Over the past few seasons Saucony has quietly transformed themselves from the shoe company of your grandparents to the shoe company of their grandchildren largely through improved styling that holds ties to traditional styling cues while improving each new update with consistently fresh and modern cosmetics. Add to this a renewed focus on the types of shoes that younger runners tend to wear such as lightweight trainers, cross country flats and spikes and you have a recipe for growth within the younger generation while still maintaining contact with their more conservative customer base. The newest updates from Saucony for Spring 2010 should help keep the momentum built up the past few seasons rolling forward.
Saucony updates for Spring 2010 start with the new Saucony ProGrid Triumph 7. Saucony has always been known for producing shoes that have a soft, plush ride as well as having a snug fit in the arch area. The Triumph is Saucony’s premium neutral cushioning model that has traditionally highlighted these qualities. To this end Saucony has addressed several areas in this newest update that exemplify the soft ride and snug arch Saucony is known for. Saucony has increased the Super Rebound Compound (SRC) in the heel of the ProGrid Triumph 7 for improved cushioning on impact plus they have added more blown rubber in the outsole for a softer road feel. A less bulky Arch Lock improves the fit, while the addition of an eye stay within the Arch Lock improves lockdown of the midfoot. A newly added midfoot support bridge should help support the arch better. The fit and performance of the ProGrid Triumph 6 was pretty spot on, so Saucony took the approach of minimizing the “improvements” in search of a better end product, which was the correct path for this particular model. This new edition will likely please the current fan base of the Triumph series and continues to be an attractive model for runners looking at a new high end neutral trainer to consider switching to.
Replacing the Grid Sinister, Saucony’s lightweight neutral trainier is an entirely new model, the Saucony Grid Getgo. The shoe looks great, fits great, and in keeping with the Sinister, the Getgo has a full length Flexion Plate. The Flexion Plate aids the heel toe transition and acts much like a full length plate in a sprint spike where it returns a great deal of energy, but this comes at the expense of weight. The Flexion Plate adds girth to the shoe and unlike the Sinister that featured a cut away midsole to save weight, the Getco has none of the cutaways resulting in a heavier shoe than it should be. The Grid Getgo comes in at 11.2 oz, too heavy to be classified a lightweight trainer as Saucony intends for this model. Nice shoe for everyday training, but too much shoe for real hammering.
One of the franchise shoes for Saucony is the Saucony ProGrid Guide 3. Actually it is the franchise shoe being the #1 model in terms of sales. This being such an important shoe to Saucony you would expect the updates to be safe and for the most part, you’d be correct. In looking at the graphics it’s pretty clear that this model is taking square aim at the Asics 2000 series and given the availability issues with the 2140, the ProGrid Guide 3 should provide a viable alternative for those seeking a moderately priced support trainer. Updates for ProGrid Guide 3 include a new upper with simpler overlays and improved cosmetics. Additionally, taking a hint from the ProGrid Triumph 7 in looking for ways to enhance what Saucony is known for, the ProGrid Guide 3 improves an already plush road feel by increasing the SRC (Super Rubber Compound) in the heel as well as the amount of blown rubber in the forefoot both of which should enhance cushioning.
The Grid Tangent 3 was a hit. It fit great and performed superbly as a moderately priced lightweight support trainer. It was known for being flexible, responsive and cushioned. Saucony keep the midsole and outsole on the new Saucony Grid Tangent 4 unchanged to maintain that same great road feel. They updated the upper by cutting back on the overlays and using lighter weight materials, the result is a Tangent that has the same road manners as the Grid Tangent 3, but is lighter. At 9.0 oz in a mens size 9.0, it’s hard to find fault with the new Grid Tangent 4.
The new Saucony Grid Fastwitch 4 is pretty awesome. The graphics are really cool along with a updated lightweight upper material that increases ventilation and lowers weight. The midsole and outsole remain unchanged from the previous version, so like the Grid Tangent 4, Saucony kept an already working midsole/outsole combination and updated the upper with new eye catching graphics that really add life to this top selling support racer. At 7.0 oz it’s extremely lightweight given the amount of protection and support it offers – a real nice update.
The Saucony Endorphin LD2 is really a nice distance spike, very nice – the only problem is it’s boring. All white, nothing that stands out. The thinking may be that distance kids are conservative, yet the one’s who would be in the market for this type of shoe are good. They know it and they tend to want others to know it, which is expressed by wearing a flamboyant spike. The inside of the Endorphin LD2 has a great Grid Fastwitch 4 tiger stripe treatment, that unfortunately doesn’t make it to the exterior of the spike. We’re not sure why the other fast shoes in the line such as the new Fastwitch 4 and Getgo received such a nice, aggresssive cosmetic treatments while the Endorphin LD2, Saucony’s top end distance spike used by the likes of Fam was kept completely void of personality. This spike at $80 MSRP is a great buy, but will probably get lost in an increasingly crowded field that includes The Wire from Brooks, the new Japan Thunder 3 from Asics and the stable of high end distance spikes from the Swoosh. Still if someone is looking for a vanilla white top end distance spike, this is a great shoe in terms of weight, spike plate and upper construction. At this price, it’s a bargain.
Saucony did a commendable job of keeping the good performance qualities from the current models and working those into the designs of the updated shoes in the Spring 2010 line. Saucony continues to update the uppers with lighter weight, more breathable materials, improved overlay treatments and cosmetics that are nice improvements both in ft and looks. Overall, a very nice job.