words_Nick Engvall
images_Zac Dubasik
A Sole Collector Performance Review

This Reebok can Zig, but can it Zag?

Reebok Zig Pulse Performance ReviewI’ll be the very first to admit that I am a skeptic when it comes to new technologies in footwear. So many technologies come and go in footwear that sometimes the more out there they seem; the more quickly I resort to disbelief. There are so many from various manufacturers that I can’t even begin to count. While some just require a good marketing plan to become a sugar pill that turns them into the latest craze, others actually live up to the hype that surrounds them. The Reebok Zig Pulse falls in the latter category.

The Reebok ZigTech might not be the “energy drink for your feet” that they claim, but it is functional, breathable, and very comfortable training shoe that only needs one thing: a motivated wearer to utilize its strengths.

Out of the box, the Reebok Zig Pulse is a lot to take on visually. Its appearance is nothing subtle. People notice these on your feet. However once you slip them on, the comfort makes them seem almost unnoticeable. The SmoothFit mesh upper is thin and much different from the typical training shoes that seem bulky at times. Since the Zig Pulse upper is so minimalistic, the shoes don’t require any break in time.

Reebok Zig Pulse Performance Review

ZigTech technology is designed to send a wave of energy from the heel of your foot to the front. I can’t say that I felt a wave of energy, but it is an easy shoe to run in. The heel-to-toe transition is solid and supportive, which I guess could be where the wave of energy concept comes from. Running in the Zig Pulse is easy and comfortable, which for a training shoe is quite impressive. Where many training shoes are made up of more traditional mesh or even leather uppers, the Zig Pulse’s lightweight seamless mesh doesn’t have any places that rub your feet the wrong way when putting in time on the treadmill. Not to say these are something to wear to your next marathon, but they make for a great shoe to run for a bit and then switch to an elliptical, or hit the weights.

The ZigTech technology offers impressive cushioning, and despite the zig-zag shape which may appear as if it would be noticeable through the shoe, the shank plate that attaches to the heel cup and runs the length of the shoe does an excellent job of supporting your foot while the ZigTech cushioning is absorbing energy and sending it forward. An Ortholite insole also adds to the comfort of the Zig Pulse, as well as dissipates heat from the bottom of your foot.

Reebok Zig Pulse Performance Review

One of the most impressive aspects of the Zig Pulse is how breathable the mesh upper is. These keep your feet cool, in any condition it seems. So cool in fact that I found myself noticing how cold my feet were on one of my early morning workouts. However with temperatures heating up for summer, the Zig Pulse is a great shoe to keep your feet cool during your workouts.

There are a couple of things that leave room for improvement however. The ZigTech technology is great from heel to toe, but mixing up directions, moving laterally and performing any kind of drill that has you going diagonally, creates a slightly unstable feel. There are two things that I can see that might attribute to this. First, the flex points on the sole of the shoe are clearly designed to promote forward motion. If there were slightly more flex in the sole from side to side, this might help combat the unstable feel. The other possibility is that the extreme differences between the completely flexible upper and the relatively firm ZigTech sole causes this instability. With the rounded edges of the sole, planting on the outside of the foot doesn’t always stay firm due to minimal support on the upper.

Reebok Zig Pulse Performance Review

Grade Justification:

Comfort & fit: The SmoothFit mesh is like wearing a second sock without the added heat. Excellent fit and comfort.
Cushioning: The ZigTech technology is more than sufficient.
Lateral transition: Moving in directions other than forward is one of the Zig Pulse’s opportunities.
Breathability: If it is possible for a shoe to be too breathable then these might be the first shoes I’ve ever worn that I can say that about.
Heel-to-toe transition: This is where the design of the Zig seems to shine brightest. Comfortable, stable, and supportive, enough said.
Traction: There is room for improvement here. If you prefer workouts in the grass, morning dew might have you slipping.
Weight: Lightweight when compared to most training shoes.

Available now: Reebok Zig Pulse

Reebok Zig Pulse Performance Review

*Products for review provided by Eastbay*