Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3...

By Frank

I received the Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3 a while back before my adventure at the Comrades Marathon 2013. It did not become my running shoe though and quickly became my office, walking and recovery shoe. And besides, I really like the colour scheme of the pair I received, fiery red with hints of citron! Handsome indeed!

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3.

Here is a brief introduction about the Mirage 3. It's part of Saucony's arsenal of their 3 natural running series, the other 2 being the Virrata and Kinvara 3. It weights in at 240 grams at a size US8.5 and has a 4mm heel to toe off set measuring at 22mm at the heel and 18mm at the forefoot. Surprisingly although looking much thicker, it actually has the same stack height as the Kinvara 3! But two major difference is that the Mirage 3 is padded around especially on the collar which uses HydraMax memory foam and has a hint of arch support with a presence of a mild TPU plastic acting as the medial post, which gives the shoe a little structure to it.

HydraMax memory foam on the collar.

FlexFilm, the very thin but strong film first used in Saucony's track and field spike shoes, was introduced too in the third generation to hold the wearer's feet together without using too much overlays on the shoes hence shaving off some weight.

FlexFilm, shown here in black to secure the wearer's feet. Also notice the deep grooves on the midsole to enable extra flex.

Midsole is typical built on EVA technology. However, there is a ProGrid heel insert on the heel to cushion off any impact should the wearer strikes the ground on their heel.

The ProGrid heel insert hidden within the midsole.

Bevelled and decouple heel.

The outsole has full ground contact but isn't built on Saucony's very famous triangular lug design  used on the Virrata and Kinvara 3 though and uses the traditional pattern. Heel area was bevelled and decoupled, with much deeper grooves all around to make the shoe more flexible. Reinforcement on the heel crash pad using XT-900 carbon rubber while the forefoot uses IBR blown rubber.

Outsole of the Mirage 3.

Being done with the introduction above, here's my impression of the shoe. As mentioned earlier, I only used it for walking since I received it as it's pretty comfortable especially as a recovery shoe after a long workout. I am a mild pronator and the very mild medial post does help relieve some soreness. I did however use it once for a short run at Johannesburg but I just couldn't review it based on that. Hence yesterday evening, I decided to go for a long run of 20KM in it with Jason at Desa Park City. A great place to test out shoes as there are flats, up and downhills, tarmac, pavements and concrete surfaces to thrash the shoe out.

The ride was pretty smooth though not as great as the Kinvara 3 as it suffers from the lack of "Uumph" during the propulsion stage. It felt a lot like a traditional shoe though it does help a little in encouraging a mid foot striking. Feet did not feel too secure and I had still had the freedom to flex and wiggle around.

It performed pretty good on flats while noticeable much better than the Virrata and Hattori on the descend. However, I couldn't climb well with it. I am suspecting it's probably due to the upper structure of the shoe as most of the midsole specifications are the same as the Kinvara 3.

Taking corners was noticeable very stable much thanks to the medial post and the padded collar. Not much effort needed from our legs, though I will actually prefer to let my ankle do it's job as I believe that in the long run and if done correctly and with patience, it will benefit us.

Close-up on the TPU plastic which acts as the very mild medial post.

2 let downs on the Mirage 3 which was more prominent. First was the shoe's tongue. It did not have any internal bootie to keep it secure hence it will move to one side while running which is rather irritating. The second will be the flat laces which I often describe as Saucony's Achilles heel, as it is always use on their shoe to save weight. I had to double tie it down to prevent the laces coming undone which may leave a very odd looking nod on the shoe.

Though the Mirage 3 is far from perfect at least from my own opinion, it's still a pretty good and functional shoe for my day to day and post run usage. And for those who intend to take the leap to natural running, this may actually be a very good shoe to start off with. If I were to describe the Mirage 3 in lay man's term, I will say that it is a shoe with neither too much nor too little.

Personally for me, the Mirage 3 will remain my day to day shoe and perhaps a post intense run recovery shoe.

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3 is now available at Running Lab - Tropicana City Mall and selected Studio R, RSH and Stadium outlets nationwide at a recommended selling price of RM399.00.

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3 is part of my sponsorship program and was sponsored by RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the authorised sole distributor for Saucony in Malaysia.

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