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SHOE REVIEW: Saucony Switchback 2

A look at one of Saucony's newest additions to its trail running lineup

Photo by: Canadian Running Magazine

Much like the original Saucony Switchback, the Switchback 2 is the trail shoe that covers all of the bases that runners are looking for. It’s lightweight but well-cushioned, it has tremendous grip and tread without being bulky and it fits snugly, so you’ll be comfortable on a quick jog, a 50K trek or anything in between. Whether you’re new to the trail scene or a certified trail-running dirtbag, the Switchback 2 is a great option for your next shoe. 

Photo: Saucony 

Category: Neutral

Offset: 4 mm

Weight: Men 249 g (8.8 oz.), Women 221 g (7.8 oz.)

Sizes: Men 7-14, Women 5-12

Available: Now

MSRP: $169.95 

Colours available: Black & charcoal, pine & orange, pine & fuchsia

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Switchback 1 vs. 2 

The original Switchback was already quite light, but the 2 is even lighter, cutting 26 g and 24 g off the men’s and women’s shoes since its last iteration. Like the original, the Switchback 2 features a TPU foam midsole, but instead of the EVERUN, it gets Saucony‘s new PWRRUN+ cushioning, which is 25 per cent lighter than EVERUN. Like the first edition of the shoe, the 2 has Boa laces, although they’re positioned on the side of the shoe rather than on the top as with the original.

The upper 

The Switchback 2’s upper has a sock-like construction, which makes for a snug fit. When I first tried on my Switchbacks, I worried that I had gotten a size too small, because initially I had trouble getting my foot into the shoe, but my concerns were short-lived. The tight upper hugs your foot and makes for a stable ride. Adding to the nice fit is the Boa lacing system, which has a dial that you use to find the perfect level of snugness. I like a tight feel from toe to ankle, and the Boa made it so easy to achieve this locked-in and satisfying fit. 

Photo: Saucony

One con regarding the shoe’s snug design is its lack of breathability. The locked-in feel thanks to the sock-like upper and Boa laces is awesome, and I love the tight fit, but because of this, the shoe doesn’t breathe very well. To be fair, I took my Switchbacks out for runs in 30 C days. Once fall hits, this likely won’t be an issue, and there will be plenty of October days that are perfect for the Switchback 2. 

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The midsole 

The PWRRUN+ foam provides protection underfoot (which is important for all shoes, but especially a minimalistic shoe like the Switchback) while remaining flexible, to ensure you get ideal energy return with every step and push-off. This cushioning is effective and comfortable, and while I had no issues with the shoe, if you’re a runner who likes a plush ride with a lot of cushion, it could take a few runs to get used to. The midsole also includes a rock plate to protect your feet regardless of the terrain. 

The outsole 

Like Saucony’s other new trail shoes for 2020 (which will be reviewed in the coming weeks), the Switchback 2 feature the company’s PWRTRAC rubber on its outsole. This provides great grip, and it held up wherever I ran, whether that was on roads (both dry and wet) or trails (muddy or not). The outsole feels very durable, and it was designed using pressure-mapping data to provide grip wherever it’s needed.

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Final thoughts 

Overall, I thought that the Switchback 2 was a great shoe, and I have officially added it to my trail running lineup. My only negative note is regarding the shoe’s breathability, but the many pros far outweigh that single con. As with the original Switchback, since this shoe is rather minimalistic, it’s not ideal for most ultra distances. With that being said, it should hold up and provide a comfortable run for anything up to 50K.

The Saucony Switchback 2 is available now.