With the seventh edition of the Ride model, Saucony continues its tradition of providing a highly cushioned neutral shoe with an elemental feel. While trends over previous years have been focused on minimalism, Saucony has instead catered to many runners still looking for additional cushioning. Across the brand, Saucony has committed to lowering weight, lowering offsets, and creating a platform that sits closer to the ground, yet still providing more cushioning than a bare to the bone minimal or barefoot engineered shoe. The Ride has become a staple trainer for the neutral runner looking for a soft underfoot feel.
- 8mm offset (28mm heel, 20mm forefoot)
- 9.3 ounces in weight
- Removal of medial shank creates a more flexible feel and reduces weight.
- Addition of plush rubber pods provides a soft feel.
- 20% greater ground contact due to redesigned outsole
- Additional vertical flex grooves in forefoot make toe-off smoother
Brooks PureFlow Men's Shoe April 2012 Color
The Saucony Kinvara 2 no longer stands alone. Prepared to duel, is the Brooks PureFlow. It is built with a 4mm heel-toe offset, just like the Kinvara 2, but sits an estimated 2mm higher off the ground (stack height: heel-23mm, forefoot-19mm). The extra 2mm mostly comes from the outsole, which should increase durability over the Kinvara 2. But that extra thickness, no matter how slight, does come with a weight increase. The PureFlow comes in an estimated 1.3 ounces heavier than the Kinvara 2 but is still quite light (men’s sample size 9.0=8.6 oz, women’s sample size 8.0=7.6 oz).
Comparisons with the Kinvara 2 do not end with the specifications. The PureFlow is similarly quite soft while standing or walking but more responsive while running. Whereas some customer feedback indicates the Kinvara 2 may be too soft at a quick pace, initial reports suggest the PureFlow to be more responsive at faster paces. This unique dynamic is the result of Brooks blending their DNA cushioning with their premium BioMoGo midsole foam.
As part of the Brooks PureProject line, the PureFlow comes with a set of standard features geared toward midfoot striking and a less-is-more philosophy. This shoe is for those who want a more “natural” experience but with cushioning not found in the near-barefoot type shoes (Altra Adam/Eve, Inov-8 Bare-X 200, Merrell Trail/Pace Glove, New Balance Minimus Trail, Saucony Hattori).
The PureFlow has an MRSP of $90 with a limited release in October 2011. A broader release with additional colors begins January 2012.
Brooks PureFlow Women's Shoe October 2011 color
Men's Zoot Energy 2.0 and Advantage 2.0
To be a serious player in the running shoe market it is essential to have a good selling neutral shoe and support shoe at or around $100 MSRP. In 2009, Zoot attempted to accomplish this with the introduction of the Energy (neutral) and Advantage (support) at $110 MSRP. While the shoes were decent performers, they had no wow factor. They were often see as a more affordable alternative to the go-fast TT and Tempo. Well, that has now changed.
Click here for the Men’s Energy 2.0 or Advantage 2.0
Click here for the Women’s Energy 2.0 or Advantage 2.0
Noticeable improvements without a price increase.
From the initial step-in, the improvements made to the Energy 2.0 and Advantage 2.0 are apparent. Caressing the foot in a glove-like manner the two shoes just ooze refinement. The feel underfoot is has been greatly enhanced. Although the midsole materials have not changed, the distribution of the shock absorbing Z-Bound material has been separated into two distinct zones. A resdesigned outsole is a bit thicker and aids in providing better cushioning. The result of these changes is a ride quality that is much more lively than last year’s shoes. Reminds us a bit of the Brooks Launch, which has been selling in huge numbers.
Why all this talk of the two shoes together?
The Energy 2.0 and Advatnage 2.0 share the same tooling (chasis) and have nearly identical uppers. Some may be wondering if it makes sense to build a neutral shoe and support shoe from the same mold. Well this is not new. The first Asics Landreth was a neutral version of the popular Asics GT-2000 series. The Brooks Defyance is a neutral version of the preceding year’s Brooks Adrenline GTS and until recently the Saucony Ride and Guide shared the same tooling. Although the level of success of these different models has varied, runners have certainly found a favorite in a shoe that may otherwise not have existed.