Reebok ZigEnergy Ref Review Facts
The Reebok ZigEnergy REF shoe is not your typical running shoe. In fact, it is not a running shoe at all. Though reviewers claim multiple purposes for this shoe, among them crossfit, weightlifting, retail work, or in the medical field, the Reebok ZigEnergy REF is intended to be a basketball referee shoe. And, as compared to those designed with the same purpose, it stands well apart from the crowd. With its distinctive zig-zag styling, Zigtech technology, and DMX shear cushioning, it is an advanced shoe that even has some pro athletes impressed. Receiving mostly overwhelmingly positive reviews to this effect, if you are officiating on the court or need to be on your feet for hours at a time and are looking for something with a lightweight, bouncy, and comfortable feel, then this is definitely a shoe worth trying out.
The sole unit of the Reebok ZigEnergy REF is truly unique. At first glance, its zigzag foam midsole - aptly named ZigTech - can appear unusual and gimmicky. But, most wearers stand by it. ZigTech
is purported to create better stability for the foot and alleviate wear and tear on the legs allowing for longer, harder workouts
. Most feel this shoe does its job. Beneath this specialized midsole where the zigzags make contact with the ground, there is durable, protective rubber. While it doesn't contain lugs, per se, this intermittent but repeated contact with the ground provides exceptional traction on and off the court.
The Reebok ZigEnergy REF's midsole unit blends the ZigTech system and a specialized DMX technology. The Zigtech system creates better shock absorption and response and is advertised to feel like "an energy drink
for your feet." The DMX (Dynamic Motion X) technology incorporated is also well received in the athletic footwear arena for aiming to increase airflow and help with foot stabilization. While the DMX system is comprised of three components, this shoe utilizes its shear cushioning. This component aims to protect the foot, and specifically, the heel. The way it distributes force from a heel strike
in two different planes, vertically and horizontally, creates less stress to the foot. With its unusual wavy appearance, most find this shoe to be a visual, as well as a performance standout.
The upper of the Reebok ZigEnergy REF features a stitched synthetic fabric wrap. With no mesh built in the patent leather option, it does not provide ventilation for feet creating a warmer environment, but it does not seem to affect most reviewers who thought that this shoe is supremely comfortable. The underfoot bed is made up of a PU sockliner. The standard black matte version creates a more breathable environment for the feet. Of the two sockliners available: standard EVA and PU, Reebok chose to utilize the PU for its durability. And while PU has a reputation for being somewhat smelly
, it gets the job done. PU is short for polyurethane and by nature is heavier and denser, creating heft and less bounce than the alternative; the tradeoff here is that it is built to last.
The Reebok ZigEnergy REF comes in weighing 13 oz putting it on the high side for a running shoe and even for its intended purpose of an officiating shoe, as it is a tad heftier weight option than its competitors. The lightweight foam of the zigzag sole helps offset the heavier material of the upper and denser, heftier PU sockliner making it a good choice for someone on the go all day.
The upper is comprised of and covered in a pure synthetic stitched fabric. There is no mesh in the patent leather model so breathability is not something this shoe readily provides. Unless the standard black matte version with mesh is available, warmth will get trapped in the shoe making it less comfortable for feet. Although most do not express concern over this, it has prompted some important feedback.
These shoes are only available in standard width. Reviewers advise that if there is a question between 2 sizes, choose the larger size or even two sizes larger. As these shoes also run a little narrow which some users didn't love, some found them to break in readily in a short amount of time. Some suggested lighter socks
but most still found them to be the most comfortable around. And while the overall shoe fit is narrow and smaller, with proper sizing the forefoot width appears to suitable for the majority and some even claim that they were pleased with it as it did not affect their bunions or create blisters
. Another factor in comfort is the temperature of the foot: with little to no breathability in the upper, the feet can get hot. And while there appears to be little ventilation in this shoe, the majority of wearers do not cite this as a concern.
This shoe has been praised as one of the nicer looking shoes available in this niche market. The most widely available and popular option is made with a patent leather upper, but there was a black matte leather option introduced later, before the line was discontinued eventually. With its large and distinctive and aggressive wavy sole unit and the attractiveness of the upper in either the patent leather or matte black, most feel pleased. Wearers have cited the patent leather version as even appearing dressy from a distance.
Some reviewers felt that the shoes, while supremely comfortable, were unable to withstand the rigors of consistent officiating. In a few months, the effects of wear and tear seemed most focused on the stitching of the upper where it meets the sole unit. But those unaffected by this weakness are quite pleased with the lifespan of the Reebok ZigEnergy REF.
The ZigTech cushioning system and the extra heel DMX foam work together to make these shoes comfortable for the feet and easy on the knees
and back. Most reviewers were pleased with how long they could remain on their feet without discomfort or pain. Pro athletes were pleased with the shoe's ability to reduce shock to the foot, allowing them to work harder, longer and even reduce the chance of injury in the legs. And while narrower, once fitted, these shoes seem to accommodate the foot in such a way that blisters are not a concern. What's more, with no breathable mesh on the more widely available patent leather option, these shoes would act as barriers from cold or wet weather protecting the feet from the elements.
Lauded as an "energy drink for the feet," many are impressed by the bounciness and feeling of responsivity as they make their calls on the court. The main reason behind this is the ZIGtech system with its lightweight foam outsole that disperses energy along the sole and the DMX shear technology that helps propel the foot forward and reduces shock impact to the heel.
Some reviewers claim this shoe is so comfortable that they can abandon the use of orthotic supports and others claim there is little arch support necessitating the use of inserts. and some find it a good choice for those with Plantar Fasciitis
This shoe is intended for use on the basketball court but some wearers found it very comfortable officiating other sports like lacrosse and football. Others reported that the ZigEnergy REF was ideal for use in their line of work in law enforcement
, restaurant industry, medical work, retail, crossfit, and weightlifting, or even as a daily shoe.
The Reebok ZigEnergy REF shoes appear to fall in the middle to top of the price range for basketball officiating shoes. It is now a discontinued shoe, much to the displeasure of its wearers, but can still be found at discount from some retailers.
With the sole's specialized zig-zag styling and durable rubber
grip, this shoe gains traction on and off the court. It has been used in settings other than a court, like on a grass field and indoors, to no ill effect.
With flex grooves in the sole, this shoe scores good marks from its wearers when it comes to flexibility. The grooves, placed in the forefoot, work in concert with the DMX Shear cushioning of the heel to provide a comfortable foot turnover in an agile shoe. On the heavier side, this flexibility is unexpected and appreciated.
The wavy ZigTech platform of the sole runs the length of the shoe and, along with the DMX technology in the heel
, provides a stable base for the foot increasing wearer confidence. The insole does not provide an overwhelming amount of support and this shoe is likely best suited for a neutral runner with no pronation issues. The profile of this shoe is about 1 inch and were it not for the well-distributed components and cushioning, it might create a stability issue but most reviewers felt this shoe fit their needs.
- The Reebok ZigEnergy REF is a very well-received basketball referee shoe.
- With its eye-catching zig-zag sole unit, it stands out among competitors. Some laud the stylish design offered in patent leather as a dressier shoe that can be worn daily in professions that require one to be on his or her feet all day.
- The Zig Zag sole is courtesy of Reebok's incorporation of its unique ZIgTech system that aims to reduce the load on leg muscles allowing for more productive workouts.
- It has been cited by some reviewers to have a durability concern in its construction, as the stitching connecting the upper to the sole unit has come loose for some showing wear well before expected.
Reebok has created what many wearers believe to be an exemplary refereeing shoe in the ZigEnergy REF. Not only does it provide a comfortable fit on the court officiating basketball and on the field for lacrosse or football, but also in many other scenarios where one is on their feet all day such as retail and law enforcement. A tad heavier than its competitors and uniquely styled, it has received resoundingly good reviews. Sizing is reportedly not accurate and the shoe runs narrow with no width options, so ordering a size or 2 up would likely yield a better result as comfort goes. This shoe is recently discontinued, much to its supporters' dismay, so if you are in the market for shoes that keep you going all day and you can find a pair, they'd be a wise investment.