Shoes

Run Tested: Saucony Switchback 2 Trail Running Shoe

This updated trail running shoe uses fancy tech to deliver a light and fast ride with a secure, comfortable fit.

If you’re looking for a fast, light trail shoe you can rely on for being responsive, secure and durable, the Saucony Switchback 2 might be a perfect fit for you.

Weight: M 8.8oz, W 7.8oz

Drop: ~4mm

Price: $140

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You’ll find some pretty major updates in style and performance on this already-popular trail shoe, thanks to years of work between Saucony and the BOA Fit System. The new upper configuration tested highest in independent scientific studies for improved speed and agility in BOA’s Performance Fit Lab, and the bootie construction works seamlessly to keep debris out.

[Related: Check out the rest of our favorite trail running gear of the year]

The refined BOA Fit System delivers a superior, predicable, dialed-in fit, allowing for on-the-fly adjustability and quick transitions in off-road trails.

The first iteration of the Saucony Switchback was a favorite, and this version improves everything—from the asymmetrical wrap of the BOA Fit System (which enables faster, more powerful directional changes through a seamless connection between your foot and the shoe) to the braided nylon rock plate. The toe box is roomy, and the outsole gives just enough to provide protection and traction to be useful on both non-technical and technical trails without being intrusive on pavement. With a low stack height and only 4mm offset, the Switchback 2 is minimalist—and that close-to-ground trail feel allows for tremendous proprioception and capricious agility.

The feel may be too close for comfort for heavier-footed trail runners, especially those taking on gnarly terrain, but the rock plate in the forefoot and Saucony’s proprietary, bouncy cushioning material provide more protection than one would think, impressing testers with the level of confidence they had even on technical descents. The flexible outsole with outstanding grip only helped boost an aggressive attack on the trails.

[Related: See what pro runner Grayson Murphy thinks of the new Saucony Switchback 2]

For trail runners looking to get to their destination fast, the lightweight Switchback 2 is a race-ready machine that delivers more of what you need—long-distance cushioning placed into a nimble, grippy, and dialed-in package.