Saucony Virrata 2 Review Facts
The Saucony Virrata 2 is an incredibly light and flexible zero-drop model that offers surprising cushioning and comfort despite its minimal design. Weighing in at just 6.5 ounces for a men’s size 9, this shoe appeals to runners who prefer a minimalist style shoe but still would like a small amount of support and stability feel with minimal arch support. Fans of the Saucony Kinvara line will find this shoe very similar, but with better cushioning and a more sock-like feel. Anyone in the market for a zero-drop, cushioned shoe should consider adding this upgraded model to their running shoe lineup.
The outsole is comprised of abrasion resistant rubber with a layer of XT-900™ in high wear areas of the sole unit. XT-900 is a very high-quality carbon rubber that is durable and also provides excellent traction. Unusual, somewhat triangular-shaped lugs on the outsole give the shoe its gripping ability on most flat surfaces. These lugs are placed in such a way to make the outsole very flexible. Some runners complained that the space between the lugs allowed for small rocks to get caught in the tread. Because of this, these shoes should probably not be used on rocky trails
or gravel roads.
The Virrata 2 features a full-length EVA midsole which is 18mm (0.7 in.) thick. This lightweight EVA foam provides most of the cushioning for the shoe which is unusual for a minimalist, zero-drop
shoe. The springy nature of the foam increases the return energy of every step which helps reduce overall foot and leg fatigue. The midsole is very flexible and responsive and great for neutral runners and those who prefer to run close to the ground. With a zero drop from heel to toe, the shoe is essentially balanced. This balance allows for a more barefoot style of running. The zero-drop feeling is not for everyone and runners looking to transition to a zero-drop shoe will want to do so gradually.
The upper of this one is made of flexible, lightweight mono mesh which allows for excellent airflow in and around the foot. The material dries very quickly if it does get wet. This upper is new for this version of the Virrata and most runners were pleased by the upgrade. Synthetic overlays stitched into material provide structure and a customized fit. A standard lacing connects to the overlays and allows the wearer to adjust the fit as needed.
An Internal Bootie Construction fills the interior and gives the runner a comfortable, sock-like feel. The “bootie” hugs the foot like a sock and provides comfort and moisture-wicking properties.
A HydraMAX™ material makes up the heel collar and prevents the inner fabric from absorbing moisture.
The Virrata 2 is a remarkably lightweight
shoe. Weighing in at 6.5 oz for men and 6.0 oz for women, this one is designed to be fast. Runners had a hard time going slow. Despite the light weight, the shoe still provides adequate cushioning and support.
The upper has been totally redesigned to offer greater breathability than the version previous to this one. The new upper mesh material is lightweight and soft and has better drying capabilities. The mesh allows more airflow throughout for a comfortable ride. Although the overlays cover some of the surface, they do not interfere with the shoe’s ventilation. Because these are very breathable, there were some reports of dust and dirt entering the shoe. The mesh also allows cold air in on colder days
Many wearers commented on the cushioning and overall comfort. The location of the triangular lugs on the outsole provide excellent forefoot padding. Because this is a zero-drop shoe, it promotes a forefoot strike while running. The 18mm EVA foam outsole may not seem like much compared to some shoes, but its flexibility allows the runner’s foot to move naturally and provides just the right amount of spring and energy.
Runners said the shoe has good ground feel without being aware of every pebble. The superb moisture-wicking properties of the material keep the runner's feet cool and dry which helps reduce the occurrence of painful hotspots and chafing.
Extra padding around the heel and ankle adds comfort and allows the foot to remain centered within the shoe. The moderately padded tongue distributes the pressure of the lacing system evenly across the top of the foot.
Some runners found the shoe to be narrow in the forefoot area which was not an issue with the previous model. Wide-footed runners may want to size up or pass on this version.
The Virrata 2 is a very streamlined and attractive shoe. It comes in many color options from classic to bright for both men and women. Runners should have no problem finding a color to their liking. The shoe features the Saucony
wave logo (representing the Saucony Creek's constant flow, for which the company is named) on the side. Reflective accents can be found on the back.
The Virrata 2 is a fairly durable shoe. It was designed for fast running which translates to a lot of miles of road friction across the outsole. The XT-900 carbon rubber covers the areas that receive the most wear, but the tread will degrade as the miles accumulate. The triangular-shaped lugs help with the durability and comfort, but can only take so much pounding. Most runners began to see noticeable wear around the 200-mile point. An overlay helps protect the toe. The redesign also provides better structure and fit. Extra padding in the heel collar and tongue contribute to the overall durability by keeping the runner’s foot tight and secure.
These are designed to be a road running shoe, but they could also be used on grass or mild trails. However, they are not meant to be used on rough terrain, because of the thinness of the upper and the minimal cushioning. The main protective feature of this shoe is the carbon rubber outsole, but the shoe is designed to ride low. The whole foot is held securely inside the shoe by the updated mesh upper, while the top of the foot is securely and comfortably fitted with the padded tongue. The overlay applied over the forefoot ads decent extra protection from road hazards. It also does a not job of rounding out the toe box.
Runners looking for a responsive shoe will not be disappointed with the performance of the Virrata 2. The outsole and midsole are very flexible which result in a natural and unrestricted stride. Some zero-drop shoes brag about a “barefoot
” feel, but that is not the case with these. Over a half inch of cushioning keeps the feet protected and secure. The foam is very flexible and carries the foot throughout the run. Runners were pleased with the “natural” feel and said they were able to push off quickly after making ground contact. The Virrata 2 is comfortable, yet flexible which allows it to adapt well to the demands of the runner. The redesigned upper provides a more secure feeling that allows the shoe to respond and move with the runner’s foot.
The Varrata 2 is in the neutral category of running shoes and best for those with medium to flat arches. The supplied sock liner is removable and runners can use their own insole or orthotic to make the shoe more comfortable. The EVA midfoot foam helps keep the runner’s foot locked and centered and also provides good arch support during the run. The mesh upper and thin overlays also provide support to the foot by enabling a secure and snug fit without feeling overly tight. The internal “bootie” also helps secure the foot inside the shoe. Runners not familiar with the feel of a zero-drop shoe may find experience tightness in the Achilles tendon area. Transitioning from a higher drop shoe to a lower drop shoe needs to be done gradually to avoid injury
These were made to take on the wide open road. The design of the outsole is constructed for running on hard surfaces and has great grip and traction to tackle steep hills. Mild trails and grass should be no problem for the Virrata, but there is no toe guard and the lugs on the outsole tend to collect small rocks. The shoe is not waterproof or dust-proof and runs along dirt roads may result in some dirty socks. If the shoes get wet, they will dry quickly, but runners should expect wet feet
This version of the model retails for around $90 which is a great price. Runners who shop online can probably find it for an even better price based on color and size. There are a few reports of these running small so make sure you can return the shoe if it does not fit.
The traction is described as good. Runners had no problems with slipping on paved surfaces, even when wet. The triangular lugs provide flexibility in all directions and offer good grip. Runners were able to power up steep hills and fly down equally steep descents without a good feeling of being in control.
Despite the cushioning in the midsole, the Saucony Virrata 2 is a very flexible shoe. Flexibility is a result of the design of the outsole; by doing a manual “flex test” and you can easily see that the toe smoothly bends backward. The midsole cushioning is also pliable enough to bend with each step, providing a reponsiveness as well from the first step to the last one. The mesh upper material works with the flexible overlays to create a highly adaptable shoe that still retains its structure as the runner moves down the road. The updated version provides a very soft and flexible ride which may not appeal to runners who prefer a stiffer feel.
Stability is not usually a common feature of a zero-drop shoe. These shoes are made for seasoned runners who have decent form
and are seeking to improve their times. With this one, the midsole cushioning provides fairly good stability not seen is similarly designed zero-drop shoes. The tight, yet comfortable heel aligns the foot in a neutral position while the midfoot cushioning supports the runner's arch for a stable ride. Heel strikers may find the feel a bit uncomfortable as the level platform promotes a forefoot strike. This is not a shoe meant for a beginner runner.
As already stated, the Virrata 2 is a zero-drop shoe. This means the toe and heel are at the same level. Most running shoes have a heel that is slightly higher than the toe. The stack height is 18mm throughout, making it level. A zero-drop shoe is said to provide a natural stride which may prevent running injuries. Studies of runners and their form suggest that a higher heel height is one of the main causes of many common running injuries. A shoe with a lower heel height discourages heel striking which is said to be the main cause of overpronation. Runners thinking of running in a lower heel height shoe should do so very gradually to let their leg muscles become accustomed to the new stride. Doing too much too soon can cause additional injuries.
Key Features of the Virrata 2
Key Features of the Virrata 2
- Full-length, 18mm EVA midsole for ample cushioning
- Abrasion-resistant rubber outsole for durability and traction
- Gel cushioning in rearfoot for comfort
- Interior, moisture-wicking bootie for fit sock-like comfort
- 0mm heel-to-toe drop for a natural forefoot stride
- Breathable and more comfortable mono mesh upper
- Very lightweight and flexible shoe
- Convenient removable sockliner
- Reflective accents for visibility
Virrata 2 is a great choice for experienced runners who want an affordable and durable zero-drop shoe that does not sacrifice comfort. The midsole cushioning offers protection from accumulating road miles as well as a responsive and comfortable ride. An improved upper adds comfort and more structure. This model is made from quality components that will help it last for many miles. The price tag also makes it a great value. The shoe can be used for long runs, short tempo runs, and any activity where the focus is on a fast finish time. These are a good choice for runners thinking of transitioning to a zero-drop shoe.