This is a real hybrid road/trail shoe with all the expected midsole cushioning of a top end road shoe, and the added bonus of a great outsole that is plenty grippy enough to cope with light to semi wet trails yet has enough ground contact to behave well on the road. The light is better in the evening now, so I am going off road a lot more, and the Koa TR has been brilliant in the spring showers season.
I was pretty scheptical of the shoes when they arrived, because I was wondering what the benefits of a trail friendly road shoe would really be. Surely a solid road shoe would work perfectly well on dry light trails, so what is the need for something inbetween. I guess the fact that most days recently, when I have to pick my shoes for the day, I have reached for the Koa TR is a good thing?
Very quickly I found the versatility amazing, especially now the clocks have changed and I am running far more off road in the lighter evenings. This shoe really is happy to go anywhere, which after a winter of road running is beautifully liberating. I ran the same run a day after in my asics Nimbus 20, and I really struggled to not slip around alot, and realised that the Koa TR is a comfortable road shoe that really copes well off road - I am sure that I went on paths I dont normally take in these shoes, because of the secure and confident underfoot feeling. I am going to get a new pair of these for sure once they are worn out, they are a great addition to my shoe cupboard!
The Koa TR has the standard full length EVA with a layer of Everun on top of the strobel for next to foot cushioning and responsiveness. This combination for me, puts Saucony shoes right up there as some of the best available on the market right now, as the balance of cushioining versus responsiveness is excellent! A 4mm offset gives a snappy, quick feel to the shoe without being too lightweight, and the midsole is more than thick enough to offer good underfoot protection on the road, and pretty nice reaction on uneven trails. This is not a low profile, agile off-roader it is definately more road shoe in its constuction.
A tight jaquard woven upper isnt the most breathable way to make a shoe, and it does get quite hot in warm weather, but it is secure and stops all debris getting in the shoe. It is the one part of the shoe that I like the least, as it is slightly stiff and wrinkles when I lace up the shoes, and it is just a little too warm. The liquid rubber toe cap that is painted on the upper, offers good protection from rocks and bangs off road, plus it's flexible and looks rugged.
The last shape of the Koa TR is excellent though and this makes up for any material issues for sure! The toe box is very wide, almost 'natural looking', so you can think a little Altra inspired here for sure, allowing my toes to spread nicely, yet the midfoot and heel feel extremely secure and locked in when you tie up the shoes. The jaquard upper as zero stretch so its secure, and the midfoot intergrated lace wrap locks in the foot - a little too much to be honest. Iso Fit is an amazing technology from Saucony, this floating midfoot frame is not!
A solid, full length rubber outsole with flat bottom profile delivers great heel to toe traction off road. The low profile lugs are really toothy, and grip well on both dry and wet trails, and due to the frequency and flat top design there is superb surface contact so the outsole performs well as a road shoe too. The one compromise you get from all these lugs and full rubber skin is the obvious weight gain over a cored out shoe, but I really didnt notice or care about the few extra grams on my shoes - I need to worry about the few extra Kg's on my ass and waistline before my shoes right now!!!!
A well thought out shoe with smooth heel to toe transition, ample cushioning for everyday training and the amazing ability to seamlessly transition from road to off-road. I loved this shoe for its ability to let me pick ANY path I wanted to on a run, and not worry one time that the trail was too wet, or the grass was too slippy. The handled sloppy conditions suprisingly well, and I have done a 16 mile long run on road / light trails in them with zero issue. I just wish they had a slightly more breathable upper, then I would think these are the best shoes I have had in a while!
The Saucony Koa TR are shoe for all running - not just road, not just trail. A real free spirit that put a smile on my face.
|Release date||JAN 2018|
|Weight||10.3 oz. | 292 g|
|Off Road Use|