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Blast From The Past: Reebok Brings Back Pump-Enhanced Running Shoes

Reebok is bringing its Pump technology back into running shoes.

Here are examples of the new Reebok ZPump Fusion shoe.
Here are examples of the new Reebok ZPump Fusion shoe.

What is past is prologue. What’s old is new again. What goes around comes around. You get the idea, especially when you see the new Z-Pump Fusion running shoe from Reebok.

Rekindling the popular air-pressure shoe-fitting technology from the late 1980s and early 1990s, Reebok unveiled its first running shoe with air pressure technology in quite some time. Back in the day, pump technology allowed runners, golfers, tennis players and basketball players to “pump” their shoes full of air so it could adapt to the contours of various foot shapes to create a locked-in, near-custom fit. The new version in the ZPump Fusion ($109 at reebok.com and at Finish Line stores) is similar, only it works with modern running shoe designs and materials—including a one-piece seamless stretchy mesh upper, an uber-flexible outsole and a four-eyelet elastic lace system. The inflatable air chamber wraps the ankle, top of the foot and arch saddle in attempt to maximize a runner’s agility and stability. (For more, watch Reebok’s video about the shoe.) Reebok is also offering fully customized build-ups ($139 at reebok.com). (Note: Competitor’s wear-testers have not tested the ZPump Fusion shoe.)

Reebok has used Pump technology in basketball shoes on and off since 2005 and created several special-edition models for the technology’s 25th anniversary in 2014. It has also made retro/heritage models of some of its classic Pump running shoes in recent years, including the Pump Graphlite. The most notable running shoe with Pump technology, the Pump Graphlite was endorsed by rival American decathletes Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson in 1992 and part of Reebok’s massive “Dan & Dave” marketing campaign prior to the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials. (That campaign went south after O’Brien no-heighted in the pole vault, thus failing to make the U.S. Olympic team. Johnson, however, wound up earning a bronze medal in those Olympics, while O’Brien rebounded in 1996 to win the gold medal in Atlanta.)