Saucony Virrata 2 Review
The Virrata is a light weight, minimal drop shoe with a nicely flexible sole at a reasonable cost. I've been impressed with the level of comfort the Virrata provides, and I highly recommend it. It is similar to the slightly better but more expensive Altra One , the discontinued Mizuno Cursoris and the more expensive Altra Torin. (Note the Virrata 2 is virtually identical to the original Virrata.) (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.)
- Why you'd buy it. The Virrata is a nicely cushioned, lightweight shoe. Overall, I prefer the Mizuno Cursoris and the Altra One, but the Virrata is easier to get hold of and quite a bit cheaper.
- Cushioning. The Virrata is moderately soft; not as soft a Maximalist shoe, but it's quite comfortable for long distances.
- Drop. The Virrata is a zero-drop shoe. The Virrata tapers gently from the ball of the foot to the front and the rear of the midsole is very slightly cut away. There is a rise under the arch and the ball of the foot is cupped.
- Structure. This shoe uses single density of foam.
- Flexibility. The Virrata is a nicely flexible due to the grooves in the bottom of the midsole.
- Outsole. There is almost no outsole, just some small patches under the big toe and rear of the shoe. Most of the bottom of the shoe is exposed foam, which reduces weight at the expense of longevity.
- Shape. The Virrata is the classic shape that does not match the human foot, and narrows excessively in the toe box. I found that I had to cut the toe box open to prevent toe problems. (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 reasonably thin, and while it's not flexible, it's quite comfortable and hard wearing. The upper has excellent padding around the ankle opening.
- Tongue. The Virrata is a hybrid between a classic tongue and a "sock style" tongue. I found that it behaves like a normal tongue other than staying in place much better, which is excellent. The tongue has good padding.
- Lacing. The flat laces work well and remained tied.
- Heel counter. The heel counter is quite strong, and comes as far up the back of the heel as is normal for running shoe.
This review was made possible by readers like you buying products via my links. I buy all the products I review through normal retail channels, which allows me to create unbiased reviews free from the influence of reciprocity, or the need to keep vendors happy. It also ensures I don't get "reviewer specials" that are better than the retail versions.
2 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.
3 Visualizing the Attributes of the Saucony Virrata
Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.
- Mizuno Cursoris is similar, but the Cursoris foam is a lot softer, and the Cursoris has one of the best toe boxes of any shoe I've tried.
- Altra One is also softer than the Virrata, but it's also not as hard wearing. The Altra is a better shape than the Virrata.
- Adidas Energy Boost is another light weight, softly cushioned shoe, though not as light weight as the Virrata. The Boost has a much higher heel which I believe can increase the risk of excessive heel strike, but it has impressive longevity.
- Altra Torin is so similar that when I wore a Virrata on one foot and a Torin on the other I found I could feel only minor differences in the sole. However, as the two shoes age the Virrata becomes a little softer, but the Torin does not.
5 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes
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.
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.
|Saucony Type A Review||Saucony||A/A7||Recommended||$100||6.0||6.7||12.1||19||22||1||4.1||7|
|Saucony Type A6 Review||Saucony||A6||Highly Recommended||$100||7.7||6.1||9.5||17||21||4||4.7||7|
|Saucony Type A8 Review||Saucony||A8||Highly Recommended||$90||7.1||6.2||9.7||19||20||-1||4.4||7|
|Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review||Adidas||Adios||Worth considering||$140||4.4||8.6||13.4||17||27||11||3.8||6|
|Hoka Bondi 5 Review||Hoka||Bondi||Recommended||$150||5.7||11.6||18.1||38||42||5||6.7||2|
|Hoka Clayton 2 Review||Hoka||Clayton2||Highly Recommended||$150||8.6||8.3||12.9||23||28||1||7.1||5|
|Hoka Clifton 4 Review||Hoka||Clifton4||Worth considering||$130||7.2||9.3||14.5||30||35||10||6.7||3|
|ON Cloudflash Review||On Cloud||Cloudflash||Worth considering||$180||4.2||8.3||14.6||19||26||7||3.5||6|
|On Cloudracer Review||On Cloud||Cloudracer||Worth considering||$130||5.4||8.2||12.8||19||27||5||4.4||7|
|ON Cloud X Review||On Cloud||CloudX||Not recommended||$140||4.3||8.3||16.3||21||27||7||3.6||7|
|Mizuno Wave Cruise Review||Mizuno||Cruise||Worth considering||$120||6.3||5.9||12.5||17||20||7||3.7||6|
|Newton Distance IV Review||Newton||Distance||Worth considering||$155||7.1||9.1||14.2||26||31||3||6.4||5|
|Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review||Asics||DS Racer||Worth considering||$110||7.8||7.0||10.9||21||26||6||5.4||5|
|Altra Duo Review||Altra||Duo||Recommended||$130||5.6||8.4||13.1||29||29||1||4.7||5|
|Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review||Mizuno||Ekiden||Worth considering||$115||5.3||5.7||14.6||13||18||6||3.0||8|
|Saucony Endorphin 2 Review||Saucony||Endorphin 2||Worth considering||$115||7.5||5.1||9.6||15||13||-1||3.8||8|
|Adidas Energy Boost Review||Adidas||Energy||Worth considering||$160||6.8||10.0||15.6||20||30||7||6.8||5|
|Altra Escalante Review||Altra||Escalante||Best of the Best||$130||8.6||8.7||13.5||28||25||-1||7.5||6|
|Saucony Fastwitch Review||Saucony||Fastwitch||Highly Recommended||$90||9.0||7.1||11.1||20||22||4||6.4||7|
|Topo Fli-Lyte 2 Review||Topo||Fli-Lyte2||Highly Recommended||$100||6.4||9.1||14.2||24||26||3||5.8||5|
|Reebok Floatride Run Review||Reebok||Floatride||Worth considering||$150||7.2||9.6||14.9||28||34||10||7.0||5|
|Saucony Freedom Review||Saucony||Freedom||Recommended||$160||5.1||10.7||16.6||25||29||3||5.4||6|
|Skechers GORun 4 Review||Skechers||GORun||Not recommended||$100||5.7||7.5||11.7||15||23||3||4.3||7|
|Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review||Skechers||GRU||Worth considering||$90||7.1||10.0||15.6||28||34||8||7.1||4|
|Asics GT 2000 Review||Asics||GT 2000||Not recommended||$120||4.5||11.2||17.4||28||35||5||5.1||2|
|New Balance Hanzo S Review||New Balance||Hanzo||Worth considering||$110||7.1||6.9||10.7||21||19||2||4.9||5|
|Hoka Hupana Review||Hoka||Hupana||Recommended||$115||5.7||8.9||13.9||31||36||7||5.1||4|
|Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review||Asics||Hyper Speed||Highly Recommended||$75||10.2||6.3||9.8||22||26||5||6.4||6|
|Altra Instinct 4.0 Review||Altra||Instinct 4.0||Worth considering||$120||5.7||9.8||15.3||29||25||-1||5.6||5|
|Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review||Asics||Kainos||Worth considering||$130||9.4||6.9||10.7||17||27||9||6.4||6|
|Altra King MT 1.5 Review||Altra||King MT||Recommended||$140||4.1||10.7||20.8||19||21||-1||4.4||5|
|Saucony Kinvara 8 Review||Saucony||Kinvara 8||Best of the Best||$110||8.8||8.6||13.4||26||31||3||7.5||5|
|Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Review||Altra||Lone Peak||Highly Recommended||$120||4.9||11.4||17.7||23||25||-2||5.6||4|
|Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review||Nike||LT3||Best of the Best||$80||8.3||5.4||8.4||16||21||4||4.5||5|
|Nike Zoom Streak LT 4 Review||Nike||LT4||Recommended||$90||9.2||5.5||8.5||15||21||5||5.0||7|
|Nike LunarSpider R5 Review||Nike||LunarSpider||Recommended||$125||6.5||6.7||10.4||17||21||3||4.3||6|
|Hoka Mafate Speed Review||Hoka||Mafate||Highly Recommended||$170||7.1||11.9||18.5||39||40||4||8.5||1|
|Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review||Pearl||N0||Highly Recommended||$100||7.5||6.5||10.1||14||20||4||4.9||8|
|Saucony Nomad Review||Saucony||Nomad||Worth considering||$110||4.1||10.5||17.2||25||27||2||4.3||4|
|Hoka Odyssey Review||Hoka||Odyssey||Highly Recommended||$130||8.0||9.4||14.6||37||45||5||7.5||3|
|Altra Olympus 2.5 Review||Altra||Olympus||Highly Recommended||$150||6.9||11.8||18.4||34||34||2||8.2||3|
|Altra One 3.0 Review||Altra||One||Recommended||$100||5.8||8.8||13.7||23||23||0||5.1||6|
|Altra Paradigm 4.0 Review||Altra||Paradigm||Highly Recommended||$150||3.6||11.0||17.1||28||30||3||4.0||9|
|Asics Piranha SP 5 Review||Asics||Piranha||Recommended||$100||13.1||4.2||6.5||11||15||5||5.5||8|
|Brooks PureFlow 5 Review||Brooks||PureFlow||Worth considering||$110||4.3||9.7||15.1||26||29||4||4.2||6|
|Salming Race Review||Salming||Race||Worth considering||$130||7.1||6.5||10.1||16||19||5||4.6||8|
|Altra Escalante Racer Review||Altra||Racer||Highly Recommended||$140||7.1||7.6||11.8||24||26||6||5.4||7|
|New Balance RC1600 v2 Review||New Balance||RC1600||Highly Recommended||$110||8.4||5.6||8.7||15||21||6||4.7||8|
|New Balance RC5000v2 Review||New Balance||RC5000v2||Best of the Best||$125||17.6||4.0||6.2||13||21||4||7.0||7|
|Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review||Skechers||Ride||Worth considering||$85||4.6||8.5||18.9||18||28||3||3.9||8|
|Nike RN Distance 2 Review||Nike||RNDist2||Worth considering||$120||8.7||9.2||14.3||25||28||3||8.0||4|
|Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review||Inov-8||RXT-220||Worth considering||$120||6.6||8.0||12.5||14||17||1||5.3||6|
|Salomon Sense Ride Review||Salomon||Sense||Worth considering||$120||5.7||10.0||15.6||24||29||0||5.7||7|
|Altra Solstice Review||Altra||Solstice||Highly Recommended||$90||9.9||8.1||12.5||23||25||6||8.0||0|
|Topo ST-2 Review||Topo||ST-2||Highly Recommended||$90||7.3||7.3||11.4||20||18||0||5.4||5|
|Hoka Stinson Lite Review||Hoka||Stinson||Highly Recommended||$160||4.1||11.6||18.1||35||40||4||4.8||5|
|Altra Superior||Altra||Superior||Highly Recommended||$110||6.3||9.9||15.5||22||25||2||6.2||3|
|Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review||Adidas||Takumi Sen 3||Highly Recommended||$160||7.9||6.6||10.2||17||21||-1||5.2||4|
|Topo Terraventure||Topo||Terraventure||Review Pending||$110||4.6||10.8||16.8||24||24||2||5.0||5|
|Altra Timp Review||Altra||Timp||Best of the Best||$130||2.3||11.6||28.8||30||31||0||2.7||10|
|Altra Torin 2.0 Review||Altra||Torin||Worth considering||$125||4.2||9.6||14.9||31||25||-1||4.1||6|
|Hoka Tracer Review||Hoka||Tracer||Recommended||$130||4.2||7.4||17.3||22||24||1||3.1||9|
|Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review||Merrell||Trail Glove 4||Best of the Best||$100||6.0||8.4||13.1||13||13||0||5.1||8|
|Topo Tribute Review||Topo||Tribute||Recommended||$100||1.7||7.3||29.5||20||18||0||1.2||10|
|Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review||Mizuno||Universe||Highly Recommended||$125||22.9||3.1||4.8||9||12||8||7.1||2|
|Altra Vanish-R Review||Altra||Vanish-R||Recommended||$100||9.2||5.3||8.2||19||21||6||4.9||5|
|Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review||Merrell||Vapor Glove 3||Highly Recommended||$85||10.6||6.1||9.5||6||5||9||6.4||6|
|Nike Vaporfly 4% Review||Nike||Vaporfly||Best of the Best||$250||11.1||7.2||11.2||25||37||4||8.0||6|
|New Balance Vazee Pace Review||New Balance||Vazee Pace||Worth considering||$110||7.9||8.6||0.0||18||24||8||6.8||3|
|Asics TartherZeal 3 Review||Asics||Zeal||Worth considering||$140||10.3||6.3||0.0||17||27||1||6.4||5|
|Saucony Zealot 3 Review||Saucony||Zealot3||Recommended||$130||6.0||9.5||0.0||29||32||0||5.7||7|
|Nike Zoom Fly Review||Nike||Zoom Fly||Worth considering||$150||6.6||8.7||0.0||29||36||-1||5.7||7|
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.