Saucony Ride 17 Review
Whoever has the job of naming running shoes—which, let’s be honest, sounds like the best job ever—hit the nail on the head with the Saucony Ride.
What’s one of the first things you notice when running in a new pair of shoes? Maybe it’s the feel of the midsole cushioning underfoot. Perhaps it’s the ease of heel-to-toe transitions, or the ability to handle different paces. All of those aspects are what we consider when describing the shoe’s ride.
While the Ride franchise has undergone lots of updates to improve the fit and feel, it’s prided itself on offering a smooth, versatile ride since its first iteration in 2008. The Ride is what we like to call a “Goldilocks shoe.” It’s not too firm, nor too soft. It’s not too cushioned, nor too minimal. It’s just right.
Saucony Ride 17
|8.4 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)
|Stack height (heel/forefoot)
|35 mm/27 mm
|Brooks Ghost 15, ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25
Ride 17 midsole gets a makeover
If you didn’t get a chance to binge-watch ABC’s Extreme Makeover during the height of its popularity in the early 2000’s, you can make up for it by enjoying the completely made over Saucony Ride 17.
Okay, maybe the Ride didn’t get plastic surgery or a new wardrobe, but it did get a brand-new midsole made with PWRRUN+ cushioning.
The previous iteration of the Saucony Ride featured a PWRRUN midsole, but gave runners a taste of their premium PWRRUN+ cushioning in the sockliner. It’s safe to say that a full PWRRUN+ midsole is definitely an upgrade.
So, what’s the difference between PWRRUN and PWRRUN+ cushioning? Simply put, PWRRUN+ is softer and lighter. It's made from PU (polyurethane) rather than Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), and is formed at a lower density.
If you feel like you’re back in science class, don’t worry. There won’t be a quiz! All you need to know is the PWRRUN+ foam makes the Ride 17 feel softer and bouncier than previous versions.
“I took the Ride 17 on my first workout back post-marathon, a 5-mile Fartlek run,” says Caroline. “I noticed right away that the Ride 17 feels softer than the Ride 16. This shoe has a really nice balance of soft-to-firm cushioning that served me well on my workout. I have been very spoiled with plated speed shoes, so this was the first time in a while that I wore a daily trainer for a workout. They felt so smooth that I actually forgot I was wearing them and was totally immersed in the workout—a great feeling!”
While the shoe can handle some faster paces, it’s categorized as a daily trainer and not a speedwork or race-day shoe. Reviewers have been enjoying it for more relaxed runs as opposed to structured workouts.
“The Ride 17 is really comfortable on the run,” says Kate. “I’ve been choosing it lately for my easy and moderate runs, which are mostly in the 6 to 8-mile range. It’s smooth and easy to run in, but not going to give you any special advantages like a race shoe or a max-cushion model.”
Redesigned upper garners mixed reviews
While discussing the Extreme Makeover of the Ride 17, we can’t forget about the upper. The Ride has been updated with an all-new, engineered-mesh upper. The new material offers more breathability in the forefoot, more security in the midfoot and a locked-down fit in the heel.
“The Ride 17 upper offers everything you’d expect in a modern daily trainer–it’s plush and comfortable with some sporty ventilation,” says Nate. “I have wide feet and I felt like the forefoot was plenty roomy.”
However, three of our medium-width reviewers found the forefoot to be a bit too roomy.
“The toebox is pretty voluminous for me, and the material even buckles a little when I tighten the laces down,” Kate says.
“The Ride 17 feels true to size, but it is slightly roomy from a width standpoint,” says Victor, Fleet Feet’s Senior Director of Vendor Management and a special guest reviewer for this shoe. “However, it doesn’t feel sloppy. I would recommend the Ride 17 to runners that are borderline between a standard width and wide width.”
If you aren’t sure about the width of your feet, be sure to head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.
Saucony Ride 17 vs Saucony Ride 16
Saucony Ride 17
Saucony Ride 16
8.4 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)
7.8 oz (W), 8.8 oz (M)
35 mm/27 mm
35 mm/27 mm
The Saucony Ride 17 still offers the same smooth ride as its previous version, but the upgrade to PWRRUN+ cushioning creates a softer, bouncier underfoot feel. This makes the shoe feel more versatile, according to our reviewers, because it can be used for a variety of distances and paces.
“The Ride 17 has a hefty base of cushioning for long runs, but it’s firm enough to tackle some uptempo workouts,” says Caroline. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it responsive or energetic, but when I’m doing speed work the last thing I want is to have my feet sinking into the cushioning and then digging myself out. The Ride’s balanced firm-to-soft ratio eliminates that concern.”
While the PWRRUN+ midsole foam is lighter than the PWRRUN foam used in the previous version, the Ride 17 weighs more than the 16. The weight difference ranges from about a half ounce in the women’s model to a full ounce in the men’s. However, reviewers didn’t notice a difference on the run.
“If you like the previous version of the Ride, you are going to like this version,” says Mandy. “The biggest change I noticed was a lot more spring and bounce in the midsole. I did a couple of walk-run intervals and one fartlek workout in the Ride 17 and changing paces felt very easy and smooth.”
How does the Saucony Ride 17 compare?
We took a look at some comparable models to see how they stack up against the Saucony Ride 17. Here’s what we found:
Saucony Ride 17
Brooks Ghost 15
ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25
8.4 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)
8.8 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)
8 oz (W), 9.3 oz (M)
35 mm/27 mm
25 mm/13 mm
37.5 mm/29.5 mm
The Saucony Ride 17, Brooks Ghost 15 and ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25 are all their respective brand’s moderately cushioned, neutral daily trainer. They offer a similar feel, save for a few differences in the fit of the upper and the soft-to-firm ratio of the midsole.
“Because this shoe is on the firmer side of neutral daily trainers, I found it similar to the Brooks Ghost, which always struck me as a firmer neutral trainer,” says Caroline. “However, the introduction of PWRRUN+ cushioning adds some softness, which is on par with ASICS’ FF BLAST PLUS cushioning.”
All three shoes offer a firmer feel in the heel contrasted with a flexible forefoot, making heel-to-toe transitions a breeze.
Who is the Saucony Ride 17 best for?
Last year, we listed the Saucony Ride 16 as one of our best beginner running shoes, and we stand by this recommendation for the Ride 17, too.
As we mentioned above, the Ride 17 is a versatile shoe. That means it can handle different types of runs, making it a great choice for new runners who are just starting their shoe rotation with a single pair of running shoes.
“Because this shoe has such smooth transitions between walking and running, it would make a great beginner shoe for those focusing on run-walk intervals,” says Mandy.
Thanks to ample room in the forefoot, we recommend the Ride 17 to runners and walkers with medium-to-wide feet. Again, if you’re not sure about the width of your feet, get an expert fitting at your local Fleet Feet!