Many shoe technologies released over the past decade have been more about show than performance at the end of the day. I believe shoe companies have good intentions and do their research on improving a runners experience, but when it comes right down to it, many runners are reluctant to buy into unfounded or gimmicky technology. Take the ZigTech by Reebok. Originally it was released in 2010 on the premise that a spring-like eva foam outsole would dampen the force of running while returning more energy back than a traditional cushioned shoe. Since then you haven’t seen many people running in them and they took quickly in the lifestyle market.
The new ZigWild TR 3 (Trail Runner) may be the exception. A trail shoe built on the ZigTech principle but beefed up in the outsole with carbon rubber and small traction lugs for better traction along the trails. After putting them on I immediately noticed how well my foot was cradled in the footbed with a fair amount of support in the arch.
I took them for a test run to the neighborhood peak, Mount Sanitas, a formidable climb of 1,200’ in elevation gain in just 1.2 miles which is why its a local favorite. My first few strides along the pavement were right in step with my first impressions of the shoe, a bit heavier and bulkier than what am used to running in, but once I hit the dirt, those impressions quickly dissolved. The shoe had good traction while climbing medium to steep terrain, a mix of loose dirt, gravel, rock and wood steps. Trail shoes can tend to be a bit stiff to provide extra support and traction, but with the pattern of the outsole the shoe flexed nicely with my foot as I pushed uphill.
Equally as impressive was its stability and cushioning as I descended down the technical rocky trail then eventually on to a more open trail in where I could pick up my speed. The extra rubber under my foot due to the zig pattern made the ride all that more comfortable and I was really able to enjoy a plush ride down. The mesh upper is overlaid with a synthetic pattern that not only serves for styling but kept my foot in place while negotiating tricky terrain and added a bit more protection for times when I caught a rock on the side.
Overall I was impressed with how well this particular shoe technology translated to the trail.
What I liked:
- The ZigTech outsole provided plenty of cushion and support while being flexible enough to negotiate technical terrain.
- The mesh upper was comfortable providing a good feel of support while descending.
- A bit heavier than I prefer.