I wasn’t expecting to be putting two shoe posts up in two days – but here we go. Reebok VERY kindly shipped me the *other* 2016 All Terrain series shoe to look at and write up my first thoughts – and today we got a couple of pairs of the All Terrain Thrill – a new, wider, more plush trail shoe for their very popular All Terrain series.
If you haven’t – go take a read of the All Terrain Super OR first look I put up yesterday. I’ll get into a more direct comparison of the various shoes in due course, but it’s worth knowing what your options are if you’re looking at new shoes for the 2016 OCR season.
The Thrill is a very different shoe to the Super OR. From the bottom up – the tread isn’t as aggressive, the mid-sole is thicker, they use real laces, and a slightly padded tongue – the toe box is wider too. It’s much more shoe.
Weight: 11.5oz for mens, 9.3oz for women’s
Drop: 10mm (10mm at the front, 20mm at the rear)
The market for this shoe is for people who need more support – not everyone in OCR is elite. Not everyone needs minimal and fast in their shoe. Some of us need some comfort. Maybe you run longer distance events, and need more support? Maybe you’re simply looking for more protection from the rocks.
The Thrill does retain Reeboks signature H2O drain, which is easily my favorite feature of the All Terrain – at the cost of possibly letting stuff *into* the shoe, they also let stuff get out quickly too.
In fact, if you compare it to the early 2015 All Terrain Thunder 2.0 shoe – it’s more comparable. It’s comfortable, but now has the signature All Terrain tread.
So – which Reebok is best for you?
If you’re looking for a comfortable ride – plush midsole and wide toebox, with great grip and drainage – the All Terrain Thrill is for you.
If you’re looking for a light weight, tight fitting race shoe – with grip, drainage and the most durable upper yet, you want the All Terrain Super OR.
Since launching with the All Terrain Sprint and Super – and to a lesser extent, the Outdoor Wild in 2014, Reebok made it clear they wanted to put out a trail shoe for the OCR scene. The Sprint and Super, while having some mixed reviews on their durability and fit, were a *very* solid start.
Like they do with other shoe lines, they listen to feedback. Reebok are in touch with the scene, and not just from the elite level – several of our own community have made visits to the Canton, MA headquarters of Reebok, working with the market research team to provide feedback and insight into the direction they’re going.
And we now have some of that development in hand. The Reebok All Terrain Thunder 2.0 is more of a cushioned, less minimal trail shoe. Just the start of the 2015 shoe releases.
Mine arrived yesterday, and for your shoe porn pleasure, I did an unboxing video, compared them to some other shoes I had – specifically the Inov-8 TrailRoc 245, the Icebug Spwider OLX and the Salomon Fellraiser.
With a 7mm heel to toe drop, these are more cushioned, less minimal and not so aggressive alternatives to the existing shoes. (This was previously and incorrectly stated as 12mm)
I decided to try them out during the Hurricane Heat. This was approximately 3 hours of wear at Amesbury Sport Park, and it’s surrounding roads and parking lots.
During the hurricane heat, we ran on tarmac, buddy carried each other up and down the main tubing slope, completed several of the Spartan Race obstacles, such as the traverse wall, slippy wall (with no ropes), inverted wall, over / under / throughs, rope climb and the barbed wire crawl.
We ran, walked, burpeed, planked and carried heavy stuff all over the place.
They were awesome.
They weren’t perfect. I don’t know any shoe is. But for their intended use, and the use I can see them being used for in the obstacle course world, they did an amazing job.
Icebugs are designed for slippery, icy conditions. The Spwider model especially has a bunch of tiny metal studs for additional grip, although the range does include a shoe that isn’t studded – and still has a more aggressive grip pattern than something like an x-talon 190 from Inov-8, and WAY more than my Inov-8 Trailroc 245’s.
In practice, when you are in the grass, or the trails, or the sloppy, goopy mud – I had amazing grip. The metal studs worked especially well when climbing ropes, or going up the slippery wall (it almost felt like I could walk up it!), as they were able to bite into the soft materials, and not shift.
I felt this was at a cost though – hiking Wachusett Mountain, which has very rocky trails nearer to the surface (large, flat rocks several paces wide, not small pebble trails), I didn’t feel I had the same level of grip as my Trailroc 245’s do – and this was also replicated when we ran on the tarmac roads for ~1 mile at the Hurricane Heat. I never lost my footing – but I did sound like a herd of horses, trotting along as the metal studs and the paved surface met.
However – considering how much obstacle course racing is done on large flat rocks, or on paved roads (none of it), I don’t see this being a particular big problem for me in the long term.
As a shoe, the Spwider is much more solidly constructed than I’m used to. Despite it only having a 4mm heel to toe drop – which means it runs and feels like a minimal shoe (the Trailroc 245’s are 3mm, for example – and Salomon Speedcross 3’s are in the 9mm to 12mm range), the sole is solid, and the upper of the shoe is supportive. Icebug sell multiple inserts too, for those who feel the need for different types of support – however, those minimal shoes that show you how you can roll them up into a teeny tiny ball? Not happening with the ‘bugs 🙂
This particular model was their Medium width, which with my flat and wide feet felt just fine. Many of their racing shoes have a narrow fit for performance, which felt snug to me – and many of their hikers and boots have a wider comfort fit.
Icebug rate this particular shoe as a 300g shoe (in US size 9), which is the same weight system Inov-8 uses, so these are 55g heavier than my Inov-8 TrailRoc 245’s – barely noticeable when moving – to be honest.
One thing I did notice with the Icebugs, that I did not notice with my Inov-8 TrailRoc 245’s, was the amount of small pebbles and crud that got into them. To be entirely fair, I didn’t crawl the barbed wire in the Inov-8’s, and did in the Bugs, so that may be the cause of that right there – but I do plan on picking up a pair of the very neat looking gators that Icebug sell for their shoes. While water drained well enough (the tongue isn’t sealed), rocks did annoy me a little more than I wanted – the gaters will fix that.
On a 5 star rating, I would happily give the Icebugs a solid 4.5 – I’m docking a little because of their “rock/paved road” performance, and I do tend to prefer a slightly more minimal shoe – both of which are about as much criticism as I can find on this solid performing option for OCRs.
Icebug has several shoe options available – many without studs, some with more of a heel to toe drop, some narrow, some wide – and Shale Hill Adventure Farms is now an outlet for them with many models in stock and ready to ship. I tried mine on when I was at the third Benson Bear event, but found they ran very very close to Inov-8 for sizing.
I’ll be wearing these at future races – and can see them being my “go-to” shoe for many events. The TrailRoc 245’s are going to stay in my shoe rotation for training – due to their on road and on rock grip and confidence – but there’s no arguing or debate, the Icebugs have second to none grip everywhere else.
January 15th 2014 UPDATE
I wrote this review after running the Hurricane Heat in Amesbury in them. Post HH they were so crud covered I didn’t wear them for the race, and I missed their grip when I got to the walls and similar obstacles.
So, when it came to picking a shoe for the longer 8mile Super in NJ, and the 13mile Beast in VT – sticking with the Icebugs was a no brainer. I have played with fit and sock combinations a little after Smart Wool socks gave me a heel blister in NJ – but switching to a Darn Tough brand sock, and adding a “surgeons knot” to the middle of the laces, I had no problems with blisters at the Beast, or since.
The grip these lend to an OCR athlete of any level is unbelievable. Specifically, these studs make rope climbs much easier, as they grip into the fibers and don’t slip. They bite into wood obstacles, like traverse walls and vertical walls. I was able to get my ass over every single wall in NJ and VT by myself simply by stepping into it with the shoe first, it provided enough grip to give me a single step that no one else had. This was highlighted when I ran the Fenway event in Inov-8s and could NOT get over the tall wall first time.
As a word of caution, while these are loud (but well behaved) on Tarmac, you want to avoid wearing them on wood flooring or lino flooring – they will leave marks.
At time of writing, the Polar Bear Challenge – an 8 hour endurance event in the snow of VT is coming. I’ve just placed an order for my third pair of Icebugs – the Speed running boot. This will give me grip, but also a bit more thermal protection than this reviewed model. Expect a review of the Speeds to follow!
Update – due to a very polite request from the manufacturer, we’ve removed the images from this article. The shoes pictures were pre-production models, and while the photos were found in the public domain, they aren’t representative of the final product.
A few days ago, an Instagram photo from chief Weeple Dave showed us our first glimpse of the now infamous “Hobie Shoe”. It was a very aggressive looking racing flat shoe, with a medium tread and what looked like a little support in the arch, with some rope grips.
It looked great – but clearly designed for the fast, elite racer in mind – there’s little support, little padding – it’s just a bare bones shoe, and if you look at the lacing, it was clearly unfinished (or *really* minimal!)
Three more models are starting to pop up.
Firstly – also on instagram from Mr Huckle – we have a neon and black sneak that looks like a fairly normal sneaker, with a good level of grip, also “Duraride” branding on the arch (which also looks perfectly suited to the ropes), and duragrip branding on the toe protection. Overall though, his has a much bulkier look to it, and I would expect this shoe to be targetted more to the mass market of trail running, or new racer. This is certainly not a minimalist or “fast” shoe. It does look like it has a similar, medium level of grip.
Two more shoes popped up from another Spartan racer on one of the facebook groups dedicated to Spartan, and look to be two entirely different shoes again.
Firstly, we have a blue and yellow and red shoe that appears to sit somewhere in the middle of the others – this has a neat looking speedlacing system, the same rope grips, but was reported as having a fairly firm feel to the foot. The toe box looks protected, and has an interesting skid plate to it, and another good level of grip … it’s hard to say if the upper is mesh, and will drain well – it looks like it’s close to the other two shoes.
Lastly, we have what looks to be the casual, non race version of all of the above.
This shoe looks to be the least like a “race” shoe, and more like a traditional off roader. A much more substantial upper, that looks padded and apart from a space above the toes, it doesn’t look like it will drain as well, and the mid sole and sole look a lot less suited to running through mud, and more like it’s only ever going to see grass, and maybe a little bit of gravel … no rope grips, and doesn’t look like much flexibility.
So there you have it – four new offerings from Reebok showing up in the Obstacle Course Racing world – indicating these are the future of the Reebok range in the Spartan World. Love these particular shoes or not – you can’t deny that Reebok are doing it right – we’ve got minimalist, super light shoes with aggressive tread, through to heavy duty “weekend warrior” shoes in distinctive designs and styles. I for one am happy to see the rope grips appear, as this is somewhere Inov-8 has lacked, and is likely straight from the world of Crossfit, where rope climbing is fairly standard.