With the new midsole making the Ride a much closer sibling of the Triumph, where does it fit in the Saucony daily line up?
Saucony Ride 17: Too similar to the Triumph?
Saucony’s Ride has consistently maintained its reputation as a lightweight and agile daily trainer. While it may not boast the most extensive cushioning or energy return, it has struck a balance with ground-feel and flexibility, in particular due to the standard PWRRUN (EVA) midsole compound. Serving as a middle ground between the minimalist Kinvara and the more luxurious Triumph. As the industry leans towards enhancing comfort and cushioning in running shoes, the Ride 17 introduces the softer and more springy PWRRUN+ (TPU) midsole, also found in the Triumph. Upon scrutinising the specifications, these two shoes appear more similar than ever, prompting the question: where does the latest Ride 17 now stand in Saucony’s daily trainer lineup?
Weight in Saucony’s sample size: 9.6oz/272g
Official Stack: 35mm/27mm (8mm drop)
Saucony Ride 17 Upper: Too Spacious?
The Ride has consistently featured one of the lightest uppers, and this remains true with the latest update. The engineered mesh upper remains simple and thin, providing ample breathability – particularly noticeable in the chilly temperatures of the Scandinavian winter. While the upper is lightweight, it doesn’t offer the same great heel lockdown and overall snug fit as its predecessor. The overall platform in this iteration is broader, leading to a wider and less secure feeling upper. Additionally, the Ride 17, in comparison to earlier versions, comes with a longer last than its predecessors.
The increased spaciousness in the upper, combined with a relatively narrow heel to midfoot structure, has presented challenges in achieving adequate lockdown. I’ve also noticed that the generous toe box contributes to a less agile experience compared to what I typically appreciate from the Ride. It’s worth noting that the heel collar and tongue are adequately padded, and the laces perform well. However, the issue seems to stem from the overall width and length of the platform.
Midsole: A Triumphant Transformation?
As previously mentioned in the introduction, the midsole has undergone a transformation to better cater to the preferences of the majority of runners seeking a more comfort oriented experience. The introduction of the TPU-based PWRRUN+ brings specifications very similar to the Triumph, yet the Ride retains its distinct feel. Although it no longer possesses the same light and agile characteristics as its earlier versions, it still offers a more performance-oriented ride with heightened ground feel compared to its larger sibling, the Triumph.
So, what sets them apart? Two noticeable features stand out. The formulation of the PWRRUN+ compound is denser, and it adopts a flatter profile with less pronounced rocker geometry. Depending on one’s footstrike and preferences, this can be viewed as either an advantage or a disadvantage. While it may not align perfectly with my biomechanics and personal preferences for daily trainers, I recognize that Saucony’s decision was likely essential to provide more protection and a less dull ride than its predecessor, without infringing upon Triumph territory.
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Saucony Ride 17 Outsole: Improved and Durable
The rubber outsole of the Saucony Ride 17 appears to be an improvement in terms of grip and durability. It provides extensive coverage, and when combined with the broader platform, it contributes to enhanced stability and security during runs. Additionally, there are minimal signs of wear and tear, leading me to believe it should hold up well over time. The rubber layer is notably thick, not only boosting durability but also adding to the overall stiffness and protection compared to the previous versions.
Saucony Ride 17 Conclusion: Ride or Die
So, where does the Ride 17 stand in the current Saucony lineup? With the additional weight, width, stiffness, durability and a more relaxed fit, it no longer disappears on foot and loses some of the ground-feel present in earlier iterations. Undoubtedly, it now leans more towards the characteristics of the current Triumph 21. However, beyond being a more budget-friendly option, it also positions itself as a snappy alternative that maintains a balance, offering enhanced comfort, stability, and energy return without sacrificing as much protection as it did in the past. While some runners may appreciate the added features, others might lament the departure of yet another “old school” option in the trainer category
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