Monday, August 11, 2014

Saucony Virrata 2...

By Frank

The Saucony Virrata 2 (V2), the only zero drop shoes from Saucony after the discontinuation of the Saucony Hattori continues to do what it does best, to perform and to help strengthen the feet. My longest run in the first generation was a good 77KM while it also help me achieve some pretty good timings at certain runs. As the second generation did not change much from the first, it's better to go back in time to have a read on the first generation first over HERE.

The Saucony Virrata 2.

My first Virrata lasted me 488KM worth of running while the second pair at about 400KM (some uneven wear and tear on my right pair). Pretty good when comparing value versus cost. With the same outsole on the V2, the durability should be the same. 24 EVA+ pods build on a 18mm GRID midsole foam, the V2 retains the same build and ride over its predecessor, something which I am glad Saucony did. And yes, it maintained at the same weight of 184 grams too . A "barefoot" ride with just enough cushioning and protection is how I describe it. Deep flex grooves allows super flexibility and giving freedom of movement to the feet. The only downside probably from all these goodness is that the grooves tent to pick up small pebbles along the run, probably also caused by our dirty roads!

Comparing my second pair worn out Virrata compared to the Virrata 2.

The upper is where the V2 sees most the changes from the the first. But luckily, only minor tweaks
 which "almost" did not affect anything at all. The upper is now replaced with a new mono mesh. I did not experience any problems at all with original Virrata, no tearing what so ever, but Saucony chose to replace it with an entirely new one which they claim is stronger and more breathable. Frankly speaking, I do not feel any difference and I do personally feel that the original does look nicer and "neater" as the newer mesh looks a bit rough in appearance. The internal bootie remains which give a sock like feel to the feet and besides it, hold the tongue together.

One major aspect I noticed is that there is additional seams not seen on the original. Don't be mistaken though as the internal is still seamless. It just makes me wonder the purpose of it on both lateral and middle side at the mid span of the shoe. Not that I can feel any purpose of it as there was no structural feel added to it. Perhaps FlexFilm can help in this department and save weight at the same time?

Unnecessary seams.

Close up on the Virrata and Virrata 2 mesh. Notice the difference in eyelets too.

The next minor change will be the eyelets. The eyelets of the original Virrata is built as individual knots which on top of it, acts as a reflective too. Saucony chose to revert back to normal eyelets design found on general shoes like the Kinvara which sacrifices the reflective. Perhaps not as important as reflective on the back of the shoe, but it does help in a way to have reflective at the front to have incoming vehicles see the runner under low light conditions and hence this will be sorely miss. 

And finally, the biggest change or shall I just say an additional feature will be the inclusion of a plastic heel counter to support the Achilles region. The original heel counter on the Virrata was soft which I kind of like it. However, there were feedback saying that it causes Achilles discomfort. Therefore, the new TPU heel counter is a nice touch for those affected by the original and I welcome it for it may help in going the distance.

The new TPU plastic heel counter in grey.

And  as usual, the V2 comes available in a wide array of colours, most of them absolutely stunning to look at which gives the shoe its fast looks. And  foresee that I will continue to enjoy this shoe very much like its predecessor especially in fast runs whether during trainings or races.

The Saucony Virrata 2 is now available at Running Lab, Stadium and selected RSH and Studio R stores nationwide retailing at a recommending selling price of RM299.00.

Disclaimer. The Saucony Virrata 2 reviewed here is given as part of my sponsorship program with Saucony Malaysia.

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