Sunday, February 5, 2017

Product Review - Saucony Ride 9

Responsive pair of trainer

This has always been my go to shoe for Ironman Langkawi as I needed a pair of cushions shoes that can give me the support to ease the legs for a 42km run after a grueling 180km bike ride. However the launch of the Suacony Ride 9 was rather late in the end 3rd quarter or early 4th quarter due to some technical issue, I was left with no choice to go with brand other shoes. I didn't quite like the high arch of the other brand and felt pretty worried how to carry on in the race with a pair of tired legs running on a pair which I don't quite feel at home...

Exactly 2 weeks before race, I was helping out in the Saucony Run Clinic, Saucony Malaysia learnt that I was heading for Ironman, through Frank they were kind enough to arrange for a pair of new kicks at my choice as a gesture to support me for the Ironman quest. I was very exicited for their support and needless to say, I choose the all new Ride 9 with Everun a cushion trainer as my partner to get the job done. Why? Let's find out

Going through the specs of the shoes, nothing really shout out. With a stack height of 27mm (heel) - 19mm (forefoot) with 8mm drop and a weight of 9.2 oz for  US size 9, it really doesn't fit into the description racing shoes. In a way, the Ride 9 share a few similarity with its Kinvara7 sibling, Mesh upper with flexfilm overlay for better fit and its also sit on the neutral spectrum of shoes. However the secret lies on the smooth yet responsive ride of the shoes.

With 2 weeks to raceday, I was anxious and can't wait another day to collect the pair of shoes. I quickly made the arrangement with Saucony Malaysia and collect the pair in the nearest store where I work. It is not ideal going into a race with a shoe model that you have never run with before, especially with such major race which you really couldn't effort to screw up. After picking up the shoes, the same evening I went for a training run and desperately wanted to put in as many miles as I possible can in the shoes and that makes it slightly challenging as I was already in my tapering week.

On my first run, the shoes felt pretty light and it really doesn't feel like a 9.2 oz. The ride was smooth just like the Kinvara 7, the tri-flex outsole offers good flexibility on the toeing off. Every steps were stable and ground contact was firm which is a major plus point to me considering that I'll be running a full marathon with a very used legs.

The cushion, this is the tricky part as this is really on your personal preferences and the type of race/training that you be doing. Plush? Nope.. the cushioning feel in the Ride 9 is firm and there is nothing plush about the shoes.  Some like the cushion plush as it gives a pillow feel to your feet, but it also creates roll from your heel/midfoot landing to toeing off, this may not be ideal if your legs are already tired and still need to continue. On the contrary, if you run the firm cushion of Ride 9 for a long distance training or on a tired legs it helps hold your feet together with minimum roll, which helps to safe the legs to last the distance.

These is my 3rd shoes model that comes with Everun energy return tech, and similar to its sibling in the form of Kinvara7 and Peregrine6, the Ride 9 is equally responsive. Putting the shoes under sub 5 min pace requires only minimum effort when my lungs decided to keep up. I remembered putting on the shoes during the Ironman race after 180km of bike, immediately I was on pace and in fact I was running faster then I should for the first 10km of the race and had to held myself back as I know very well I won't be able to hold that pace for too long. But hey, it helps shaves vital minutes from my finishing time, so I absolutely loved it!

To sum it up, this is my go to shoes for high mileage training. It is responsive, it allows me to put in the pace when I feels naughty on the pace discipline. It also has a firm cushioning that helps protect the brutal feet pounding on the hard tarmac over a longer distance run. While it is not the lightest shoes to be raced in, it is certainly up to the job if you choose to race the Ride 9 like I did for my Ironman race. The shoe fit true to size, with the upper wrapped nicely on my feet, and my sole on the generous cushions, I've just simply earned many brownie points from my legs and they just don't argue with me when I put on the shoes.

Once again, thank you Saucony Malaysia for supporting my quest to Ironman Malaysia. The Suacony Ride 9 can be found in RSH stores nationwide and Running Lab Malaysia retailing at RM429.

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