I've had the Saucony Ride 9 for quite a while now. Back when I first picked up the shoe from Frank, I was a little skeptical about it. I'm more of the lower drop shoe loving kinda guy. The lower, the better. The Saucony Ride 9 looked like it was a little too much shoe for me. But being a shoe geek, I'm always game to give a shoe a try. Let me tell you now that I was totally wrong about my preconceptions with the Saucony Ride 9.
The Saucony Ride 9 falls in the neutral daily trainer category and is a nice all round shoe for everyday running. It sits between the Kinvara 7, a lightweight but firm and responsive shoe and the Triumph ISO 2, a much more maximum cushioned shoe. Visually, the shoe looked 'big and bulky' but in truth, it's lightweight enough in the region of 9.2oz for the men's size 9.
The first thing I noticed about the shoe when I slipped my feet into them was how plush they felt. Even when my wife took them for a spin her first words were 'plush and not at all bouncy!'. During my initial run in them, they felt firm yet responsive and stable.
The Ride 9 was true to size for me. I wear a size 9 and it hugged my foot nicely though a it felt a tad too narrow. Not a big issue for me but someone with wider feet might find them a little restrictive though the flexible forefoot mesh does help somewhat. The toebox allows for a nice toe splay but doesn't really leave too much room for my foot to move about though the midfoot and heel are excellent. The FlexFilm that adorns the upper of the Ride 9 offers a lightweight, flexible and seamless fit.
The upper mesh is nothing extraordinary and works well with the seamless overlays. The medial side of the Ride 9 seems to have a substantial amount of overlays that offer a little more support for the feet. The plush RunDry lining material holds the heel real well without being too soft. A textured outer mesh makes up the padded tongue, which keeps it in place without any side slipping whatsoever. I did find the tongue a little too padded for my liking. It felt a little uncomfortable for me though I didn't notice it anymore after a few miles in them.
I've not had the opportunity to run in the Ride 8 but the biggest change the Ride 9 made from its predecessor is that the Powergrid foam is now replaced by Saucony's new EVERUN material; designed to provide a livelier and more durable ride while providing continuous cushioning. This TPU based material is somewhat similar to the Boost, providing a responsive rebound of energy and is a lot more stable across various temperatures than the older EVA material. The new EVERUN 'topsole' material is located between the sockliner and the midsole and the material primarily helps to disperse the force evenly and my feet don't feel as beat up.
Just under this topsole, Saucony has retained the previous SSL EVA material which combines a great balance of responsiveness and cushioning. The Tri-Flex outsole reinforced with XT900 carbon rubber compound in the high-abrasion areas on the Ride 9 features deeper flex grooves and extends much deeper into the centre of the midfoot, unlike the Kinvara's. This Tri-Flex outsole offers better ground contact and pressure distribution with increased propulsion during toe-off. This translates into a shoe with a stable, responsive, cushioned and flexible ride (pun intended). You don't normally find a combination like this in a shoe but the Ride 9 is an exception.
The Saucony Ride 9 is an 8mm drop shoe with a stack height of 19mm at the forefoot and 27mm at the heel. For all its added cushioning, it surprisingly weighs just 9.2oz. While I prefer a much lighter shoe and one with a much lower stack height and drop, I found I've been enjoying running in the Saucony Ride 9. My entire preconception of it being a thick bulky shoe was washed away after a few runs in them.
I like the softness of the forefoot outsole and the responsiveness and protective cushioning of the shoe which bring many miles of comfort during my runs. And with my still recovering injury, the protection it offers for my legs is very much appreciated.
While the Saucony Ride 9 was not really designed for speed, it does respond nicely to some faster running as I found out when I ran them through a tempo session. They were responsive enough and provided a nice energy return. The Saucony Ride 9 works best as a daily trainer on days when you've got a slow to moderate paced session planned but can also hold its own if you decided to speed up things a little. It's a right combo of flexibility, responsiveness, cushioning and stability all bundled into one nice package of a shoe!
I've so far taken them out up to 80 plus kilometers and for someone like me who loves the more lower drop shoes or even racing flats, the Ride 9 has surprised me. I like them so much that I'm drawn to grabbing them a lot more these days than my Kinvara 7, Fastwitch 7 or even my Type A6! The Saucony Ride 9 will only be available in Malaysia in Q4.
Disclaimer - I am a Saucony Malaysia Ambassador but the Saucony Ride 9 review above is from my own personal experience and time spent running in them. This review is in no way whatsoever influenced by Saucony Malaysia.