As Saucony’s flagship shoe, the Guide comes with a strong history and a loyal following. Over the years, it’s been awarded Runner’s World Editor’s Choice, Runner’s World International Shoe of the Year, and twice the IRRA (Independent Running Retailer’s Association) Shoe of the Year. So when it came time to build on the legacy and design the 7th edition of the Guide, we knew we needed to examine and refine every part of our process.
To start, we expanded our standard development timeline (the time between when we first put pen to paper, and when the shoe arrives on store shelves) by 6 months, to allow for additional rounds of product testing and tweaking. We literally traveled all over the U.S. conducting “Coke v. Pepsi”-style wear tests between the Guide and several key competitors. After each round, we were able to tweak and improve the product based on the feedback from real runners. At the end of this process, the Guide 7 was preferred at more than a 2 to 1 margin over the leading competitors in its class.
One of the adjustments we tested was the flared forefoot design in the Guide 7 (in effect, displacing force over a wider area under the toe box). Our hypothesis was that more runners would report an enhanced feeling of support, particularly during latter stages of the gait cycle, when compared to designs with a slightly narrower forefoot platform. Through testing we were able to validate this theory, and so we moved forward with this improvement on the G7. Other updates to this model include a redesigned sole unit on the medial side of the foot, which improves the support for runners with slight-to-moderate pronation. In the outsole, deeper flex grooves offer more mobility and improved toe-spring for a more responsive ride. Another major update is the addition of our PowerGrid cushioning technology, which replaces ProGrid, and is 15% lighter and 30% more durable. Runners who tested the shoe definitely noticed the difference.
So who can run in the Guide 7? The answer is: almost anyone. Pronators appreciate the light stability and guidance, while neutral runners find that it offers a touch of support without over-correcting their foot through the gait cycle. It really hits a sweet spot for a large percentage of the running population. The end result: the Guide is the ultimate training partner, providing both stability and flexibility in a surprisingly lightweight package. You can find it at a Run Specialty dealers worldwide starting November 1st, 2013.
For more details on the Guide 7′s key updates, here are some sketches from the Saucony design team (click each image to enlarge):