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Saucony Guide 13 Review

    The footwear industry is making changes when it comes to how stability is done. We are seeing less massive posts and more subtle methods of stability. While posting and wedging are still being done, the way they are being done is starting to evolve. The Saucony Guide 13. which finally loses the ISO name and returns to normal numbers, is one of the many examples where things are changing. With a less aggressive post that feels more mild than moderate stability, this shoe has evolved into something very different compared to the past.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 10.6 oz (men's 9)
Stack Height: 28 mm / 20 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Moderate Stability Trainer




HIGHLIGHTS


   The Saucony Guide 13 returns with a completely redesigned ride and upper. A new PWRRUN midsole provides stable cushioning while a FORMFIT upper provides a snug custom fit. A subtle TPU post provides guidance without being obtrusive, making the Guide 13 more accessible for a variety of foot types. These all come together to make the Guide 13 a fantastic choice for those looking for a reliable daily trainer with mild stability.



FIT

     The Saucony Guide 13 fits me true to size in my normal size 10. The fit initially feels a little snug, but the FORMFIT upper quickly adapts to the foot. There is a lot of material in the upper. The heel in particular has thick amount of cushioning around it, providing a plush feel at the rearfoot. There is a stiff heel counter in the rear, but I have not noticed it at all due to the thick heel collar. Despite the thick cushioning, there is a little more room in the heel, so I did have to lack lock the shoe for a secure fit. The midfoot fits fairly average and the laces, once tightened, do work nicely with the upper to provide a secure fit without bunching.  The forefoot is a little more snug but the upper has some give and should fit normal to slightly narrow feet well. The forefoot isn't narrow, but the toe box does taper strongly. The upper is very sturdy and thick but isn't the most breathable.



RIDE

   The ride of the Saucony Guide 13 is on the firmer side, although less firm than previous versions. The PWRRUN midsole provides a consistent ride from heel to toe. The ride is cushioned and there is a little give to the sole, but it not soft. The new TPU plate is fairly far down in the sole and I didn't even notice it until I fatigued during longer efforts. There is a new heel bevel that is very far lateral. While it does smooth out the ride, if you land anywhere but the lateral side it can be a bit jarring. The heel drop remains at 8mm, but the slightly softer midsole does compress and feels lower when loaded. The forefoot is very stable in this shoe and is a little stiff at first. There is some gentle medial and lateral sole flare at the forefoot which further makes for a smooth toe off.




SPEED

    Like the Ride, the Guide 13's PWRRUN foam is firm enough that this daily trainer can pick up the pace. I have been able to use this shoe for fartlek workouts, uptempo efforts and long runs and it does them all well. While not a lightweight trainer, the foam does feel responsive when the pace picks up. In fact, the firmness of the shoe actually lends itself better going at normal to slightly uptempo paces than it does recovery runs. The feel is consistent throughout the sole of the shoe and is decently responsive no matter where you land. So far a daily trainer, this shoe can move. However, I would not use this for racing or faster workouts as the Liberty Iso 2, Kinvara, Fastwitch, Type A9 or the Endorphin line are better suited for that.



STABILITY

   The Saucony Guide 13 trades in a major medial post for a more subtle guidance frame. The guidance frame is smaller than the posts of prior versions and sits below some of the PWRRUN midsole similar to the Liberty Iso (and the current Hurricane 22). This requires some additional compression of the midsole to get to the post. The set up creates a more mild stability than moderate stability, meaning the Guide 13 will work for a larger variety of individuals from those with neutral mechanics to those that require a bit more support. Additional support does come from the stiff heel counter (although offset by the high amount of padding around the heel collar) as well as sole flare at the forefoot. The Saucony Guide 13 is a decently stable shoe, but provides stability in a far more subtle way than previous versions. "Guidance" is certainly the more appropriate term.




DURABILITY

    The Saucony Guide 13 utilizes a outsole material that is just beginning to show average wear. I have almost 80 miles on my pair and am seeing the usual wear at the posterior lateral heel. It isn't bad and I haven't worn into the midsole yet. The upper has no seams loose and still fits well. Overall I expect the average number of miles out of the Guide 13.



THOUGHTS AS A DPT

     The Saucony Guide 13, Liberty Iso 2 and Hurricane 22 have all gone the way of medial TPU guidance frames (I currently do not have information on the set up of the new Omni). The stability provided is far more subtle that previous full posts. Those who have run in the Guide 13 and Hurricane 13 may notice there appears to be less stability. The TPU guidance frames are certainly less obtrusive than the prior massive posts. This is neither positive or negative overall, but different. The industry appears to be moving away from aggressive stability methods as we have begun to realize that most of the traditional methods of stability influence the foot and ankle less than we thought. A great deal of research has come out suggesting that feet will continue to move in their unique movement path in a variety of conditions (Nigg et al., 2017) and that attempting to match arch support to arch shape has little relationship to to injury risk (Knapik et al., 2014). HOWEVER, that does not mean arch support, posting or wedging do not work. It suggests more that they do not work for everyone and must be utilized on a case by case basis. What is often lost in this research is that foot movement is not just a result of of things that happen at the foot. Movement of the knees, hips, pelvis trunk and more will all influence foot and ankle movement as they are our base of support. That essentially means that foot and ankle motion is multifactorial and one must often look at the whole body to understand why things might be moving a certain way.



RECOMMENDATIONS

      The extra cushioning around the heel collar solves the super stiff, rigid and irritating heel of the prior version. However, there is just too much going on with this upper. Given the incredible uppers seen on the Endorphin line, I think Saucony could save some serious weight by toning down the thickness. Saucony has proven with their racing shoes how secure and durable they can make thin uppers and that is something that should be applied here.

      While I am very happy the included a more serious heel bevel in this version, it may need to encompass a little more of the heel rather than being so far lateral. People generally land on the posterior lateral aspect, but with that much bevel, having it in one spot can be a little jarring if you land anywhere else at all. So like the actual calcaneus, I think more of it should be rounded around the entire aspect.  Having it so far lateral does provide additional guidance, so there is room for argument on this one.

    Also, I know PWRRUN + is kept for the premium shoes, but I would love to see that added here, compared to the intense amount seen in the Triumph and Hurricane.



CONCLUSION

     The Saucony Guide 13 is a mild stability shoe with a slightly firm ride, slightly snugger front and a plush upper. A full blown update to the Guide series, this shoe will work best as a daily training mileage workhorse. The PWRRUN midsole provides a mildly firm and protective ride while the new TPU guidance frame provides more subtle stability. With a new heel bevel, the ride is smoother than previous and a thick upper will keep you comfortably in place. A nice evolution in line with the current trends of stability, the Guide 13 should appeal to a wider variety of runners, including those with more neutral mechanics looking for a touch of stability on longer efforts.

GRADING

Fit/Upper       8.5 /10 (Good secure fit. -1.5 for thick upper and lack of breath ability)
Ride/Midsole  8.5/10 (Firm, glad they added a heel bevel, -1.5 for stiffness that takes 40-50 miles to break in)
Stability          9.5 /10 (Solid guidance. Subtle post, firmer ride,)
Speed              8 /10 (Can be used for light workouts. There are faster shoes out there. Goof for a traditional trainer)
Durability       8.5 /10 (Average Durability)

TOTAL: 86% (M)

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 19:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:33 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 8-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

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.

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

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
 

***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 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 76 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.

References

Knapik, J. J., Trone, D. W., Tchandja, J., & Jones, B. H. (2014). Injury-reduction effectiveness of prescribing running shoes on the basis of foot arch height: summary of military investigations. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy, 44(10), 805-812.

Nigg, B. M., Vienneau, J., Smith, A. C., Trudeau, M. B., Mohr, M., & Nigg, S. R. (2017). The preferred movement path paradigm: influence of running shoes on joint movement.

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