Can a running shoe be a quiver of one? Saucony says so with the KOA TR: hit the road, then hit the dirt with this level headed, adaptable shoe.
by Brandon Mathis
The KOA TR from Saucony has created quite stir in a crowd of runners that have a certain set of needs. Let’s take a look.
A rocking debut from long renowned brand who was making athletic shoes well before many of us were walking (they were founded in 1898), the KOA TR, is a hybrid shoe soft enough to pound the pavement but tough enough for the backcountry.
“A large portion of our customers want a shoe that works well as a trail shoe and a road shoe,” said Joey Schrichte of Durango Running Company. He called the KOA TR ideal for the run that starts on the street and heads toward singletrack.
The solid upper has a sort of flexible thin skeleton they call Flex Film. Seems to work so far. Gives us a few months.
The KOA also comes with what they’re calling the PWRTRAC outsole, a teethy packed bed of 3.5mm abrasive lugs that brings a rear cross country mountain bike tire to mind. That said, those teeth are even and low profile enough to go unnoticed on hard surfaces alone.
The shoe gives a poppy ride considering the low height of the so-called firm shoe. Even our slow trail shuffle pace felt snappy and jovial upon our first asphalt strides. But we found dirt quickly, where the KOA was as well perfectly at home, even confident on loose rocks and uneven surfaces. A wide feeling Altra-esque toe box was nice, especially after we ramped up a half size.
While we haven’t really gotten into muddy situations yet, we don’t plan to. Our prediction is that the tight lug pattern might fill with gunk and quickly turn into a greased slipper. But if mud is the case, Saucony has a shoe for the job, the KOA ST.
We’ll update this review after some wear and tear time in the KOA. For now, see you on the trails.