Runners who want one shoe that can do it all are spoiled for choice at the moment. As running brands invest their research budgets into finding foams that are lightweight and responsive enough to race in but still comfortable enough to train in, more and more terrific all-round options are cropping up.
The Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo and New Balance FuelCell Rebel stand out as brilliant all-rounders, and the Brooks Launch 6 offers a great alternative for under £100. But even amid this fierce competition, the Saucony Ride ISO 2 stands out as a compelling option, especially for runners who prefer a softer ride.
The comfort of the shoe is apparent from when you first lace up. The padded tongue and ankle collar, ISOFIT upper, and FORMFIT sock-liner and footbed all combine to help the shoe mould to your foot so it holds it in place securely and comfortably. The toe box is wide and the fit around the midfoot is a little more secure than on the Ride ISO.
I don’t tend to have much trouble with running shoe uppers, but if you’ve had a problem with rubbing or an uncomfortable fit in the past, the Ride ISO 2 is well worth trying.
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Fortunately, for the sake of its name, the Ride delivers when it comes to its ride. It’s soft when you want to run easy, and smooth and springy when you want to up the pace. It lacks a little responsiveness in all-out speed sessions on the track or short races, but it’s well suited to longer tempo runs and half or full marathons.
The Ride ISO 2 is a great shoe, then, and the only problem it really has is how it stacks up against the best all-round running shoes. It’s not as fast and bouncy as either the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 or the New Balance FuelCell Rebel, and given that the latter costs the same as the Ride ISO 2, the Rebel would be the shoe I’d lean towards if you were looking for an all-rounder that could shine on race day.
However, if comfort is more of a concern, or you’re a heavier runner looking for an all-round shoe, the Ride ISO 2 may suit you better. It’s softer than the Rebel and more enjoyable to wear on long, easy efforts as a result. Beginners building towards a first marathon might well appreciate that comfort, especially as the Ride ISO 2 would make a great race-day pick for 42.2km as well, and if the first edition is anything to go by it’s a reliably durable shoe as well.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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