Updated: May 2, 2022
A Physical Therapist POV
My physical therapy senses started tingling when I saw an email from Spartan advertising the Spartan x Kane Revive shoe. I have found myself wondering if there was a better alternative out there than wearing muddy shoes after a Spartan race, or some slides that have no foot support. When you are cramping, cold, wet, muddy, and a walking blister, having a supportive post-race shoe is a niche that needs filling. Having worked with patients with various lower extremity injuries, footwear is always a hot topic that we discuss. The foot/ankle complex can play a huge role in balance, pain up the kinetic chain, and gait/postural impairments.
Let's take a closer look.
We will break down this shoe by looking at...
Specs/Details from the manufacturer
First Impressions/Breakdown of design
Putting them to the test (various stressors)
Final Rating: Should you buy them?
What's so special about this shoe?
Per Spartan.com, these shoes use "the movement of the body to heal, renew and regenerate. Combining proven orthopedic principles, sustainable materials and contemporary style, SPARTAN by Kane helps you recharge naturally."
"SPARTAN by Kane is the first active recovery footwear designed for athletes"
The main specs/details of this shoe include...
Lightweight two-piece injection-molded sneaker
Dual Density BounceBack™ foam (made from Brazilian sugarcane): 100% Green EVA Foam
Made from over 70% eco-sustainable materials
Spartan exclusive color: Digital Camo
Stimulating footbeds (interior nodes to activate blood flow)
Price: $50 for Spartan+ members Digital Camo/$75 Kane color waves
First Impressions: Straight out of the box
These come in a cool minimalistic package, with a small bag of interchangeable hang loops.
Per specifications of the company, being a size 11.5 normally, I bought the size down (11 mens).
The soles stood out to me upon inspection, with a decent amount of traction and texture to help navigate muddy/slippery terrain.
The heel cushion was definitely prominent, with a significant amount of compliance when force was applied. This would serve to absorb shock when making heel contact during gait and assist with propulsion.
Visually out of the box, this shoe appears to address many of the design details that I would educate patients on for a post-workout type shoe.
The 10mm heel elevation allows an opportunity to decrease tension on the ankle joint, especially if you have had prior ankle injuries/developed restricted dorsiflexion (can also be due to a tight gastrocnemius-soleus complex).
The inner arch support is prominent for those that tend to have more of a pronated foot, but also serves to take up space for those that have more of a supinated foot.
Testing them out : 3 Terrain Method
I wanted to put my body (primarily my feet/ankles) through various stressors during a weekend and examine how I would feel once I put these shoes on. I decided to exercise in 3 different environments, each placing a different amount of strain through my foot/ankle. I decided to add a 50lb sandbag to all of these to make it feel more like a Spartan race. Let's look at the 3.
Environment 1: Crystal Cove State Park
Hills (concentric/eccentric muscle activity)
Hard dirt/compact dirt
4.39 miles total
Largest elevation climb: 638ft
Environment 2: Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Stairs Up/Trail Down
1.3 mile loop
334ft elevation gain
Partially paved/dirt trail
Environment 3: Beach/Coastal
Soft Sand/Uneven terrain
Results: Based on Kane Revive's 6 recovery features
Breathes: Putting this shoe on after compressing, rubbing, and stressing my foot out from these workouts felt great. The perforations allowed substantial airflow in and cooled my foot down, allowing my muscles to start relaxing. It was a much needed feature.
Stimulates: The nodes on the inside of the shoe took some time to get used to, but after about 30min, they felt like a mini-acupressure massage. They are not too raised, which I think would have made wearing the shoe for a long time more difficult. I also enjoyed having the drastic change of surface/variability in texture, as my foot was in a shoe that had a smooth insert for the entire duration of my workout.
Supports: My foot definitely felt secure in the shoe, with a good wide toe box (front of the shoe to allow freedom in your toes), but had a tight instep (area above the midfoot). I noticed, with the first wear, that there was increased pressure built up around the dorsal (top) aspect of my foot (near the midfoot). Upon removing the shoe (1.5 hours of wear post workout), I noticed some pressure redness and imprints of the perforations (dissipated after a couple hours). With increased wear, this was less of a problem, as the material broke in and made it much more comfortable.
Rebounds: The foam that the shoe is made with does provide a smooth transfer or weight when walking, allowing less work to be done by muscles that have been placed under the stress of a workout. I noticed a relief in my ankle stabilizer muscles while walking with the Revive, which is valuable after running on terrain that utilizes these muscle groups.
Cushions: I was surprised at the amount of cushion this shoe had, since it felt more rigid when manipulating it in my hands out of the box. I think the foam does a good job supporting the foot, but being compliant enough to disperse the shock/forces of walking.
Grips: The soles, with the traction features, served well when walking on concrete, grass, sand, and soil. I want to be able to test them on the muddy course of a Spartan race.
Pros and Cons
Affordable ($50 with Spartan+)
Could use more Spartan colors (sprint, super, beast, ultra) vs. only Camo
The instep may be too tight for some, especially those with a higher arch/equinus type foot.
Offers good pressure relief
Nice attention to detail
Wide toe box/comfortable on the forefoot
The Final Score
As a physical therapist and obstacle course racing enthusiast, a recovery shoe needs to be able to not only allow for comfort, but have biomechanical and anatomical considerations to support the natural structure of the foot. The best features of this shoe, in my opinion, are the foam construction/cushion, wide toe box, and the lightweight design.
Add this together with Kane's environmental/preservation model to their company and I give the Spartan x Kane Revive........
If you are a runner, hiker, or obstacle course racer, these shoes offer the necessary feature to promote recovery. I would recommend them, but keep in mind that recovery after these types of events requires much more than just a shoe (stretching, soft tissue/massage work, etc).
If you are interested in Spartan x Kane collab shoe, check out
For other Kane designs, head over to
Thank you for reading!!!
Alex Zhidetskiy PT, DPT
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