Our verdict

The Reebok Blast is a retro silhouette from the '90s that undoubtedly charmed us. Even though it is now a Classics sneaker and belongs to people's shoe collections, we were pleasantly surprised with its on-court performance. It is not an ideal hoop shoe but it certainly won't hold you back from joining a spontaneous game here and there. And doing it in style!

Pros

  • A Blast from the past!
  • Great value for money
  • Incredible wear resistance
  • Great impact protection
  • Reliable traction
  • Very secure support and lockdown
  • Unique asymmetrical colorway

Cons

  • Lacks ventilation big-time
  • Very heavy
  • Narrow platform

Audience verdict

75
Bad!

Who should buy

This is a very special pair of Reebok shoes. We think that you will appreciate it a lot if:

  • you are feeling nostalgic and want a "blast" from the past (straight from 1996)
  • you're a fan of Nick Van Exel and want to experience the shoe that he once donned
  • you're grand on the classic Reebok midsole technologies like the Hexalite cushioning

Reebok Blast review

Who should NOT buy

These days, the Reebok Blast is no longer targeted as a performance shoe and it has shifted into the brand's Classics collection.

If you want an actual hoop shoe, consider the Nike Cosmic Unity 3 or the Jordan Zion 2. Both are MUCH lighter and are designed with the actual sport in mind.

Reebok Blast lab test

Breathability

This Reebok shoe is damn hot! That is just as true about the Blast's style as it is about its in-shoe feel!

We seriously warn you against wearing this little sauna for the feet on a warm summer day. As you can see from our smoke-pumping test below, the amount of smoke (or air) that manages to pass through the shoe's massively layered upper is minuscule!

Reebok Blast vs. Under Armour Curry 10

We had no chance but to give this shoe the lowest breathability score of 1 out of 5. For reference, that's the same score that waterproof hiking boots get.

To make it even clearer, we have put the shoe's upper over a bright light in a transparency test below. The goal was to see if there were any hints of ventilation holes that we possibly missed. Spoiler alert: there were none.

But we don't give up that easily. We sure used a microscope to zoom in on the shoe's mesh parts.

Reebok Blast microscope

As you can see, there is not much hope for ventilation here either.

Reebok Blast microscope upper

Test results
Blast 1
Average 2.5
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Now to the good news.

Getting the Reebok Blast means investing in a shoe that can last you for YEARS! And we don't just mean sitting on your heart-warming sneaker shelf. We are talking real-world use and even occasional hopping!

As you can see from the video above, the struggle was real. For the Dremel. We applied the tool for as long as 12 seconds at an unforgiving speed of 5K RPM and what did it do? NOTHING! A mere scratch that is not even visible from the eye view.

Reebok Blast vs. Adidas Harden Stepback 3 toebox durability

Reebok Blast vs. Adidas Harden Stepback 3

Here is a quick comparison to what the same test did to the mesh upper on an Adidas shoe.

We are looking at the tank here on te left.

Test results
Blast 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 27 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Even such a sensitive area as the heel collar lining did not give in to our Dremel one bit!

Where most shoes get torn apart, this guy looks like it got tickled. Amazing durability! The Reebok Blast gets another 5 out of 5 for abrasion resistance.

Reebok Blast heel padding durability test

Test results
Blast 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 24 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

The Blast raised our hopes high for durability and we expected to be impressed by the outsole too.

Using a durometer, we checked the hardness of rubber and it proved to be firmer than average at 84.7 HC. This is important as harder outsoles usually take much more time and wear to get destroyed.

Reebok Blast Outsole hardness
Test results
Blast 84.7 HC
Average 81.8 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
59.5 HC
Outsole hardness
91.0 HC

Outsole durability

However, the Dremel test made us a little concerned.

After 22 seconds of drilling, we measured the damage with a tread gauge and found it to be 1.7 mm deep. That is a bit deeper than what we see in basketball shoes on average but not so critical.

What it means is that the rubber is likely to wear out a bit faster than usual on outdoor courts.

Reebok Blast Outsole durability
Test results
Blast 1.7 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 15 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Luckily, Reebok took care of that problem by placing a generous slab of rubber at the bottom.

We couldn't believe our caliper when it showed 6.0 mm of thickness! That will certainly take a long time to wear out.

To sum it up, the shoe's outsole durability looks just as promising!

Reebok Blast Outsole thickness
Test results
Blast 6.0 mm
Average 4.0 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.9 mm

Weight

Let's name things for what they are. The Reebok Blast is a beast!

It is by far the heaviest basketball shoe in our roster at 17.5 oz (495g) in a men's US size 9! A hole 3 ounces heavier than average.

This is certainly one of the deal-breakers when it comes to the shoe's performance. If you plan to use it for the actual sport of course.

Reebok Blast Weight
Test results
Blast 17.46 oz (495g)
Average 14.18 oz (402g)
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.29 oz (320g)
Weight
17.46 oz (495g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

For such a heavy jumbo, we weren't surprised to find that the shoe's stack height is above average too.

Reebok Blast quality

Using a caliper, we measured the heel stack at 33.0 mm, which is 3 mm thicker than average. We felt plenty of impact protection and could also recommend it for heavy wearers.

Reebok Blast Heel stack
Test results
Blast 33.0 mm
Average 30.1 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
25.2 mm
Heel stack
38.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Under the toes, we found that the shoe's cushioning is pretty average.

Our caliper returned 21.2 mm and it's a standard amount of forefoot stack for a hoop shoe.

Reebok Blast Forefoot stack
Test results
Blast 21.1 mm
Average 21.7 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Forefoot stack
25.2 mm

Drop

With its higher heel stack, the Reebok Blast also comes with a taller heel-to-toe drop. Based on our own stack measurements, it turned out to be 11.9 mm, about 4 mm taller than average!

This means that there is more cushioning and shock absorption under the heel which is optimal if you land on the heels a lot.

It also makes the shoe more comfortable for casual wear as the heel needs more protection when striking the ground.

Reebok Blast Drop
Test results
Blast 11.9 mm
Average 8.4 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
4.4 mm
Drop
14.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Time traveling straight from 1996, the Reebok Blast brings with it some artifacts of the past! We're talking about the Hexalite technology which used to be the brand's flagship cushioning.

Embedded into the foam underneath the heel, this honeycomb-like unit helped the shoe feel so protective. But do keep in mind that it is firm as hell. Back in the '90s, people were yet to invent plush cushioning.

Turning to our durometer, we got a reading of 35.9 HA which is 26% firmer than the average basketball shoe foam!

Reebok Blast Midsole softness
Test results
Blast 35.9 HA
Average 26.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
35.9 HA

Insole thickness

For added buffer, the Reebok Blast features a nicely padded insole. We measured its thickness at 4.7 mm in the heel.

Reebok Blast Insole thickness
Test results
Blast 4.7 mm
Average 4.4 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Insole thickness
8.6 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The shoe's stability aspect is a mixed bag. On one hand, its sturdy upper brings with it an immense amount of side support and lockdown. There is no give in its heavily layered and textured sidewalls.

Once this Reebok shoe was on, our feet felt 100% confined. In the best sense of the word of course.

But there is a "but" and it's the shoe's surprisingly narrow platform. It kind of holds the Blast back from being ultimately stable, especially when engaging in the game of basketball.

Torsional rigidity

But let's not write the Reebok Blast off just yet! The shoe's got a crazy amount of torsional rigidity thanks to its sturdy upper and firm midsole.

We assessed its stiffness in a manual test where we tried twisting the shoe with our hands. And it wouldn't yield! It was so convincing that we couldn't give it a score any lower than the maximum 5 out of 5 for torsional stiffness.

Test results
Blast 5
Average 4.5
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

And all of that ankle padding... Geez! Could we feel any more secure?

Even though we rated the heel counter stiffness as 4 out of 5, where 5 is the stiffest, it felt so mind-blowingly supportive!

There is not even a hint of heel slipping or sliding in this couch of a shoe.

Test results
Blast 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Now to the tricky part.

Apparently, wide platforms were not a thing back in the day? Or was it just because Reebok intended the Blast as a casual sneaker only?

Whatever the reason is, the Reebok Blast's base remains narrower than average. Our caliper shows only 106.6 mm in the widest part of the forefoot. ALmost 7 mm narrower than average.

Reebok Blast Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Blast 106.6 mm
Average 113.9 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
106.2 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
122.2 mm

Midsole width in the heel

As for the widest part of the heel, we got only 83.3 mm in the widest part. Also nearly 8 mm narrower than the average basketball shoe.

So if you want to play a game or two in the Reebok Blast, just be aware of that when making forceful and dynamic lateral movements.

Reebok Blast Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Blast 83.3 mm
Average 91.6 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
82.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
105.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Considering the shoe's sturdy personality, we were pleasantly surprised that it remained pliable enough for comfortable heel-to-toe transitions.

Measuring the shoe's stiffness in our lab, we found that it takes 38.7N of force to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Based on our force gauge measurements, it is about the same as it takes on average.

Test results
Blast 38.7N
Average 40.8N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
29.9N
Stiffness
67.2N

Grip / Traction

The traction pattern used on this shoe is the classic herringbone. We found it to be quite effective on the court, both indoors and outdoors.

The grooves are deep and thick, making the pattern dust-resistant.

Reebok Blast Lug depth

Very impressive grip for a lifestyle-oriented shoe!

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The shoe's fit did not disappoint our medium-sized feet! We felt like there was enough toebox space to wear the Blast comfortably even for several hours straight.

To support our experience with a caliper measurement, we got a reading of 103.3 mm in the widest part of the toebox. That's even a couple of millimeters wider than average. 

Reebok Blast Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Blast 103.3 mm
Average 100.9 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
92.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
108.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The shoe does taper slightly towards the toes. Our caliper shows 73.7 mm of toebox width around the big toe. That's 3 mm narrower than average.

If you have wide feet and this makes you concerned, try getting half a size larger.

Reebok Blast Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Blast 73.7 mm
Average 76.8 mm
Compared to 30 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
71.2 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
85.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

There are no gussets or attachments on the sides of the tongue. But tongue sliding was never an issue given its gigantic padding.

Reebok Blast Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Blast None

Laces

The round dual-chrome laces of the Reebok Blast were super easy to cinch down and achieve a tight fit.

Reebok Blast laces

Comfort

Tongue padding

Everything about the Reebok Blast is exaggerated, including the tongue! Our caliper shows a whopping 14.9 mm of padding!

Another shoe in our lab that comes close to that measurement is the Reebok Question Mid (14.3 mm).

Reebok Blast Tongue padding
Test results
Blast 14.9 mm
Average 9.2 mm
Compared to 36 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1.3 mm
Tongue padding
14.9 mm

Heel tab

The Blast features two funky ring-like pull tabs on both sides of the collar. They were definitely helpful for sliding into the shoe's extra plushy interiors.

Reebok Blast Heel tab

Test results
Blast Finger loop

Removable insole

In case you need to use a custom insert or orthotics, it's easy to do thanks to the shoe's removable insole.

Reebok Blast Removable insole
Test results
Blast Yes

Background

The Reebok Blast was initially released in 1996. It was famously worn by Nick Van Exel, a point guard, when he was still with the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2011, Reebok reached out to rap superstar Meek Mill to endorse the shoe as a fashion statement. The first retro release of the shoe was in November 2014 at £130.

The Blast was part of the famous Mobius collection which also includes silhouettes like the Shaqnosis, the Big Hurt, and the Kamikaze.

Reebok Blast quality

One really cool design trick of the Reebok Blast is its 50-50 colorway. The colour on the lateral side contrasts with the colour of the medial side. Reebok’s vector logo is on every side of the shoe. The rear panel has a blast-like design that perfectly alludes to the shoe model’s name.

Reebok Blast jump