So this Spring Saucony updated and released new versions of three popular shoes, the Mirage IV, Virrata 2 and Kinvara 5. I was lucky enough to be sent a pair of each and have put on enough miles on them that it’s time to put down some thoughts.
This is not a “vs” review as the shoes are aimed at three different markets/types of runners but some comparison is inevitable, if you have been running for a while you should have a pretty good understanding of what shoe works best for you and if you are new to running my advice is to go to running specialty store (not Big5, Sports Authority etc) and have someone look at your gait, try a few shoes and go from there. This is also not a heel striker, mid-foot discussion piece. For the record I try to be as efficient a mid-foot striker as I can and revert back to a bit of a heel striker when I get tired. I have progressed over the years from the Asics 19/20XX series through Brooks to Newtons to Saucony and for the last few years have predominantly been wearing Kinvaras with a smattering of Newtons. So with all that said on with the show. First up is the Mirage IV.
The Look; I love the look of this shoe. I seemed to have evolved into a runner whose wardrobe is filled with red/black and white and these fit right in, they are red, very red they make it look your feet are on fire! This I like!
The Upper; Saucony redesigned the uppers to include FlexFilm to reinforce them, this is overlaid onto the mesh so it’s seamless. The shoes bend nicely when you run, there are no folds in uncomfortable places. The heel counter extends round to the upper laces, it’s supportive but a little unusual in the extent of how much it encroached into the uppers. The inside is not seamless so these may not appeal to triathletes and there are seams where the tongue and heel uppers join.
The Fit; I always size up half a size from regular shoes and I received these in a size US11/UK10/Euro45 and had no problems with the fit The toe box is plenty room enough and caters to my Morton’s toes without issue! Nicely padded and soft heel lining in contrasting colors finishes them off.
The Sole; First the numbers, 24mm heel and 20mm sole gives you a 4mm drop. Not overly thick, but by no means a racing flat. The sole is stiff and firm. It’s a pretty harsh ride and my preference is for something that is a bit softer. The is a plastic medial post, I didn’t feel it (or not feel it) so for me it’s just there. Saucony replaced the ProGrid with PowerGrid in the midsole, which according to the website offers 15% less weight & 30% more durable cushioning than standard EVA.
The Ride; As mentioned I found the ride a bit harsh. This shoe is positioned as a lightweight stability shoe and having run in Neutral shoes for so long I was struggling with the fact that they wanted to put my feet where they wanted to put them rather than letting me work that out. Combined with the stiffness of the sole it just didn’t make for the best of experiences for me.
Overall; I really wanted to like this shoe…if nothing else for the color and styling alone but the bottom line is that they need to work when you are running in them and not just have them looking awesome in the bottom of your closet! Like I said my advice is try them…they may just work for you.
Available online and through your local running store these come in the red shown here, black/lime and as well blue/white for men, for the ladies there are black/pink, purple/white and gray/lime, priced at $110 if you hunt around you’ll probably find them priced closer to the $100 mark.