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The Shoes Made Me a Believer

Dear Asics,

I have a confession to make.

I have been cheating on you. Big time.


Anyone who knows me and my history as a runner will know what a big deal that last statement was. I grew up in Asics, and have been running in the same shoes since the 90′s. When it comes to racing flats, I’ll try any brand. I’ve raced in most major shoe brands and had great results. But when it comes to my trainers? Well I’m loyal to a fault.

Until recently, that is…

When I heard about the new line of Saucony shoes and saw this video.

The Saucony ProGrid Guide 5 shoes have a heel-to-toe offset of only 8 mm. For comparison, the offset in the average running shoes is 12 mm. It may not seem like much, but let me tell you – that 4 mm makes a huge difference when you’re running. I will never actually transition to barefoot running (yes, I know that is a big statement but I can confidently tell you that I do not buy into the merits of running barefoot or in shoes that make it seem like you are barefoot. If you ever see a picture on this blog of me in a pair of VFFs, assume I’ve been hacked. Anyway, I digress…), but I do like the idea of shoes that are a bit more minimalistic than my usual trainers. These shoes are not only lighter, but the smaller heel-to-toe offset ensures that you land further forward on your foot. As someone who has major problems with heel-striking (see Exhibit A below), I knew I could benefit from a different shoe.

RnR Professional.jpgThis hurts me just looking at it!

The smaller heel-to-toe offset in the shoe also allows for a greater range of motion with your calf/achilles, giving you a more powerful stride. Which, in turn, can help you run faster. (I am in complete support of that!) And if that’s not enough, the shoe boasts cushioning and some support for pronators like myself.


Knowing all of that, I was very excited to test out a pair…but a bit nervous about how my stability-shoe-loving legs would react. As soon as I picked up a pair and felt how light they were, I couldn’t wait to take them out of a spin.

The honest truth – it was love at first run. Not only did my feet feel so light and free, but I felt like I was running on pillows. The shoes were everything they were marketed to be. Light, responsive, fit great to the shape of my foot. All thoughts of my old trainers were out the window.

Saucony Guide 5_2

I have been running in the shoes for a couple of months now, with a little break in between due to a problem I experienced in the heel with my first pair. However, I was sent a replacement pair and have not had the same problem – they fit and feel great! Because I am not used to running in any sort of minimalist shoe and the Guide 5 shoes very clearly change my stride, I have purposely kept my transition very slow. I don’t run in the shoes everyday, and the longest I’ve run in them so far is 7.3 miles.  I’m interested to see how they hold up over the course of marathon training.

Saucony Guide 5_3

For those of you who like bulleted lists, here are the major pros and cons of the Guide 5s (vs. my usual trainers – the Asics 2160s).


  • Very lightweight
  • Cushioned and supportive – I don’t feel like any of the cushioning was lost when making the shoe lighter and my over-pronating feet feel very supported.
  • I land more on my mid-foot! This change was pretty much instantaneous. The first time I ran in the shoe, I was actually taken aback by the loud “slap, slap, slap” sound I was hearing as my feet hit the pavement. I quickly realized this was happening because I wasn’t absorbing all of the impact with my heel anymore, which made me land heavier on the front of my feet. This has gotten better as I’ve gotten used to the shoe and the change in stride.
  • As an added bonus – my stride is better in my old shoes too. On the treadmill the other day, I could see that I was landing less on my heel and more on my mid-foot, even while wearing my old trainers. (Though this changes when I get tired or start to run really fast).

And finally, now when I switch back to my old trainers, I honestly feel like I’m running on bricks. Those shoes were built for support and cushioning. But they feel so hard, clunky and unweilding in comparison.


So far, any con that I’ve experienced is simply due to the fact that the Guide 5s have literally changed my stride and the way that I run.

  • Uncomfortable rubbing on my arches/toes that is leading to some new calluses. This is expected, since the shoe not only fits my foot differently, but is changing the way my foot hits the ground. I am hoping it will go away as I become accustomed to the change in my stride. And my toes are pretty callused anyway, so what’s one more?!
  • Soreness in my calfs. Again, I think this is because I’m not completely used to the shoe. And when I switch back and forth between the 8 mm offset and the 12 mm offset shoes, my calf muscles get a bit confused.

Saucony Guide 5_4


The bottom line: The Sauconys are here to stay. My feet have found a new love.

I’m still not running in them 100% of the time yet, but I plan to keep building up. At the very least, I’ve been loving these shoes for shorter runs and speed workouts.

I received a free pair of Guide 5s to test out and review. But as always, my opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product I don’t like or believe in. And I love these shoes so much that I intend to buy another pair when these ones are worn out.

42 Responses to The Shoes Made Me a Believer

  1. Good feedback! I am always interested in what shoes work for different people and comparisons :)
    Krissy @ Shiawase Life´s last post ..wordless wednesday.

  2. It’s totally normal to experience sore calves when making the transition to a lower drop! I just got the Saucony Kinvara 2′s, which have a 4mm drop (similar to the NB Minimus’ I’ve been wearing) – when I first transitioned, my calves were like ROCKS! Stretch and foam roll! :)
    Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe´s last post ..Prescription for new shoes? Yes, please!

  3. Hmmm interesting. I’m also a serious over-pronator and a heel striker. I’m afraid to leave my Mizunos – but maybe it’s time?? Guess I should break into my new orthotics first before I make any big changes. Great review – so glad they are working for you!!
    Michelle´s last post ..Dessert Stance

  4. OK, you may have just convinced me to try these…like you, I’ve been literally married to my Asics for 10 years. My sports doc tried to get me to switch last year and we just couldn’t find anything that worked right for my feet. I’ve made significant body mechanic improvements this year (finally orthotic free) so this may be the time to try something besides the beloved 2160s.
    Holly´s last post ..“Track” Tuesday

  5. this is awesome! i can soo relate. i have been wearing asics cumulus but a few months ago started adding the saucony kinvara 2s into my rotation. i am not up to wearing my kinvaras 3x per week (for a tempo, an easy run and at the track) and the farthest i have worn them for is 10 miles. i love love love LOVE them! now when i wear my asics i totally feel like they are bricks, too. i’m not sure if i will fully transition to the kinvaras in time for my spring marathon (rnr dc on march 17), but i hope be able to run my fall marathon in them. i love them and feel like my speed and form are both improving as a result!
    jessica´s last post ..making the best of it: 20 miles on the treadmill

    • I’ve heard so many great things about the Kinvaras! If I continue to feel good in these shoes, then those are the next on my list!

  6. Great review! I was always an NB/Asics girl myself, but about a year ago, I fell in love with my Saucony Kinvaras. I’m not 100% on board with barefoot running or minimalist shoes, but I’ve found the Kinvaras (super lightweight and a 4mm drop) t0 be perfect for tempo runs, track intervals, and road races. I still wear my Ghosts of NB 890′s for most regular runs though.

    Whoa, I love running shoe talk.
    Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)´s last post ..Weeknight Dinners

    • Having a lighter shoe for workouts makes such a huge difference! Before I tried the new Guides, I had thought about transitioning to a more minimalist shoe for workouts/races for a long time. I’d like to try the Kinvaras out next. There’s just something about putting on a lighter/more minimalist shoe that automatically makes you feel faster!

  7. Hmm I’ve switched between asics, new balance and brooks but I’ve been wanting to try saucony’s out for awhile. Thanks for the review!
    Sarah´s last post ..It’s Back!

  8. I love my Saucony Mirages! Is it weird that I have no idea if they have the 8mm drop or not? I should definitely find out…
    Ricole Runs´s last post ..National Peanut Butter Day! My favorite day.

  9. thanks for sharing! after boston, i’m going to try and transition to a shoe with a lower heel-toe drop. i will definitely keep these in mind!
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad´s last post ..Five for Friday: Race Edition

  10. Oooh, I’m looking for a new pair of shoes, and as a fellow heel striker, it looks like I will try these babies on when I go shoe shopping. Thanks for the info!
    Jamie´s last post ..SLO Half Marathon

  11. I ran in the original Guides and LOVED them, but the 3s and 4s didn’t work for my feet. I tried them on every time I went to buy shoes anyway, just in case. I didn’t realize Saucony had gone this direction for the 5s, and now I’m extra excited to try them out.
    Kimra´s last post ..The Race That Wasn’t and the 10-Miler That Was

  12. While I can only dream of getting a free pair of these to review, I have just ordered a pair online…literally .2 seconds after reading this.

    I have hideous heel pain that’s had me sidelined, excluding one race that I ran because I couldn’t stand to miss it. I heel strike just as badly as you in that picture and I too run in Asics, and always have done. I’m desperate for a solution and if these trainers can help me, I will owe you for life.

    ~Jessica~´s last post ..WIAW – Blogger-Inspired

    • I’m sorry to hear about your heel pain. I hope you like the Guides (and they help solve your problems!) Let me know how they work out!

  13. I’ve run in Brooks Adrenaline and they hurt my feet so bad! Then I switched to Asics Gel Nimbus and so far my feet are in love but I have to tell you I’ve been toying with the idea of the Saucony’s! Next summer when I need a new pair I might be getting a pair of these! Thanks for the info!
    Jolene (Homespun Heritage)´s last post ..~*What Are You From?*~

  14. wow, you’ve basically sold me on these! I’m a pretty loyal brooks adrenaline girl, but have been thinking of trying a more lightweight shoe for some runs and races. Kind of in between a racing shoe and a trainer? Is that similar to what these are? I think I’ll give them a try (which will be easy, because as of Monday I will be working part time at a running store!)
    Kelly´s last post ..Indian-style yogurt giveaway

    • I would say so. They aren’t marketed as a racing shoe, but they’re definitely lighter than your typical trainer. I love wearing them for speed workouts – makes me feel faster :)

      Oh – and congrats on your position! Ali told me you were interviewing. I’m really glad it worked out!! (and totally jealous).

  15. Hey Lauren, I’m in the same boat and…same shoes (Asics 21xx).
    I mildly overpronate like you as well.

    Have you tried the Brooks Pure Cadence? They also have a 8mm drop, and I’m considering transitioning into them.

    Other choices could be Mizuno Wave Elixir or Inspire or Brooks Ravenna…let me know if you tried any of these!!

    • Hi! I actually haven’t tried any Brooks running shoes. I’ve heard great things about the PureProject, but unfortunately can’t say anything from personal experience. Do you read Will Run for Margaritas (http://willrunformargaritas.com/)? She was one of my HTC teammates… Anyway, she works for Brooks and may be a good person to ask about the shoes if you’d like more info.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

    • Hi anon,

      I wear the Brooks PureCadence shoes and love them – took about two weeks to transition from a heavier stability Brooks shoe (Ravennas – also great!) but am glad I did. Some say they feel very narrow in the midfoot, but I’ve found them very comfortable and supportive despite their light weight. My longest run in them so far has been 14 miles.

      One possible downside is because of the lightweight material choices, the shoes may need to be replaced sooner; after 250-300 miles. According to the Brooks website, the heel to toe offset on all PureProject shoes is 4mm, and I found these midsole heel:toe heights online:

      PureConnect 14:10
      PureFlow 18:14
      PureCadence 18:14
      PureGrit 15:11

      Good luck!

  16. I knew we would bring you to the other side! Mwah ha ha! Just kidding! Glad you love them. I love my Sauconys too- I use the Mirages and the Kinvaras.

    • haha I know. I have officially converted. This may be a dumb question, but do you find a huge difference between the Mirages and the Kinvaras? I know the Mirages are heavier, but they are marketed as a Kinvara-type shoe for people who over-pronate, right? Or do I have that wrong?

    • Jessica, I am curious about your experience running in Mirage and Kinvaras. I LOVE my Kinvaras but feel I need a bit more support/cushioning on long runs (for me that means 8+ miles). I thought Guide 5s would do the trick but am wondering if Mirage would be more appropriate since I seem to have adapted to the 4mm drop.

      • I can try to give some insight to that! This summer I switched from the Guides to the Mirages and absolutely love them. They have just enough support to get me through long runs (I ran a marathon in them in November) but are still light and flexible. I love the 4mm drop – it has really helped my stride and my overall running form. Now when I try to switch back to the Guides, they feel too clunky and I miss the lower drop…which is funny, considering how much I loved them before.

        I’ve only run a few short miles in the Kinvara TRs so I’m not an expert on them compared to the Mirages (though I can definitely feel the extra support in the Mirage shoes), but based on my experience with the Mirage I would think that they would be a much better fit for you than switching to the Guides. Also – the Mirage 3s are coming out next month and the changes to the model actually makes them more similar to the Kinvara (still with a little extra support though). Hopefully that helps!

  17. You’ve now sort of convinced me to maybe stray from my Nikes….shh, don’t tell them :)
    Meggie´s last post ..Day By Day (by Day, Amen)

  18. Is the photo with your heel strike demonstration the Adidas Adios?

  19. Awesome review! I started off in the Rides and loved them but was convinced by a running store to try the Guides while NYCM training, and then I had some knee pain pop up. (I was also running faster than I’d ever run, so maybe it was that.) The doctor told me it was because the shoe was *too* stable for me, so I’m trying out the Mirages now, and loving them.

  20. I am a midfoot striker and I prefer my saucony kinvara over my Ascis Nimbus. The Kinvaras are so much lighter – I think you will love too once you get addicted to the Guide 5. :) Happy Running

  21. I’ve been wearing the Brookes Adrenalines since I started running. I can’t imagine switching to a different shoe, though I know it’s probably a good idea to try other things. Hmmm.
    Sarah K´s last post ..The Other Side

  22. Hehhe love the line about the Vibrams. tooo funny. so happy you have found a new love. I think the old ones will understand. Would love to try these out, but, as we know, i think i am stuck with my Trances for now. But very interesting, thanks for sharing
    Stephanie´s last post ..The Truth – Ameno What?! Amenorrhea

  23. I always keep a pair of lower profile shoes in the rotation to keep my Achilles stretched out. I’m rotating Kinvara 2′s with Nike’s at the moment and it’s working really well.
    Glad you found some great shoes!
    Rebecca´s last post ..Goody Goody

  24. Now i’m kind of interested in trying these shoes….
    Jocelyn @ Enthusiastic Runner´s last post ..@JackRabbitsRun and Mac & Cheese

  25. I would like to try these Saucony shoes. I usually run in Brooks Ghost or Nike Pegasus, but the Saucony sound pretty good to me and the video is making me want to try these even more.
    Nina´s last post ..I Wish I Was A Rich Girl

  26. I just switched to the Guide 5′s from Asics 2160′s as well and I may be a convert! Tomorrow will be my first longer run in them, but so far I have had no problems with them! I never thought I would like Sauconys but when the fitter at my running store had me try them I was instantly sold!

  27. I just bought these yesterday! I had read this post of yours a few weeks ago and thought about trying them and completely forgot about them when my boyfriend took me for a surprise shoe fitting yesterday for my birthday. I tested out quite a few different brands of shoes and came home with these. I haven’t run in them yet but I loved the feel of them from testing them out on the treadmill!
    Christy´s last post ..All Quiet on the Blogging Front

  28. [...] read about these from this lady (overpronators and heel strikers unite!) and learned enough from this lady (and a little [...]

  29. Good post. I ran in the original Guides and LOVED them, but the 3s and 4s didn’t work for my feet. I tried them on every time I went to buy shoes anyway, just in case.
    Kate´s last post ..Better Job, More Jobs

  30. Today is already 2013, a year too late in this blog. But just to tell everybody who will still be able to read this. My first official running shoes is the Saucony Guide5 as per the recommendation of the shoe fitter after the gate test (I use to run with nike cross training before when I still dont know anything about running). I am by the way a severe flat foot guy. Saucony Guide5 help me with my training and P.R, I became one of the strongest in our group, but after I worn out my Guide5, I bought asics as per recommendation by my running mates. I bought Kayano18 & GT2170, guess what… they gave a hamstring tendonitis!!! I stop running for 2 month to recover and I went through rehabs even which cost me soooo much. I scrap my Asics and went back to Saucony Guide5 and thank God, Im back!! I even bought 3 pairs just in case they face our the guide5. hahaha!!!

  31. I purchased these shoes after running on the saucony guide 4s for a couple of years. After the great reviews I read they sounded perfect for me. I wore them on a short 1.5 mile run & experienced alot of arch pain in my left foot. Is this normal? I can’t remember having arch pain with othe shoes I’ve owned & am not sure whether I should take them back or try them out again.

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