Saucony Guide 5 General Info
The Guide 5 is Saucony’s most popular shoe, and for good reason: the model provides a great fit and a comfortable ride at a good price. In its latest iteration, the Guide 5 has shed weight, increased cushioning, and most importantly, shed the heel drop to a slender 8mm.
The end result is a shoe which provides balanced and subtle guidance without hampering a runner’s stride. The shoes stay light and comfortable on long runs, creating a great experience in which the wearer can feel supported while still able to move naturally.
By reducing heel drop, Saucony made their most popular shoe even more fun to run in — adopting a more neutral platform while still supporting the foot. Their efforts created a lighter, more responsive stability shoe.
Saucony Guide 5 Impressions
At the risk sounding hyperbolic, I found the Guide 5 to be a truly fantastic shoe. As many shoe manufacturers are moving to revamp models based solely on trends, Saucony sought subtle improvements to the Guide series in its latest incarnation.
By making the newly-introduced eight-millimeter heel drop the focal point of the redesign, Saucony makes genuine improvements to the Guide that can also bolster better running form for its wearers. By shedding weight, lowering the heel drop, and improving the model’s flexibility, Saucony included major advancements that may not be flashy but make a difference where it counts. These subtle improvements create an experience which is greater than the sum of their parts—providing a fit and feel of a light trainer without losing the guidance and support of a stability shoe.
Overall, the Guide 5 provided excellent support for my long and short runs post-marathon. While it was initially difficult to get back into the running mindset, having the physical support provided by the shoes helped fatigued and sore muscles get limber and active once again.
The supportive ProGrid LITE midsole cushioning and impact zones provided welcome comfort without becoming obtrusive, allowing me to move and adjust my stride without hampering my style or overcorrecting my foot placement. Much of the shoe’s unobtrusive feel could be chalked up to the balanced ride from the reduced heel drop—having a more even surface made my feet feel free to land naturally without any overcorrecting from the shoe.
Another boon to the Guide 5 is the comfortable material found in the sockliner and upper — these elements felt smooth on the skin on top of both cotton and technical socks, and the upper never felt heavy despite being thick enough to stand up against rain debris.
As a small yet telling detail of Saucony’s attention to detail, the Guide 5 features flat shoelaces which I never saw previously, but began to love due to their easiness of use and lack of slippage. From top to bottom, the Guide 5 is a solid shoe that has only improved in its latest incarnation.
Saucony Guide 5 Sole Unit
In keeping with the general aesthetic of the shoe, the Guide 5 has an outsole that provides an excellent, no-frills experience which focuses on providing an excellent grip on the road, track, treadmill, or trail.
The outsole rubber is fairly flat, making it well-suited for multiple surfaces. Don’t be fooled by the flatness of this feature, however, as it provides excellent traction under wet or slippery surfaces. By not overloading the outsole with extra rubbers in unnecessarily-deep grooves, Saucony kept the Guide 5 light, practical, and performance-oriented.
From a cushioning and guidance standpoint, Saucony’s ProGrid LITE foam provides a reliable and familiar ride for Saucony wearers, and a pleasantly unobtrusive experience for newcomers. The dual-density SSL EVA foam provides a comfortable level of cushioning and rebound after impact—helping the shoe feel springy without providing too much bounce. Of particular interest is the shoe’s impact zones, which provide extra support for the most common landing and push-off areas of the foot. The impact zones, like the rest of the midsole, seek to improve foot comfort and rebound without forcing movement.
As the name implies, these elements seek to guide the foot, but do not force the runner to alter his or her stride greatly. These efforts are supported by the shoes’ new heel drop: though the lower drop may startle some, the end result is a pleasant ride that helps the foot move more naturally without a drastic change.
Saucony’s story of the summer was the introduction of their new, lower heel drop. Slimming down from twelve to eight millimeters created a shift which takes the physiological elements of minimal running and applies them to runners who prefer a guidance shoe. In doing so, the company helped ensure that runners of all strides are able to take advantage of advancements in shoe design. Having a balanced platform makes a difference in a guidance shoe — the Guide 5 allows runners to feel secure and supported within the shoe without being forced to move the foot in any specific direction. This is a tremendous step forward, and though it may take some getting used to for guidance-shoe purists, the experience should be generally positive.
Saucony Guide 5 Upper Unit
As far as the upper is concerned, the Guide 5 features a comfortable ankle collar, which is not only soft but also of an unobtrusive height. As a frequent sufferer of Achilles blisters from too-high collars, the Guide 5 provides a welcome respite from this problem. Even if a runner finds the collar to be higher on this shoe than other pairs, the HydraMAX collar lining would provide a tremendously soft experience which would help prevent blistering.
Throughout the entirety of the midsole is Saucony’s Comfortride sockliner. This was among the greatest features of the shoe, as it provides a truly comfortable experience during runs of varying length and intensity. Although my feet were sore post-marathon, I never felt uncomfortable or suffered blisters on my feet. Considering I was breaking in new shoes so soon after a long race, I was very impressed by how comfortable the experience was; even my go-to shoes (Kinvara 2) take more time to break in than the Guide 5.
As a final, yet appreciated detail, the flat shoelace design helped keep knots in place without loosening, becoming untied, or slipping while running. Previously to the Guide 5, I had not come across this design on a stability shoe; its inclusion was certainly appreciated.
Saucony Guide 5 Opinion
The Guide 5 provides an overall experience that I not only appreciated, but truly loved. In an industry where hype and gimmickry can overshadow true craftsmanship and attention to detail, the Guide 5 bucks the trend.
The shoe is devoid of gimmicky materials, overhyped promises, or overpriced materials. As a result of this, the wearer is left with a shoe that does its job incredibly well—all of the focus is on the run, and not the technology.
Saucony walked a fine line while updating the Guide model, shed weight, reducing heel drop, and improving on a fan favorite without changing things too drastically. While the shoe’s lower heel may come as a surprise to some, it did not provide for a radically different experience.
The Guide 5 provides a dependable, comfortable experience for runners who seek stability as well as responsiveness. Dropping the shoe’s weight and heel-to-toe drop facilitated this aim, and in turn, created a new incarnation of a shoe that provides a great running experience under any set of conditions.
We thank the nice people at Saucony for sending us a pair of Guide 5 to test. This did not influence our review, written after running more than 50 miles in them