(UPDATED APRIL 2013: SEE MY HUSBAND’S REVIEW AT THE BOTTOM!)
DISCLOSURE: You guys know I’m a #FitFluential ambassador, right? In addition to connecting me with some awesome people and brands, from time to time, it offers me some pretty spectacular opportunities to test out new products. (See my complete policy here.)
This is one of those times. Saucony (don’t worry, I had to look up the pronunciation too — SOCK – uh – knee) has released two new models of running shoes and has asked me and some other #FitFluential peeps to check them out. The timing could not be more perfect as I have signed up for (gulp) my first post-baby race: a 10K outside of Orlando at the end of March, and my old running shoes date back more than 18 months.
First up: the Virrata.
Stripped down to strong. The Virrata is our lightest and most flexible training shoe and allows your foot to move naturally. We removed everything that isn’t helping your run improve. What remains is a feather-light, ultra flexible shoe with advanced cushioning that promotes a powerful stride and allows your foot to move the way it was meant to.
Built on a 0mm offset, this shoe lets your feet do the work while providing plenty of protection from the road. The breathable mesh upper makes the shoe incredible lightweight and quick-drying to run in wet weather conditions. Weight: 6.0oz.
Yeah, yeah, yeah on the specs. As a klutz runner, I’ll be the first to tell you that when it comes to running, I have a few basic goals:
- don’t fall (I’ve failed that goal more than once)
- don’t look too Phoebe-ish
- finish what I start (no DNFs unless I’m hurt)
So it’s cool that they’re light and awesome that they’re flexible and can help you go faster, but I wanted to know: how did they FEEL?
To answer, I rallied my cheering squad and took the Virratas out for a spin. What did I think?
My biggest complaint about running shoes in general may seem petty, but when you’re wearing them for 13+ miles at a time, it is an issue: the shoelaces. I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I’ve rejected or even returned because the laces feel wrong. They start out fine but after a half mile, they somehow constrict the top of my foot, not only distracting me but actually causing pain. The Virratas didn’t give me any issues in the 3.5 miles of running or 1-mile cooldown walk.
Pricewise, Saucony lists these at $90, which is comprable to other brands that I’ve used (Brooks, Asics, Nikes). So would I recommend these?
Yes. Now go #findyourstrong!
**NOTE: I received these sneakers for free through #FitFluential, and was asked to review with 100% honesty. That’s what you got! If you have any questions about my disclosure policy, click here.
EXTRA, EXTRA! Who says it doesn’t pay to be a blogger’s husband? Lucas received a pair of Virratas as well, and shared this review:
Sweet lookin’ sneakers right?! That was my reaction when I first opened the box so it is only appropriate to open my review that way. Moving on.
Though I have only run in them in short bursts, I am a big fan of my Vibrams and wear them whenever I can. I will have them on all day, have gone hiking in them, done plyometrics in them and my knees, hips, etc. always feel much better than they did when I wore any of my running shoes. I mentioned that I have not run in them much … I think part of me is afraid of the complete lack of cushioning. Maybe I just want an excuse not to run but either way I have wanted a running shoe that feels like my Vibrams but has a bit more shoe to them.
To this point I have walked in my Saucony Virratas to initially break them in and have also jogged in them. In short, I am a big fan so far. For one they are insanely light and when running they made my old running shoes (also pretty light) feel like weights by comparison.
My wife (to whom I owe my thanks for these new kicks … well her and Saucony) noticed the first day that I was walking differently than usual while wearing them the first time … I noticed that too. Very much like my beloved “toe-shoes” I find that I am more aware of my gait and how I am stepping while wearing them. I believe that is a good thing and based on how I feel after wearing them I would say my body does too. So far I notice the wear more toward my toes and the ball of my foot rather than the heel and I definitely notice that lack of pounding on my heels later on when I don’t have that soreness.
Whether my previous/current preferred footwear has already impacted my gait enough that the transition to the Virratas was seamless I do not know. What I do know is that I very much like them and dare I say, (struggling to type this) found running in them enjoyable.
It will be interesting to see how they hold up as I continue to use them. The tread on these shoes feels like marshmallows when you squeeze them with your fingers so I kind of expect them to disintegrate in the same way those pillowy confections do. I am sure they won’t but I will be keeping an eye on how they wear and hold up with continued use. If that is my only hesitation at this point I feel pretty good about that.
Did I mention they are sweet lookin’ sneakers?