Saucony Hattori Review

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The Saucony Hattori is an innovative minimalist shoe. It's one of the lightest shoes available, but its sock style upper is not terribly comfortable. Sadly the Hattori has been discontinued, though it's still available. (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)

Saucony Hattori top
Saucony Hattori bottom
Saucony Hattori inside
Saucony Hattori outside

1 Cushioning, Running Economy, & Performance

The Science of Running Shoes indicates that some cushioning improves Running Economy, which will reduce the effort required to run. I found that the lack of cushioning in the Hattori clearly changes my running stride, and even though it's quite light, I was slower than I would be is a slightly heavier, but better cushioned shoe like the Asics Gel Hyper Speed.

2 Characteristics

  • Why you’d buy it. The Hattori is a candidate for somebody looking for a minimalist shoe with just a tiny bit of cushioning. Its main competition in this area is lighter and more comfortable Mizuno Wave Universe. On the other hand, if you're after something for running fast, then the Asics Gel Hyper Speed is only slightly heavier, but offers far more cushioning.
  • Cushioning . The Hattori is only 11mm thick, so it provides only minimal cushioning. This level of cushioning is not enough to provide the full improvement in Running Economy you'd get with a more cushioned shoe.
  • Drop. The Hattori is zero drop.
  • Structure. The Hattori is made of a single density of foam, with some groves to further improve flexibility.
  • Flexibility. The Hattori is nicely flexible due to its thinness, the midsole groves, and the gaps in the outsole.
  • Outsole. The hard rubber outsole overs the contact areas of the shoe, which improves longevity and grip, but adds to the weight and reduces cushioning. The outsole rubber used is a nice combination of hard wearing and grippy, and is fairly thick.
  • Shape. The shoe of the shoe is closer to the human foot than many designs, and while I prefer to cut open the toe box for comfort, it's not necessary with the Hattori. (I recommend cutting open the toe box of virtually all running shoes, with the exception of a few shoes like some Altra shoes. When you have some worn out shoes, you should try cutting open the toe box. I've found that it's a big improvement, allowing my toes to move naturally and engage for toe off, as well as reducing the possibility of blisters.)
  • Upper. The upper is extremely thin and slightly stretchy, with no seams. It's not as comfortable as a traditional design, but it's a lot lighter.
  • Tongue. The Hattori has no tongue, just a sock style upper.
  • Lacing. There are no laces, just a Velcro strap that can tighten the shoe across the top of the foot.
  • Heel Counter. There's no heel counter, though there is an extra Velcro strap at the back to adjust the fit.
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3 Cushioning and Shoes

It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.

4 Visualizing the Attributes of the Saucony Hattori

How Saucony Hattori compares showing rearfoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Saucony Hattori compares showing forefoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Saucony Hattori compares showing the price against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.
How Saucony Hattori compares showing the loaded drop against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.

5 Comparisons

Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.

5.1 Hattori and Mizuno Wave Universe

Comparing the Hattori and the Mizuno Wave Universe, the Universe wins out due to its lightness and comfort. The two feel surprisingly similar, but I'd choose the Wave Universe every time.

  • Similarities
    • Cushioning . Neither has much cushioning.
    • Flexibility. They are both nicely flexible.
    • Availability. Neither are easy to find.
    • Longevity. The extra outsole on the Hattori improves longevity.
  • Advantage Hattori
    • Drop. Hattori's zero drop is better than the Universe's small drop (3mm), but it's not a big difference.
    • Shape. Neither has a great toe box, but the Hattori is slightly better.
    • Price. The Hattori is sometimes available for less.
  • Advantage Wave Universe
    • Weight. Even though the Hattori is lighter than nearly any other shoe, the Universe is even lighter.
    • Grip. The Universe has more grip on asphalt.
Saucony Hattori top
Saucony Hattori bottom
Saucony Hattori inside
Saucony Hattori outside
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 top
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 bottom
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 inside
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 outside

5.2 Hattori and Asics Gel Hyper Speed

Comparing the Hattori and the Asics Gel Hyper Speed, the Hyper Speed is not much heavier, but offers a lot more cushioning and comfort. The Hyper Speed is less minimalist, but I'd only use the Hattori over the Hyper Speed if I was aiming to build up my foot strength.

  • Similarities
  • Advantage Hattori
    • Drop. The Hattori is zero-drop, the Hyper Speed is 6mm. (In a shoe that's as thin as the Hyper Speed, the drop is more noticeable than it would be in a Maximalist shoe.)
    • Flexibility. The Hattori is more flexible.
    • Shape. The Hattori has a better toe box, though it's not great.
    • Price. The Hattori can be found a little cheaper.
  • Advantage Asics Gel Hyper Speed
    • Cushioning . The Hyper Speed is a lot more softly cushioned.
    • Weight. The Hattori is a lighter (1.3oz/37g), but the extra cushioning makes the Hyper Speed faster.
    • Grip. The Hyper Speed has more grip.
    • Availability. The Hyper Speed is a little easier to find.
    • Longevity. The Hyper Speed lasts longer.
Saucony Hattori top
Saucony Hattori bottom
Saucony Hattori inside
Saucony Hattori outside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside

5.3 Hattori and Altra One

Comparing the Hattori and the Altra One, the Altra wins on cushioning and comfort, but the Hattori is a lot lighter. The two are not direct competition, but if you want something lighter than your current shoes, the Altra is well worth considering.

  • Similarities
    • Grip. Neither has much grip.
    • Drop. Both are zero drop.
    • Availability. Neither is widely stocked.
  • Advantage Hattori
    • Price. The Hattori can sometimes be found a lot cheaper.
    • Weight. The Hattori is a lot lighter, though the lack of cushioning means that the Altra might be a faster shoe to run in.
    • Flexibility. The Hattori is a bit more flexible.
    • Longevity. The Hattori lasts a little longer, but that's not saying much.
  • Advantage Altra One
    • Cushioning . The Altra is a lot more softly cushioned.
    • Shape. The Altra has a better toe box, though it's close.
Saucony Hattori top
Saucony Hattori bottom
Saucony Hattori inside
Saucony Hattori outside
Altra The One 2.5 top
Altra The One 2.5 bottom
Altra The One 2.5 inside
Altra The One 2.5 outside

6 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes

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If you're looking for "the best of the best" running shoe, here are my top picks. Of course, the answer will depend a little on what you're looking for, so I have recommendations for various categories.

  • Best All Round Shoe. The Altra Escalante is my current all-round favorite. It has plenty of cushioning for its weight, it has a very springy midsole, it lasts well, and it has a shape that's closer to the shape of a human foot than most shoes. It's a great shoe for any runner, including those Starting to run. It's also a fairly easy shoe to find due to its popularity.
  • Best Maximalist Shoe: If you want something massively cushioned, then I'd recommend the Saucony Kinvara 8. It's remarkably light and remarkably cushioned, beating Hoka at their own game.
  • Best Optimal Shoe: For those looking to trade cushioning for speed, the Nike Zoom Streak LT is my top pick. There are lots of great optimal running shoes, which provide just enough cushioning with light weight and minimal frills. The Streak LT doesn't have the best cushioning-to-weight ratio, but it has a shape that's closer to the human foot than most running shoes and it's one of the longest lasting shoes I've found. It's not as comfy as the Escalante above, but it's faster.
  • Fastest Shoe: If you really want speed, then check out the Nike Vaporfly 4%. It's light, massively cushioned, and has a carbon fiber plate. Nothing comes close, not even the now defunct New Balance RC5000‏‎ or New Balance RC5000v2‏‎. There are a number of caveats; it's really expensive, it's really hard to find, and there's a significant injury risk.
  • Best Minimalist Shoe: Merrell Trail Glove. I recommend the trail glove for road running in spite of the 'trail' moniker. It's not a fast shoe by any means, but it's comfortable and will last well.
  • All Terrain Shoe. I don't generally review trail running shoes, but check out the Hoka Mafate if you're after a shoe with remarkable abilities on a wide range of surfaces. If you want a Hiking Boot, then I love the Hoka Tor Ultra.
  • Honorable Mention: It's not really a running shoe, but the Vivobarefoot Ra is comfortable, minimalist and can more or less pass as a dress shoe. I've worn mine to weddings with a suit and they've not looked out of place. You can run in the Ra, but the leather means it doesn't breathe well.

For a more detailed on running shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.

Full Review

Brand Name Rating Recommended
price
Benefit Weight
(oz)
Penalty
(sec/mile)
Forefoot
Thickness
Heel
Thickness
Loaded Drop
mm
Cushioning Flexibility
Saucony Type A6 Review Saucony A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 7
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adidas Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 6
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Hoka Bondi Recommended $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 2
Hoka Clayton 2 Review Hoka Clayton2 Highly Recommended $150 9.1 8.3 12.9 23 28 1 7.5 5
Hoka Clifton 4 Review Hoka Clifton4 Worth considering $130 7.7 9.3 14.5 30 35 10 7.2 3
On Cloudracer Review On Cloud Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 7
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Mizuno Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 6
Newton Distance IV Review Newton Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 5
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review Asics DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 5
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Mizuno Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin 2 Review Saucony Endorphin 2 Worth considering $115 8.0 5.1 9.6 15 13 -1 4.1 8
Adidas Energy Boost Review Adidas Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 5
Altra Escalante Review Altra Escalante Best of the Best $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 6
Saucony Fastwitch Review Saucony Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 7
Topo Fli-Lyte 2 Review Topo Fli-Lyte2 Highly Recommended $100 6.7 9.1 14.2 24 26 3 6.1 5
Saucony Freedom Review Saucony Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 6
Skechers GORun 4 Review Skechers GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review Skechers GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 4
Asics GT 2000 Review Asics GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 2
New Balance Hanzo S Review New Balance Hanzo Worth considering $110 7.6 6.9 10.7 21 19 2 5.2 5
Hoka Hupana Review Hoka Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 4
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Asics Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Altra Instinct 4.0 Worth considering $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 5
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Asics Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 6
Saucony Kinvara 8 Review Saucony Kinvara 8 Best of the Best $110 9.3 8.6 13.4 26 31 3 8.0 5
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review Nike LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 6
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Hoka Mafate Best of the Best $170 7.6 11.9 18.5 39 40 4 9.0 1
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review Pearl N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Saucony Nomad Worth considering $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 4
Hoka Odyssey Review Hoka Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 3
Altra One 3.0 Review Altra One Recommended $100 6.1 8.8 13.7 23 23 0 5.4 6
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Asics Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review Brooks PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Salming Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 6
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review New Balance RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review New Balance RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 7
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Skechers Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 8
Nike RN Distance 2 Nike RNDist2 Review Pending $120 8.0 9.2 14.3 25 28 4 7.4 7
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review Inov-8 RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 8
Topo ST-2 Review Topo ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 7
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Hoka Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 0
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Nike Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 5
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 5
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Altra Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 4
Hoka Tracer Review Hoka Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 5
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review Merrell Trail Glove 4 Best of the Best $100 3.4 8.4 23.8 13 13 0 2.8 10
Topo Tribute Review Topo Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 6
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Mizuno Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
Nike Vaporfly 4% Review Nike Vaporfly Best of the Best $250 10.4 7.2 11.2 25 37 8 7.5 2
New Balance Vazee Pace Review New Balance Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 5
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Asics Zeal Worth considering $140 10.9 6.3 9.8 17 27 9 6.8 6
Saucony Zealot 3 Review Saucony Zealot3 Recommended $130 8.9 9.5 14.8 29 32 4 8.5 6
Nike Zoom Fly Review Nike Zoom Fly Worth considering $150 8.3 8.7 13.5 29 36 8 7.2 3

It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot, the Hoka Tor Speed 2, and the Inov-8 Roclite 325 hiking boots
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review, Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review, Asics 33-DFA Review, Hoka Conquest Review, Saucony Cortana Review, Puma Faas 100 R Review, Saucony Fastwitch Review, Nike Free Review, Asics Gel Lyte 33 Review, Skechers GOmeb Speed Review, Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review, Nike LunaRacer Review, Altra Paradigm Review.