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Saucony Type A8 Review

These are best suited to high-speed races, but be sure you’ve put in a few training runs.
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Price:  $100 List | $99.94 at Amazon
Pros:  Super fast, impossibly light, stylish, extremely breathable
Cons:  Limited support, narrow design, less comfortable for longer runs
Manufacturer:   Saucony
By Ryan Baham ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 30, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 17
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6
  • Landing comfort - 25% 5
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Upper comfort - 10% 7
  • Breathability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Saucony Type A8 is one of the fastest shoes out there - so much so that it's almost solely a racing shoe. It's great to have around on race day. The thin, firm EVA midsole lets you feel the road and pads just enough not to interrupt your strides. It's also the lightest running shoe in our review and among the lightest on the market. And while you're out there setting the fiery pace, their engineered mesh upper does an unmatched job of cooling and airing your feet out. Short and mid-distance racers should seriously consider having a pair of these in their closet.

Updated Version Available

Saucony released the Type A9. See comparison photos below.

December 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Saucony Type A8
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $99.94 at Amazon$119.94 at Amazon$149.85 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$89.95 at Amazon$105.00 at Backcountry
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Star Rating
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Pros Super fast, impossibly light, stylish, extremely breathableFlashy, fast, extra comfortable upper and landingStable, super comfortable upper, breathable, stylishAffordable racing flats, more comfortable updated design, lightLightweight, cushioned forefoot, supportive, responsive, really comfortable stability model
Cons Limited support, narrow design, less comfortable for longer runsOn the heavier side, can feel too stiff, premium priceClunky, may wear down quickly, priceyLimited durability, less attractive, less responsiveSlightly pricey, bulky, glue may fail prematurely, limited arch support, may feel stiff to some runners
Bottom Line These are best suited to high-speed races, but be sure you’ve put in a few training runs.It doesn’t get much better than these plush speedsters.Best choice for a comfortable, stable distance shoe.Fast racing flats that will get you across the line in comfort.High cushion, low weight, excellent support, and great responsiveness makes this one of the best stability models out there.
Rating Categories Saucony Type A8 Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 Brooks Glycerin 17 Brooks PureFlow 7 HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 3
Responsiveness (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
Landing Comfort (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Weight (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
Upper Comfort (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Breathability (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Saucony Type A8 Nike Air Zoom... Brooks Glycerin 17 Brooks PureFlow 7 HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 3
Weight (oz per pair for size 11) 12.8 oz 22.3 oz 23.2 oz 20.8 oz 21.2 oz
Toe to Heel Drop 4 mm 10 mm 10 mm 4 mm 5 mm
Width Options Regular Regular, Wide, Extra Wide Regular, Wide Regular Regular
Style (Traditional, Minimalist, etc.) Traditional Traditional Neutral Neutral Stability/Maximal
Sizes Available 7 - 14 6 - 15 7 - 15 7 - 14 7 - 15
Upper Material Engineered mesh Mesh Synethetic Stretch weave 4-way stretch mesh/polyurethane
Midsole Material EVA Nike React DNA Loft BioMoGo DNA EVA
Sole Rubber Carbon rubber, iBR+ blown rubber Rubber Rubber Blown carbon EVA/rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

Type A9 Released


Since our test period, Saucony has released the Type A9. The updates appear to be minor and mainly relate to the 3D printed overlay of the upper. Compare the two shoes below; the Type A9 is shown first, followed by the Type A8 that we tested.


We are now linking to the more readily available Type A9, but since we've yet to test this shoe, the review to follow is still our account of the Type A8.

Hands-On Review of the Type A8


For those of us who ran track, we know what it means to have race day shoes, especially the sprinters. You have your spikes for the meet, and you only bring them out a few times to train, but you spend most of your time doing workouts in regular running shoes. That's how the Saucony Type A8s will be for most runners. They're a bit tighter than is comfortable and a bit less supportive and protective than is desired for hours of pounding out the miles. But for PR-chasing and KOM-hunting, you'll be hard-pressed to find a faster, cleaner shoe. They didn't win an award, it's true. That's because most of us just want to train and race in the same shoe, so overall landing comfort played a larger part in the selection of award winners, and these are a bit closer to the spartan side of things. Still, they're great for gazelles who can redline at the front for an entire race.

To get a better understanding of exactly how the Type A8s compare to the rest of the field, we broke them down across our performance measures and looked at other top running shoes to see which ones did the best. Take a look at the breakdowns below to see if you find what you're looking for.

Responsiveness


These kicks are extra lean, swift, and super sleek, but to get there, they had to make some sacrifices. One of those sacrifices was in responsiveness. Their firm Saucony Super Lite (SSL) EVA midsole does a fine job of returning energy, but because the shoe needs to be so lean, it's thin enough that you can feel every bump in the road. It also has very little in the upper to support or stabilize, instead relying on a tight fit to improve adherence to the foot. That works out for speedwork and pushing the pace, but it's not going to have the stability and responsiveness of some of the more robust stability models.

When it comes to responsiveness  you'll be relying on your feet to do the work. The thin slab of EVA primarily serves to protect your soles from rocks and pebbles.
When it comes to responsiveness, you'll be relying on your feet to do the work. The thin slab of EVA primarily serves to protect your soles from rocks and pebbles.

Landing Comfort


This is a shoe meant for setting race day records, not trotting around the block. You can expect them to be less plush, despite the Saucony Super Lite EVA foam midsole. The sole is pretty thin and firm, so the generally bouncy EVA foam doesn't do a ton to cushion your feet. Then again, that's not a bad thing for these because they're meant to lay down the pace and you don't want your steps to be muddied by a big pillowy stack of foam.

Weight


The Type A8 is one of the lightest mass-market running shoes available and one the lightest shoes in our lineup. It comes in at just 12.8 ounces per pair of men's 11. Saucony got the shoe there by running an extremely lean SSL midsole and keeping the upper even leaner. That means there's almost no padding in the upper or cushion in the midsole. That helps make it fast as hell, but you get very little in the way of support and comfort. Still, if you're trying to set a PR, especially on runs under 45 minutes, you'll benefit from these.

12.8 ounces in a pair of men's 11. That's pretty wild.
12.8 ounces in a pair of men's 11. That's pretty wild.

Durability


The Saucony's thin mesh and light build have vulnerabilities, but the shoe is pretty sleek, so those weakness are limited. For example, the midsole is already firm, so the concerns over losing performance is much lower than in shoes with fat stacks and lots of plush cushioning. In its upper, it uses FLEXFILM, which can improve durability by protecting the underlying layers from abrasion and other damage. The outsole is also girded by CT-900, a premium carbon rubber to improve longevity. If you leave this as a race-only shoe, you can expect it to last quite a while, but serious training will probably get you through a few seasons.

Upper Comfort


It's tough to find issues with the Type A8's FLEXFILM and mesh upper. It's just tight enough for a locked-in ready-to-perform feel. The mesh is like a second skin with ever-so-much support. The collar padding is just cushioned enough not to be absent but does its job. It's not spartan, but it doesn't get in the way. The only drawback is the tongue, which slides a bit, bunches, and will rub against the upper part of the ankle if your socks aren't covering the top of the foot-ankle-leg transition. But because these are lightweight racing flats, you should be expecting this passable level of comfort. If you're after extreme padding and plush comfort, you'll probably want to take a look at the heavier, less nimble shoes.

Breathability


These us a super thin, light mesh that breathes. The only thing keeping them from unmatched breathability is that the inside outer has a 3D print that's impermeable. Yet, it's one of the highest-scoring models for this measure. Even its heel is permeable, using open mesh to improve the breathability. The engineered mesh upper is already really thin, but the openings are also pretty wide, so there's a lot of aeration happening. The reduced upper padding also limits unwanted insulation and moisture collection, leading it to the top of the measure.

These are among the most breathable shoes out there  so they're excellent for hot weather.
These are among the most breathable shoes out there, so they're excellent for hot weather.

Value


Their going price is a fair ask for lightweight speedsters that rank among the best race day rides on the market today.

Conclusion


The Type A8s is absolutely one of our favorites, especially for speedwork. Like the Top Pick for Lightweight Racing Flat Brooks Hyperion, they're super close to track shoes. That's a bit of a double-edged sword, though, because they're top-end performers on the high-octane days where you're redlining the route, but on your low-tempo or maintenance days, they're not as comfortable or supportive as you'd like. But the Sauconys is the lightest in our lineup and are unmatched on short courses. If you're after a super lightweight speedster and a low profile and excellent breathability, we think you'll benefit from having a pair in your closet.

These felt really fast and they were fun to run in and get the sideways looks from across the road.
These felt really fast and they were fun to run in and get the sideways looks from across the road.


Ryan Baham