Athletic shoes with built in safety features are a popular alternative to work boots and with very good reason. They’re lighter, generally more breathable and obviously a lot more casual looking.
Today however, I’ll be talking about Reebok, specifically, their Sublite RB4005 safety shoe.
Obviously Reebok make solid sneakers but do they make decent safety shoes? Read on to find out.
Multiple reviews of this shoe report a narrow toe box so I ordered one size larger than usual. This resulted in a comfortable fit but the toe box still wasn’t exactly roomy. If you have even remotely wide feet, I’d therefore avoid these shoes completely.
The athletic design means that there’s no break in period. Despite the presence of the safety toe, if you’re used to boots, you’ll also notice the drop in weight immediately.
The uppers are comfortable with a mixture of leather and mesh. The mesh along with the low cut provides plenty of air flow.
Because it’s been designed specifically for the workplace, Reebok have included a “footfuel” footbed on top of the EVA midsole.
This consists of small polymers which contract and expand as you walk. The purpose of this is to reduce foot fatigue when walking for long periods of time.
While the footbed seems well designed, the EVA midsole is a little on the thin side particularly around the heel. As a result, the shoes are just average in terms of shock absorption.
This doesn’t mean that the shoes are uncomfortable. But it does mean that if you work on hard surfaces for long periods of time, the shoes listed above are a better choice.
It might be practically invisible but the steel toe meets ASTM standards. The shoes are also equipped with electrical hazard protection. Reebok claims that the outsoles are slip resistant but I found them to be no more slip resistant than regular Reebok sneakers i.e. not very.
I’ve worn Reebok sneakers for years and these basically look identical. As you can see from the grey/red version, they look nothing like work shoes. They are also available in black/grey provided you don’t need electrical hazard protection.
So far, the Sublite RB4005 have been reviewed 46 times on Amazon for an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. The positive reviews mainly talked about comfort and the lack of weight compared to a work boot. The negative reviews, on the other hand, were almost unanimously regarding the narrow fit. Nobody else seems to care about the thin sole.
The Reebok Sublite is basically a standard pair of Reebok sneakers with a safety toe added. If that’s all that you’re looking for, you’ll be happy with your purchase (provided you get the size right).
Other than that, I can’t really recommend them. The lack of proper slip resistance means that they’re not really suitable for most work environments. And the thin sole means that they’re also less than ideal for working on concrete.
It also doesn’t help that they’re roughly the same price as the aforementioned Keen and Timberland boots, both of which are superior in almost every way.