Saucony Mirage 5 Review Facts
Although the Saucony Mirage 5 is classified as a “guidance” shoe, you shouldn’t let that term fool you; this is not a bulky set of training wheels. What the Mirage 5 is in actuality is a lightweight trainer, perfect for runners who tend towards overpronation. Enough stability and cushioning are present in its design to guide you and encourage more efficient and safer running techniques without sacrificing any speed. As a result, runners looking to improve their running form and break some personal records at the same time will want to consider these Saucony trainers.
The outsole is comprised of two different rubber-like compounds; the first, Saucony’s XT 900 technology synthesized from carbon rubber material for the purpose of traction; the second, softer blown rubber on the forefoot region adding some extra cushion
and support. The result is a shoe that feels flexible at the front and stiffer as you get closer to the back. Consequently, the shoe provides only enough flexibility to allow your toes to feel the ground beneath you and enough cushion to prevent your heel from experiencing injury from repetitive impacts.
Through many different iterations and constant tweaks, Saucony’s proprietary POWERGRID technology manages to be 15% lighter and 30% more durable than traditional EVA foam, while still providing the cushion necessary for a good running shoe
. As a result of its lighter weight, a higher level of responsiveness is possible when wearing the Mirage 5’s. In addition to the POWERGRID midsole, an EVA+ compound has been used in key areas of the midsole construction. This material is also lightweight and includes an added layer of cushioning that is adequate yet unobtrusive. On the medial side is TPU (thermoplastic) unit which helps to correct overpronation, cementing the Mirage 5’s status as a literal training shoe.
The Saucony Mirage received a facelift in this fifth iteration with it’s new FLEXFILM upper, improving it vastly from the Mirage 4. FLEXFILM is Saucony’s answer to Nike’s FlyMesh technology; a seamless upper with no sewn overlays. This allows for a smooth, flexible, and comfortable feel, and the addition of soft breathable mesh aids proper air circulation on top. As a result, comfort and breathability are at the forefront of this upper’s design, all while maintaining an impressively low total weight. These features are perfect for fledgling runners who are still acclimating to a regular running routine and will help ease the pain that can come with the difficult transition from the couch to the track.
This latest version of the Mirage weighs a tiny bit less than its predecessor at just a hair over 8 ½ pounds. However, any difference in weight can make a significant difference, especially in training shoes where speed and comfort are paramount. The Mirage 5, and the Mirage series in general, is lauded for its extremely light weight. Saucony deserves major props for producing a shoe that can provide all the support and stability necessary for a decent training shoe without a cumbersome weight or size.
Possibly the greatest aspect of Saucony’s FLEXFILM upper is the highly breathable mesh material that’s found all throughout the shoe’s upper. Several tiny perforations have been evenly distributed in order to generate an effective cooling system for the entirety of your foot while wearing the Mirage 5. In addition to offering this high amount of airflow, the material also feels soft to the touch and doesn’t irritate the skin. However, due to the extremely light weight of these training shoes, high breathability wouldn’t be an issue for the most part as the lack of weight prevents the accumulation of strain-related sweat. It’s still a nice feature to have regardless, especially for runners in warmer climates.
In addition to the aforementioned breathable mesh, the interior of the Mirage 5’s upper is lined with material that demonstrates a similar softness. A removable insole is also include inside which not only maintains comfort but helps to absorb shock from repeated foot impacts. This is an excellent addition for beginners because even though the included insole will provide adequate support, the ease at which they can be removed makes replacing them with medical orthotics easier for those special cases. Finally, a "Run Dry" collar helps to lock the heel in place during a run. As the name suggests, this heel has the bonus benefit of wicking away moisture.
With its clean look and seamless contours, the Mirage 5 showcases a classic style reminiscent of vintage low profile sneakers. Providing an aesthetically pleasing image without being ostentatious, these Saucony shoes look terrific without crossing the line into gaudy. Don’t expect many color options, however; Saucony only offers 3. The options given aren’t terrible and make good use of color theory to provide choices in warmer and cooler colors. However, this is sure to bother some runners who are more fashion-oriented and may have difficulty coordinating their footwear with the rest of their wardrobe.
Durability is a mixed bag. On one hand, the Mirage 5’s XT900 rubber material used for the majority of its outsole is strong and resilient. On the other hand, the soft blown rubber on the forefoot tends to wear out and fray easily, at least according to some customers. This means that these Saucony training shoes have an inconsistent level of durability. Even if a shoe is partially durable, it’s only as strong as its weakest point. For this reason, the final impression of these shoes’ durability is a negative one. Unless you treat these shoes exceptionally well, you should expect to need a new pair of shoes within under a year of owning these.
Several protective measures have been implemented in the design of these shoes for the purpose of providing safety and comfort. Most notable of these is the Powergrid midsole that provides cushion at the same time that it encourages a more natural running gait. This is sort of the essence of the Mirage 5, since many of its protective features are meant to protect through the reinforcement of good running habits. Not to say that it doesn’t include any literal protective features, however; for one, the breathable mesh and Run Dry collar offer excellent moisture protection. Secondly, the ProLock lacing system protects against slipping by securing your feet comfortably in the shoes. Finally, a highly reflective upper helps to protect runners from accidentally being hit from a lack of visibility in low-light environments.
The manner in which the Mirage 5 mainly facilitates responsiveness is through the POWERGRID midsole and EVA+ foam. POWERGRID is a technology created by Saucony that works to absorb impact and evenly redistribute energy. This energy is then released outward and propels runners back into motion. The EVA+ platform is naturally bouncy and soft which helps add to the shoe’s responsiveness. The result is a shoe that not only provides an excellent return of energy with each stride, but also encourages good running habits by providing extra responsiveness with proper gait and pronation.
While there is no aggressive support system in place, the Mirage 5 carries the right amount of support needed for individuals with mild overpronation. Forefoot strikers will be very pleased with the extra support and cushioning on the front, despite the fact that the material used in this region of the shoe is much softer and more prone to degradation. Most athletic footwear manufacturers emphasize the heel area in the implementation of their support, often neglecting the front as a consequence. It’s should serve as some relief to know that Saucony did not do this and managed to successfully support both the front and back of the foot while wearing a pair of the Mirage 5. When combining this even support with a low offset, the result is a shoe that positively influences your running form.
The Mirage 5 is meant primarily to be used on lower intensity surfaces such as a road
. While these shoes do have decent outsole traction, the compromised durability present in the soft blown rubber forefoot can be a liability on rougher terrain, such as a trail or inclined surface. as a result, these shoes shouldn’t be used under such circumstances in order to maximize their longevity and effectiveness. Also worth noting is that these shoes aren’t waterproof, so you will want to stick to drier environments when running in them.
While the suggested retail price for this shoe by Saucony is a bit below the average, even lower prices can be found on Amazon with some digging. Evidently, there’s a considerable range of prices for the Mirage 5. This may seem unusual at first glance and the most likely culprit for this is the shoe becoming devalued by customers based on its limited durability. However, that can certainly come to your benefit if you’re looking for some cheap training shoes, as you can easily score a pair of these for under $100 with some due diligence.
The carbon rubber material used on these shoes’ outsoles are the same kind that are used on car tires. This ensures that they offer the same amount of traction required for running on the road. Saucony’s XT900 carbon rubber provides the shoe with the needed traction in the same way that a good pair of tires will keep a car on the road: with extraordinary competence.
The Saucony Mirage 5 maintains its flexibility through every aspect of its design. For starters, the FLEXFILM upper with a seamless and sew-free construction creates a very bendable upper that avoids any feeling of constriction. The POWERGRID midsole and the XT 900 outsole are constructed from malleable materials, albeit occasionally at the cost of support. Overall, the Mirage 5 is a shoe that accommodates a runner’s natural movement.
This is a neutral trainer with a neutral arch support encouraging forefoot to midfoot striking. As previously mentioned, the Saucony Mirage 5 works with your body to promote proper and efficient running habits. This in turn gives you a sense of natural protection as opposed to an artificial protection provided solely from the layers and layers of protection from a footwear equivalent to a set of training wheels. For this reason, stability is the bread and butter of the Mirage 5, cementing it as a proper “guidance” shoe.
The drop in elevation between the front and back of this shoe is around 4mm, giving it a superbly low drop. With such a low offset, runners can expect to utilize more of their calf muscles and less of their knees. This helps to minimize joint pain from inefficient running mechanics such as aggressive heel striking. On the other hand, for a runner not used to calf muscle engagement may need some time to adjust, as the muscle soreness can be killer for those first few days.
- Guidance shoe for overpronation correction
- Lower heel drop
- POWERGRID midsole provides support and responsiveness
- FLEXFILM upper with a seamless overlay
- Soft breathable mesh
- XT900 carbon rubber for traction
- Soft blow rubber on the forefoot for responsiveness
- Pro Lock lacing system for secure fit
Many runners have tried to improve their running form through the use of aggressively minimalist shoes over the past few years. Some have even gone so far as to forego shoes entirely, opting to run barefoot like a caveman. Unfortunately, our civilized society with its roads, litter, and other ground hazards presents some rather obvious and quite literal roadblocks to the minimalist running movement. The Mirage 5 can be considered perfect for novice runners who want a tool to correct their mistakes and facilitate proper running techniques without being overwhelming. It certainly doesn’t hurt that its overall lightness contributes to a higher top speed. With the unfortunate downside of diminished durability, the end result is a shoe that is ‘perfect’ for a short amount of time and in a limited capacity.