First off, a big thank you to the lone woman working at The Runner's Soul in Elmhurst on Sunday. She was fitting 3 customers for shoes, each of us trying on multiple pairs with firm opinions, plus my kids wandering around, all by herself with a smile on her face. She deserves special recognition as a superior employee. She was very helpful!
A little background...as a high school cross country and track runner who was frequently getting injured, I used to wear the old boxy Saucony back in the day. When I came back to running as an adult, I'd been an Adidas wearer for several pairs. Those of you who are longtime readers will remember my review and brand switch to Asics this last pair. I had no serious complaints though both heels on the inside of the shoe mysteriously wore away the fabric. Very odd defect. My other comments after years of miles on them would be that they were heavier, boxy, and a bit bland for color when the current trend is flashy.
I'd worn the Asics through 2 marathon seasons plus training and racing for an Olympic triathlon another season. So they'd been around the block and were noticeably lacking the cushion they once had. So it was time to get these...
They're Saucony Guide 8 and are already muddy as I sit and write this. I managed to get most of the puddle-muck off from my first outdoor run of the season last night. It was about 5 miles on a gorgeous, sunny spring day with lots of melting snowbanks.
My first impressions are universally positive. I tried on Mizuno, a lighter pair of my former Asics, and (I believe) a pair of Brooks. For a pronator like myself with a flat arch, it can be tough to find the right balance. But I do say, these may end up being my favorite pair of running shoes ever (not given anything of value by Saucony to say this, either!).
The upper is neither too meshy nor too constricting. It has an open-yet-secure feel and I really dig the lace style that manages to stay tied. It makes them harder to adjust or loosen to take off, but they don't slip the way the round, bulky ones do. The base of the shoe takes some getting used to though. It's a bit wider feeling than you're probably used to, but the "platform" feeling isn't bad--but I'm guessing not for everyone. It feels a bit like running on snowshoes or something at first...but they're neither too stiff nor too giving. The cushion is like riding on pillows and they feel both light and fast yet stable enough to not worry about turning an ankle.
I love the green and black though compared to some of the other models I could do with more bold colors. The "be seen" brightness is hot right now and I suppose there's somebody out there looking for plainer fashion. I like the "think speed" element of having flashy running shoes, but that's just me.