Guest review by Mike Williams
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a spike. The Saucony Shay XC can go as fast as you need it to, so long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not going to say that it’s responsible for my times, but it sure didn’t hurt.
First off, this shoe is just sexy. There’s no other name for it. If fast had a look, this would be it. The shoe just screams, “Let’s go. I can handle it!” The upper is made of a super lightweight mesh with a slimmed down version of Saucony’s FlexFilm overlays. You may recognize those from more popular trainers such as the Kinvara or the super fast Type A6. The upper is much tougher than it looks, though. I ran an entire cross country season (probably about 60 miles total), full of crowded packs and gnarly terrain, and aside from being covered in mud, the upper itself remains undamaged. My only complaint is the “burrito” style tongue in the Saucony Shay XC. It bunches up, making it hard to put the spike on properly, and you spend a ton of time messing with it, which can be a hassle on the starting line of a race. Other than that, it hugs the foot comfortably with no major pressure points. I suppose I should add here that I have a pretty low volume foot, so this may not ring true for a few readers.
The Saucony Shay XC has a pretty standard molded EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate, for the uninitiated) midsole that provides just enough cushioning and protection for the task at hand. You won’t be going slow in this shoe, so you don’t actually need a ton of cushioning. This shoe is seriously flexible, unlike a lot of other spikes. Aside from the spike plate, there’s not a whole lot of structure to it, and it bends like a Nike Free. However, this is a good thing in a way, as it makes the tight corners of a cross country course easier to handle than if you were in a racing flat or standard trainer.
The outsole of the Saucony Shay XC is super neat. It has a foot on it, and for some reason, I find that pretty cool. But the really interesting part about the outsole lies in its knobby tread pattern. I’ve lost spikes mid-race (weren’t screwed in right, my fault not Saucony’s) and not even noticed a difference. This sole has more traction than most of the trail shoes I’ve run in over the years. It’s basically a super substantial hunk of rubber under your foot. Despite its thin midsole and outsole, it’s a very protective shoe. I have run in this shoe on everything from smooth grass to rocky soil, and I haven’t ever felt as if I were in any danger of something puncturing through the shoe.
Finally, this shoe is by and far the best value on the market in my opinion. It is lightweight (5 oz), protective and at a competitive price point to say, the Nike Victory ($120 MSRP), whereas the Saucony Shay XC sits at $85 (now on sale for even less). Altogether, I would highly recommend you give this shoe a shot next cross country season.
If you liked this review of the Saucony Shay XC please check out the shoe at Running Warehouse.
About Mike Williams: A freshman in college at West Texas A&M University where he is a Sports and Exercise Science major. Mike runs 50-60 miles a week primarily towards the 5k to half marathon distance. He mostly runs on trails in the Palo Duro Canyon and the Sangre de Christo range of the Rockies in New Mexico. He started running about 6 years ago because he was depressed, and running has helped immensely. Over the course of his journey, he has made many friends through training and competition. Follow Mike on twitter @runnermikey