Th Freedom ISO has been on the market since last Fall and since then I’ve logged a lot of miles in them. It features Saucony's full length Everun sole material. This TPU foam seems quite similar to the Adidas Boost material. TPU is made of Polyurethane. which is normally heavier than EVA. Polyurethane was used back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in running shoe outsoles (EVA was the midsole material) but lost out because of its weight. BASF, the supplier of TPU, found a way to make a light and active Polyurethane material that really performs well.
It is the first Saucony model to have a complete sole out of this material. All previous Saucony models just had a small layer of this material adhered to EVA or similar. And this can be felt in this shoe. What a sensation! It feels light, responsive, and super cushy. It feels so cushy to me that it feels almost like a Hoka Clifton. But not completely. If the Clifton feels like running on marshmallows – to a degree you don’t like – try this shoe out.
It is built on a 4mm-drop platform, from a 19mm heel to 15mm forefoot. The outsole is transparent, but don’t underestimate the durability. It gives you more miles than you would expect.
Saucony promotes this shoe as a very active high energy return shoe. This might be for some, not for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love this shoe, but I used it on faster runs and I just find them too soft. I started using them as my long slow distance run shoes and for that purpose I enjoy them like no other Saucony ever. But the energy return thing doesn’t resonate with me as it well may for others. This might be due to the fact that I run a lot in Newtons which I find much less forgiving then these Saucony Freedoms.
The new sole material is not the only feature of note. In fact, probably unintentionally, Saucony built a near-perfect triathlon shoe for those with a neutral gate. Add heel and and tongue loops and you’re there. As Pearl izumi and Zoot are terminating their triathlon specific models, here is the heir apparent. Any shoe maker can add two loops.
What makes this shoe so ideal to be a triathlon shoe? First the lack of any plastic heel cup. There is none, nothing there other than the fabric supported by a firmer fabric frame. This gives just about enough support (to me, at least) so that the heel stays upright. At first this feels weird, like a slipper or flip-flop, nothing there at all. But the lack of that traditional heel cup means it's super easy to put them on without any restriction. With a heel loop it would be even faster. It makes them also completely blister proof in the heel area.
But there is more, yes, Saucony improved its ISO Fit upper. On the Freedom ISO the upper is close to a sock design with the ISO Fit “fingers” wrapping your feet like a glove. It is light, breathable and ultra soft. Run these babies with some elastic laces and you have one of the most comfortable and versatile triathlon shoes ever made. Run in them with the regular laces and you have one of the nicest lightweight running shoes on the market.
Of course, no shoe is for everyone but there is very little wrong with this shoe. To be honest, I just can’t say anything negative about this shoe.
Who are the target customers for this shoe? Midfoot strikers with a pretty neutral running gait. Heel strikers that need a bit more support need to be careful, because it is not a very stable shoe. It's just 9oz for a men's size 9, and without the traditional supportive heel cup. Saucony runners who appreciate the Kinvara or Zealot will love this one.
The one negative is the price. For a lightweight trainer this is a bit steep at $160 or €180 in Europe.
The Saucony Freedom Iso Comes in different men's and women's versions.