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Kasumigaura Marathon 2016

When \\\\\\\"blustery\\\\\\\" wasn\\\\\\\'t even the right word. Read the race report here!

31st Marathon and my 6th Consecutive GCAM. Race report here.

 

Saucony Freedom ISO

 

The above is an excerpt from the Saucony blog post about the Freedom ISO. When early photos of the shoe appeared on the Internet last year, the first all-EVERUN (topsole and midsole) shoe from the company generated considerable excitement. Now that the launch in Malaysia is imminent, and that I’ve put in more than 60K in them, it’s time to put out this review.

But first, the specs…

  • Full length EVERUN midsole and topsole.
  • Engineered mesh with ISOFIT.
  • Totally rad translucent Crystal Rubber outsole.
  • Significant toe-spring.
  • Support frame for the heel.
  • Blue-black-citron colorway for men, blue-citron for women.
  • Stack height of 19mm/15mm (heel/forefoot) for a 4mm offset.
  • 9.8oz for my US10.

The Freedom ISO (FISO) comes with a spare set of flat laces. I switched the blue ones out for the yellow purely for cosmetic reasons :) . The shoes look amazing out of the box, the design is one of simplicity. No superfluous overlays and strips. Even the traditional heel counter is absent, replaced by a single thin strip of plastic called Support Frame (a little more on that below). A one-piece engineered mesh upper is a little stretchy and its integrated lace loops complement the ISOFIT system. This iteration of ISOFIT has seen some refinement since the first Zealot, and I’ve not encountered any bunch-ups in all runs. Reflective elements are generous – on the tongue, logo and heel.

The wide tongue has some ribbing which cushion against pressure of the laces. So you can lace up for an even greater locked down feel. Since the tongue is integrated with the ISOFIT system, there’s no chance of it ever slipping.

In your hands, the shoes certainly don’t have the flyweight feel of a racing flat. Although weighing in at 9.8oz (a tad heavier than the Kinvara 8, TPU being heavier than traditional EVA), they’re still what majority will call lightweight. Employing a minimal approach on the upper has allowed Saucony to pare away the unnecessary “fat” and thus offset the TPU “weight gain”.

Flip the FISO over and you’ll see the very colorful take on the full-contact outsole. It’s not carbon nor blown rubber but a compound called Crystal Rubber. I wasn’t able to get more information on Crystal Rubber but it has a translucent look allowing the designers to go a little wild. It’s said to be just as durable, if not more, than the traditional rubber. The shallow lugs are still in TRI-FLEX configuration and the strip of hollowed out section reveals the EVERUN material.

As with the Kinvara 8 (K8), the Freedom is true to size for me. Nevertheless, it’s always good to try several sizes out at the stores. Step-in feel is very comfortable, and you do feel the 3mm layer of EVERUN topsole just under the sockliner. The upper and ISOFIT combines well and it feels like having thin socks with a slab of cushioning on. The stitching around the edges of the wide tongue were executed very well – there won’t be any rubbing around the edges for sure.

You don’t get nor feel much structure anywhere around the upper. Even the so-called Support Frame is not stiff, ultimately minimalist – more of a clip than a full-on heel counter.

At this point, you’ll probably be wondering how the Freedom ISO rides and how it compares to the K8 [reviewed here]. The curiosity is understandable, since both are within an ounce of each other, are light, versatile and have 4mm offsets.

Well, the FISO has more ground contact feel, what with its lower stack heights. Its cushioning is a lot subtler than the softer and bouncier K8. It’s there all right, but it’s not in-your-face. The FISO’s ride is firmer and feels more planted. Those expecting a mushy run will have to look elsewhere. You’d want to go fast in the Freedom.

Transition is silky smooth, offering an assured hold on the road, wet or dry. I’ve took them out in the rain, covered some sections which are pebbly and sandy and have come away pretty impressed with the Crystal Rubber material. It has an almost tacky feel like that of PWRTRAC, Saucony’s other outsole material.

I’ve not had any issues with the breathability in this hot and muggy climate as ours and as with the K8, my preference has been to go with thin socks. However, if your socks collection consists of the thicker variety, I’d suggest upsizing to allow for some room in the toebox area.

The FISO joins the K8 as my go-to shoes of late and both will be in my packing list for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon this July.

The Saucony Freedom ISO will be launched very soon, and will be available in Stadium and Running Lab stores as well as selected RSH outlets nationwide. They will retail at RM529. Do follow the Saucony Malaysia Facebook page (link below) for information about the Freedom’s launch and availability.

Disclosure: I am a Saucony Malaysia Ambassador but the opinions expressed above is based from my own personal experience and miles logged in the shoes. This review is in no way whatsoever influenced by Saucony Malaysia.

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