THOMAS: Craft has always made clean modern-looking apparel, and while their first shoe – the road-trail-combo CTM Carbon Ultra – was visually appealing, the shoe was heavier than we expected. Instead of being a stealthy racer, it was more of an SUV.
The CTM Race Rebel replicates many of the same design aesthetics as the Carbon Ultra, but is meant to be more of a drag racer instead of an SUV. Fast but capable – that seemed to be the goal of Craft in designing the Race Rebel.
With an airy upper, a UD Foam Pro midsole (EVA-based), and a carbon plate in a lightweight package, we were hoping the CTM Carbon Race Rebel would embrace the darkness of its all-black soul.
In all reality, it doesn’t. But we’ll break it down like we always do, and you can be the final judge.
JARRETT: Sometimes I question Thomas’s true intentions. He’s typically not too keen on other people taking spins in his shoes (in case they have COVID feet), but he was suspiciously quick to let me try on the Craft CTM Ultra Carbon Race Rebel. Normally he wants my wide feet nowhere near his shoes. Was this a trap? Is he setting me up?!
ROBBE: Craft designs and creates some top-notch gear, from running to cycling. The CTM line (which stands for Craft Tailored Motion btw) is their first foray into performance running shoes, and while I wasn’t particularly impressed with the CTM Carbon Ultra, I had high expectations for the CTM Race Rebel.
THOMAS: Despite loving an all-black race kit, I’m surprisingly not cool with the blacked-out color palette on any shoe. That said, the shoe’s design is sleek. There’s definitely some familiarity between the midsole design if you’re familiar with other racers like the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, but this looks much better. Also, as shoe nerds we enjoyed all the stats and tech info being printed right on the shoe.
On initial step-in, I noticed that there is lots of room in the toe box. Case in point – after I finished getting my miles in, I handed the shoe off to our wide-foot reviewer Jarrett. He was able to run in the shoe, which proves how roomy the Rebel is. The one-piece engineered mesh upper breathes well. The tongue is free-floating, secured in place by a lace loop. Craft uses their proprietary blend of EVA called UD Foam Pro for the midsole with a carbon plate. The stack is 33mm X 23 mm for a 10 mm drop. There are generous amounts of “Ultra-light, ultra-thin rubber outsole for fast road conditions” on the outsole.
JARRETT: The Race Rebel’s jacquard mesh upper is super thin, but still feels strong. Even though it doesn’t stretch at all, the lack of overlays is welcomed for my wider midfoot. The heel collar lacks structure, although my foot was held in place and I didn’t experience any heel slippage. The heel slip Achilles issue was what ruined the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 for me. Craft gave me hope that a thin heel collar/counter doesn’t mean pain and anger.
There are a lot of runners out there who pronate and struggle with some of the super soft race shoes. The Race Rebel’s UD Foam Pro midsole is up there with the Hyperion Elite 2 in terms of stability. While the ride was not what I hoped for, I felt comfortable with my stride and form thanks to the shoes being more stable.
ROBBE: As Thomas and Jarret said, the design of the shoe is pretty sleek. Or slick. Or both. Not a huge fan of the all-black colorway either, but the design is definitely there. Which is not surprising as Craft has long embraced the whole European simplicity-in-design aesthetic.
I actually felt that the shoe rode okay, in that it was somewhat firm but still had a bit of bounce to it (though not nearly as much as the nitrogen-infused foams). It rolled along nicely, especially if you do like a ride that trends on the firmer side. I didn’t really notice the carbon plate the way I do in other shoes, but more on that later.
The Nano Weight Race Trac outsole is sufficiently grippy and covers a large area of the outsole surface. It features a fine, contoured lug pattern that gives traction on smooth surfaces.
I will say the size was about a half-size too small for me so I was only able to get a couple 7 mile runs in the shoe before my toes started to hurt.Shop Race Rebel – Men Shop Race Rebel – Women
THOMAS: There is no life in the midsole. No bounce, no snap, just a firm daily trainer feel. When you pay $250 for a carbon plated racer, you expect something comparable to the top-tier racers. This shoe falls short. The Race Rebel weighs 8.5 oz/250 g for a size 10.5, which puts it in the heavier column for race day. I mentioned that the fit was accommodating in the good section. For me, that is bad. The upper felt sloppy, and the tongue was not integrated well.
JARRETT: Each run I was really hoping to get that carbon plate racer sensation. Each run I ended disappointed by the lack of that carbon plate racer sensation. For me, the Race Rebel doesn’t provide that oomph that I get in the New Balance RC Elite 2 or ASICS Metaspeed Sky. There isn’t much of a bounce, nor is there any pop in the UD Foam Pro midsole. The Race Rebel feels like it could be a daily trainer. If “carbon plate inside” wasn’t written on the midsole, I wouldn’t even think that there was one.
While the Race Rebel is extremely accommodating in the forefoot, the upper is baggy enough that it allows my foot to move around. On my 10 mile run, I was on the verge of bad blisters on both feet on the medial side of the forefoot. It has to be telling that both Thomas with his narrow feet and I with my wide bois had fit issues.
ROBBE: Let’s start with the fact that this shoe can’t be in the race day conversation. It’s on the heavier side of race day shoes, which can be fine if everything else is there. However, everything else is not there.
The upper may be one of the weirdest fitting uppers I’ve ever tried on. It’s sloppy, it’s roomy, my foot slid around (even though it was a half size too small). It was just … weird. The tongue also has the potential to fold under on the sides as there are no gussets or anything holding it in place and it’s made out of a very thin mesh.
The ride is pretty average, and for a race day shoe, just plain uninspirational. As Jarrett said, I can’t really feel any pop from the carbon plate or bounce from the midsole. This could maybe work as a lightweight daily trainer or a tempo shoe, but even then I feel like there are plenty of better options out there.
Lastly, for $250 there are far better options out there and I don’t think the price point justifies this particular shoe.Shop Race Rebel – Men Shop Race Rebel – Women
THOMAS: It isn’t too often that I rush to get the required amount of miles in for a review. I was excited to get these shoes off after I hit the 20-mile mark. On the first run, they felt flat and firm. I thought it might be the mileage on my legs or a bad run. I reloaded the next day and couldn’t feel a difference from the previous run. Then I mixed in a different trainer we reviewed, and my legs felt good, and the paces were flowing. I went back to the Race Rebels, and after a few miles, I just wanted them off my feet.
Shoe reviews are subjective by nature, so my experience may differ from yours, but it would be hard to recommend this to anyone looking for a different race day shoe. If you want a firm Tommy Rivs shoe that can be used for speed workouts and you also have $250 to spend on it (and the potential to be disappointed), then by all means go for it. But there are many better options for both daily training and race day, no matter the distance.
Regarding the all-black look, let’s save that for the service industry. If you want comparisons, look at the original Brooks Hyperion Elite.
JARRETT: I was really excited when I tried on the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel. On step in, it felt like the Hyperion Elite 2, but with a heel that wasn’t tearing my Achilles apart. The Race Rebel has a #WideFootFam approved midfoot and roomy forefoot. Unfortunately, that excitement quickly faded once I got running.
The upper doesn’t have any stretch nor structure, so the extra room ended up being sloppy and baggy. The Race Rebel lacks the premier carbon racer feel and the ride is borderline dull. I’d be way less harsh if it was a daily trainer and priced around $150, but it’s not. The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is priced at $250. My hope is that Craft gets it right with their next version.
ROBBE: I’m always down for anything with a Tommy Rivs vibe. Or at least I thought I was. This shoe just did not hit me in the way I was hoping. While it is a lightweight shoe (which makes it somewhat fun by nature), it just fell flat when actually out on the run. It’s certainly not the worst shoe in the world, it’s that for all its promises and promotion, I expected more out of a $250 renegade.
You can pick up the at Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel for $250 by using the shop link below.Shop Race Rebel – Men Shop Race Rebel – Women
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