Gill Bland reviews the Saucony Ride 13, a shoe that might not inspire at first, but will eventually catch your eye.
A midweight, good at everything, neutral, road shoe. That’s what the Saucony Ride 13 is. Doesn’t sound very inspiring, does it?
Perhaps that’s why they decided to release it in a colourway that makes you feel like someone has thrown up in your eyeballs – just so you can’t ignore them. Indeed, you shouldn’t flee the fluro just yet because behind that average sounding intro is a sleeper-shoe.
First impressions of the shoe is that it is plush but still quite light and flexible. Gone is the ISO sleeve, which some had complained about in the past, and in its place is ‘Form Fit’ with the 3D overlay of little firm bits of rubber on the outer of the shoe providing structure while maintaining movement.
The collar and tongue have been slimmed down to reduce weight too, though they are still pretty cushioned. The PWRRun technology which has been developed for the midsole of this shoe will now become the standard type of cushioning for much of the rest of their range.
It is a white, blown rubber that is designed to offer grip and comfort than the previous, harder, crystal rubber. At the tip and heel of the shoe the treads are made of carbon rubber which is harder wearing and higher quality. It’s not the whole way through, presumably for a combination of price and comfort reasons, but that detail underlines the fact that Saucony are planning on this being your big-mileage shoe. So is it?
Good for the big miles?
I’ll be honest, these shoes weren’t an instant hit for me. I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t get it. They didn’t have that instant slipper-like comfort of the Ride ISO 2 and they weren’t a racer.
Pretty soon though I realised that I wasn’t just putting them on for runs which I needed to cover off for testing purposes. I started wearing them for a real range of efforts and each time I sort of forgot that I’d been wearing them when I came back. I thought these shoes were different to the Ride ISO 2 in that I didn’t instantly love them but actually they have one key factor in common.
You forget that you’re wearing them – they are super smooth. Cards on the table I’ve only worn two pairs of Saucony shoes but so far it seems that their skill is in making shoes that you forget. Perhaps not a great brand strategy but isn’t that actually what you want most of the time when you’re in the middle of a big training block?
What does Jo Pavey say?
Jo Pavey, who calls herself “fussy about shoes” is leading the PR for these shoes. When explaining why she liked them she pointed out that they are particularly ideal for her situation at the moment – with restricted access to the track she needs a shoe that she can keep hammering sessions in on the road, getting good results but without worrying about injury.
Protective, but fast. She particularly counseled against running too much in cushioned shoes as this can cause overuse injuries.
A key turning point for me was when I did a drills and skills session in the Ride 13s. Whereas my other high-mileage shoes would have me wobbling all over when trying to do stability work, or losing power on plyos, the Saucony’s retained such a good feeling of connection with the ground that they enabled me to engage my feet and ankles more effectively than in other comparable offerings.
So, if you are looking for an everyday, all uses, gets the job done shoe I’d recommend these. Oh and that colourway – it’s called “mutant”. Top marks at least for not being pink!
Miles run in testing: 72
Weight: 289g / 244g (Saucony Kinvara 11 is 233g, Brooks Ghost 13 is 286g.)
Heel-toe drop: 8mm
A multi use shoe – offers contact with the road and cushioning
Doesn’t veer too far from Saucony tried and tested shoes
The design is aimed at durability
Colours – you either love or hate
Not super cushioned and not a racer
It’s not shiny or exciting. Just does its thing well.
Colours – you either love or hate
Gill Bland was given these shoes for testing purposes from Saucony, but we always ask for honest opinions, rather than trying to keep any brands happy.