As running shoe technology has evolved and improved over the years, there has been no shortage of companies jumping into the field to try their hand at creating the perfect running shoe.
The problem is that many of these companies are new to the game and have little experience equipping runners, while others are making running shoes on top of the many other types of products in their catalog.
With these factors in mind, few companies can match Brooks and Saucony’s track records of decades-long experience and core competency in the running industry.
As such, it is extremely difficult to distinguish which of these companies has a leg up on the other when it comes to designing running shoes.
Perhaps you could make the argument that Brooks is a bit better at creating durable, multi-purpose running shoes that perform well in all types of conditions, while Saucony is better at providing highly comfortable shoes with innovative stability features.
But that would be splitting hairs, as you really can’t go wrong with either of these leading running shoe brands.
To dig even deeper into the Brooks vs Saucony analysis, keep reading for a complete side-by-side breakdown of these vanguard running shoe companies!
Brooks At A Glance
Despite being one of the oldest running shoe companies in the world, Brooks is nonetheless an industry leader in providing the latest and greatest running shoe technology on the market.
Believing that every runner follows a unique habitual path of motion–known as their Run Signature–Brooks has engineered a wide variety of shoes to accommodate these unique needs.
As such, Brooks incorporates its innovative GuideRails technology into many of its signature shoes, helping ensure that your knees, hips, ankles, and feet do not deviate from your Run Signature.
Furthermore, many Brooks shoes will feature DNA Loft midsole cushioning technology that provides one of the softest running experiences on the market. It also has three other distinct midsole categories: DNA Amp, BioMoGo DNA, and DNA Flash. While not as soft as DNA Loft, each of these midsoles will provide varying levels of comfort and responsiveness.
All in all, when you choose Brooks as your running shoe brand, you can rest assured that you are getting the best technology on the market that will maximize comfort, reduce your risk of injury, and provide the desired level of performance.
Saucony At A Glance
Another staple running shoe brand, Saucony exploded in popularity throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s due to its statement-making products.
It was one of the first companies to widely use EVA foam as a midsole cushioning technology and TPU heel cups, giving the ample stack of a Saucony running shoe a distinctive appearance for many years.
Today, Saucony uses its proprietary PWRRUN+ technology in its shoes, claiming it to be 28% lighter than its previous midsole foam. The company also asserts that its PWRRUN+ shoes absorb 5% more impact, provide twice as much flexibility, and give 3X greater durability than similar products in their category.
In addition to the ample midsole stacks common across Saucony lines, the brand is recognizable for its color schemes, with its energetic designs easily distinguishable from afar.
Brooks vs Saucony Design Comparison
Let’s take a look and see how Brooks and Saucony stack up in terms of fundamental design features.
Brooks uppers are relatively more standard than the high-tech uppers of Saucony.
Brooks is known for providing their uppers with an ample toe box, ensuring a comfortable fit for those with wide feet and allowing toes to splay during foot strikes. They also use a solid engineered mesh in their products to help promote breathability and sweat wicking while on the trail.
Saucony has a few more bells and whistles in their uppers. For example, Saucony uses innovative FlexFilm overlays, which are said to keep shoes lightweight and prevent blister formation. Some Saucony shoes even use FlexFilm to create a seamless upper known as FORMFIT, which is supposed to naturally hug your foot to provide the utmost in customization.
Brooks uses a wide range of innovative midsole technology throughout its product lines:
- DNA Loft – a combination of EVA foam, rubber, air, and nitrogen to provide Brook’ most cushioned running experience
- DNA Amp – this is the springiest ride of all of the Brooks midsoles, with some estimates indicating that it can provide 20% greater energy return than similar running shoes
- BioMoGo DNA – described as the sweet spot between comfort and responsiveness, it is not as comfy as DNA loft midsoles but feels softer than the more responsive DNA Amp technology
- DNA Flash – with an extra infusion of nitrogen, this is Brooks’ most lightweight midsole, designed for runners in need of speed
Not to be outdone by Brooks, Saucony offers plenty of innovation in its midsoles as well.
While many Saucony shoes are recognizable for their ample midsole stack, there is purpose behind the appearance. The Saucony PWRRUN+ midsoles offer an additional layer of cushioning over the standard EVA base, keeping the padding close to the foot and offering unmatched comfort on long runs.
Saucony shoes also feature Powergrid+ technology–a series of strategically placed holes throughout the midsole designed to spread out the impact of foot strikes.
Brooks shoes will usually be among the most rugged outsoles on the market. Designed of solid rubber, they will provide outstanding traction and durability on all types of surfaces. Their TrailTak rubber features are also purported to provide protection against errant rocks during cross country runs and offer increased traction on wet surfaces.
In stark contrast, saucony outsoles are characterized as being extremely lightweight. The shoes use an innovative XT-900 carbon rubber compound in the heel to provide traction, but many Saucony products will feature exposed EVA foam on the outsole. While not quite as durable as Brooks’ solid rubber concepts, this will provide a more forgiving landing for those runners who prioritize comfort.
Brooks vs Saucony Feature Comparison
Now that you have all of the details on how Brooks and Saucony design their shoes, let’s take a closer look and see how these two leading running shoe brands compare along important features.
Point blank, Brooks shoes are generally more durable than Saucony. Thanks to their solid rubber outsoles, they simply hold up better when confronted with sharp objects and uneven surfaces than Saucony, whose higher percentage of exposed outsole foam will lead their shoes to break down a bit faster than Brooks products.
In addition, the engineered mesh upper of Brooks sneakers will provide just enough flexibility that holes will not form in the toe box in the face of wear and tear.
Although some Brooks shoes will start to show signs of wear in as little as 300 miles, you should confidently expect to get a high end of 500 miles or more from a Brooks product under normal usage conditions.
While perhaps not as durable as Brooks, Saucony is far from a flimsy brand. It does have enough XT-900 carbon rubber placed throughout the midsole that it can hold its own on cross country terrains. Furthermore, the FlexFilm overlays provide strong reinforcement to prevent damage to the uppers.
All in all, you can reasonably expect a pair of Saucony shoes to last around 400 miles.
The general consensus is that Saucony shoes run true to size. On the other hand, Brooks themselves note that their shoes run a bit shorter than other brands, so you will definitely want to follow the recommended guidelines and go up half a size when choosing Brooks.
With that said, the ample toe box of Brooks shoes makes them the preferred choice for people with wide feet. Saucony shoes are noticeably more narrow than Brooks, so they will be preferable for people with standard width who value a more snug fit in their running shoe.
It is very difficult to pick a clear winner when it comes to cushioning, as both brands have wonderful midsole technology that provide runners with a comfy landing experience.
When choosing a Brooks shoe, look for products that have their DNA Loft or BioMoGo DNA to guarantee a more cushioned experience.
Saucony uses PWRRUN+ technology to keep the cushioning close to the foot. This can possibly make Saucony feel like a more comfortable shoe for long runs, as this midsole design is said to reduce midsole wear during extended sessions.
It is hard to go against Brooks in terms of stability. They design each of their shoes to support every runner’s unique “Run Signature,” with their proprietary GuideRails technology engineered to keep runners’ knees, hips, ankles, and feet moving along the natural path of their stride. This is a major reason very few overpronation injuries occur when wearing Brooks.
While they may not be quite at Brooks’ level, Saucony is no slouch in terms of stability. Improved midsole geometry to cradle the foot and reduce the risk of overpronation, along with a proprietary HOLLOW-FIT guidance frame, make shoes in their Saucony Guide line well-known as a strong stability shoe.
Both Brooks and Saucony are premium running brands and are priced as such. Most shoes for both brands will fall between $100 and $150.
Brooks vs Saucony Top Shoe Comparison
With the nuts and bolts of their manufacture and general features out of the way, let’s take some time to compare how some leading shoes from each company stack up against each other.
Performance: Brooks Hyperion Tempo vs Saucony Kinvara 13
Although it is hard to find a Brooks product that doesn’t lend itself to strong performance, the Hyperion Tempo takes the cake as the company’s best shoe for providing speed over long distances.
With an unprecedented combination of lightweight design and responsiveness (DNA Flash midsole), runners note that they are able to maintain an up-tempo stride, mile after mile. It should be noted that this shoe is best suited for the track, sidewalk, or highway and not necessarily cross country or other types of uneven terrains.
The Kinvara 13 is Saucony’s fastest product. If you are looking to set a PR in a pair of Saucony shoes, this is the sneaker for you. The streamlined upper reduces weight and the PWRRUN+ midsole provides the ideal cushioning to keep your feet comfortable and fresh as you stride at top speeds.
Winner: Brooks Hyperion Tempo
Stability: Brooks Adrenaline GTS vs Saucony Guide 15
If you have made it this far in the article, then you are well-acquainted with Brooks’ GuideRails stability system. Suffice to say that the Adrenaline GTS has it in spades. Runners note that this shoe provides more lateral stability than similar stability shoes and has a higher degree of arch support to support high-arched runners on hard surfaces.
The Guide 15 gets the nod as Saucony’s greatest stability shoe. The HOLLOW-FIT guidance frame and reengineered midsole design help cradle the foot and hold it in place to prevent overpronation issues. And while some stability shoes can feel a bit rigid and restrictive to runners, the generous amount of PWRRUN+ foam and lightweight design of the Guide 15 sacrifice none of Saucony’s signature comfort while keeping the foot safe and stable.
Winner: Saucony Guide 15
Cushioning: Brooks Glycerin vs Saucony Triumph 20
The Glycerin uses a generous amount of Brooks’ DNA Loft midsole foam, the softest of the company’s midsole technologies. With later versions of this signature shoe offering an infusion of nitrogen to the midsole, runners very aptly describe the running experience as “buttery.” Finally, the Glycerin uses an Ortholite sock liner to keep the foot resting as naturally as possible in the upper during each session.
While it may seem difficult to one-up the Glycerin in terms of cushioning, it appears that the Triumph 20 has accomplished the feat.
Generously constructed with Saucony’s PWRRUN+ midsole foam, this shoe also features a rocker design to help runners roll through each stride and reduce exertion during transitions. Its lightweight but supportive upper overlays keep the shoe snug and further enhance the sensation that users are “running in a dream.”
Winner: Saucony Triumph 20
Everyday Trainer: Brooks Ghost 15 vs Saucony Ride 15
Brooks should probably be one of the first brands you turn to when choosing an everyday trainer, with the Ghost 15 being at the top of the list.
With a light, soft feel that features an ample amount of DNA Loft midsole cushioning and durable rubber outsole, the Ghost 15 is the perfect shoe for beginners and veterans to log their daily miles.
The Ride 15 is also a great choice for delivering a reliable performance. The PWRRUN+ foam helps guarantee the ideal balance between comfort and responsiveness, allowing runners to get work done even on those days when running feels like a bit of a chore.
Winner: Brooks Ghost 15
Brooks vs Saucony: Our Final Verdict
There you have it: our complete breakdown of Brooks vs Saucony running shoes.
With its innovative “DNA” midsole series, durable rubber outsoles, and engineered mesh uppers, Brooks provides an extremely versatile catalog of running shoes that can help runners perform well in all occasions.
Not to be outdone, Saucony uses its proprietary PWRRUN+ midsole foam, strategically placed carbon rubber outsoles, and innovative foot cradling features to provide highly stable, yet comfortable, running shoe solutions.
If either of these running shoe giants appears to be ideal for your needs, choose from one of the leading shoes listed above and get to running today!