The Virrata line is touted as “one of the most cushioned shoes for its weight on the market.” It is super light and shock absorbing but “natural,” meaning it allows the foot to move unencumbered and does not have a large heel-to-toe drop (the Virrata has 0mm drop) or support.
Well, one of my favorite road shoes is still great, maybe a little better. The new-for-2014 Virrata 2 is virtually the same as the old model, but with the addition of a TPU wrap on the heel for a more secure fit.
It also has minor changes in the breathable and quick-drying “mono mesh” upper and an “internal booty” that moves with the runner’s foot.
Inspecting the upper, the shape of support inside the mesh seems to be a slightly different pattern from the first version, but the changes are very minor.
In a few 5-mile test runs, the shoe performed much like my old friend, the first generation of the Virrata. The modified heel did seem to perform well, but comparing the brand-new out of the box Virrata 2s against my year-old Virratas with a lot of miles under the tread is somewhat apples-to-oranges.
From what I could tell, the new version is a nice minor evolution, and thankfully Saucony recognized a good thing in the Virrata and didn’t mess it up with unneeded changes. The refinement works, and the new shoe, like the old, will be a favorite in my quiver. —Sean McCoy
The Gear: Saucony Virrata 2
Available: Now, at specialty running and online.
Where To Test It: Long training runs on the road, 5k, 10k, half marathons, and marathons
Who’s It For: Runners who want natural foot motion and significant underfoot padding.
Boring But Important: 24 pods on the outsole and accentuated “flex groves” allow the runner’s foot to move naturally.
Important Specs: 6.5 ounces (men’s size 9); 0mm drop heel to toe; 18mm stack-height sole of high abrasion EVA foam.
Made In: China
Killer! Shoe gives some of the benefits of “barefoot” running without the harsh ride.
Flaw: They don’t make a version for trail. The shoe might be too breathable for runs below freezing (a positive in warm weather).
First Impressions: Amazingly light for such a well cushioned shoe. Fits well even on my wide foot.
Who Should Buy It: Runners looking for a great training shoe for pounding miles of pavement.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Buy Saucony Virrata 2.
—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC