Saucony (pronounced sock-a-knee) was founded in 1898 in Pennsylvania, but was bought out in 1910 by a Russian immigrant businessman, who specialized in athletic shoes himself. By the 1980s, the Saucony-derived lines were the best known and most popular, so the Hyde branding changed to celebrate the name of the winning shoes. They’ve been making winning shoes across a portfolio of running, walking and trail shoes for the 40-odd years since.
Much of their success is derived from their determination to keep reexamining each shoe in their portfolio to see what could be better, but—just as importantly, what their customers like and should not be tampered with. It’s wonderful when a shoe brand’s “all new” update keeps the features you’ve come to love and rely upon.
One of their classics, the Saucony Jazz, is one of their most vintage designs and continues to have the highest sales across their entire range. However, it’s a day-to-day sneaker to be worn with jeans or shorts for a trek into town just as much as a run across the park. Here, we’re looking specifically at running shoes—the ones which help you get fit, reach your personal best, or beat someone else’s.
With so many options to choose from across the four areas of their portfolio (they also make shoes specifically for walking), it’s hard to know where to start. There’s a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes and biomechanical designs to pick from. So that you can spend less time searching and more time training, we’ve filtered their range down to the best male and female shoes in five categories.
Where the shoe design differs for men and women, we have written the pros and cons into the body of the review for each specific shoe. Where the same design has met the same reception by male and female runners, we’ll present the pros and cons as a separate reminder at the end of the section.
If you’ve got another minute to hang around, then we’ve provided a checklist to help guide buyers to decide upon their own pros and cons for each recommended shoe, or to assist in a broader search.
Ready to get up and running? Here’s our five categories and favorites in each.
Top 5 Best Saucony Running Shoes
OUR TOP PICK
Best for Comfort: Saucony Men’s Triumph 17 Running Shoe
The Triumph 17 was released in 2019 and benefits from Saucony’s most up-to-date technologies in cushioning and foot support in distance and training shoes. Let’s talk about the specifics of the cushioning first.
PWRRUN+ is a foam layer between your footbed and outsole which gives you impact protection as you land and flexibility across the sole of the foot for a powerful toe-off. It’s incredibly bouncy and responsive, giving a pillowy feel. PWRRUN+ comes second only to PWRRUN PB, which is featured in the 2020 release of Endorphin speed, a sprinting shoe covered at the end of this list.
The interior is just as soft and plush, including design features such as the soft heel collars and the biomechanically engineered footbeds. The FormFit approach to the construction of the main body of the shoe is about easing your foot’s experience of being firmly contained. FormFit is sometimes cited as being the direct replacement of Isofit uppers, but it’s more of a holistic approach which retains some benefits of Isofit design while updating others.
As Saucony say themselves, FormFit acts like a luxurious bucket seat for your foot. While this certainly involves changing the way your soles feel in the footbed and heel cup, it also means changing the uppers to include 3D printed overlays. The fewer joining points you have on a shoe, the less opportunity for hot spots to develop or, even worse, blisters to evolve.
The Triumph 17 features the best cushioning not just within in Saucony’s own portfolio, but across the wider range of neutral road shoes.
- Soft, pillowy feel
- Very durable inside and out
- Great ventilation
- Plenty of room for the toes to spread out
- The sizing doesn’t seem consistent to previous iterations in the line (it’s unexpectedly long)It’s not fast enough as a competing shoe
This category presents quite a difficult choice, as the Koa ST performs so well on slippery and muddy surfaces, the Switchback ISO is the most flexible of the collection (for best speed), and the Peregrine scores so strongly for grip, stability and foot protection in equal measure.
What makes the Xodus stand out is the sheer comfort, which will give you the resilience and stamina you need for ultra runs on all terrains. Essentially they’ve taken the cushioning which makes the Triumph 17 so plush and added extra traction and under-foot protection. How?
Well, the shoe’s upper seals out debris from the trail. The time it takes to empty a shoe of grit can do hideous damage to your attempts to trash a personal best. The EVERUN cushioning stabilizes your foot and gives you responsive spring, even on what would usually be painful terrain.
The outsole features a combination of PWRTRAC tacky rubber for excellent grip across the whole base of the foot and XT-900 under the forefoot for a stronger toe-off. The tread features moderately deep lugs shaped like chevrons across the entire base, which will give you the stamina advantage as you tackle those inclines. On the downhill stretches, the heel cap support will give you the confidence to keep your footing at pace.
This is not a light shoe. What you gain in foot protection and cushioning, you lose in speed. If your favored sport is endurance racing, then this does not present a problem because the comfort and molded fit of the shoe will give you as much staying power as the shoe itself. It’s exceptionally durable.
This shoe comes in a single design of black and citron contrast colorways. It’s a green that’s so bright that it’s yellow at first glance. There is no danger of not being seen when you run the road section of your race in these shoes.
- Superb comfort
- Great under-foot protection
- Great traction and heel support
- Benefits from the most up-to-date cushioning and sole design technology
- It’s heavy
- Better for endurance than speed
Best for Supination (underpronation): Saucony Women’s Echelon 7 Running Shoe
Women’s Echelon 7 has several features to support runners who underpronate. The support begins with the external heel support to ensure a straight-line fit of the foot within the shoe. Beneath the sockliner, which can be removed so that you can insert your own custom orthotic, there is a top sole made of Saucony’s Everun durable cushioning for strong energy return with each stride.
The FormFit contoured footbed cinches the foot at the midsole and limits the opportunity for outward rolling. That said, it’s not such an exclusively molded shoe that neutral-gaited runners can’t find it comfortable. Other features with a universal appeal are the reflective elements on the heel (very reassuring for early morning, winter and late night runners), the attractive colorway combinations of black, slate gray, aqua and teal, and the nifty grip of the IBR+ (forefoot) and XT-900 (heel) rubbers, which resist abrasion in the vulnerable areas and add bounce to the step.
The shoe comes in half sizes from 5 to 12 with wide and extra-wide versions.
There are a couple of features to make you aware of with the Echelon 7. Firstly, if you typically buy a wide or size up because the toe box usually feels too narrow, then perhaps bypass that rule of thumb in this instance. The main trend of customer feedback suggests that this shoes comes up a little large compared to most Saucony shoes, particularly in the broad toe box. Secondly, this is not a light shoe. It’s great for dissipating the impact of loaded landings, but it’s difficult to generate speed. This isn’t so much of an issue if you’re an endurance competitor.
The Men’s competition running shoe has everything in common with the Echelon 7 with the addition of Isofit technologies applied to the shoe’s upper. Isofit technology is about refining the lacing system, the padding and positioning of the tongue and the fit of the upper itself to mold to your foot to give that soft, sock-like feel.
As with the Echelon, the ventilation is excellent. Over long distances, it’s easy for feet to overheat and start feeling a touch swampy, particularly with an orthotic, Everun cushioning and FormFit cushioning working in combination to stabilize the foot inside the shoe.
Breathability is a must and you can see your sock through the synthetic mesh of this Competition shoe. It’s durable, comfortable, and serves a niche gait market. That said, some customers have found that although the cushioning is very comfortable, the arch can feel a little high. a little too high. Also, the sheer amount of mesh does not make this an ideal wet weather shoe, quick as it is to dry out.
The Saucony 13 provides a nice balance for moderate overpronators. Coating the foam but sitting just below the sockliner is a layer of TPU molded beading which forms a gentle ridge to deflect the imbalance caused by your foot rolling inward. However, it’s not such a prominent or committing mold that it would make the shoe seriously uncomfortable for neutral feet. This is good news if one foot pronates just a little more than the other.
The TPU beads also serve to absorb shock. In fact the entire shoe has a pleasing degree of plushness to it. The PWRRUN cushioning will give you a decent degree of bounce and returned energy. The heel is nicely protected along with the ankle with a nice collar, the tongue is gently padded, and the FormFit interior gives the molded feel to heels, midsole and forefoot.
The heel-to-toe drop is moderate, which is good news: too high a gradient inside the shoe could otherwise put too much pressure on the big and second toes, which are typically working overtime to help an overpronating runner keep balance under the best of conditions. As currently designed, the roll from heel to toe is pleasingly smooth.
A lovely detail about these shoes is that they retain their neat silhouette despite the stack height created by the PWRRUN cushioning. They come in ten colorway designs which offer a good choice of vivid high visibility or a more subtle, sober tone. If you seriously struggle with an inward roll, then the Omni is worth looking at (as an honorable mention) because the stability construction is more robust.
- Great propulsion and cushioning for long distances
- A good choice for runners who have feet with different levels of overpronation (perhaps due to temporary or recent injury)
- Nicely padded, long tongue
- Spare laces provided
- The toe box was a little narrow for some
- These shoes are durable but not hugely flexible. Better for longer distances than speed runs
- Some have commented that the shoes take time to break in because of the TPU molding
The Kinvara 11 has long been one of Saucony’s most celebrated racing flats, but as of July 2020, there’s a new kid on the speed blocks. The sole of the Endorphin Speed is packed with their lightest, most responsive cushioning yet: the PeBax-based PWRRUN PB cushioning. PeBax is a specialist elastomer: a polymer which gives a huge amount of returned energy following compression. While adding barely any weight to your foot, the PWRRUN PB layer dissipates shock and returns enough spring to give you good take-off speed with each foot fall.
Between your outsole and the Everun top sole comes a nylon-based plate to help with ground lift with each toe-off. It essentially scoops or guides your foot into a position which adds a little propulsion power to the angle of your foot as you transition your weight for the next step. The plastic construction adds flexibility while keeping things as light as possible. The plate doesn’t make its presence known through the cushioned top sole, however.
The Endorphin Speed has been rated by running club testers as one of the most comfortable shoes for dialing up speed. It’s also springy enough to train in. Taken all together, the plate, cushioning and outsole design are part of what Saucony call their Speedroll technology, and it adds an unmistakable zip to performance while remaining beautifully comfortable.
Your foot is given good support both by the heel guard and by the super-light, almost spray-on upper, which is a brightly combination of highly breathable mesh and 3D-printed synthetic material for a close fit which supports the weight of the shoe without applying painful pressure to the literal and middle cuneiform bones—the ones which hurt when you you’re your shoes too tightly.
They look like outdoor play shoes at first. The combination of glaring white and cheerful shades of contrast neons suggests a teenager about town rather than a serious runner, but you do need shoes which lift your spirits. It is feeling like you’re out-sprinting the wind, and even more fun beating your own personal bests into the dust.
Because of the recency of the release date, it’s nowhere near as widely rated as Saucony’s former favorites. However, we feel that it’s just a matter of time before it’s racking up Amazon reviews in the hundreds and at the 75% 5-star approval level associated with Saucony’s veteran shoes.
- Feather light (7.8oz men’s; 6.8oz women’s)
- Great rebound for stamina
- Can handle long miles as well as speed
- Made using very recent technology
- Exceptional ventilation
- The price
Best Saucony Running Shoes Buyers Guide
This is a quick checklist for things to take into account when deciding which shoes are best for you.
- Budget: You’ll have a good idea of what your upper spending limit is. Because there can be such variation in price across different style and size combinations, you may wish to use Amazon’s filtering system to limit the number of false starts in your search.
- Style and aesthetics: Don’t forget that all of these shoes look slimmer from the top. The more robust foam levels can make the shoes look a little heavy from the side, which is misleading. Go for darker colors if you want something which looks more streamlined.
- Your running plans: Will you be mostly on the road, or on mixed terrain? If you want good all-rounder shoes, then opt for the designs featuring Tri-Flex on the outsole. The lugs aren’t so deep that they will throw off your flat surface running, but they’re spaced nicely enough to give you tractions on hills and trails.
- Where do you live?: If there’s often heavy rain and the ground tends to be wet for several weeks of the year, then perhaps invest in shoes with soft rubber in the sole for a better grip on the sidewalk. Outsoles featuring the PWRTRAC, XT-900 or IBR+ rubber formulations will help a lot.
- Know your feet: Do you have Plantar Fasciitis? Then perhaps go for the more modern shoes with FormFit molding and a PWRRUN foam, or later (PWRRUN+ or PWRRUN PB). If you don’t take a neutral shoe, then you can choose one which will take an orthotic, or type ‘Saucony overpronation / supination’ into Amazon’s search.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Everun and EVA foam the same thing?
Everun offers the same midsole stability as EVA foam but provides significantly more energy return. It’s responsive cushioning, which means that you’ll be expending less energy for the same number and impact of footfalls, making you less prone to fatigue.
A key feature which marks Everun out is a great cushion is the durability. The top sole is one part of the shoe which takes the most beating. Your foot presses down into it with every foot fall, making it prone to thinning, compression, and abrasion. Everun cushioning, however, is exceptionally resilient.
How often do I have to replace my running shoes?
If you’re running several times a week, then a decently robust pair should see you through 400 miles or more. This depends on several factors, of course. Primarily, the terrain. Blazing summer asphalt is going to wear your soles down faster, particularly if they’re made of soft blown rubber.
If you’re all about lunging up and down rocky hills, then you can wear the lugs down sooner. The interior of stability shoes is designed to prevent one side of the shoe wearing down significantly faster than the other, but you may still notice some degradation of the tread in some places sooner than others.
One way of making your shoes last many hundreds of miles is to buy identical pairs and alternate their use. Some runners set up internet alerts so that they’re told when two-for-one or other great offers are made on their favorite pair.
Are there any problems that Saucony shoes are known for?
Problems are relative, depending upon the shape and size of your feet, and your gait. If there’s any single thread that runs through critical feedback, it’s that the sizing on their shoes can be unpredictable between lines and iterations within that line. The trend appears to be that Saucony shoes have grown over the past couple of years.
They used to be a great shoe for narrower feet, but the interior appears more generously apportioned these days. Our advice would be to select your normal size with a close eye on the shipping conditions for returns for various style and size combinations.
Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API