Saucony Liberty ISO OG – 50 Mile Review

The Saucony Liberty ISO OG after 50 miles. Yeah, another shoe that version 2 has been released already. However, this is also a post that back in May I never thought that I would write, but here it is October and they finally made it to that magical 50 mile mark.

This review is too long for most readers, so if you don’t want to read a small book, here is the executive summary:

After about 25 miles of less than impressive runs in the Liberty ISO OGs back in May, I retired them to the closet and figured that I wouldn’t be running again in them anytime soon. After sitting in the closet for about 4 months, I decided that I would try the same operation on the inner bootie that I did on my Zealot 3s and it seemed to help a lot. I also changed the lacing pattern to get a more consistent fit each time I put them on and changed out the stock insole to an Ortholite one. These changes made a huge difference in how comfortable the Liberty ISOs were for me to run in and I have added them back into my regular running rotation.

Back to the long version.

I went South back in May to go running, eat lunch and enjoy talking about running shoes with Sam W over at Road, Trail, Run. After a 6.0 mile run, a great lunch and talking a lot about running shoes, I ended up coming home with a few pair of gently used shoes that he no longer wanted, to see how they worked for me for free and without any obligation.

These Saucony Liberty ISO OGs were one of the pair from that day. The comments and thoughts about the Saucony Liberty ISO OG running shoes are completely my own.

Below is a list of the runs that I have done in them:

My first run in them was around Back Bay in Portland and while they did okay, the Liberty ISOs didn’t really wow me.

That first run left me wondering if they were a shoe that I would like or not. I ran in them a few more time over the course of the next couple of weeks and in my Week in Review post from back then said the following:

I only have 25 miles on them, but I am finding that while I can run decently in them they feel heavy at 10.5 ounces (I know that is fairly light, but…the more I run in them the heavier they seem to feel), are pretty stiff (the full length outsole I believe is most of the culprit) and they bother my forefeet too much to run completely comfortably in them. Which I really think it has something to do with the bootie construction of the ISO Fit. So I have put them under the dresser for a week or two to see how things go without running in them for a while.

After writing this, I didn’t run in them the rest of May and in June I drafted an end of use post (that I never published and later deleted), put them in the front closet and pretty much forgot about them until October. I had several other pair of running shoes that seemed to fit me better.

The tale of the scale show them to be over my preferred 10 ounce point, but not by much, so that really wasn’t one of the big issues that put them in the closet.

Fast forward to the end of September, I still hadn’t really found a pair of running shoes that worked all that great as daily trainers/long run shoes over the summer.

After thinking about it, I got looking around the closets, under the dresser, in the back of the garage and in the vehicles. Yeah I have a few places where I stash running shoes when I really don’t want to get rid of them. While looking around, I saw the Saucony Zealot 3’s and remembered how I liked them except for the inner bootie bothering my metatarsals.

So I came up with the idea of cutting the inner bootie in the Zealot’s back past where it hugs the metatarsals. This experiment worked well for the Zealots and I thought it might work the same for the Liberty’s.

Now the inner bootie styles are different between the two shoes, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt and cut the Liberty’s bootie back around two inches on each side of the shoes, leaving enough so that the tongue was still nicely held. I am not saying that this solved all of the issues, but I have run up to 9.0 miles in them without them killing my forefoot, so it is part of the solution.

The other solution is that with the loop lace holes in the Liberty and Zealot 3s is the creeping tightness that occurs a little more each time I pull on the laces and tie the shoes. Which causes the laces to eventually snug up too much on the forefoot and make the shoes uncomfortable for me.

So I have used a modified lacing pattern to alleviate the pressure on the metatarsals and double laced through the last loop lace to maintain a more consistent snugness from the lacing.

One more issue that I had with the Liberty ISO is how firm, almost to the point where I felt they were harsh. I changed out the stock Saucony insole to an Ortholite one from a pair of Salomons and it made a big difference on how they felt when I ran in them.

These changes have made a HUGE difference in how I view the Liberty ISO OGs and how I view Saucony’s ISO Fit lacing/bootie system on their shoes. While I am not a big fan, as long as I modify the bootie and modify the lacing I can run well in them.

I still need to get a few good double-digit runs in them to say how great they are, but at least now I can and WANT to run in them.

Although it seems like there is an awful lot that I do not like about the Saucony Liberty ISOs, those things all have a fairly easy solutions. However, it takes more to write about it to explain the problem and then the appropriate solution that took a while for me to figure out how to run in them comfortably.

What do I like?

Quite a bit actually.

I run well at a variety of speeds in the Liberty ISOs, they are quiet and once I figured out the solution for the harshness they have been comfortable.

The heel counter fits me the way that I want it to. My heel is held securely, but comfortably which is usually a tough thing because I have fairly narrow heels, but need a wider toe box.

Now that I have figured that the inner bootie can be cut enough to loosen it up so that it doesn’t bother my metatarsals the toe box feels comfortable

While they are a bit heavier on the scales at 10.5 ounces, they run easier than other shoes I have that weigh less. I also tend to think that the Liberty needed some miles on them to break in the Everun midsole.

I have a feeling that the outsole will outlast the upper by a long shot for me. After my 50 plus miles and however many Sam put on them, there is virtually no noticeable wear. While the outsole does pick up a few rocks, it ain’t the crazy stuff that some models do.

Speaking of the outsole, it is a multipurpose outsole that I can run in a variety of conditions. Runs in the rain down-back on a wet/slimy dirt road – the Liberty ISOs have done great and I wouldn’t hesitate to take them on most of the trails in the area in dry conditions. I have a feeling that they will be fine in the snow.

Personally, I like the colorway and looks of the Liberty ISO OGs in the blue/white colorway.

The reality is that

Now that I have figured out what changes I needed to make to the Saucony Liberty ISO OGs, they are becoming a running shoe I look forward to running in.

If a bootie construction tends to bother your metatarsals you can fix it by cutting the bootie back past them, which takes away the snugness in that area. That might not work for everyone, but it worked for me.

Once I figured out a few things the Liberty’s have become a very good shoe for me. I think that I tend to give up too quickly on some shoes and not quick enough on others. I have to look closer at what is bothering versus they just are not comfortable enough. Especially if the price is right and you have time to think about what is working and what can work with a few easy tweaks.

However, I don’t think that I would go ahead and buy a pair of the Liberty ISOs, I have a feeling that the Freedom and Zealot 3 models are a closer to what I am looking for in a pair of running shoes. Although I will probably wear these until they are done being running shoes, because I can run well in them.

One thought on “Saucony Liberty ISO OG – 50 Mile Review

  1. Reviewers usually write to praise the product they are testing, so that reviews are usually nothing but product eulogies full of BS. I like that this blog shows a candid review based on true experience. In this context, I would like to share my own experience just in case it ever helps.

    I started using them in July 2018 running on pavement. As per my Strava account, I have completed over 550 km on my Saucony Liberty ISO, and just bought the second pair as I will likely reach 800 km anytime before New Year. For the last 3 years I used Asics Kayano Gel twenty something (21, 22, 23,…), and decided that it was time to try something new. The Kayano is a strong support shoe that works fine, and gave me plenty of nice runs (always on pavement, as I use Salomon trail shoes for off-the-road runs).

    The first feeling after the Kayano was that the Liberty is lighter, less supportive and is a bit more demanding for my legs. It was not a big deal as I had already done over 1100 km in 2017, and 550 km in 2018 before the Liberty, so I had already built some strength in my legs. My feet are rather neutral, and my BMI is 22.5, so this shoe is fairly good for half marathon training, whereas I plan to train for my first full marathon in 2019 on Saucony Liberty. Anyway, my advise is that you should not go for the Liberty if you are a bit heavy, if your feet are not neutral, or if you are new to running.

    The only negative point I have to share is that I had barely made 250 km when I found a hole on the upper of the left shoe, possibly because I was using holey shocks with not too properly-cut toe nails. The right shoe is in mint condition, though, and the sole is in good condition yet (200-250 km yet to reach the 800-850 km that I regularly complete before replacing shoes). All in all, I was satisfied enough as to buy my second pair (different colour!).

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