Monday, February 01, 2021

Saucony Ride 14 Multi Tester Review: Not Messing with a Good Thing!


Article by Peter Stuart, Joost De Raeymaeker, Jeff Beck, Sally Reiley, Derek Li, Jacob Brady, and Sam Winebaum


Saucony Ride 14 ($130)


Introduction

Peter: The Ride 14 is, for better or for worse, not a drastic update to the Ride 13. The outsole seems to be identical, the ride is very similar and it’s still at a moderate weight for an every day trainer. 


Sam: The Ride 13 was my 2020 daily trainer of the year. Not because it was the lightest or loaded with plates and gimmicks but because it had plenty of cushion. solid hold, comfort and a lively forefoot response and good flexibility. It was good to go for any kind of run and durable and also checked in below the 10 oz barrier which for me is where I want an all around trainer to be..


The Ride14 on the surface, so to speak, is an upper update called out as a lighter more breathable engineered mesh. The weight is almost identical to the 13 at 9.91 oz / 281g in my US9 and the full stack height remains the same 32/24, 8mm drop. If  I had one knock on the Ride13 is that its upper was a bit dense, the end of the lace up area stiff and overall not as pliable as it could be and it was warm. 


Closely examining the rest of the shoe I note no changes to either the PWRUN midsole (an EVA/TPU  blend)  or outsole that I could see. But you never know... outsole and midsole firmness and density can change.

Joost: The Ride 13 was a pleasant surprise and for a while one of my day to day shoes of 2020, until it kind of drifted to the back of the stack of many other tested shoes, some of which are still in my daily rotation. It was and is a very comfortable, lively riding shoe, although a bit clunky and with an upper that was just a bit too hot for tropical climes. The Ride 14 seems identical underfoot, but with an updated and more breathable upper. 


Jeff: Almost every runner has a sob story about the shoe that they fell in love with, only to find that the next year’s version had changed everything that made the shoe special in the first place. The Ride 14 is the polar opposite of that, changing almost nothing, and while that may sound like a gripe - the Ride 13 punched way above its weight class. It’s not crazy to think I’m not the runner Saucony has in mind with the Ride series for a daily trainer (it’s not my boyish good looks but the fact I tip the scales just north of 200 pounds, heavy for a runner), and yet, this shoe works in a way that few others with a similar build can.

 

Derek: As popular as the Ride 13 was among the RTR crew, I missed out on testing it, so when the chance came to test the Ride 14, I jumped on it and was lucky to get to try it. The Ride has come to be recognized as a great daily trainer, and sits right up there with the Nike Pegasus, NB 880, and Brooks Ghost. I think what’s really special about the Ride is that it doesn’t try too hard to capture any one very special niche in terms of ride quality, fit or geometry. Rather, it strives to nail the basics and give you a versatile, durable no-nonsense shoe that covers all the bases. It’s a jack of all trades, if you will. From what I have gathered, (and I did briefly try on the Ride 13 in my local running store; I would have considered buying it outright but they were out of the mutant color I wanted and only had the grey left), the Ride 14 is primarily an upper update in an attempt to make it a little more breathable. 


Jacob: The Ride is Saucony’s more traditional all-purpose daily trainer. I have run many of Saucony’s releases over the past two years (since the beginning of “FormFit” and the transition away from ISO) and have enjoyed most, particularly liking the Freedom 3, Switchback 2, and Endorphin Speed. All have quality construction and a comfortable fit. Despite running many new releases, I have not run in the Ride since version 7 which was before I was reviewing gear or running as competitively. The RTR team got me excited about the Ride 13 and as the 14 is just a minor change, I was excited to experience it, especially as I tend to be a fan of more modern, soft, bouncy shoes.


Pros:

Sam/Joost/Sally/Derek/Jacob: Versatile, durable daily training all arounder, classic flexible geometry and decently soft and responsive midsole/outsole

Peter/Jacob: Great colorways and a fine  fitting and decently  plush upper

Jeff: One of the best examples of a “classic” running shoe, colorways for every runner, remarkable in how unremarkable every facet of the shoe is - but it works.

Jacob: Stable, consistent, balanced flexibility


Cons:

Sam/Joost/Derek/Sam: Wish it could lose yet more weight and get a touch more spring. PB for the Ride 15 Saucony?

Peter: On the stiff side, not a particularly soft ride.

Joost: Clunky ride

Jeff: I wouldn’t be upset with a touch more squish under the forefoot

Derek: Geometry feels a little flatter than the advertised 8mm drop.

Jacob: A bit dull in the forefoot

Jacob: Higher than average weight (for a modern trainer) is noticed



Tester Profiles:

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years

Joost is a Belgian in his 50s living in Luanda, Angola, Africa, where he faces the heat, humidity and general chaos to run anything between 60-100 miles per week. He’s on a mission to win in his age group in the 6 marathon majors and has completed half of his project, with a 2:26:10 PB in Berlin in 2019 at 51. He ran in primary school, but then thought it would be a lot cooler to be a guitar player in a hard rock band, only picking up running again in 2012, gradually improving his results.

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39. In December 2019 he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past seven Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $240,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday she ran the NYC Marathon in November finishing 2nd in her age group with a PR time of 3:28:39.  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for three years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances. In the past two race seasons has done races of all distances including several marathons and shorter (≤ 50km) ultras and mountain races. He has a PR of 2:51 in the marathon and a recent half TT PR of 1:18. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), surfing, and nordic skiing. He is 25 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava here.

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 48 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 5’9” tall and weighs about 165lbs.


Stats

Weight: men's 9.91 oz / 281g (US9)  /  women's 8.4 oz / 238g (US8)

  Samples: men’s  9.91 oz / 281g (US9), 290g / 10.23 oz (US9.5)

                  women’s 8.5 oz / 242 g (US W8)

Ride 13  Sample 9.88 oz  / 280g (US8.5)

Stack Height: 32/24, 8mm drop

Available  April 2021. $130 



First Impressions and Fit

Peter: I remembered liking the Ride 13 more than I thought I would. I had generally found the Ride series to be too much shoe for me--but the 13 was a decent daily trainer that had some get up and go. My one issue was that it seemed to beat up my forefoot a bit. On the Ride 14 pair I got,  the blue pastel vibe of the colorway is great, and I was excited to get out and run in them. I was thinking that if the 13 got tweaked just right the 14 would be killer... 


Sam: From the striking bright yellow and orange with green puffy laces of my Ride 13 now in the 14 a cheery blue pastel with some orange and dark green collars the color here is just as striking but cheerier and more refined. In a tough year many Saucony are going for colors that kind of soothe and make us smile.

I was sent a size 9 or a half size up from my normal. With a thicker sock they fit fine but I would go true to size in a next pair. As I laced them up for my usual A/B test with a Ride 13, I immediately noticed an improvement in fit feel up front. 


Not only is the mesh softer and more pliable but the very stiff end of lace up eyestay and on top of that a very stiff reflective tab just above it is gone. 

I Immediately noticed this change and it is welcome. The eyestay holding the laces is far more pliable and now the suede like overlays  are separated all helping with front flex and ithe nterface of foot to platform 


Joost: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, is something that comes to mind when thinking of the Ride 13, and the updates in the Ride 14 seem to be rather minimal and limited to the upper. More on that in the next section. The basic sensation when you put them on is still great: they feel very comfortable. As Sam said, some of the stiffer parts are gone. The laces are still the same thick tubular model of last year’s iteration. Weight is within 1g (0.035 oz) of the Ride 13.


The blue and pastel colorway I got looked a bit awkward when taking photos in the blazing noon sun in the tropics, but they should blend in beautifully with winter landscapes and greyer days in the Northern Hemisphere!

Sally: I did not the Ride 13, but knew it to be a reliable and popular daily trainer, and so I was looking forward to trying the Ride 14. Saucony has been killing it with eye-popping colorways this past year (think the colors of the inaugural Endorphin line, and then the gorgeous mix of colors in the new Kinvara 12), but pink? Yes, pink is feminine, but  a mostly pink shoe? Not MY first choice. In my opinion, the women’s colorway is only saved by a tiny stripe of our Dartmouth Green (the only way to describe it, right, Editor Sam?) above the blue Saucony logo. 

Poor color choice aside, the shoe fits comfortably true to size right out of the box. And padded, yes, padded luxuriously. 


Jeff: “They reigned in the colors this time” were my first thoughts when I opened the box. And I only say that because the Ride 13’s incredibly bright yellow broke the needle for how outlandish colorways can be. I was also taken aback by how little changed from last year - though, I get it. Take the work from home aspect out of the last ten months or so, and how hard some things are to do remotely, but more importantly, how good the Ride 13 was. Probably not a huge surprise, but like most RTR contributors I cycle through shoes pretty quickly - there’s frequently something new to test and only the shoes that really resonate stay in the rotation for very long past their review. I only bring this up because I ran in the Ride 13 the day before the Ride 14 showed up on the doorstep, that’s how much I enjoyed last year’s shoe. Which may be especially unique, because I’ve put more than a thousand miles on the Ride’s big brother shoe, the Triumph, over the last decade because the Ride was never enough shoe for me. The 14 takes virtually every description of the 13, gives it a slightly softer upper, and calls it a day. 


It still fits true to size, and very nearly bumps up against plush in every way. The upper is almost plush, the midsole is almost plush, and the end result is a really good shoe.


Derek: I really liked the mutant colorway of the Ride 13. It was just so much more vibrant than previous color schemes, and Ride 14 came in with big shoes to fill. I received the light blue colorway, and boy did they hit it out of the park with this one! Light blue doesn’t always come off well, and runs the risk of looking rather “sleepy”. Here it somehow adds a distinctive brightness to the shoe. It looks really really good in person. I personally would have liked a bit more contrast from the laces, maybe white or even the lime color of the outsole would have really made the look pop more but as it, it looks great. 


Step-in feel is very luxurious for a shoe in the daily trainer category. There is just so much padding around the ankle opening and tongue, that even though the shoe uses a relatively rigid heel cup, you don’t feel it at all once you put the shoes on. 


The fit is just right, and true to size. Width wise, it fits slightly wider than the New Balance 880v11 and Peg 37, but narrower than the very generous Brooks Ghost 13. Walking around, there is only very subtle compression to the foam, but the ground feel is surprisingly low for a shoe of this firmness. It’s a quiet shoe, and just jogging and striding, you barely hear the muted padding sounds from the outsole rubber. Shoe flex seems just right. We will know more after putting some miles in.


Jacob: Out of the box the polished, quality look I expected from Saucony is there in the smooth collar material, soft, nicely taught engineered mesh, and comfortably padded gusseted tongue. Testing in the later winter in the Northeast US the light blue colorway looks great—subtly energetic and fitting for the season. On foot, the upper is comfortable, soft, and plush in feel. Sizing is perfect with ample space to fit a variety of foot shapes. Underfoot the shoe is medium-soft, not a bouncy type of softness though and on the firmer side for a soft shoe. It feels protected though and is not “big” feeling on the foot at all, with appreciated forefoot flexibility and doesn’t feel high off the ground.



Upper

Peter: The upper fits really well. The lacing is simple and effective, the tongue is thick--perhaps too thick--and comfortable. The shoe looks good, feels plush and holds the foot well. Materials are top-notch. There’s no doubt about it, Saucony knows how to make a great looking shoe that feels good on the feet. They look and feel pretty sleek for a 10 oz daily trainer.


Sam: We have a soft pliable engineered mesh upper with more sophisticated application of varying densities up which I think improves comfort and breathability.


The Ride 13 had an array of printed support dots at midfoot. These are now removed.


We still have a gusset tongue which was overkill in the 13  but now much more in order given the softer mesh here to lock down the foot which it does well.

The laces are still puffy and tubular and very soft. They hold the foot well to the platform but are a bit sloppy in appearance. They certainly add to the playful look! 


Joost: You can easily spot that the Ride 14 gains in the breathability department. Gone are the weird plastic printed dots in the midfoot, to make place for small vents. 

This has a double impact. Apart from being a lot more breathable, it also makes the upper less stiff. You don’t have to worry about midfoot hold, though, the Formfit with the gusseted tongue and decent lacing keeps the shoe well in place. 


Up front, there’s enough room and pliability to accommodate my wide feet very well. The toe bumper feels the same as last year’s, but the front of the upper is also made more breathable. 

The tongue itself and especially the top part is a bit too thick and puffy for my liking. It’s not as if you risk any lace bite from the thick tubular laces that come with the Ride 14. 

Sally: Saucony has once again created a very well-fitting and comfortable upper that holds the foot securely. The tongue is possibly overly padded, swollen as though stung by a bee. The round laces are likewise swollen in appearance, though they do the job.

 I ran in cold New England winter mornings, and I can vouch for the breathability of the uppers, as my feet were a bit chilly without thick socks. 


Jeff: I won’t reiterate the shoe’s construction that everyone above outlines very well, but I will say it’s a nice update. I didn’t have many complaints about last year’s upper, but this is definitely an upgrade. It’s a little softer and a little more breathable. Compared to the big built up uppers of the last few Triumphs, this upper feels like a nice compromise between going that far into the realm of plush and the other direction, like a stripped down up-tempo shoe. My only gripe about the upper is purely aesthetic, I’m not sure the dark green works well with the light blue and orange, but I’m not the guy to pick colors out - so I’m not sure what I’d replace it with.

Derek: The upper is breathable and soft, with what I would consider “middle-of-the-road” volume compared to the other brands. There is some structure to the upper from the plastic logos, but otherwise very little else in terms of support in the mid and forefoot, not that the shoe needs any. 


It’s remarkable what you can achieve with a normal-width last, a good gusseted tongue, and the right amount of material and a generous internal toe bumper to give you the right shoe volume. Coupled with the stable rigid heel counter coated in loads of thick padding, you get an very nice snug padded wrap around the foot with minimal lacing tension. The fit is easy to dial in and it stays great and fuss-free from the very first run. 

The laces are fairly long, and thick (I think they use the same laces on the Triumph range), and I would have preferred the thin flat laces of the Kinvara 12 or the Endorphin, for no particular reason other than it makes the shoe look a little sleaker with a less bloated appearance of the laces. I have no gripes whatsoever about this upper, and it is an excellent execution of what a training upper should feel like. If I had to pick on something, it would simply be that I don’t really see a huge reason to pick a R14 over a R13 apart from colorways preferences, as the R13 upper was pretty darn good too. 


One other thing I wanted to point out. I did notice some green staining of laces where I knot them. I did not notice any green staining of my socks. This makes me suspect that there is a bit of dye running from the top of the green part of the tongue. It is very minimal staining, but something I wanted to point out. 


Jacob: I agree with everyone above about the soft, puffy nature of the shoe and overall great fit. I completely agree with Jeff about the Ride 14 upper being a good level of plushness without going as far as the last few Triumphs. It’s as soft and plush as I’d ever need from an upper without being overdone. For my medium-volume foot the fit is perfect—a well held and comfortable trainer fit that will likely fit well for most runners.



Midsole

Peter: I’ll just say it out front. I haven’t really loved any of the PWRRUN midsoles. There’s something just a little dead about the foam for me. I know I may be in the minority here, but I’ve had quite a few PWRRUN shoes in for testing--and I haven’t LOVED any of them. I find the Ride 14 to be a little too firm, a little unforgiving on the forefoot (still) and they don’t provide a ton of energy return. There are other shoes that are so much more lively (see the Endorphin line from Saucony) or more fun to run in (see the Freedom 4 from Saucony). 


Sam: The PWRUN midsole which is a blend of EVA and TPU is found in many Saucony shoes for road and trail including the Kinvara 12 and Endorphin Shift but also in all trail shoes. It is a steady, stable material which is on the firmer side with a touch of bounce from the TPU. It is durable and resilient but not with the flashy light spring of Saucony’s PWRUN PB in the Endorphin Pro and Speed as well as upcoming Freedom 4. This said I prefer it to the similar Nike React which I find dull and less responsive. It is quite similar to ASICS Flytefoam as found in the Cumulus 22 and to New Balance Fresh Foam X, and is a touch firmer and with more response for me.


Joost: Last year I said of the Ride 13 midsole that it was quite firm without ever feeling harsh, while at the same time also feeling springy. I could just copy this (and in fact I just did) and get it over with. The thing is that in the meanwhile, a lot of everyday grind shoes have come along, and while the Ride 14 midsole is in no way not a good midsole material, some better ones have sprung up. One of those materials, PWRRUN PB is actually from Saucony, so it would make sense to use it here as well, given the stack height. 

Sally: I find the ride of the Ride (I like saying that) is dependable and consistent and more than decent, just not exceptional. We are all getting spoiled by the plethora of innovative exceptional foams and shoes that have become available, especially in this past year.  Today a solid performer that would have received 4 plus stars just one year ago, might now only get a ho-hum rating. LIke Peter, I found the Ride 14 to be a little too firm and tough to get up to pace.


Jeff: It’s no secret I like a soft and bouncy ride, and the Ride really isn’t that. It doesn’t help that the Ride came in right between four other shoes for review, and all four of them are much more cushioned, soft, and/or bouncy (Nike ZoomX Invincible, adidas Ultraboost 21, and two others under embargo). That said, I enjoy mixing it up, and for a firm, moderately cushioned shoe, the Ride midsole protects my feet and legs well enough. I wouldn’t want to get into double digits in this shoe, I could, it just wouldn’t be my preference. To Joost’s point, I think this shoe with PWRRUN PB would be incredible, though I wonder how much it would coincide with the Freedom, much like swapping in PWRRUN+ could make it a little too similar to the Triumph. Instead it’s the firmest of the bunch, and while the industry overall seems to be moving away from that, there’s a large subset of runners who appreciate the firm ride, and Saucony has something for them even as they’re exploring softer or more dynamic midsole materials. 


Derek: Looking at the input from the rest of the team, one can’t help but feel like we have all been a little spoiled with the new superfoams on the market. Now, bearing in mind that if your aim is to create a shoe with a more traditional ride and feel, there really is no upside to using a more expensive foam and then trying to tune it into a less bouncy version of itself just so you can say you are using PEBA. I think the benefits of the newer foams are more a result of higher compressibility and energy conservation than inherently superior vibration dampening character. In this context, I can understand why they chose to use PWRRUN for the Ride 14. It feels relatively firm compared the other trainers in the Saucony line, but is by no means harsh. At slower paces, the foam doesn’t compress much and feels very stable, especially across the wide forefoot. At faster paces the foam starts to compress a little bit more, and you start to get a bit more bounce out of it. None of it is very special in terms of feel, but it is predictable, and it is smooooth. All the things that you want in a daily trainer.

Beyond all the superlatives, I wish to point out that PWRRUN foam seems to require a bit of a break-in period. Just as it was for me in the Endorphin Shift, the foam takes a couple of runs to soften up and get a bit more springy. The first 1-2 runs may feel a bit on the dead side, but it starts to come alive by 30 miles. Don’t let your first couple of steps in the store put you off!

Jacob: Reading the comments from the reviewers above, I am definitely in agreement. Most of us prefer the newer style of midsole foams: softer, bouncier, and more energetic. PWRRUN is comparatively firmer and more dense and less fun. However, it is stable, smooth, and capable. It has a balanced flexibility which is appreciated and some (important) light bounce from the TPU, but it is overall on the dull side. There are some days where I like the simple and consistent feel of the Ride 14 PWRRUN midsole especially for running easy, but more often I’d prefer a more dynamic midsole.


Outsole

Peter: Tons of rubber on the outsole here. The outsole of the Ride will last forever. Grip is good to great on wet pavement and the horizontal flex grooves on the bottom allow for a bit of flex. The generous use of rubber is also part of what makes the shoe feel a bit clunky to me. 


Sally: I LOVE a quiet shoe. The outsole on the Ride 14 makes for a stealth silent ride, and the traction was notable even on slick winter roads. Assuming good durability with all this rubber, the outsole checks all the boxes it needs to.


Sam: Sally is right it is a very quiet shoe, even in cold ,a sign of an effective outsole/midsole geometry and flex that moves with the foot. The outsole appears unchanged from the Ride 13. Tons of durable rubber especially upfront in the thick bars which in the 13 I felt provided not only front stability to the long flexing shoe but also a distinct responsive effect on toe off. 


While the geometry of the rubber is apparently unchanged, during my A/B test with the 13 I sensed the front rubber was slightly softer in feel leading to a bit more gentle and less abrupt response off the front.  This made the 14 feel slightly smoother and more all of a piece at slower paces while losing nothing in terms of response at faster paces.

Joost: The same as last year applies. Lots of rubber for a quiet, dampened ride, with great grip. It should last many hundred miles. Unlike Sam, I couldn’t really feel any difference in hardness, except maybe for the front most lug, but that could be due to any number of reasons, one being the Ride 13 having a decent amount of miles on them or being stored outside in tropical temperatures for quite some time.


Jeff: Yup, it’s the 13 with deja vu, which is great, because the 13’s outsole worked well. The rubber is fairly soft, and it seems like the more wear you put on them, the softer it gets. You can’t quite gouge out any rubber with your thumbnail, but it feels like you almost could. The pattern allows the shoe to have plenty of flex, without any durability concerns.


Derek: I think for the benefit of readers who didn’t get to try the Ride 13, the biggest selling point of the outsole is where it isn’t. The flex grooves are where the real magic of the outsole lie. (Of course the grooves extend into the midsole as well, but really, the rubber segmentation is what dictates where the stiff sections are.) Sure, the outsole rubber is plenty thick and grippy, but the flex grooves do an excellent joint of adding just the ride amount of flex and snap to the midsole to give it that traditional trainer feel. There will be no rigid outsole rocker here. What you get instead, is some good ol’ toebox flex, but not so much that it starts to wear you out on the longer runs. Lots of shoes try to do this, but few shoes get it right, and the Ride 14 is one of them.


Jacob: I was excited for all the thicker, soft rubber underneath the Ride 14 hoping for durability, stability, and traction. It  mostly met my expectations. There is a lot of rubber and it is wearing at an average rate, so durability should be good. The effect on ride is well done and provides stability and some structure to the midsole while remaining flexible due to the many deep, wide flex grooves. The traction aspect however is surprisingly lacking at least on the snow/ice conditions I was testing during. In fact, I actually started in the Ride 14 one day and turned around after slipping on toe-off twice and changed shoes (to a trail shoe, to be fair, but it was remarkably better). The outsole does lead to a smooth and quiet ride though.


Ride


Peter: Ahh, the ride of the Ride. Well, I wish I loved it--heck, I wish I liked it more. The Ride 14 is a little too firm and a little too stiff for me. Firm at the forefoot--where I start to feel fatigue after a few miles--and stiff overall--making the shoe feel clunky. I don’t feel like I’m working with the Ride 14 as much as pushing through it. It’s not that there’s too much shoe, I just find that overall it lacks fluidity. I put the 13 and 14 back to back and found that the 13 feels just a hair less clunky overall. I was hoping that after 30 miles or so the Ride 14 would start to loosen up, but I took them out again this morning and they were still a little clunky. 


Sam: For the main miles I prefer a relatively firm, stable, neutral shoe that checks in at under 10 oz and Ride 14 fits the bill. I don’t need to much excitement just a steady performer at pretty much all paces.  The tuned down (at least the way I feel it) the front outsole rubber makes the shoe a touch smoother flowing and smoother especially at slower paces extending its pace range a touch for me.


Joost: I think the combination of the weight, the firmness and the copious amount of underfoot rubber make for a stable ride. For me, it also felt a little clunky, but heavier runners should probably not have that same sensation. As far as I’m concerned, the Ride is definitely a shoe to go easy in, not lending itself to faster paces. Not that that’s impossible, but at faster paces, they require more energy than lighter models, even with the same type of foam, like the Kinvara 12. 


Jeff: Overall I found the ride pretty smooth. It doesn't have incredible pop, but I would still put it slightly more springy than bouncy. Going back to the point I was making above in the midsole section, it isn’t as cushioned as the majority of my rotation, but I’ve found it excels on the treadmill. The softer running surface (as opposed to the sidewalks of Denver) pair well with the little bit firmer ride, while going with a really soft shoe on a treadmill can be too much of a good thing for me.


Derek: If there is one word to describe the ride, it would be ‘smooth’. Somehow the combination of single density midsole and fairly uniform outsole rubber coverage give a smooth consistent underfoot feel. It may not be as smooth as some of the newer rockered shoes, but for a non-rockered shoe, it’s pretty much as smooth as it gets. 


The shoe get smoother at faster paces and develops a bit of bounce to the ride that is noticeable especially in the forefoot. The bounce in the foam does get more pronounced after the first 20-30 miles, so be patient about this. 


I still feel like the heel feel a little low for a 8mm drop shoe, and I am not particularly sure why, and I think I just generally prefer a 10mm drop for a daily trainer. 


Another big selling point of the shoe is the vibration dampening. There are some really good daily trainers out there now like the NB 880v11, but you really have to run the 2 shoes side by side to appreciate the improved vibration dampening of the Ride 14. Incidentally, I measured the 880v11 at 32/22 stack vs the Ride 14 at 32/24 stack. Beyond the extra 2mm forefoot stack, the Ride 14 feels more cushioned than the 880v11 even in the heel where the stacks are the same. Overall, the Ride 14 is a stable predictable smooth operator. 


My main knock on the shoe relates to its weight. It is still about half an ounce heavier than its main competitors in the daily trainer category. I feel that it sort of holds it back from feeling a bit more nimble at faster paces. If they could find a way to bring it into the 9oz range, then I would be more open to using it for tempo work but as is I think it’s just a little bit too much weight to be lugging around for speed work. 


Jacob: The ride is stable, smooth, and has light bounce, but is overall not dramatic. It feels firmer at slower paces and too soft and not snappy enough at fast paces. I like the ride a lot as a casual, bulk mileage trainer as it is simple, smooth, and consistent. However at faster paces (approx marathon pace and faster) the weight is noticed and I find the midsole is slow to rebound so it does not feel performant. 



Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: Overall I’m not in love with the Ride 14. They’re fine, and I think they’ll work for people who like a more traditional shoe with a firm ride, but for me they’re just not that enjoyable to run in. They fit great, look great and will last forever, so if you put on a pair and they feel good to you, you’ll be in good shape. If you loved the 13, these are pretty similar. When I went back and compared them I found them to be only slightly stiffer (and that may have something to do with how many miles are on my 13’s). That said, when i went back to compare I didn’t love the 13’s either. My feet are enjoying a softer,springier rides right now. 

Peter’s Score 8/10. A solid but unexciting update to a meat and potatoes daily trainer. No big issues, but not a ton of fun to run in. 


Sam: Not a huge update but a subtle careful one that tunes up my 2020 shoe with a slightly more comfortable upper and by my sense a touch softer front outsole rubber to smooth the ride out. 


It is still about as versatile a daily trainer as I have tested and while the updates don’t jazz it up, so to speak, they keep the Ride as the soid steady performer in Saucony’s fleet of somewhat more exciting trainers such as the Endorphin Speed and Shift and Freedom 4. 


PWRRUN performs just fine for me but I wish Saucony could lighten the shoe. 10 oz in an 8 mm drop shoe is still fine and not a burden but it could use some “supercritical” jazzing up at this point. Thus, while I felt subtle  improvements to the ride it scores lower than last year’s model in Ride.


At $130 they remain a very solid value particularly if you value versatility and durability more than bells and whistles in a daily trainer. The cheery look and now more smoother fitting totally up to date thinner engineered mesh upper is a plus in that value mix 

Sam’s Score: 9.33 /10

Ride: 9.2 (50%) Fit: 9.4 (30%) Value: 9.4 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)


Sally: The Ride 14 is a solid more traditional daily trainer that does everything quite well, or well enough. It has a very comfortable upper, a fantastic outsole, and a perfectly good midsole, making for a shoe that many a runner will enjoy for those easier miles. Not the shoe for those looking for bouncy excitement, but for those looking for a reliable get it done and get it done in comfort shoe. Another versatile hit from Saucony!

Sally’s score: 8.95/10

Ride: 8.5 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9.5 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)


Joost: A better upper than the Ride 13, in spite of that puffy upper tongue in a further unchanged shoe. PWRRUN continues to be a decent foam, but there are better options available, so just like Sam, my ride score will be lower than last year’s because of the current competition (some of it from Saucony itself). All in all a good value “I feel like lots of easy miles today” shoe. Unassuming almost, but with a luxurious feel. If you loved the Ride 13, you will love the 14 as well.

Joost’s Score: 9.08 /10

Ride: 8.7 (50%) Fit: 9.7 (30%) Value: 9.5 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)


Jeff: One of those shoes that doesn’t get much wrong, with a great upper and outsole, and a firm midsole that doesn’t pull its punches. If you like a plush and/or bouncy ride, this isn’t the shoe for you. But if you like a traditional running shoe that has some give, but is pretty firm, you’ve got another year of a great shoe.

Jeff’s Score: 9.0/10

Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)


Derek: This shoe is among the very best daily trainers on the market, and I think the main drawback is its weight being in the slightly heavier side vs its peers in other brands. Things always exist on a spectrum, and the Ride 14 trends more towards the slower end of the spectrum, pace-wise. 


If you want something even more protective, then I would look for the ASICS Nimbus Lite 2. If you want something snappier, then I would look at the Nike Pegasus or the NB 880v11 instead. Overall, I still prefer the NB 880v11 as a daily trainer in terms of ride, as it feels sprightlier and more open to gear changes, even though it feels slightly less cushioned underfoot. 


I feel the Ride 14 would work better for heavier runners as I think it takes more force to bring out the spring in PWRRUN foam, and runners who appreciate a daily trainer with a wider and more stable forefoot, while still retaining a very good comfortable lockdown. 


That said, the Ride 14 is the best looking daily trainer on the market currently, and has one of the most comfortable fitting uppers on the market, so if you struggle with fitting shoes well, you might want to give this a try.

Derek’s Score: 9.09/10

Ride: 8.6 (50%) Fit 9.8 (30%) Value 9 (15%) Style 10 (5%)


Jacob: The Ride 14 is a solid, consistent trainer. It is comfortable, durable, and has a smooth, stable ride. The underfoot feel is medium-soft—is it firmer than many modern shoes and has a bit of spring but is not bouncy. There are some days where I appreciate the simplicity of the Ride 14 even though it isn’t particularly fast or exciting. I am glad to have it though, especially as I am currently dealing with IT band pain running in bouncy, propsulive shoes tends to aggravate it much more than the less exciting Ride 14. Thus I’ve found appreciation for the plain Ride 14. I think I will use it mostly as an easy day shoe for any distance. I would recommend it for most runners as a general use shoe for bulk mileage but I don’t think it’s a great choice for workouts or faster running.

Jacob’s Score: 8.73 / 10

Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9.5 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)



COMPARISONS

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Saucony Ride 13 (RTR Review)

Sam: As covered above, the update is to the upper softer, more breathable, smoother fitting and as I felt it with a touch softer forefoot feel. I liked the 13 a lot and the 14 yet a bit better. 

Peter: I prefer the upper in the 14. They don’t feel softer than the 13’s to me. Pretty similar.

Joost: Basically the same shoe, but with a better, more breathable upper.

Jeff: As close to the predecessor as I’ve ever seen. The upper is improved, but last year’s upper wasn’t bad at all.


Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR Review)

Sam: Completely different approaches to geometry with the Shift rocker based with a distinct final roll off the toes (Speed Roll) vs.the Ride 14 with a more flexible, higher drop shoe with a responsive forefoot so more traditional. Shift is more cushioned for sure with its massive stack and is yet more stable. It would be a better choice for runners on the border of needing stability.


Jeff: Sam outlines them well, it’s almost shocking these shoes have the same midsole material. Geometry is the difference, and personally I like the higher stack and roll of the Shift, it is a little different and runners who prefer a more traditional ride should stick with the Ride.


Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Agree with everything Sam says. They work in very different ways. I think the Shift is a bit more assistive, but rocker shoes aren’t for everyone, and for people who prefer to get some flex through the toebox and transition through the shoe in a more traditional way, then the Ride 14 is the better for them. Personally, I the ride of the Shift more, but the fit of the Ride more. 


New Balance 880v11 (RTR Review)

Sam: Direct,direct competitors here with everything from weight to drop to price similar. The 880v11 is a touch softer and bouncier and a touch more flexible while the Ride 13 is a bit more responsive and stable especially at the forefoot. I lean ever so slightly towards the Ride 14 in the...ride scoring between these two.


Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The 880 feels a little more snappy for me, and the blown rubber up front combined with Fresh Foam X gives it a more bouncy feel especially when you pick up the pace. That said, the Ride 14 seems to have slightly better vibration dampening for me. Overall I prefer the 880v11 for how it can handle uptempo a little better, making it a more versatile weapon.


NikeZoom  Pegasus 37 (RTR Review)

Sam: No contest as a daily trainer between the men’s Peg 37 and the Ride 14 with win for the Ride 14. The men’s Peg 37 airpod is quite awkward in feel unless pushed, its upper dense and a bit suffocating and React while fine is not as lively as PWRRUN. Clear nod to the Ride 14. 

The equation shifts for the women’s Peg 37 with its softer React, lower PSI air pod, and lighter upper and lighter weight overall bringing it in over 0.5 oz less than the Ride 14. Smooth flowing, fast, and with an outsole that can handle some light trails as can the men's, the women’s Peg leans a bit more towards faster paced runs, and has somewhat less forefoot cushion than the Ride 14 and as such is a touch less versatile. Lighter faster runners should consider the women’s Peg, for all others I would lean Ride 14.


Joost: I’m not a big fan of the Pegasus 37, so the Ride 14 is an easy winner here.


Jeff: I like the Peg 37 a lot more than Sam or Joost, but it’s still an easy choice to pick the Ride 14. I like every aspect of the Saucony more.


Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Ride 14 is in many ways similar to the men’s Peg 37. The key difference is in the fit, where the Ride wins by a huge margin in terms of lockdown and comfort. In terms of feel, the Ride and Peg 37 are quite similar, with a relatively firm underfoot feel but with good vibration dampening. Peg 37 seems to transition smoother and handle faster paces better for me. Vs the women’s Peg 37, the Ride 14 feels a little snappier through the toes and is smoother through transitions, but loses out in terms of forefoot dynamism in that the women’s Peg 37 is noticeably bouncier in the forefoot. It’s a bit of a tie for me. I prefer the fit and upper of the Ride, but the geometry and transition of the Peg 37. 


Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Fk (RTR Review)

Sam: At a touch less weight and $50 more the Invincible has considerably more cushion stack and a far springier and bouncier ride from its all ZoomX midsole. It is far less “traditional” in ride. 


Its upper is fine, both true to size and decently roomy but almost crude in comparison to the Ride 14’s especially at the bulbous heel hold. The Invincible is way more fun and is a faster more protective daily trainer but is somewhat less stable. If you are a traditionalist in trainers, Ride 14 is a safe and durable bet. If you can swing it and want to experience a very different more fun for sure ride Invincible Run.


Sally: I was alternating days between the Invincible and the Ride while testing, and they really are apples and oranges. The Invincible is that wild and crazy boy you go to prom with because you are in the mood for FUN, the Ride 14 is that safe date that you bring home to your parents because he is dependably well-behaved. The Ride 14 is a well-behaved traditional choice.


Jeff: I mean, how do I follow that comparison from Sally? She, and Sam, are not wrong, these shoes are as different as they come in the ride department. While there is something to be said about the boy/girl you bring home to meet Mom and Dad, I can’t get enough of how fun the crazy Invincible is. $50 is a substantial sum, but if you like to live on the edge, you might find every single step is worth the extra cash.


New Balance 1080v11 (RTR Review)

Peter: I think the 1080 (I’m using the 10 as reference not the 11) is a little lighter, but the ride and cushioning are a much better fit for me than in the RIde 14. No comparison. The 1080 is my recovery shoe of choice, it’s not super soft, but it just eats up the miles. 


Sam: A rocker based ride for the 1080v11 vs. a flexible ride for the Ride 14. The 1080 is more cushioned in feel and while I think Fresh Foam X is slightly softer and bouncier than PWRRUN this is largely masked by the stiffer rocker profile. The Ride 14 upper is more conventional and all around more polished and better fitting particularly at the heel achilles area where the 1080 uses a molded thin counter to save weight and bothered some of our testers due to its shallowness. Overall the Ride 14 suits me better and is more versatile, able to handle either end of the pace spectrum slightly better than the 1080 although as a long run shoe the 1080 may be more protective and stable.


Jeff: And that right there is why Sam is the best around - that’s a perfect comparison of the two shoes. I personally had further issues with the 1080v11 digging into my heel (no heel slip issues, just heel pain) but apart from PWRRUN just works better for me than FreshFoamX, despite the softer and bouncier ride.


Hoka Clifton 7 (RTR Review)

Sam: No real contest here. The current rocker geometry of the Clifton is not as effective for me as the flexibility of the Ride 14 and even though PWRRUN is not the most up to date foam it is livelier than the Ciifotn’s foam. The Ride 14 suffers from a 1.4 oz weight penalty which is felt but I still prefer the steady any pace ride of the Ride over the more awkward Cilfton 7. But read on for Mach 4 which modernizes the geometry and foam of the  same 29/24 stack of the Clifton with a lighter main foam and a thick rubberized foam outsole / midsole layer.


Hoka Mach 4 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Mach 4 is a little softer and has more energy return. It’s a much more fun daily trainer for me. I’d take the Mach 4 out over the Ride any day of the week. Where the Ride feels like work to me, the Mach 4 just rolls…


Sam: I agree with Peter Mach 4 but wouldn’t say every day of the week though as Ride 14 with its higher drop (and greater weight) has a more responsive somewhat more stable forefoot something I look for. This said if I had to pick one it would be the Mach 4.


Joost: The Mach 4 is still my favorite everyday trainer, so no contest here.


Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The 2 shoes are only similar in that both have excellent upper and fit. Mach 4 is a lower drop bouncier/softer shoe, while the Ride 14 has a more traditional firmer stable feel. Overall, I prefer the Mach 4.


Jacob: The Ride 14 fits me better with a more relaxed feel and more space in the toebox. The Mach 4 ride is more exciting and easier to run faster in while still versatile and comfortable at slow paces. Both shoes are smooth and cushioned at easy paces but the Mach has great propulsive bounce/spring at faster paces so it is the more versatile shoe overall. The Mach is also a lot lighter. I’d pick the Mach if I had to have one, but the narrowness of the Mach is a bit of a negative so those with wide feet would prefer the fit of the Ride.



Mizuno Wave Rider 24/Neo (RTR Review)

Jeff: Mizuno has historically had very firm cushion, but over the last few years (with the inclusion of Xpop and Enerzy midsole materials) they’ve gotten a little softer and PWRRUN might be a little firmer. In this head to head matchup the Saucony feels a little more cushioned/higher stack, but also firmer. Both uppers work well, though the Ride’s feels a little more plush. If you’re a longtime Mizuno runner who feels they’ve gotten too soft, the Ride 14 is waiting for you.


Releases April 1st, 2021

 Tested samples were provided at no charge for testing purposes. No other compensation was received for this review from Saucony. The opinions herein are entirely the authors.

RTR Team's Best of 2020 Articles

Road Running Shoes HERE
Trail Running Shoes HERE
RTR Contributors Best of Run 2020, Year in Review Articles

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3 comments:

Kevin said...

Comparison to Brooks Launch 8? Seems there are similarities as they are firmer classic trainers in the 9-10 oz range.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Kevin,
Same class of shoe with Launch 8 and even if Launch is lighter Ride 14 is superior for me: a better upper (not plasticky as the Launch's is ) and not as firm a midsole foam (with some bounce) and more of it and a better executed forefoot, smoother more responsive toe off.
Sam, Editor

Unknown said...

The Ride 13 was my daily trainer of the year although I found the outsole to lack durability,. After 200 miles the chevron lugs in the mid foot strike area were completely worn down and I’’m only 150 lb. Granted my roads are not the smoothest but I expected more durability from the outsole, Sounds like the 14 is the same outsole as the 13