A bit smoother and quicker than it’s predecessor, the Ride 9 is a more refined mileage hog.
The Ride is Saucony’s go-to neutral running shoe – the type of shoe where one logs most of their weekly miles. It competes with the Nike Pegasus, ASICS Cumulus, Brooks Ghost and the like. As a mainstay, major changes between updates are often minor. However, with the Ride 9 there are two major changes. 1. Everun cushioning replaces PowerGrid. 2. The outsole pattern has been updated to the TRI-FLEX design. But do these changes really affect how the shoe feels or performs?
During a side-by-side comparison (one on each foot) between the Ride 9 and Ride 8, the 9 felt like a much smoother ride. The shoe seemed to disappear under foot. In contrast, the 8 was very noticeable on foot. It seemed like you could feel the 8 compress upon contact, roll forward through a couple of transition points and then rebound at toe-off. However, during back to back runs (same shoe on both feet) the shoes feel very similar. The 9 does feel a touch smoother and quicker.
I attribute the smoother ride to the change in outsole pattern and depth of grooves up into the midsole. Both shoes have many parts to the sole pattern, but the Ride 9 is more unified. The Ride 8 has three deep grooves in the lateral heel and the 9 has five very shallow grooves. Both designs allow for good compression upon impact and are made with SRC (Super Rebound Compound). However, on version 8, this compression is concentrated into two segments. On version 9, it is spread out over a larger area of the midsole. As such, the feeling is one of continuity instead of compartmentalization.
The quicker feel of the Ride 9 could be attributed to the continuity of the outsole, but it might also be the inclusion of Everun. Everun is a thermalplastic polyurehthane that has better energy return than the rest of the midsole foam. In the 9, Everun is placed directly beneath where the insole sits and runs the entire length of the shoe. This positioning adds to the sense of continuity that the 9 creates during ground contact. No matter where force is being applied, Everun is right there under the insole. In the Ride 8, PowerGrid was set into the midsole.
Both shoes strike a balance between firm and soft. This middle of the road cushioning feel makes for a versatile shoe. There is give for comfortable longer runs and enough responsiveness for faster days. In this sense, the two shoes feel the same. The Ride 9 simply feels more refined.
With regards to fit, the two shoes are similar. The toebox shapes seem identical and provide a good medium fit. The Ride 9 does have a little more volume in the midfoot and does a better job of snugging down on a lower volume foot and opening up for a higher volume foot. The fit of the Ride 8 was better for low-to-medium volume feet. The tongue, heel collar, and heel all fit the same and provide a snug, secure feel. The mesh upper is quite similar between the two shoes, with both providing good breathability. Yet, the small details on the 9 come together to create a more sophisticated look.
The Ride 9 is a better shoe. It’s more polished. There wasn’t anything wrong with the 8, but the 9 is smoother, more refined, and is even a little lighter.
Saucony Ride 9 – MSRP $120.00
Stack height: 27mm heel, 19 mm forefoot, 8mm heel-toe offset