Sunday, January 22, 2023

Saucony Echelon 9 Review: Roomy Orthotics Ready Cruiser. Massive Weight Drop! 6 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum and Allison Valliere

Saucony Echelon 9 ($150)


Sam: I have never run in an Echelon and never been tempted as in my mind it was associated with room for orthotics (don’t need them), heavy weight, and plodding along. Well Saucony surprised me by sending a pair out of the blue for testing and I have been pleasantly surprised by what they call “a pure comfort shoe” and a dramatically updated one.

Lighter and light enough at 10.45 oz / 296g in my US8.5 sample it drops an incredible 2 oz from the prior version with no change in cushion stack. Why suffer with excess weight shoes I say!

The Echelon has a big 35mm heel / 27mm forefoot stack of Saucony new softer and lighter PWRRUN EVA/TPU blend we have seen in many of their 2022-2023 shoes. 

The platform on the ground is very wide and intended to be stable

The geometry is updated as well with more heel beveling and more toe spring.  

The very roomy yet totally secure, plush but not overdone upper has a thick PU sockliner swappable for orthotics and other aftermarket insoles.

First impressions based on the stats are positive! Let's see how they perform.


Room, hold, and comfort of the upper put the big toe box “specialists” to shame: Sam/Allison

Designed to accommodate orthotics and other aftermarket insoles yet fine without due to big, cush sockliner: Sam

A different kind of stability: broad, low, & consistent across the rear and midfoot with no plastic or sidewall gimmicks: Sam/Allison

Flexible with plenty of energetic next gen light softer PWRRUN EVA/TPU foam cushion:: Sam

Dramatic 2 oz drop in weight from prior version at same 35/27 stack height: Sam

Excellent geometry: surprisingly smooth flow forward with an easy toe off from its new toe spring. Sam/Allison

Excellent walking and standing on your feet all day: Sam

Durability: copious deep rubber coverage: Sam/Allison

Hard to imagine but also available in wide and extra wide: Sam


A tiny bit too flat at midfoot: Sam/Allison

A more conventional less expensive rubber outsole might reduce weight and increase response

Wish it got closer to 10 oz in weight: Sam


Sample: men’s  10.45 oz  /  296g US8.5

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

Available now in regular, wide, and extra wide. $150

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Sam: My all white pair stands out for its giant toe box and broad platform. I was immediately worried my narrower low volume feet would swim around. Not at all the case! 

My true to size pair fits just fine with a roomy very secure fit and for sure tons of promised “comfort”.

The lasting is straight with a broad midfoot that can accommodate orthotics. The supplied sockliner is a very thick somewhat bouncy PU type that adds to the overall plush but not mushy or sloppy feel of the entire shoe.

The tongue with a gusset is similarly plush but not overdone.

The very rigid heel counter and ankle collars have fantastic hold and comfort.

I think the relatively low design  helps reduce weight at the back of the broad rear platform and allow for an easy enough transition off the heel. 

Allison:  Sam gives a great description of the upper and I agree with his first impressions.  I was a bit surprised to receive the Echelon 9 and was not really familiar with the model, but Saucony is one of my favorite brands and despite looking very large (and quite white!), I was eager to give them a try.  They are lighter in the hand and on the foot than they appear.  The toe box looks very wide and is quite accommodating, though the fit and security is adequate for road running and are especially comfortable for long days.  The heel and midfoot are well held and fit overall is true to size.


The Echelon has Saucony new softer and lighter flavor of PWRRUN, their EVA/TPU blend, in a big 35mm heel / 27mm forefoot stack height. The cushioning is deep, relatively soft with a nice more mellow response. 

The platform is very broad from front to back on a straight last. This means the 95mm wide heel is not significantly narrower than the 87mm midfoot. The forefoot is a giant 120mm about as wide up front as any shoe. The geometry leads to a distinctly flat broad heel to midfoot sensation but..not a ponderous one to move as we have a deep central groove and a sweeping midsole side wall geometry. For such a giant platform width the geometry and flow is extremely well done, very smooth flowing and stable without gimmicks.

Allison:  Again Sam gives a great description here of the midsole.  The cushioning is superb for comfortable running and while for sure not quick or snappy, they are not slow or sluggish either, just right for running moderate to slower paces for just about any distance without feeling bogged down by the weight or mushy cushioning.  While they are good for longer runs, I am a nurse and tried wearing them for full days at work and found that they were not supportive enough for full days on my feet as they feel a bit flat under the arch (perhaps a custom footbed with some arch, and Echelon 9 is designed to accommodate orthotics, would help a lot here).  They are very straight lasted and low at the midfoot.


The outsole is a gum rubber type and appears to be the same firmness front to back, moderately firm. The deep and almost full length central groove plays a key role in helping the shoe move forward easily at all paces.

The medial (above) and lateral side outsole (below) have raised elements for a touch of support which thankfully works without being noticed or overdone. 

The medial raised element is further back than the lateral one and slightly higher.

The rubber coverage is extensive and thick and should be long lasting.

Allison:  The gum rubber outsole performs as intended, integrating well with the shoe, helps with a soft landing and gives adequate grip on pavement and cement.


It has been a long time since I ran in a straight last shoe and here the feel is of a broad, low at midfoot very stable platform. Interestingly, and despite this low broad feel, the Echelon had no problems moving forward at any pace with the revised geometry and reasonable 8mm drop helping. This said it clearly it is not a speed shoe but a more mellow riding, very consistent and easy to turn over giant. 

I found it in no way ponderous as some shoes in its category can be. It is far easier to turn over with its nice front flex helping than say a Hoka Bondi. The ride is best suited to more mellow paces, recovery runs, warm ups for me and is very pleasing, flexible and smooth yet at the same time stable despite the giant platform width. 

Allison:  Again I agree with Sam, they are good for casual, slower runs, recovery runs and are comfortable for day to day wear, but for most, I think using a custom insole will help a lot.  The ride is smooth and mellow for such a large shoe and while not ponderous, the size of the shoe is noticeable.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Yet another huge upgrade by Saucony to a stalwart in their line and a shoe in its prior iteration at well over 12 oz I would not have even considered. Now, at a much much more reasonable 10.5 oz for so much shoe in cushion and effectively executed breadth and depth, I am glad Saucony sent me this gentle giant for review. It stands very tall and rides very well indeed in a category where most competitors are a chore to move. 

The upper is delightfully comfortable and while not “performance” in focus held my narrower lower volume feet just fine. Those needing aftermarket orthotics can remove the thick sock liner and insert those as the Echelon is designed for that. 

If you need wide and extra wide the Echelon comes in those versions as well but I advise caution if you are on the edge of needing wider as this is one voluminous upper although I can’t compare to prior Echelon as I never have run one before.

Need a long lasting easier runs at any distance, standing on your feet all day or walking shoe?  And  even if, as I don’t, you don’t need its orthotics ready capabilities? The Echelon 9 is well worth a look. As promised by Saucony, it is a “pure comfort shoe” and one that even with its girth and legacy is now a top, top contender in its "big shoe big comfort" category. I was surprised!

Sam’s Score: 9.28 /10

Ride: 9.1 Fit: 9.5 Value 9.5 Style : 9 

😊😊😊😊 4 smiles here as I did not expect such a giant of a “comfy”shoe to be so pleasant and easy to run.

Allison:  I think the Echelon 9 is great for easy runs, recovery runs and walking, but for my foot, they are a bit too flat under the arch for long runs or standing for any length of time.  Adding a custom insole would be a huge improvement and I will try this at some point and I would highly recommend doing the same to others. The comfort of the upper is very good, as well as quality, durability and relative low weight for so much cushion.

Allison’s Score: 8.85 /10

Ride: 8.5 Fit: 9.5 Value: 9 Style: 8 



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: At about an ounce lighter with a considerably higher stack of 39 heel / 34 mm forefoot and a 4mm drop, the Shift can be thought of as the faster days big stack trainer from Saucony. I found the Echelon easier to turn over and more pleasant at slower paces with the Shift coming alive at faster paces where you can get forward past its lower drop onto its more rocker based “Speed Roll” front geometry vs. the more easier flexing at any pace Echelon. Both fit true to size with the Echelon’s more plush upper more comfortable if heavier and not quite as dialed in as Shift’s. 

Saucony Triumph 20 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Triumph can be thought of as a more performance oriented big shoe from Saucony than Echelon with a more dynamic ride and slightly more drop at 10mm with 2mm more heel stack height and the same 27mm forefoot stack height. The Triumph has Saucony’s bouncier and now lighter PWRRUN+ expanded beads TPU foam and a more streamlined outsole bringing its weight to 9.7 oz  / 274 g (US9) so about 0.8 oz less than Echelon. The fit of both is true to size for me with the Triumph’s fit somewhat more performance oriented. If you don’t need the broad platform and orthotics capability Triumph 20 is the clear choice. That said it is great Saucony offers these 2 distinct choices.

New Balance Fresh Foam More v4 (RTR Review)

Sam: Nearly the same weight and also broad on the ground and highly stacked the More v4 has the same heel stack at 35mm but adds 4mm more to the forefoot for a 4mm drop.  At on the ground platform widths of 105 mm heel, 90 midfoot, 120 front the More is broader yet than the Echelon and in my view overly so. This along with softer mushier foam and overly soft front rubber makes them for me one of those big shoes that is more of chore to run than the Echelon. Uppers are similar in fit and volume with the Echelon’s a bit heavier and more supportive with more toe box room. Clear win for the Echelon here.

Hoka Bondi 8 (RTR Review)

Sam: The OG in the category, the Bondi is showing its age in this comparison. It has a comfortable secure lower volume upper that doesn’t quite match Echelon for sheer comfort and hold with room. Its lower drop, duller foam, stiffer rocker profile and higher weight are all felt in comparison. It just doesn’t flow as easily. Bondi fans take a look at Echelon. 

ASICS Nimbus 25 (RTR Review)

Sam: ASICS new and massively updated Nimbus has considerably more stack height at a bit less weight. Its upper is yet smoother fitting if a touch less roomy up front. Its foam is a bit livilier and quicker rebounding giving the Nimbus a quicker feeling ride. Even though both share the same very broad heel and midfoot dimensions, the Echelon flows smoother at slower paces due to its superior flexibility, deep central grove and midsole side walls geometry. The Nimbus is a superior daily trainer at moderate to faster paces while the Echelon shines brighter at slower paces.

Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 (RTR Review)

Sam: I tested the GTS support version of the Glycerin 20 with the regular mesh upper. Underfoot the Glycerin's super critical DNA Loft v3 was for sure livlier with more energy return and with a similar more flexible ride. Somewhat heavier and lower stack, my half size up pair's upper had a similar plush upper feel but comparatively much poorer hold than the Echelon with in the end less also less stability than the Echelon. I might feel differently with the available Stealthfit upper version but the upper spoiled the ride despite the great foam.

Saucony Echelon 9 is available now for men and women at our partners

Saucony   SHOP HERE

Running Warehouse  SHOP HERE

Road Runner Sports  SHOP HERE

Fleet Feet  SHOP HERE

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'.

Tester Profiles

Allison Valliere is a 5th generation Coloradan who is passionate about the outdoors and has been hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and running in the mountains since she was young.  She has completed all but 5 of the Colorado 14ers (a dozen or so in winter), has many hundreds of year round ascents of 14ers, 13ers and other peaks in Colorado and the West.  Allison has also traveled the world and trekked to over 18,000 feet in the Himalayas, to high altitudes in Ecuador and has worked for the National Park Service mapping plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California .  Her almost daily routine involves runs/power hikes in the foothills above Boulder, or 4-5 mile flatter runs at 8-10 minute mile pace if schedule necessitates.  But what really keeps her on her toes is working as a nurse and taking care of her 12 year old twin daughters who are also growing to share her love for the outdoors.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was 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 very 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

Please Check out all our 2023 Road and Trail Run Shoe Previews HERE

15 Brands, Dozens of New Models

Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

RoadTrailRun may receive a commission on purchases at the stores linked in this article. 
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun and are much appreciated. Thanks!
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: