Verdict from 6 experts and 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • A couple of consumers were surprised that the shoe is more supportive than expected.
  • Some runners felt the KOA TR provided a comfortable ride that is just right for trail running.
  • The midsole is thick and feels great to run in, a buyer commented.
  • A lot of users are impressed by the light weight of the shoe.
  • Several runners were satisfied by the traction provided by the lugs of the shoe.
  • One reviewer commented on the excellent water drainage system of the KOA TR.
  • The weave of the upper is tight but is surprisingly breathable, according to one user.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some users felt the shoe was heavy and that it had a tendency to drag the foot.
  • One runner commented the lugs had less grip than they would have preferred.
  • The shoe is harsh on the first use and required breaking in, according to a reviewer.
  • There was a noticeable tightness around the midfoot, which was hard to ignore, as stated by a user.

Bottom line

With a much-appreciated versatility and impressive technology, the KOA TR delivers comfort and performance that is outstanding no matter the trail condition. It is not the lightest trail shoe on the market, but its responsive performance was admired by many neutral runners. They liked that the shoe was able to provide feedback and lateral stability without compromising protection.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

  • The Saucony KOA TR is a versatile shoe that is built to function on- and off-road; it performs well in a wide variety of conditions, including technical trails. Both the outsole tread and midsole unit allow the shoe to be responsive and efficient in transitioning from the pavement to the trail.
  • The innovative EVERUN midsole allows the shoe to be responsive while still providing ample cushioning throughout the run.
  • It also features the FlexFilm technology, which provides lightweight support, strength, and comfort while retaining foot security for a stable motion.
  • The 4-mm heel-to-toe drop delivers a more natural ride, letting the foot exert more effort by not allowing it to be complacent with the shoe’s cushioning and stability features. This, combined with the small weight and midfoot strike, results in an excellent speed.

The KOA TR is a lightweight trail running shoe that caters to the foot with neutral pronation. It provides the foot with a secure fit, and the shoe technologies allow for a locked-down feel. The oblique toe box results in a wider toe room, so while the length runs true to size, runners with a high-volume foot will also appreciate this shoe. Width profiles are available in D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

Using the PWRTRAC outsole, the KOA TR is engineered to adapt to various terrain types with its excellent traction and durability. It offers enough grip to keep the foot secure, even on the most uneven surfaces. The PWRTRAC is also utilized in the outsole of the Saucony Peregrine 8 for traction and durability.

The outsole also includes a more versatile lower lug pattern that provides extra grip, thus making it more effective on both hard surfaces and uneven terrain. Although quite minimal, the 3.5 mm lugs make running easier because they allow the sole to roll smoothly, keeping the runner sure-footed no matter the terrain. They are made from a sticky rubber compound that is capable of handling sloppy and muddy conditions.

Featuring Saucony’s unique EVERUN technology, the EVA midsole provides the right blend of firmness, cushioning, and responsiveness. EVERUN delivers significant key benefits: it absorbs impact shock three times better than standard EVAs, returns 83% of the energy absorbed, and it lowers peak pressures as the underfoot conforms to the shape of the foot and distributes force across a larger surface area.

Made from tiny pellets of polyurethane that are heat-expanded and molded into a single cushioning unit, EVERUN has a definite firmness that allows for a resilient ride.

Despite the relatively low stack height, the midsole of the KOA TR provides the right amount of protection and support. It is bouncier and allows for smoother landings and stronger takeoffs.

The upper of the KOA TR is made from woven mesh that is flexible, tough, and breathable that works double-duty as a protection from debris and rocks and as an evacuation system that sheds water well, enabling the foot to stay cool, dry, and at ease. Its secure finish delivers durable foot-wrapping and adequate ventilation.

Using the FlexFilm technology, there is an exoskeletal support frame for an enhanced strength and comfort. It is fused with the upper mesh material, reducing the amount of stitching and thus creating a soft and almost seamless surface against the runner’s foot.

FlexFilm overlays are also present to secure the foot in place and minimize any unwanted movement for a stable run. It runs in a crisscross design across the midfoot and the through the forefoot so the foot is comfortably locked into place.

The toe box is oblique-shaped for additional toe room, allowing maximum toe splay and therefore improving balance, especially when pushing the pace on moderate to technical trails.

Heel support is present through the heel collar that is made plush for added comfort, and the heel counter that is made sturdy and secure. A reinforced heel piece is also positioned in the upper for added protection and locked down fit.

There is also a plush, non-gusseted tongue which rides independently beneath the cleaty upper throughout the lace area. This design delivers a snug yet comfortable protection for the ankle.


How Saucony Koa TR ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 49% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 43% Saucony running shoes
All Saucony running shoes
Top 46% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Saucony Koa TR.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.