Saucony Breakthru 3 Review Facts
The Saucony Breakthru line’s main goals have been centered around speed and responsiveness. The only thing that makes each version unique has been with the experimentation of a few technological tweaks here and there. For example, the Breakthru 2 combines XT-900 technology with IBR+ on the outsole, whereas with the 3rd version, it replaces XT-900 with TRI-FLEX technology. Both technologies achieve similar results but each differs slightly. Regardless, the Breakthru 3 does not deviate far from the larger concept of a shoe intended for speed, daily training, and racing.
Like its predecessors, the Breakthru 3 is a shoe that falls somewhere in the grey area of a minimalist and traditional shoe. This makes it a great choice for anyone who is looking to transition from a traditional support and stability trainer to a more minimalistic approach.
Saucony infuses two main technological components into the outsole. It incorporates IBR+ material and Tri-Flex, which is a design specification that enhances the shoe’s flexibility and increases traction. IBR+ is a rubber compound that can be found on the lateral edges of the shoe. Its purpose is to deliver extra cushioning for the bottom of your foot and enhance the midsole’s cushion layer as well. The heel area of the shoe contains hard carbon rubber whereas the softer blown rubber materials that make up IBR+ technology are found toward the front.
The midsole features EVERUN technology which provides a balanced distribution of cushioning throughout the shoe. EVERUN features a padded cushion layer that’s placed closer to the bottom of the foot. On the back, an engineered heel pad provides cushioning for this part of the foot. The midsole is constructed from EVA material, which is widely used among running shoe manufacturers. However, EVERUN technology adds an extra layer to its midsole unit, making it more dynamic than a typical midsole. It’s also more durable and provides a greater response.
The upper features engineered mesh for supreme breathability. It’s light weight and contains sizable perforations that make it possible for the entry of a good amount of airflow. The current mesh material is considerably softer than it was in the prior versions. It feels smooth and soft against the skin. The overlays are made from urethane, and Internal mid-foot straps are attached in order to provide for a snug and secure fit.
Weight has remained unchanged from the prior versions for both genders. The men’s shoe still weighs 8.7 oz and the women’s weighs 7.5 oz. There really was no incentive to reduce the weight any further as the shoe has always stayed relatively slim
. As a race and speed shoe
, weight is a critical factor in its success. Every aspect of the shoe has been designed with the goal of keeping it as light as possible. This includes everything from the use of IBR+ material on the outsole, which Saucony claims is 33% lighter than standard rubber, as well as the materials on the shoe’s upper, and midsole unit, all of which have been engineered to meet the shoe’s weight specifications.
A running shoe’s ability to breathe will be more important for certain types of designs than others. Considering that this shoe is meant for those that are driven by pushing their PR’s to the limit, a shoe’s ability to provide a constant supply of airflow is crucial. We know that heat is created from energy. As you run faster and faster, you are generating more heat and raising the internal temperature. It becomes essential that you have a cooling system in place in order to regulate high temperatures. Otherwise, you can look forward to blisters and all sorts of heat-related problems.
The Breakthru 3 has wide open perforations scattered throughout the top. They are actually significantly larger than perforations on other shoes. This tells us that it captures an aggressive inflow of air which then circulates the interior of the shoe, helping your feet to stay cool, dry, and comfortable. The large holes in the mesh also mean that the Breakthru 3 will be more suitable for dry and temperate conditions but it probably won’t serve you well in cold conditions
Interestingly enough, there is very little mention of “comfort” when it comes to the Breakthru’s marketing description. Now, we are not saying it’s not a comfortable shoe. It simply means that comfort is not a revolving theme in the way that responsiveness and weight are.
However, there are several elements that add for a more pleasant running experience. EVERUN does provide a more dynamic midsole which adds an extra layer of cushioning. The outsole does the same with the use of lighter and softer rubber material. More importantly, the shoe’s light-weight nature in itself makes for a more comfortable run. The less weight you’re dragging on your feet, the better it feels.
If you’re used to having a lot of options at your disposal then the Breakthru 3 is going break your heart. Color options are limited - very limited. There are only two styles available for the men: grey/black/citron and grey
(highlighted with specs of green). The women’s shoe also comes in 2 options: blue/mint and grey/purple/teal.
Despite limited color options, the Breakthru 3 has great looking structural aesthetics. There’s a modern simplicity through the use of its smoothed out contours. Its design format, along with its lower profile height, brands itself as a fast shoe.
In the same way that weight has been thought out through every design aspect of the shoe, durability has been approached through the same lens. From the outsole to the upper, and everything in between, the Breakthru 3 has been outfitted with materials that can remain vital through the life of the shoe. For instance, IBR+ on the outsole, despite its reputation as a softer rubber compound, is still characterized by its strength and helps to maintain the structural integrity of the outsole. On the upper, the synthetic overlays and the mesh material provide added durability to this part of there shoe. The same applies to the midsole through the use of a firmer platform that’s naturally more resilient and responsive.
The Breakthru 3 offers some of the same basic protections that a standard shoe offers with a few extras. The most significant protective component is the sizable heel pad on the midsole which offers a greater degree of cushioning and support for this part of the foot. It’s unclear as to why Saucony decided to dedicate additional protection to this part when the shoe’s design lends itself to disperse energy evenly. But it obviously doesn’t hurt to have extra heel protection and this could be a positive for runners who are in transitional stages between a heel and mid-foot strikes. Generally speaking, however, this is not a shoe intended to cradle your foot strike every length of the way.
As with most shoes, responsiveness is only generated through one region of the shoe - the midsole. In the Breakthru 3, it’s more of a system than a single source. Responsiveness is generated through the integration of the midsole’s material along with other parts of the shoe like the outsole which uses soft blown rubber to provide extra bounce and enhance overall responsiveness. In addition, Tri-Flex technology is marked by its ability to recycle energy by capturing it, dispersing it, and re-using it once again to launch a runner back into action.
The Breakthru 3 has a mid to normal arch support structure. Technically, the Breakthru 3 is a mid-height/mid-profile shoe but it’s slightly lower. So there isn’t as much in the way of lateral support and most of it resides vertically through the midsole platform. The midsole is slightly thicker and provides added areas of support to certain parts of the foot, especially on the heel with the use of the heel pad. In addition, the shoe’s structure, along with its aim to keep energy evenly distributed, means that a runner won’t need as much support as his/her landings will be more stable and neutral.
The Breakthru 3 is specifically intended for the road and track and is not waterproof. And with the wide open perforations on its upper, it certainly doesn’t make much sense to take these out in the rain. It’s a good shoe to wear in dry temperate conditions as opposed to cooler and wetter climates. If it’s dry, flat, and mild, then the Brekathru 3 will be in the perfect conditions to do its job.
Consider yourself lucky if you manage to pay under the $100 mark for the Breakthru 3. There really is no price fluctuation with this shoe, even on sites like Amazon or others where you would expect to see more competition. For whatever reason, Saucony has been strict about slapping on a flat fee for this shoe’s services. Regardless, the price tag seems to be a fair representation of what it has to offer. And an added plus about the price is the fact that it makes the shopping experience less stressful and more straightforward.
Tri-Flex technology has multiple functions. On top of generating an equal distribution of energy and delivering flexibility, it also acts as an absorbent. In other words, the rubber clings to the ground in order to provide grip and traction. IBR+ is a softer material and is mostly meant for cushion but some traction is still retained through this material as well.
Unfortunately, the shoe’s flexibility only ranks as subpar. It’s an area that could’ve been given greater attention considering that flexibility matters even more on shoes that are designed for speed and efficiency. The faster you’re moving, the greater mobility your body requires. If you’re hindered by your range of motion then that will impact your speed. It’s more of an issue with the midsole, which has been designed for responsiveness and durability. The midsole is firmer and stiffer and does not bend well. Some runners report that the shoe’s overall feel can be stiff and rigid, while heel to toe transitions can feel unnatural — all of which are issues associated with the shoe’s lack of flexibility.
As a shoe that falls in the middle of the spectrum between a minimalist and traditional, you can expect a mid-range level of stability as well. Your foot won’t be kissing the ground but it also won’t be taking any aerial shots of it high above the ground. Your foot is settled in a happy medium where you get enough stability to where you feel you have enough cushion, protection, and distance off the ground but still feel confident about being in a fast and light shoe.
The drop is another key feature of the Breakthru 3. In fact, the shoe’s 8mm drop measurement is imprinted on the back. The heel stack height measures 23 mm and the forefoot stack height measures 17 mm, resulting in the 8 mm drop offset. It’s significantly low but not as low as it is on more traditional minimalist shoes. Like stability, the shoe’s drop is appropriate for the shoe’s characterization as somewhere between minimalist and traditional. It encourages midfoot striking by keeping your body in balance.
• EVERUN technology for balanced cushioning and responsiveness
• Engineered mesh upper
• Light-weight construction
• IBR+ material on outsole for extra cushioning and smoother transitioning
• Tri-Flex technology for optimal grip and traction
• 8 mm drop offset measurement
• Designed for up-tempo running
If this entire review could be summed up in one word then that word would be “energy.” The Saucony Breakthru 3 is all about sucking up as much energy as it can and re-using it to fuel the runner back into speed. It’s enough to leave a runner confused as for where that energy is coming from: “is this extra boost from my breakfast
is it the shoe? It’s gotta be the shoe!” More than likely, it’s probably both. But the Breakthru 3 is giving carbohydrate sources
a fair game when it comes to which one of the two can produce the most energy. And consequently, this all due in part to the innovative creations from Saucony that have implemented a shoe packaged with speed and responsiveness in mind, while at the same time providing the running shoe essentials.