Saucony’s marketing pitch: Meet your daily training partner.
Upper: Engineered mesh with inner sleeve, fused overlays, midfoot strap.
Midsole: EVA blend foam with E-TPU insole. 8 mm heel-to-toe offset.
Outsole: Exposed midsole foam, Carbon rubber.
Weight: 249 gms/ 8.8 Oz for a half pair of Men's US 9/UK 8/EUR 42.5/CM 27
Widths available: D - regular (reviewed), 2E - wide.
Previous model: Saucony Ride 14.
Country of origin: Made in China.
In this review:
Some of the most successful running shoes happen to be daily neutral trainers, so it’s always nice to have cushioning diversity in that category.
This group houses the Brooks Ghost 14, Nike Pegasus 39, Asics Cumulus 24, and yours truly – the Saucony Ride 15. And here’s the fun part – all these shoes have a different ride character.
For example, the Brooks Ghost 14 has a smooth yet predictable cushioning quality. The Cumulus is a mite softer, and the dual Air bags of the Pegasus 39 serve a snappy pop with a medium-soft ride.
The Saucony Ride 15 is the firmest of them all, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
We have reviewed different versions of the Saucony Ride in the last decade, and it was never a soft running shoe. The midsole cushioning was always accompanied by a firm overtone, and that doesn’t change on the newest model.
The firmness of the Saucony Ride differentiated it from the rest of the pack, and in a good way. For example, a firm midsole results in higher stability. Such a shoe also performs better at faster speeds when compared to softer trainers.
This year’s update infuses radical newness into the Ride 15’s design.
But here’s the reassuring part; the said updates do not upset the shoe’s core character. All the best practices and familiar traits from the earlier models have been incorporated into the Ride 15.
Unsurprisingly, the Ride 15 feels new but very familiar.
For instance, even with the 3 mm higher stack height, the cushioning is firm and retains the 8 mm heel-to-toe offset. Yes, there is a thick insole made of Pwrrun+ (expanded PU foam), but it blends into the firmness of the midsole without being conspicuous.
And just like the past versions, the flared midsole creates a stable base for forefoot strikers.
There are ride-related improvements too. The outsole has a deep channel to make the transitions smoother; the upper is softer, smoother, and better ventilated. The Ride 15 also manages to shed weight, going from 9.4-ounces (Ride 14) to 8.8-ounces.
In short, this is a contemporary Saucony Ride with more cushioning – and by that, we don’t mean more softness. It’s softer in a relative sense to the Ride 14, but the midsole is firm when measured against most cushioning benchmarks.
The essence of the Saucony Ride remains intact. It’s a versatile daily trainer with a firmness that encourages fast-paced daily runs, and is sufficiently cushioned for long-distance runs. This isn’t your average daily trainer with a soft ride, and that’s perfectly ok. After all, that’s what makes the Saucony Ride the shoe it is.
With a price bump of $10 this year, the new retail price is $140 instead of $130.
THE RIDE EXPERIENCE
Firm, but not harsh.
If we were short on words, that’s a simple way to sum up the Saucony Ride 15’s cushioning character. To that end, Saucony’s product literature for the Ride 15 is misleading.
Saucony claims that the new midsole delivers ‘your springiest ride yet.’ That hyperbole is far from the truth, because the firm Pwrrun (EVA foam) midsole has a relatively flat ride character.
This is certainly no Asics Novablast; the Ride 15’s midsole foam doesn’t have much give when loaded. Even the new Pwrrun+ insole can only do so much.
While the softness of the thick and cushy insole is felt at walking speeds, it soon disappears into the overall firmness of the midsole once you pick up speed.
We were expecting the expanded PU foam footbed to make a significant difference in how the shoe feels; it does not.
In reality, the Pwrrun+ insole only makes a marginal difference to the ride character. This isn’t a universal opinion, but only applies to the Ride and Guide 15.
The insole would have influenced the cushioning of a shoe like the Kinvara, as it does on the Peregrine 12. However, since the 13 doesn’t have the new insole, we’ll have to wait a year for the next Kinvara.
That being said, the Pwrrun+ insole dilutes the firmness of the midsole and also creates a sensation of under-arch support.
The Ride 15 has rear and front stack heights of 35 mm and 27 mm respectively; that’s an 8 mm heel-to-toe offset. Which is the same as the Ride 14 – except for a 3 mm taller stack. To put things into perspective, the Ride 14 had a 32 mm rear, and 24 mm forefoot stack.
So if you ask us whether the Ride 15 is more ‘cushioned’ than the Ride 14, the answer is a yes – but with a caveat.
While there’s a sense of more midsole foam under the foot, that doesn’t come with a corresponding upside in softness.
Even with the deep transition groove on the outsole and Pwrrun+ insole, the Saucony Ride 15 is a daily trainer with a firm ride. That’s how the Ride has always been, so it’s nothing new.
Let’s examine the new outsole in more detail. When compared to the Ride 14, there’s a lot less rubber under the midsole, and that’s apparent in the 0.6-ounce (17 gram) lighter weight.
On the Ride 15, outsole rubber is used sparingly and in a re-configured layout.
To be specific, the length-wise rubber strips replace the left-to-right strips of the previous Saucony Ride models. Also, barring the outer strips, the rubber lugs are flush or level with the midsole foam.
We can see why Saucony did this. The outer section of the outsole usually takes most of the hits during the transition process, so the raised lugs are thicker for better durability.
The forefoot traction isn’t as good as the Ride 14’s rubber-clad outsole.
The Ride 15’s sole grips well under most road conditions, be it wet or dry. However, the forefoot grip is found wanting during kick-backs on wet roads.
If we had to use the Kinvara 13 and Ride 14 as benchmarks for outsole traction, we’d say that the Ride 15 lies somewhere in between.
On the bright side, the transition quality is superior to the Ride 14. The flush outsole lugs feel like an integral part of the midsole, and the length-wise orientation helps the rubber to blend in.
The deep transition groove is a new feature for this year.
Unlike the Ride 14’s groove that split the heel crash pad asymmetrically, the Ride 15’s channel carves the heel landing zone into halves. In the picture above, you can see the flush and raised sections of the rubber lugs.
However, a deep transition groove makes no difference to the cushioning softness; the firm midsole resists compression.
On the road, the midsole has a predictable and neutral ride behavior. The evenly balanced sidewalls provide excellent stability without cushioning bias. The flared forefoot creates a supportive base during foot strikes and roll-offs.
The Ride 15 works equally well for forefoot strikers as it does for heel landing runners. The generous heel bevel allows smooth landings to happen and also makes forefoot and midfoot landings easier.
Though the Ride 15 is somewhat reminiscent of the Endorphin Shift, it doesn’t have a rocker-shaped midsole. Thus, the transition quality is the ’regular’ kind, rather than making it easy for the foot to roll forward.
The fact that the Saucony Ride is an everyday trainer is well known. But what else is it capable of?
For starters, the firm and smooth transition quality makes the Ride 15 good for tempo runs. Sure, while you won’t get Kinvara 13 levels of efficiency, the Ride 15 doesn’t struggle at 4:30 min/km (7 min/mile) paces.
The other question would be, is the Ride 15 comfortable enough for marathons?
We’re divided on this one. If this question was asked 7 years ago, we would have wholeheartedly endorsed the Ride 15 as a marathon shoe. There’s plenty of midsole foam separating the foot from the road, so that keeps the feet from getting beat up. Regardless of how long the run is, you’ll never be uncomfortable in the Ride 15.
At the same time, there are superior alternatives when it comes to a marathon-worthy running shoe. The Ride 15 is found wanting in sensory comfort past the 10 km mark, and one wishes there was more going on under the foot. You know, like a PEBAX midsole, and preferably with a plate.
We recommend the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 for marathons or equivalent distances. The PEBAX midsole is extremely lightweight and comfortable, whereas the Nylon plate keeps the ride snappy during high-speed runs.
Since both the Speed V1 and V2 share the same midsole, our review of the Speed V1 is relevant.
And if you can justify the $90 premium over the Endorphin Speed, the Nike Vaporfly Next% V2 is also an excellent marathon shoe.
For 5K and 10k runs or races, you can either opt for the more comfortable Kinvara 13 (our review) or the spartan Type A9.
Outside Saucony’s assortment, the Asics Hyper Speed (our review) fills in the role of a road racer in your running shoe rotation.
IS THE SAUCONY RIDE 15 DURABLE?
Despite the decreased outsole rubber coverage, our pair isn’t showing signs of accelerated wear and tear.
Since most of the rubber lugs are flush with the midsole, the scuffing from the landings and transitions isn’t localized.
The high-wear areas are reinforced with thicker rubber slabs, and the firm midsole resists creasing and compression. The insole is now made of expanded PU, so it’s not going to lose its cushioning over time.
There are no pressure spots on the upper, so there’s an extremely low likelihood of premature tearing.
THE UPPER DESIGN AND FIT
The uppers on recent Saucony running shoes are the best among its peers. Be it the Ride, Guide, Kinvara, or the higher-end Endorphin twins, Saucony has got its upper construction down pat.
Since this is a review of the Ride 15, let’s explore what its excellent upper has to offer.
In the front, the wide toe-box has a generous amount of room; the internal bumper creates a dedicated toe-box space with a just-right ceiling height.
This shoe also has a true-to-size fit, so there’s no unnecessary space in the front of the toes.
The forefoot has a secure fit without any pressure spots.
That’s not surprising considering the Ride 15 has a full interior sleeve that extends from the midfoot to the toe box. The sleeve also prevents the tongue from sliding.
Despite the double-layered exterior, the ventilation isn’t bad at all. The outer shell has a porous surface, and so does the thin sleeve.
This is completely unrelated, but the Ride 15’s upper is what the Hoka Clifton should have. It’s lightweight, breathable, well-fitting, and soft – in other words, all the essential ingredients that a well-behaved upper needs.
The midfoot fit is supported by a strap between the outer and inner upper shell. It connects to the semi-elastic lacing which are thin and easy to cinch.
Lacing up the Ride 15 results in a brief tugging sensation on the sides of the foot. However, this strap doesn’t create a hot spot during runs, so all’s well.
The tongue length is just right, and is quilted with foam to absorb the lacing pressure. Both the tongue and heel use an identical lining fabric with a soft hand feel.
The heel cup is reinforced with an internal stiffener with a low height. This makes the upper part of the Achilles ‘lip’ soft and irritation-free.
Over the years, the Saucony Ride has lost ground in the reflectivity department.
The Ride 15 has the least amount of high-visibility trims we’ve seen so far in this series. Only two tiny reflective trims exist on the Ride 15; there’s one on the heel elastic band and another over the forefoot.
PROS AND CONS
Except for the low levels of reflectivity, there’s little else to nitpick. Even though the ride quality feels flat and non-engaging, that’s not new for the Saucony Ride. As they say, it’s an effect rather than a defect.
After all, the stiff midsole is also what makes the ride stable and speed-friendly. Also, a firm midsole doesn’t necessarily equate to a lack of comfort.
The thick midsole and Pwrrun+ insole provide sufficient cushioning for the daily miles as well as the occasional half-marathon.
The upper fit and feel is excellent; the mesh shell breathes well while securing the foot in smooth comfort.
SHOES SIMILAR TO THE SAUCONY RIDE 15
At the start of this review, we pointed out, how the Saucony Ride 15 sets itself apart within the neutral trainer category. It’s the firmest of the lot, and only second to the Saucony Guide 15 and 4 mm drop Endorphin Shift.
The Saucony Guide 15 also compares with the Ride 15, as both the shoes are based on a similar architecture. The Guide 15 is firmer, but that’s not because of the midsole foam – both the Ride and Guide have identical foam densities.
The firmer ride of the Guide 15 is due to the plastic stabilizer and the asymmetrical transition groove. The heel crash pad is firmer due to the thicker outsole rubber slabs.
For a softer ride, we recommend the Brooks Ghost 14 and Cumulus 24. The Asics Cumulus has a softer ride than the Ghost, whereas the latter delivers its predicable cushioned and smooth ride.
Even with the brand-new midsole, the New Balance 880 V12 continues to be a ‘traditional’ neutral trainer.
The 880’s dual-density Fresh Foam midsole is neither too soft nor too firm. It gets the basics right, though. The ride is supportive and comfortable enough to be a daily beater. Strangely, the tongue (still) doesn’t have a sleeve.
Lastly, the newly-released Pegasus 39 goes back to its roots with a dual Zoom Air bag set-up. The cushioning quality is similar to the Pegasus 34 – two snappy heel and forefoot Zoom Air units reside within a softer foam core.