The vivid colors of the Reebok All Terrain obstacle racing shoe say “I’m pretty. Look at me.” But the rest of the shoe screams “I want to obliterate dirt and mud and ravage any earthly element put before me! Turn me loose!” That louder voice prevailed as the ice and snow finally melted in central Kentucky, leaving perfect conditions for giving these shoes a trial run. I slipped them on my feet for the first time (okay, the second time. I could not resist trying them on right out of the box.) They were snug in all the right places with plenty of room in the toe box. A minimalist shoe. Very lightweight…not quite Inov-8 X-Talon light, but the extra sturdiness offsets the barely noticeable weight difference.
Out the backdoor I ran, eager for some obstacle running. The quick descent to the bottom of my woods was an adequate test for the downhill grip. Into the creek I went, instantly feeling my feet go into shock at the cold water. Out of the creek and the water was expelled almost immediately – presumably from the built-in drainage holes. Win! Next up was a quick hike up a hill nearly as steep as Killington. A few slight slips, but no more than any other shoe I’ve ever worn and some of those slips were on the remaining patches of ice. I’m more than satisfied with the grip.
On to the obstacle tests…wall and rope climbing. This is where I was surprised by how detailed this shoe is geared toward obstacle racing. My technique on climbing walls is to run and plant a foot on the wall, propel up while planting and running the other foot up. That was the easiest wall scale I had ever done on my practice wall. EVER! See the picture above for the rubber grips on the tips of the shoes that bit into the wall with superb grip allowing me to scale it with very little upper body effort. Win! Similarly, my ascent up the rope using the J-hook technique was enhanced by these shoes. The shoe has small rubber nobs that wrap slightly around the lower side of the arch, enabling a little extra grip on the rope.
There is nothing more for me to say about these shoes except that they will be my preferred shoe to begin the 2014 OCR season. I will update this post after I race in them, but in the meantime, watch this commercial that aired during the Spartan World Championships if you want to see the Reebok All Terrain OCR shoe in action.
Disclaimer. Reebok provided these shoes to me to test. I was not compensated in any form, nor was there any expectation from Reebok regarding the type of review I wrote.