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Road Shoes

Shoe of the Week: Saucony Freedom 4

Saucony refreshes the Freedom with its top-end foam, making it a springboard to responsive running.

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Saucony Freedom 4 Review

Weight: M8.6oz, W6.5oz

Offset: 4mm (28mm heel / 24mm forefoot)

Price: $160

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Top Line

PeBax! By incorporating this new elastomer-based midsole material, Saucony pumped life into the Freedom, giving it outstanding energy return. 

Saucony Freedom 4 in blue.
Photo: Colette Richter

What’s New

New midsole material, paired with a sleek, clean upper, makes this an entirely new shoe.

This Is the Shoe for You If …

You want a firm yet responsive trainer for lively outings where speed, or at least some pickups, may well be part of the run, even if you didn’t plan on tempo work. These shoes provoke surges.

First Runs

Testers were quite pleased with the improvements Saucony made to the Freedom, calling out the new version for being responsive, fast, springy, and speedy. With new midsole foam, PWRRUN PB, a firmer, more stable, energy-returning substance that puts notable zest into the neutral trainer, Saucony’s Freedom 4 is qualitatively better than the 3. The responsiveness was pronounced enough that testers found the Freedom 4 well suited for anything from tempo sessions to long base runs, and comfortable enough that the shoes can be worn all day.

The ride felt firm yet efficient, prompting testers to classified the Freedom 4 as “high performance.” Said one, “nicely designed with good flexibility, but also the perfect amount of rigidity. A great balance here.”  Another tester gave them an A- for responsiveness and noted they “added a lovely spring in my stride, particularly on the uphills, but didn’t, like, rocket launch me like some of the other shoes I’ve tested.”  The Freedom 4 was appreciated for its light weight, and the fact that it wasn’t over-built. “I could use them for pretty much any workout I was doing on the roads: base runs, recovery runs, long runs, longer interval sessions.”

Athlete running in the Saucony Freedom 4 shoe on dirt path with her dogs.
One of the testers enjoying a recovery run with her pups in the Saucony Freedom 4. Photo: Colette Richter

The midsole zip comes from Saucony’s new ultralight PeBax-based PWRRUN PB, the same material used in their super-shoe Endorphin line, designed to reduce fatigue and make running feel less taxing. Replacing the old EVA, Saucony tells us they worked with Pebax elastomers, block copolymers made up of rigid polyamide blocks and soft polyether blocks, to create a range that spans the flexibility spectrum from very hard and rigid to very soft and flexible, without the need for plasticizers. These desired polymers maintain the combination of the toughness traditionally found in polyamides and the flexibility/elasticity reserved for polyethers and polyesters. In other words, Saucony did well in Chemistry class.

The upper, while featuring crafted details including a posh, suede-like material that felt velvety, and breathable engineered mesh, didn’t receive the same adoration as the midsole. Rather, some testers found the fit was a bit off, feeling smaller than the stated size. Said one tester: “It kind of reminded me of wearing a super soft (slipper like) climbing shoe, with an overly tight top of lacing area.” The lacing, however, was given high marks, as was the heel cup. And the shoes were praised for their light weight and for not being overbuilt, with thoughtful touches like the luxurious, plush tongue, subtle reflectivity and good, clean looks that felt both retro and futuristic. 

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