No shoe better represents the blending of new and old like this year’s Gear of the Year–winning Saucony Virrata—a flat-striking, zero-drop shoe with enough padding to give a fundamentalist barefooter seizures.
The Virrata is a gateway shoe—and a potent one. On one hand, it’s a zero-drop trainer, meaning it’s perfectly flat for midfoot strikers, and the upper is built like a minimalist slipper—almost no overlays, just a touch of a heel counter, and barely anything but laces and mesh. But unlike other zero-drop shoes, this one has a thick midsole, much more like a traditional road shoe or Saucony’s 2010 Gear of the Year–winning Kinvara. That means it encourages the biomechanics of flat-foot running without stinging on concrete. It’s effortlessly smooth, light—a mere 6.5 ounces—and supremely comfortable. The first shoe we’ve seen that makes zero-drop running seem almost… easy. And value? You can’t get a better shoe at this price. 6.5 oz.