One of my best and worst habits as a person is my constant dialogue with an internal critic. I’m always wondering if whatever service or product I got is actually the best for my needs or the price, or if I should try something new. Case in point: I only managed to stick to two generations of the Mizuno Wave Rider before I wondered if Asics might fit me better. After that, it was on to a particularly awful pair of Brooks that all but ripped my feet apart every time I ran more than a 5k in them.
Finally, after years of running, a girlfriend who was a veritable missionary for Saucony finally convinced me that the brand was more than just a popular, casual suede shoe for teen girls in the ’90s. I bought the Saucony Triumph 10, and felt sold-for-life– except for the $130 price tag (they’re now $87.95 on Amazon, since they’re last season’s model). After two cycles of Saucony Triumphs, I was still happy with them but wondered if Saucony had something even more advanced out there or if I should consider transitioning back from a neutral ride to a lightweight stability shoe again. After reading positive initial reviews of the Saucony Guide 7, I got the shoe in February and have been running in them ever since, completing my second half marathon of the year in them at the Hop Hop Half last Saturday.
The first impression of the Guide 7 was that it was an extremely firm, supportive, lightweight ride. The shoes weigh only 8.9 ounces and have a minimal 8 mm drop from the front of the shoe to the rear– a measurement that Saucony tests have found ideal for almost all runners. Saucony claims that the “lower offset of the Guide 7 activates and engages a runner’s inherent ability to cushion, stabilize and spring forward […] recruit[ing] the body as an ally rather than putting feet into lockdown.” Having read about the difference that this lower offset makes after actually running in them makes perfect sense– as I ran in them at my half marathon, my springy step was a notable difference from past runs without the Guide. Of course, I’m sure the minimal weight of the shoes no doubt contributed to the hop in my feet at the Hop Hop Half, as well. Less weight always means less work, whether it’s your shoes or your body. As for the fit on my foot– another critical issue– I’ve never even noticed the shoes on my feet, which is the best thing you can ever say for a running shoe. My foot feels hugged but not compressed, and in two months I haven’t experienced any hot spots or blisters anywhere in or around the shoe.
On a completely superficial note, I love obnoxiously bright colors for my running shoes (a friend always used to say: the uglier they are, the faster you look), so the seemingly Lisa Frank-inspired color scheme of my shoes is a huge plus. If you’re not game for ultra-bright, however, more conservative color combinations in the women’s shoe include silver/coral/purple, gray/blue/citron, and white/teal/citron.
Here’s the low down on the rest of the shoe’s technical features:
- Synthetic sole
- Flared forefoot design
- Redesigned medial sole unit
- HydraMAX moisture-wicking collar
- Powergrid foam cushioning (one of the features I love about all Saucony shoes)
- XT-900 carbon rubber outsole
- Strategic stability zones that provide support while maintaining cushioning and flexibility (i.e., a firm but not too-firm ride)
PRICE: $110.00– not too bad for a new, in-season shoe.
VERDICT: An old professor of mine used to say that only God is perfect, so no one gets 100%. Until they invent shoes that have winged assist on them to really lighten my ride, no one gets 5 stars out of 5; meanwhile, the Guide 7 gets a 4.5. I’ve racked up the miles in them and they’ve done me right. I’ll be racing in these bad boys at the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon in Portland and the Hippie Chick Half in Hillsboro next month. Come say hello if you want to see them in action!