Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hot Tracks: Saucony #Virrata

There's nothing I love more than a new pair of shoes... especially when it's RUNNING shoes. So I was elated when this sassy pair arrived at my doorstep...
Saucony Virrata 2013

1st Impression
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...
If these shoes wear the miles well, it should come as no surprise that I'll be picking up those purple/white ones. I love me some purple!

2nd Impression
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.

3rd Impression
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.

The bottom sole is not thin, and yet it's lightweight. After some later research, I discovered Saucony used a high abbrasion EVA foam for the bottom sole, rather than rubber like most shoes. The foam provides great cushioning (which I need) while keeping the shoe feather-light. My exact words to my hubby was it felt "bouncy".

On The Run
So first impressions were good. I liked how the Virratas felt. I couldn't wait to take them for a run! Sunday evening rolled around and I headed out the door in my fancy new shoes. {read about 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 shoes even have reflective details on the shoelace holes, which showed its power when my camera flash was on.

My Conclusion
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.


  1. Ohh I love the color scheme of the shoes!!!! I am going to have to get a new pair soon and not sure what type or kind or anything. I used to buy shoes based on color not fit and what my feet "need"

  2. Great review! I am thankful for all this information. I run in Brooks Adrenaline, and I am on my fifth pair. But I am kind of over them..... Wanting to try something new while still fearful of leaving the stability of the adrenaline. I plan to try these on and see what I think!

  3. Love the colours and great review! Makes me wanna try a pair too! :)

  4. I'm glad you love your new shoes! They look awesome--I love the bright colors! It's neat that the reduced weight in the shoe allows you to run faster. I hope you continue to love them as much as you do now!

  5. Cool looking shoes. I always have a hard time getting the right ones. I am about to start a new search once again for comfy shoes.

  6. I got these shoes a few weeks ago to rotate with my other running shoes and although I don't like them as much as my Newton's, they are pretty good. Like you, I love the colors!

  7. Love the colors...I have motion control stability shoes that are heavy. But, it has beat being in PT for the knee issues. Although, it makes me wonder if I could one day run in the light weight ones.

  8. I have high arches. Hmmm...I wonder if these would be a good fit for me? Thanks for the review. Gonna give them a test drive next time I'm at the store.

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