For awhile now I had felt like I was still searching for “the one.” I absolutely love the Brooks Pure Flow 4s, but the 5s were too narrow for my feet. I love the close connection to the ground and know that my gait is more natural in them. But on the other hand, they don’t have much support for long runs.
Several runners I know recommend them for shorter runs, such as 5ks. I never ran farther than 5 miles in my Pure Flows. They don’t have a ton of cushion, but I feel very comfortable in them. When I needed a pair a couple of months ago, 4s were hard to find, but I found a pair at Nordstrom rack. The cushion did NOT feel the same as my other pairs.
I began running in my Nike Pegasus again, which I do believe are good shoes. They feel very responsive and supportive, and are great for long runs. I like that they aren’t too soft; they don’t feel like pillows. But, I do feel like they influence my gait because they I feel like I have high heels on. After running in Pure Flows, going from a 4mm to 12 mm offset is pretty significant.
I went to my local running shop and began trying on a lot of different shoes. I tried the Hoka Cliftons and really liked them. The drop is also 4mm and they were very comfortable and surprisingly light. I don’t know if I would give them an award for being beautiful, an award I can effortlessly give Nikes. The were a little too narrow. I never thought I had wide feet but it seems like I do. Or else my feet just swell. It could be either. I didn’t want to get Hokas until after the half just because they felt so different–mentally–to me.
Next I tried New Balance Vazee. I was interested in this shoe because the offset was 6mm. I really wanted to love this shoe. They are stylish with a mild offset. However, the cushion was not what I was expecting. These shoes felt pretty stiff. My arches are very, very high and my foot instantly pronated and my ankles rolled in while wearing the shoes. I knew I couldn’t run in them, and would need to add different insoles just to walk in them.
Lastly, I found a winner in the Saucony 9. I had done some research and learned that the offset is 8 mm. I hadn’t tried a Saucony ever before but know that they are well-liked in the running community. These shoes are very cushy, but not quite as cushy as Hokas. The medium offset still has me running naturally, and the arch is perfect. I have tried shoes with more arch support before, but they didn’t work for me. I don’t want to feel like my arch is being pushed up, but I don’t like inches of daylight under it either.
This shoe hugs my foot perfectly, with the softest, most forgiving material. The area behind the wraps the achilles tendon is baby-soft. The whole shoe feels soft, yet sturdy.
I have ran on a paved trail, and on the dirt alongside. The shoes have good traction. Even with all the padding, I still feel a good connection to the ground. Landing on the ball of my foot is still doable without many mental reminders. I feel like this is the perfect compromise between feeling every step in a lightly-padded shoe and running with high heels (12 mm drop).
The only con is that the shoe feels slightly narrow on my big toe. But I believe this is just a personal issue though because I have horrible big toe calluses. Really, not a pretty sight. But if I get rid of them I get blisters, so I just let them be. I might need a wide next time.
I’m enjoying the Saucony Rides so much, I am doing all my runs in these shoes now.
Questions for you
Have you ever tried Saucony?
What are your favorite running shoes?