Note From Pete: This is a guest review by Tyler Mathews. Tyler is a runner from Austin, TX, and a fellow member of Team Wicked Bonkproof. He is currently training for his first marathon, and is logging 70+ miles per week. To learn more about Tyler, check out his blog Running Toward Dreams.
I wear a lot of running shoes. Some of them are considered more minimal, some more traditional, and I believe that using varying shoe types is critical to my training. In the same way that your body needs recovery days between hard workouts, I believe that my feet, legs, and core need a recovery day on days between runs in more minimal shoes. This is why I continue to use more traditional style shoes in my training – the Saucony Ride 6 would fit in this category.
I received the new Ride 6 after having done many miles in the earlier Ride 5 (Disclosure: these shoes were review samples provided free of charge by Runningshoes.com). The first thing I noticed was the upgraded aesthetics on this model. The shoe is sleek, shiny, and has a great colorway which I don’t find myself having to apologize for, as I did with the Ride 5 (got my 5’s in an ugly colorway on clearance).
The profile of the shoe is largely unchanged from the previous version. The outsole, though a bit different in construction, even maintained the mini triangle design. The upper mesh appears to be more breathable on the newer model, which may reduce its durability as the shoe gets older.
The Ride 6 is a shoe that has many of the properties you’ll find in a traditional lightweight neutral trainer. It weighs in at 9.6 oz in men’s size 9, with an 8mm drop (28mm heel, 20mm forefoot). Saucony differs from a lot of other manufacturers in having moved all of their traditional shoes to 8mm drop (most traditional trainers are 10-12mm drop), so keep that in mind if you are considering this shoe. It has almost no flexibility in the forefoot, very little torsional flexibilty in the midfoot (it’s not easy to twist the forefoot relative to the heel), and a lot of heel cushioning. I did notice that the cushion on the outer edge of the heel seemed to be much more solid than that of the Ride 5.
This shoe was clearly designed to be a high mileage trainer, as the outsole has very little exposed foam and is mostly covered by fairly thick rubber, something that is quite contrary to a shoe like the Saucony Kinvara. This has the added benefit of increased durability, but may cause the shoe to feel a bit stiff at first, as rubber takes longer to break in than foam.
I first took these shoes out for a Friday morning easy run and felt no foreign sensations when slipping them on. They didn’t feel overly different from the Ride 5, no dramatic changes in fit, motion, or cushion. This might sound boring, but when you put in between 70 and 80 miles a week and are 2 months out from your first marathon, you tend to look for a certain level of continuity, a shoe to welcome you home with a hot cup of coffee and some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Can you tell it’s almost Christmas?
I did feel the normal tingly numbness in my forefoot, something that I’ve learned to be unconcerned about in a new pair of shoes. I get these tinglies every time I put on a new shoe, between Skechers, Saucony, Brooks, Adidas, whatever. I don’t know why it happens, but it goes away after I put a few miles in.
Now this next bit is to work on the feels of you minimalist types who think that traditional shoes kill your form. They don’t. Bad form kills your form, and you can run with good form in a more traditional style training shoe. While wearing these Ride 6s I still managed to land around my midfoot and my form felt smooth. I had no premature heel contact which would cause any rolling, and I also didn’t feel overly coddled. My feet felt cushioned and comfortable. Something I’ve noticed lately in a more minimal shoe is that I have become somewhat susceptible to some minor tweaks from the extra flexibility which occasionally causes some discomfort in different areas of my foot. The Saucony Ride 6 helped me to recover from those by keeping my foot in a solid position without risk of weird twists and turns.
I took these shoes out for an 18 mile long run yesterday, and followed that up with a 7 mile run with some middle school kids (see Marathon High). I had expected to feel some soreness in my feet and legs after 25 miles and over 3 hours on the road, but I felt pleasantly fresh, beyond just feeling zapped from all the calories burnt. These are definitely some shoes that I will continue to go to for these easier, longer, slower miles.
Stable shoe that can protect a bum foot
Soft and cushioned for high mileage training
Lighter than most traditional trainers
Will not appease die-hard minimalist runners
Slightly heavier than most of my trainers (9.6oz)
Not much ground feel
These trainers are an excellent choice for people who are looking for a traditional, high mileage, neutral trainer without too much motion control and a modest heel. When I just want to run some miles without thinking too much about my footwear, these will be one of my go-to pairs.
The Saucony Ride 6 is available for purchase at Runningshoes.com.