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Trail tested: The Saucony Mad River

Saucony's new Mad River trail runner is perfect for all-weather trail warriors.

As the seasons change, so do our trail shoe needs. In Canada, trail running in the fall and winter can be complicated. One day it’s stunning tacky and dirty singletrack, and the next it’s a skating rink. Avid trail runners want versatility, reliability, and comfort for whatever mother nature has in store. Luckily, the Saucony Mad River trail runner is just that–with a side of teal coloured accents. Depending on what you’re training for this fall and winter, the Mad River could be your saving grace for unpredictable Canadian trails.

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Photo: Saucony


At first, the sole of the shoe appears conventionally comprised of Saucony’s Power Trac grip with somewhat minimal lugs. However, the grip options are endless, since athletes can customize the sole with screws and drainage holes. No stud is permanent, and trail runners can add or unscrew studs depending on the weather. With step by step instructions for the least handy of trail runners, the Mad River is like a DIY project for all-weather warriors.

DIY stud and drainage instructions


The Mad River feels comfortable in all the right places around the foot. The integrated tongue molds to the foot while also keeping rocks and debris out of the shoe. The D ring on the laces offers gaiter compatibility. The shoe feels snug around the foot, while also providing a natural foot shape toe box. A wider toe box helps feet feel stable on longer runs and can prevent blisters. However, the wider toe box does not always feel agile on technical singletrack.

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Testing the shoes before winter hits the trails. Photo: Will Mckechnie


Saucony uses their Everun topsole construction throughout the sole of the shoe. The midsole is made of Saucony’s Power Foam Plus, which feels both durable and comfortable. The cushioning does not feel excessive and remains responsive. We would recommend the shoe for shorter trail runs, especially for gnarly trail conditions.

Photo: Saucony

Who would love it

Hardcore Canadian trail runners who want one shoe for training in a variety of winter trail conditions would love the Mad River trail runner. People who want to be prepared for all kinds of winter weather while feeling comfortable and blister-free. Even if you are not a DIY or Pinterest fan, the Mad River will suit your needs while training on the trails in Canadian winter.

Photo: Saucony

What you need to know

Available: July 2019
Type: Neutral pronation control with responsive cushion
Terrain: Dry trails as is, or all muddy, icy, wet surfaces after drilling studs
Drop: 4 mm (23 mm to 19 mm heel to forefoot)
Weight: Men 9.7 oz (275 g) | Women 8.7 oz (245 g)
Price (MSRP): $139.95

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