Let me start off by saying I'm a Saucony guy. I've found that the Kinvara and Hattori have become my shoes of choice. While I only use the Hattori for 5ks and below, the Kinvaras have become my "workhorse" shoe I use to train and race at all distances. I've tried other companies minimalist shoes and been disappointed, so when I heard that Saucony was coming out with a minimalist/zero drop shoe of their own I was chomping at the bit to run in a pair.
|All you need to know at a glance|
Okay, so onto the shoe. You know that shows can be fantastic, but if they don't look cool then you're probably just not going to
buy them or wear them. I was sent the black/red/green pair...and they look awesome! The first time I wore them out for a run with a group of friends, everyone literally stopped to ask me what cool new shoes I was wearing.The shoe has a great color combination with the matte and shiny accents and reflective details. The shoe is eye catching in all versions of color combinations.A nice addition I like is the shoe's "name badge" right on the side of the shoe for all to see. There's nothing I dislike more than looking at shoes and other than being able to tell the manufacturer, having no idea which "type" or "version" they are. The internal bootie construction with the breathable mono mesh not only makes the shoe comfortable (we'll get to that in a bit) but makes for an attractive sublimated color-look as well. Saucony, even the Russian judge will give you a 10 for style points on these kicks!
|The shoe bends naturally with your foot|
|Don't worry, I bought this pic|
The midsole and outsole is made almost entirely of EVA+ material (a strong, durable foam). There are 24 independent EVA+ "pods" on the bottom of the shoe to make contact with each foot strike and each pod is deeply cut out allowing the show to bend and flex...naturally, like your foot would. What does that mean to you? It doesn't feel like you're wearing a shoe at all. The lightweight shoe and flexible "pod" sole, feel like an extension of your foot. The shoe doesn't "tell'' your foot where to strike, rather the shoe works with your natural stride and foot placement. The upper (top of the shoe) is comprised of a mesh covering and interior sock-like bootie which not only reduces weight but provides a snug fit without restricting the natural movement of your feet/toes during foot strike. An added benefit? Because I run in the snow, mud, wet environment of New England, I find the upper dries out quickly which really helps to keep my feet dry and from freezing on long runs. So, the combination of the sole and the upper makes...dare I say it...a plush feel for not only a shoe but a "minimalist" one to boot! Even for a heel striker like me the shoes feel fantastic. To be honest, I've found that because of the lighter weight and quicker turnover I've become more of a "mid foot" striker. Thus far I've taken them out on 5, 7, 9 and 10 mile training runs and have had no issue. I wore them for the Celtic 5k last weekend, (yes, I bought the image, relax Capstone) and I didn't think about or feel any pain in the feet, ankles, knees or hips...which sadly left me plenty of time to focus on the pain of turning the first mile on a 5:40 (I still owe a race report for that race...I'm getting to it I promise). Rarely do I tell everyone I know that "you should really try this shoe"...but this is that time. I think once you strap on a pair of Virratas...you'll be a fan of them like I am.
You can find out more about the Saucony Virrata and order you own pair from the Saucony store here. Now I'm off for a run!