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Saucony Koa ST

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Saucony Koa ST trail running shoe

Pretty great trail shoes for hiking and running in loose conditions. Very comfortable, nice fit, looks great, but not without some drawbacks.


  • Great traction in loose material
  • Wide toe box
  • Simple lacing system
  • Lightweight
  • Sheds water well
  • Very eye-catching on trail


  • Not as breathable as other trail shoes
  • 4mm offset (could be a pro or con depending on what you're looking for)

Having been transitioning my gear from a more traditional kit to a more lightweight/UL backpacking kit, one of the first things I considered was moving from a traditional light hiking boot to a lighter trail shoe for hiking and backpacking. Luckily I found these on a closeout sale, and was immediately drawn to their sharp good looks (the brilliant colors of these shoes is not easily forgotten) as well as the aggressive lugs they had, which looked up to most any trail I could throw at them.




They were immediately comfortable on my foot, with a nice secure feel in the heel box, ample cushioning underfoot, and a nice wide toe box that allowed my toes room to spread out. I typically measure as a D-width, and so do not have overwhelmingly wide feet, and these felt very comfortable from the first moment I put them on. Having put nearly 100km on trails with them, this initial impression remains—these are extremely easy shoes to wear, at least for my specific foot shape and size. 

I was concerned about how the 8mm lugs on these shoes would feel on hard packed surfaces; would they be overtly noticeable and tiring on my feet? I was happy to note that the outsole and/or shank was sufficiently stiff to allow my foot to not notice the lugs at all while on hard surfaces. 


They are also quite lightweight, at least in comparison to a hiking boot, coming in at 9oz, compared to the 1lb 8oz my Salomon Exit Peak Mid GTX's weigh. As a relative newcomer to lightweight backpacking, I'm still amazed at how good a lightweight pair of shoes feels on trail. It's also worth noting that these are not a zero drop shoe, so there is some offset. How you feel about that will come down to your own taste, but it never presented as a problem for me. 


In use, these shoes have been almost everything I had hoped they would be. I've experienced great traction both when running and hiking in mixed terrain, and they've eaten up loose gravel, mud, and snow with equal ability. On one trip of note, I hiked into the Fryatt Valley wearing these shoes (their first long test) and on a wet and mucky trail, I was not let down in terms of both their stability under load, their grip in wet conditions, and their ability to support my foot while scrambling across an old landslide. When running in the river valley near my house, they've eaten up hills and given me the confidence on trail that I always lacked when trying to force my road shoes into trail duty. 

In terms of water resistance, the upper is made from a single, non-woven synthetic material that easily sheds water, mud, and snow, while still managing to be reasonably breathable, so my feet never felt unduly hot or bogged down. This synthetic upper is also a detriment in water deeper than the top of the shoe though, as it doesn't allow for great drainage in the same way that a mesh upper would, and so once they were fully wet they tended to stay wet longer than my road shoes would. It's worth noting that they were better at draining than my Gore-Tex hiking boots, which once wet wouldn't dry out for a day or more once swamped.



Having put approx 100km in these shoes, I can confirm that they are every bit as comfortable today as they were the day I purchased them if not more so, and the synthetic outsole shows basically no signs of wear. The lugs themselves, something I was concerned about having wear down prematurely, are holding up VERY well to regular use, though I imagine that overuse on pavement would wear them down more quickly as they are somewhat soft. 


If you can still find these shoes, I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking for an aggressive trail running shoe, or anyone looking to move to trail shoes for hiking but also looking for an aggressive sole to provide amazing traction on loose trails. I'm also looking forward to many summers using these shoes ahead of me still.


I have owned these shoes for 9 months and have taken them on multiple hikes (overnight/multiday and day hikes on a variety of terrains found in Alberta) as well as taken them running in the snow on a few occasions this winter.

I am an experienced hiker and runner, but am currently making the transition to hiking in trail shoes.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90

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Price Historic Range: $85.99
Reviewers Paid: $90.00
Weight 10.3 oz / 292 g
Pronation Neutral
Cushion Responsive
Surface Trail, Grass
Arch Normal / Mid
Offset 4 mm
Heel Stack Height 22 mm
Forefoot Stack Height 18 mm
Price Historic Range: $57.73-$64.83
Weight 9.0 oz / 255 g
Pronation Neutral
Cushion Responsive
Surface Trail, Grass
Arch Normal / Mid
Offset 4 mm
Heel Stack Height 22 mm
Forefoot Stack Height 18 mm
Product Details from Saucony »