For a while, I’ve been flirting with the idea of training in zero drop shoes. The romance of it all seems to be there: neutral foot position, closer to barefoot, more zen, yadda yadda. The truth is, zero drop shoes are a useful tool, but don’t necessarily have to look like a piece of used tire tied to your foot by a piece of yarn. I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary review sample of the Saucony Virrata 2 for the very purpose of exploring this option.
The Virrata 2, to the naked eye, looks very similar to the Kinvara. It’s a low profile, lightweight, cushioned trainer that allows one to run fast while still maintaining a level of comfort. The Virrata 2 features a mesh upper, which Saucony describes as a “booty inner” layer that gives you a sock-like fit. The outsole is mostly foam triangles with blown rubber placed on the heel and toe. The aesthetics of the shoe are great, with a fast looking profile and great, reflective highlights. I wear a 10.5 in most shoes, and the Virrata 2 seemed true to fit.
I spent a little more time in this shoe than I do in many others because I found it difficult to get a handle on. Initially, I did not care for the upper on this shoe. It left my toes feeling very crowded and narrow in the toebox, but the inner booty seemed to stretch out after a few runs. I have always loved the Kinvara (namely the 3), and I was hoping this would be a zero drop version of that. However, it seemed to be much softer than my favorite performance trainer. It maintains the same lightweight properties, but with much less responsive of a ride at quicker paces.
Saucony states that the triangle shaped outsole is designed to provide traction, and I can’t deny that it served this purpose. However, a great deal of my mileage in these shoes was spent on Austin’s Lady Bird Lake trail, a spot where I do most of my easy miles. The trail is a mix of sidewalk and crushed gravel paths and these shoes were absolutely annoying in this setting, as they picked up gravel in the grooves of the outsole. Not only would I hear the rocks dragging on the ground with each foot plant, but I could also feel them being pushed up into my feet, forcing me to stop every mile or so to dig the rocks out. I don’t see this being a problem when worn on road or grass.
The Saucony Virrata is a lightweight, highly cushioned, zero drop trainer that could be incorporated for some quick miles. Some people may even reach for the Virrata 2 for longer races, but I see zero drop shoes as a way to teach my body to run more naturally in training, not as an end all, be all. I enjoy these shoes for easy miles, but will not reach for them as a standalone training shoe.
Stack heights: 18mm (heel), 18mm (toe)
Heel to toe drop: 0mm