My first one of these, let me know if you find it helpful; I have many other shoes I can review. I’m a running shoe junkie.
When I first started wearing these shoes, I was riding the minimalism train (and I still am!). I had worn through my first pair of Kinvara 2s at this point, and was wear-testing a pair of Dyad 5s for Brooks. I hated the Dyads—I don’t need that much support, and never have. However, I was still looking for a more cushioned ride than my kinvaras to take me through my first marathon. These shoes were the ticket.
These are my first pair and they have countless miles on them. I’ve since lost the mileage log for these shoes, but I believe they have over 300 miles on them. They certainly have two 20 milers and my marathon racked on them. For the amount of time I’ve had them (last May to now), they’ve lasted an unbelievably long time. The sole has a nice, thick rubber on it that has added to the longevity of the cushioning, unlike my kinvaras or brooks pureconnects. This, however, makes them a slightly heavier shoe, clocking in at 9.6 oz for the women’s version.
From the Saucony website:
RUN - Supportive Cushioning
The award-winning Cortana isn‘t much for tradeoffs between soft and responsive. Winner of “Best Debut” from Runner’s World Magazine, September 2011; “Best New Shoe” in Running Network’s 2011 Fall Shoe Review; “Gear of the Year” from Outside Buyer’s Guide, Winter 2011-2012; “Best Looking Shoe” from Women’s Running Magazine, November/December 2011. Built with just a touch of guidance, full-length PowerGrid™ technology of the Cortana provides superior cushioning and the 4mm heel-to-toe offset provides a super-responsive, close-to-the-road ride. Sauc-Fit™ proprietary fit technology guarantees the shoe will hug your foot throughout the gait cycle. Weight: 9.6 oz.
More objectively, if you liked the Kinvara 1 or 2, you will like these shoes IF you are looking for a slightly heavier shoe with more “bells and whistles.” The Kinvara had a similar heel-toe drop of 4mm, making them both minimal shoes, but the Cortana is considerably heavier (6.7 oz for the women’s version) and has a few extra touches: such as the thicker outsole, slight guidance, and more structured upper. It’s as if the Kinvara and a more traditional trainer had a baby, with the stiffer upper of the trainer, and the hard rubber sole, but the soft cushioning and small heel-toe drop of the Kinvara. While the Kinvara 2 retails for $90 US, the Cortana is rather pricey at $145. I got mine on a sweet sale off Holabird Sports for ~$115 including shipping, so I was stoked. If you can find them at that price point and are looking for a long-run shoe made for a “minimal runner,” then I’d definitely get a pair.
Type: Minimal, less so than Kinvara, PureFlow/Connect line. Little extra guidance from the sole pattern. “Supportive”/Neutral Cushioning.
Weight: 6.7-7.7 oz for women/men, respectively. Not noticably heavier than its cousin, the Kinvara.
Comments: Pricey, but very durable. 4mm heel-toe drop (!). More “extra touches” than other minimal shoes. Good for heavy mileage weeks or long runs for minimal or efficient runners. Very responsive with a breathable upper (however, not sock-like).