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Saucony Fastwitch 6 Racing Flat Review

Saucony Fastwitch 6I have a fair amount of history with the Saucony Fastwitch line. The Fastwitch 2 was my first racing shoe, and it was the shoe I wore for 2 of my first 4 marathons. It was also my first real racing flat, and it introduced me to the benefits of lightweight footwear.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I reviewed the Saucony Fastwitch 5. I was excited about the shoe because they had lowered the heel a bit, but I wasn’t a big fan of the firmness of the midsole or the ride, both of which are quite different from the softer Saucony Kinvara that I was putting a lot of miles on at the time.

It’s funny how shoe preferences can change over time. A bit over a month ago Running Warehouse sent me a pair of the Fastwitch 6 to review. I was wary of reviewing it at first because of my iffy experience with the previous iteration, and as far as I could tell the sole is identical. I’ve now put just about 50 miles on the Fastwitch 6, including three double-digit mileage runs, and I have to say that my opinion has changed quite a bit – I’m very impressed by this shoe.

The first pair of the F6’s that Running Warehouse sent was a size 10.5. It fit, but felt snug, so I sent it back in exchange for a size 11. Interestingly, this is a full size larger than I took for the Fastwitch 5. I’ve found that my standard shoe size has migrated up from a 10 to a 10.5 over the past year (not sure if my feet have gotten bigger or my tolerance for tight shoes is reduced), and I needed a bit more length in these than in other Saucony shoes. On the plus side, the fit in size 11 is fantastic, and the forefoot feels considerably roomier than in the Kinvara, Virrata, or A5. The fit is somewhat reminiscent of the Mizuno Ronin 2, which is a good thing.

Saucony Fastwitch 6 side

Saucony Fastwitch 6 medial

Fastwitch 6 Upper

The upper of the Fastwitch 6 is composed of a really nice open mesh with welded overlays. In a world where so many shoes are now-made of non-stretchy materials, I like the old-school upper of the F6 even if it isn’t the prettiest shoe on the market. It breathes incredibly well, and the stretch allows me to move my toes around without a great deal of restriction. Super comfortable in terms of fit.

Internally, the upper feels a bit scratchy against bare skin, and I’ve hesitated to try running sockless in them as a result. In contrast, the material inside the ankle collar is super-soft and comfortable. Since the shoe is designed to be a “stability flat” there is a plastic heel counter – though I prefer not having a heel counter, it doesn’t seem to bother me in most shoes, this one included. There is also noticeable arch support, so that needs to be considered for those who prefer a flat arch. Running without the insole is not a good option since the footbed is covered by a scratchy mesh which allows water to drain through holes in the sole (you can see the holes in the forefoot in the photo below).

Saucony Fastwitch 6 sole

Fastwitch 6 Sole

As mentioned above, the sole of the Fastwitch 6 is identical to that of the Fastwitch 5. Given that the sole was what I did not like about the 5, I’ve been surprised by how much I am liking the new version (wondering if it has to do with upping the sizing?). Running Warehouse reports stack heights of 18mm heel, 14 mm forefoot, and that feels about right to me. The sole is firm, responsive, and provides a degree of stiffness typical of a racing shoe. That being said, forefoot flexibility is pretty good. The sole does have a medial post, though I can’t honestly say whether it does much – I have not noticed it myself.

A big plus for those who chew through soles of shoes like the Saucony Kinvara, Virrata, or A5 is that the Fastwitch 6 has an extensive rubber outsole. As a result, I expect durability will be very good.

Saucony Fastwitch 6 top

Performance

I’ve put about 50 miles on the Fastwitch 6, including an 18 miler and two sub-marathon pace 10 milers. The 18 miler was easily the best long run I’ve had so far this training cycle, and I’m seriously contemplating wearing the Fastwitch 6 in my marathon next month as a result (Skechers GoRun 2 and Kinvara 4 might be the other options). Both 10 milers have also been strong, and the shoe has caused me no issues. It’s a shoe that pretty much disappears on my feet.

Conclusion

The Saucony Fastwitch 6 is an incredibly versatile shoe with a generous fit in the forefoot (though you may need to size up to feel it). As a structured flat, it can be used for speedwork, long runs, and just about anything else. I’d feel very comfortable wearing it for a marathon, though personally I’d opt for something a tad lighter and stiffer in a 5K.

For someone looking to buy a first pair of racing flats, it would be a great option, and is also a good choice as a daily trainer for someone who enjoys running in a firm and relatively roomy shoe. Big thumbs up for the Saucony Fastwtich 6!

The Saucony Fastwitch 6 is available for purchase at Running Warehouse in the following colors:

Saucony Fastwitch 6 Saucony Fastwitch 6 orange
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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. tim gavan says:

    Pete, you say …”I’m seriously contemplating wearing the Fastwitch 6 in my marathon next month as a result (Skechers GoRun 2 and Kinvara 4 might be the other options).
    what shoe have you chosen? Ive just run my second marathon (Canberra) on the K3s and it was better than the K2s last year. exact same conditions and same training but found my feet didnt heat to the same extent. very interested to know what you choose. good luck and thanks Tim

    • Pete Larson says:

      Wish I knew! Still undecided with one final 20 mile training run left. I may use the Kinvara 4 and see how it feels then make a decision.
      Sent from my iPad

  2. Elli Pinnock says:

    I wear the 5 without the insole for playing netball in. Since switching to minimalist shoes for running (mostly new balance minimus zero road at the moment) I find I can’t tolerate conventional built up trainers for netball but I do need more lateral ankle support than I get from my super-flexible running trainers. They’ve been really good but I have destroyed both the upper and the sole in a 6 month season so there is a limit to the battering they can take :) That said they certainly lasted better than the Kinvara but I think I preferred the Kinvara as a shoe although it still feels like too much shoe to run in. My shoe cupboard is expanding and expanding.

    Being in the UK really limits your options, I’m desperate to try a pair of Altras but try getting them over here until we catch up…

  3. Levente D. says:

    I have the 5s, they are excellent. I put in more than 1000km and still using it for longer road runs. The upper and the inner will deteriorate a lot faster than the sole what still looks like new, unbelievable. Very firm and snappy ride. Strangely I wouldn’t say it is a comfortable shoe, but it doesn’t cause me any problems, neither biomechaniccaly nor skin or nail wise. Drains like a charm, though if you ran in dry weather and you pass through a pond, the shoe will soak up, due to the drain holes.

    http://evolutionexpress.blogsp
    youtube.com/EvoExpress

  4. Derek Redel says:

    Stretchy breathable upper w/ drainage holes, sounds like they are trying to tap the tri market a bit.

  5. Nuno Mendes says:

    How do you compare this shoe with the mirage 3 (just bought those as my first low drop shoe and I’m loving them)?

  6. Echetlos says:

    Many people say that the sole feels a bit softer than the 5s, although it remains unchanged.
    What do you think?

  7. Sarah @RunFarGirl says:

    I just purchased the fastwitch 5 on sale at runningwarehouse and have been really pleased with them. They have been great for long runs. I like the firm ride and the stability of the shoe. With the exception of being lighter, to me they feel very similar to the older versions of the Asics Speedstar, before Asics got all screwy with their design. They don’t feel as “fast” to me as the Kinvara, which I’ve been wearing for tempo runs but I like them a lot.

  8. Scott Revlin says:

    Liking these a lot. The durability has been great compared to the Kinvara (no exposed EVA).

  9. I ran the Rock n Roll USA in these and I was impressed with the shoe (I PR’d, but I think that had to do with my training plan). My feet felt comfortable from start to finish. I had my doubts at first because while I was breaking them in on tempo runs and speedwork, they felt sluggish to me. But the touch of support, compared to my previous marathon shoe NB1400, really seemed to help me .

  10. I wish they would get rid of that stiff sole and go back to the Fastwitch 4 structure which is probably my all time favorite as all my PR’s on in the FT4. I bought three pairs and will not know what to do when they wear out. Tried the FT5 and it was so stiff I had to send it back. Sounds like same thing with FT6 :(

  11. Pete, since both Fastwitch and A6 are racers, what would be their differences? I’ve read Running Warehouse and apparently Fastwitch has a little bit of stability?

    I’ve used the NB1400 in a marathon and while I liked those, I would have preferred something in a lower drop. Are the above two good as well for marathon training runs? I have been using the GoRun2s but it has been needling my fourth toe.

    • I ran a couple of my long marathon training runs in the Fastwitch 6 last Spring and they were great. Almost chose them as my marathon shoe. It’s more shoe than the A6, and does have a medial stability wedge (never really found much benefit to those). The heel is firmer than the 1400, and maybe a tad more room up front in the Fastwitch. Very solid shoe.

  12. Michael says:

    The Kinvara 4 works great for me, as well as the Viratta. I am looking for a long run/marathon shoe for this years marathon. I was wondering if there is any benefit to trying the Fastwitch 6 if I am already happy with the Kinvara 4 for long runs and marathons.

  13. Fernando says:

    I am thinking of these as my next marathon shoes as well. Other possible chices ara NB 1010v2 or even Merrel Bare Acces 3. I hace have the Fastwith side by side with Kinvara 3 and I wolud say they have about the same satck height. I am not very convinced Kinvaras are 21-17mm and Fastwitch so much below them (18-14). I wolud say NB are a bit closer to the ground, which is what I am looking for.

  14. Larry F says:

    While I have run in several versions of this shoe for lots of races, including several marathons. I am a heel striker and I no longer happy as I wore off the black on the heels of my latest pair in less than forty miles. Tired of shoe gooing:)

    Geting much better wearability for me with Nike Structure and Nike Zoom Fly, although FastTwitch is lighter!

  15. I know these have been out for a while now but wanted to see if anyone else is experiencing excessive wear in the light green area/material of the upper on this shoe. At 155 miles on mine it was almost completely worn away. I put up a pic on instagram and called out Saucony. They replaced the shoe, that’s fantastic customer service. I’m now on pair #2 and at just about 100 miles it’s starting to fray again. Is this just me? I really really like this shoe, ran a 1/2 PR in them in early spring.

    • I had the same problem with my Fastwitch 6 shoes. After ~100 miles I noticed the side mesh was almost completely ripped on both sides of both shoes. I tweeted at Saucony but didn’t hear back, so I just sent them an email with a picture. Pretty disappointing.

  16. Agree with the comment on sizing, and side mesh. I’ve been using FTs since the 2, though I skipped the 4. I’m sure someone in a shoe shop told me they’d fixed the fraying side mesh with the 3, but my 5′s are developing the problem. Take an 8 in the 5, an 8.5 in the 6 – and the toebox is still fractionally narrower than in the 5, even with the size up.

    The sole is definitely softer than my 5s – but I put that down simply to the shoe being new. I wear my trainers till they fall apart, and always find new shoes very cushioned in comparison.

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