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Saucony Sinister Review: Days of Future Past
By David Salas and Matthew Klein

The days of lightweight minimal racing flats seemed like they were gone. The Saucony Sinister revitalizes this category and offers a shoe at 25mm of stack height using PWRUN PB midsole cushioning. The shoe does not have plate or stiffening agent and runs on the flexible side. The Saucony Sinister is a natural riding racing flat with modern cushioning. 

Saucony Sinister
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 4.9 oz, 139g (men's size 9), 4.3 oz, 122g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 25mm heel // 19mm heel
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Racing Flat


Matt: The Saucony Sinister is a lower profile, super foam, non-plated racing flat for those who want a flexible, super light, responsive ride. The shoe features a narrow, snug fit reminiscent of track spikes and traditional racing shoes. The addition of PWRRUN PB provides a bouncy but natural ride that makes this shoe excellent for shorter races, faster intervals and track work. Those who have been longing for a super light, sub 5 oz road flat finally have something, although the Saucony Sinister runs solo for the moment. 

David: The Saucony Sinister is a lower profile racing flat for those wanting a natural and flexible ride with a responsive midsole. The shoe fits similar to a track spike throughout and maintains a performance profile throughout. The full contact outsole and dialed in upper makes this a solid shoe for quicker workouts, races, and track work.

: Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro


Matt: The Saucony Sinister fits me true to size in my normal Men's US size 10. The fit is narrow throughout and is lower volume throughout the length of the shoe. The upper is one piece with a thin ripstop fabric that feels incredibly light. The tongue is stretch knit that is built into the upper. I had some issues getting it to lay totally flat, so make sure to readjust this prior to beginning a workout.

The heel features a thin mesh with cushioning only at the posterior-most part of the heel. There is a small flexible heel counter at the rearmost portion that I did not have trouble with. Thanks to the incredibly snug/narrow fit, I have no issues with security. Even turning was fine thanks to the reinforcements in the midfoot from the lacing. Those with wider feet will have difficulty with this shoe given its shape. I also would highly encourage the use of socks as the seams from around the tongue do cause some rubbing. For those with narrow feet or wanting a narrow performance fit, the Sinister will deliver. 

David: The Saucony Sinister fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The shoe does run a performance fit throughout and is very similar to a track spike. This shoe has lower volume and fits on the snug side throughout. The length still fits true to size for me.

The upper is a translucent mesh material throughout with a tongue that is a stretchy knit like substance. It is one piece with some reinforcements built into the lacing system. This really helps with cinching the laces down and keeping you on the platform.

There is a small heel counter in this shoe. Most of other material is a light suede that wraps the heel. I had not issues with slippage or translation. The tongue also is just padded enough to lace tightly without biting. This upper is very dialed in and feels like a track spike. For those that are sensitive to low volume shoes like this, you could justify going up a half size, though it does run true to size for me.


Matt: The Saucony Sinister is a super light mile to 10k racing shoe. It is nimble, minimal and extremely light at 4.9 oz (men's size 9). The combination of super foam and a flexible ride create a natural and fast transition through the length of the shoe. The PWRRUN PB midsole is at a lower stack height than the other super shoes in Saucony's line-up. It has a protective, slightly firmer and bouncy ride when the pace picks up. This is not a shoe meant for easier efforts and it works best for fast intervals, shorter races and as a break from track spikes. There is a centered heel bevel in the rearfoot that breaks in quickly as the foam compresses. The midfoot transitions easily into a flexible forefoot. The ride is not heavily rockered given the flexibility, so your feet will have to do more fo the work than in most racing flats.

The PWRRUN PB foam still takes the edge off the road, while the outsole provides some solid grip. This is especially good on track and mild dirt surfaces, making this an option for spikeless track and well-groomed XC races. It works especially well during shorter events, so those in high school that find spikes or plated shoes too aggressive may do well in these.

Durability-wise, I have 15 miles on my pair and the outsole looks great. I only see minimal wear in my usual spot and the rest of the outsole is fine. Most minimal racing shoes do not last long (The Saucony Type A used to last me 80 miles) but I expect these to last an average to above-average number of miles for a shoe in this category.

The Sinister performed as expected. The shoe is a really fun and nimble racing flat. The shoe is lightweight and flexible throughout. The result is a very natural feeling transition at each phase of the gait cycle. There is a really gentle rounding to the heel with a very mild toe spring. The flexible forefoot really allows you to push off of your forefoot without excessive rolling. This shoe resembles that of a traditional racing flat, though with a little more cushion and bounce. The shoe does use the PWRRUN PB cushioning seen in the Endorphin Pro series.

I have found that the Sinister is a true lightweight performance shoe and feels best at those 10k and down paces. This is has quickly become one of my go to for track workouts and I do feel this could be a supplement for those who are sensitive to spikes in the longer distances. The one thing I did notice was the outsole would have some slip medially and laterally when on slick surfaces, though did just fine in other conditions. The platform underfoot is consistent with most performance shoes being normal width to slightly narrow. I really enjoyed the performance of this shoe, but do feel the rubber underfoot could be a little stickier.


Matt: The Saucony Sinister is a neutral racing shoe. There are no traditional methods of stability. There are extremely mild sidewalls in the midfoot, but this is offset by an incredible narrow midfoot shape. There is minimal sole flaring through out the length of the shoe. The flexible ride lets the foot move as it wants to although the upper does lock it down to the sole. This is reminiscent of traditional minimal racing flats, so those that want an uninhibited ride will enjoy the Saucony Sinister. 

David: The Sinister is certainly not a stability shoe by any means. With that said it does feel more grounded than many of the other racing options on the market. This is mainly because of the lower stack height, dialed in upper, and full contact outsole. There is not much sole flaring in this shoe. There are some small sidewalls built in that help. The stability sense in this model comes more from the upper and lower profile of the shoe. The cornering in this shoe has been very good in dry conditions. The only thing I have noticed is that the rubber does have some slippage in slick conditions, even on the track. It isn't horrible, but just noticeable enough to be something to work on. This shoe is still very much a neutral racing flat. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Are minimal racing flats necessary in today's world? 
By David Salas

The running shoe market is saturated with high-stack height racing shoes now. Shoes like the Sinister have seemed to go by the wayside. For many reasons, usually relating to lab testing and running economy, these shoes have received far less attention. One thing we preach at Doctors of Running however is finding the right shoe for the individual. For the last few years we have had so many inquiries from people looking for traditional racing flats since they are sensitive to higher stack height shoes. Some people also find them heavy, stiff, or unstable. A systematic review from Lin et al. (2022) found that a multitude of factors can effect shoe performance. These factors include mass of the shoe, longitudinal bending stiffness, midsole properties, stack height, sole flare and wedges (Lin et al., 2022). 

With all of these factors in mind, some components may lead to someone's strengths or comfort than others. The Sinister does a great job of keeping a lightweight frame, responsive midsole, and a high enough to stack height for protection. With these noted, I think there is certainly a place for these types of shoes in the market. For those that like lower profile racing shoes and more flexible designs, this now opens up the options for them. 


Lin, S., Song, Y., Cen, X., Balint, K., Fekete, G., & Sun, D. (2022). The Implications of Sports Biomechanics Studies on the Research and Development of Running Shoes: A Systematic Review. Bioengineering, 9(10). 497.


Matt: The Saucony Sinister is currently the only sub 5 oz racing flat on the market. It is an interesting combination of the super light flats of the past with the super foam of today's world. It takes a great deal to get a shoe this light, so my suggestions may not be feasible. However, my major suggestions are to widen the upper and possibly widen the midfoot. The fit of this shoe will only work for those with normal width and narrow feet. Those with wide feet will not be able to fit, which will limit this shoe's usability in that population. A little more volume may help, but that might also sacrifice security. I am a little stumped on how to execute that but a little more width is needed.

As I usually request, a little more midfoot sole width would be nice. Even if it meant lowering the stack height a little, balancing out the ride may be helpful for races up to 10k. Outside of those things, The Sinister is a fantastic jump back into the super light racing shoe category and I am curious to see if anyone else follows.

David: I really enjoyed my time in the Saucony Sinister. The shoe is a nimble lightweight racing shoe that feels like a blast from the past. The one recommendation I do have is working on the outsole. The shoe has good traction in dry conditions, though I did notice consistent slippage medially and laterally in slick conditions. Otherwise the shoe is a really fun lightweight racing shoe. 


Matt: The Saucony Sinister is for those who want a super light, sub 5 oz racing flat for the mile to the 10k. The profile is lower, the ride is flexible and the transition is fast. The PWRRUN PB cushioning provides a surprising amount of protection and bounce for the moderate to lower stack height. The upper is extremely narrow, making it suitable only for those with normal to narrow feet wanting a locked-down snug fit. I was surprised to see Saucony be the first ones to jump into the super light racing shoe category. The Nike Streakfly was a bit disappointing given that came out heavier than those who may have wanted a ZoomX Streak LT hoped for (me). The Nike Streak LT with a super foam is actually the closest comparison I can make to the Sinister. It is a super light, flexible shoe that will be able to go as far as your body can handle, but most will find it best for the track, 5ks and 10ks. 

David: The Saucony Sinister is a lightweight racing shoe that caters to those like nimble designs. The shoe is under 5 ounces and and incorporates a lower profile and flexible design. The shoe does have PWRRUN PB cushioning and gives some bounce and protection underfoot. The lockdown is very spike like. This is a modern day version of the classic racing flat feel. 


Fit: B+ (Narrow and secure lockdown while keeping a minimal upper)
A- (Extremely light and fast transition. Midsole provides more cushion than expected for stack height)
Stability: B [Neutral] (Neutral, not stable or unstable ride. Minimal ride offsets narrowed midfoot somewhat)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Solid execution for weight while keeping stack height. Fit narrower than necessary for the majority of the population)
Personal: B+ (Excellent underfoot ride and weight, although narrowness limits the distance I can take this shoe)
Overall: B+ 

Fit: (I really like the way this upper is constructed. The volume is definitely a little low and snug, though this is the feel I like having on my feet when on the track.)
Performance: A- 
(A really fun ride being both nimble and responsive. Traction limits performance if there are slick conditions from either rain or mist. )
Stability: B (Not bad, not great. This is a low profile racing shoe aimed at speed. The upper lockdown and sidewalls seem to help a little bit.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Sometimes simplicity is nice. Saucony did a good job of expanding the options for those that like lower profile and flexible designs.)
Personal: A- (A very fun shoe to run in. One of my go to for fast track workouts.)
Overall: A- (A very well done racing flat for the shorter distances. The shoe brings a lot of memories to the traditional flats, though with a tad more cushioning.)


Saucony Sinister
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse

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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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