A daily trainer done right: Saucony Ride 17 Review

by Solereview editors
For this review, Solereview purchased the Saucony Ride 17 at full retail price; the proof of purchase (in CAN$) is here. We do not accept free samples for our reviews and have no ties to the industry.

The Saucony Ride 17 on the road.

Saucony Ride 17
Saucony Ride 17 product box

OUR VERDICT: 91% – GREAT

Not fast, not slow. Just-right upper fit with a warm interior. The Saucony Ride 17 is an excellent shoe for everyday miles.

Buy from Saucony.com

  • Saucony’s marketing pitch: A truly versatile shoe, from warm up to tempo runs.
  • Upper: Engineered mesh, internal gusset.
  • Midsole: Expanded Polyurethane (Pwrrun+) foam. 8 mm heel drop.
  • Outsole: Carbon rubber in high-wear areas.
  • Weight: 282 gms/ 9.9 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 9/UK 8/EUR 42.5/CM 27.
  • Stack heights: 35 mm (heel), 27 mm (forefoot).
  • Available widths: D – regular (reviewed), 2E – Wide.
  • Previous model: Saucony Ride 16.
  • Country of origin: Vietnam.
  • Recommended use: Daily training, tempo runs, half-marathons.
  • Footstrike orientation: Heel, midfoot/forefoot (full contact).
  • Recommended paces: 4:30 min/km (7:30 min/mile) and slower.
  • Median lifespan: 500 miles.
  • Recommended temperature range: Warmer than -5° C/23° F.

Pros

  • Just-right upper fit
  • Neutral and supportive ride
  • Smooth cushioning
  • Versatile ride character
  • Optional widths
  • Comfortable interiors

Cons

  • Upper runs warm in summer
  • Low reflectivity
  • Heel loop needs to be bigger

Also consider:

  1. Nike Pegasus 41
  2. Asics Cumulus 26
  3. New Balance 880V14
  4. Brooks Ghost 16
  5. Hoka Clifton 9
  • Use the Saucony Ride 17 for everyday runs, including uptempo.
  • Use the adidas Takumi 10 or Hoka Cielo Road for intervals, and short races
  • Use the adidas adios Pro 3 or Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 for marathons

Saucony Ride 17 product box.

10 years ago, we reviewed the Saucony Ride 7. It was an excellent shoe for its time; the dual-density midsole with ‘Powergrid’ foam insert set it apart from the Brooks Ghost 6 and Nike Pegasus 30.

While the Saucony Ride 7 wasn’t as soft as the Pegasus, it had superior versatility. It wasn’t as clunky as the Brooks Ghost, and was easier to do quicker runs in. The upper was very plush; we still remember the soft heel and tongue lining of the Ride 7.

The midsole of the Saucony Ride 17.

Just like the Ride 7, the Saucony Ride 17 has something different to offer. This brand-new model swaps the EVA midsole of the Ride 15 and 16 with a full-length Pwrrun+ foam stack.

So is it like the Saucony Triumph 20 and 21, then? Yes, and no. The midsole isn’t as high-volume as the Triumph 20/21, and not as soft. It’s a denser version of what the Triumph 20 and 21 had, and somewhat similar to Reebok’s Floatride Energy foam.

And that toned-down Triumph approach works in the Saucony Ride 17’s favor. It’s cushioned, but not too cushioned – just the right level of comfort for up to a half-marathon, and firm enough to allow smooth and efficient transitions.

It’s not a speed shoe by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s versatile enough for daily mileage, including tempo runs. It’s easily one of the best everyday trainers under $150 with only a couple of minor shortcomings.

IT’S VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE RIDE 16

The Pwrrun+ foam on the Saucony Ride 17.

Well, that’s not surprising at all, considering that the Ride 17 uses brand-new parts. The ‘engine’ of the Ride 17 is the full-length Pwrrun+ midsole with a softer ride than the Ride 16. The Ride 15 and 16’s EVA midsoles felt flat, whereas the Ride 17’s cushioning is more reactive.

While the Ride 17 isn’t springy when compared to the likes of the adidas Lightstrike Pro, it is more responsive than the Ride 15 and 16. The softer cushioning goes easier on the feet than the Ride 16.

The upper fit has changed as well. The Ride 15 and 16 were snug shoes; the Ride 17’s forefoot has more room, and so does the toe-box. However, the upper doesn’t breathe as well as before.

THE MIDSOLE IS ‘FIRM-SOFT’, NOT ‘SOFT-SOFT’

The soft Pwrrun+ footbed of the Saucony Ride 17.

Saucony claims of the Ride 17 being unbelievably plush and springy is the same thing as Brooks saying that the Glycerin 21 and Ghost 16 are supremely soft. Neither statement is true.

The Pwrrun+ midsole compresses when loaded (during foot-strikes and transitions), but it does so in a very measured way. The foam is denser than the Pwrrun+ variant used on the Triumph 20 and 21, so the foot doesn’t sink into the midsole core.

On top, the removable Pwrrun+ footbed is much easier to compress. It creates a layer of step-in comfort that runners will appreciate at slower speeds.

NOT FAST, BUT NOT SLOW EITHER

The toe spring or rocker of the Saucony Ride 17.

Remember the original Reebok Floatride Energy from a few years ago? The Saucony Ride 17 feels like a higher stack version of that shoe with a plusher upper. And just like the 2019 Reebok shoe, the Ride 17 does many things well.

The firm and resilient cushioning cuts down on the loading time, and the stiff forefoot makes the toe-offs easier. While very inflexible initially, a few runs will ‘loosen’ up the midsole a bit. Even after the break-in period, the forefoot retains a lot of its stiffness – which is a good thing.

The outsole placement is effective. There’s rubber under key contact and loading areas, so the Ride 17 grips very well.

The Pwrrun+ midsole hits the sweet spot between firm and soft, and that translates into versatility during everyday use. The Ride 17 is a great shoe for daily training; there’s ample comfort for up to a half-marathon. At the same time, the smooth ride quality and mild rocker make it easier to cruise at a set speed.

We won’t recommend the Ride 17 for intervals, sprints, and short races, because it’s not a fast shoe. There are better shoes for speeds quicker than 4:00 min/km (6:30 min/mile). The weight also plays a part; the Ride 17 weighs nearly 10 ounces.

THE FIT IS TRUE-TO-SIZE AND JUST RIGHT

Cropped top view of the Saucony Ride 17.

Runners who upgrade from their Ride 16 will discover more inside room the Ride 17. For a daily trainer, the amount of space is just right. The forefoot is accommodating, and there’s enough room for the toes to splay. Most runners won’t need the optional wide sizing that Saucony sells.

The upper has a molded bumper, so the toe-box is not vertically cramped. Even the forefoot has a high ceiling, and you get this sense of excess space above the forefoot.

The insides are smooth and plush. The gusset is wider than the norm, and creates a soft wrap around the midfoot. The short heel stiffener keeps the top of the collar soft to minimize Achilles irritation.

There’s a heel pull loop, but its small size makes it useless. Saucony should learn a thing or two from the Asics Nimbus 26 and Kayano 31; those shoes have heel loops that actually work.

GOOD FOR MIDFOOT AND HEEL STRIKERS

The Saucony Ride 17 in a race.

The Saucony Ride has always scored well as a midfoot strike-friendly shoe. This time, it’s no different. The forefoot has a wide flare for planted landings, and the 27 mm stack height makes the midsole protective. The outsole design also works well for full-contact landings.

This being an 8 mm drop shoe, the heel gets most of the stack height. Despite that, the stability levels are very decent. The foot is seated inside the midsole and is cupped by the high sidewalls.

The rearfoot landings are made smooth by the beveled heel and the transition groove that splits the crash pad into halves.

THE VENTILATION ISN’T GREAT

The interiors of the Saucony Ride 17.

The forefoot uses a smooth unperforated lining that adds a soft and smooth feel, but isn’t great for letting the air through. The midfoot panels have large holes for airflow, but they don’t help as much.

This is one area where the Saucony Ride 17 takes a step backward from the previous models. While it never gets unbearably hot, a little more ventilation would have been nice.

COMPARISON WITH THE SAUCONY TRIUMPH 22

The heel counter of the Saucony Triumph 22.

Just like the Ride 17, the Saucony Triumph 22 has also been redesigned from the ground up. The midsole is now made of a firmer version of Pwrrun PB (PEBA) foam instead of Pwrrun+ (E-TPU) foam that the V20 and 21 were based on.

Even the insole isn’t immune from changes. The Triumph 22 has a plusher Ortholite made of blown foam that adds more softness to the ride.

With all these changes, the Saucony Triumph 22 ends up being the softest Triumph ever. All that softness changes the Triumph’s character. The Triumph 20 and 21 were more versatile. For example, the previous Triumphs didn’t mind being pushed a little.

In contrast, the Triumph 22 now is a deeply cushioned trainer for easy runs, but that’s where its usefulness ends.

The bottom-line being – if you miss the Triumph 20 and 21 can do with firmer cushioning, the Ride 17 may just be the right shoe for you.

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