|Full Name: Saucony ProGrid Mirage
|Category: Lightweight Support
|Weight: 10 oz. (280 gr.)
|Suggested Price: 100 $
|Recommended For: Runners in search for a lightweight, minimalistic shoe with support
Saucony ProGrid Mirage General Info:
For some, the Saucony Mirage will represent the marriage between a light weight minimalist trainer and a well cushioned supportive shoe. Other running shoe models, such as the Asics DS Trainer, the now defunct Nike Elite, and the Adidas Adizero Tempo, have attempted to be the shoe that combines light weight cushioning and support into one do-it-all running shoe and some have succeeded better than others. For me, the benchmark for a great shoe in this category has always been the Asics DS Trainer, a shoe that feels like a racing flat with the durability and support of a trainer. However, what Saucony has succeeded in doing with the Mirage is to create a concept with the all of these elements and added the ride and transition of a racing shoe. Based on the last and construction of the Saucony Kinvara, the Mirage also uses a very low (4mm) heel to toe drop and Saucony’s new Progrid Lite cushioning foam to create a shoe that will appeal more widely to those of us with slight pronation concerns. Weighing in at just under 10 oz. for my size 9.5 the Mirage is ready for uptempo training, long runs, and even works well on trails. Over the course of roughly 200 miles this shoe was tested on roads, crushed gravel paths, trails, and through the snow.
Saucony ProGrid Mirage First Impressions:
Saucony continues to enhance the fit of their performance oriented shoes and my first impression of the Mirage was that the shoe hugs the foot throughout the heel and midfoot section. The toe box offers ample room and width and allowed my foot to function naturally. I found that the Mirage does run a tad larger than other Saucony models, although I was still able to wear my regular size 9.5D and appreciate the extra room in the toebox. I would not suggest buying a size down unless you like your shoes especially snug.
For those of you who haven’t tried some of these new foam cushioning composites that Saucony is using, I would highly suggest trying either the Kinvara, Mirage, or Peregrine. The cushioning seems to maintain its buoyancy and not compress over time as many EVA foams have done in the past, while weighing half of their outdated counterparts.
Saucony ProGrid Mirage MidSole:
The Mirage features a moderate level of support via a “Supportive Arc”, a piece of high density flexible plastic that runs through the back third of the shoe. I was initially very skeptical as to the efficacy of this support but found that as I increased the length of my runs in these shoes they continued to hold up and keep my feet protected. I also found that this support mechanism was flexible enough to enable me to run on trails and uneven footing without the risk of turning an ankle.
As stated earlier, this shoe has a mere 4mm differential from heel to toe which may take some getting used to. Comparably, most of the running shoes topping the market today have heel-toe drops in the neighborhood of 12-14 mm. What this means to any runner looking to make this transition is that you will experience running more on your toes or midfoot of your foot. In doing this you will experience tightness in your calves at first. You may be asking why a shoe company would want to change the status quo. First of all , a natural barefoot stride has a 0mm differential and having this low drop helps us run in a more natural midfoot striking manner. Secondly, and the reason I like best, when you train in a low drop shoe and then switch to a racing flat your calves don’t go into shock for the next week following a race.
Saucony ProGrid Mirage Outsole:
Saucony utilized a solid outsole on the shoe which is a fairly unseen practice in the running shoe industry. This type of sole improves traction and doesn’t pick up all kinds of rocks and mud that most shoes do. The outsole is made of a durable carbon rubber that will hold up for many miles.
Saucony ProGrid Mirage Upper:
Rather than relying on the same fragile upper of the Kinvara, Saucony chose to utilize a more traditional mesh upper on the Mirage which was proved to be much more durable and kept dust and debris at out of the shoe. This light dual density mesh that was very breathable in warmer weather (the warmest temp this shoe was tested in was 78 degrees Fahrenheit), but kept my feet warm in temps under 30 degrees. The inside of the shoe features a sockliner and a moisture wicking heel collar designed to keep your feet dry over the long run.
Saucony ProGrid Mirage Opinion:
The Mirage performed just as I’d hoped when I first put them on out of the box. Lightweight cushioning that felt both firm and responsive, a touch of support to get me through long runs on tired legs, and a simple upper that is both breathable and non-abrasive. Rather than thinking of the Mirage as a Kinvara with support, try them on and form your own opinion. To me, the Mirage is an entirely different shoe possessing the responsiveness of the Kinvara with a more traditional running shoe feel and more protection. I have really enjoyed running in this shoe and it has made it’s way into my daily rotation of go-to shoes.
In my humble opinion, the philosophy behind a shoe like the Mirage represents the future of where the running shoe industry is headed. Despite most buyers favoring the plush cushioning of neutral trainers, approximately 75% of them exhibit some pronation in their gait. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they “should” buy a supportive shoe, however most of them do not run enough to develop proper form and foot striking patterns, nor are they willowy gazelles with 5% body fat that can get away with landing improperly for 500 steps per mile. The Saucony Mirage represents a performance oriented shoe that will work well for the “every man” as well as the elite runner.
However, running shoe trends shift very slowly and most weekend warriors continue to be guided into shoes with giant heel cushioning and dual density midsoles offering possibly too much support. The Mirage represents where the running shoe industry is going and will eventually look like in five years time. Companies such as New Balance, Nike, Pearl Izumi, and Alta have seen the light and have deviated from the industry standard by creating shoes that allow the foot to function within the shoe rather than rendering it impotent. Saucony has chosen to combine the most exciting elements of this shift in shoe design, specifically a low profile design with a low heel drop, lightweight foam compounds that retain their resiliency and bounce throughout the life of the shoe, and unobtrusive uppers allowing the wearer to appreciate simplicity and the function of the human foot.
Review by Thomas Caughlan
We thank the nice folks at Saucony for sending us this shoe to try. This did not influence our review of the shoes, written after running more than 200 (!!!) miles in it.
Let us know what you think of this shoe in the comments!
Saucony ProGrid Mirage Price Comparison: