Updated: September 25th, 2011
Saucony Hattori Running Shoes Review
Saucony Hattori

Saucony Hattori

Full Name:Saucony Hattori
Category: Minimalist
Weight: 4.4 oz (125 grams)
Suggested Price: $ 80.00
Recommended For:Minimalist and barefoot runners looking for a daily training shoe, and all other runners looking for a training tool to strengthen feet.
  • Saucony Hattori First Impressions:

The Hattori is a very cool looking, low profile, eye catching shoe that reminded me aesthetically of Nike aqua socks. I found the Hattori to fit true to size, but some wearers have suggested sizing up a half size. In my opinion a shoe like this is supposed to fit snugly like a track spike to give you that “barely there” feeling. The first thing I noticed about this shoe is how simple it is. A mostly mesh upper with two velcro straps on a simple footbed of EVA foam. This shoe was also easier to slide on compared to other “barefoot shoes” I’ve tried including the Merrell Trail Glove and the New Balance Minimus Trail.

  • Saucony Hattori Upper Design:

Saucony Hattori Upper View

Saucony Hattori Upper View

Saucony saved a great deal of weight in stripping this mesh and synthetic suede upper down to it’s basics. Overlays cover the outside of the highly breathable mesh which adds a bit of structure to the upper but doesn’t lend much in the way of support. These overlays, called Exoskeleton Synthetic Lockdown, do hug the foot and even without the velcro straps fastened. The Hattori has a wonderfully wide forefoot, an absolute necessity in a barefoot shoe, which allows the toes to splay, grab, and function naturally in the shoe.

  • Saucony Hattori Midsole:

Saucony uses simple, yet effective, EVA foam to cushion the impact of running in the Hattori on the roads to some extent. There is really nothing in the way of stability features or support in the Hattori but Saucony did design a section of the outsole to give some medial/ arch support which was noticed and appreciated. The Hattori is extremely flexible and does not have any devices which get in the way of the pliability of these shoes. I preferred running in the Hattori on crushed gravel and grass surfaces as opposed to roads. However, the Hattori offered me plenty of protection during runs up to five miles on the roads without any after effects the following day.

The Hattori is a “zero drop” shoe which simply means that there is no height difference between the heel and toe of this shoe. Typical running shoes have 12mm of heel-toe drop , so those transitioning from a typical road trainer will want to transition into the Hattori slowly. Runners will likely notice calf tightness when initially wearing this shoe.

Saucony Hattori Lateral and Outsole

Saucony Hattori Lateral and Outsole

  • Saucony Hattori Outsole:

The Hattori has three carbon rubber pads placed strategically on the areas of the outsole that could see the most wear. As a mid-foot striker my pair showed some wear on the exposed EVA sections of the sole after only 20 miles. I haven’t read any reviews stating that durability is an issue but I would guess that the Hattori has a lifespan of approximately 200 miles of road running.

  • Saucony Hattori Opinion:

Again Saucony pushes the envelope with a cutting edge design, minimalist yet effective features, and an amazingly functioning shoe. The Hattori does not feel like a gimmick to the non-barefoot runner, but a fully idealized running shoe. I found myself enjoying taking the Hattori to the track for speedwork because it feels more like a track spike than my standard racing flats. What I most appreciated was the secure fit of the Hattori and the synthetic overlays give the upper and elastic feel that hugs your foot.

Saucony Hattori Ride

Saucony Hattori Ride

I initially assumed that the Hattori was designed to be worn barefoot and took them out for my first five mile run without wearing socks. I quickly developed two hot spots on the tops of my feet underneath one of these overlays. Wearing this socks immediately solved this problem and I found the Hattoris to be even more comfortable in this manner. Chalk it up to wimpy skin or that my feet sweat heavily, but I could not wear the Hattoris without socks.

If you’re looking for a barefoot running shoe that has the protection to wear on the roads I would highly recommend the Hattori. This shoe is an absolute joy to run in and is a fantastic combination of zero drop minimalism and some semblance of cushioning to protect from injury. At 4.4 oz it is the lightest barefoot style shoe on the market by several ounces (including Vibram five fingers) and will appeal more widely as a performance oriented shoe. As mentioned before, transition slowly into the Hattori as you may experience some soreness.

Review by Thomas Caughlan

We thank the great people at Saucony for sending us the Hattori for review. This didn’t influence the review of the shoe, written after running more than 50 miles in it.

Let us know what you think of this shoe in the comments!

  • Saucony Hattori Price Comparison:

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