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Saucony Ride ISO 2 Review

Simple often works well.  As complex as we often make life, getting down to the fundamentals should be what guides us.  This is how I view the Saucony Ride ISO 2. For all the bells and whistles footwear companies put in shoes, finding a reliable trainer can be difficult.  All you need is a shoe that fits well and is moderately response for both mileage and uptempo workouts.  It doesn't need to be super light and responsive like a racing flat.  It needs to be comfortable and able to handle the hard miles of life and training.  While this shoe doesn't blow me away, it has impressed me with being consistent throughout all the variables we look for in footwear.  As many with great wisdom will tell you, consistency is important for success.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 9.6 oz / 8.3 oz (men's size 9 / women's size 8)
Stack Height: 28mm / 20 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Neutral Trainer

HIGHLIGHTS

A stable, well fitting neutral trainer, the Saucony Ride ISO 2 gets the job done well. A wider fitting toebox and upper, a slightly wider and more stable last combined with a protective and mildly responsive sole make for a great mileage and moderate pace workout workhorse.



FIT

This is the first time I have had a really good experience with the ISO fit.  The Saucony Ride ISO 2 has a little more room than I usually expect from Saucony shoes. The shoe itself fits true to size in my normal size 10 mens and I would not suggest going or down sizes unless you are not used to the slightly wider toe box. The forefoot has plenty of room and may even have a bit too much volume for those with narrow feet.  It isn't Altra wide, but there is more room than most shoes.  This is partially due to the decreased stiffness of the toe guard and increased adaptability of the upper in the forefoot.  Mostly though there is a wider fit in the toe box.  There is a taper, but it appears to be less than I am used to with Saucony, especially at the medial side of the big toe.


The midfoot fits a little wider as well but is held securly by the ISO.   The upper at the midfoot does provide a comfortable, disappearing fit and does the job it is supposed to.  The heel fits a little wider as well but is offset by the extra lushness of the heel collar.  There is a heel counter, but I did not notice it thanks to how cushioned that rear heel is  Due to the wider fit, I did lace lock the shoe but combined with the ISO fit, my foot has stayed stable on the platform even while turning.


RIDE

PWRFoam and EVERUN provide a ride on the firmer side.  This is not a soft cushy shoe, but isn't nearly bone crushing either.  The EVERUN comes far more alive as the pace increases, making this a great uptempo or tempo shoe when the legs are beat up.  The forefoot is very flexible thanks to the deeper flex grooves there.  The toe off is quite smooth and the front grips the ground well with the crystal rubber outsole.  However, for those with stiff distal toe joints, you may have some issues as the front is extremely flexible in the sagital plane (front to back) and the toe spring is not pronounced.  The heel and midfoot are much less flexible thanks to the lack of flex grooves, providing a more stable place to land.  The heel is more beveled than I expected, but continues to be a little stiff, making heel striking a little jarring at first.  It does break in after a few miles, but those used to the extreme heel bevels of the maximalist shoes will find this far less than they are used to.  There is an 8mm drop, classic to Saucony.  It does not feel too low or too high.  This level tends to be the sweet spot for me and I did not even notice it.


STABILITY

The Saucony Ride ISO 2 is a neutral trainer without any traditional means of stability.  However, this is a very stable neutral trainer.  This occurs partially from the wider last (shape), the firmer ride and the mild sole flare.  The forefoot is especially stable thanks to being wider.  Saucony tends to flare their outsoles (extend medial/laterally beyond where the foot sits), which provides more surface area and slightly resistance to certain medial and lateral foot/ankle motions. The forefoot has both medial and lateral flare, provide gentle guidance up front.   There appears to be less of this at the heel and midfoot than I expect from Saucony, but the midfoot remains stable due to the lack of a significant taper and more consistent width.


SPEED

The EVERUN and PWRFoam create a mild to moderately responsive ride.  This is not a fast racing shoe and works great for mileage (long runs, recovery runs).  However, the crystal rubber in the forefoot and the full length EVERUN topsole do come alive when the pace picks up.  I have only used this shoe for uptempo (marathon pace), tempo and stride workouts, and it feels very natural at higher speeds.  When the pace picks up, the characteristics of the Saucony Ride ISO 2 change.  While the weight as a trainer and firmness of the PWRFoam hold it back from being able to go all out, the EVERUN provides a decent amount of rebound at uptempo and tempo efforts.  The feeling is particularly evident at the forefoot as getting up onto the toes feels very natural.  Although it will work best for daily mileage, these attributes make the Saucony Ride ISO 2 a great all around option for training and may work for some runners looking for a protection as a marathon shoe.


DURABILITY

The Saucony Ride ISO 2 is one of the more durable trainers I have used recently. I have well over 100 miles in my pair mostly on road and am seeing only a little wear on the posterior lateral heel.  The crystal rubber in the forefoot is holding up very well with no signs of wear and consistently good traction.  The midsole cushioning has also remained very consistent in regards to the ride through these miles.  There was a small break in period that was required for the heel to loosen up a bit (~15 miles) but the feel has remained consistent since. The upper shows no signs of wear/tear and continues to provide a similar fit. The upper cushioning in the heel is not giving way and I have not noticed the heel counter becoming more prominent.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

With new midsole foams coming out left and right, Saucony is one of the few that only has a thin layer on top of their older EVA foams.  While the Nike Pegasus Turbo has a duel foam midsole being half ZoomX and half React, Saucony's shoes outside of the Triumph, Hurricane, Liberty and the Freedom are the only ones to use the topsole concept.  I can somewhat understand this as these new foams are generally more responsive, heavier (usually), sometimes softer but are also more unstable.  Adding a thin layer on top of the traditional foam appears to maintain the stable feeling in the Saucony Ride ISO 2 which is further enhanced by the wider last.  The Pegasus Turbo on the other hand is extremely unstable to me despite the duel foam midsole.  This might be due to the React presenting as being on the softer side to me.


As mentioned previously, the stability of the Ride ISO 2 is pretty high for a neutral shoe, but the ride is also firmer.  Given the firmness of the PWRFoam, I believe Saucony could get away with adding a little more EVERUN into the topsole for responsiveness without sacrificing stability.  However, the draw back to most of these new foams (especially Boost) is that they weigh more, so adding more EVERUN may increase the weight which at 9.6 oz is already in the sweet spot for a trainer. So this is a delicate balance, but I still think the Saucony Ride ISO 2 would benefit from a little more EVERUN to push the forgiveness and speed of the sole.


RECOMMENDATIONS 

I have really enjoyed this shoe for its consistent ride and don't think there is a great deal to change.  I would suggest continuing to tone down the toe guard.  Although I did not have any issues with it in the Saucony Ride ISO 2, I definitely have had issues with prior versions of the Ride, Kinvara and Guide series.  Saucony seems to be toning this down and I applaud them as this provides less pressure on the distal toes.


The ride can also become a but firm at higher mileage runs and I am curious to see what would happen to the speed with the addition of a little more depth to the EVERUN.  I understand the concept of creating a little more stability by keeping the EVERUN on the top of firmer PWRFoam, but wonder if the ride would be a bit more forgiving and responsive.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

For those looking for a neutral shoe with a consistent, durable, moderately responsive sole and a wider fitting upper, the Saucony Ride ISO 2 is one of the best.  The shoe is not crazy exciting, but it will keep you comfortable over longer mileages and has the versatility with an 8mm drop and an EVERUN topsole to pick up the pace.  The firmer ride and wider last provide some of the best stability in a neutral trainer I have experience.  I am finally impressed with the implementation of the ISO fit and was surprised by the extra forefoot room.  A great shoe for new runners attempting the marathon and those looking for a reliable training shoe.

GRADING

Fit                     9.75/10 (Very comfortable upper.  -0.25 for slightly wider heel fit)
Ride                  8.5/10 (Great forefoot flexibility and toe off, -1.5 for firmer ride and stiff heel)
Stability            9.5/10 (Great for a neutral trainer.  -0.5 for lack of smoother heel transition)
Speed                8.5/10 (Good for a trainer.  -1.5 for extra firmness during normal runs)
Durability          9.5/10 (VERY durable.  -0.5 for normal outsole wear and break in required)

Total Score: 91.5/10

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 FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

***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 125 miles on my first pair and 6 miles on my second 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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