Verdict from 10 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Some people claim that for a trail running shoe, the Saucony Mad River TR is light enough for all-day wear.
  • The platform is deemed sufficiently flexible by a few testers who like the natural movement of the foot to be encouraged.
  • Several consumers have stated that the trail-ready outsole of this Saucony running shoe isn’t too aggressive to remove efficacy on flat surfaces.
  • A couple of runners wrote that the underfoot cushioning system is able to provide comfort throughout the running session.
  • The one-piece opening of the Mad River TR is lauded by those who welcome a quick in-and-out experience when wearing a shoe.
  • The choice of wide and close-fitting lacing methods on the roof of the upper is praised by those who like some customization for the fit-adjustment.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A tester has complained that the platform isn’t as supportive as advertised, that the underfoot experience is flat.
  • The sidewall-like raised portions of the midsole are criticized for putting some pressure against the skin of the foot.

Bottom line

The overall feedback for the Saucony Mad River TR has been positive. People are generally happy with what this trail running shoe has to offer. The lightweight build and the versatile outsole construction are highlighted as the elements that elevated this product to the realm of agreeable user-friendliness. Also, the slip-on structure apparently worked with the nonrestrictive lacing system to properly keep the foot in place.

Fans of neutral running shoes that are for the unpredictable terrains are the target market of the Saucony Mad River TR.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

- The Mad River TR from Saucony is a trail running companion that focuses on a customized running experience. Like most options for off-road adventures, this product has a bevy of features that aims to heighten the performance on the irregular topography of the great outdoors. But versatility is also taken into consideration as the external pad isn’t too aggressive in its design. An option to add grip-elevating studs is added to the outsole, as well.

- Trail runners aren’t usually slip-on options, but this model embraces the one-piece opening that allows for a quick wear-and-remove experience. A traditional lacing system is added to the bridge to alleviate concerns about a wobbly wrap. Moreover, there are narrow and wide placements for the lace-holes to customize the intensity of the fit-adjustment.

Standard sizing schemes were used when the Saucony Mad River TR was made. Runners are encouraged to get a pair with their usual choices of size in mind. However, achieving a pleasant in-shoe feel can be optimized through the physical testing of the shoe, as well as the observation of user feedback from review sources.

The fit that can be appreciated by the wearer is influenced by several elements. These include the foot-shaped design of the lasting board, the spacious forefoot outline that welcomes toe-splay, and the raised midsole sidewalls that keep the foot at the center of the platform.

The external pad of the Saucony Mad River TR is made of PWRTRAC, a rubber layer that generously covers the base of the midsole foam. The purpose of this material is to protect against the abrasive nature of the trails. It also has a grippy quality to deliver surface and movement control throughout the running session.

Angular gripping lugs make the outsole lean towards prominence as a trail-optimized accouterment. These clamp-like nodes, though ready to adhere to the unpredictable outdoor topography, have flat ends that allow the shoe to function well on even surfaces. Transitioning the activity to the roads is viable if the runner wants to do so.

Saucony has placed some circular patterns on the surface of the rubber to allow runners to affix traction studs into them. Additional traction can mean a lot to the betterment of the performance.

PWRFOAM serves as the base of the Saucony Mad River TR’s midsole. This compound attenuates impact shock during the landing phase of the gait cycle, shielding the foot from discomfort. It is also touted to be durable enough to last a long time.

EVERUN™ is the layer that is on top of the impact-mitigating foam. This technology is advertised as a flexible and springy piece that is resistant to sagging or material breakdown. It acts as a means of returning energy to the foot and leg of the runner, energizing the step and potentially bettering the performance. EVERUN™ is used in many Saucony shoe series, including the updates to the Kinvara and Hurricane ISO lines.

A durable mesh is used for the upper unit of the Saucony Mad River TR. The purpose of this feature is to prevent sharp objects on the trails from causing tears. Tiny pores permit air to go into and through the foot-chamber, thus offering a cool and dry in-shoe hug.

Printed overlays bolster the toe box, the sides, and the heel part. These synthetic prints are tasked with heightening durability and helping in the attainment of a snug and secure fit. The ones on the sides and heel, in particular, prevent the foot from wobbling inside the shoe.

Some stitching reinforces the structure of the upper unit. The upright position of the facade is preserved by these elements.

A slip-on construction allows the runner to wear and remove this running shoe with ease. Although a traditionally separate tongue unit is not present, the front and back of the collar are raised to cushion the base of the lower leg. This trait is similar to the typical shoe configuration.

A by-the-numbers lacing system is used for the Saucony Mad River TR. Flat shoelaces snake across the bridge of the upper unit, affecting the fit like it’s meant to. A unique two-lace-hole configuration permits a customized adjustment. The first kind of lace holes are isolated fabric loops that jut out from the eyestays; the second is a set of stitched-on cube overlays with punch-holes. While the former values a less restrictive modification of the snugness, the latter emphasizes the perception of an immediate hold.


How Saucony Mad River TR ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 5% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Top 9% Saucony running shoes
All Saucony running shoes
Top 5% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Saucony Mad River 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.