Off the bat I have to admit, I am not a white running shoe kinda guy. I like color. Both of the Saucony Fastwitch 4 and the Brooks ST 5 shoes are for people that like color on their feet. Saucony has played with color and put out some fun shoes and great designs. My shoe pick of 2010 the Saucony Kinvara comes in some great color choices including fluorescent lime green and their brand color ViziPro, a fluorescent orange. Brooks is way more timid with color, they are just starting to get into it now. The problem is I don’t like a lot of the design and color choices the team at Brooks comes up with. Probably a case of more engineers and less designers over there. With that said/written, I think the ST 5 is one of the best looking running shoes I have ever seen. The shoe is hot. But it’s not all about looks right?! Let’s dive into the shoes one at a time.
What they say:
“An all around all purpose flat. These guys were great for my long tempo runs, time trial efforts or high caliber races. I’ve raced in these from 5K–15K with great success. Cushioned* well enough to last a while, they give great support and keep the legs from taking a beating. Lightweight enough to outrun the best in any championship road race.” –Anthony Famiglietti (*they actually spelled cushioned wrong on their quote but took the liberty to change it here.)
What I say:
I love this shoe! I have never felt faster in a pair of shoes. I have done track work, tempo runs, and even ran a PR marathon (3:38:48) in these bad boys. The shoes are so light but still retain a springy feel to them. My legs have never felt like they were taking a beating from wearing a more minimal shoe. The light 7 oz. weight comes in handy on the longer runs. During my training for the last marathon I rotated between three pairs of shoes, Brooks Launch (9.3 oz.), Nike Lunar Eclipse(12.2 oz.), and the Saucony Fastwitch 4. Leg fatigue in the Nike shoes was the worst followed by the Launch and finally… wait, my legs always felt pretty good with the Fastwitch. After running in the Fastwitch I started noticing how much the heavier shoes would slow me down in the deep miles of a long run. More so with the Lunar Eclipse, after all they are almost double the weight of the Fastwitch. The Fastwitch feels fast just putting them on, when I hit the track I wanted to push a little harder with them. The tread on the bottom felt like claws digging in as I rounded the oval. The traction is great. There are a couple negatives to the shoe. the first is they are not made to last. The rubber on the bottom started wearing down after the first run. I will be surprised if I get much more than 200 miles in on them. The second negative is also a positive. There are wide open sections in the bottom of the shoe that make the shoe more flexible and lighter, (see image above) it is a great place to store rocks and debris while you run. I have had to stop from time to time to dislodge “things” from the shoe. I usually run in a neutral shoe and the Fastwitch is a stability racer, maybe I needed stability and didn’t know it cause I love running in these shoes. The Fastwitch 5 is coming out this spring. The good news, lower heel to toe drop ratio, better rubber and coverage on the bottom. I will continue to use the Fastwitch as a track, tempo run, race shoe not as everyday trainer. The Brooks ST 5 might be the right shoe for the crossover to racer and trainer.
What they say:
“Minimalists delight in the Racer ST 5, with just the right touch of support. The shoe is super lightweight for racing – from a 5K to a marathon — but has the substance and durability required for tempo runs and training. With an upgrade to the resilient, long-lasting cushioning of BioMoGo, your feet will stay protected and your legs fresh, mile after mile. And, yes, they’re bright – you’ll be a blur when you speed down the road.”
What I say:
The shoe fits great the moment you slip it on. Compared to the Fastwitch it doesn’t feel quite as fast and the tread doesn’t bite the ground the same way. From the first 25′ I jogged in them across the Expo floor I was hooked. They feel more like a trainer than the Fastwitch. Solid under foot, light enough for fast turn over with little effort. The tread on the bottom is what makes the difference on feel (see above image.) There is much more quality rubber on the bottom of the ST5 and much more coverage. I can tell this rubber is more durable than the Fastwitch tread but, you give up some flexibility. After a few short runs the wear seems even on the bottom, a good sign. The laces are light ribbons, I wasn’t sure if they would stay tied at first, they do. I am not sure how I feel about the laces yet, they are different. The shoe reminds me of a leaner version of the Launch. When running, the shoe responds similar to the Launch but, the fit seems more snug and form fitting than the Launch. I see the ST5 replacing the Launch for training. I will enjoy using them for just about every aspect of training from speedwork to LSDs (not trippy acid, although the colors of the shoe are certainly psychodelic, Long Slow Distance.) I will add in one more shoe that is around 11 oz. so that when race day comes the light shoes feel all that much lighter. The stability is more evident in the ST5 too. If you do need stability, it’s there. While I do notice the stability, it isn’t enough to bother my neutral gate. Overall, I am impressed with the ST 5, great design, great feel, light shoe. I hope I like it this much when I have 150 miles on them.
Believe in the run