech as your regular running shoe, you would know that the shoe has been designed for an energy return and primarily suited for runners who mostly land on their heels while running. Most studies these days and the trend in running has been towards minimalist running or barefoot running. Me? I’ve been there and done that. I greatly admire barefoot runners. But sadly, it is not meant for me. One, I’ve already shared that my left leg is shorter than my right leg by a few millimeters. That difference makes a big difference when doing barefoot runs because it means that the impact on my feet will never be the same given the difference of the pounding of each foot. It has already caused me lower back pain that did not go away over the years that I’ve been running. It was only recently that I’ve known about my condition and all the more reason that I will be sticking to running shoes because it will allow me to put an additional insole to create an equilibrium in my running form. So what has this got to do with cushioning?
Well, for those who have not yet transitioned into forefoot striking, the Zigtech Lite offers the same cushioning as its predecessor. Hence, there will be less impact of the force of gravity climbing up your legs and impacting your knees. But wait there’s more! You know the best thing about the Zigtech Lite? It now offers more forefoot cushioning! For those biomechanically efficient runners who run like the wind who desire maximum feet protection from the harsh road conditions, this shoe is for you because it will give you the same bounce and from what I’ve experienced the same energy return now transported into the forefoot area of the running shoe. Isn’t this amazing!
3. Support [++++ Four Titanium Crosses] The Zigtech Lite much like its predecessor does not offer medial support. In other words, this shoe is not meant for the heavy runners or overweight runners. You might want to consider the other line up of REEBOK shoes to help you out in that regard. Try the REEBOK Trail Cutter for instance. But moving forward, in terms of support, the new Zigtech Lite has a better grip of your feet inside it than previous editions. I notice the big difference in terms of how the feet stay in its place [the primary assumption being that you got the right shoe size for you, of course] and does not wobble to the sides regardless of the changing terrain such as running uphills or downhills. And yet for all the changes in technology, I am still looking forward to the day that the Zigtech can incorporated medial support for runners who are literally heavy.
The major change with the Zigtech shoes is that instead of a plastic plate that supports the “energy return” aspect of the shoe technology, they now have a rubber version of it. I do believe that this rubber version is actually EVA foam. This is the plate between the outsole and the insole of the shoe. How can you tell if it is EVA? EVA Foam does not easily break up when it is heated by the sun and when it gets when in the rain. Other foams used for entry level running shoes use that kind of technology. Simply put, this baby called the Zigtech Lite can take the heat of the noonday sun and will keep you moving forward mile after mile after mile and can equally make waves as you splash running through the rain or the winter winds. And yes, I’ve had my share of running in the rain the past few days too. So it has definitely passed the test.
4. Reflectors [++++ Four Titanium Crosses] This particular Zigtech edition that I tested has reflectors! Though they are only positioned at the back of the shoe. In other words, REEBOK is already realizing that there are indeed more and more people who do night runs and there’s a market for it. I count myself among that market since I would rather run in the early evenings or during midnight than during the early mornings. Still, I hope that future editions of the ZIGTECH would incorporate more reflectors on the front and on the sides.
5. Laces [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses] By far these are the best laces that I’ve seen to date produced by REEBOK. They are not too long, just enough to make a single knot and a little more challenging to do a double knot. Which also means that even when the knots gets untangled one will not easily trip because the laces won’t eat up the road.
6. Fabric [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses] I am still not as well versed to the different materials that manufacturers use for shoes. All I know is that the material used for this pair of running shoes is perfect. I define perfection here with the fact that after running more than 10 kilometers my feet do not feet hot inside. This means that there is enough ventilation that allows heat to move outside of the shoe. For long distance runners like me, keeping the feet cool after running long distances is important because the cooler the feet, the less chances that blisters could form. Of course, there are other factors to consider in the formation of blisters. Still, the ZIGTECH Lite is not designed to be worn sans socks. I haven’t tried any REEBOK shoe that has pegged itself as can be worn sans socks and still do the same job of running, jumping and dancing without getting the blisters that I just mentioned. So please don’t forget to grab a pair of ZIGTECH socks with Celiant technology to go along with the ZIGTECH Lite.
7. Technology [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses] A lot of people laugh at this running shoe because of the latest studies of how forefoot running is more efficient and less painful on the knees. I agree with those studies. But statistics also show that more than 50% of runners still run landing on their heels. And most of these runners who land on their heels barely meet the weekly quota of advised minimum runs of three runs per week. My point here is that most runners will not really bother to correct their running form. It takes time, effort and in the process of changing one’s running form, you will also experience more pain as your body adjusts to it. So for the majority of runners who are heel strikers, this is a perfect running shoe for them to provide maximum cushioning and stability. At the same time, there’s added forefoot cushioning in this edition of the ZIGTECH giving it even a wider audience of athletes and weekend warriors to try out the new technology of REEBOK. As such, one can utilize this shoe in transitioning from being a heel striker to becoming a more effective and energy efficient runner. In addition, I really love the change they made from the plastic plate into the rubber plate as it adds more cushioning and even more bounce to move forward in running.
TITANIUM RUNNER RECOMMENDS THE ZITECH LITE FOR:
This shoe is meant for heel strikers. Yet the shoe itself has added support and cushioning allowing it to be worn by forefoot runners. Isn’t that amazing? I would also recommend it to power walkers and ultramarathoners who need cushioning in their heels because after running 50 kilometers or more, I’ve noticed that even the best marathoners and ultramarathoners tend to slow down and land on their heels. It is because of the basic law of fatigue. Sooner or later your other muscles will give up and get tired and hence, chances are you will be doing more brisk walks than running and I haven’t met any person who can brisk walk tiptoeing to the finish line. Oh and I almost forgot — it’s a lot lighter though it looks heavy in the eyes. Trust me on that one. It felt almost as light as its REALFlex counterpart.