Product Review – Saucony Ride 5

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Product Review
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Shoe review week continues today here on the blog as today we’ll be looking at the recently (June 2012) released Saucony Ride 5.

As is the case with all shoe reviews here on the Run for Dom blog – I have to post my usual caution about relying on someone else’s opinion about a particular running shoe.

Each individual runner’s foot strike, weekly mileage, years training, body composition, weight and injury history all play a key role in placing an athlete in the best possible footwear for them. That is the key point, FOR THEM. 

The best shopping strategy is and always will be visiting your local running specialty store, being fitted for a pair of shoes by a professional after running on a treadmill for gait analysis and then trying on multiple pairs of shoes.

That said, if you have gone through that process recently and know the proper type of shoe that works best with your running style and biomechanics, then today’s review of the Saucony Ride 5 may prove to be helpful. At least I hope that it is.  I have logged over 100 miles in the new Ride 5 from Saucony, and feel like I have a good feel for the comfort, support and responsiveness.

So with the disclaimer out-of-the-way, on to the review!

Saucony Ride 5 – Black (Shoe is actually purple)

Saucony Ride 5

Runners: Mid to High Mileage “Racers”

Use: Up-Tempo Workouts to Medium Long Runs (8-12 miles)

Footstrike: Neutral

Support: Cushioned/Moderate

Weight: Light/Mid-Weight trainer – 9.5 oz Men’s size 9

Now in its 5th iteration, the Saucony Ride 5 went through a pretty dramatic overhaul from the Ride 4.  In fact, for previous “Ride” lovers, this new release may very well change your view of your favorite shoe.  It is somewhat like every 10 years or so when a car goes through a huge “redesign”.  This was not just a slightly different set of tail lights, or a new color scheme.  Think of the release of the new Camaro or when the Mustang went from boxy to streamlined in the early 90’s.  Some people loved the changes, some people hated them, but nobody was really “meh” about them.

That is the way the Ride has been transformed.  The shoe was lightened 1 oz. in weight.  That might not seem like a whole lot, but in the men’s size 9 version – that represents 10% of its total weight.  That is a lot.

The heel to toe ratio was changed dramatically as well with the heel being reduced from 12 mm to 8.  Again, 4 mm might not seem like a whole lot, but from a percentage perspective, the heel was reduced 33%.  Again, that is a lot.

So the shoe is going to perform very differently from its predecessor.  It is in a way an entirely NEW shoe for 2012, and before you simply go out to the internet, pick a color and order a pair, I think you should test drive these shoes at a running store to make sure they are going to meet your training needs.

First Impressions:

The fit of the Ride 5 is very snug across the top of the foot and a bit snug in the toes. I needed to go up 1/2 size for a proper fit to accommodate my toes in the toe box.  The shoe feels very nice and comfy however when properly sized.  With the lower heel drop you get the sensation that you are in a pair of road hugging performance shoes – but with solid mid-sole cushioning for longer workouts.

Saucony Ride 5 Top View

The Upper:

The upper features a standard lace pattern and cushioned tongue. The rest of the upper is a lightweight mesh to help ventilate the shoe with a few strategic overlays to the outer shell of the shoe to provide structure and support.  A very comfortable fitting running shoe.

The Midsole:

This version of the Ride is the most responsive version of the shoe to date.  The heel edge is beveled (rounded) for a smoother transition from heel strike to midfoot, and more flex grooves have been carved into the forefoot design for better overall flexibility.  The idea behind the changes in structure were to make the Ride more nimble and “minimalist” feeling – but still provide enough support for longer distance runs and races.  The arch is moderately high to high, making the comfort of the shoe very personal.  If your foot geometry aligns well with the design, the shoe will feel very comfortable.  If however a higher arch bothers you, you may not like the changes in design.

The Outsole:

As I mentioned previously the big change comes from the heel-to-toe offset being updated from 12mm to 8mm. The heel edge has been beveled. ProGrid™ technology (previously in heel only) has been extended to the entire foot bed for a more seamless feel. Outsole material is upgraded from traditional blown rubber to IBR plus, for enhanced cushioning and durability.

The shoe has a lot of spring and responsiveness despite the low profile.  After 125 miles the shoe feels just the same way it did during our first run together. 


The Ride 5 is a shoe that fits well in my running shoe rack, and by that I mean that there are quite a few workouts where this has become my shoe of choice.  I would not run a steady-state 20-22 miler during marathon training in the Ride 5 as that is not the designed purpose for this shoe.  However many runners can pull off those types of runs in a shoe like the Ride 5.

For me, I need a bit heavier shoe for those types of workouts so my knees, ankles and hips come through that long run feeling as if they didn’t experience any pounding.  That allows me to jump right back into training and push pace and intensity only a day or two later.

The Ride 5 is the show I would use for those types of workouts.

Tempo runs, hill repeats, Off/On interval workouts.

It is a shoe that I consider threading the needle between a race flat and a trainer.

It is a shoe that will allow you to work on your turnover, run some faster miles when training but still protect against the pounding of those types of workouts.  It is about 2 oz. heavier than a 5k or 10K race shoe, 1 oz. heavier than the shoes that I would “RACE” a half-marathon or marathon in.

So if you are looking for a zoom-zoom shoe for some of your shorter more intense workouts – the Ride 5 might be just what the doctor ordered.  Each Tuesday and Thursday I look forward to putting on my Rides and hit my up-tempo drills, they have become great training partners this Triathlon season and we will be adding another pair this fall as we set our sights on the Houston Marathon and our attempt at breaking 3 hours.

Happy running!

  1. Roger says:

    Thank you for this great review. I’m looking to replace my Asics SkySpeed for shorter fast runs and didn’t find information if the Ride 5 would be a good deal for that. I might not be able to find them at a store nearby so I will order a pair over Internet. I’m also using the Kinvara and I love them, so I’m looking forward to run the Ride 5.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Roger, just about to lace up my Rides for a run here in Austin. I think you will really like them. I am about 200 miles in on the woes, and I still love grabbing them off the floor in the morning. Happy running

  2. Graham says:

    Are you still liking the shoe? I had been running in the Kinvara 3 and feel i need something a bit beefier for my long distance marathon training, having a lot of calf and hip issues. I’ve been running in Triumph 9’s for about 3 weeks but they are definitely a long slow distance shoe. Can’t run fast in them. Have a pair of Ride 5’s coming soon for my tempo/speed workouts.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Graham – I am indeed still enjoying the Ride 5’s. They re that “in-between” shoe that think has a place in every runners shoe cadre. Great for short-medium tempo stuff, but beefy enough for 10-12 milers as well. Good luck with them.

  3. Mike says:

    I have been running to train for triathlons for the past 4 years. My pace is now a bit under a 9 minute mile for the 3 miles. And I rarely run more than 3.5 to 4 miles at a time. I try to run every other day. I went to a running store a tested the Ride 5s. Would you recommend that shoe for the type of running I do? (I currently run in Asics Cumulus 13s.)

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Mike! I think the Ride would hold up well over that kind of mileage. If you do run just about everyday, it’s a good idea to rotate into two different shoes every other day. It allows the cushioning in the shoes to rebound between runs echo will improve their wear (last longer). It also keeps your feet from developing any hot spots and pressure points as all shoes will fit a bit differently and have slightly different lacing patterns.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Kyle L. Kostelecky says:

    Joe, Hope it’s not too late to get a reply from you. I’ve run in Sauconys (mostly Rides) since 2002. The last pair I have is the Ride 4. 3 marathons, 2 halfs, a 20k, and hosts of 10ks and 5ks under my belt. I’m 6’2″ and race weight is about 185-190 lbs. I thought I’d change things up a bit just for fun and began running in Adidas Ride 3s and then moved to the Adistar Boston 2s. I liked the lightweight feel of these – felt like running on air but the durability was not so good. I even have tried out a pair of Mizuno Inigma 2s recently. I’m homesick for my Rides though. Will the new updates feel dramatically different from previous versions (given that I’ve gone through Gird Webs, Ride 2s, 3s, and 4s)? I’ve got to order them online and I’m just curious as to what you think? I’ve always felt like the Rides were like comfortable slippers. Hoping you might agree, given my history.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Kyle! Never too late for a reply! I think you are REALLY going to like the Ride 5’s. I took them all the way to 350 miles and they held up well for me, while still feeling like a medium-weight versatile trainer.

      You have a bit more size and weight to you than I do, so the feel may be a bit different, but I’m a big fan and think you will really like the shoes. If you go for it, shoot me a message after 50-60 miles and let me know what you think!

      • Kyle L. Kostelecky says:

        Joe, Thanks so much! I think I will give them a try and hope it feels like “going home”. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

  5. Jason says:

    I am a Saucony fan and recently went to my local running store and purchased the Ride 5 based on their recommendation after treadmill video gait analysis. I love this shoe! As a background, I wear a SureFit orthodic and have a slight heel strike and fast cadence and land just underneath my body. I was curious what ‘heavier’ shoe you use for your long training runs? I’m just starting my training for Lake Placid Ironman in July and willl eventually be doing training runs longer than 12mi. Any insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your post — very helpful!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hey Jason- thanks for the message and for taking the time to write in. Congrats on Lake Placid! I’ve heard amazing things about that race

      You know, shoes are such a personal thing, it’s always tough to give advice, but right now my medium-long shoe of choice is the Brooks Launch. Very similar “ride” to the Ride 5 but with a little more cushion for the longer stuff. And the stand-by Asics Gel Nimbus 14 for my 16-22 milers during marathon training when all you really want to do is log long runs and recover quickly to hit the hard stuff two days later.

      Hope that helps and best to you with your Lake Placid IM training!

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