The number of options of door-to-trail shoes continues to expand, and overall, I’m here for it. After all, a large portion of the trail running community isn’t running highly technical, vert-intensive goat tracks every day. I’m also here for Saucony’s movement into the space with the Saucony Ride 15 TR ($140).
Saucony has taken one of their bread-and-butter road shoes, the Saucony Ride 15, and added some key features — 3.5-millimeter lugged PWRTRAC outsole, robust toe bumper, and supportive webbing straps integrated from the midsole to the laces — to create the Saucony Ride 15 TR. This yields a really solid option for those running light trails, pavement mixed with smoother dirt, and gravel roads. This well-cushioned, neutral, daily trainer is an 8-millimeter drop shoe with a stack height of 35 millimeters in the heel to 27 millimeters in the toe. It’s relatively lightweight for the amount of cushioning, with an actual weight of 9.3 ounces (265 grams) in a U.S. men’s size 9. Of note, this shoe contains recycled materials and is vegan.
The Saucony Ride 15 TR is absolutely designed for miles of gravel roads like Waterton Canyon near Denver, Colorado, the farm roads of central Nebraska, and the crushed gravel rails-to-trails segments found in many states. Buffed-out, rolling, dirt singletrack requiring a mile of pavement to reach is also perfect for the low-profile lugs and softer ride. They are not ideal for highly cambered, technical steeps and slopes, or messy mud and snow, nor are they meant to be. I’ve enjoyed the shoes for mellow weather “daily constitutional” runs with only one issue — the toebox is rather narrow and low volume, which renders the shoe to the half marathon or less range for my preferred distance.
Saucony Ride 15 TR Upper
The protective mesh upper of the Saucony Ride 15 TR is quite breathable yet durable and dense enough to keep most dust and occasional trail debris out, even on windy days when taking a shortcut through a stubbly field. On the colder days, I found my toes got a little chilly, so I anticipate the breathability on warm days (which have been distinctly lacking in Colorado this winter) would allow adequate temperature regulation. The shoes easily dried within 24 hours on the few days I tested them in three to four inches of light snow.
Saucony FORMFIT is the design term for the hallmark snug fit of the upper in both the Saucony Ride 15 and Saucony Ride 15 TR. The security of the fit in the Saucony Ride 15 TR is enhanced with a medial and lateral webbing loop, interwoven through an overlay and integrated with the lacing. It is a very functional addition, which works well on the terrain for which the shoe was designed. Despite this feature and the substantial heel counter, which keeps the heel locked in and comfortable thanks to the well-padded ankle collar, it didn’t enhance the security on steeper, loose, cambered slopes. I purposely experimented with this on one of our foothills disc golf courses and on one trail littered with doll-head rocks. Whether that was the upper or the soft midsole creating the crazy foot-slide movements is unclear, but it did cement the fact that this shoe belongs on the gentler routes.
Overall cushioning and comfort are leveled up with the PWRRUN+ insole, which is about ideal in thickness for my thinning foot fat pads, though I wish it had a little more form to support the arch. The gusseted tongue is perfectly padded to keep any pressure from the webbing loop crossing over the flat laces from impacting the top of the foot. A gaiter loop is present on the distal lace near the forefoot, and the heel counter has a reflective webbing loop and ample flat space for gaiter attachments.
The final trail feature added to the trail version of this shoe is a protective and really well-designed rand and toe bumper that encompasses a strip around the whole forefoot. It might be overkill for a door-to-trail shoe, but I won’t ever turn this feature down. Were it not for the narrowness and low volume of the toebox, it would be ideal. As such, it creates a little extra pressure through the toes on downhills for my wider forefoot looking for room to splay my toes. Truly though, other shoe companies would do well to check out the density and suppleness of this protective feature.
Saucony Ride 15 TR Midsole
The Saucony Ride 15 TR midsole isn’t flashy or super high-tech, but Saucony did rework the formula slightly to create a lighter-weight, softer version of the proprietary PWRRUN foam found in both the Saucony Ride 15 and Saucony Ride 15 TR. I find the ride of the shoe to be something I don’t really think about, which is a very positive thing. It is neither too bouncy nor too firm. There is a smooth roll from heel to toeoff and enough protection for the gravel road and smooth dirt that I felt like I could run an easy to moderate pace or even throw in a few pick-ups or quicker miles without issue. The absence of a rock plate isn’t surprising, given the focus of the shoe, and the foam does a wonderful job of attenuating the ground forces. The Ride 15 TR is simply enjoyable for running some easy miles where terrain isn’t my focus.
Saucony Ride 15 TR Outsole
Saucony employs their low-profile PWRTRAC outsole on the Saucony Ride 15 TR, with 3.5-millimeter chevron lugs with some key areas cut out to lighten the weight and improve the flexibility of the sole. I think they struck the perfect balance of coverage to ensure good traction, protection, and ease of mobility. As mentioned, it’s a light trail type of shoe and definitely angled toward fair weather and surface conditions, but when I encountered some brief sections of mud or snow, I was no worse for it. I purposely avoid much pavement, but the durability of the rubber on the gravel and dirt I’ve been on is excellent. I have around 130 miles on the shoe so far, and my standard lateral aspect of the heel wear pattern isn’t registering on the outsole yet.
Saucony Ride 15 TR Overall Impressions
The Saucony Ride 15 TR is a well-designed door-to-trail shoe that offers a road ride with light trail security and traction. It’s not as secure and nimble over a wider range of terrain as the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 — check out our Nike Pegasus Trail 4 review — but it’s more cushioned than something like the Salomon Sense Ride 4 — and here’s our Salomon Sense Ride 4 review. The only thing limiting the use for a wide range of trail runners looking for this type of shoe is the low-volume, narrow-ish toebox. Otherwise, if you’re a gravel road or smooth dirt runner with gentle rollers, this is a worthy option to check out.
Call for Comments
- Have you run in the Saucony Ride 15 TR? How did you find it?
- What other road-to-trail shoes would you recommend?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
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