Last Updated on April 11, 2016 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
In case you haven’t noticed, I kind of fell off of the obstacle course racing world radar.
There was no one specific event or injury that caused me to hop of the muddy bandwagon. But after about 3 years of racing everything I could possibly get my hands on, Spartan sprints to Ultra Beasts and everything (and every other OCR company) in between, I was burnt out. I was tired of shivering in puddles of mud up to my ears, I was tired of constant rope burn, and mysterious cuts, and gnarly bruises. I know, how “un-beast” like of me. But I was tired, so I took a break. Unbeknownst to me, that “break” would span 1.5 years, during which time I would fall in love with the sport of running really, really, ridiculously far distances. Otherwise known as ultra running.
So when my friends at Reebok emailed me asking if I wanted to review the latest edition of the Reebok All Terrain OCR shoe, I hesitated. I wasn’t an obstacle course racer anymore. But, I was also at that very moment in the middle of a shoe crisis of my own, and grasping for absolutely anything that might make my trail time more enjoyable. So I said sure, send them over.
And I’m incredibly glad I did.
Let’s back up a little bit: the first version of the Reebok All Terrain series was released early during 2014. I initially loved the shoe (you can see the review HERE). But after racing in them a handful of times, I found dirt kept getting trapped INSIDE the shoe through the drainage ports (you can read the updated review HERE). This would result in me having to stop to remove pebbles from my shoe mid race. Every race I had high hopes that it wouldn’t happen again, but every race I would end up sitting on the side of the course, digging rocks and debris out of my shoes. Eventually, it got to the point that Geoff said to either ditch the shoes, or he wasn’t racing with me anymore.
Nothing like a bad shoe to come between a racing relationship.
Fast forward to last summer (2015). The next version of the shoe, the Reebok Spartan All Terrain 2.0, was released. I put them on, immediately hit the trail…aaaand immediately threw them off of my feet. Literally. The back of the shoe dug so far into my Achilles tendon that it was downright painful. I let my temper cool down and tried to run in them again a few days later, with the exact same results. I made it maybe 200 yards and said “NO WAY am I running in these”. Hence the reason you never saw a review of the 2.0 on this blog…version 2.0 and I never made it that far together.
Now, we get to the Reebok All Terrain Super OR. Admittedly (and as I’m sure you guessed from the preface) these shoes will be reviewed from the perspective of a trail runner, and not an obstacle course racer. There is still dirt, mud, climbing, and slippery surfaces, but no traverse walls, rope climbs, etc., making my review somewhat credible.
All of that said…I LOVE this shoe.
I know, I was surprised too. And I’m guessing if you are an avid obstacle course racer who has tried…and not loved…the first two editions, you’re probably thinking I’m full of $*#!. But I truly LOVE these shoes. So much so that I wear them for every other run on my local trail (alternating with either my Altra Lone Peaks or Hoka Challenger ATR 2’s for more cushion). I just love the fit, the feel, and the actual run in these shoes. But let’s get to the details:
- Weight: 7.8 oz (men’s) 6.4 oz (women’s)
- Drop: 5 mm (Heel 12 mm/ mid foot 7 mm)
- MSRP: $124.99
- CORDURA® skin upper for abrasion protection and durability
- Speed lacing system for a quick and customizable fit
- Low-profile CMEVA midsole for lightweight responsiveness and cushion
- Built-in midfoot drain for shedding water after wet crossings
- Square, indented lugged outsole for 360-degree traction
- Sticky rubber compound on the outsole for improved grip
- Antimicrobial lining for odor control
I truly put these on and expected to be disappointed, based on my last two experiences. But I was more than pleasantly surprised, putting in a fast 7 miles on the trail in their inaugural run.
My first observation was that the All Terrain OR is a racing shoe, no doubt about it. It is incredibly light weight with very minimal cushioning. In fact, I’d say the sole isn’t cushioned at all, it is simply as thick as it needs to be in order to add some tread that will hold up to the rigors of obstacle course racing. With a 5 mm heel to toe drop and an incredibly narrow sole…this shoe is meant to go fast. In fact it hardly feels like you are wearing a shoe.
There was zero discomfort in the heel area, a start contrast from the All Terrain 2.0. Thankfully. The speed laces allowed me to comfortably tighten the shoes to fit all the way through the foot, and not just at the ankle. While the speed lace lock didn’t loosen, I did find that the first few runs in these shoes I had to occasionally stop to tighten the laces as I broke the shoes in. The need to tighten lessened each run, and now, about 50+ miles into these shoes, I don’t need to tighten them at all after initially putting them on.
This is a HUGE improvement over past models.
Anyone who has run through mud can tell you that trying to untie or retie your shoe when it is literally caked in mud can be near impossible. I’m hoping that the lock mechanism doesn’t get jammed up with mud and debris causing it to get stuck. So far, this hasn’t proven to be a problem, but I also haven’t been shin deep in the mud with these.
The grip is awesome. Granted, here in Myrtle Beach I’m not climbing the likes of Killington Mountain and her double black diamond faces, but our local trail has some steep, albeit short, drops. The kind of drops that you will indeed slide down without any grip on the soles of your shoes. And slide down I did not.
Though the tread occasionally did get caked full of mud, I found that a quick “stomp” of my foot on the trail would clear them.
While my All Terrain Super OR’s haven’t hit the Spartan mud yet, my pal Matt B. Davis has given his a few spins through the OCR mud, and you can (and should) check out his review here: Obstacle Racing Media Reebok All Terrain Super OR Review. Matt claims the shoe does NOT fill up with rocks and debris as the previous two models did. This truly was my biggest issue with the first version, so I’m happy to hear Reebok has resolved this issue.
I really like this shoe. So much so that, as mentioned above, I’ve taken to running in this shoe a few times a week. Which speaks highly for the shoe, as I have a closet full of trail shoes, and no need for an OCR specific shoe. But I run in them anyway.
I feel that Reebok has finally addressed the issues that obstacle course racers had with the previous two models, making this an ideal racing shoe for both the obstacle racing world, and even the trail running world, for those who may be looking for a lightweight racing shoe with an aggressive tread that can handle wet conditions. I would race a trail course of 10K or shorter in these shoes in an instant.
Questions about the latest release of the All Terrain Super series? Comment below, and I will do my best to answer!
*Disclaimer* Reebok provided me with a pair of All Terrain Super OR’s at no cost to me. However, all opinions expressed are my own.