The Saucony Guide series has been one of Sauconys most popular shoes recenty, so the anticipation for the next model was high, with devoted users excited for launch.
Out of the box, I wasn't completey blown away by these. They look good, but not great, and seem to have chosen the colourway based upon the success of the Guide 5 and 6 in blue. That's personal preference though, and aside from the colour, they do look like a good shoe. I was expecting fewer overlays, but again, this should have little effect on the shoe itself. Once on my feet though, all of this negativity went away, and the shoes feel amazingly comfortable. The last has apparently not changed, although to me, they feel slightly wider around the toes, which is great to see. The upgraded midsole felt soft, and combined with the redesigned support system, they didn't feel intrusive in the arch of my foot like some support shoes can..
The midsole has been upgraded to include a PowerGrid insert from heel to toe, to offer even better cushioning. The change is noticeable, as they certainly felt soft. The biggest change here though is the support system. The have linked different pods at the heel and midfoot to provide a seamless transition through the gait cycle. The Dual Density foam is still there to prevent over-pronation, but this change will be interesting to see in action. Another thing that has changed is the width of the midsole, especially around the forefoot. It has become wider, and rounder, to offer a much more stable platform to land on, and with the newly designed flex grooves, should result in a very smooth ride.
The upper is similar to previous models, and still consists of mesh with strategically placed overlays. Sauconys Dynamic fit system means that the shoe wraps the foot when the laces are tied, and provides a snug feel without being restrictive. They certainly are comfortable, but the heel unit again seems too wide, and I had to butterfly the laces to prevent major slipping.
The outsole has had a mass overhaul, and the triangular lugs have been replaced by a much better flex system. The flex grooves are strategically placed so that the whole foot can move smoothly through heel to toe transitions. I for one feel that this is the biggest improvement upon he previous version. The rubber is still durable, and the SRC Crash pad is still in tact, meaning you get one smooth ride.
The new Guide 7 is an improvement on an alredy good shoe. The addition of a full length PowerGrid insert is an excellent move, and the change in design to the outsole means the shoe bends naturally with every stride. The support system has not become any more or less stable, but was definitely smoother, and the whole stride from heel to toe was comfortable and natural. When running forefoot, it was simple due to the 8mm heel, but those more accustomed to this style should look to something a little more minimal, such as the Mirage. Technically the shoes are far superior to the previous versions, and having been in development for 3 years, rightly so. My only issue with them is the upper and colourway choice. Yes, blue and green has worked for this shoe in the past, but I can't help thinking they should have just left it there, and come up with something new.