One of the hardest parts of running for me isn't the training or the racing; it's the shoes! There are so many different kinds out there! With all the different brands and styles, finding one that fits perfectly for you can be a challenge. And it was with great fortune that the Saucony Virrata found me.
The Virrata, which is a Finnish meaning "Flow", could not have been more aptly named.
One of the most overwhelming things about going into a store looking for running shoes is the sheer number of choices you're faced with, and let's face it, we're naturally drawn towards the first thing that looks good. Right from the start when I saw the packaging, I knew I was in for something special with the Virrata.
One of the first things I noticed when I took the Virratas out of the box I sat there thinking to myself, "I see the shoe, it's in my hand, I know I'm holding it, so why does it feel like there's nothing there??"
These shoes are amazingly light, weighing in at just around 6.5 ounces for a size 10 men's shoe, you really feel like you're holding nothing in your hand at all. This comes largely from the foam cushioning in the bottom of the shoe. While the Virrata is designed as a minimalist shoe, Saucony set out to provide a layer of cushioning for those are seeking more protection for their feet than the normal minimalist shoe tends to provide. This cushioning is embodied within a material that Saucony calls EVA+ that is carved into pods on the soles of the shoe providing for a more flexible movement.
Another factor in the light weight of the shoes is the the body of the shoe is made of a lined mesh which not only helps eliminate a great deal of weight from the shoe, but also provides a tremendous amount of airflow through the shoe allowing your feet to breathe much more comfortably.
|The breathable Virrata material|
The Virrata has a "zero drop" design, which means that there is no difference in the height between the heel and the ball of the foot which is meant to encourage a midfoot strike rather than the heel strike many runners have become accustomed to in an effort to lead to a more natural stride. And it works!
There is no question that the Virrata is a fantastic running shoe. After a week of wearing them, I found my legs weren't as fatigued when I finished workouts, and my feet had no discomfort at all. Since the majority of my training is done on a treadmill, having a shoe with a cushion that can absorb the abuse the treadmill can inflict is a huge asset and the Virrata pays immensely. Now I can't wait to test them in their first race!
I received a complementary pair of Virrata to test for review purposes, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own.