I’m a creature of habit. A brand loyalist. Look at the stuff I own and have owned, and you’ll see very little variation from what I’ve bought and used in the past.
So stepping out and trying a new brand over something I’ve trusted for years is not something I do very often. I find what I like, and I stick with it.
That’s been the case for running shoes for quite some time. But every now and then, it’s worth taking a risk.
I wore out my last set of sneaks with several hundred miles of training and racing. They were done. So it came time to find replacements.
My needs: A shoe that works with mid- to forefoot-strike (which means a low heel drop), does not have a lot of motion control and has the type of comfort I need for long runs. I settled on the Saucony Ride 7.
I have little experience with this brand, but the company has a good reputation. Worth a shot, right?
— An 8 mm drop, giving it a lower profile for those of us who are not heel strikers.
— Weighs 8.5 ounces.
— A neutral design, meaning that it’s not geared toward heavily pronating foot strikes.
— Moisture wicking fabric.
I run in heat, I don’t pronate and my forefoot strike seem to all indicate that this would be a good fit for me.
My initial impressions were good. The shoe is light and comfortable, with the right amount of cushioning for longer runs on the pavement. I’ve put on a couple of hundred miles in them since my purchase, with runs going anywhere from 2 to 13 miles, averaging between 20 and 25 miles a week.
They’ve held up fairly well, too. I would expect the kind of mileage they’re getting to result in considerable tread wear and such, but so far that has not been the case. The sole is getting a little stiffer, but they still feel good. I’ve got a couple of races coming up in the next month, and I feel good about lacing these up and letting it rip.
I’d also say that the neutral sole construction suits me well. There seems to be a bias among shoe makers to design products that favor people who pronate (such as a really high inside arch support). This causes me problems. The Ride 7’s design is meant for those of us who don’t pronate or who (gasp!) supinate. You know who you are. And if this is you, this might be your shoe.
The Saucony Ride 7 retails for $120, making it a higher-end shoe, though definitely not at the top of the running shoe price range.
If I’m shelling out $120 on a pair of shoes, I better be one happy camper. I can say that I am. They’ve held up well under heavy use and remained comfortable. High-mileage runners can’t get away with going on the cheap — we have to invest in our training. And when you put it like that, gravitating toward higher-end shoes makes sense.
It’s hard to convince a guy like me to stray from brands I trust, but I’d go with the Ride 7 again when it’s time to find a replacement.
So in summary, if you’re the type who is regularly training for half marathon or marathon races (and you’re not a heavy pronator), the Ride 7 is going to be tough to beat.
Note: These shoes were not provided to me by the manufacturer.