Saucony Breakthru 4 – 50 Mile Review

An almost current running shoe in the Saucony Breakthru 4s, what’s going on Harold?

A helluva deal on eBay and having some pretty good success running in some other Saucony models lately, gave me hope that the Breakthru 4s would be more in line with what would work even better for me, especially since they do not have the ISO Fit lacing.

I guess that is question I need to answer – did the Saucony Breakthru 4s work better for me?

However, from what I have seen of the Breakthru line, it is one of those shoes that the Brand doesn’t quite know where it fits into its running shoe lineup. It is not light enough for most to call it a race day or speed oriented running shoe, but at the same time is it enough shoe to be a full-time daily trainer? That would be up to the individual runner.

Saucony has better shoe choices at both ends of those spectrums. When looking at the Breakthru 4s, it has to be seen through the eyes of the runner using it. Are they an entry level, lower priced shoe, a multipurpose single-quiver shoe or in my universe that dreaded tweener shoe that I have better shoes to do specific workouts or runs than what I am getting from the Breakthru 4?

Lots of questions in my mind where the Saucony Breakthru 4s fit in a running shoe rotation for me and from where I sit the brand may have some questions where it belongs in their line-up too.

Let’s find out

What kinds of runs have I done in the BT4s?

Pretty much all the different runs that I do in a daily trainer, except for the one that matters the most – a double-digit run. I just haven’t gotten around to doing one yet, but I have noticed on the 7.0 plus milers I have done, that the forefoot after 6.0 miles or so seems to start bothering the bottom of my feet. I will get a double-digit run in them before too long.

The Good

The weight is about where I like my daily trainers to be:

A little heavier than the 8.6 ounces that Running Warehouse or Saucony.com has listed for a size 9.0. The 25/17 stack heights are in line with other shoes I have in my rotation where the forefoot does tend to bother the bottom of my feet a little when I start running longer miles in them.

However, the Breakthru 4s are a comfortable shoe to run in at lower mileage. Which to me is the most important factor that there is for a pair of running shoes. The toe box width has not bothered me on any of my runs – that is a big deal and a big part of why I find them so comfortable. Although the heel cup could be just a bit narrower.

They are quiet, I don’t slap or stomp in them. The BT4s have a nice and easy heel-to-toe transition (yes, I am a definite heel striker), where I don’t drag my heels down to land or linger with a two-stage toe off. They run easy and smoothly.

The BT4s are true to size and while the size 8.5 runs a little long on my size 8.0 hobbit feet, but fit good enough that I don’t have any issues in them.

They are 8mm drop, I seem to do better in daily trainers that have a little more drop with all the issues I have had with my Achilles and calves over the years

While dark purple is not really one of my favorite colors, I do like the looks of the Breakthru 4s, they are kind of a classic looking running shoe, but I gotta admit that I like the yellow/black model quite a bit more.

The Breakthru 4s do not have Saucony’s ISO Fit. While some people love the ISO Fit…I am not a fan of the looped laced ISO Fit style and like that these shoes do not have it. I have run in the Zealot 3 and Liberty ISO (OG) and found them both be very finicky about how to get the lacing to fit just right. It took a couple of runs, but once I figured out the best lacing for me in the Breakthru 4s, they are now a put them on, tie them and forget about it.

No issues with grip while running down back on wet gravel roads. However, they are pretty much a road shoe and while they might do okay on a dry groomed course, that would be the extent of running trails in them for me. I have much better options for trail running or running outside this winter and won’t do too much nasty weather winter running in them.

These are used shoes, so the wear on them looks to be a lot more than would be normal for me for a pair of shoes with only 50 miles. If I would have to guess, I got them with between 50 and 75 miles on them. Gently used and just broke in.

The bad

I have to use the last lace hole to cinch down the heel, so that it stays locked like it should. The heel cup seems a bit wider than the Zealot 3s and doesn’t quite hold my heel the way I prefer.

The purple colorway is not my favorite.

They are not really light enough for faster running and I question whether they will be part of the solution for regularly running over 10K in.

The Breakthru 4, seem to be one of those dreaded tweener shoes where I have other shoes that do what I want from a specific run better than what the BT4s do. I know that I am an odd duck when it comes to running shoes and probably a lot of other things, but as much as I like the Breakthru 4s, I subconsciously avoid running in them more often than not and the more I think about it – it is because they are tweeners.

For a pair of running shoes that I like and doesn’t have any real negatives while running in them, a 50 mile review usually happens pretty quickly. It took over a month to get to this review and although the Breakthru 4s don’t really have anything that sticks out that is bad, I reach for other shoes to do most of my run before looking at them.

The Reality is that

The Saucony Breakthru 4s are not the most original, the most technologically advanced, the most hyped by Saucony’s marketing department or their most exciting latest release. They are your basic, reasonably priced all-around running shoe that many runners will run well in.

However, for me they are in that dreaded tweener running shoe niche, where I have other shoes that do specific things better than the Breakthru 4s do. The Breakthru 4s are a running shoe that I run decently in I have to ask:

  • Why do I keep reaching for other shoes first and have to actually think first about having to use the Breakthru 4?
  • Why am I still looking for something better than the Breakthru 4s?

I really do not have an answer for those two questions and they are important questions to answer.

The Saucony Breakthru 4s are a good shoe and probably one that deserves a better review than my conclusions indicate, but there is something about them that I just can’t put my finger on or articulate that makes me go mmmmm.

It seems like the Saucony Breakthru 4 is a lot like the Brooks Launch line, but I have a feeling there wouldn’t be a lot of hue or cry if the Breakthru line suddenly disappeared.

I know I wouldn’t miss them all that much.

Yes, I will keep running in them until they are used up, but I don’t see me going out and getting another pair based on my experiences in the Breakthru 4s so far. I don’t need another pair of tweener shoes, I need a good pair of daily trainers.