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Saucony Blaze TR: $100 Trailblazer
By Matthew Klein

Like most products, running shoes have continued to increase in both their complexity as well as their price. The average cost of a running shoe has climbed to the $150-$160 range even with the trail running scene. For those new to running or those in tough financial situations, the cost of a running shoe can be an intimidating factor. This may mean the difference between actually being able to perform a preferred exercise activity or none at all. Luckily, Saucony has several budget-friendly models that perform at high levels. While the Axon series provides a higher stack affordable model for the road, the Blaze TR brings that same level of performance to the trail. Featuring a tall stack height compared with a surprisingly low weight that makes this shoe quite nimble, the Saucony Blaze TR is both a budget and performance option on softer surfaces.

Saucony Blaze TR
Price: $100 at Saucony
Weight: 9.3 oz, 269 g (men's size 9), 7.9 oz, 224 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35.5mm / 27.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Budget Trail Shoe


The Saucony Blaze TR is a budget-performance trail shoe for those who want a lighter, high-stack option at a great price ($100). The durable upper mesh provides a slightly snug fit that locks down well for those needing to feel secure over a variety of terrain. The midsole is full-length PWRRUN, providing a firmer but grounded ride despite the higher stack height. The Blaze TR is a great option for those who want a budget option to try trail running or others who want a second uptempo option for softer surfaces.

: Brooks Divide 3


The Saucony Blaze TR fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The width is snug to slightly narrow throughout the length of the shoe. The forefoot is snug and low volume. There is just enough room with reinforcements around the length of the entire front. The midfoot is snug with a gusseted tongue that is moderately thick. I did have to tighten the laces for a bit of extra security, but the tongue provides plenty of protection. The heel is snug to narrow with a stiff heel counter and moderate heel collar cushioning. The heel counter was noticeable, so those with sensitivities will not do well with this shoe. The snug fit, stiff counter and gusseted tongue provided plenty of security and I did not have to lace-lock the shoe, The inner aspect of the shoe is a bit scratchy, so I would definitely wear socks with this shoe. Outside of a bit of scratchiness, the upper is durable, snug, and secure.


The Blaze TR is a lighter trail shoe with a firmer ride and decent grip. The PWRRUN midsole is firmer but protective. The weight is light for a trail shoe, which makes it feel quite nimble on the trail. There is an 8mm heel drop listed although it feels closer to 4-6mm. The heel is rockered and although the bevel is centered, the entire heel is rounded. This makes for a fairly smooth ride at heel strike. The midsole is slightly stiff (despite not having a plate or rock plate) and the forefoot is a bit rigid initially. With additional miles, this breaks in and feels smooth with the forefoot rocker up front. This shoe is unique with a large forefoot rocker yet low-toe spring. As mentioned, the forefoot does break in and becomes more flexible, but those sensitive to toe spring will do well here.

Due to the lightweight and firmer midsole, the Blaze TR feels best during short to moderate trail runs and faster efforts. The ride feels light and decently snappy underfoot, making it easy to pick up the pace. The transition still feels a little stiff, so I would personally prefer to race in the Saucony Endorphin Edge or Peregrine 13. However, this is still a performance trail and may be a great quicker option for those interested in something budget-friendly.

The outsole is well-lugged with extensive rubber coverage. 30% of my miles on this pair have been on road, yet there is almost no wear on the outsole after over 20 miles. The lugs are moderately large and grip well on a variety of surfaces. The lugs do fine on road although the shoe is a bit firm for stiffer surfaces. On trail, soft dirt, gravel and even steep terrain the lugs grip fine. Mud has been a little challenging as the lugs are not as deep or as frequently placed as a shoe like the Peregrine. Other softer surfaces have been fine, making this a great versatile budget friendly trail option.


The Saucony Blaze TR is a neutral shoe with some mild guidance components. As per usual with Saucony, there are long sidewalls in the heel and midfoot. These are noticeable on both the medial and lateral side. These somewhat offset the narrow midfoot. The heel and forefoot have some midsole flare that mildly stabilizes the ride at these points. The firmer midsole further adds some inherent stability. This makes the forefoot mildly stable while the heel and midfoot are fairly neutral. 

Thoughts as a DPT: The Impact of Weight on Trail Shoes
By Matthew Klein

The Blaze TR brings a surprising level of performance to a budget-level trail shoe. The firmer midsole, mild stiffness, and most significantly the lighter weight, all contribute to an efficient ride. There is plenty of foam underfoot at 35.5 mm / 27.5 mm and there is plenty of durable outsole coverage. Yet this shoe still comes in at 9.3 oz for men's size 9. This is lighter than the majority of trail shoes on the market, which still often exceed the 10-11 oz. While many of these shoes are stiff, wide-soled, highly rockered tanks with thick outsoles and rock plates, they come at a significant weight cost. Given that many trail shoes are often used for longer distances and time periods, it would make sense to work on reducing weight in regards to efficiency. 

While newer foams are entering the market and making a significant impact on running economy, weight still plays one of the biggest parts in making a shoe more efficient (Rodrigo-Carranza et al., 2020). For approximately every 100g less (~3.5 oz), there is a 1% improvement in running economy. This obviously maxes out at a certain point, which has been further carried by some of the newer foams just referenced. However, while research has yet to look at this over extremely long efforts (ultra-marathons), we may be able to hypothesize that these effects may be magnified if the lighter shoe still has enough cushioning. 

While newer runners do not need the lightest shoe on the market, having a cushioned lighter shoe may make running more enjoyable than trying to slog through a trail run in tanks. The "tanks" do have some benefits, including far better surface contact (increased stability) and usually a significant rocker. However, we know that significant rockers shift work up toward the knee and hip (Sobhani et al., 2017). This includes extra work from the hip flexors to pull the leg forward during the early part of the swing phase and the hamstrings having to slow down the extra weight during the second half of the swing phase of gait. These are commonly injured areas, so in the interest of getting people out the door, enjoying the trail and getting used to some of the technical aspects of trail running, a lighter shoe may be more beneficial. That said, every one person has different needs, so a heavier, more cushioned and more stable shoe may work. Regardless, running shoe companies should continue to focus on decreasing weight in trail shoes. If a budget trail shoe can do it, so can other expensive models. 


Rodrigo-Carranza, V., González-Mohíno, F., Santos-Concejero, J., & González-Ravé, J. M. (2020). Influence of shoe mass on performance and running economy in trained runners. Frontiers in Physiology11, 573660.

Sobhani, S., Heuvel, E., Dekker, R., Postema, K., Kluitenberg, B., Bredeweg, S., Hijmans, J.  (2017).  Biomechanics of running with rocker shoes.  Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.  20(1): 38-44.


For the $100 price tag, the Saucony Blaze TR is an excellent trail shoe. The outsole seems to grip well, the upper is secure and there is plenty of midsole underfoot. My only minor suggestions would be to consider widening the midfoot for better ground contact and maybe softening the midsole a little. The narrow midfoot does save weight but does reduce the stability at the point. The firmer midsole is good for uptempo efforts but can be on the harsh side for longer efforts. While the Blaze TR sits on the more performance side of trail footwear, its price may make it an attractive option for the newer trail runner. As such, having a wider midfoot and a little softer midsole may make it more forgiving for those new to soft surface running. 


Outside of the Brooks Divide 3, this is one of the few higher-level budget/entry-level trail shoes on the market. It is interesting that a "lower cost" version would come in so much lighter than the majority of models on the market. The Blaze TR clearly takes some lessons from the Peregrine series and executes them quite well at its price point. It is still a budget shoe given the upper and midsole design, but like the Axon series does them quite well. There is certainly a place for these shoes given the increasing costs of footwear. The Divide 3 and Blaze TR both sit as "gateway" trail shoes that are safe investments for those interested in trying softer surface running without breaking the bank. 


Fit: B/B+ (Snug/Narrow, durable upper. Lockdown is solid although upper is a little stiff)
A-/B+ (Higher stack, slightly stiffer, lighter ride giving this shoe a performance edge)
Stability: B/B+ [Neutral] (Sidewalls and stiffness slightly offset narrow midfoot)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Solid job keeping weight low and performance high in a budget trail shoe. Midfoot is more narrow than it needs to be)
Personal: B+ (A great budget-friendly option. However, I greatly prefer the Peregrine 13 and Endorphin Edge for a lighter performance/race option)
Overall: B+


Saucony Blaze TR
Price: $100 at Saucony

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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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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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