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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2013
I have been through 5 pairs of Saucony Kinvaras, and eagerly awaited this shoe as one with more forefoot cushion but zero drop. That's a perfect combination for neutral runners - I can't believe this is the first shoe to include that combination. I was definitely not let down. I train heavily for triathlons and religiously monitor my heart rate and pace. These shoes are the first shoes I've ever worn that actually make me run faster over long distances. I'm not sure if it's the low heel profile that helps keep turnover high, the light weight, or both. Either way I typically 20 seconds per mile or 10 BPM lower in this shoe than in any of my traditional (non-zero drop) shoes. Unlike Vibram Five Fingers, you can run 15mi in these on pavement and not feel beaten up. Fantastic shoes!
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
As a minimalist marathoner who keeps switching between Five Fingers, Hattori (most < 14mi runs) and Kinvara (on long runs and very high volume weeks) my first reaction to the Virrata was "Hallelujah!" and I immediately bought a pair.

After a week of running in them I can't say they're a clear winner however, I feel the sole is too thick (i.e. soft) and would have preferred a ground feel that's more similar to the firmer feeling grid type A5 (which has a 12-16mm sole compared to 18mm end-to-end on Virrata). I also don't like the goofy (thump-y, a bit like gymnastic shoes) sound the soles makes on hard even surfaces, which Hattori owners will recognize. Durability of the upper mesh has been the biggest issue I've had with Kinvaras, not sure if the Virrata's 2-mesh design will be any better. It does feel more breathable and airy than the Kinvara's and certainly the Hattori's.

The difference between 4mm (Kinvara) and 0mm (Virrata) heel-to-toe drop is immediately noticeable feeling more natural, but I could also feel my calves getting tired at the end of a 21mi long run. Not sure what I prefer for those type of runs yet.

In short I think it's great to see Saucony continue to release minimalistic shoes in general and fill the gap between Hattori and Kinvara specifically, but the Virrata is too soft and cushiony for me. I would have preferred a beefed up version of the Hattori. Considering the commercial success of similar shoes to the Virrata (like Newton's MV2), I'm sure many others will prefer the softer ride for long runs.

EDIT June 2013: I retired a pair of these after about 500mi. Like Kinvaras I owned before, the EVA sole under the balls of my feet gradually starts to compress which gradually caused the middle of the sole to push into my arch and irritate.
I raced my spring marathon (Rotterdam) in Saucony Grid type A5s, still my favorite street racers (excellent grip, response and breathability).
Toes pierced one layer of mesh but the upper mesh is still intact.
Won't be buying a new pair.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
Same light and comfortable as my old Kinvara 2 pair. Just a warning about the correct sizeing: I have listened to several reviews that recommended to go half a size bigger then usual Saucony size. Even Saucony's own "Show me how it fits ..." web tool recommends the same. Well both of those were wrong. I was size 8 for both Kinvara 2 and Mirage 2 and I am the same size for Virrata. I have initially order 8.5 size, but had to exchange it because it was way too big ...

**UPDATE** Unfortunately after only about 70 miles the middle layer mesh of the right shoe upper tear around the big toe area ... Returning it and probably be going back to Kinvara ...

**UPDATE 1** I have submitted my unfavorable review also on Saucony website - without asking for anything, Saucony contacted me and offered return/replacement ... Must say that I am impressed with their customer service.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
I've been running in Saucony Kinvaras for two years and have been very happy with them. However I decided to try out a pair of Virratas for road half marathons because of the extra padding. I was not expecting to like the Virratas so much. While the shoe is super light, I experienced no foot or leg discomfort in making the switch and my training pace became faster, although this could be for any number of reasons.

Instead of returning to my Kinvaras I think I'll migrate completely to the Virratas. The only slight negative in the Virratas is that the deeper tread picks up a lot more small rocks when running on dirt trails but that is to be expected and I wouldn't want the tread redesigned for that reason.

If, like me, you like your Kinvaras I think you will love the Virratas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2014
I have have multiple knee surgeries and had not really been able to run for about 15 years because I have pretty much no cartlige in my knees. I was recommended a chiropractor that specializes in sports med was amazing.

Most every place I went to get fitted for the right running shoe said to buy the $30 insoles (which I did). I went to locally owned running store that bought out about 6 different shoes for me to try. These felt like clouds! I was shocked!

Pros:
- Very reflective (I run about 4am and the streets are very poorly lit)
- Weight less than my bedroom slippers and feel just as good
- I DON'T NEED ADDITIONAL INSOLES WITH THIS SHOE! (Yup, dead serious. The insole in the shoe is PERFECT and my knees are fine after a 5 mile run)
- The price was almost half of what I would pay in the store

Cons:
- I didn't know about these sooner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
I've been using three different Saucony models for training, all of them in the range 220 to 240 grams per shoe. I've been using New Balance Minimus (about 185 grams) for racing 10K and shorter. When I saw these shoes I was hoping to get a lighter version of the Sauconys I use for training.

They were exactly that but at 180 grams per shoe. Compared to the Minimus the Virrate feel like a road training shoe in terms of cushioning. With the Minimus you feel the irregularities of the road and there's essentially no cushioning. Somehow Saucony managed to get to 180 grams but also provide the cushioning and stability I like in the other Saucony models I use.

They are zero drop so be careful to ramp up slowly for that if you are not used to it but this is likely the easiest and safest way to get there.

Highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2013
This shoe makes my running feel smoother and easier on pavement or on the beach.
Very affordable price. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2014
Tried these in the same size 10 that I use for my Kinvara 3s, despite having heard warnings about how much narrower they are. Well, I have to admit I *was* a bit worried when I first put them on...they DID look and feel noticeably tighter in the forefoot. Happy to say that the upper stretches out pretty quickly, and I was able to do 9 miles out of the box without any problem. They do feel like I'm getting a cleaner mid/forefoot strike and, more importantly, my footplant falls under/behind my center of mass more easily than with the 4mm drop Kinvaras.

My calves did feel a bit exhausted by the end, however...am thinking that these shoes might be best for speed, tempo, and hills up to about 6 or 7 miles for best results, but will continue to use my Mirage for long runs (10-26 miles) and gradually phase in the Virratas for my medium runs now and again to see if I can get used to the zero drop more and more.

I do miss the wider and more stable forefoot of the Kinvara, though I like the extra forefoot cushioning in the Virrata. If only Saucony would simply make a zero drop version of the ever-popular Kinvara, with that extra bit of forefoot cushioning!

UPDATE 4/23/14:
Have now taken the Virrata on long runs up to 14 miles, and am finding that for whatever reason, my legs are toast by mile 12 or so. But I definitely do feel my biomechanics being softer and more efficient with these shoes, so I will continue to use them, keeping my fingers crossed that my body will make the necessary adaptations to go all the way up to marathon distances with them, otherwise I will have to go back to my Altras.

UPDATE 7/08/14:
I have now run a marathon in the Virratas, without any problems...quite happy with them and have already bought a second pair, will probably buy a third as well. The upper really does expand to fit your feet over time, and the cushioning also settles down and becomes firmer and less spongy as well...with the zero drop, these are now my go-to, multi-purpose trainer! Hills, speedwork, long runs, easy runs, the Virrata does it all!

Changed rating from 4 to 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2015
These are some of the best training shoes I've ever owned. I've put a lot of milage on them at this point and plan on using them for some time to come. I made a leap of faith here buying the zero drop shoes and just hoping that things would feel good. After using them for many many runs at this point I feel safe saying these shoes give me the most natural feeling runs I've ever had. These shoes just seem to provide the extra support needed to run on concrete/pavement while allowing my feet to do what they do naturally without over correction for pronation or other things that are not actually issues to begin with. I'll only be buying zero drop shoes like this from now on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2013
Had run in Kinvara's for quite awhile and wanted to transition to a zero drop from the 4 drop Kinvara's. The Virrata fit the bill as it was lightweight and I had hoped it would hold up like my Kinvara's. The fit is spot on, toe box is is tight and overall it is very comfortable. I run between 4-6 miles a day and found these to be very comfortable and easy to break in. I ran about 4 days a week in these shoes. I ran into issues about a month in wear the outside sole started to wear extremely fast, much faster then anticipated. The toebox mesh also began to develop holes by my little toe. I only got about 2 months of wear before having to purchase another pair of Kinvara's, my quest for a more minimalist shoe continues. Maybe the new models will address the durability issues.
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