Saucony Cortana 3 Review Facts
Saucony is a well-known name in the running world, making a wide range of shoes for both racing and training. The Cortana line is part of a line whose goal is to mirror the Kinvara, one of their more popular shoes. The main difference is that the Cortana has more of an emphasis on cushioning and protection overall. It still remains pretty lightweight and has a decently low drop too. The Cortana 3 is the third model in the Cortana line, released in 2013. Even though it is a bit older, the Cortana 3 is a pretty good shoe still for those seeking a well cushioned and decently light trainer.
Cortana 3 has an outsole that is made up of a special blend of Saucony’s carbon rubber. Carbon rubber is a pretty standard option used by outsoles thanks to the fact that it is both very durable and resistant to abrasions, and also is pretty good in terms of grip. This contributes to making the outsole fairly effective at maintaining traction. Also, the outsole has a special blown rubber in addition to the carbon rubber. This is to provide some extra durability and a bit of cushioning and comfort to the shoe as well. Apart from this, the outsole doesn’t offer too much else. Overall, however, the Cortana 3 has a pretty good outer component, that is made up of good quality materials.
The Cortana 3's inner sole is made up of a special foam designed by Saucony, called PowerGrid. PowerGrid is featured in many of Saucony’s shoes, and reportedly offers around 20 percent more cushioning than other common foams used in shoes, like EVA. It does this through its grid design which allows it to redistribute forces during impact well. The PowerGrid foam is also fairly lightweight, which helps reduce the overall weight of the shoe. In addition to this, the midsole additionally contains a post, which helps keep the foot aligned with the center of the shoe, for some added stability. Finally, the midsole has some extra materials dispersed throughout which do some more in providing cushioning and reducing impacts. Overall, the midsole of the Cortana 3 does a good job in providing cushioning for the foot.
The Cortana 3 features an upper that using a material called FlexFilm Overlay. This material is another specialty of Saucony’s and is designed seamlessly. The FlexFilm is pretty good in the flexibility department, as the name suggests, and also is pretty breathable overall. Additionally, this FlexFilm upper features solid overlays, which help to stabilize the foot from above. A HydraMAX collar lining is utilized as well, which reduces water buildup and helps keep the inside dry and free of sweat and odors. Finally, the upper has a sock liner, which makes the inside of the shoe a bit more comfortable and protected. These components together make for an overall impressive upper, that does its job of stabilizing the foot while not reducing the flexibility or breathability of the shoe.
Weight is an important aspect of a running shoe. Lighter shoes
are usually a bit more minimalistic
while offering less cushioning. On the other hand, shoes that weigh a bit more are usually the opposite. The Cortana 3 weighs about 9 ounces, putting it on the lighter side, though it is not necessarily lightweight. Many shoes usually fall in the 10-12 ounce range, so the weight of the Cortana 3 is definitely a pretty good aspect of the shoe, especially when considering that it is still pretty well cushioned. For those willing to sacrifice cushioning for a more lightweight feel, a similar alternative is the Saucony Kinvara which weighs in at around 7 ounces and is similar to the Cortana in many regards.
Breathability is a very important feature that can help prevent sweaty feet, blisters, and odor, none of which are problems that runners would like dealing with. Because of the way the upper wraps around most shoes, it very often is the part that influences the breathability of the shoe the most. The upper of the Cortana 3 is made of Saucony’s FlexFilm material. This FlexFilm material is pretty similar to mesh, though not entirely the same. The FlexFilm has some holes in it that allow air to circulate through the shoe effectively, though it is not as breathable as a standard mesh design. This is pretty much the only component of the shoe that contributes to breathability, but overall it does a decent job. Breathability in the Cortana 3, though not amazing, should definitely be adequate.
Comfort is another very important trait to be diligent about with any new pair of shoes. The Cortana 3 is a pretty good in terms of comfort, mostly thanks to the upper and certain parts of the midsole. The upper is comfortable thanks to the FlexFilm material, the sock liner within, and the HydraMAX collar liner. The FlexFilm is comfortable thanks to its decent flexibility and breathability, which allow the feet to move and feel fairly unencumbered. The sock liner adds a bit of comfort within and makes the interior less abrasive. Finally, the HydraMAX collar helps wick away moisture and sweat, which is obviously beneficial to comfort. The midsole helps out through its cushioning mostly. The PowerGrid foam helps absorb shocks very well, which makes strides more stable and comfortable overall. Comfort as a whole in the Saucony Cortana 3 is pretty good as a result of the aforementioned traits.
Saucony’s stylings are generally pretty standard for their running trainers. They follow a more classic running shoe look, offering generally bright colors and designs, reminiscent of brands like Brooks
. The Cortana 3, in particular, is offered in several bright and eye-popping color combinations, like blue/viziorange or white/red/citron. The shoe itself is pretty decent looking, though its design is not exceptionally unique. The Cortana 3 looks good and has a nice variety of colors, but its design is pretty standard for a running shoe.
Durability definitely deserves careful consideration when looking at shoes. The durability in the Cortana 3 is pretty solid and stems from the outsole and the midsole primarily. The outsole contributes to the durability of the shoe with its special carbon rubber blend. As mentioned before, carbon rubber is a very durable material that is pretty good at resisting abrasions. The midsole contributes to durability with its PowerGrid foam once again. This foam is very good at keeping its initial shape, regardless of the number of impacts it takes, allowing it to extend the life of the midsole overall. The Cortana 3 is pretty solid in the durability department due to the features discussed in the midsole and outsole.
The two main proponents of protection in the Saucony Cortana 3 are the midsole and the upper, although the upper also contributes slightly. The midsole features several pieces that help cushion the foot and absorb impact. First is the PowerGrid foam, which does a great job of redistributing shocks and protecting the foot from hard strikes. Next, the post in the midsole helps direct the foot and keep it in a good position, which is also conducive to preventing injuries. Finally, the extra materials contained by the heel and throughout the rest of the midsole also help to cushion influence for the protection of the shoe as well. The upper offers protection with its good stability, stemming from the overlays. These overlays secure the foot well, and make the laces fit snugly and comfortably. This helps make the stride safer and makes the feet less likely to twist in unwanted ways. Finally, the outsole contributes a bit with its blown rubber, which adds a tiny bit of cushioning underneath the foot.
Responsiveness is very heavily influenced by the midsole. This is because the midsole is the part responsible for energy return, which basically refers to responsiveness. The midsole of the Cortana 3 is made of the PowerGrid foam. As mentioned above, the PowerGrid does well at cushioning. When it comes to returning energy, it is also pretty decent, though definitely not amazing. The PowerGrid is designed, like most foams, to spring back well, and for the most part it does a decent job at this. That said, there are definitely more responsive foams out there, though they probably don’t provide as much cushioning as the PowerGrid. Apart from this, there isn’t too much to promote responsiveness in the Cortana 3. As a whole, the responsiveness in the shoe is pretty decent.
The key areas that contribute to the support
within the Saucony Cortana 3 are the midsole and also the upper. The midsole supports the foot through the combination of the FlexFilm material and the synthetic overlays atop the shoe. The FlexFilm material wraps the foot in a flexible and comfortable way, while the overlays secure the foot down and give it some much-needed stability. This combination of stability and flexibility make for a very supportive upper. The midsole contributes once again with the ample cushioning of the PowerGrid foam. This foam, in tandem with the other materials in the heel and throughout the midsole cushion and support the foot quite well while running. The support in the Cortana 3 is pretty good overall.
As is the case with most common running shoes, the Cortana 3 is pretty well equipped for most commonly ran on terrains
. In particular, roads
, dirt, grass, and trails all should not pose much of an issue for the Cortana 3. Only on more intense terrains, where there might be reduced traction, might there be issues. Rain shouldn’t be a major hindrance either, if proper care is taken.
The Cortana 3 was somewhere between average and a bit pricey at release, but due to its age the price has significantly dropped. The price still varies quite a bit depending on size and color, but in general the shoe can be found for a pretty good deal. The Cortana 3 is definitely a solid buy, especially if you can purchase them at the lower end of its prices.
Traction refers to how well a shoe can grip onto different surfaces while running. This is pretty important for obvious reasons. The outsole of the Cortana 3 is the key spot responsible for this, and it does a pretty solid job. The carbon rubber blend in particular grips pretty well onto most running surfaces. Grip will probably be greatest on city terrains in particular, though it should still be adequate in more tame offroad settings. Once again, the traction will likely suffer in more extreme terrains.
Flexibility is usually heavily determined by the upper, due to its positioning and the fact that it encloses the foot. The upper’s FlexFilm material is the main affecting piece here. The FlexFilm material is quite flexible, as its name suggests, and allows for a good range of movement overall. The synthetic overlays ensure that the shoe is still stable too, making this flexibility safe and comfortable for the shoe.
The main stabilizing factors in the Saucony Cortana 3 are the upper and the midsole. The upper’s synthetic overlays come in once again, as they secure the foot and make for a good fit above the foot. This stabilizes the foot very well from above. The midsole contributes through its cushioning and also its directional post. The cushioning from the PowerGrid foam reduces impacts and shocks, which in turn makes for a smoother and more stable ride. The directional post helps stabilize the foot forwards, so as to prevent injuries and missteps. The stability in the Cortana 3 is pretty good overall.
The heel size on these shoes is pretty low, measuring about 6 mm. This is a bit on the lower end
for a trainer of this type, which typically gravitates to around 10-12 mm. That said, the drop isn’t egregiously low, and might be a plus for those who prefer lower drops. Overall, the drop, though slightly low, probably shouldn’t be an issue for most.
- PowerGrid midsole
- FlexFilm upper
- Blown rubber and carbon rubber outsole
- Synthetic overlays for added stability
The Saucony Cortana 3 is a pretty solid shoe overall. Despite being on the older end, it still has a lot to offer, and features good technology with a decently stylish design. For anyone seeking a pair of trainers for general purpose running that can be found at a relatively low price
, the Cortana 3 is a pretty good choice.