Adidas Boost ain’t so special anymore. Yes, while it’s still the most popular and generally the softest and “casual-friendly”, three other companies now have their own version of thermoplastic polyurethane on the market. No longer restricted to $150+ models, the foam is now found at every price point, including entry-level performance shoes, including the above. At $100 (and really you can probably find them on sale for cheaper), you now have your choice of a budget-friendly everyday trainer. So which one is for you?
The Puma Hybrid Runner uses a second layer of a more traditional foam mostly in the heel, giving it a softer landing if you’re a heel striker. The upper is a litte more accomodating and stretches and moves with the foot. As a draw back, it can get a bit warm on longer runs. It’s also more stylish, so if you want something you can wear from the gym to errands or the office, the Hybrid Runner can easily make the transition. The shoe’s physical flexibility also makes the shoe a little more comfortable and natural for casual wear.
On the flip side, the Reebok Floatride Forever uses pure TPU and has a stiffer, slightly firmer feel. It almost feels like a racing flat, being so snappy. In contrast to the Hybrid, the Forever is all business. The upper is more constricting and the toebox is downright pointy, which may come as a shock if you’re more familiar with Reebok’s popular Nano training line. The cushion is not quite soft, but definitely has a lot more going on in the forefoot, giving it the edge when you want to pick up the pace.
The superior shoe depends a lot on your footshape and usage. If you have a wider, flatter foot or want something that can go from a run to the street and don’t plan on going past 10k (ie. you’re running more for general fitness than training for a major race), go with the Puma Hybrid Runner. If you need to log endless miles and don’t mind a slim fit, the Reebok Floatride Forever is a better choice.