Friday, May 03, 2013

Saucony Grid Virrata...

By Frank

The Saucony Grid Virrata, is Saucony's second introduction to the running market of their of their 0mm heel to toe differential running shoe after the Saucony Hattori.  Categorised as a cushiony day to day minimalist training shoe, the Virrata is built upon the successful DNA of the Kinvara series. Anfter thrashing it out 77KM at Twilight Ultra Challenge, Devan's UNICEF 16 hours treadmill run and recently at Bidor Half Marathon, it's time for a review since it has went over 100KM of running distances!

The Saucony Virrata.

Lateral side of the Saucony Virrata.

Medial side of the Saucony Virrata.

Firstly, the cushioning system is built on the older but still successful Grid technology. For your info, Saucony has now started to move from ProGrid to PowerGrid which left me pondering why not build on top of this 2 instead? With a stack height of 18mm, it provides a balance mix of cushioning yet low profile ground contact. Not that you can feel the ground, but it offers the enough protection for the feet to go the distance with the 24 EVA+ pods pattern on it.

Outsole of the Saucony Virrata.

Closeup on the pods. Notice how deep the flex grooves are.

The 24 EVA+ pods I mentioned above acts like a trampoline to absorb the impact while propelling the next step. And I am happy to say that while the cushioning isn't as plush as the Kinvara 3, the propelling is in fact better. That left my head scratching for a while as the pods are actually exposed EVA rubbers which technically may "drown" and "compress" leaving more effort from the runner to propel. The Kinvara 3 is actually reinforced tougher blown rubber. So I did some homework of mine while reaching out to some other bloggers and found out that it may have been contributed by the 18mm stack height as opposed to the 23mm on the Kinvara 3. Smart way of balancing eh...

18mm of stack height.

While a small area of the forefoot and heel is reinforced with Saucony's XT-900 blown rubber, some may question the durability of this pair of shoe with the exposed EVA pods. In my case where the wear and tear pattern is more on the mid foot and while it may not last as long as the Kinvara 3, do remember the selling price of the Virrata is RM100 more affordable. And I am actually very happy with the wear and tear thus far and pretty confident that it will bring me beyond the 500KM running distance where it will then cost less than RM1.00 per Kilometer.

Beveled heel for a more natural ride.

The upper is made of a synthetic mono mesh which looks pretty similar to the Kinvara 2. However, looks can be deceiving as RunBlogger has reported that it is of another material which is stronger. I have absolutely no problems with breathability nor hot spots and with no FlexFilm like the Kinvara 3, the Virrata looses more of the structural body which allow it to be extremely flexible. Therefore, this gave the Virrata a more sock like feel with the internal mesh to be allowed work sockless. And not forgetting the internal booty where it keeps the tongue in place.

Excellent breathability provided by the mono mesh.

The Saucony Virrata may be another wining formula for Saucony after the Kinvara series. It's one beautiful shoe to wear and other brands may be playing catch up soon if Saucony keeps producing shoes like this.

The Saucony Grid Virrata is available at Running Lab Tropicana City Mall and selected RSH, Studio R and Stadium outlets at a recommended selling price of RM299.00.

The Saucony Virrata reviewed here is a sample pair given as part of a sponsorship program from Saucony Malaysia.

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