Saucony’s Omni series is now into its 12th year of production and time has seen the Omni come in multiple guises and levels of stability. What was once a motion control shoe has now morphed into a hybrid that straddles the line between control and stability. For the Omni 12, Saucony incorporates full length Power Grid and reduces the weight of the shoe with an all-new upper.
I’ve been after Saucony for a test pair of Omni’s for a while now and when we got word that a pair of Omni 12’s were on the way, I was excited to finally see what was up with this popular shoe. When I opened the box, I found an exceptionally good looking shoe rendered in the flagship Saucony colors of black, red, white with flashes of silver.
On foot, the Omni 12 feels relatively light for this class of shoe. The straight last underfoot is echoed in the fit of the upper where I found a fitted heel and a roomy mid foot and a mid size toe box.
The big change for the Omni 12 midsole is the addition of Saucony’s full length Power Grid insert. If you’ve never seen it, Power Grid resembles the strings of a tennis racket and serves to reinforce underfoot support while adding a measure of responsive cushioning.
Saucony claims a 30% increase in cushion durability combined with a 15% drop in weight with the addition of Power Grid. The straight last is carved with an 8 mm heel to toe ratio in a nod to Saucony’s embracing of a less is more design philosophy.
Medially, the Omni 12 features a large section of dense foam, or posting, to help decelerate the inward roll of an over pronating foot. Laterally, the shoe has a fully decoupled SRC (Shock Reducing Compound) for a smooth lay down. The forefoot shows deep flex grooves laterally to free up the foot to move more to the outside.
Saucony has flared the midsole under the big toe to provide sure footing at toe-off. Underfoot, the Omni 12 utilizes high durability carbon rubber in the heel and under the medial arch while the forefoot gets the softer blown rubber treatment for added shock dampening.
Saucony has added Support Frame technology to the upper in the Omni 12 which lends external reinforcement to the traditional internal heel counter. The result is additional control at the rear foot area of the shoe. Internally, Saucony outfits the Omni 12 with a Hydramax collar liner that helps move moisture away from the foot and provide a welcoming rear foot environment for the foot.
The Omni 12 sports quite a few overlays on the upper of the shoe, no doubt with the intention of locking the foot onto the platform underneath. The overlays are rendered in a heavy material, and feature prominently on the medial aspect of the shoe.
Also included is Saucony’s trademark Arch-Lock mid foot saddle which ties in directly to the eyelet row. Medium weight white mesh makes up the remaining balance of the upper. Saucony is using the same thin, flat laces on the Omni 12 that they have on most other models. Finally, a redesigned, and lighter, ComfortLite sock liner rounds out the upper.
Since I’ve never had the opportunity to test any earlier Omni, I have to judge this shoe by its own faults and merits. The Omni 12 is, doubtless, a worthy entry into the stability shoe market. It combines a medium to high level of control with relatively light weight and an above average level of cushioning. I ran the Omni 12 on indoor track, treadmill and asphalt surfaces.
Initially, I was having trouble getting a secure mid foot fit and I finally settled on tying the shoes more loosely and wearing thicker socks to make up the difference. The problem for me is that while the Omni 12 has a medium width heel, it really opens up in the mid foot and renders the Arch-Lock nearly useless for my average width foot. The toe box is a bit more on the narrow side and I had no issues with it.
The overlays are a heavy material and seem a bit out of place for a modern day shoe. Also, they refused to lay down on my foot properly and instead buckled and creased at odd angles. I suffered no injury or blisters from this but it certainly did compromise the fit.
The midsole of the Omni 12 is really where the shoe excels for me. The cushioning is on the softer side of firm but never mushy or soggy. I also really enjoyed the reinforced area under the big toe as it adds a solid and secure foundation at toe off. The medial posting does a good job but I do wish the arch was a bit higher inside the shoe. Overall it performed as advertised in the stability department.
However, due to Saucony’s 8 mm drop straight last and filled in medial mid foot, the Omni 12 does look a bit like an ice cream sandwich when viewed from the medial side. The forefoot of the Omni 12 is pretty dense and I personally prefer a thinner and faster feel in the front of a shoe but it certainly isn’t a deal breaker.
Finally, I believe the Omni 12 to be worth a serious look for runners in the market for a legitimately stable, cushioned daily trainer. It is probably best suited for lower arched runners with a slightly wider than average foot.
We thank the nice people at Saucony for sending us a pair of Omni 12 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.