|Saucony Virrata 2013|
I was immediately in love with the color combination... black, hot pink and neon green! Need I say more... Awesome color design. But wait, there are more options...
As I lifted them out of the box, I exclaimed out loud, "Holy cow! These are super light!" Over the past year, I have slowly been decreasing the weight of my shoes. My old Asics Kayanos weigh nearly 12 oz. and feel heavy, almost clumsy, on my feet now. The new Saucony Virrata are half that... only 6.0 ounces!! Men's are 6.5 oz.
Now for the important part - trying them on. I'm always slightly nervous because I already like the color and specs... pleeeeese let them fit! I typically wear a size 9 in Saucony and the Virrata's fit fine. I probably could have gone 9.5. If I was in a store, there is no doubt that the sales rep would have talked me up a half size.
As I slipped the shoes on, the first thing I noticed was the light mesh that makes up the upper part of the shoes. It was extremely thin and flimsy, but fit around my foot like a glove. I instantly thought, "I'm going to need a thicker pair of socks for winter runs... but these will be great for the hot summer runs." Not only is the mesh highly breathable, but the collar lining also has superior moisture wicking properties. I really liked how easy and unconstrained the Virrata felt around my foot. They are classified in the "Natural" category.
I was in the middle of making dinner when the Virratas arrived, so I left them on for the next hour around the house. Without even reading the "spec sheet", it was obvious these were a 0 drop shoe, meaning there is no lift under the heel. This is typical of minimalist shoes. When you run, it practically forces you into proper form - landing on your midfoot rather than heel striking.
On The Run
here} I knew I'd like the lightweight and instantly felt like there was nothing on my feet. True to my initial thoughts, the winter wind cut right through the mesh and I felt the cold (but never noticed it again once I got past the warmup mile). I ended up going 7 miles on that first run... unintentional! When breaking in new shoes, you should typically stick to shorter runs (3-4 miles). But I was in a zone on Sunday and honestly, just forgot I had new shoes on. They were that comfortable. My ending pace was rather impressive too - fast for me. Later that evening, I felt a little soreness in my arch. The Virratas have a bit more arch support than I'm used to. I rolled out my arches on a food can and was fine the next morning. If you're new to landing on your midfoot, you may also experience some calf strain. But in time, your calves will gain strength as you transition away from heel-striking. You'll also save your knees.
Yesterday, I gave the Virratas another go... on the treadmill. My feet always feel heavy and slow on the treadmill. Not sure if it was the shoes or Eminem pumping through the speakers, but I had a hard time keeping my "easy" run easy. My feet again felt light and I wanted to run fast(er).
The Saucony Virratas are a great shoe to begin a journey towards natural runing. They are lightweight and feel easy breezy comfortable on the feet. Unlike other minimalist shoes, they offer substantial cushioning for those who need it. The bottom has nice traction that I found helpful running through gravel spots. I am anxious to see how the Virratas wear through heavy mileage. Can I push them past the 250 mile mark? With a price tag of $90, they are certainly worth a try.
*Disclaimer: I received these Saucony shoes as a complimentary media sample as a FitFluential Ambassador. However, written opinions are all JESS.