Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Saucony Ride 15 TR Multi Tester Review with 9 Comparisons

Article by Mike Postaksi, Renee Krusemark, Adam Glueck, Jeff Valliere, John Tribbia, Jeff Beck with Sam Winebaum


Saucony Ride 15 TR ($140, $160 GTX)


Introduction


Take the excellent road daily trainer the Ride 15 with its new softer,  lighter, more energetic PWRRUN foam, give it a trail focused upper and outsole and you get the Ride 15 TR. 

At light 9.2 oz / 261 g (US9) yet high stacked at 35mm heel / 27mm forefoot. it is the door to trail offering in the Saucony line up. 

Does it all add up to an option that can handle varied terrain including pavement? Our 4 testers took it out in California, Idaho, Nebraska, and New Hampshire trails and roads to find out!

Pros:

Very high stack to weight ratio Mike P/Sam/Adam/Jeff V/John/Jeff B

Solid traction on light trails, loose sand, gravel Mike P/Renee/Adam/Jeff V/John/Jeff B

PWRRUN slab is pleasantly soft, yet not mushy Mike P/Sam/Renee/Adam/Jeff V/John

Excellent on the road if the outsole is noticed up front, reminding of front outsole pop  and response of Ride 13 (road): Sam/Adam/Jeff B

Road to trail versatility within a single run:  Adam/Jeff V/John/Jeff B


Cons:

A bit narrow in the toebox for a trail shoe Mike P/Adam/Jeff B/Jeff V

High stack & soft foam makes them a bit unstable on “real” trails Mike P/Jeff V/John

Unstable in steeper terrain, especially downhills Mike P/Renee/Jeff V/John

Highish price for pure trail use given its capabilities, but door to trail usage increases value/versatility  Mike P

Outsole up front is quite stiff and not as well segmented as it could be for road uses Sam


Stats

Official Weight: men's 9.2 oz  / 261 g (US9)  /  women's 8.5 oz / 241 g (US8)

  Samples: men’s 9.12 oz / 258g (US8.5), 9.6 oz / 272 g (US10), women’s 8.36 oz / 237 g (US8)

Stack Height: 35 mm heel / 27 mm forefoot, 8mm drop 

Available now. $140, $160 GTX


[Saucony’s all-encompassing 2022 trail lineup]


First Impressions, Fit and Upper



Mike P:  I received the Ride 15 TR out of the blue from Saucony. It was not on my radar at all, and I didn’t know anything about them. Glancing at the spec sheet - nothing really jumped off the page. With the shoe being a modified “TRail” version of an established road shoe, I was expecting something of a generic trail shoe for the masses.


Out of the box - first impression is that the toe box is quite narrow, especially for a trail shoe. I received a size 10 - same as I have in the Xodus Ultra. The Ride TR is quite narrow in comparison, with a touch less width across the forefoot, but tapering more sharply towards the toes. I have at least 1 full thumbs width up front, but due to the narrowness, I’m glad I received a 10 rather than a 9.5. In fact, on my first run, I discovered that I had to reduce lace tension up front in order to reduce uncomfortable pressure.


[I’ve loosened the strap here to show that the midfoot lace strap is functional]


Aside from the narrowness up front, it’s a well fitting upper - quite secure through the midfoot with good heel hold. I like the lace strap that is routed through the upper material - it’s effective at dialing in midfoot security. The additional room in front of the toes was not a bother as the Ride TR is not meant for technical trails where unexpectedly kicking obstacles could be an issue. The tongue is well padded, high enough, and doesn’t slide around. Saucony again uses a clever design by using a thicker piece of material for the front pull tab - directly below the area where the lace knot sits. 


[No lace knot pressure - they sit nicely on top of those logo’ed tabs at the top of the tongue]

 

Renee: The Ride 15 TR was also a surprise arrival for me too. I have several Saucony trail shoes and have enjoyed all of the new 2022 releases, including the Peregrine 12, Xodus Ultra, and Endorphin Edge. I’ve never ran in the road version, so testing the trail version was surprisingly fun. Like Mike, I expected a generic trail shoe. I typically run gravel roads, which are not well maintained, or trail. Seemingly, a road-to-trail shoe sounds like a great option for me, although I tend to find them useless: if I can wear a road shoe, I’ll wear a road shoe. When I need a trail shoe, I prefer a trail-specific shoe. While the Ride 15 TR is fine for road use, I found it much more trail friendly than the road-to-trail focus would let on. 


As far as fit, I found it similar to the other 2022 Saucony trail shoes. The forefoot and toebox is not as lengthy or wide as the Xodus Ultra or Endorphin Edge, but I still found it roomy. For sizing, I typically wear a women’s size 8 in all Saucony shoes, but my true-to-size is between a 7.5 and an 8. Runners between half sizes who prefer a roomier fit might need the half size longer. The security is good for a road-to-trail shoe. The fit is not as secure as a technical trail shoe, but it’s a fair balance for what the shoe is meant for, which is light trail. 


Sam: Purposeful a bit busy and conservative in visual design the intent seems to be to call out the more trail oriented features of the Ride 15 TR to contrast it with its road sibling.

We see dual supportive external webbing straps tied into the lacing at the 2nd eyelet as well as stout longitudinal overlay. They are effective.


We have a quite firm and thicker toe black bumper around the front debris mesh. 

The foot is very well locked down but the non stretch mesh leads to a somewhat low feeling toe box due to the dense non stretch mesh and toe bumper more than actual height. OK by me for trail use and fine on road but contributing somewhat to the overall front stiffness of the shoe along with outsole. We have a gaiter ring up front . For sure I will be running them in winter on snow so that is handy.


Finally the contrasting red outsole and speckled and grid patterned midsole (same stack height as its road sibling at 35/27 for sure gives a trail vibe even though as far as I can tell the PWRRUN foam in both is identical.


The fit is true to size and the foot hold trails solid and needed given the high stack, softish foam and relatively narrow on the ground platform. Making no compromises on the upper was a smart move if for trail use and in comparison to the Ride 15 road this upper is clearly more substantial and secure but not quite as comfortable.

Adam:  I’ve been running extensively in the Endorphin Edge, so was hoping this shoe would be a good training companion with more road to trail versatility.  The upper isn’t incredibly stretchy, and it felt a bit narrow when I first put it on. 

I didn’t notice this at all while running, and despite being a thicker upper than shoes like the Endorphin Edge, it feels significantly lighter and more breathable than a shoe like the Nike Pegasus 37.  Like Mike, I also reduced the lace tension, and found a comfortable and controlled fit.  When combined with the soft but still controlled PWRRUN foam, I found the step-in feel impressively comfy, planted, and smooth.  For a trail shoe, it has a lot of the smooth energy return of a road shoe, but with workable grip for dry trails.


John: I was pretty excited to receive the Ride 15 TR because I’ve always had interest in the road models and this looks like a great crossover shoe. The upper is soft, supple and seemingly durable. In addition, I find that the Ride 15 TR fit is true to size on my average to slightly narrow foot, with enough room in the toe box for some end-of-day or late run swelling or for those with more slender feet who like a little toe splay. The foothold is secure, both in the heel and midfoot. It feels light on my foot and the midsole feels firm yet padded. I like the midsole feel in that it is firm enough to feel controlled but offers softness to be accommodating. 


Jeff B: I missed out the latest Ride road model, but enjoyed the previous few models and was pleasantly surprised putting the 15TR on. For being a trail variant of a road shoe, I was definitely impressed by how solid the foothold is, and how robust the toe bumper is. 


Unfortunately as a toebox snob they are a little tight in both directions, especially the expanded toe bumper section over my big toe, but that tight hold definitely gives a feel of security - far greater than your standard road-to-trail shoes give. Lengthwise they do fit true-to-size, though wider footed runners may want to look at going a half-size up to get a little more wiggle room for the toes.

Jeff V: This one caught me completely off guard, I had no idea this shoe was being produced and one day they showed up on my doorstep.  Saucony has just been KILLING IT this year with several of the best trail shoes currently on the market.  With the Peregrine 12, Endorphin Edge and Xodus Ultra leading the way, the Ride 15 TR is no exception and rounds out the trail line quite nicely.  I was initially impressed at how light they are for such a well stacked shoe, at just 9.6 oz. in my US Mens 10, they feel light in the hand and even lighter on the foot.  


While the upper is a touch busy as Sam notes, I really like the colorway, look and style.  Fit is true to size and consistent with all other Sauconys I have worn, with a secure heel, well locked midfoot and a well held toe box.  

The ceiling height in the toe box is a bit on the low side and the shape of the forefoot feels a bit tapered.  On my usual daily runs of an hour or two, I found the toe box to be ideal for my somewhat narrow, low volume foot.  

Just prior to writing this review however, I was out for a 4.5 hour hike/run on a 77 degree day with my wife and by the end of the day, my feet were feeling a little pinched.  I was a bit surprised by this given my initial impressions of having ample room in the forefoot.  While the Ride 15 TR is intended for door to trail and for sure not the steep and technical terrain that I frequent, I still had to take them there.  Foothold is adequate for slower to moderate paces on technical terrain, be it rock hopping, steep downhills, sidehilling, etc…..  I never felt as though my foot would break loose and affect stability or control, though if I try to push at all, I was mostly limited by the midsole and outsole.


Midsole


Mike P: Initially I didn’t think too much about the midsole, being standard PWRRUN. But it is noted in the spec that it is a softer variety - which is clearly felt. It’s not as bouncy as their more advanced PWWRUN PB as in the Endorphin Edge and as a core in the Xodus Ultra, but it gives a nice cushy feeling without feeling mushy. 


[Wouldn’t be my pick for long stretches on this type of terrain, but they’re manageable as long as you’re careful]


Re-checking the spec sheet, I noticed that the 35/27mm stack was quite generous given the shoe’s relatively low weight (9.6 oz - US 10). In fact, I couldn’t find a similarly stacked shoe in my quiver at such a low weight. The only close comp is Saucony’s own Endorphin Edge at 36/30 (9.2 oz - US 9.5). But that shoe is in quite a different class.


In addition to the generous PWRRUN stack, the Ride TR uses Saucony’s PWWRUN+ TPU insole to add even more cush to the equation. With such a big midsole stack, the TPU insole may not be entirely necessary, but in terms of sheer comfort - it’s a good match. Perhaps some stability is sacrificed, but swapping in a standard non-TPU insole may help if that’s an issue. Either way, there’s plenty of foam underfoot to keep your feet comfortable for long outings. 


[TPU insole, same as found in Peregrine 12 and Xodus Ultra]


As Sam mentions in some of the comps below - the midsole depth is especially felt at the forefoot. As a midfoot/forefoot striker myself, I get no sense of bottoming out on forefoot landings. It feels like there’s quite a bit of cushion to spare, so they’ll likely maintain good cushion up front even as the foam compresses with greater usage.


Renee: Like Mike, I was not expecting the PWRRUN midsole to provide anything special. On my first run, the midsole felt much softer than I expected, and depending on the terrain, the bounce is fun. On rolling gravel roads, the softness is appreciated, although I did find the shoe slower than I would expect from the weight and drop. On trail, the bounce and high stack is fun for moderate declines, but a bit sketchy on steep downhills while dodging roots. The stack and midsole give all-day comfort and work well for anything from easy, short miles to 20+ milers. 


Sam: The trend with all Saucony road and trail shoes in 2022, with the possible exception of the technical trails Peregrine 12, has been towards softer and lighter midsoles. As the others have said,  we have a remarkably light (and substantial) road or trail weight of 9.12 oz / 258g in my US8.5 sample and a 35/27 stack height here given the upper and the lugged outsole.


The PWRRUN foam is indeed light and well cushioned with the shoe sufficiently stable for its intended varied uses.  My early test run was mostly on road with a smattering of easy trails through forests and I would say this is the ideal terrain for the midsole and shoe, along with gravel and sandy roads and paths.  There is plenty of cushion, solid support focused at the upper, and a lively rebound and flow although it is a bit firm and stiff up front due to the outsole design more than the foam above.


Adam:  I was not expecting much from Saucony’s PWRRUN foam.  I love the PWRRUN PB foam in the Endorphin Pro, Speed, and Edge, yet have found plain PWRRUN in shoes like the Kinvara 12 to be dull and firm.  The softer variety used here impressed me though.  It doesn’t have the same energetic rebound, as the Endorphin Edge, but gives a smooth, cushioned, yet efficient response that suits my trail running gate.  I’ve been testing this shoe on a mix of paved bike paths, gravel fire roads, and light trail in California, and the support of the upper combined with the density of the midsole provides a cushioned yet not sloppy response.  This is not a racing midsole, but it’s remarkably light and versatile as a road to trail shoe.


John: There isn’t much for me to add on top of the others’ comments above. I similarly have few complaints for comfort and security while running in cruisy terrain. Sam captures my sentiment. 


This is not a shoe for technical running, even though the lightweight responsive feel calls me to that kind of terrain. I feel like the stack height and stability are not best for precise footing, but rather best for the rolling dirt roads or gravel trails and paths. Moreover, the density of PWRRUN foam is downright comfortable underfoot when cruising from road to trail. Like Adam mentions above, nothing is sloppy about the response and it has a really smooth transition. 


Jeff B: As the resident heavy runner in this review I’d say the midsole is adequately soft - though my barometer is a little broken right now coming right off the Saucony Triumph 20 (RTR Review) and it’s new blend of all TPU PWRRUN+ (I didn’t give it a 10/10 score because I thought it was “pretty good”). While I rarely turn down a little extra squish, this blend of PWRRUN is plenty good for dirt trails or even some roads on the way to trails. 

Jeff V:  The midsole is very soft, comfortable and somewhat energetic (much of that also being due to the light weight of the shoe).  While not nearly as quick and energetic as the Xodus Ultra or the Endorphin Edge, the Ride TR 15 is a great option for cruising varied paces on roads, dirt roads and mellow to moderate trails.  


While there is more than enough soft cushion and protection here for full days or 100 milers, I think the narrowness of the upper will rule out that option for many.  While the midsole is excellent for its intended purpose, I will note that it is a little too soft to offer much support or predictability in technical terrain, or at least trying to move fast in technical terrain.  Due to the high stack and softness, I find them to be a bit tippy and unstable when things get rough, to the point where I have to back off the pace and be very deliberate.


Outsole


Mike P: The PWRTRAC outsole covers all of the main wear areas. They didn’t go full coverage - in order to save weight, and also to maintain a bit of flexibility with so much midsole foam. With 3.5mm standard, chevron-shaped lugs, the outsole does the job that it’s intended to do. Traction is very good on path-type terrain, light trails, loose sand, crushed gravel, and moderate loose gravel. 


Boise’s lower foothills the trails are mostly dry singletrack, often with sandy sections and also sections of loose, varied gravel. The grades and technicality of most of the trails would lend themselves to road shoe usage, were it not for the loose surface. I always wear trail shoes, as the flatter outsoles of road shoes tend to slide a bit on those dry, sandy, gravely surfaces. The Ride 15 TR, and especially its outsole, is the perfect match for this type of terrain. I get just that bit of traction I need, plus the benefit of a lighter, non-overbuilt road-type shoe.  


Renee: The PWRTRAC outsole on all of Saucony’s trail shoes works great for me especially so as  the lugs are spaced enough to avoid trapping gravel or mud. The lugs aren’t deep enough for off-trail traction, but they offer a fair balance for the road-to-trail usage. Because the midsole is soft and somewhat bouncy, the lug depth doesn’t offer the best traction on steep downhill with debris. Not a big deal though as this is not a technical trail shoe. 


Sam: I did find that on road the outsole provided some firm response in the mix, reminding me in some ways of the similar response of the road Saucony Ride 13 but not of the Ride 15 with its more minimal outsole over now softer foam. 


That said, I also found the outsole and this is somewhat rare for me with softer shoes and even trail shoes was a bit firm upfront (and to pressing the rubber is very firm indeed) and not as segmented as I would prefer despite the shoe’s relatively long flex for such a big stack shoe enabled by its deeper lateral flex groove. 

I think including slightly softer front rubber or smaller size and more lugs (as in the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 a close competitor) might improve the pavement ride as after all this is a door to trail type shoe. These changes might also help with agility on trickier trails.


Come winter on snow I think this outsole will be near ideal and with the available GTX version a snow and sloppy conditions near ideal road and firmer snow trails shoe. 


Adam:  For the intended purpose of this shoe, I think that the upper is spot on.  The segmentation in the sole gives it the flexibility to run beautifully on the road, but there’s enough grip that in the sandy, dry California soil, it provides superior grip to a road shoe. The rubber is noticeably firm, which should provide good durability, but the grip on both road and trail is less than the endorphin edge.  This is one of my favorite outsole implementations for a road to trail shoe.


John: Like Mike P, I think the outsole performs best on dry surfaces that are smooth and firm. I ran these on rocky trail, road, gravel pack trail, and mud; and I think the traction was great on road and gravel pack, but didn’t perform well in rocky conditions or wet/mud sections.  With the smaller lug size and the tread layout, one thing I really like (which is often an oversight in road-to-trail type shoes) is I didn’t get any gravel or small rocks stuck between any of the grooves thanks to the nice flow and tread pattern. 


Jeff B: Saucony’s chevron lugs are as dependable as they are predictable, and that’s not a bad thing. The outsole is a little more segmented than the other two Saucony trail shoes I’ve reviewed this year (Endorphin Edge and Xodus Ultra) though I agree with Sam - a little more segmenting wouldn’t hurt. The traction is good on dry trails, and I was hoping to get some weather here in Denver and try them in wet stuff but still waiting on a storm to come through. As much as I’d appreciate just a little more depth to the lugs for greater traction, I think that’d diminish it’s road-to-trail versatility some, and it’s not like Saucony doesn’t already have a few shoes that fit that niche anyway.

Jeff V:  As others have said, the outsole is very good for its intended purpose.  If you compare to all trail shoes, traction is on the lower end, but if you look at the Ride 15 as a road shoe with a trail outsole, then it is very effective for door to trail, dirt roads, buffed out trails, etc….  The lugs, while not deep, are effectively shaped and have a sticky enough rubber compound for dry conditions.  Grip on rocky slab is moderate and I would say trying to move quickly on steep, loose terrain, off trail is not recommended.


Ride


Mike P: The Ride TR’s ride really shines when in its element: flat to moderate grades, loose, sandy, gravelly terrain but terrain that is not too rocky or cambered. I tend to disagree with Renee here - for me, the ride felt quicker than I expected. I logged some pretty quick and efficient times on a bunch of my “easy” test runs. I found the generous and soft PWRRUN, plus the 8mm drop, really led to some quick and smooth turnover without worrying about any harshness underfoot. 


[Exactly the terrain the TR excels in - light paths/trails where you need just a bit of traction]


The low weight is very noticeable in comparison to other similarly cushioned (high stack) trail shoes. Pretty much all trail shoes north of 30mm in the heel are clocking in around the mid 10 oz - 11 oz range for my US 9.5-10 size. The Ride 15 TR is a svelte 9.6 oz for a big 35/27mm stack. There’s really nothing out there right now with that type of weight/stack ratio outside of carbon plated racers (Tecton X, Endo Edge). 


All that being said, the ride really works in the terrain described above, but beyond that - something has to give. I also noticed instability in steeper terrain as well as moderate/uneven terrain. I had a few unexpected ankle rolls when not being careful and stepping on rocks. The soft, high stack just can’t stand up to technical or uneven surfaces. You can get by if you’re careful, but that’s really not what the shoe is meant for.


Renee: My first run was 12 miles on hilly gravel roads (100 ft gain/loss per mile). The comfort was great. The ride was a bit slow because of the soft midsole, but super comfortable. On single-track trails, I had fun bouncing around, getting about 190 ft gain/loss per mile. On steep declines, the bounce was a bit unstable, in part because of the lug depth and the leaves covering the trail.

At times, the ride reminded me of a heavier, thicker Fuji Lite 2, another really fun, light-weight trail shoe. The drop is 8mm, which is not my preference on single track, but it’s not a dramatic drop and rides fairly smooth. I ran only short distances on pavement between trail heads, and because of the stack height and midsole, the shoes felt great there too. 


Sam: Door to trail the target for the ride and door to trail it is. I would say the ride leans slightly more trail than road due to stout outsole and trail shoe upper but it can easily handle both.  It is for sure light enough for moving along fast and cushioned enough for moving along longer. At the same price as the slightly lighter Ride 15 road it is a better value for any kind of running that veers along the way off road. 


The paved road ride is responsive and fast if a bit firm and stiff at ground contact due to the big rubber outsole. Yes, you will feel it is a trail shoe at that point but you might as I did appreciate the quick fast response unlike the softer almost mushy in comparison response of the road Ride. 


As such I see it as a great ride for longer tempo runs on varied surfaces: gravel, dirt, snow, pavement, even some mud along the way. As a “pure” trail runner it can be a great ride for smoother Western machine built single tracks.  

Adam:  This shoe is clearly targeted for the door to trail side, and I feel that it would be weak in technical singletrack, steep ascents and descents, and unstable terrain.  However, the California terrain I’ve been testing this shoe on has been perfect for it. 

It has an excellent cushion to weight ratio, good trail stability and grip for singletrack, gravel, and dirt, while remaining responsive enough to give something back when you increase the pace.  This is an incredibly versatile shoe, and I appreciate how I can run a mix of road and trail at a variety of paces.  If you have a lot of terrain that you could run in road shoes, but would appreciate a little more upper stability and grip without sacrificing a ton of weight or responsiveness, this is it.  


John: The Ride 15 TR transition from heel-to-toe is very smooth and I found the rebound to feel lively on lift-off at moderate cadences. No doubt, this shoe is built for the mellow to moderate paces and would excel at long distance cruises through mostly smooth terrain. To my surprise, and adding on to Adam’s observation about stability, I found the ride to be quite stable on downhill, which allowed me to take a few aggressive stretches of downhill.


Jeff B: I’m with Mike here - it’s a fantastic road-to-trail runner for pretty mild trails. The forefoot hold might encourage me to get a little more technical than my latest two trail shoes (the buffed out trail cruisers Altra Olympus 5 and Topo Ultraventure 3) but ultimately that’s not this shoe’s forte. I didn’t find it nearly as fun as my colleagues, but between my extra size and logging so many Triumph 20 miles of late, I think that’s more a reflection of me than them.


Conclusions and Recommendations


Sam: My first thought in concluding, what a great value! $140 for a shoe that unless you want a speed oriented or super plush road shoe or a technical trails shoe handles everything in between well.  And in the GTX version it should be a near ideal option for winter’s messy roads of all kinds. 


The weight to cushion ratio given the big outsole and rugged upper are excellent. The new PWRRUN foam is soft enough and energetic despite not being supercritical and the outsole will grip just about anything. 


My only real qualm is the front outsole design and its effect on firm terrain ride. In comparison to competitors such as Fuji Lite 2 and Pegasus Trail 4, the front outsole is firmer and stiffer affecting the feel of the forefoot despite the big stack and plentiful soft cushion.  To start, it could use some more very front toe off flex which, while it might cause more mud to gather, less spacing between lugs and more “small windows” to the midsole as say the Pegasus Trail 4 have could help soften and flex the outsole without losing stability. Currently it mimics other Saucony outsole designs and here, with the big stack and big outsole a more door to trail specific design might improve the front feel and the shoe’s agility.  

Sam's Score: 9.18 / 10

Ride 9.2 Fit 9.2 Value 9.4 Style: 9 Traction: 9 Rock Protection: 9.2

😊😊😊1/2


Mike P: It’s been said plenty enough already, but Saucony Trail 2022 has been on fire. Each of the shoes in its lineup serves a distinct purpose, and serves it well. 


The Ride 15 TR slots in on the easier side of the “trail” spectrum, but let’s be honest - most of us including myself aren’t training up in the mountains each and every run. There’s plenty of easy mileage to be had, and the Ride 15 TR is well positioned to eat up those miles. I urge you to take a look at your trail quiver, and also think realistically about where you log the most miles. You may be like me, hitting the trails a lot of days with a bit more shoe than you actually need. WIth the off season coming up, followed by base-building early in 2023, I’m looking forward to logging plenty of miles in the Ride 15 TR. 



Mike P’s Score:  9.3 / 10

Scoring Context - road to trail, paths, light trails usage

Ride: 10 - Smooth, fast, and efficient - love it for my easy trails mileage

Fit: 8 - Would prefer a bit less taper up front, but it’s a 10 if you have a narrower foot

Value: 9 - Limited trails range, but if you stick to what it’s designed for - great value

Style: 10 - Love the look, especially the paint splattered midsole, great for casual use too

Traction: 10 - Perfect for door to trail, light trails usage

Rock Protection: 10 - 35/27mm eats up light trails, gravel, small rocks

Smiles 😊😊😊😊😊


Renee: Saucony scores another quality trail shoe for 2022 with the Ride TR. For runners who frequent gravel or rail trails, the Ride TR offers all day comfort for short and long distances. The weight to stack ratio is great. I found the ride a bit slow on rolling terrain, but very comfortable. On single track trails, the ride is bouncy and fun, although slightly unstable on steep declines because of the soft/bouncy midsole, drop, and lug depth. For moderate trails as a daily trainer, the Ride TR is a great choice, and it would make a good race-day shoe for long distances as long as the terrain is not super technical. 

Renee’s score: 9.25/10 (-.25 terrain specific usage, .-50 runs a bit slow for its light weight/stack ratio)

😊😊😊😊


Adam:  I’ve been extremely impressed with Saucony’s current trail lineup.  The Endorphin Edge is my go-to fast shoe, and the Ride TR is quickly becoming my go-to versatile road-trail shoe. It’s not as responsive as an endorphin speed, but it feels good at all paces and on all terrains.  I don’t think it would respond well if pushed into extremely technical terrain, but for 80% of my runs, and 80% of the paces I run at, it’s superb.  

Adam’s Score:  9.4 / 10 

😊😊😊😊😊

Scoring Context- Bay Area, light singletrack, bike paths (mix of paved and unpaved), gravel fire roads

Ride: 10- Fantastic Versatile Ride, not a racer, but responds smoothly and efficiently to power, feels good at all paces and most terrains.  

Fit: 9 - Definitely on the narrower side, with a less stretchy upper material, but no blister issues, super comfortable when running, and good support considering the stack height

Value: 9 - For a trail shoe or road shoe alone, I think this shoe is ok value, but given that it’s well enough tuned, it’s could cover almost all my runs, and is great for the days where I’m running out the door from home or doing a mix of both.  

Style: 9- Although I love Saucony’s crazy colorways, this is simple and understated, yet quite handsome.  I’d still love pink or campfire orange, but it’s a good looking shoe

Traction: 10 - Perfect for door to trail, well optimized for both pavement and light trail. I can’t comment on wet traction since I have not had any wet test conditions so far.

Rock Protection: 10 - 35/27mm for light trails and gravel, it handles the type of rocks you’d take it on.  


John: The Ride 15 TR is a great road-to-trail shoe that has some technical capabilities on gentle off-road terrain, It feels soft and is very comfortable. The shoe is great as a cruisy runner, possibly more road oriented and gravitates toward less technical trails, and is ideal for the person who puts in a lot of hours at a casual pace. The Ride 15 TR has good energy return and has been my go-to road/trail shoe recently for most of my easy runs on my morning loops from home on gravel, road, and bike paths. I don’t see that changing anytime soon either!

John’s Score: 9.1 /10

Ride: 9 (super comfortable shoe responsive ride)

Fit: 10 (comfortable out of the box for my slightly narrow foot)

Value: 9 (great shoe for the casual trail runner needing multi-purpose use)

Style: 8.5

Traction: 8 (does well on dry, mellow terrain)

Rock Protection: 9 

😊😊😊😊


Jeff B: One of the best road-to-trail versatility shoes that used to mean borderline minimal - though with so many trail shoes getting so much more cushioned it left me just a bit underwhelmed underfoot. Without a rock plate or that much underfoot the rock protection felt pretty minimal for me - but this isn’t the shoe meant for extremely technical terrain anyway. My biggest gripe is the cramped toebox, especially since Saucony got the toebox very right with several of their other trail shoes this year. I’m especially impressed with the upper, and how well it holds the foot considering it’s road shoe origins.

Jeff B’s Score: 7.9/10

Ride: 8 Fit: 7 Value: 10 Style: 10 Traction: 8 Rock Protection: 7

😊😊😊


9 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Saucony Ride 15 (RTR Review)

Sam: The midsole foams feel the same and the stack heights are identical or close to at 

the same 35/27. I felt the Ride 15 road lacked some front response with its now softer foam and quite minimal outsole, the TR has plenty on trail and road but the outsole feels stiff and a bit hard in the mix on pavement whereas the regular is all smooth softness. That said the TR is a far better trail shoe that is also very capable on road.  


The uppers feel like the same last but are made of very different materials. The TR is a moderately pliable dense debris mesh with 2 webbing straps per side running through stout overlays whereas the Ride’s single webbing strap essentially runs through the very soft very pliable mesh upper to the midsole. The “extras” of additional rubber and stouter upper in the TR add about 0.7 oz / 20g to its weight.  


Between upper and outsole designs and despite the same stack heights they clearly well designed for their respective “terrains” although the TR’s very solid road capabilities to go with trail and its weight in my US8.5 of barely over 9 oz for a high stacked road to trail shoe make it a better value for me.


Saucony Tempus (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): I’m just throwing this out there, but the Tempus might be an even better candidate for the “TR” treatment from Saucony! The Tempus features light support via a unique EVA carrier with embedded sections of PWRRUN PB. Its platform is a bit wider than the Ride with a bit more medial support which is typically found in most trail shoes. The forefoot is about the same width as the Ride, but less tapered up front. When I first started running them, I actually thought they might make a great trail shoe, but the flat road outsole just doesn’t work in the dry/sandy terrain around here. C’mon Saucony - throw a trail outsole on them and see what happens! 


Adam:  I’m also a big fan of the Tempus, but wish it had the Ride TR’s Outsole, totally echo what Mike is saying.  Before I received the Ride TR I was running the tempus on much of the same terrain.  I prefer the Tempus’s upper, but the outsole is not sufficient for trails.  Hopefully Saucony will make a Tempus TR soon to try.  


Saucony Peregrine 12 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Saucony’s Peregrine is on the opposite end of the terrain spectrum from the Ride TR. Lower stack, with a firmer variety of PWRRUN, a woven rock plate, and a secure & dialed-in upper. The Peregrine 12 is dynamite in technical terrain, and even off-trail as well. The Ride TR handles paths, easy trails, crushed gravel and even roads - where the Peregrine would be far too firm for anything more than short outings. Both are great shoes for different usages.


[You can see from the outsole  profile how the Peregrine is much more streamlined and full in coverage and more protective for technical uses]


Renee: I agree with Mike. For technical terrain, a better ground feel, and better security, the Peregrine 12 is the better shoe. I’ve run the Peregrine 12 for 20 milers and found the midsole and comfort fine, but on rolling and more mellow terrain, the Ride 15 TR works better in terms of comfort because of the stack height, drop, and softer midsole. I wore a women’s size 8 in both. The weight is the same. 


John: Peregrine 12 is more stable, firmer and the upper has a better and lower profile upper that has great foothold and security.  The Peregrine’s traction profile is more aggressive while the Ride 15 TR performs well on crossover terrain such as road and groomed paths. Peregrine 12 is a stiffer shoe with a bit more rock protection and is somewhat runnable on the roads, but not as enjoyable as the Ride 15 TR.


Saucony Xodus Ultra (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): Big difference in forefoot fit - Xodus is much roomier, in both width and volume. The Xodus Ultra is Saucony’s do-it-all trail shoe, versatile over pretty much any distance, duration, and terrain. But it’s clearly an example of a trail shoe being a bit “much” when you’re just looking to log some miles on easy terrain. The Ride TR will save you a full ounce, which is noticeable, and feels more straight-ahead smooth as opposed to the XU’s “4WD” style ride. Once again, both are great shoes for different uses.


[It was hard to get a good pic, but the Ride 15 TR tapers much more towards the front]


Renee: I found the forefoot and toebox roomy in both shoes, but the Xodus Ultra has an ultra fit, allowing for swelling. The fit is still secure. The Xodus Ultra is probably too much shoe for me for short distances, and the Ride TR will be more comfortable on rolling terrain or moderate trail. The Xodus weighs about 0.50oz / 14g  more in my women’s size 8. 


Similar outsole segmentation, but Xodus Ultra (bottom) has more coverage + woven rock plate


John: The Saucony Xodus Ultra is a lightweight high stack trail shoe that is very soft underfoot and has a more flexible + comfortable upper that provides a roomy fit. The shoe is cushy and stable. Xodus Ultra outsole is best-in-class and performs well on a variety of surfaces, and due to the splayed out lug design it even does reasonably well when running on smooth, road-like, terrain. The Ride 15 TR is more responsive and is narrowly defined in a road-to-trail category. Depending on the conditions, both shoes complement each other - Xodus for messy and Ride 15 TR for smooth.


Jeff B: While my colleagues can feel the Xodus Ultra can be a bit much depending on the run, I’d favor it for just about any run over the Ride TR. The extra forefoot room and overall roomier fit works better for me, and the midsole density and even the woven rock plate provide that much more protection. I definitely think the Ride holds the advantage on the road portion of a hybrid run, but the XU is that much more of a performer for me I’d lean that way regardless of terrain.

Saucony Endorphin Edge (RTR Review)

Adam:  The Endoprhin Edge is my favorite fast trail shoe at the moment, but over longer distances, the firmness of the plate can come through more than the plateless Ride TR.  The PEBA based foam of the edge has significantly more rebound, but less damping.  It’s more propulsive than the Ride TR, but also a less smooth ride.  The upper on the Ride TR feels more stable but less breathable.  The Endorphin Edge’s outsole is a softer and has grippier rubber that’s better for trail, but I would worry about it’s long term durability on road.  For racing, I’d pick the Endorphin Edge anytime, but for everyday training, or for a mix or road and trail I’d take the Ride TR.  


Jeff B: I agree with Adam’s descriptions of both shoes, I disagree with his conclusion and definitely favor the better cushioned (and more foot shaped toebox) of the Endorphin Edge, even for daily trainer. The outsole might not last nearly as long, especially on the road, but the added cushioning, protection, and vastly improved fit for me make it a no-brainer to stick with the pinkest shoe I’ve ever worn.

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 (RTR Review)

Sam:  A very, very close comparison. Lower stack and higher drop at 30-32 mm heel (measured) / 20.5 mm forefoot (spec. 8.5mm-9.5 mm drop) the Peg 4 goes the same places the Ride TR does but with more agility/quicker feel (on both road and trail) and a thinner if softer more rebounding midsole. 


With 27mm at the forefoot in the Ride the forefoot cushion difference is felt but..as its foam is softer and more resilient in feel, and its outsole better segmented things get close 


The Ride is actually lighter by a few tenths of an ounce even with its higher stack height. 


Uppers are similar in fit and volume up to the forefoot with the Nike hold overall yet more secure than the Ride with a softer less rigid feel. At the toe box the Nike is broader, stretchier and has no toe bumper while the Ride is more precisely fitting with denser debris mesh and a stout toe bumper, the Nike having none.  

The Ride 15 is stiffer up front with a less polished and not as quick feeling outsole pattern.  Overall I prefer the Nike with the Ride pulling ahead as runs get longer due to its deeper cushion and especially upfront 


Renee: I agree with Sam. Both the Peg Trail 4 and Ride TR are road-to-trail shoes with similar purposes. The Ride TR offers more comfort underfoot for longer distances, and the Peg Trail 4, despite the higher drop, runs more securely and faster on uneven or single track trails. The outsole of the Peg Trail 4 looks more like that of a road shoe, and gravel and mud can become trapped between the lugs, unlike the Ride TR’s outsoe . I wore a 7.5 in the Peg Trail 4 because I use it for short distances as compared to a size 8 in the Ride TR; otherwise, I suggest the same size. 


Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail (RTR Review)

Sam: Heavier by 1 ounce / 28g, higher stacked at 37/33 and with a lower 4mm drop,  the Zegama Trail is also for me a door to trail shoe. It too has a firmer outsole but doesn’t pretend to provide big long flex relying on a far front flex point (something the Ride lacks and that I like) with rear of that a rigid lightly rockered platform. More stable and more cushioned and a bit firmer, it is also more sharply reactive due to its firmer than Nike race shoe ZoomX. It is a longer distances, more protective option for the same terrain the Ride TR goes: moderate trails, dirt roads, and some pavement. Its upper is more complex with equally excellent rear hold and a broader if lower toe box.  But for its weight, it would be an easy pick for me over the Ride TR.


Mike P (9.5): For me there’s a big difference in overall feel - the Zegama feels big and clunky on foot compared to the Ride 15 TR. Impenetrable underfoot, also a bit back weighted, I find them somewhat hard to maneuver in moderate+ terrain. That being said, the Zegama does have way more trail range than the Ride (although of course limited by its wet grip). Zegama is similarly high stacked, but noticeably nearly 1.5 oz heavier in my size. This is clearly a case where the Zegama works very well on easy to moderate trails, but do you really need all that shoe in comparison to the much lighter and more streamlined Ride TR?


Renee: The Zegama is a heavier shoe, with more stack and cushion as compared to the Ride TR. The Ride TR still provides a good amount of comfort and cushion for distance runs. The midsole of the Ride TR is softer and more bouncy despite the Zegama having ZoomX (a much less responsive ZoomX than Nike road shoes). The Zegama is probably a better trail option because it offers a more stable ride (avoid wet terrain though!), but I agree with Mike. Why choose a heavier shoe if you don’t really need it? The Zegama was a bit narrow in the forefoot for me because of the notch to allow for flex. 


Topo Ultraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): I reviewed the Ultraventure 3 just prior to receiving the Ride TR. It’s a great shoe, super comfortable, smooth riding for mid-long runs in easy-light terrain. I thought I would end up racking up most of my easy trail mileage in them, but I actually prefer the Ride TR for the easier end of the spectrum. The Ride TR is just lighter, narrower, and feels less bulky. The Ultraventure 3 is for sure more versatile though. Despite its mellow outsole, foothold is great, and I found they worked very well up to moderate+ terrain. On the lighter end of the trails spectrum, the UV3 can handle it all, but at the very light end, the Ride TR works better. Both are great shoes.


Jeff B: Completely agree with Mike, except for the preference. The Topo is incredibly comfortable and smooth, and absolutely fantastic in relatively smooth terrain. There’s considerably more bulk compared to the Saucony, but I’m happy to take that hit for the extra room up front and extra squish underneath. I found the Topo foothold considerably less confidence inspiring than the Ride, but the other elements have me leaning Topo the whole way.


Hoka Challenger ATR (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Hoka door to trail option but also designed for moderate trails, with its wider platform, the Challenger is a bit more versatile in terms of terrain. Some find them comfortable enough to use on semi-technical terrain. The Challenger is somewhat high-stacked, although not quite as high as the Ride TR. Challenger utilizes Hoka’s rockered ride- you really have to hit the rear/middle of the shoe and roll with it. The Ride TR feels smoother to me though, and I prefer it for my easy trail mileage.

Renee: I agree with Mike. The rockered ride of the Challenger (I have version 5) contrasts with the more traditional ride of the Ride TR. On single track, the Ride TR offers a better outsole and ride. The fit of the Challenger, because of the rocker, felt narrow for me, which was a problem on even rolling gravel roads. While the platform is wide, the fit was narrow. 


Brooks Divide 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): A slightly different take on a trail “trainer”. The Brooks Loft V1 foam is firmer, denser, and you get less of it. The ride is also firm, but more stable up to moderate to light technical terrain. It’s ok on the road, but the Ride TR is smoother. Traction is comparable between the two, but again, the Divide has a wider platform, so for sure is more trail-oriented. Divide is more spacious in the forefoot which is preferable for me. Divide is also an amazing value at $100. For easier terrain, I’d go with the Ride TR for comfort, but anything moderate+ I’d go with the Divide.  

Renee: The Divide 3 is a great value at $100, but it does feel like a $100 shoe compared to the Ride TR. The fit of the Ride TR is more polished. The forefoot of the Divide was a bit sloppy on my feet. The Ride TR offers more comfort underfoot for distances. The drop of the Divide is more trail-oriented. I wore a women’s size 8 in both. 


ASICS Fuji Lite 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Fuji Lite 2 is a lighter shoe and is  better for short, faster efforts. The lugs are smaller, but offer good grip on light terrain. For road use and all-day comfort, the Ride TR works better. In terms of a fun factor on trail, the Fuji Lite 2 is a better pick. Neither shoe offers a technical-trail fit or ride, but both can handle a variety of other terrain. I wore a women’s size 8 in both. 


Mike P (9.5): I liked the Fuji Lite 2 initially, but after not too long, the midsole compressed quite a bit - especially under the ball of the foot. The Asics foam is softer and lighter, and for me, felt like it was bottoming out at times. I raced a 30K on slickrock in Moab in them and got some blisters on both arches due to upper insecurity. I wouldn’t attempt to race the Ride TR on slickrock, but the Saucony upper is more refined in both fit and materials. Both shoes are oriented towards light terrain. I’ll take the Ride 15 TR any over the Fuji Lite 2. 


John: I agree with Renee that the Fuji Lite 2 is great for shorter, faster efforts. Both are solid choices for road-to-trail use and you won’t do wrong by choosing either on a given day. I prefer the Fuji Lite because my foot is positioned in a lower center of gravity and it has better ground feel. 


The Saucony Ride 15 TR is available now including at our partners here:

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Tester Profiles

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. In 2022 Mike won both the Standhope 100M and IMTUF 100M trail ultras within a 7 week period - both extremely rugged Idaho mountain races. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.


Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.


Adam Glueck is an endurance athlete (cross country and AT skiing, running, mountain and gravel biking) who formerly competed at the NCAA’s in Cross Country Skiing while studying at Dartmouth College.  He can run a 4:43 mile, 16:20 5k, 1:23 half, and grew up running in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  He’s currently working as an engineer in the Bay Area and exploring trails from Santa Cruz to Tahoe. You can Adam on Strava here: https://www.strava.com/athletes/9267222


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he is lucky, 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 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes.RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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3 comments:

Andy said...

Great review, thank you! Any idea if Saucony will release a 2E? After your review, I know the standard fit won't work for me. The Xodus Ultra is a perfect fit for me and that's sizing up .5

Anonymous said...

This is a very informative review, thank you. I’m finding that the combination of road to trail and medium to high stack works very well for me e.g. Atreyu Base Trail, ATR, etc. Regarding the Ride 15 TR toebox width, could you provide comparisons to other popular shoes like the Speedgoat 4/5, Salomon, etc? While these other shoes may lean heavily towards trail and technical trail, I think it could help the reader in deciding whether the Ride 15 TR might work. I have slightly wide feet in that Topos fit me best, but I have run extensively in Speedgoat 3-5s (100K-100 miles with few foot issues), Atreyu Base Trails (worked great on an 18 mile trail run earlier), and Salomon (funny enough did a 50 miler in the Sense Pro 4s though for a few hours my feet felt like they were being squeezed until I loosened them and changed into thin socks) and they fit and work well enough.

Mike P said...

Andy, not sure about 2E - haven't heard anything yet. Fit-wise compared to the Xodus Ultra: there's definitely less volume over the top, but the width across the forefoot is probably about the same. The Ride TR also does taper a bit. So it probably comes down to your specific foot shape and feel in the end.

Anon- I'd say the Ride TR toebox is a less extreme version of the new Speedgoat 5. Shape is somewhat similar, but SG5 is slightly narrower, slightly pointier, and also less height/volume. After adjusting some tension in the Ride TR, I find them quite comfortable, whereas I can't run the SG5 unless I leave the forefoot lacing with zero tension.

I actually just got back from Mt. Rainier and did some running and hiking in the Sense Pro 4 (GTX). The toebox is actually quite similar to the Ride TR. I think the SP4 is a bit shallower though and does press down on the top of the foot.

Keep in mind that I can get away with a bit less tension and a bit more comfort with the Ride TR given the fact that I'm not taking them out on any moderate/technical trails. I really do like them and have run them several times already after completing the review. I've got some perfect road-trail routes where I can alternate between climbing up and down gulches and linking them up with some residential street running. They're just perfect for that.