Saturday, August 01, 2020

Saucony Omni 19 Review: Stable, Comfort Cruiser

Article by Sam Winebaum


Saucony Omni 19 ($130)


Introduction

The Omni 19, is a posted stability shoe with an 8mm drop and a 34mm / 26mm total stack. It weighs 11.1 oz / 315g US9. Heavier and posted stability shoes are not my usual preference but.. . It has Saucony's new PWRUN TPU/EVA midsole,  a soft and roomy engineered mesh upper, and nice flex. My first in the Omni series, and Saucony gently suggested I test what is one of their best selling shoes. I  come away very pleasantly surprised. Available now. $130.

Pros:

Supremely comfortable upper with a generous soft fit and solid lockdown

Great option for higher volume feet and also available in wide

Soft midsole with a touch of bounce and well designed outsole leads to a forgiving, smooth yet not mushy ride with an easy toe off flex.

Firm stability post is barely noticed but does its pronation control thing for those who need it.

Solid long slow run and recovery run shoe for neutral runners

Cons:

Weight at 11.1 oz is up there.

Clever narrow firm medial strip of rubber extends a bit too far forward, or isn’t segmented enough, putting a slight hitch in transition. 


Tester Profile

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 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 just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 163 lbs.


First Impressions, Fit, and Upper

My pair is kind of gray and dull looking but classy in certainly not a Saucony Mutant colorway! The color and ride blends in for multiple purposes as it has also proved an outstanding walking daily shoe where typically I need more support than in my run trainers. I have terrible posture for sure when not running and often get sore feet standing around or even hiking but never running and so far never have in the Omni at “rest” and on the run.


While not at a “premium” price, as say its cousin the Triumph,  the fit is sumptuous in its easy going yet secure comfort. ISO Fit uppers as in the last 2 models of the Omni and all other 2020 Saucony shoes are gone.

The mesh is very soft and breathable, the overlays, forward gusset tongue, smooth frictionless lace up of the flat laces, a substantial firm  high toe bumper to help give structure to front soft upper but not too much to cramp the toes or get in the way or be noticed, and subtle yet substantial rear TPU heel collar overlay lock me front to back with plenty easy on the foot room. 

The upper has proven very decently breathable in warm humid conditions, look at all the venting holes

This is not a more performance oriented fit as the Triumph 18 and Ride 13 have but one focused on maximum easy of the feet yet secure comfort. Home run for the fit and upper here. I was true to size with a bit more soft volume than I like in a daily trainer but perfect for easy miles.



Midsole

The midsole is Saucony’s new PWRUN TPU EVA blend and is, for PWRUN, relatively soft in feel and with a touch of bounce. It feels slightly softer and to pressing than the lower stack  Ride 13 and for sure Guide 13’s PWRUN midsole. It has a touch less bounce and more response than the Triumph 18’s all TPU PWRUN+ midsole. 


With a total stack of 34mm heel, 26 mm forefoot this is a very well cushioned shoe. Not quite the bottomless somewhat bouncy feel of the stiffer Triumph 18 but even with the post in the back mix we have a more flexible shoe in the Omni likely due to its thicker yet at the same time much more segmented and softer outsole. The outsole midsole feel combination is mostly fantastic in its smoothness and consistency here for easier miles.


I was scared when I first received that the much firmer than main midsole medial post would give a sharp contrast in feel to  the softer PWRUN and was surprised, really surprised how truly unobtrusive it actually feels. There is no mistaking it is there, the support is felt but not in the way or obnoxiously so in  many classic support shoes .

Some readers may note the “Everun” molded into the underside of the midsole  of my sample. There is no Everun at all anywhere in the Omni 19, confirmed by Saucony when I asked. The predecessor Omni ISO 2 had an Everun top sole with a PWRFOAM midsole. Saucony told me a late decision during wear testing was made to use the same midsole geometry as the ISO 2 and early pairs molds still had the Everun wording molded into the midsole. This will be changed for future production runs. 


And I can see why… the December 2019 catalog shows a big and I am going to say likely nasty in feel hard firm outsole piece on the medial side for more “support”. I am certain with this overdone outsole piece as often seen in support shoes and fortunately not included, I would not have liked the shoe nearly as much in ride and medial support as it would have been firm as heck! The post here is plenty of support for most. 


Really need more support and cushion head over to the more than half ounce heavier Hurricane 22 with a PWRUN+ midsole. I won’t be going there..


Outsole

The outsole remains the same as the Omni ISO 2 in design. As I did not test ISO 2 I can’t comment about any changes in firmness of the rubber.


The outsole has two firmness of rubber” black firm XT 900 durable carbon rubber at the rear and along the medial side with the rest quite soft to pressing IBR+, a blown rubber. The thin black strip of firmer rubber on the medial side, same firmness as the heel contributes to the support and durability but doesn’t over do it with as often seen broad firm patches in that area. The result is a consistent landing and a mostly smooth transition without a harsh medial side feel even with the firm midsole post in the mix. I do think the black strip extends a bit too far forward as I note a slight hitch in transition off the mid foot, more flex is needed there.  Reducing the black medial side firmer rubber length or segmenting it more I think would make the flex a little longer and solve the minor transitions ride.


The front IBR+ blown rubber is thick and well segmented leading to a stable yet easy flex and toe off with the flex point quite far forward. something I like. As in the Ride 13 the rubber adds some response to the front of the shoe.


Ride

Omni 19 has what I would call a “comfort” ride yet one that is not boring or mushy if a bit heavy due to the 11.1 oz weight. All of my runs in it have been easy more recovery oriented in the mid to upper 9 minute per mille range. I appreciate the stable no need to think about form ride, the ample quite lively cushion and well matched outsole. For my needs it is an ideal recovery easy days and long slow runs ride. 


Conclusions and Recommendations

Well I am glad Saucony asked me to try the Omni 19. At 19 editions and running, this very popular shoe may be overlooked by the fast and furious but we all need to take it easier and amble along on some, or for many more of our runs or when nursing an injury or soreness. This is a great shoe to do that in, even for a neutral shoe guy like me. 


The ride, fit and upper comfort is top notch here, truly “premium” at a somewhat lower price so with expected great durability the Omni is a very solid value.. 


This is the kind of shoe fit and comfort you want to leave on the foot for the rest of the day after a run. I do, OK it is not a dialed “performance” type fit as it is more easy going but the combination of very secure rear and mid foot hold and soft and roomy toe box gets that tricky combination just right. 


Prior Omni model fans should be pleased with the new PWRUN foam and its touch more bounce and liviler, slightly softer ride. I ran in many shoes with the prior Omni’s PWRFOAM and now many with the new TPU/EVA blend PWRUN and every ride has improved with the new foam for me.


Support shoe fans seeking stability that it is not overly intrusive should be pleased as is this neutral shoe fan with the subtle feeling yet very much present support here. 


Finally for non runners or after the run it is a great walking shoe and work days option. Gray fits in everywhere and the comfort I'll say it again.


I love it when a shoe is not what I expected and while it is what it is, a heavier, support oriented shoe I personally will reserve for easier days, it is wonderful shoe, nicely updated with a great upper and top notch midsole foam and while not as exciting a racing or fast training or daily training shoe as Saucony has delivered in the Endorphin line with the Shift and Ride 13 it is a solid option.


WATCH SAM'S INITIAL RUN REVIEW


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Saucony Triumph 17 and 18 (RTR Initial T18 Review)

Sam: Comparable levels of cushion, but with its somewhat bouncier and softer PWRUN+ foam, the Triumph can be thought of the neutral version of the Omni. The weigh exactly the same 303g in my US8.5  The Triumph 18 gets closer to the Omni than the 17 was with a more stable, flatter ride but strangely not as effective a front outsole and response and it is stiffer than Omni. The Triumph 18 upper is more performance oriented and I find less breathable than Omni’s.


Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR Review)

If you really really need support try the Omni. If you think you need a touch of support but not a post for sure go with the yet more cushioned and almost one ounce lighter Shift. The choice also comes down to toe off preference as the Shift is rocker based, and very effectively so, while Omni has forward flex for toe off and is equally effective for that preference of toe off. The Shift is far more versatile as a daily trainer and all arounder with the Omni’s strength for me the easiest of days. 


Saucony Guide 13 (RTR Review)

A lighter support shoe from Saucony. Same PWRUN midsole in a lighter by about an ounce more uptempo flavor of stability than Omni. The support element comes from a TPU plate that covers part of the midsole side wall and wraps under the outsole, The support is more obtrusive in the Guide 13 for me, the font flex is stiffer and it is not a great easy days shoe.


Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review)

Heavier and super versatile the Xodus 10 has bouncier PWRUN+ in a 4mm drop slightly higher stack. Yes it is go anywhere any trail shoe but it is also an excellent road shoe for recovery runs and slower stuff. It is $20 more and more versatile than Omni 19 for all purpose use.


ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 (RTR Review)

Sam: I liked the Kayano 27 a lot for its overall polish, similarly great comfort upper, and mildly stabilized ride from a firm wall of medial foam and a quite massive midfoot plate. Lose that plate and the Kayano would easily win but the plate is noticed. The PWRUN foam is just a bit livelier and the outsole of the Omni more effective in the ride mix. The Kayano is a faster shoe and better daily training option with the Omni a smoother easy days option for me.


Nike Infinity React (RTR Review)

A similar level of cushion but far lighter, the Infinity uses rails to stabilize the knee and not a post to control pronation as Omni does. While I give the nod to the Infinity for its far lighter weight, over 1.4 oz  lighter, and that counts, I really am not a fan of rails above the midsole (be they Nike’s or Brooks)  as they impede transitions yet more than the extend rubber of the Omni on the medial side and I also prefer a non knit, non Flyknit upper for sure. 

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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