Saucony Guide – 4 vs 5 – 8mm Drop

After running a full cycle in the “new” Saucony Guide 5‘s with the 8 mm heel to toe drop, I feel like I can give an accurate and honest review of the changes of this shoe.  First off, the new Guide’s LOOK really cool, although this is the last thing we are supposed to consider when buying a shoe, let’s be honest, it kinda matters.

I have been running in Saucony exclusively other than short 5K type races since 2006/2007.  Due to my size and forefoot strike, I have to change out my shoes approximately every 300 miles or 3 months.  I really like to get 3 months out of a pair of shoes if possible but that is usually pushing past the 300 mile mark.  So let it suffice to say that I am familiar with the Saucony line, particularly the Ride (Pre-Michael) and the Guide (Post-Michael – Don’t ask how my foot changed so much from having a baby but that’s not the only thing that changed so C’est la vie).

The Guide 5 is by far the most attractive pair of Saucony’s I have ever owned.  It’s actually nice to be sporting a pair of “cool” shoes for once.  🙂  This new version with the 8 mm heel to toe drop is also 1.5 oz lighter.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it is a noticeable difference.  I notice it when they are on my feet and I had both pair in my hands last night and the Guide 5s were considerably lighter than the 4s.

The Guide 5s also fit like a glove.  It was love at first fit for me when I slipped these on my feet.  They are soft, much softer than the previous versions and they feel more airy like the Nike’s that I just love.  Great fit in the store, great fit on the run!

Although I was initially impressed with all the new changes, these shoes broke down quickly.  And I mean very quickly.  I ran the bottom off these shoes by the time I broke 200 miles and that’s just not cool.  I ordered a new pair from Running For Kicks once I hit 220 miles because my body was telling me it was time to switch them out; however, since the shoe has won so many awards and has a massive ad campaign in progress, it seems the shoe’s popularity has soared!  Therefore, I had to wait 3 weeks for these shoes to come off the backorder and be delivered to the store.  In the interim, I panicked ordered a limited edition of the Guide 5 from another source but have yet to receive those either.  However, here is a peek at these beauty’s which I will be sporting with my girls at 13.1 Miami Beach!  We decided to coordinate with pink & black and these babies will look pretty cool with our color scheme. 

So just this week my ankle, feet and hips started aching backordered Guide 5’s arrived at Running For Kicks.  I immediately picked them up and got to hit the trail with them last night.  I certainly didn’t go far as I have some nagging aches that I need to kick in the ass evict before the Miami race; however, I was able to catch up with my F’N Runners for a bit.  Good looking group showed up in the rain, if I do say so myself!    From Left Back:  Susan, Cathie, Wayne (newbie!!), Dawn, Kathy, & April.  Left Bottom:  Nicole C, Jeni – Sparkalish Roar, Meg & Nicole W (April’s Daughter!).  Not pictured:  MagMileRunner, Diane & myself.

I ran 4 miles with this crew before bowing out to go home to Amstel Light Motrin & the last remaining sample of the Arctic Ease wrap.  Although the Arctic Ease is not as cold as ice, it is certainly more convenient than icing when you have a toddler don’t have time to sit down.  They are temporary though, I had a larger covering that I had purchased at the Chicago Marathon expo and when I went to pull it out, it was moldy.  This has happened with other wraps I have had too.  They don’t last real long but are certainly handy. 

As I was self medicating making dinner, I started to think about the difference between the Guide 4’s and 5’s, knowing darn well that the fact that I ran too long in the current pair of Guide 5’s was the reason for my new aches/pains.  This prompted me to dig out my old shoes which I have been using to commute back and forth to work.  Since the Plantar Fasciitis issue, I haven’t worn a real pair of non-running shoes for quite some time, so I live in my Saucony’s.    The Guide 5’s are on the left, the Guide 4’s on the right.  You can see the wear is so much worse on the 5’s with 285 miles verses the 4’s with 330 miles.

Forefoot of the Guide 5’s:

Forefoot of Guide 4’s: 

In my opinion, it is conclusive that the Guide 4 wore much better than the Guide 5.  That being said, I still think the Guide 5 is a better shoe in all aspects but I find it unfortunate that I will be getting even less wear out of the new version that I did previously.  Is it worth it, probably yes but still not good for my bank account. 

Do you buy the same shoe each time and know exactly how the updates affect your body? Any shoe you can tell us about that specifically made noticable changes to the good or bad?

Happy Running,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz


11 thoughts on “Saucony Guide – 4 vs 5 – 8mm Drop

  1. Since I started wearing real running shoes (two years ago), I’ve worn the Brooks Adrenalines (two versions, although I don’t really remember the first), the Asics 2150 (found the 2160 to be too cushy) and the Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7s. I’m probably going to need a new pair of shoes soon, and I know the Adrenalines and the Nirvanas have been updated, so I’m curious how the new ones compare. But I always go in as kind of a “blank slate” when getting new shoes. I like trying on other brands/styles/etc (based on what’s recommended for my feet) to see if what I’m wearing is still the best for me, or if something better for me has come out.

    • I always go in with an open mind too but after trying on every pair in my size/style range several times, it comes down to the fact that my heels are too narrow to fit in most shoes so that locks me into Saucony. Which is fine but occassionaly it would be nice to try a different brand. 🙂

  2. Interesting post. Not very convinced about that “300-mi” replacement rule and I normally get 500-mi out of my shoes. You might want to respond, ya and your injured, but the injuries come more so from overuse from running too much, too soon, or too far for too long, without proper recovery or heeding the “little” signs from aches that if, ignored, lead to more serious injuries. Shoes or worn-out shoes are usually not the ultimate culprit unless you wearing the wrong type of shoe in terms of pronation (i.e. stability vs neutral).

    Looking at the wear on your shoe all at the mid and forefoot does offer something to consider. If you getting that much wear on a shoe at 300 miles or even less, then I would suggest to check your bio-mechanics for evidence of over-striding. When you extend stride-length beyond your optimum the more you will temporarily “brake” as that fore-foot and shoe plants to the pavement or asphalt. That “braking” motion alone could result in excessive wear that is apparent, but also the cumulative effect of those impact forces can readily account for aches and pains and such you mention.

    So, it’s not necessarily a shoe that has to be replaced, but possibly an adjustment in gait might help. There are experts that can help with gait analysis and see if you have a tendency to over-stride. That excessive wear given the mileage suggests it might be a factor, unless you are also using those run shoes as street shoes at the same time?

  3. I am a Saucony girl too and could immediately tell a difference between the 4s and 5s. The 4s have a narrower fit. To me, they aren’t quite as “comfy” as the 5s. I had a similar issue with wear, after about 100 miles the heels were worn down significantly more than normal (yes, I am a heel striker). Love your pink ones!

  4. You know me… I’ve got the same shoes. First Saucony’s in years (loyal to Asics!) and I just love them!! I actually wore my Asics the other day and couldn’t believe how odd they felt.

  5. It would be interesting if you had included a photo of the heels of the 4s and 5s, to get a sense of the amount of wear in that area. Could it be possible that the 4 has more wear in the heal, while the 5 has more in the forefoot due to the drop from 12mm to 8mm?

    • I’m not a heal striker so I actually have very minimal (if any) wear on the heels of either version. I forefoot strike. In fact, I wear the “old” shoes for work due to plantar fasciitis issues and I am currently wearing the 5s from this post. Just looked and after running, then walking in them for months, my heal wear looks non-existant. I’m not a good example for the “heal” wear question but I will look at the 4s when I get home.

  6. Pingback: The Heel to Toe Drop Debate…… | TooTallFritz

  7. Basically you are a mid to forefoot striker in a neutral or cushioned shoe. the new 8mm drop of the shoe has no affect on you. the affect of the once 12mm drop Saucony shoe to now all Saucony at 8mm only pertains to heel strikers. i will always be a heel striker. i am part of a group that is approximately 75% of the running community. my calf does not hold up in an 8mm drop shoe. i will not use Saucony because their science they are pushing on the heel and heel to midfoot stike population is nonsense. I am happy for you (no sarcasm) that you are an mid to forefoot striker and only need worry about forefoot wear. i will give Saucony a couple years until they return to a 12mm drop heel to forefoot.

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