The Saucony Freedom 4 is a premium-level, neutral-oriented performance training shoe that inspires fast running, especially for short to medium-length runs. It’s light, cushy and energetic and comfortable with a flexible, low-to-the-ground feeling and a slipper-like feel.
The biggest improvement to the Freedom 4 is the replacement of the PWRRUN+ foam with the lighter, ever-so-slightly thicker and notably more energetic PWRRUN PB midsole.
There’s also a new engineered mesh upper and outsole, but it’s the lively foam that really upgrades the performance and experience of this shoe.
There are no stability mechanism built into the midsole of this shoe, but the nature of the PWRRUN PB foam is that it’s quite stable. So if you very mildly pronate, you’ll probably be fine wearing this shoe for everything except longer runs. But that stable sensation also makes this shoe a great shoe for the gym.
Another seemingly small but impactful change to the Freedom 4 is the overhaul of the outsole. Gone is the tacky, flexible crystal rubber and in its place is a firmer rubber in a new pattern that offers durability and traction but less softness.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Saucony Freedom 4 fits true to size, and similar to other Saucony models with a mildly cushioned medium to narrow interior volume.
The step-in feel has been enhanced by the new upper, which, along with a gusseted, slightly padded tongue, feels snug and comfortable as it cinches your foot down to the midsole.
Although it’s not a minimalist shoe, the Freedom 4 gives off a decidedly low-to-the-ground sensation. This allows you to engage the ground as you touch down, roll through the gait cycle and toe-off again.
You can feel the ground, but the midsole foam sufficiently absorbs shock and cushions each stride without bottoming out. As you roll through the midstance phase, you get a boost of forward propulsion. This is created from the energy stored in the compressed midsole foam.
It’s a distinct ride that feels very smooth, slightly firm and extremely energetic.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
The Saucony Freedom 4 can serve a wide range of runners from beginners to lifelong runners, but it’s best for those who are condition to run in shoes with low heel-toe offsets.
What is heel-toe offset? That’s the difference in height off the ground where the heel sits inside the shoe and the height off the ground of where the toes sit inside the shoe.
The 4mm offset of the Freedom won’t feel dramatically different than a 6mm offset. However, it will feel a lot different than a shoe with a 10mm-13mm offset. If 4mm works for you, you’ll probably love this energetic shoe for faster workouts and tempo runs.
It can suffice for long runs for some runners and recovery runs for most, but the nature of the foam is such that it inspires faster, quick-cadence running.
PROS: SAUCONY FREEDOM 4
PWRRUN PB is a high-performance PEBA-based foam that debuted in Saucony’s stunning Endorphin Pro and Endorphin Speed shoes. Those racer/trainer shoes have a much firmer demeanor because they’re built with rigid plates.
There isn’t a plate in the Freedom 4, so the foam offers a more pliable but almost equally energetic feel and moderately bouncy ride. If you have run in Endorphin shoes, you’ll sense some similarities but also enjoy the more traditional flex pattern in the forefoot.
The meshy upper is silky soft as it wraps the specific shape of your feet without any binding. There’s little structure to it, except some suede overlays in the rear and forefoot and a TPU Saucony logo. It seems to help lock down the foot as it works in conjunction with the firm interior heel counter.
Believe it or not, the upgrades to this shoe have actually given a runner’s feet less freedom. That’s not a bad thing at all, but it has a firmer feel than the all-way pliability of the Freedom 3.
CONS: SAUCONY FREEDOM 4
Overall, this is a really good shoe, but the stretchy, semi-round tube laces are a slight detractor. They can be a bit cumbersome and more constrictive than traditional flat laces.
It’s an easy fix, though, because you can just replace them with any other pair of laces.
The Saucony Ride 14 is a versatile and reliable neutral-oriented everyday training shoe with a soft, flexible demeanor and a do-everything mentality.
It’s a comfortable, smooth-riding workhorse with an accommodating fit and capable of high-mileage weekly volume and running at a variety of paces.
The significant changes include a new upper that’s more breathable and slightly more pliable, a cleaner look and a slightly updated shape.
But don’t take the lack of major updates as a sign that the Ride 14 is somehow a lackluster shoe. Much the opposite, the Ride 13 was so great that Saucony opted not to mess up a good thing.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Saucony Ride 14 fits true to size with a comfortably snug but not restrictive interior feel. Once you lace it up, it feels supple, cushy and flexible. The gusseted tongue and the new engineered mesh upper help cinch up your foot in the medium-volume interior.
The ride is smooth, flowy and semi-soft, but not bouncy. The eye stays holding the laces are far more pliable in this edition and now the suede-like overlays on the upper are separated, contributing to the softer flex in the front end of the shoe.
In general, it fits, feels and rides very similarly to the previous edition of the shoe. It’s not too flashy compared to some other models, but it is very comfortable, reliable and consistent.
The new shape and upper, combined with the dynamic midsole properties, give this edition of the Ride a slightly more nimble and athletic sensation out on the run. Each of those elements contributes to the fit and security. This allows you to pick up the pace for high-cadence running and turn corners with more agility.
The outsole of the Ride 14 has segments of both firmer and softer rubber for traction and durability. We appreciated the grip running along wet roads and sidewalks and through lingering spring snowmelt. We believe it will be a long-wearing shoe that should hold its form for several months (or upwards of 400 miles of running) before showing signs of wear.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
The Saucony Ride 14 has always been a great shoe for a wide range of runners. Beginners will love it for its comfort and fit, while more advanced runners will appreciate it for its versatility. It’s not overly cushy, but it’s not low-to-the-ground minimalist either.
If you want a jack/jill-of-all-trades for all of your weekly workout needs, the Ride 14 is a good choice. It’s a great long-run shoe, quick enough for tempo runs and could be a race-day shoe for a 5K to a half marathon.
It’s not an all-out speedster, so it won’t be as ideal for track workouts but it can get the job done in a pinch if called upon.
PROS: SAUCONY RIDE 14
The best aspect of the Ride 14 is the moderately thick PWRRUN foam midsole layer. The EVA/TPU blend gives it an energetic vibe. This allows it to offer just the right amount of softness and just the right amount of responsiveness. Soft but not marshmallowy, resilient but not bouncy.
The upper features Saucony’s FormFit closure design that includes a thin, lightweight internal construction under the sturdier outer layer of the upper for a comfortable, near-custom, sock-like fit. It’s one of those shoes that feels like it becomes an extension of your foot. There’s no sloppy wiggle room once it’s laced up.
The heel-toe offset is a moderate at 8mm. No matter if you’ve run in shoes with a higher offset (12mm or so) or lower slope offset (4mm) you won’t have any trouble adjusting to this shoe.
CONS: SAUCONY RIDE 14
The Ride is a great shoe, but it doesn’t have the technological bells and whistles of some other trainers — advanced foam or a nylon propulsion plate — so it might seem a little less inspiring during faster-paced running. But it gives good bang for the buck at $130.
In observance of International Women’s Day 2021 the United Nations is celebrating with the theme ‘Women In Leadership’.
With that in mind, we’re honored to showcase some of the bold female founders and leaders in the running industry and the thriving companies they lead.
WOMEN-LED BRANDS AT JACKRABBIT
The companies these amazing women have founded, the organizations created and the activism they champion, all contribute to adding gender equity to an industry where everyone has the right to lace up, show up and run equally.
RABBIT RUNNING APPAREL
With a name like Rabbit, we knew we had to be BFFs with a brand that shares our name and our philosophy of serving up runners the best.
Let’s meet Monica Devreese and Jill Deering, the founders of Rabbit running apparel. Monica has been in the running business for 20 years and as experienced and, let’s admit it, badass runners, they had some experience to bring to the table. As lifelong competitive runners they came to the apparel business like others before them; they never found anything they really loved.
Monica and Jill considered their own needs as well as those of other runners when it came down to the most complex of running garments, the running short. Having added up the pros and cons of every short they could get their hands on, they believed they could create something better. And so they did.
Founder and CEO of MOBOT Nation, Lani Cooper patented the first combined foam roller and environmentally sustainable water bottle. With a call for society to be more conscious and sustainable, MOBOT has delivered an innovative product that teaches us to constantly reimagine our perspectives.
Each foam roller water bottle is made from 100% recycled stainless steel and non-toxic, high density EVA foam. Since their inception in 2013, they have already saved over 180MM+ single use plastic water bottles from landfills and waterways.
Two of the most necessary practices for health and wellbeing, hydration and massage, are actually sometimes the most neglected (by everybody). So check out MOBOT at JackRabbit to get your body back on track.
BALEGA RUNNING SOCKS
Tanya Pictor is co-founder of Balega Running Socks. In a recent interview, she championed the power that running has to bring us together. ‘Running is a sport that does not see gender, color, it is all inclusive, forgiving and keeps us grounded.’
Balega stands out in the sock world for its commitment to giving back. Since the beginning, Balega has sought meaningful ways to pay tribute to organizations via their company culture and commitment to quality in everything that they do.
Tanya’s advice for women considering following a career path similar to that of hers? “Be yourself, be authentic, and respectfully unapologetic about who you are and what you bring. Follow your passion and remain true to your calling.”
President of Performance Lifestyle at HOKA ONE ONE, Wendy Yang has set the running world on fire with supporting innovative performance lifestyle campaigns that have helped to shape the running world as we know it – beyond the shoes.
“I’m most proud of the teams I’ve built and the work those teams have done, which have made a lasting impact across the multiple companies and brands I’ve had the good fortune to steward over the course of my career.” – Wendy Yang, Footwearnews 2019
From working with Reebok, New Balance, Timberland and more, Wendy has found her place to grow with HOKA. Beyond the sale numbers, Wendy has placed a special focus on equality in the workplace. Starting the first Deckers Women’s Leadership Summit in 2018, to having hired 75% of current employees, Wendy keeps equality and equity at the forefront.
HOKA continues to be a brand that empowers movement for everyone, everywhere, any kind.
Britt Olsen is the GMM at On Running North America. A brand that has shaken up the industry, On is leading the way with innovative cushioning and a sleek look that has been a hit with runners and street walkers alike. Britt joined On in the US as employee number six and now she is leading a team approaching 200.
Of the experience of leading the North American team of this entrepreneurial company she comments, “I know that we can help influence and shape sport culture in a very positive and impactful way. That feels really good.”
A brand that is smart and dialed in having recently founded the On Running Group hoping to launch and support the Olympic careers for their members as well as a new technical tennis-inspired sneaker with Roger Federer.
On Running continues to challenge the norm, supporting professional runners and inspiring the rest of us to be a little bit better every day.
Senior Vice President of New Balance Athletics for North America, Melissa Worth is a savvy and respected leader. During 2020 New Balance navigated the unknown by calling up on their commitment to civic duty and serving others. They seamlessly pivoted production to create personal protective equipment for front line workers via the New Balance Foundation.
Talking about the challenges of 2020, Melissa told Footwear News “We have been able to rethink the way we use our inventory, how we drive our digital business internally as well as with key partners and how we communicate and connect with each other.”
Melissa has committed to a culture of empathetic leadership amid the pandemic and supporting diverse leadership.
“As leaders we need to commit to diversity and inclusion goals to change the face of the industry and hold ourselves, and each other accountable to achieve positive systematic change. We need to get comfortable talking about the problem, and we need to give a platform to associates of color, listen to what they have to say and act on it.”
Anne Cavassa is the President of Saucony. A brand with an unapologetic focus on empowering Her and inviting slogan of “Run for Good,” Anne has worked alongside many others in the company to have these words and meaning brought to life.
Most recently, through the Saucony x Prinkshop collaboration this past Fall. With the goal of helping to encourage women to run – however that may be – Anne, prinkshop founder and creative director Pamela Bell, along with Saucony marketing director Jessica Newton and director of apparel Sarah Clark created a line dedicated to the cause.
“With this collaboration, we are taking a stand to further support gender parity and encourage women everywhere to find their personal pathway to leadership. We invite everyone to join us as we rally behind the women who are committed to the race with their eye on the finish line. When women run, we all win.” – Anne, Running Insight
Along with of-the-time campaigns and company follow-through, Saucony continues to be a great leader in the running space through continued footwear innovation across road running, carbon fiber plates and trail running shoes as well as inclusive marketing and partnerships.
In the world of running how we act, support, challenge and how we speak are powerful tools. We are privileged to have bold women creating organizations and support systems as well as media committed to reporting on women’s running news.
A grassroots, Indigenous-led foundation by Altra runner Jordan Marie Brings Three Horses Daniel that works to “dismantle white supremacy and racism, rebuild a better future and elevating Indigenous, Black, Brown, Asian, Immigrant, Muslim, Jewish, Two Spirits, LGBTQ+, & Non-binary voices and relatives with disabilities.”
The Rising Hearts Foundation has also worked hard to provide resources for the community regarding wellness, COVID-19 relief, running with purpose and has been a leader in providing education for external communities about what it means to run on Native Lands.
Jordan is an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, Project Manager and TIN Liaison, outdoor enthusiast. Jordan is also well-known for her Prayer Runs and bringing light to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Find ways to support and participate with the Rising Hearts Foundation here.
Based in New York City, Latinos Run is a running group focused around serving the Latino population through fitness and providing access to running information, education and community. Founder, Maria Solís, has created this in-person and online community to meet needs and create space that was not initially there. Taking it one step further – she expanded Latinos run to create a more specific group for women called Latinas Run.
“Latinos Run and Latinas Run are two running platforms that promote running as a way to improve physical and mental health within Latino community. I created these groups as a safe space for runners to feel welcome in the running community.” – Maria Solís, Your Sole
Now in 2021, Maria has developed an audience of 25,000 people – newbies to running all the way to elites. She provides for an online community and uses her visibility to partner with others to provide things like her all women’s trail running summit.
Women’s Running Magazine has come into its own in the media space covering women’s running. They have matured into a leading voice focused on reporting on the talent and breadth of women’s running.
They cover everything from the latest news from pro athletes to training techniques, advice from female athletes who have navigated path particular to female athletes. The publication is an advocate for a healthy approach to running. They tap into professional athletes, science and experiences of others to further a positive future for the next generation.
Alysia Montaño is an Olympian, national champion, activist, author, and mother of three. In 2014 she famously ran an 800m race while 8 months pregnant
Alysia is the founder of the non-profit &Mother.org the organization dedicated to breaking the barriers that limit a woman’s choice to pursue and thrive in both career and motherhood. She also hosts the podcast ‘Keeping Track’ alongside Molly Huddle and Roisin McGettigan with the mission of giving more media coverage of women’s sport.
Not only an activist, Alysia brings her A-game to social media and well worth the follow.
Mechelle Freeman is 2007 World Track and Field champion, and a 2008 Olympian in the 4×200-meter relay. She founded the organization TrackGirlzin 2015 as a way to provide exposure and access for girls to the track and field world that so often gets left behind after college.
JackRabbit is so proud to be working directly with TrackGirlz in 2021 offering financial support for their grant program to grow the sport of track and field for female athletes.
“I want to get more Black, Indigenous and people of color involved to expand the conversation,” she says about the future of the organization. “I want to bridge the gap between track and the rest of the running community. I want to bring out all different body types to show just how inclusive this sport is.”
Follow TrackGirlz and help spread the word about their mission. Learn more about Mechelle and their grant programs here.
The great thing about running is all of the different ways you can go about it. You are able to find which type of running (indoor, outdoor, trail, road, track, the list goes on) fits you best and easily tailor activity around that.
For those who want to ‘find their fit’ in trail running, this one is for you.
We share the best trail running shoes for the rugged and smooth trails of 2021.
BREAKING DOWN THE TRAIL RUNNING MYTH
Daily summits on local mountains, hitting trails to get thousands of feet of vertical gain, jumping on, off and over rocks and roots. These things are all cool, and yes are the experiences of some runners who have access and time to commit to The Trail™, however, the reality of trail running is that these experiences don’t need to be everyone’s experience nor are they a prerequisite to being considered a trail runner.
Breaking down this trail running myth is essential to entering the sport. So what is daily trail running? It’s your local trails, your local bike paths, the one-foot-long span of dirt you have in your neighborhood. It’s running up the hills in your neighborhood and conquering those local summits.
These two worlds do have one common intersection – shoes – and this is where we’ll breakdown the best trail running shoes for you.
Sunrise summits on rocky and uneven trails? Sign the Altra Lone Peak up. The Lone Peak is a trail runner’s dream using Altra EGO midsole for a responsive yet soft ride and a MaxTrac™ outsole to give you that grippy and secure feel on the trail.
Road shoes, meet trail shoes. Trail shoes, meet road shoes. The HOKA Challenger ATR combines the best of both shoes to make the doorstep to trail a smooth and seamless transition. All Terrain is in the name, afterall.
This neutral trail running shoe was designed with broad, closely spaced zonal lugs so you can stay in control on the trail and still have a soft landing while on the roads.
The right shoe can help make or break a race, but shoe selection is even more important when that race comes AFTER a swim and a bike. Triathletes have a lot of options when it comes to selecting the right gear, wheels, helmets, wetsuits, googles, gearing and of course, shoes.
With the new emergence of the carbon plated shoes, many triathletes have a dedicated training shoe and a dedicated racing shoe. We picked out some of the best running shoes for triathletes to race with.
BEST RUNNING SHOES FOR TRIATHLETES
HOKA CARBON X 2
HOKA has taken the triathlon world by storm over the last 5 years, with many of the top professionals racing in HOKA footwear.
Positioned as an endurance racer, the Carbon X2 delivers the same propulsive speed as its predecessor in an adaptable silhouette geared for training and racing alike. Engineered with a responsive, carbon fiber plate and aggressive Meta-Rocker, this performance shoe is a formidable competitor.
Saucony jumped on board with the carbon plate hype with their model, Endorphin Pro.
The Endorphin Pro has ultralight, springy PWRRUNPB cushioning and a signature s-curve carbon fiber plate for powerful transitions, running at top speed feels easier, so you get to the finish line faster.
The Saucony Kinvara 12 has been overhauled in look and feel, but it retains the lightweight, low-to-the-ground design while morphing into more of a reliable, lightweight, high-mileage workhorse than its old persona as a go-fast trainer.
The Saucony Kinvara was one of the first low-offset, lightweight, softly-cushioned performance trainers to emerge out of the minimalist revolution a decade ago, and it remains as one of the best in its class among neutral-oriented everyday trainers even as dozens of other competitors have emerged.
A new FORMFit mono mesh upper design and updated outsole pattern give the Kinvara 12 a more secure feel, a lighter spec weight and a more streamlined fit, feel and vibe.
It retains the PWRRUN compound (EVA/TPU blend) in the midsole and a thin slice of PWRRUN+ in the top sole under the footbed, but they interact slightly differently with the new outsole and upper.
There’s very little rubber on the outsole, but it doesn’t inhibit the shoe’s traction. Most of the outsole is comprised of exposed midsole foam accentuated by flexed grooves and a bit of tread for grip and flexibility. The addition of more ground contact makes the transition from landing to takeoff faster and smoother.
Although it doesn’t impact performance, the bold, eye-catching color patterns and sleek design give this shoe considerable aesthetic appeal. If you believe the adage that if you look good, you’ll feel good then the Kinvara 12 might provide some added buzz to motivate you on your daily runs.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Saucony Kinvara 12 fits true to size with a narrow-medium interior volume, featuring a snug, slightly reinforced heel, a locked-down sensation at the arch/saddle and a bit of wiggle room in the toe box.
The thin, lightly padded gusseted tongue helps keep the foot in place, while the new mono mesh upper is soft enough to be comfortable but firm enough to keep the foot secured to the midsole/outsole chassis.
The ride isn’t as soft or responsive as previous editions, but it has more of a semi-firm sensation that’s mildly bouncy and just resilient enough for up-tempo training. It all combines to give the Kinvara 12 the fit, feel and ride of a trustworthy, modern version of a minimally designed everyday trainer.
Our wear-testers reported the Saucony Kinvara 12 to be one of the best-fitting and most comfortable shoes among new models available in early 2021. The upper and midsole are very well integrated, both when it’s laced up and also in motion out on a run.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Runners with a neutral gait pattern who appreciate a versatile, lightweight daily trainer with a consistent feel and ride will really enjoy the updated Kinvara 12. Although it’s still versatile enough to run at a wide range of paces, it’s probably less desirably as a race-day shoe than it was in the past.
It just doesn’t have the same speedy vibe that it used to. (But that’s also partially because there are so many other super shoes that are such superlative racers like Saucony’s Endorphin Speed and Endorphin Pro.)
PROS: SAUCONY KINVARA 12
The new upper is the best feature of this edition of the Kinvara. It’s soft, light, sleek and secure. Lightweight printed overlays gives just enough structure to the breathable, adaptable mesh upper to feel secure without weighing you down.
With a $110 price tag, the Kinvara 12 is a high-value shoe that offers a great combination of accommodating fit, consistent ride and versatility. Overall, it’s a good, update from the previous edition, a no-nonsense shoe that fits, feels and runs well.
CONS: SAUCONY KINVARA 12
The only drawback is that the Kinvara has lost its speedy vibe. It used to be an ideal race-day shoe for 5K to half marathons and quick enough to run faster intervals on the track.
It’s still moderately fast, but not nearly as quick and nimble as it once was.
The Saucony Guide 14 is a modern mid-weight stability trainer for runners who need a touch of medial-side support to help offset mild to moderate over-pronation. It serves up a soft and resilient ride with the athletic vibe of a neutral shoe, but disguised in that smooth, flowy sensation is plenty of subtle support.
If you need stability for your stride — even if only in the latter miles of a long run or race — the revamped Saucony Guide 14 is a great one to consider.
A new PWRRUN+ midsole compound and an updated FORMFit upper design give the Guide 14 a soft feel. The Guide 14 has a lighter weight and a more streamlined look and fit. All of these attributes contribute to smoother, springier transitions from heel-strike to toe-off.
The Saucony Guide 14 is durable and secure enough for high-mileage, but also light and agile enough for tempo and longer intervals.
The Guide 14 derives its stability from a tonal medial TPU guidance frame and 3D-engineered fascia in the upper. Both help deliver 360 degrees of stability while disappearing into the design of the shoe for a clean look and seamless ride.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Saucony Guide 14 fits true to size. It has a medium-volume interior with a snug heel and saddle and a slightly wider toe box. (It’s available in two widths for men and women.) The step-in feel is cozy with a noticeably springy vibe the moment you lace them up and start running.
You’ll notice the practical support as you roll from heel to toe. However, there’s no stiff or firm feeling like many stability shoes. Instead, it feels like a neutral shoe even though it is subtly keeping your feet upright and tracking .
The new engineered mesh upper is stretchy, breathable and accommodating, but also provides a little bit of support. This support helps keep the foot aligned as you roll to the toe-off phase of a stride. Featherweight TPU overlays provide additional support over the saddle without adding bulk or inhibiting the natural flex of your feet.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Runners who need a bit of support to offset mild to moderate overpronation but also like shoes with soft cushioning and an energetic vibe will like this shoe a lot.
The Guide 14 can be a workhorse daily trainer for runners who log a lot of slow to medium-paced miles, runners who want more cushioning and support and those who are known to pronate consistently or tend to endure form fatigue in final miles of a long run.
The Guide 14 has a moderate heel-toe offset (8mm), allowing it to have both generous heel cushioning and a more engaging feel for the road at the forefoot. No matter what shoes you’ve run in previously, there should be no issues transitioning into this model.
PROS: SAUCONY GUIDE 14
The streamlined design not only makes the Guide 14 look smooth, but the reduced bulk and more energetic midsole also contributes to a better fit, agile feel and faster ride. It’s lighter, smoother and more nimble, allowing it to be more versatile as an everyday training shoe.
You can definitely feel the extra support in every stride — especially if you’re a severe overpronator. The shoe provides a smooth transition from the heel to midfoot to forefoot without the clunkiness of some stability shoes.
Our wear-testers love this shoe because it has a good blend of performance, durability and style. This is what makes the Guide 14 such a good value. The durable midsole foam and the two types of outsole rubber will help you get maximum mileage out of it.
CONS: SAUCONY GUIDE 14
There are no real drawbacks of the Guide 14. There are other lighter stability shoes and some that provide more support, but overall this is a great update. The Saucony Guide 14 is a reliable stability trainer without any glaring flaws
If you’re looking for just one trail shoe for all of your off-road running endeavors, the Saucony Peregrine 11 is a good one to add to your rotation.
This trail shoe does everything well without any gaping shortfalls. The new upper design is on point for some head-turning looks on the trail. Read on for the full overview from Brian Metzler.
The Saucony Peregrine is a versatile, neutral-oriented trail running shoe. It has the comfort and smoothness of a road running shoe with a low-to-the-ground feel. Add to that it has a nice blend of cushioning, traction and protection.
It’s a classic, do-everything off-road runner. It’s ideal for smooth, rolling dirt paths, moderately technical routes with some rocks, roots, gravel and other obstacles, as well as sloppy trails with a lot of mud and moisture.
The biggest update to the Peregrine 11 is a new upper that’s more durable and protective than the previous edition. It’s a nice final touch that completes this shoe as one of the most versatile and functional models out on the trails.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Peregrine has a performance-oriented fit that secures each foot to the chassis of the shoe. This avoids excess internal slipping and sliding.
Although it’s only available in a medium width, it resembles the comfortable fit and feel of a road running shoe. It features a narrow heel cup and secure sensation at the mid-foot.
The toe box is compact but not restrictively tight, allowing toes to splay and flex as they adapt to different types of terrain. The step-in feel is soft, pliable and comfortable, but not overwhelming.
The moderate midsole cushioning is accompanied by a flexible rock plate. This allows for a cushy, flexible and protective ride doesn’t inhibit the natural movement of your feet on variable terrain.
The Peregrine isn’t exceptionally energetic, but it feels and runs lighter than its spec weight. This means it serves up an agile, go-get-it sensation on most types of terrain.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Because it’s so light and comfortable, the Peregrine will appeal to a wide range of runners. From trail runners, from first-timers to those who frequently go off-road and also those who live and breathe nothing but dirt.
It excels as a versatile, three-season trail running shoe for mild to semi-technical, low-alpine, desert and woodland terrain.
The Peregrine 11 could be a great race-day shoe for trail running events from 5K to half marathon. It could be a good choice for trail marathons too, but it doesn’t have hefty cushioning like some maximally cushioned trail shoes.
PROS: SAUCONY PEREGRINE
The full-length, flexible, plastic rock plate in the Peregrine provides ample protection. Pointy rocks, roots and other irregularities on the surface of the trail are eaten up without inhibiting the ability of the foot to move nimbly.
This is the second edition of the Peregrine with PWRRUN midsole cushioning. As a result, the new Peregrine feels softer but also returns a bit more energy than a lot of trail running shoes, especially when running at moderate to fast speeds.
The knobby array of outsole lugs provide exceptional traction on wet terrain and loose dirt. It has a moderate amount of cushioning, enough to keep sharp pointy obstacles and trail debris at bay but not too much to inhibit a proprioceptive feel for the ground. Our wear-testers loved running over muddy trails, wet grass and wet, sloppy terrain in this shoe.
The outsole has aggressive, 6mm directional lugs made from a new sticky rubber compound that is distinctively adhesive on wet and dry rock and wooden stair steps, but sheds mud with surprising ease.
Like its predecessor, the Peregrine 11 has a customizable outsole platform with 12 designated ports. These can be drilled through for improved drainage if you frequently run in sloppy conditions. Alternatively they can be used to add screws for enhanced winter traction on ice and snow.
CONS: SAUCONY PEREGRINE
Like its predecessors, the Peregrine lacks sufficient protection and girth for long, gnarly, rugged mountain trails. However, it is agile enough to handle shorter segments of rocky routes. However, the new upper does provide better sidewall and toe box protection than in the past.
Heading to more technical trails? The ST version of the Saucony Peregrine 11 is also available. This has a more aggressive sole (or would that be soul?) to take on more ambitious terrain. Add to that a new lacing system to dial in the fit to the challenge ahead.
LAURA THWEATT TALKS OLYMPIC TRIALS AND SHARES HER ADVICE TO RUNNERS
By Brian Metzler
Saucony athlete Laura Thweatt ran the fiercest, gutsiest race of her life on Feb. 29 at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta, finishing fifth place in 2:29:08 but missing a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team by a mere 18 seconds. Despite the disappointment of narrowly missing the team, that effort galvanized her resolve to return to the elite marathon scene after years of injury. (Prior to being hurt for part of 2018 and 2019, Thweatt ran a 2:25:38 personal best at the 2017 London Marathon, the sixth-fastest time in U.S. history.) But when COVID-19 swept across the world and changed everything, the 31-year-old marathoner had to reconfigure her approach to running and training like everyone else.
We caught up with Laura near her home in Boulder, Colorado, recently to talk about how she’s maintained her training, her favorite new shoes and how she’s looking forward to 2021.
Well, 2020 was going to be a new chapter in your running career anyway, right?
“Yeah, I started training with a new coach, Joe Bosshard, and a new training group, Boss Lady, after several years of great success under Lee Troop and honestly there was a lot of unknown going into the year. I trusted Joe’s coaching, but it took me a while to feel comfortable in training. Anytime you change coaches, you wind up doing things differently, doing different workouts, learning different ways to get fit and approach a race build-up. So that was hard. I was running the miles and getting fit, but it was a big change. Also, I was the only marathoner in the group.
The other women in the group are amazing — Emma Coburn, Cory McGee, Aisha Praught-Leer, Dominque Scott-Efrud — but they’re all track athletes who run shorter, faster events. But it all worked out in the end and about a month before the Olympic Trials Marathon, I felt really good about my training and how it was working out.”
How did you approach the Olympic Trials?
“I was still nervous and a bit worried going into the race. I knew I was running a lot fewer miles than most of the women there. I was running about 80 miles per week and there were plenty of women running 100 to 110 miles per week, but ultimately I couldn’t worry about that. I did a great 27-mile run in my build-up and that gave me a lot of confidence to know that I was fit and that I had to trust my own training.
When I got to Atlanta, I knew that the race was going to come down to how well I could compete and how determined I was. And that’s what I did. Midway through the race, I felt really good, really strong and I kept fighting. I knew I was running a good race and, despite the ultimate disappointment of not finishing in the top three, I was really happy with how well I competed and the final results.”
What is your take away looking back on your result now?
“It was one of those things I wasn’t sure how to feel. On the one hand, I was really proud of the race that I ran and felt like it was the first race since London in 2017 that I was really able to get out there and race with confidence and strength and have the belief that I could do it. So that was really great, but it was also super heartbreaking to come so close and put it all out there on race day and realize it just wasn’t quite good enough.
But overall, I walked away feeling like there were a lot of positives to take away from it.”
What advice can you give to everyday runners who are dealing with the massive changes in the world because of COVID-19?
“Well, we’re all in this together. No matter if it’s elite athletes or recreational runners, we all have to find a way to make things work. I know it’s been a sad year because so many people have gotten sick and died and many more have lost their jobs.
Fortunately, we all have running that can keep us healthy and keep us focused. Running has always been my favorite form of exercise and my daily therapy too, a great time to think and figure things out. So my best advice is to tell people to stay after it, keep lacing up their shoes, keep showing up and keep running.
A daily run can go a long way in making everything else work out smoothly.”
Even amid the crazy year, Saucony released three great new shoes in 2020. How are you using each one?
“It’s been a great year for Saucony with the new line of Endorphin shoes. Each one of them is so different, but so good! The Endorphin Pro is what I wore in the Olympic Trials and it’s an amazing shoe — so smooth, so fast and so easy to run in. The carbon-fiber plate embedded in the midsole makes every strides so smooth and so efficient that you barely feel the shoe when you’re running.
I love the Endorphin Pro for racing and long, fast training efforts, but I think the Endorphin Speed is my favorite. It’s also very fast, but it’s very versatile too. You can run long runs, you run fast intervals and you can run easy runs in that shoe. It has amazing cushioning that feels soft and bouncy, but it’s resilient and quick and not soft and mushy like some shoes.
And then the Endorphin Shift is just a really good all-around training shoe for a marathon, ideal for long runs, recovery runs and even tempo runs.
They’re all really amazing shoes that have really changed the game and helped me train better every day of the week.”
How have changed your outlook since the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down?
“It’s been a crazy year since the Olympic Trials. I am so glad I had that opportunity to race because it was only about a week or two later that everything got shut down and races were postponed or canceled. I was going to take a break and then get ready for the spring track season, but once everything got shut down, I took about a month off from running to recover and also work on my strength.
I had hoped to come back and run the New York City Marathon in November and started training for that, but eventually that was canceled too so really I spent a lot of my summer training and being healthy without a real racing goal ahead of me. That was hard but we all have to make the best of it and keep looking forward to 2021 when things will return to some sense of being normal again.”
Have you been training this year?
“Everyone has really approached this year from so many different angles. Some athletes have taken a step back and shut things down. Other people have been trying to stay in some kind of competitive shape and have been jumping into racing opportunities as they’ve come up. And others have just taken the opportunity to train and get ready for next year. There’s no one way to approach it. It’s just all based on what’s best for the individual. And nothing really counts for much, but I know a lot of athletes want to stay sharp and have the experience of racing.
For me, I’ve been training pretty well, but I’m a big planner so it’s been hard for me to approach some of the races that have popped up, only because I like to map things out well in advance of a race. But that’s been hard to do this year.
It’s exciting that the London Marathon is still doing an elite race, but for my first thoughts were ‘Can I plan for that?’ and ‘Can I get over there?’ So it’s been a really strange year for all of us.”
Have you been doing anything differently?
“I think the biggest thing I’ve done differently is that I spent a lot of time at home making my own food and cooking more than ever. I haven’t really changed my diet, but I’ve experimented with a lot of things and tried new things and that’s given me a greater appreciation for the food I eat but also for the time and effort that goes into it. I haven’t made sourdough bread or anything, but I’ve enjoyed learning how to cook more foods and use more ingredients.
And like everyone else, I’ve watched a lot of Netflix but I’ve also read a few books too. It’s amazing how you pass time when everything seems to change.
Fortunately, I still have running to keep me sane.”
TOP TRAINING TIPS FROM LAURA THWEATT
What’s your best advice to recreational runners training for a half marathon or marathon?
“My best advice is to train as best that you can and go into a race with confidence to run as well as you can, but also make sure you enjoy it and that it’s a happy experience. I see so many runners who dread running or are overly worried about a race experience and that’s not good.
We all get injured or sidetrack and sometimes don’t train as well as we could have, but there is no perfect training buildup. You can only do what you can do, but you should rely on that and trust your training.
Also, running should bring you joy, no matter if you’re an elite runner or a new runner just starting out. Make it the one thing in your day that is full of positive energy and you’ll be able to feed on that throughout the rest of your daily life.”
How are you looking forward in 2021?
“The pandemic has changed my outlook for next year, if only because I want to get a qualifier for the 10,000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June. So I’ll focus my first part of the winter on running a fast 10K and see how that goes and hopefully get into the Trials. [Laura was fifth in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Track and Field Trials.]
After that, I’ll switch to marathon training and then hopefully run the New York City Marathon in the fall.”
How do you think running will rebound in 2021?
“Next year will be a huge year for running once things start coming back. I think we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s going to get better and things will return to normal and races will come back, even if it’s different.
It’s an Olympic year, so that will be exciting and just in general to have races come back that you can plan for and train for will be so refreshing after this year. Thinking about training for four months and then running through the streets of New York City is super inspiring right now; I think it must be for a lot of people who don’t have race goals.
If we can all keep that in the back of our mind as we go out for our daily run now, things will be OK.”
Introducing the Saucony X Prinkshop Women Running Collection, a bold initiative to support women from the leading running shoe brand.
SUPPORTING WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP IN POLITICS AND IN SPORT
55 years ago, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the The Voting Rights Act which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, granting black women (and men) the right to vote in every state. This landmark day finally allowed all women, regardless of race, the right to have their voices heard. It granted them the chance to make a difference.
55 years later, women are still vying for a place on the podium. There is still the need for women have more than a seat at the table. Saucony has taken this goal to see more women run one step further. In support of a new campaign called ‘Women Running’, Saucony and @prinkshop have joined forces to get behind HER in the race. This special collaboration supporting female leadership in politics and sport has the goal to encourage equal representation in both.
Welcome to the Women Running collection from Saucony and Prinkshop.
Each piece in the Saucony X Prinkshop Women Running collection features bold red, white and blue colors symbolizing a non-partisan approach to supporting female candidates running for office. It’s not about party, it’s about participation.
For each item sold, a 10% donation will be made to She Runs. This is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that supports female leadership in politics. The organization encourages women to run for office, providing them with the tools to get to the starting line.
SAUCONY X PRINKSHOP
The collaboration, the concept of ‘Women Running’, came about through a creative exchange between Saucony and Prinkshop.
Saucony commits strongly to their mission: empowering the human spirit, with every stride, on every run, and in every community. With that, Saucony is truly invested in the #RunforGood platform; it’s more than just a slogan. This collaboration with Prinkshop is testament to that.
When Pamela, the creative force behind Prinkshop’s ‘wear what you care about’ concept, spent time doing a brand deep dive. She was drawn to this piece of the Saucony DNA. In Pamela’s own words, “the idea of “Women Running” just came to me. Prinkshop is very women-centric in terms of the issues we care about. So, the double meaning of Women Running for a running brand like Saucony and in light of the upcoming election, just made sense”.
The Saucony team met with Prinkshop in their NYC studio in November of 2019. Pamela started putting some concepts out there for the crew to react to.
The HERO graphic and idea was one that we all took to immediately. The repeating Venus symbol print was born from the graphic. We use the colors, the bright red and blue, to show we are stronger together. We should be supporting more women as they run – either for sport or for office.
Brittney Hoss, VP of Merchandising at JackRabbit was all-in to support the ‘Women Running’ Collection.
‘As a woman working in the running industry, I could not be more excited to support the Saucony x Prinkshop ‘Women Running’ Collection. In addition to embracing women in the sport of running, encouraging women to run politically is such an important piece of the ongoing conversation around where we belong and the equality we are owed.
I am encouraged to be living in a time where all people are reflecting and changing their perspective on the value of women’s contributions. When we are equal partners in providing access to all facets of society, we create a much more balanced, powerful and complete community.
Not to mention, the design is a beautiful representation of the movement; I cannot wait to proudly sport these Kinvaras on my next run’
JackRabbit is proud to support the Saucony X Prinkshop collaboration. Now available, while stock lasts, the Saucony HERO collection features the bold Kinvara running shoe, plus an on point t-shirt, hat and tote bag.
Whatever your style, you can wear the HERO whichever way speaks to you. We encourage all of us to speak loudly this year, and ‘run’ for what is meaningful to you.