Review: Reebok Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1
We’ll jump into the Reebok Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1 review in a minute. But to first understand Reebok’s Zig Kinetica system, we have to go back a decade.
The year’s 2010. Like a G6 by Far East Movement was a hit, Avatar won best picture at the Oscars, and I had a crush on Nicole Scherzinger.
Nicole Scherzinger is important here, since she was dating Lewis Hamilton at the time, and Hamilton was one of the celebrities signed on to promote one of Reebok’s first sneaker with its ZigTech design: the ZigPulse.
This sneaker came in six colorways, I picked up the blue… because: Nicole Scherzinger and the massive advertising featuring Hamilton in his ZigTech sneakers at Studio R in Bur Juman Mall.
Reebok also signed on the likes of Peyton Manning, Real Madrid’s then goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Indian cricketer MS Dhoni and of course, Nicole Scherzinger’s Lewis Hamilton.
Reebok went on to fit the cast of Jersey Shore with ZigTech shoes as well. Perhaps including the cast from the Jersey Shore wasn’t Reebok’s best shout – since we haven’t heard about ZigTech since.
That was a while ago. Fast-forward to 2019.
Almost a decade after the first Zig sneaker snaked its way into the market, there’s another in the form of the reworked Zig Kinetica system and its first silhouette the Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1.
Everything from the design to its very name with the underscore is edgy. If it were up to any of us to name the sneaker, it would be Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1_Final_FINAL2.
They are gorgeous. Garbstore founder and designer Ian Paley is the artistic brains behind the sneaker. You might remember him from the Garbstore x Reebok “Outside In” Collection in 2014, where they flipped the uppers – inside out – on Reebok flagships.
“Sometimes the best things don’t fit at all, that’s what makes them stand out.”Ian Paley
And stand out they do. These sneakers are designed to be something that is not supposed to ‘fit in’, you will turn heads when you wear these solely due to its design. If I had to compare it to something, the messed-up and clustered upper reminds me of the Experiment 4 or Daytona from the Reebok x Pyre Moss collabs. And that’s because Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond set out to “…completely disrupt an upper. That’s my sneaker philosophy.”
It looks like Paley had the same idea. And it shows us that Reebok chooses their partners very well, since we have gorgeous sneakers like these.
Between both the initial black and white colorways, I personally prefer the black, as the suede on the white colorway is prone to smudging and dirt. Would be a task crepping them as almost 40% of the upper is mesh.
The Zig Kinetica Concept Type_1 feature 15 individual segments that make up the upper on each pair – layered atop each other for the final design. Each segment is made of seamless suede overlays surrounding a breathable mesh upper. You won’t notice this in pictures of videos, but there is nothing soft or cloth-like about the mesh. It’s got a durable, tough and gritty feel to it. A nice touch is that the mesh has a bright metallic shine to it when in sunlight – giving your sneaker two unique looks when outdoors and indoors.
You would have noticed the adjustable strap right across the midfoot, which is another neat addition to the messy noise across the upper. Depending on how narrow your feet are, the strap extends past the upper, hanging halfway over the outsole giving it quite a distinctive look.
My only concern here is that there is absolutely no foam or cushioned piping around the edges of the sneaker that surrounds your ankles. There is a small amount of cushioning around your ankle joints but that’s about it. Luckily it is suede and doesn’t pinch the skin if you’re wearing them with ankle-length socks. Worry not, it isn’t uncomfortable it’s just a new sensation to get used to.
Reebok claim they were designed for 5k runs, fitness classes and casual wear. However, you can’t rock these to work and then head out in the evening with them. These sneakers were not designed for 9am-to-midnight wear. They are performance trainers and you can immediately tell as soon as you put them on. You want to run, not stroll to a café to spend your evening.
The upper is quite thin and it actually feels like you’re wearing mesh. I know the see-through mesh was included from a design and performance point of view, but it isn’t the most comfortable. Padding or a soft feel is non-existent. Once again, it’s manageable and not so much a worry, but it isn’t as comfortable as every other sneaker you’re used to.
For example, Reebok’s previous Sole Fury had a neoprene tongue with a decent amount elasticity which hugged your midfoot. The tongue on the Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1 is a wafer.
For its minor inconveniences, the airflow and ventilation it provides is extraordinary. It’s perfect for our Middle Eastern summers. Lastly, let’s touch on the insole and cushioning. Don’t expect lush comfort from the sole and the Floatride Fuel cushioning – keep in mind this is a performance trainer. Everything from the cushioning to the outsole is designed to propel you forward.
When it comes to fit – the sneaker is malleable in terms of the midfoot. In case you have larger-than-normal or skinny feet you needn’t worry as the midfoot strap can be tinkered with. And if you’re blessed with perfect feet designed by Reebok alone, you could even remove the strap all together for a cleaner look.
With the lacing design and the additional strap, you can guess that the upper hugs every single part of your foot.
Lastly, and this is a concern with fabric, mesh or cloth uppers: worry not about toenail damage as the mesh around your toes are overlaid with two panels of suede
I wouldn’t recommend wearing these without socks are they are see-through – unless you have perfectly hairless feet with pretty toes.
Reebok state that the design of the sneaker is inspired by kinetic energy, which seems like fluffy marketing speak when you read it, however when you wear them you kind of get it. We’ll explain more on this below.
Sidebar: Quick Physics Lesson.
Kinetic energy is the energy an object (in this case *you* wearing the sneakers) possesses due to its motion.
The Zig Kinetica is truly inspired by kinetic energy. Similar to the adidas UltraBOOST 19, where the outsole is more ‘U-shaped’ than flat, the Zig Kinetica encourages you to lean forward.
Unlike the UltraBOOST 19, the Zig Energy Shell (the zig-zag part of the outsole) and the firm Floatride Fuel cushioning is a lot lot sturdier.
Those who were fans of the initial ZigTech sneakers would love the familiarity of the outsole. It is sturdy, quite elevated and has a snappy bounce to it.
The heel sits a few millimetres lower than the insole that cradles your medial longitudinal arch which is a good touch and very comfortable during a run. Another point worth noting is that the insole isn’t flat. It curves around the foot – rather than just underneath it.
Again, despite all the praise for its support, I should add that its cushioning around the anklebone could be a lot more prominent. While the upper wraps around your ankle you have minimum padding around the anklebone. Would love to see a bit of padding for the Achilles tendon as well, similar to what was fitted into Sole Fury. However, to be fair to the Zig Kinetica, the Sole Fury lacks any form of padding around the ankles anyway.
If they had just merged the inner-heel paddings of both sneakers I would have been quite happy and spared you the trouble of reading this long paragraph above.
Despite being designed for 5k runs, fitness classes and casual wear, I would add the black colorway to my collection as a dress sneaker. It looks unique and Ian Paley really broke the mould with this one. Runners have their go-to brands and silhouettes, however if you do use this for training – think UltraBOOST19 feel but a lot lighter, breathable and sturdier.