For backpackers and runners alike, the weight of your shoes (or boots) really matters. There is a direct correlation between how heavy your feet are and how much energy your body burns. Research has found for every 100 g of weight added to a backpacker’s feet, their “oxygen cost” rises 96% — meaning they’re working almost twice as hard. The same goes for runners.
Needless to say, lightweight hiking boots and running shoes are important. But at the same time, some sacrifice comfort to shed a few extra ounces. Enter running shoe brand Saucony. It’s spent 125 years refining shoes, balancing that tradeoff, and targeting a sweet spot between comfort and weight for runners.
And now, it’s taking all that experience with designing running shoes and applying that to its first-ever hiking boot.
The Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX ($190) launched on April 11. It weighs 12.6 ounces per boot (1 pound, 9.12 ounces per pair). And it has much of the same water protection, foot cushion, and traction designs that have made this brand a favorite among runners.
Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX Hiking Boot
- Weight Men 12.6 oz. (357g); women 11 oz. (312 g) per shoe
- Sizes Men 7-14; women 5-12
- Lug height 4.5 mm
- Offset 6 mm (32.5/26.5 mm)
- Cushioning PWRRUN PB, PWRRUN Frame
- Sock liner PWRRUN+
- Support level Trail/Natural
- Sustainability Vegan and contains recycled materials
- MSRP $190
Saucony: Running Brand Goes Hiking
Saucony bills itself as “The Original Running Brand,” established in 1898. The Boston-based brand has sponsored Olympic athletes, competitive runners, trail runners, and more.
And now it’s dipping its toes in the hiking world.
“More people are out on the trails than ever before running, hiking, and for general recreation,” Katie Pyle, senior product line manager for Saucony Trail, told GearJunkie. “We wanted to take all the great underfoot technology that is in our long-distance trail runner, the Xodus Ultra, and bring that to a lightweight, higher cut, weather-protected option for hikers looking for a more modern boot fit, feel, and look.”
Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX
Saucony spent 18 months designing and refining the fit and performance of the Ultra Ridge GTX. The brand designed it to be as lightweight and comfortable as possible while maintaining key components that aid durability and protection from the elements.
Saucony took cues from its most popular trail running shoe, the Xodus Ultra, added some novel design elements, and made a hiking boot.
The boot has a GORE-TEX mesh upper that provides wind- and waterproofing. It also has a plush mid-collar designed for better ankle support than its low-cut runners.
“When building the Ultra Ridge, we took a similar approach as we do to building our trail running shoes — lightweight, comfort, and durable are all top of mind,” Pyle said. “By using the same formula as our Xodus Ultra, we were able to utilize a combination of our premium PWRRUN PB foam and our responsive PWRRUN foam to create a lightweight and maximum cushioned underfoot feel.”
At a glance, the Ultra Ridge GTX appears to be made for beginner and intermediate hikers. While it is light, it isn’t ultra-light for high-speed, long-distance thru-hiking or FKT-setting. And while it is durable, breathable, and element-proofed, Saucony seems to be targeting a more casual hiking crowd with this boot.
The Ultra Ridge GTX is also vegan (as in, no leather parts) and is partially made from recycled materials. It comes in three colors: dune (pictured), sprig, and java.
Check out the Saucony website for more info and available sizing options.