Saucony Jazz Low Pro Sneakers

by cazort

The Saucony Jazz Low Pro is an all-purpose sneaker that functions equally well for walking, or as a minimal running shoe.

I love sneakers, and I've tried on dozens of different types of sneakers over the years, and owned quite a few pairs myself. Of all of the shoes I've tried, one stands out as my all-time favorite: the Saucony Jazz Low Pro.

Here I explain why I like this shoe, with a focus on comfort, practicality, and durability.

But I also love this shoe because of its style, which includes not only its default look and shape, but also the fact that it is available in a staggering array of colors.

Quick Summary: What is this shoe like?

Know what you're getting: are you looking for the following qualities?
  • Lightweight - Lighter than most casual sneakers and athletic shoes.
  • No arch support - Some people may like arch support, but for me, no arch is a plus.  I'm pretty convinced that, at least for me, arch support just screws up my feet. If you're sick of a shoe's arch digging into your feet, try this shoe out.
  • Very flat sole - I explain this below in the difference between the regular and "low pro". This is a huge plus for me.
  • Sturdy - Relative to their light weight, this shoe has a fairly wide bottom, making me feel stable and sturdy on my feet.
  • Large triange-shaped treads - The rubber sole has large, relatively high triangle-shaped treads which I find gives good traction over the entire lifetime of the shoe. This shoe will not slip-and-slide and it's even better than average for walking on ice.
  • Simple retro styling - Looks like the cutest of old-fashioned 80's running sneakers.

Do you own a pair of Saucony Jazz sneakers?

The Difference Between Regular Jazz and Low Pro

"Low Pro" stands for "low profile", describing how these shoes are flat-soled and will make your heel fall closer to the ground than in the regular sneakers.

When I first saw these sneakers for sale, I was confused by the model names: there was the Saucony Jazz, and the Saucony Jazz Low Pro, and they looked pretty much the same.

But, upon closer inspection, I realized that the regular Jazz sneakers have a slightly elevated heel, whereas the Low Pro shoes have a very flat sole.  "Low Pro" stands for "low profile", meaning that these shoes tend to sit low to the ground when viewed from the side.

I am a huge fan of the flat-soled low pro shoes.  I feel more stable and rooted in these shoes, find them much more comfortable when standing for long periods of time, and, as I explain below, I think they help you to have more natural biomechanics when running, and make these an outstanding running shoe.

What is so awesome about this shoe?

I love these shoes for so many reasons: comfort, durability, price, and style.
  • Comfort - This is the most comfortable sneaker I've ever owned.  That says a lot; I walk a ton, and comfort is a must.
  • Durability - These shoes last well, even with heavy use.  Each of my pairs has held up a minimum of three years, wearing evenly.
  • Low Price - The full retail price of these shoes is around $54, outstanding for a shoe of this type and quality (compare New Balance Classics around $62, Asics around $85, similar Nike shoes also around $60-85).  But you can reliably get them on sale.  If you aren't picky about color, you'll usually find them for $30 or less; my girlfriend picked up a pair for $26 the other day.  And there are usually quite a variety of colors for sale in the $40 price range.
  • Style - Maybe it's just my aesthetic sense, but I think these shoes look so freaking cute.  They look soft and cuddly and they look casual and fun, and I think they also have a sort of subtle sophistication to them, and they're available in colors to match just about anything.

 

So Many Colors - And Extra Laces

Each pair of sneakers comes with two sets of laces: one matching the shoes' main color, and another in a highlight or accent color.

One thing I love about this shoe and the regular Saucony Jazz sneakers is that they are available in a staggering variety of colors.  Even if you limit yourself to colors that are on sale, you will typically have quite a lot of options to choose from.

But the flexibility doesn't end there: when you buy these sneakers, most ones will come with two sets of laces, one matching the main color of the shoe, and another matching an accent color.  The extra laces, besides being great for if your laces tear or wear out, give you more fashion options.

This collage shows only a selection of the colors currently on the market, and if that isn't enough for you, new colors come out every year!
Some of the colors this shoe is available in.
Some of the colors this shoe is available in.

As a Minimal Running Shoe

The low heel and flat sole of this shoe prevents heel striking and makes it a good compromise between barefoot running shoes and a traditional running shoe.

I find it a bit irritating that Saucony's "original" shoes, including this, the regular Jazz sneaker, and the Bullet, are all marketed as "fashion sneakers", "casual sneakers", or "lifestyle shoes", buzzwords that usually mean "not for serious athletic activity".  I beg to disagree.  I've tried a variety of shoes, including purchasing some, marketed as running shoes, and I'm solidly convinced that, at least for myself, but probably for a lot of other people, more minimal shoes like the Jazz low pro are actually healthier for running.

Barefoot running has become a bit of a fad lately, and a lot of companies are marketing shoes that supposedly emulate running in bare feet.  But ironically, I think some of the shoes marketed in association with this fad, are not actually as natural.  I've tried on several of Nike's options and been sorely disappointed.  The sole is more flexible, but they still have too much support.

One of the big problems that "barefoot running" shoes strive to address is that of heel striking, i.e. when people land on their heels rather than their toes when running.  When people naturally run barefoot, they either land evenly on their feet, or usually land with more of their weight placed forward on their toes.  Running shoes often have elevated heels, which can make people land on their heels, an unnatural running form that places additional shock and strain on the joints, and can increase the risk of injury.

The low heel on the Saucony Jazz Low Pro is ideal for preventing heel striking--the shoe itself is rather flat on the bottom, lacking the elevated heels of most running shoes and many other casual sneakers.

Theories of barefoot running aside, I just love running in these shoes.

If you want to use these shoes for running, I recommend either the more breathable mesh option, or the vegan ones with a hemp mesh that is equally breathable.

A Vegan Option: Practical and Durable

Vegan shoes use hemp-based materials instead of leather. They are still durable, and are more breathable than leather. They also have an attractive, earthy look to them.

The Jazz Low Pro is also available in a vegan variety.  The vegan shoe does not have any leather or other animal products.  If you are vegan, this shoes offers an uncommon opportunity--there aren't as many good options for vegan shoes on the market, because so many shoes rely on leather for at least part of the shoe.

But even if you are not actually vegan, I would recommend looking at this shoe because the material is unique, and I find, much more breathable.

I was initially skeptical of the durability of vegan shoes, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I owned a pair of vegan Jazz low pro shoes for over three years, using them heavily, occasionally for running, and often for casual use, and towards the end of their lifespan, as work shoes, and I found them to wear pretty well, also wearing evenly...i.e. holes only appeared in the upperparts of the shoes by the time the treads were pretty thoroughly worn.

Saucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan Fashion Sneaker,Grey/Red,9 M US

Like your shoes de-calf? This Vegan friendly Saucony shoe contains no animal products by-products or derivatives. Canvas and hemp create the classic design. For an animal friend...

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Saucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker,Navy,10.5 M US

10.5

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Do you seek out vegan shoes?

Also Available in Women's

The women's shoes are similar, and are available in slightly brighter colors.

I have focused on the men's shoes, but these sneakers are also available in women's.  The shoes are similar, and also are available in Vegan variety.

One small caveat, because in our society, Men's shoes tend to be bulkier, and women's lighter and more minimal, this shoe will probably strike most men as more lightweight and minimal, but women may find it relatively bulkier and more clumsy.

Women get a few more bright color options than men, which I'm a bit jealous of!
Saucony Originals Women's Jazz Low Pro Running Shoe,Dark Grey/Grass Green,6.5 M US

Bright, bold colors take shape within the classic Saucony Jazz silhouette.

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Saucony Originals Women's Jazz Low Pro Fashion Sneaker,Grey/White,7.5 M US

JAZZ LOW PRO GRY/WHT

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Updated: 08/07/2014, cazort
 
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