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Saucony Guide 17: True Guidance
By Matthew Klein and Bach Pham

For years, the Saucony Guide series has had a fairly standard stability shoe design. A medial post or medial plastic piece has been a core part of this series as a medial stability-based shoe. Version 17 is a complete redesign that involved a new geometry both externally and internally without the use of traditional medial-based stability methods. Pulling from current concepts in guidance, Saucony has embraced a new Center Path Technology, which aims to keep the foot and the runners lower extremity moving through a central path unique to the runner. A new maximal geometry adds to the smoothest riding Guide yet, signaling a new era for this series. 

Saucony Guide 17
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.4 oz, 269 g (men's size 9), 8.1 oz, 232 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35 mm / 29 mm
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Moderate Guidance Shoe




RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Saucony Guide 17 is a highly cushioned, highly rockered, moderate guidance shoe for those who want a smooth riding daily training shoe. A complete redesign from prior versions, the newest version sees softer cushioning, a lower drop and a more rockered ride underfoot. A new upper provides more room while a secure midfoot still provides plenty of security. A medial plastic piece is replaced by significant sidewalls, a wider base, a highly rockered design and internal geometry that guides the foot forward. A new-age stability shoe with a super smooth ride, the Saucony Guide 17 truly lives up to its name as a Guidance shoe. 

Bach: The Guide 16 was one of my favorite stability shoes of 2023. For the category, it was a shoe that felt light, turned over nicely and fit my foot incredibly well. Even with flat feet, I really enjoyed the posting in the shoe and have gravitated towards it throughout the year inbetween testing.

The Saucony Guide 17 represents a very different direction stability-wise, dropping the posting in favor of all the things that you hear us talk about on a weekly basis in terms of stability. Fortunately these elements are done really well, offering a really comfortable, stable trainer that many folks will get along with.

SIMILAR SHOES: Hoka Arahi 6
PAST MODEL:
Saucony Guide 16





FIT

Matt: The Saucony Guide 17 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is fairly normal throughout the length of the shoe with the exception of a slightly snug heel. It fits slightly wider than the prior version, particularly in the forefoot. The new mesh in the forefoot also allows some stretch but still stays close for a secure fit. The midfoot is normal to slightly snug with a moderately thick tongue and significant gusseting holds the midfoot well. The heel is slightly snug with a large amount of inner liner padding and a moderately stiff heel counter. The counter is quite rounded and I did not have any issues with it, although those extremely sensitive to stiff counters may notice it. The security of the upper is great. The slightly snug heel held both feet well and I only had to tighten the midfoot laces slightly. Sockless wear is great with these thanks to a mostly seamless interior. I still have elected to use socks, but those wanting to go sockless should do fine here. 

Bach: The Guide 17 fit true to size for me in my normal men's US 9.5. I did find the fit to be a touch wider throughout than the Guide 16, but it is more from the upper being relaxed and flexible than it is actual width. I had plenty of space for my toes and no issues anywhere on foot. It is a very comfortable fit throughout and the heel feels secure. The fit overall is fairly standard. Wide foot runners should definitely check out the wide model. There is a slight arch bump in the midfoot. It did not bother my flat feet, but was noticeable on the run.

There is a partial rigid heel counter with a flexible top half that also acts slightly like a pull tab when slipping on which is a neat design. The laces do a good job of locking the foot down and I never felt insecure. I never had to lace lock the shoe to get what I felt was an optimal lockdown. This is a shoe that worked with many different sock types from thick to thin for me, which I appreciated.



PERFORMANCE

Matt: The Saucony Guide 17 is a highly rockered, maximal daily training shoe. The ride is mildly soft, well-cushioned, and highly rockered. This is different from the firmer and stiffer ride of the prior version thanks to additional PWRRUN in the midsole. Most of the additional foam is in the forefoot (2mm) but the entire length of the shoe feels softer compared to the prior version. Despite having a maximal look, the ride of the Guide 17 feels and is slightly lighter than the previous version. 9.4 oz for men's size 9 is light for a shoe in this category and the cushioning/geometry makes it feel lighter.

The heel drop is now 6mm and it feels lower than the prior version. Part of this is due to the large heel bevel and overall rockered ride. The heel transition is a tiny bit clunky at first despite the bevel. The bevel feels like it is angled slightly medial, which creates a little early initial lateral contact until the lateral crash pad breaks in and compresses. After a few miles this disappears. This transitions into a stable midfoot and into a well-rockered but also moderately flexible forefoot. The forefoot provides an extremely smooth, effortless transition forward transition.

The solid, cushioned transition make the Guide 17 best for daily miles and long runs. It is a great shoe to eat up miles during training as it feels best when keeping a consistent pace. Given the lighter weight and flexibility in the forefoot, it does feel decent to do uptempo work in this shoe. I have done a fartlek and a track workout that went fairly well for wearing trainers. It certainly can handle those efforts but there are better shoes for moving fast. The rockered design and stable feel make it feel best going at consistent paces from slower recovery runs to slightly uptempo daily runs. 

Traction and durability-wise this shoe has been decent. I have 50 miles on my pair and have not chewed through the outsole. There is a little bit of wear on the posterior lateral heel which fortunately has plenty of rubber coverage. The other area I am seeing wear is the central forefoot. This is due to there being a significant amount of exposed PWRRUN, although the wear is fairly minor for me at this time. Traction wise this shoe is best for road. There are some flex grooves in this shoe but the smooth outsole feels best on road. The exposed foam is not something I would take on trails (unless you are David) and there are plenty of other trails specific options that will do better there. 

Bach: So this is still PWRRUN, Saucony's steady, classic midsole material that's been in previous versions of the Guide. The PWRRUN may have changed slightly, but is still definitely PWRRUN. What's really changed is the geometry of the shoe. This is a really great example of how a material can ultimately stay the same, but by changing the design you get something totally different. The shoe definitely feels more cushioned than the last model. There's definitely way more bevel in the heel and a more rockered forefoot compared to the last version. The forefoot flexes a tiny bit, which I like and makes the shoe feel a little more natural than stiff which it could easily have been.

My first run in every shoe I test is always a 2-3 mile easy run to get a temperature check on how the shoe felt. I honestly was worried that it was on the verge of being a little too soft for me. Thankfully, the foam settled next run and was a good mix of comfort and mild firmness to feel stable underfoot. The Saucony Guide 17 overall has been a really pleasant, easy-to-turnover, no-frills trainer. The new bevel and forefoot rocker really improved the overall ride of the shoe from the last version. In the Guide 16, one thing I really didn't enjoy was trying to get through hills in the shoe. It just didn't quite respond very well to what I wanted it to do. The Guide 17 obliterates that issue and feels really solid.

The shoe weighs just barely less than last year's model. I found it okay for some uptempo work - though in Saucony's wheelhouse alone there's a better option, and one I'd certainly consider rotating with this.

The traction has been pretty solid. I had some slightly icy/wet roads and with care did just fine. The wide base and generous outsole do enough to let you hang in there. I would take some mild care in very slick conditions though, as it is also a fairly smooth outsole which benefits the ride, at the cost of some grip.




STABILITY

Matt: The Saucony Guide 17 is a moderate guidance shoe. There is no longer a medial post or plastic piece, but this shoe features several newer methods of stability. There are significant sidewalls in the heel and midfoot. The medial sidewall continues into the medial aspect of the forefoot, providing mild and noticeable guidance upfront. The base of the shoe is quite wide with a medial midfoot that is filled in. There is a large amount of sole flare both medially and laterally throughout the length of the shoe, further creating a stable platform. There is a large lateral crash pad that collapses quite well and eases the foot in during heel transitions. The sidewalls do a great job of keeping the foot centered along with the wider sole. This transitions extremely well over an early rockered and moderately flexible forefoot. There is some mild noticeable medial pressure in both the heel and forefoot. It is not the typical post feeling but instead is the medial pressure from the sidewalls. I have also resistance from the lateral sidewall. Those who need either medial or lateral support have that with the Guide 17. However, those who need mild to moderate medial guidance along the length of the medial side will get the most benefit here. 

Bach: The Saucony Guide 17's changes include the removal of a post in favor of tall sidewalls, sole flaring, and elements that work to push the runner forward. It's definitely the most "Guide" of Guides in that way. The guidance in general is not intrusive or prominent like some technology such as Hoka's J-Frame or Brooks' Guiderails. It really is all subtle and about the combination of elements that work together. The shoe will absolutely work for a much broader audience than any past Guides, including runners who need some lateral support. The one crowd that will have a harder say are those who do benefit directly from a post, which will have to try and see if this modern form of stability works for their needs. There is still some very slight mild medial support. It didn't bother my flat feet at all, but I could tell the medially side had some extra support through density. As someone who floats between neutral, stable neutral, stability shoes throughout the year, I personally felt very supported in the Guide 17.

For stability runners who think of shoes in terms of levels of stability, I would put the new Guide 17 in the category of New Balance Vongo v6, Nike Structure 25, and to an extent the Hoka Arahi which all kind of blurs the lines of stability a good deal, while still providing stable elements that make it a mild-to-moderate stability shoe depending on the runner and their needs. I would put shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline, Asics Kayano, and Mizuno Wave Inspire in the next, higher tier of stability - closer to where the Guide 16 was prior (with the Brooks Beast being in a league of its own).



Thoughts as a DPT: Keeping Things Uniquely Centered 
By Matthew Klein

The changes in the current Guide 17 are massive. This series has kept its post/plastic piece for a long time. As with others like the newest ASICS Kayano, many companies are beginning to rely on geometry rather than traditional posting to provide stability. It was not that posting did not work as it can certainly influence foot motion to a degree. It just didn't work for the largest group of people. The post has to be put specifically in the place where the runner needs help controlling movement, which can vary greatly depending on what is going on. One person might need stability at the medial heel, lateral midfoot, medial forefoot, etc and can be completely different than others. This makes putting the post in the right place difficult, as opposed to having sidewalls that run the length of a shoe to guide people forward when they move too far in one direction (Nigg et al., 2017; Nigg et al., 2017). This extra transgression may happen for a variety of reasons, be it biomechanics, fatigue or even increased variability of movement due to a new runner. This method of guidance will likely work for a far great number of people, especially ones sensitive to arch pressure. 

It does tend to work better however when in motion. The one positive thing about posts is that some people responded to them well standing statically due to the continuous pressure. However, running is not a standing static posture. It be consistent or vary depending on the person as well! Going through a guided (not forced) centered mindset may be a bit apprehensive for many people, but I believe it is actually more inclusive. These methods tend to be better at covering a greater variety of people, including those with neutral mechanics. We still have a great deal to learn about how to truly provide stability to the lower body, but trying to maintain forward momentum in every way we can is the best answer we have right now. 

References:

Nigg, B. M., Mohr, M., & Nigg, S. R. (2017). Muscle tuning and preferred movement path–a paradigm shift. Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS)2, 007-007.

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. Med Sci Sports Exerc49(8), 1641-1648.




RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: The Saucony Guide 17 is a massive upgrade that I am still processing. The missing strong medial pressure from the prior plastic piece is a welcome change as I felt it was too much and preferred the similar Ride 16 without that. This new version runs far smoother both stability as well as ride wise. However, there is still one mild change I might suggest. The major suggestion is to move the heel bevel angle slightly more lateral. The current version feels slightly medial, which makes the lateral sole flare feel a little clunky until the shoe breaks in. I realize this is to keep the foot centered rather than biased, but it is normal to land at the posterior lateral aspect of the heel. Outside of that, this is a massive and excellent upgrade that will be polarizing for prior Guide wearers until they feel it in motion. I would caution Saucony to keep the Guide 17 with PWRRUN right now. The PWRRUN+ found in the Ride 17 makes for a unique ride that feels better going faster rather than consistent paces. I prefer the consistent feel of PWRRUN for the stability and mileage this tool is meant for.

Bach: The change I would make to the Guide would be to dial in the fit so that it feels even more secure. Though I had no issues, I think having the upper feel even more structured and connected to the rest of the shoe which would add a level of confidence to the shoe. It feels just a touch more on the relaxed side here, which also makes it less likely for me to use it outside of easy runs. I think a more dialed in fit would open the versatility further. I think about the difference between the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 knit vs. mesh and how that added structure in the knit version really made the shoe a totally different shoe altogether, and I think finding a way to hone the upper further here would really put the Guide over the top.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Matt: The Saucony Guide 17 is a massive change from the prior version and will work best for those who want a centrally driven, moderate guidance shoe that is lighter, well cushioned, normal width and highly rockered. The new rockered design and additional PWRRUN foam make this shoe feel maximal and cushioned. The ride is consistent and easy, making it great for easy and long runs. The upper will work best for those with normal-width feet and who want a snug heel with a tiny bit more forefoot room. The guidance is most significant along the entire medial aspect of the shoe thanks to the large sidewall but there are also methods present on the lateral side to keep you in the middle.

The stability will work best for those who want a stable platform without a ton of medial arch pressure. This is still definitely a guidance/stability shoe, but the methods bring the weight down, improve the geometry and move this series forward in line with current concepts of footwear and stability. This is certainly a shoe that needs to exist and the forward progress in guidance was much needed after the borderline uncomfortable plastic piece in the 16. This will not provide the medial arch feeling, which may be good or bad depending on the person. The step-in feel is definitely stable but does not have as much initial significant stability as shoes like the ASICS GT 2000 12. This will be a shoe that those wanting to experience stability will need to actually start moving in it to really feel the stability that the Guide has to offer.

Bach: The Saucony Guide 17 revamp provides a modern stability trainer that's less intrusive and more true to its name in terms of guided support. It comes in at a great price point upfront for everyday runners looking for a steady, reliable trainer. I think it'll be an easy recommend for those looking for mild-to-moderate stability for everyday miles.

For those who truly want a do-it-all stability trainer, I would probably suggest the Saucony Tempus first. I feel the Guide's best role is daily mileage grinding, which it does superbly. I wouldn't say you couldn't choose the Guide for a do-it-all. It's still one of the lighter stability trainers in the market and the new geometry makes it far more fluid than most, but the Tempus does take you down half an ounce. The two together, however, would serve as a really solid rotation.

FULL 100 MILE REVIEW





GRADING

Matt
Fit: A- (Normal forefoot, normal/snug midfoot/heel. Best for normal width feet and has good security overall)
Performance: 
A- (Rockered, maximal ride with lower drop. Flexible forefoot allows some uptempo work but feels best rolling along at easy and long paces)
Stability: A [Moderate Guidance] (Excellent centered ride with sidewalls, filled in midfoot, rockered ride and geometry that facilitates forward motion without arch pressure)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (A complete redesign that improves everything in my opinion. Excellent integration of current concepts in footwear/stability. Heel bevel could be a tiny bit more lateral though)
Personal: A- (My go to daily training stability option now. Excellent fit and ride although wish midsole could be a tiny bit more responsive without losing the guidance)
Overall: A- 

Bach
Fit: A- (Solid fit throughout provides a lot of good comfort)
Performance:
A- (A really solid daily cruiser for any distance)
Stability: B+ (While Saucony did a great job of integrating different elements to promote guidance, one concern is for the audience who needs high level stability, having to debate whether this works for them or not. I think that warrants a little bit of a knock in an otherwise solid shoe)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Really interesting changes that completely change the shoe without changing the midsole.)
Personal: A- (It's a big change for Saucony, but one that I enjoyed thoroughly while testing and will be an easy go-to all 2024)
Overall: A-


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Saucony Guide 17
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse

Shop Men | Shop Women

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FURTHER READING: 2023 Stability Shoes

Altra Paradigm 7 - Altra's unique zero drop, guidance-based stability shoe
Altra Provision 8 - Altra's Provision offers a stable zero drop shoe for a wide array of runners
Asics GT-1000 11 - The most affordable stability shoe in the market
ASICS GT-2000 12 - A new 3D guidance system provides cushioned, modern stability
Asics Kayano 30 - Big changes bring Kayano into the future, creating a geometric stability option
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 - The long running stability trainer stays true with small changes
Brooks Beast GTS 23 - The highest level stability shoe in the market today
Brooks Hyperion GTS - All-new, lightweight stability offering using guidance
Brooks Launch GTS 10 - An excellent low profile, mild guidance shoe
Hoka Gaviota 5 - Hoka moves to a new H-Frame stability that universalizes the Gaviota
Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 - The redesign for the guidance-based stability trainer is an early 2023 favorite
New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 - Big changes to this stability trainer
Nike Structure 25 - A mild stability trainer for those who want a traditional ride
On Cloudflyer 4 - An update to the mild stability trainer (a really solid walking shoe)
Salomon DRX Bliss - A new guidance based trainer for the roads
Saucony Guide 16 - A much-improved upper and soft insole highlight this stability shoe update

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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 pairs.  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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