New for 2019.
These Saucony Switchback are really interesting shoes because they are a mixture between minimalist and trail shoes that are ready to face tough ground.
Let’s face it, the minimalist models are more designed as a way of training you to run correctly, to improve your stride and avoid injuries.
Other traditional style models contain other treasures: cushioning, rigidity, foothold in all areas, etc.
Most of our TEST4OUTSIDE testers are not forefoot runners, yet they really liked these shoes. Why? Because despite their finesse, foot envelopment flexibility they conserve their cushioning that can open horizons on non-technical trails and track running.
Lightweight 265g for size 9 and its other characteristic being torsional flexible give the main feeling to these shoes. The upper is effective despite practically any reinforcement at the heel, the foot is held securely in place thanks to the almost waterproof reinforced mesh. The integrated Boa system ensures precise, ultra-rapid and quality adjustment. The lace slides right to the front of the foot and even though the tongue is thin we didn’t notice any pressure points at all.
So, we have a very flexible shoe, with some cushioning, but present in the heel and even under the metatarsus. The foot is held with precision due to the upper construction.
The first strides reveal the proximity you have with the ground, you can feel the stability and will feel rocky ground if you decide to veer off onto more treacherous terrain.
The grip is good for what you need. They seem to grip well on slippery surfaces despite the low relief of the lugs. We even ran on ice without slipping.
These shoes are in direct connection to the terrain, they allow you to play, feel light and free.
The construction and manufacturing of the materials, collages and assembly are well-conceived. Very comfortable thanks to the flexibility and foam padding around the ankle. They are precise, don’t get too hot and dry quickly. The stone guard does its job.
The 4mm drop (22.5mm at the heel – 18.5mm toe) needs some adapting to if you are used to running with a higher drop.
So the limits to these Switchbacks are; stones, weight of the runner (not too heavy), the low drop and long distances.
These Saucony Switchback can be considered as a nice intermediate teaching tool that enable you to have sensations that are similar to minimalist models but without the risk of having zero cushioning. We also used it from time to time as a training shoe to improve stride. You can also use them for speed training sessions on track. They are definitely a product to explore. For trail running and triathlon type Xterra, because they are fast to put on and have great grip.
We used this equipment over a long period of time
These are our thoughts after intensive use:
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