“Saucony” is an American Indian word meaning, “mouth of a creek or river.” The brand’s “river” mark represents the flow of the Saucony Creek in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where the company built its first factory in 1906. Founded in 1898, the Saucony brand today is most popular with marathoners and triathletes. It may be best known for its Originals line, built around the Jazz running shoe in the 1980s and arguably the most technical running shoe of its time. I’ve tried a lot of running shoes over the last 32 years but I have never owned a pair of racing flats, so I tried the Saucony Grid Type A2.
Racing flats are designed to help you run more efficiently. The absence of a robust heel translates into a lighter shoe with less support and cushioning but better foot to ground power transfer. I have a normal foot strike, which helps with flats. The heel to toe transition is smooth and responsive. The wide open mesh upper hugged my feet and kept them cool. At a feather light 6.9 ounces, both shoes together weigh less than just one of my trail shoes.
If you’re going to run in racing flats, you may as well look fast on the starting line. I wore them for the first time on the back end of a brick workout after a 25-ml. tempo ride. I was running on tired legs, especially after an 80-ml. ride the day before, and I wanted a good run. I may not be crazy fast, but I sure look fast and feel about ten years younger in these shoes. And there’s a lot to be said for that. A singlet or tri top and tri shorts or a tri suit with these shoes looks great. The marathon shirt from your last race with running shorts–not so much.
My biggest concern was the low profile, which doesn’t really accomodate an orthotic. I tried the SOLE footbed but even that was too much of an insert for these racing shoes. So I ran with the removable, perforated, cushioned sockliner that comes with the shoes. It felt like I was almost running barefoot. The super lightweight flats definitely put you in touch with the road. I swear my leg turnover was just a bit faster in these shoes even though a 90 – 95 rpm ride also increases the leg turnover on the run.
It’s also important to me that my tri shoes work well with lock laces. I find some shoes just have a eyelet pattern that isn’t comfortable with lock laces. The Saucony worked perfectly. I was able to use all the eyelets with my lock laces and it allowed an easy and snug fit.
Racing flats have about half the lifespan of normal shoes. I’ll wear them for the 5-mile run portion of the Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon at Uvas next month. I’ll probably use these flats for 5K and 10K runs and Olympic distance tris this year. I think I prefer the comfort of my Asics Landreth for anything longer than a 10K. Did I mention how good I look in these racing flats?