Flexy and I Know It
Like many runners, I was excited about the emergence of minimalist footwear, but skeptical of how little cushioning and support they would offer a bigger guy like me. Enter the Saucony Virrata.
The Virrata is designed on a 0mm platform, but what makes it unique is the 18mm of foam cushioning underneath the foot, a level of protection comparable to traditional training shoes. The upper is made of breathable mono mesh with limited overlays, while inside, a sock-like bootie provides a snug fit without restricting the foot at all. The Virrata’s midsole and outsole are made up of 24 independent EVA+ “pods” that are deeply carved out, allowing the shoe to be incredibly flexible.
With winter making an appearance simultaneously with the arrival of the Virratas, my first outing in them was to the Box for a WOD. More specifically, for Fight Gone Bad, a workout involving squatting, lifting, jumping, and rowing — a true test both for me and my footwear. The light weight of the Virratas was much appreciated on the box jumps, while the zero offset helped me feel where my feet were during the lifting portions. Definitely a good choice that day.
My first running experience was also optimal, as my daughter and son both wanted to get out for a run. Since their primary sport is soccer, we decided on a short loop near our house that would give us a decent outing, but also allow us to quit once we got home (which is what happened). The loop incorporated sidewalks, streets, gravel paths, and grassy hills, which gave me a good feel for the shoes on a variety of surfaces. The shoes felt great; light, supportive, with enough cushioning that I didn’t feel every single bump, yet close enough to the ground to feel my feet in contact.
Every subsequent outing, both for running and CrossFit, confirmed that this is a shoe that should work for lots of people who are interested in zero drop shoes. My only caution is that these are not great shoes for running in snow — the soles are soft and the pods are a bit slick.
A definite winner for Saucony — good groundfeel, ample cushioning, and incredible light weight make this the complete package.
Information for the Virratas and all Saucony products can be found on the Saucony website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Disclosure: These shoes were sent to me free of charge, for review purposes, through FitFluential LLC. Some information was taken from Saucony’s website; all opinions are my own.
[Other shoes to check out: GoLite Tara, Somnio Nada, Saucony Triumph ISO, Nike Pegasus + 25 ESC, Saucony Triumph 10, Mizuno Wave Rider 18, Under Armour Spine RPM, Reebok ZQuick, and Brooks Pure Connect.