If you’re looking for a soft ride which isn’t overly stiff, the Energy X is a great option. It can perform a number of roles, including speed training, long runs and racing.
If you like your shoes firm with lots of ground feel, the Energy X is not for you. If you want a very stiff, propulsive ride, the Energy X is also not for you.
I ran my first marathon in a Reebok speed shoe: the Floatride Run Fast. I wanted something which was light, energetic, and comfortable.
At that time, the Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit was almost impossible to buy and the Run Fast was one of the only other running shoes that used PEBA in its midsole. With the introduction of super shoes from other brands, I haven’t raced in a Reebok since then.
From 2005 to 2022, Reebok was a subsidiary of Adidas. During this time, Adidas spent money on developing their own marathon super shoe but didn’t spend anything on developing a Reebok super shoe.
Reebok athletes were allowed to race in the Adidas Adios Pro because there was no competitive Reebok racer. Reebok has not created a maximalist racer with a stiff, carbon-loaded midsole, until the Energy X.
Reebok states that the Energy X was designed for marathon racing and long-distance training. It weighs 9.1 oz (258 g) for a men’s US 9 which is relatively heavy for a racer, especially considering that it has a forefoot only carbon plate. It has a 6 mm drop and costs $170 which is much lower than the average super shoe.
Currently, the Energy X isn’t very widely available. You can’t buy it in Malaysia or Singapore but I managed to find a pair in Thailand. Reebok running shoes have been much more difficult to find since Adidas sold Reebok.
My first run was a steady-paced 10K and I really enjoyed it. Smooth, stable and lively was how the ride felt. The thing that I liked most about it was how natural its transitions felt- the ride felt “familiar”.
It started raining heavily in the middle of the run and the upper picked up quite a lot of water weight in the padding around the collar which isn’t a good thing considering it’s a racing shoe.
The shoe that it reminded me of was the Skechers Razor 4. Both shoes are not super stiff because they have carbon in the forefoot only. The Energy X felt softer and more rockered than the Razor 4.
The Energy X felt more like a training shoe than a racer to me due to its relaxed transitions and its substantial weight.
The Flexweave upper is generally comfortable with good foot lockdown. I find the fit to be a bit longer than average but still true to size. It works best for me with medium-thick socks. The toe box and the midfoot are quite narrow so I don’t recommend it for wide-footed runners.
Breathability is good but far from the best on the market. I find the rear of the shoe to be a bit too bulky with too much padding around the collar for a racing shoe.
There’s some significant tongue slide because there isn’t a loop on the middle of the tongue for the laces to go through. There’s also no reflectivity on the Energy X.
The Energy X doesn’t feel like a super shoe, but I didn’t expect it to because you get what you pay for and it has a $170 price tag, not a $250 one.
It feels like a speed trainer, a bit mellower, a bit slower and a bit lower to the ground than a super shoe. It doesn’t possess that magical sensation that feels like you can run like the wind when you put it on.
I used it for a variety of paces and it feels most comfortable between 4:30 and 5:30 per km (7:15 and 8:52 per mile). Its carbon plate setup is the thing that holds it back the most from wanting to go faster than 4:30 per km.
Paces slower than 5:30 per km also feel comfortable, however I find that it urges me to go faster when I’m doing easy paces. It feels very stable, even at slow paces due to how wide its base is, so I’d consider it a versatile shoe.
The forefoot plate in the Energy X does two things, it keeps the forefoot from flexing so that the rocker can work, and it makes the forefoot more snappy so that energy isn’t lost during toe-offs. The fact that it isn’t full-length makes the shoe less propulsive because some energy is still lost in the midfoot where the shoe flexes.
Long runs in the Energy X are really enjoyable. It has a mild forefoot rocker which makes transitions feel efficient and effortless. The ride is very soft without feeling mushy so it doesn’t take a toll on your legs.
Floatride foam, which makes up the midsole of the Energy X is relatively soft and bouncy but the rebound isn’t as great as the market leaders ZoomX, Lightstrike Pro, and Profly X. It’s also a bit too heavy for racing. It reminds me of a heavier version of Saucony’s PWRRUN PB.
Outsole durability is excellent as there’s plenty of rubber on the outsole. You’ll have no durability issues using the Energy X for training runs. The Energy X is one of the most durable racing shoes I’ve tested.
There are tiny bumps on the outsole rubber but traction is still below par. I slipped once while it was raining and the pavement was wet because the bumps don’t bite into the ground.
The Energy X is not the super shoe that I was hoping for from Reebok. It feels more like a speed trainer than a racer due to its 9.1 oz (258 g) weight and its forefoot only plate. The forefoot plate doesn’t offer as much propulsion as a full-length plate.
The Energy X will appeal to you if you want to try a friendly carbon-plated shoe for the first time or if you want a racer but you don’t like stiff super shoes. It’s also a really durable shoe that can be used for plenty of speedwork training.
For the Energy X to be competitive with the fastest shoes on the market, it needs to drop at least an ounce of weight. They can do this by adding cutouts into the centre of the midsole or by reducing some of the outsole rubber. It also needs a full-length carbon plate so that it gains springboard forward propelling assistance.
$170 is a good price point but for $10 less, you can get the ASICS Magic Speed which is a stiffer, firmer shoe that feels faster. The Artist from Atreyu is another much cheaper option if it’s available to buy in your region. The Skechers Razor 4 is the closest shoe to the Energy X. It has a similar ride but is 1.1 oz (31 g) lighter and $40 cheaper so I’d rather buy the Razor instead.
I won’t be using the Energy X for racing because I’m lucky enough to have faster, lighter shoes available. For racing, I prefer something with a stiffer, more aggressive ride.
The Energy X is however the best long-distance racing option in the current Reebok lineup and I’m certain I would have run my first marathon faster had I run in the Energy X.