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Saucony Virrata 2 Running Shoe Review

Saucony Virrata 2Saucony Virrata 2

The Good

Meaghan: The Saucony Virrata 2 quickly became one of my favorite running shoes this winter. When brutal conditions forced me to hit the treadmill, this shoe was my go-to. It’s perfect for indoor running – super light, minimal feel and very breathable. That’s not to say they aren’t great for outdoor running too. I’ve worn these shoes on plenty of training runs, ranging from 6 to 18 miles. This is one of those shoes you forget you’re wearing mid run. They fit true to size and offer a nice wide toebox. The upper is a simple piece of mesh with a soft, internal lining and overlays in the heel and midfoot. I’m certain you could run sockless comfortably, but I’m not into that, so I didn’t test the theory. The Virrata 2 fall into one of my favorite shoe categories – 0mm offset that still offers plenty of protection from the road. 18mm of EVA foam in the midsole give the shoe a super cushy and responsive ride. Saucony included the tiniest bit of rubber in the forefoot and heel where you need a little extra protection. It also seems to help with the overall wear and tear (at least, I haven’t seen any).

Thomas: This is a running shoe that happens to be zero drop, but that isn’t what defines the Saucony Virrata. Zero drop is just a feature of this shoe. The Virrata fits my narrow foot like a glove, and even though it has plenty of midsole it is still very flexible. I did not find any hot spots in the shoe. Minimal overlays and the light mesh make this shoe breathable and give it a light feel. The shoe weighs a scant 6.5 oz. for a men’s size 9. The shoe offers a lot of protection at such a lightweight while still providing a responsive ride. Once again Saucony has made a shoe that looks flawless in design. Every stitch and weld looks high tech, smooth, and sleek.

Jenny: Right off the bat, I just have to say that this shoe fits my foot like a glove. I have an average everything when it comes to my foot–avg arch, avg size, avg width.  Plain ol’ vanilla, which works out well when looking for a shoe. My preferences, however, are not average. I’m super picky about my socks (SmartWool for the win!), how my shoes are tied (like the 3 little bears, it has to be *just* right) and especially how a shoe fits/feels (too loose or too tight and it makes me CUH-razy).

When reviewing a shoe, I don’t usually put a TON of miles on it but this is one that I just kept picking over & over, each time I went out for a run. I ended up with 70 miles on the Virrata 2 and similar to the Virrata 1, they felt and still feel great. As noted in the Mirage 4 review, there wasn’t much of an update to the Virrata. Again, why mess with perfection. I did find that it felt slightly cushier, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. Still a responsive ride, not super stiff but soft enough to put in bigger miles…20+ mile runs aren’t a problem for me in it. The upper feels a little plusher–not overly so and just enough to give it a little snugger hug around the ankle. The tongue is slightly longer and stitched so that it doesn’t migrate to one side or the other. This version, the external heel counter is still heat welded but a little more structured than the first go around. I found that in the 1’s, I “crushed” the form of the heel just from taking it off and on. As with most of their updates, Saucony has put a more resilient mesh on the upper, which doesn’t affect the breathability at all. I also noticed that the lacing is different. Instead of little loop eyelets, the lace holes are poked into the frame of the shoe, which I think gives it a better midfoot fit.

Stein: The Saucony Virrata 2 is very similar to the original Virrata. The sole appears to be identical and provides a responsive feel with plenty of foot protection. The upper has not changed much and appears to be made from the same last. The heel counter area seems slightly more rigid while maintaining a soft collar and secure feel. There are new overlays on both the medial as well as lateral surfaces of the shoes. The lacing system now uses eyelets instead of lugs but continues to lock the feet in securely. Half the length of the tongue is still sewn to the vamp, keeping the tongue where it should stay when I’m running.

Saucony Virrata 2The Bad

Jenny: Really nothing negative I can say about this shoe other than with all others in its category, it doesn’t get  huge mileage. The price point more than makes up for that, tho–at $89.99, penny per mile, it works out the same–maybe even better than a heavier daily trainer.

Meaghan: Hmmm.

Thomas: I am not in love with any of the color choices for the men in this shoe. For a shoe so well designed, they missed the boat on the color ways. I refered to my pair as the Green Goblins. I would be happy to send my suggestions if Saucony wants to send me the design templates. To make this a great shoe the Virrata needs some blown rubber on the lateral edge behind the toes. My foot strike shreds shoes there. The Kinvara has the outsole I need, so maybe leave the Virrata the way it is.

Stein: Little rocks are easily wedged in between the triangular lugs on the sole. The EVA+ sole material is flexible and supportive but like the last iteration of the Virrata, the sole seems to wear fairly quickly. In addition to the tough rubber spots under the toes and heel, I’d like to see a couple tough rubber spots on the lateral edge of the shoe. Fortunately the sole is thick so there’s plenty to burn through! I have 290 miles on the Virrata 1 so I expect that these shoes will also last quite a while. While I never experienced blisters or hotspots, the toebox is narrow.

The Overall

Meaghan: The Virrata 2 is the lightest, most flexible shoe in Saucony’s natural collection. It contains nothing but the essentials; perfectly simplistic. I found myself wanting to wear these shoes on every run – short, long, tempo, hills -all of them. I even wore these shoes for a short local race, the Shamrock 5K. It turned into a PR (19:58) and only added to my love for this shoe. I feel comfortable recommending the Virrata 2 ($90 price tag!) to just about any runner out there.

Thomas: I saw that Road Runner Sports called the Virrata a “Bare Foot” shoe. I almost laughed. This shoe is very similar to a stripped down Kinvara. It’s hard not to like this shoe even with the creepy x-mas colors mine came in. The Saucony Virrata has a great mix of cushion, low weight, and a disappearing upper. This is probably my second favorite Saucony road shoe right behind the Kinvara 5.

Jenny: I freaking love this shoe. In an age of lower drop shoes, the Virrata is my choice–even at a ~0mm drop, my body doesn’t feel wrecked after taking ’em out for a spin.  Between the 1’s & 2’s, I’ve now had 6 pairs of the Virrata and hope they never get rid of it. It’ll definitely be my next race day shoe!

Stein: I enjoy the Virrata 2 very much. With minor updates, Saucony has produced another shoe that’s great for daily training runs. They are also light enough and offer enough protection for both short and long distance road racing. They are sized correctly and the 10.5 shoes fit my feet perfectly. The sock-like fit, zero drop and flexible outsole makes for a sweet ride. I will be keeping these shoes in my rotation until they are worn out.

Virrata 2 trainers were provided by Saucony.


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