The Type A series by Saucony is highly regarded as one of the most explosive racing flats in the market. My first pair was the Type A5 which I managed to purchase during my visit at South Africa back in end year 2012. The shoe has remained faithful to me and am still on active duty, although only in marathon distances and it scored me my second sub 4 hours marathon time at last year's Kuching Marathon.
The Type A5 (in green) with it's successor Type A6 (in orange).
A year half later during last year's Comrades Marathon 2014, I managed to find myself the Type A6 from Fourway's Sweat Shop, the same place I bought the Type A5. Without any hesitation and despite knowing the steep price there, I quickly bought it as at that time., I was assuming that it will not be officially available locally, and because I thought so that way, I never really had the intention of reviewing it here only after I found out last week that the Type A6 will finally and officially enter the Malaysian market brought to us by the folks at Saucony Malaysia.
A handsome Saucony Type A6.
And so, here's my take on the Type A6. It's a no frills shoe which has undergone a big change from the A5 and no doubt, it's a change for the positive. Build from scratch with ideas input from Saucony's elite athletes such as Linsey Corbin, the A6 has all the characteristics of a racing flat. Weighting in at just 147 Grams in size US9.0 with a 16mm heel stack and 12mm forefoot stack which gives a 4mm off-set, this is the sweetest spot a shoe of this caliber can get. Highly responsive build on Saucony's GRID EVA with SSL midsole rubber, the firmness and bounce of this shoe is much superior to the one found on the A5. On high wear and tear area such as the heel and forefoot area, the XT900 carbon rubber should do the job in protecting the rubbers.
Type A6's outsole.
The plastic shank on the medial arch area has also been removed. This allows the shoe to be lighter, feel more naturally and flex better, and no doubt to give the wearer a full ground contact feel.
The outsole of the Type A5 (above) as compared to the Type A6 (bottom), both after hitting 160KM in them.
Near the mid span of the lateral side travelling to the ball of the feet is where you find Saucony's IBR+ rubber, the rubber that gives you the cushion protection and also the bonce for lift off, Oh and yes, there are drainage holes on the outsole too to to drain those moisture out. But do remember, it also allows water to get into the shoe should you step on those puddle of water. Though the number has lessen, the size grew just a bit bigger. I am fine with the holes and though the last one near the heel do tend to pick up tin rocks, it is certainly not as bad as the A5 where all holes tend to be stuck with something. Oh and yes, I absolutely love the quotes printed on heel area, "Life's Hard" and "Run Harder".
Love these quotes.
Next the upper construction. Once I put those shoe on, I felt awesome in it. True to size, the shoe basically just wrapped around my feet and the lock down was good. Though toe-box is slightly more roomier and stretchy compared to the Type A5, I still foresee that this will be an issue for those with wide feet as racing flats generally does not come in width. With no seams in it, the inner felt smooth and I did not had to worry about hot spots at all.
Closeup on the mesh and notice the FlexFilm.
Am not sure what material was used but the upper does look like the mono mesh used in the original Virrata. Only difference was the FlexFilm over it. I've no issue with the ventilation as it was superior. When I was running in the cool Amsterdam Marathon, cool air can be felt and the inner dries quickly.
A nifty trick will be the backtab loop at the collar. It's elastic and will stay flat around the collar until you pull it when you are wearing the shoe. Excellent idea for triathletes. As for the lace, it's a stretchy flat lace that I did not had any problems of it coming undone. Hope this will be used in future Kinvara's too as the latter always suffer from lace coming undone.
Backtab loop staying flat just above the "Saucony" word on the heel counter.
My review so far seems to be too good. In fact, it is and I can't find fault in this shoe. After all, it has accompany me through 3 times out of 3 attempts at a sub 4 hours marathon last year. However, you will need to be a sucker of firmness to be enjoying this shoe, as it will not be suitable for those who will like the cushy plush feel. And the good news, the local pricing will be an affordable one for a shoe so light and yet so durable. Yes, it is very durable!
The Saucony Type A6 will officially be available in Malaysia with a retail price of RM379 (much affordable to how much I bought in South Africa). They will be exclusively available at Running Lab, Tropicana City Mall in very limited numbers, hopefully by the end of March 2015.