Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Saucony Ride ISO 2 Review: Masterfully Refined! A Slightly More Cushioned Ride and a Superb Upper

Article by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Ride ISO 2 ($120)

Sam: After what I considered an upper hiccup, the non supportive ISOFit upper ain the 2018 Ride ISO, the Ride ISO 2 roars back with those issues behind it. It has a new soft yet supportive jacquard mesh toe box with modified ISO Fit bands and overlays that should fit and hold a wide variety of foot shapes well. The Ride gets FormFit, a sculpting of sockliner, footbed and midsole side walls to mold the foot to the platform. It  is effective. We see 2mm more PWRFOAM midsole for a slightly more cushioned and softer ride and a lower profile outsole with a new Crystal Rubber Tri Flex pattern upfront. The overall stack height remains unchanged at 27mm heel / 19 mm forefoot as does the weight at 9.8 oz / 278 g.

The result for me is a truly deserving of the Ride name, and meaning of the word: a well cushioned responsive performance oriented trainer that is now slightly more cushioned and smoother transitioning than its predecessor. It is a shoe that is up to anything: daily training, tempo and racing.  It has a more traditional feel in this day of super soft cushion with great response and road feel while remaining protective. Truly a shoe that can earn the title of single shoe in the quiver for many runners. Can it for you?
Women's PC: Sally Reiley
The review will be updated as other testers complete their testing.
Pros and Cons
Stable cushioned heel, flexible and stable forefoot with great ground feel
Not the lightest performance trainer close to 10 oz, but agile and fast
One of the most comfortable, soft fitting yet effective uppers of 2019.
Cool sensation of shoe firming up slightly and getting more responsive as pace picks up

Quite noisy, especially heel from outsole rubber
Outsole now with Crystal Rubber, POWRFOAM midsole, Everun topsole and FormFit is perfectly tuned but adds up to a weightier shoe than some competitors such as Epic React
Forefoot may be tiring for very long runs.

Sample  US 9 : 9.84 oz 279 g
Ride ISO 1
Sample US M8.5: 9.3 oz. 264 g
Stack Height: 27mm heel/ 19mm mm forefoot, 8mm drop
$120, 5/1 run speciality stores, 6/1 general release. Available now at RoadRunner Sports

Tester Profile
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces in the 9 minute range. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

First Impressions and Fit
Sam: The Ride ISO is super classy and sophisticated in appearance. Key design features are subtly (the translucent mid foot overlays) or not so subtly (the hot pink crystal rubber outsole) called out without clashing with the overall design.  My sample was a half size up from my normal as Saucony did not have half sizes. The fit is secure and generous on my narrower lower volume right foot and just right on my wider left. In the ISO 1 I had my true to size and the medial hold at the top lace hold was inadequate at any faster pace due to the deeply cut softer ISO Fit bands. No longer the case here even at a half size up. The fit should be true to size for most.

The upper features a double jacquard mesh toe box.
Double jacquard mesh is constructed to provide both stretch and structure and here it is very effective as we have soft comfortable decently broad toe box with an effective hold and no overlays and no pressure spots.
The contrast with the Ride ISO is striking. The Ride ISO had a non structured non stretch monofilament type upper.
Note how floppy and collapsed the Ride ISO right above is and how the Ride ISO upper stands tall ready to stretch and fit.
My main issue with the Ride ISO was its lack of mid foot support. The ISO Fit bands were deep and wide, particularly at lace up. I found medial support at faster paces inadequate.
The Ride ISO 2 solves the issue for me with narrower, less deeply cut bands and shallower gaps between ISO Fit bands. Along with the light stretch (with also double jacquard structure) the upper conforms very well with a light touch but plenty of support.

Assisting the midfoot hold we have a translucent gray overlay from heel through the midfoot on both sides of the shoe.
As it should be, the overlay it is more extensive on the medial side (above) than the lateral side (below).
The bootie tongue is quite puffy and essentially changed. The bootie stretch insert of the ISO 2 is similar to ISO 1’s.
The ankle and achilles collar are essentially unchanged in geometry but I do note the padding is slightly denser in the ISO 2.

In summary the Ride ISO 2’s upper is very easy on the foot, comfortable and effective in its foothold. One of the best fitting, most comfortable uppers of the year to date for me. If performance with great comfort and a soft easier on the foot fit is what you are seeking you won’t do much better than this upper. And I think it also one of the sharpest looking uppers of 2019.
The midsole is Saucony’s PWRFOAM a responsive somewhat more “conventional” foam with plenty of response and great cushion. There is 2 mm more PWRFOAM midsole than in the ISO 1, yet the overall stack with outsole stays the same at 27 mm / 19 mm, with overall weight also unchanged. Saucony seems to have achieved this by thinning the outsole rubber. Not to worry, there is plenty of durable rubber here, the ISO 1 outsole being somewhat over thick and rough in feel on landings and toe off.

The prominent Everun branding refers to a relatively thin top sole of Everun below the sock liner as most of the midsole is PWRFOAM.

The cushioning feel sits almost exactly between a daily trainer and performance trainer, a real sweet spot for me. It is relatively firm, quite shock free with a stable feel, plenty of response and great road feel, particularly upfront.

The forefoot rubber is now Crystal Rubber and the heel XT-900 both in a thinner profile than in ISO 1. Crystal Rubber is highly durable with a bouncy feel somewhat between the usual harder carbon rubber found at the heel in most shoes and blown rubber usually found at the forefoot.
The outsole is in a thinner more streamlined arrangement which allows the stack height to remain the same as the ISO 1. I am not concerned about significantly less durability as there is still plenty of rubber.
The ISO 2 has a slightly longer easier flex with four instead five Tri-Flex bands with wider spacing. Toe off is easy and smoother than ISO 1 with a distinct response.
Further to the rear ,all of the firm durable XT-900 rubber is thinned and flattened in profile to a more plate vs lug oriented approach.  The flatter and thinner outsole profile may contribute to the relatively noisy heel landings, but I’ll take that for the stable slightly softer heel feel and smoother overall transition.
The decoupling groove from the heel forward is deeper and much broader at the heel. I particularly noted easier transitions off the midfoot as a result and an overall softer ride feel at the rear. There is still a resolute firmer feeling (and noisy too)  from the rear outsole on landing with a sense of great stability while at the forefoot the bands and flexibility give great road feel and a sense of where and what the foot is doing.

Ride and Conclusions.
The Ride and its ride neatly bridges performance trainer and daily trainer with enough response for racing and any up tempo work and enough cushion for daily training for those who don’t want to be completely isolated from road feel. Cushioned and relatively shock free, if on the firmer and denser side, I noticed that as pace picked up the forefoot got somewhat firmer and more responsive yet. I liked that feeling a lot. Plenty stable underfoot for heavy mileage, the upper now keeps up with the underfoot platform (which it didn't in ISO 1) and does so with great comfort.
Relatively heavy in this day and age of super light foams at just under 10 oz /  the Ride ISO 2 is a durable, comfortable fast feeling trainer with a well executed softer comfort upper. If you are looking for pillows on the feet you won’t find that here. You will get one of the most comfortable and effective uppers out there. You will find more than adequate cushion,  a durable platform, well tuned transitions and flexibility and a lively responsive ride. So far in 2019 it is the best update I have tested.
Sam’s Score: 9.8 /10
-0.15 for weight. Almost 10 oz is up there for a performance oriented trainer but you will get many miles out of the Ride and they do run lighter than their weight,
-0.05 for somewhat noisy ride.
Watch our YouTube Comparative Review ISO 2 vs. ISO 1

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Saucony Ride ISO 1 (RTR Review)
Sam: The ISO 2 has a considerably more secure upper due to the changes in ISO Fit bands and medial overlay. It is sllightly more cushioned and  flexible, and a touch bouncier. The forefoot road feel is improved.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Saucony Triumph ISO 5 (RTR Review)
Heavier and with a full Everun midsole the Triumph is more cushioned with a lively ride for such a big shoe. All of our testers, even those allergic to heavier trainers, really enjoyed it. Think of it as the easy miles, recovery shoe, maybe long run if you go with a more cushioned shoe compliment to faster days in Ride.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Saucony Freedom ISO 2 (RTR Review)
Pricey and sleek the Freedom ISO 2 was for most of us a just OK shoe to run and great to just wear around. Its shaky upper hold is improved as its dense stiff ride on an all Everun 4mm drop (vs 8mm for Ride) midsole. About an ounce lighter and while popular with some for its "natural" ride I clearly prefer the more performance running focus of the Ride ISO 2 and its PWRFOAM midsole and great outsole, better cushioning and more response.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Saucony Kinvara 10 (RTR Review)
Lighter, stiffer and somewhat firmer, the K10 is more stable at mid foot as a light light support trainer racer. The Kinvara 10 leans racer while the Ride 10 leans more trainer.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 (RTR Review)
Lighter, the Epic React is considerably stiffer in transition off the mid foot, has a denser feel and has a far less lively move along feel. I also prefer the greater comfort if a touch less secure upper of the Ride.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Brooks Launch 6 (RTR Review)
Launch 6 is a similar shoe for similar purposes in many ways but its ride is deader, stiffer and  more ponderous in comparison. It’s upper is more secure if not quite as comfortable

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Skechers Performance GO Run Ride 7 (RTR Review)
The more stable forefoot and also heel on the Ride ISO 2 are  significant differences. The GRR7 upper is slightly more secure but not as comfortable. The GRR7 has a softer bouncier ride but is less responsive.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. New Balance 1080v9 (RTR Review)
The 1080v9 is more cushioned, stiffer, and less lively. It is a better choice if you want more underfoot but not by much.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. adidas Boston 6 or 7 (RTR Review)
There is a considerably more cushioned forefoot and overall flexibility in  he Ride. Boston is a touch snappier at toe off, with a more distinct single flex point  but overall is not nearly as polished leaning slightly more towards racing than Ride ISO.

Saucony Ride ISO 2 vs. Reebok Forever Energy (RTR Review)
Livelier and springier but less cushioned with a crude in comparison upper, the Forever
Energy leans a bit more towards uptempo while the Ride ISO towards daily training.
The Ride ISO 2 releases May 1st, 2019

The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Mark said...

Hi Sam,
Thanks for the great review as it sure helps in deciding on whether to purchase this shoe or not. Any thoughts on how the new ride compares to the Brooks Ghost?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Mark,
Thanks for kind words.
The Ghost is somewhat more cushioned with softer heel cushion and somewhat more forefoot but kind of dense and dull there in comparison to Ride. It has a more substantial, almost over substantial upper with Ride ISO's lighter on the foot and more comfortable. Ghost leans more towards classic cushioned daily trainer, Ride towards performance but still daily trainer. Ride is more fun to run. You can see our Ghost review at the link below.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Mark said...

Thanks Sam for the comparison, that helps!

Susan S said...

Hey Mark,
Interesting review of the new Ride ISOs. I tried the first version this past winter, trying somewhat lower drop shoes after years of my faithful Mizuno Wave Catalysts and Wave Inspires. I loved the feel of the Ride for the first 5-6 miles of a half marathon, but hated it the last half. The forefoot got very hard, plus I didn't feel I had the same control and road feel that Mizunos gave me. Maybe it was just the hilly Bermuda course that pounded my feet. Are the Ride ISO2s as hard in the forefoot as the previous version? Thanks.

Susan S said...

Correction: My comment should be addressed to Sam :-).

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Susan,
The forefoot is softer in Ride ISO 2 than it was in ISO 1 as there is 2mm more cushioning. This said it is not a plush, plush forefoot feel, more a performance feel near but not quite daily trainer. it is slightly softer than ISO 1, enough to be noticed agile and flexible with that great road feel I mention in review. Haven't run many Mizuno to compare but don't care for their Wave at the rear, overly rigid stiff and stable in the Wave Rider 19 or so and drop is excessive for me in combination with heel
Sam, Editor

JKC said...

How's the Ride ISO 2 cushion, both heel and forefoot compared to the Launch 6?

JKC said...

How the does forefoot and heel cushioning compared to the Brooks Launch 6?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi JKC, similar cushion to Launch.

JKC said...

Thanks for the answer.
Another comparison question. Is this a firmer shoe with a firmer landing than the Zealot ISO 3? Or is the Zealot a more plush ride overall? I have a Zealot, and I love it, looking for similar cushion with an 8mm drop. If the Ride ISO 2 is a noticeably firmer shoe, I'm open to other suggestions. Thanks!

Sam Winebaum said...

Yes it is somewhat firmer than the Zealot ISO 3 and also not quite as flexible. If it fits you (it has broad in-elastic upper) you might look a Salming Greyhound. You might also like Skechers GO Run Ride 7 although a bit less than 8mm drop at 6mm. NB 1080v9 is a super fine option. Although quite a bit heavier the Brooks Glycerin 17 is another to look at.
Reviews of all below.
Sam, Editor

Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

David said...

Would you consider the Ride ISO 2 a marathon shoe? I gleaned from the review that you would not but I thought I'd seek clarification. I have the Ride 9 and 10's but I've never taken them the distance though they feel like they'd be up for it.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi David,
For sure they could be a marathon shoe. Plenty of cushion and get and go for that distance. One thing to consider is their weight at pretty close to 10 oz which is a bit heavy for a "racing" shoe when you can get something like the upcoming Hoka Rincon or the Vaporfly at well well under 8 oz. What do you train and race in now and what kind pace are you shooting for?
Sam, Editor

David said...

Thanks for your quick response. At 62 years of age I'm actually a newer runner, at least as far as taking it seriously. I have ran for years but just single digit weekly miles as an adjunct to strength training. As a result I am neither strong nor fleet of foot. I would be delighted to maintain an 11:00 minute per mile pace for my next marathon. I ran my first marathon last year in a pair of NB Beacons. I incurred some IT Band issues late in the race though. I don't know that it was the shoes fault but I think something with more cushioning might be wise for my next go round. I am intrigued with the Rincons. Thank you again sir.

Owen said...

I know that this article is kinda old but could you do a comparison of this vs the Brooks revel 3? Thanks in advance.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Owen,
No problem. Revel 3 is bouncier with a more unstructured upper. Ride ISO 2 a touch firmer more responsive and snappy than bouncy. About the same amount of cushion so comes down really to ride preference. Sam, Editor

Owen said...

Thanks for getting back so fast and great feedback. I love your guys' reviews, keep doing what you're doing!

Peter said...

Hi there,

Great reviews you have on this site. I have a question if you can help me with. Need new shoes for weekly longer runs 30+ km for around 70 max. EUR. I am an Adidas fan and currently using their line of boost shoes for all purposes. For long runs I use Supernovas but they need replacement. I can`t decide between Saucony Ride ISO 2, Adidas Solar Drive and Brooks Launch 6. As I am a light runner, Solar Drive would be as heavy as Supernovas are (my only complaint about them). I used Brooks Launch 4 and Saucony Ride 9 in the past and generally liked them albeit both felt a bit stiff on long runs. What shoe would you recommend to me? Stick with Adidas line and get Solar Drive or try Saucony Ride iso 2 or Brooks Launch 6. Thanks, Peter