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Running Shoe Review: Saucony Fastwitch 6

I was hoping that the new version of this lightweight street racer would prove to be the brightly shining light in Saucony’s galaxy of running shoes. Well, sometimes dreams come true and sometimes they don’t.

On first impression, the Fastwitch 6 is a beautiful shoe with a stunning orange and black color scheme that will be especially pleasing to graduates of Princeton, the University of the Pacific and UTEP. It’s also quite protective for a shoe that weighs in at slightly less than 7 ounces. Some of us likely have some old wool socks that weigh more than that!

The Fastwitch is unique in delivering a firm ride for a racing flat, feeling more like a European model than an American runner. Pull out the supplied insole and you’ll see that the top of the midsole feels rock hard. This seemed promising for runners who have become weary of overly-cushioned models.

The Fastwitch provides more than a modicum of control – it’s a performance stability racer, perhaps too stable for most runners looking for a low-to-the-ground flat. (I found myself wishing that it was a bit more neutral.) One of the positives about this shoe is that its structure supports a mid-foot landing. The heel cushioning is fairly neutral – neither overly stiff or soft; it’s just “there.”

Unfortunately, the Fastwitch 6 seems to be afflicted with two near-fatal flaws. The first is the fit problem. I had to order a full size up (since I had heard rumors that it ran unusually short), and yet the shoe barely fit. I have narrow feet. Still, I had to put on an old thin, ragged, worn-out pair of Buffalo Chips Running Club socks in order to manage to squeeze my feet into the ‘witch 6. But this is not the worst of it.

The second problem is the innovative, irritating Flex Film upper from Saucony that’s used to reduce weight. That it does, but at quite a cost. The Flex Film material is of the non-stretch, unforgiving sort. There’s not a tenth of an ounce of “give” in it – there’s apparently no way of reducing the grip of the material on the sensitive upper part of the runner’s foot. It becomes a bit torturous rather quickly, and my body began to repeatedly send my brain a single message, “Let’s take this shoe off as soon as possible!”

If I had to run a half-marathon in the Fastwitch 6, I imagine that the top of my feet would look like Tillamook shredded cheese after completing 13.1 miles. It’s not a pleasant thought.

There’s much that’s promising about this edition of Saucony’s attractive road racer. Let’s hope that the folks at Saucony get on the case and fix the two big flaws in the Fastwitch when they release version 7. With a couple of repairs in place, the next Fastwitch might be more than just a daydream.

About Joseph Arellano

Joseph Arellano wrote music reviews in college for the campus newspaper and FM radio station. In recent years he has written book reviews for several publications including San Francisco Book Review, Sacramento Book Review, Portland Book Review and the Tulsa Book Review. He also maintains the Joseph's Reviews blog. For Blogcritics, Joseph writes articles about music, books, TV programs, running and walking shoes, and athletic gear. He believes that most problems can be solved through the purchase of a new pair of running shoes.
  • Iron Running

    I have been running in Saucony Fastwitch 6 for about a month now and I don’t see the flaws the author points out with the sizing and material used. I have flat feet and this is one of the few racing flats that puts my foot into a neutral position. I chose the shoe after trying it on and then I removed the insole to inspect the sole of the shoe to find that the sole may be a little stiff but it is molded in a matter to support entire foot by cradling it. I give the show two thumbs up.

  • Pat

    I’ve had the shoes since December (early release) and they are the best shoes I’ve ever worn. I did a half-marathon in them (1:20:29) and they felt great, I also use them for speed workouts at the track.

  • Acr

    Ridiculous review. This is a great shoe.