Retailing at $120 and offering excellent performance without sacrificing comfort and cushioning, the Saucony Ride 9 is hands down the best valued shoe of this seasons round of comfort shoes. Saucony introduced a new insole material called EVERUN, designed for increased energy return and durability and they nailed it! Overall the Ride 9 is a much more durable and smoother riding trainer then the Ride 8.
The Ride 9 is Saucony’s flagship everyday neutral trainer. This year’s Ride 9 received major updates over the Ride 8, addressing both durability and performance while making it a much cleaner looking shoe. The midsole gets a complete makeover with the addition of Saucony’s EVERUN topsole. The EVERUN material replaced Saucony’s PowerGrid midsole and claims to be 3 times more durable while offering 83% more energy return. Saucony uses dual rubber compounds for the outsole, which includes XT-900 carbon rubber and iBR+ blown rubber for increased resistance against wear and better traction. A TRI-FLEX design assures smooth ground contact and transition from every stride. Subtle changes to the Flexfilm upper give the Ride 9 a much cleaner and updated look. If you look closely you’ll notice less stitching and heavy overlay material on the Ride 9’s as compared to the Ride 8’s. This gives the Ride 9’s upper a much smoother and less dense feeling.
Comfort Structural improvements provided a nice upgrade in comfort for the Ride 9. Saucony added more room in the toebox while removing heavy overlays and stitching from the upper which increased fit and feel. The upper was thin and airs out well. The Ride 9’s offers reduced padding around the heel collar as compared to the Ride 8’s, but still prevented hot spots. The midsole absorbed shock flawlessly and felt soft yet springy.
Fit All of our testers raved about how well the Ride 9’s fit with one tester noting, “possibly had the best overall fit I have had so far for the 2016 shoe lines.” The Ride 9 offers just a tad more room in the toe box then the Ride 8 for a better fit, especially for those with wider feet. This extra width in the toe box gives a more roomy feeling, enabling your toes to naturally spread out. Less overlay material over the Ride 8 still gives the Flexfit upper structure but allows for a much more uniform and secure fit.
Responsiveness Despite being on the softer side, the new EVERUN topsole added a new level on responsiveness the Ride 8’s did not have. One tester described it perfectly by saying, “the Ride 9 has a bounce on the roads that you won’t get with too many other shoes. I had great toe-off and responsiveness with every stride, so each footstrike was getting that extra push with this new material. One of the best rides I have had all season.”
Speed Weighting in as the lightest shoe tested in the comfort category, its no surprise the Ride 9 had some pep to it. Underfoot there is a perfect amount of cushioning without constricting ground feel which helped transfer power through the midsole and on to the ground. Once on the ground the midsole had nice flexibility which made rolling off the heel and up on to the toe easy.
Ride Quality The Ride 9 offered one of the smoother rides of all the shoes tested. Saucony did an excellent job of updating the outsole design. Each footstrike was fluid and force was evenly disturbed through the transition. A less complex dual blend of XT-900 carbon rubber and iBR+ blown rubber spans the length of the outsole for better durability and traction.