The FloatCrest Review by Rob Albano
CONSTRUCTION & RIDE
The heel counter is stout (semi-rigid), while also having a fair amount of plush cushioning that wraps around the navicular bone. A thin plastic overlay surrounds the heel counter and extends the length of the rearfoot on both sides to provide medial and lateral support on foot strike. Heel strikers will be in heaven from the combination of the heel counter and beveled heel to smoothly transition the foot through the gait cycle while gently guiding the fit towards the center. Midfoot strikers, like me, will also enjoy a very smooth transition. The landing is soft enough to cushion impact, but firm enough to allow for a very quick transition from heel or midfoot to toe. That’s the beauty of the SuspensionFoam midsole. A high-quality, gel-lined insert provides that initial comfort, then the firmer midsole transitions the foot quickly.
Beveled heel and thin plastic overlay of the rearfoot.
While there is a heel bevel, there is no rocker here. Instead, the FloatCrest is three horizontal grooves in the forefoot that de-couple the midsole to flex with your foot during toe-off. I personally have had trouble with non-rockered shoes with higher drops in recent years due to the ‘slapping’ that takes place during transition from midfoot to toe-off. There are two ways to approach this. You can raise the forefoot high (reducing drop) or you can keep the higher drop and make the forefoot more flexible so it moves with your foot functionally. The FloatCrest uses the latter approach, and I have greatly enjoyed it! I haven’t been able to use ANY trainer with a drop higher than 6mm in nearly a decade. This is the first one with a higher offset that does not bother my feet. On the contrary, it has been an absolute joy to log miles in. The word ‘guidance’ was the first one to come to mind on my first run in them. Once my foot strikes the ground, the FloatCrest basically says “there is nowhere to go but forward” making this shoe one that falls squarely in the ‘stable neutral’ category of daily trainers. This also increases its versatility for activities other than running (more on that later).
The upper is very plush. It gently wraps around the foot and provides a seamless lock down. A non-gusseted tongue lays gently over the top of the foot. I find that this style of upper is perfect for those chilly winter runs. It is definitely on the warmer side and that has been a plus during the polar vortex I am experiencing in North Jersey. The upper also features four reflectors for those that log their miles when the sun is down. The toe-box is wide allowing your toes to splay without feeling sloppy like some brands can (I’m looking at you, Altra!).
Reflectors on the forefoot upper of the Racefaster FloatCrest
The outsole is full-contact rubber. The debate between adding full rubber outsole or stripping it away to save weight is something many brands struggle with. In my humble opinion, a daily trainer meant for easy runs, recovery runs, and some pickup/tempo work should be full rubber. While this does increase weight slightly, it also greatly increases the durability of shoe. I’m at just over 50 miles on my FloatCrests, with no noticeable wear on the outsole. I will update this review in the future, but for now my prediction is this shoe will go the distance. 600+ miles is absolutely possible. Other brands, such as HOKA (no more ONE ONE?), have stripped away much of the rubber from their outsoles to reduce weight. I’m all for a light shoe, but if it means that my $160 daily trainer is going to go flat at 200 miles, then I’d rather have the rubber! When it comes to needing a shoe for track work, races, and other workouts–I don’t mind an exposed midsole. But even then–a bit of rubber is needed for traction. The FloatCrest grips the ground VERY well, especially in the recent icy weather we have had in the Northeast. Did I mention the outsole is translucent? While it doesn’t add anything functionally, it just looks damn cool!!
Full-contact, translucent rubber outsole with the Racefaster branding visible. Also pictured: forefoot flex grooves and singular heel flex groove separating the bevel from the midfoot.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Nowadays, when shopping for running shoes, you are bound to run into so many different buzzwords. Responsive, cushioned, high drop, minimalist, max cushion, high stack, ground contact feel, stable, flexible….the list goes on. But at the end of the day, all the recent studies suggest that ONE thing is the most important when it comes to selecting the right shoe for you: comfort! While there has never been a connection between foot type and shoe type for injury prevention, there is evidence to show that a shoe that is comfortable can help reduce running related injuries (Nigg et al., 2015). The FloatCrest has some of the best step-in comfort of any trainer I have ever put on my feet. To this day, brands are still putting sock liners that cost less than $1 in their shoes. At Racefaster, a high quality sock-liner is included–which only boosts the step-in comfort and works in tandem with the firmer SuspensionFoam midsole to provide the perfect mix of softness and responsiveness (hey, more buzzwords!).
Gel-sock liner included in the Racefaster FloatCrest.
If I have not already made it clear, the FloatCrest is a high-mileage running shoe designed to hit the pavement. Nonetheless, it is also extremely versatile for other functions thanks to overall design. This can be your everyday casual shoe, your walking shoe, or your gym shoe. The firmer midsole works well to stabilize the foot, which helps you stay grounded for exercises at the gym. I have a very extensive running shoe rotation–so I very rarely invest in shoes for purposes other than running. When I am doing my hip strengthening and mobility routine, I reach for the FloatCrest (or the Racefaster Bergen–a stripped down lightweight running shoe that operates on a similar platform). If you have ever tried to do gym work in a rockered shoe or one with a softer midsole–then you have experienced first hand how difficult it is to stabilize the foot on that sort of platform. The FloatCrest, as well as the other shoes in the Racefaster lineup, are versatile enough to be used in the gym, for your daily walk, or for just lounging around. On really busy days where I’m getting my own run in, coaching my athletes, and working (whether that be in a Racefaster store or teaching) I need a shoe that can accomplish everything the day calls for. The FloatCrest is that shoe!
If you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend dropping by your local Racefaster store, or visiting http://shopracefaster.com to try the FloatCrest for yourself. I promise you will not be disappointed. If ordering online, go a half size down than your typical shoe size.
Stack 34mm / 25mm
Weight 10.3oz (Men’s Size 10)
Outsole Full-Contact Rubber
Midsole SuspensionFoam (EVA)