|The Saucony Progrid Mirage (men's)|
I've tried a lot of running shoes and now know instantly if a shoe is good or bad for me. Once a shoe is judged to be good, the challenge is to discover just how good it really is. When everything comes together perfectly, the runner finds their perfect shoe. In my case it's the Saucony Kinvara, a lightly constructed minimalist trainer. I was curious to see how Saucony's newest minimalist shoe stacked up to the Kinvara and to the other shoes I've tested.
THE SAUCONY PROGRID MIRAGE
When Saucony offered to send their new Mirage, a minimal shoe that's a close cousin to the Kinvara, I jumped at the chance. Unlike the Kinvara, the Mirage includes a medial stability post. However, this shoe is not simply a more stable version of the Kinvara, it's an entirely different running shoe. I realized this the moment I took it the out of the box.
My initial comments on the Emerging Runner: "The shoes, in jet black with bright red mid-soles, were far different from the Kinvara in look and feel. While the Kinvara is a super light shoe with a very minimal upper, the Mirage feels beefier with a more conventional upper and more structure on the medial side for stability. This combination adds weight to the shoe (7.7 oz for Kinvara vs 9.6 oz for the Mirage)."
When I removed the Mirage from its box I could tell right away that it was a well designed shoe. My first impression, once I'd laced up both shoes, was how different it felt from the Kinvara. The Kinvara is neutral in feel, flat, but not without cushioning. The Mirage felt similarly balanced but the mid-sole on the forefoot seemed thicker, as if to facilitate landing towards the front. The wrap was good, but compared to the Kinvara, the Mirage's toe box was a bit narrow. This has not been a problem and I have not suffered any discomfort from that. I just prefer a wider toe box. I thought I would also have an issue with the collar rubbing the side of my ankle but that problem went away after a few weeks.
My first experience with the Mirage was a few minutes running on the treadmill following a similar run with the Karhu Fast 2's. I wanted to compare these two lightweight shoes under the same conditions. The Karhu's ran adequately (if a bit sloppily) at training pace while the Mirages felt much more dynamic. As I increased the speed of the tread the Mirage stayed with me and the forward balanced forefoot helped me greatly.
I liked the feel of the Mirages so much I broke one of the cardinal rules of running:
FIRST RACE WITH MIRAGES
"Don't race in new shoes, especially those you haven't yet tried on pavement."
|Nearing the 5K finish|
RUNNING THE HALF MARATHON
|13.1 miles, no problem|
LIFE WITH THE MIRAGE
The Mirages have proven to be a worthy addition to my collection and I would probably appreciate their minimal features more had I tried them before the Kinvaras. Going from the Kinvaras to the Mirages is a bit like trading up from a simple sports car to a luxury GT. This shoe feels good on pavement and it also performed well on the the bridal path in Central Park. It's a well balanced design, feels competent and lands you on your mid-foot. I toggle between the Mirage and Kinvara and the experience is interesting. When I run in the Mirages I miss the barely-there feel of the Kinvaras. When I run in the Kinvaras I miss the Mirage's cozy wrap and its energized response. They are both great shoes.
The Mirage is a shoe you can wear for long distance, take to the track for fast intervals, or run on non-technical trails. It treats you well and it feels better with each use. The Mirage's stability control helps maintain efficiency, especially during longer runs. The low profile and small drop between heel and toe help support a mid-foot running style and the cushioning is firm but comfortable. This is a great shoe, another winner from Saucony's growing line of minimalist running shoes.
- Solid platform but still a lightweight
- Small drop enables mid-foot striking
- Stability control for those who need it
- Wraps the foot well
- Toebox could be wider
- Collar rubbing on ankle
- Rides a little high for a minimalist shoe
This review by The Emerging Runner