My footwear options are limited. With a low arch and wide foot, it can be difficult to find a shoe that really fits well. I recently had the good fortune of testing the Saucony Echelon 5 and I think I found my new go-to!
The shape of the Echelon is well suited to a wide foot and low arch. Built on Saucony’s Foundation Platform, the Echelon is a straight-lasted shoe (‘last’ is a word to describe the mold that the shoe is made on) that is a great option for runners that wear orthotics or other inserts . The straight shape of the platform also means that it’s a great option for a low arch or flat foot.
Even with its straight last and wide fit, the Echelon does not feel clunky or clumsy. With a Powergrid midsole, the shoe gives a soft and smooth ride. While not as soft as the Triumph ISO, another neutral option in the Saucony product line, the Echelon provides ample cushion underfoot for any activity without weighing the foot down.
The upper does an excellent job locking down the foot and providing a secure fit. While there are some sewn-on overlays in the toebox, they are soft and pliable and do not cause any chafing or discomfort. For a shoe with such a stable midsole, the upper feels light and flexible, which was a pleasant surprise.
The Echelon matches up well against the Asics Gel-Fortitude 7 and Brooks Dyad 8, the other two heavy hitters in the straight-lasted neutral category. Like the Fortitude and Dyad, the Echelon is available in multiple widths for both men and women. Unlike the Fortitude and Dyad however, the Echelon is much lighter than you’d think! Coming in at 11.7oz for men, and 9.1oz for women the Echelon is not the lightest shoe on the wall – but it is noticeably lighter than the Fortitude and Dyad, which come in at 12.2oz and 12.6oz respectively.
The best thing about the Echelon is that it’s not trying to be anything it’s not. It was not designed to be the fastest or softest shoe and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. But it does everything you could ask it to do, and does it all so well that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing shoes at all.