Now that I’ve had a few weeks to tryout the new Saucony Hattori LC I wanted to share some of my initial impressions. The LC is a 4.4 oz, zero-drop shoe, and is the successor to the original Hattori that came out in mid-2011. I was a huge fan of the original, and initially started running in the Hattori as a means to improve my bio-mechanics and strengthen my feet.
It has been said on my blog many times that since adding these Hattori runs to my schedule one or two days a week, I have been able to get rid of all my orthotics and also make the lightweight Saucony Kinvara my full-time training and racing shoe. I really only had two criticisms of the original…
(1) The heaviest wear on the outsole seemed to be just inse the small ovals of rubber under the big-toe. It seems like a slight modification to the positioning of the rubber sections could greatly improve the durability without adding weight to the shoe. However, even with this I was able to get approximately 250-miles out of my initial pair, which is WAY more than I expected.
(2) The material in the upper is so thin that my big toe in each shoe eventually wore a hole through the top. This was partially exacerbated by the fact that the size I selected was very snug on me. I’m actually right in between a 10 and a 10.5, and decided to go with the 10 in the original. This put a little more pressure on the material over the toe than was intended.
The new Hattori LC made two significant changes to the original, though the outsole remains unchanged…
(1) The upper now contains laces to provide a more secure fit, rather than the velcro strap on the original. I know this was a frequent complaint on the original, though the velcro strop seemed sufficient for me.
(2) The material over the toe has been reinforced to provide extra durablity.
I was initially skeptical about the laces, since the fit of the upper worked really well for me in the original. However, I ultimately decided to give them a shot instead of simply re-ordering another pair of the original. For the new LC, I went with the size 10.5 to see if that would also help with the “big toe” problem in the upper.
While this has nothing to do with performance, the LC is a much better looking shoe than the original. I loved the original Hattori, but it does look a bit more like a water shoe than a running shoe. The new LC definitely looks more like a running shoe. With that being said, it is a bit disappointing that Saucony only offers this shoe in one color for men and one color for women. The original Hattori was available in a plethora of color options.
Like the original, the upper is made of a very thin, stretchy material with flexifilm overlays to provide a little more strength and structure. This material hugs the foot like a glove, and is very comfortable while running. This shoe can be worn sockless, though I generally prefer running with socks. The new re-enforced material over the toe is a bit disappointing, because it is really more in front of the toes than over the toes. However, moving up to a size 10.5 has taken a lot of the pressure off the upper material in the toe box, so this may end up being a moot point anyway.
As for the new laces, during my first run in the LC one of the shoes came untied about 2-miles into the run. This was a bit frustrating since I had not dealt with this in the original. However, now that I’ve completed several runs in the LC, I really appreciate the laces. The fit is a lot more customized to my preference, and it is actually a lot more comfortable than the original.
The outsole is made of EVA+ foam with strategically place rubber under the heel and big toe for added durability. As I mentioned early, it is unchanged from the original. This is good and bad. It is good because it retains exactly the same feel. It is bad because it does not attempt to improve the durability of the outsole based on overall wear patterns from the original.
All-in-all, the Hattori LC is a solid update, and a great option for those wanting to slowly introduce more minimalist or barefoot type running into their training. As with the original, this is a shoe that forces a forefoot or mid-foot strike, and should be incorporated gradually to prevent injury. The laces in the LC are a great addition to what was already a well designed, zero-drop shoe.