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Saucony Guide ISO 2 Review

I always want to love Saucony.  I was one of the early adapters to the original Kinvara, running through 8-10 pairs before moving on to running in true racing flats.  I have run in a few Saucony trainers but two always stood out to me.  The Mirage and the Guide.  Both I had success with, although I always had some trouble with the narrow toe box.  The current iteration is the second generation of a massive upper change which I hoped would alleviate that issue while retaining that firmer and responsive Saucony ride (not referencing their neutral shoe).  Did the Guide ISO 2 live up to my hopes?  Surprisingly yes.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 10.3 oz mens
Stack Height: 27 mm / 19 mm
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Moderate Stability Trainer


FIT/UPPER

The sizing of the Saucony Guide ISO 2 is true to size if a little snug due to a minor taper in the toe box.  The ISOfit was somewhat new to me and I was a little nervous at first.  My initial impression was that this was the same narrow fitting upper I was afraid of and the toe box was just slightly too tight.  Especially around the 5th digits on both feet.  After some miles in the shoe, I realized the upper fit me perfectly after it had some time to adapt to my foot.  This experience has repeated many times where the initial step in feel is snug, then accommodates perfectly to my foot and I forget it is there.  So be wary of your initial try on.  It may feel better in a few minutes.   The general fit in the midfoot and forefoot is medium but should adapt to a variety of foot types.  However, for those runners with very wide feet, consider the wide version.


The upper in the forefoot and midfoot is very breathable and light.  The laces respond very well to changing the fit of the upper and further contribute to the somewhat vanishing upper.  The heel collar is very well cushioned, but is very snug.  My foot felt completely locked down, particularly in the rear portion of the shoe.  The heel counter does come up a bit higher than I would like and further contributes to the very snug feel in the rearfoot.  This usually dissipates on the run, but can be a little uncomfortable to walk around in.


RIDE/MIDSOLE

The PWRFOAM midsole combined with an EVERUN topsole creates a firm ride.  While this contributes to a stable ride in the Saucony Guide Iso 2, it can be a bit harsh during slow recovery runs unless you like a firm ride.  Luckily, the Tri-Flex design of the sole makes the forefoot very flexible, making for an great toe off.  This somewhat reduces the firm ride and makes things a bit smoother.  However, the lack of a major heel bevel makes landing farther back toward the heel a little clunky.  This is another reason why slower paces in the Saucony Guide ISO 2 can feel a little harsh initially.


In typical Saucony fashion, the Guide ISO 2 has an 8mm drop.  Despite the firm ride (which can often keep the drop consistent compared to softer soles that compress), the drop feels slightly lower.  The lower riding heel combined with the firm ride, smooth toe off and EVERUN topsole does make this shoe feel fast at normal to high paces.


STABILITY

The Saucony Guide ISO 2 is a moderate stability trainer.  There is a solid medial post in the midfoot and thanks to the outsole flare in the forefoot and medial heel, this is an very stable shoe.  What is interesting about the Guide (and I have had this experience before) is that while it is a very stable shoe, I do feel the post as intrusive.  Many shoes have prominent medial support but current stability shoes are doing a far better job of integrating the stability smoothly into the shoe.  The Saucony Guide ISO 2 is a great example.  I feel very stable in the shoe, but not because I'm being pushed in a certain way.  So for those that just want a stable shoe, this may be a great one to look at regardless of what foot type you have been classified as (which you should completely disregard anyway.  The literature has repeatedly shown that is a terrible way to classify and prescribe footwear, particularly based on static posture).


SPEED

While the Saucony Guide ISO 2 is technically a trainer, the ride is firm and fast.  Thanks to the EVERUN topsole, the shoe responds far better at high paces.  While running at slower paces, the ride can feel a bit harsh, but once the pace picks up, the sole feels very snappy.  This was very surprising to experience in a >10 oz trainer, but I have done workouts from long tempos to 400 meter repeats (although they were tags at the end of workouts) in this shoe without issue.  This would not normally be my first choice for workouts, but I am impressed with the ability of a training shoe to respond so well to pace changes.


DURABILITY

After over 100 miles, I am beginning to see some light wear along the posterior lateral heel (my usually landing spot) and very little in the forefoot.  The durability has been slightly above average on the outsole, but the midsole has remained exactly the same.  The firmness and responsiveness feel exactly the same as my first run in them.  I partially attribute this to the durable EVERUN topsole, which seems to last forever.  I expect to get at least the average 300-500 miles if not more from this shoe based on how the midsole feels.  The upper of course has shown zero signs of wear, despite these also being used for many high speed workouts and trail runs.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

The concept of adaptable upper and footwear is coming along.  With various companies producing track spikes and footwear specific to individual elite athletes for years, the Nike Flyknit uppers being  being steam molded to the specific fit of people's feet, this concept has been around for some time.  Human beings, while a singular species, are very unique and different.  Each person has unique movement patterns, biomechanics, bone structure and more.  Thus... people have very different shaped and functioning feet.  This makes things very difficult to create a shoe that fits everyone.  Rather, footwear companies create a shoe and upper shape that fits the general public and hope for the best.  They do this based on averages of scans of hundreds to thousands (if not more) of different people's feet.  The problem is that this will hit the average, but leave those outside of the average with a difficult time fine that Goldilocks fit.  Although the fit is on the snugger side in the Saucony GUIDE ISO 2, the upper is a continued improvement on creating a custom fit.  That requires things starting on the snugger side then stretching to the specific shape of the foot.  While this works decently in the midfoot and forefoot, the heel remains very stiff.  Creating a balance of an adaptive fit while creating stability is difficult in an upper.  It makes sense that you could creates zones of adaptability intertwined with zones of stability.  All you have to do is look at the areas of foot that need to move and give those adaptable mesh.  Then look at the others that don't need to and lock those down.  This is a long and far more complicated post for another day, but it is an exciting time to start seeing this stuff come to market more and more.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

For those looking for a stable, firm, snug fitting and faster riding trainer, the Saucony Guide ISO 2 is worth a look.  The fit is snug at first but  adapts decently to the foot thanks to the ISOfit upper.  While multiple stability elements are present, non are intrusive and integrate very well into the shoe.  This shoe should work for a variety of people with a variety of stability needs looking for a faster stability shoe.

GRADING

Fit/Upper          6/10
Ride/Midsole    7/10
Stability            9/10
Speed                9/10
Durability          8/10

Total Score: 78%

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT  OCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for their full US retail price.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 110 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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