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Saucony Mirage Running Shoe Review

Posted on May 02 2011

Saucony MirageOver the past week I’ve posted reviews of two low-drop shoes from Saucony – the 5 mm drop Fastwitch 5 and the zero drop Hattori. Next up is the Saucony Mirage (disclosure – these were free media samples provided by the manufacturer). Of these three shoes, the Mirage is probably the most similar to the Saucony Kinvara, which I rated as one of my favorite shoes last year. The Mirage is clearly a product of the market success of the Kinvara (apparently the Kinvara was Saucony’s 3rd best selling shoe last year), and it targets a segment of the running community who might fear running in a soft, neutral shoe like the Kinvara (fears that I personally think are unwarranted).

Appearance

The Mirage is a solid looking shoe. I have the Black/Gray/Red version, and it is definitely one of the better looking shoes in my rotation (albeit not flashy). No issues for me here.

Saucony Mirage Side

Construction

In my opinion, the Mirage is essentially a beefed up version of the Kinvara. It has a more traditional and substantial upper, a larger heel counter, and a lot more cushioning around the ankle. The drawback of the upper is that it adds weight, but the benefit is that it should be more durable – I have seen a number of people complain about tears developing in the outer fabric of the Kinvara upper (this should be fixed by a new type of fabric in the Kinvara 2). Despite the beefier upper, the Mirage is still a fairly lightweight shoe, coming in at around 9.8oz in my size 10.

Internally, the Mirage differs from some of my other Saucony shoes in having a flat insole with no added cushion in the heel. The level of arch support is similar to the Kinvara, as is the overall fit. This is by no means a wide shoe, but it fits my average width foot pretty well.

Saucony Mirage Medial

The sole of the Mirage also feels somewhat similar to the Kinvara – they both use a relatively cushy type of EVA known as Progrid Lite. The major difference is that in the Mirage there is a small amount of medial support in the form of a curved plastic wedge underneath the arch – this can easily be seen (in black) in the image above. The added medial stability isn’t really all that noticeable to me on the run, but might make this shoe a bit less scary to those thinking about moving from stability trainers into a transitional shoe on the way to more minimalist offerings. In terms of heel-forefoot drop, the Mirage mirrors the Kinvara in being about 4 mm drop (without the insole). The one other difference when comparing the sole of the Mirage to that of the Kinvara is that there is a bit more rubber outsole on the Mirage – this may add a bit of added durability to this shoe.

Saucony Mirage Sole

Performance

I actually like running in the Mirage more than I initially thought that I would. I was concerned that the weight and stability elements would bother me, but they have not been that much of a problem. I think the fact that the sole feels very much like that of the Kinvara makes me feel at home in the Mirage, whereas the firm sole of the Saucony Fastwitch 5 was a bit of a turnoff for me (I’ve put more miles on the Kinvara than any other shoe over the past year). I’ve run as many as 15 miles in a single run in the Mirage, and have no major complaints. I probably will not be logging big miles in the Mirage going forward, mainly because I prefer less shoe, but it’s definitely a solid step in the right direction away from more traditional trainers.

Conclusion

The Saucony Mirage is a great choice as a step-down shoe for those who are looking to get out of traditional stability trainers and aren’t yet ready to take the plunge into something neutral like the Kinvara. It shares a lot of similarities with the Kinvara – similar drop, similar fit, similar feel underfoot, but is an all around beefier shoe in a number of ways. It’s also likely to be a more durable shoe than the Kinara. The Mirage would be a reasonable choice if your goal is to make a very slow transition to more minimalist offerings.

For an alternative viewpoint, check out this Saucony Mirage review by my friend Thomas at Believe in the Run.

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