Saucony Axon 2 Review Analysis (2022)
Last update: February 2023
The Axon 2 is Saucony’s entry-level road running shoe. This value-packed daily trainer comes with minor tweaks to the original Axon that runners already loved.
The Saucony Axon 2 emerges as more than an upgrade over its previous shoe; it stands out as a high-quality product that can rival more expensive trainers in several essential ways at a much lower price.
The remodeled, narrower upper design gives the shoe a snug fit and better lockdown than the Axon 1 and many other daily trainers.
On top of a form-fitting design, the new Axon’s robust rubber outsole gives it unrivaled durability and traction in damp environments. So you can use the Axon on your long runs without wear and tear. And most of all, the upper improvements contribute to the smooth ride.
But no shoe is flawless, especially one that costs less than $100. Specifically, most runners take issue with the shoe’s stiff foam and lack of flexibility. This new version still has PWRRUN foam throughout, but it isn’t as soft and can be unforgiving to runners in the market for a plush underfoot feel.
Additionally, the Axon Two’s rigid rubber bottom means it can’t offer the flexibility to provide a comfortable feeling while running over gravel or rocky terrains. Some runners even complain about repeated heel slipping in these environments. But for shorter runs on paved territories, you won’t find better footwear at a friendlier price than the Axon 2.
Please read our full review of the Saucony Axon 2 for more information.
- Excellent price
- Strong foot lockdown
- High durability
- Smooth ride, easy to roll
- Stiff feel compared to other shoe brands
- Not great for gravel roads or rocky terrains
Saucony Axon 2 Complete Review Analysis
Running for recreation and rigorous exercise has maintained steady popularity in recent years. And with that popularity has come an influx of footwear and other running gear, the highest quality of which often comes in too pricey for average hobbyists.
Saucony bucked that trend with their original Axon shoe, a daily trainer with a slightly rockered design that runners loved for its feel, good weight, and affordable price. While not as stunning as the acclaimed Saucony Endorphin line models, the Axon emerged as a convincing value option. And with the newly released Saucony Axon 2, the well-known brand again seeks to go toe-to-toe with the highest-priced shoes on the market.
The Saucony Axon 2 offers a great price point. Other shoes from similarly sized brands average over $150, while the Axon 2 stays below the symbolic $100 mark. But do Saucony’s shoes give runners any bang for their buck? Does this shoe have any appeal beyond its vocation as a budget trainer?
We’ll answer those questions in this review analysis and give you a big-picture idea of what to expect from this road running shoe.
The Axon 2 uses PWRRUN foam throughout the shoe to create a cushioned midsole, underfoot, heel counter, and heel collar. However, while Saucony densely cushioned the entire Axon 2, many runners agree that the PWRRUN midsole feels like cushion overkill.
The Axon 2 takes runners a couple of long runs to break in and get comfortable with, like any running shoes. However, these shoes still give runners a firmer ride than other, far more expensive shoes, even after breaking them in.
You’ll be better off with different gear if you prefer softer foams for your longer runs. Similarly, the Axon 2’s firm midsole won’t support you if you run on tired legs. The dense midsole also shows up in performance, as you won’t get much of a fast and responsive feel from this shoe.
But even if the Axon 2 isn’t as responsive or comfortable for extended runs, the comprehensive cushion gives runners a steady cushion for short- and medium-distance runs on easy days. Don’t count on them for a soft landing on your first half marathon.
Foot lockdown (upper)
Many runners took issue with the first version of the Axon and the Saucony Endorphin Shift line for their poor foot lockdown. Most recent Saucony shoes have a high-stack heel height, and in the original Axon, that led to an abundance of heel slippage.
But Saucony corrected those universal issues in a big way with the Axon 2. The shoe has a new mesh upper which adds density to the front while still keeping the shoe thin enough to give it feathery weight. That density gives runners more stability during runs, so you won’t notice your heel slip out like the original Axon. Additionally, the shoe’s thin, lightweight laces add a strong layer of lockdown without contributing much weight.
But while the Axon 2 contorts for different foot sizes, the robust upper might constrict runners with wide feet or long toes. Some runners feel the shoe narrows out too much in the toe box and through the forefoot rocker. But overall, runners love the stable and secure fit their feet have with the Axon 2.
Grip and durability
Most runners feel that the Saucony Axon 2 ranks as the most durable, budget-friendly running shoe. Despite not being soft enough for the average long-distance runner, you can put countless miles on each shoe before problems pop up.
Thanks to the unique outsole design, the Saucony Axon 2 stays in perfect condition longer than its original Axon and Endorphin Shift shoe line. Saucony designed the Axon 2’s outsole with a firm rubber to keep the shoe intact. And while that outsole rigidity might limit the Axon 2’s flex, it allows the shoe to remain strong for many years and miles.
The Axon 2’s outsole gives the shoe excellent traction on wet surfaces. Even after a rainstorm, runners take their Axon 2’s out for runs and receive a dry road feel with maximum stability and minimal resistance.
This shoe works well for the average neutral runner on flat, paved surfaces. However, it offers less forgiveness to those who want a running shoe for rocky areas. Because the shoe’s outsole lacks some flexibility, some runners feel they can’t roll smoothly on gravel or uneven surfaces.
At the same time, they are road shoes—so best to leave them at that!
The theme of this Saucony Axon 2 review analysis focuses on how it improved over the original shoe. Most runners agree that the new shoe feels more secure in the forefoot, more stable on wet pavement, and more durable overall, even if that comes at the cost of a soft midsole.
That theme continues here, as the Axon 2 gives runners a far more stable ride, thanks mainly to the new upper. One simple upper enhancement grants this trainer excellent stability during runs, allowing for more response and fewer heel slipping mishaps.
Additionally, the shoe has a curved forefoot design and firm cushion, so both forefoot strikers and heel strikers can roll forward smoothly with this trainer.
Again, the shoe’s cushion stiffness remains an issue for runners who prioritize softness. And wearing a shoe that’s harsh on your feet will be a dealbreaker for some regardless of how smooth the ride is.
However, the Axon 2 rewards runners who look past the cushion and wear the shoe in proper conditions with a smooth ride for miles.
We looked at how the new shoe improves on the old in this Saucony Axon 2 review analysis. But since the original Axon was already a well-regarded shoe, the improvements pushed the Axon 2 into elite territory among all budget trainers.
You won’t find many footwear options that outpace the Axon 2 in durability, traction on wet roads, or tight lockdown. And while the cushioning feels too stiff and the forefoot seems too rigid for some runners, the benefits turn this shoe into a nearly universally beloved product.
And if you find the right shop or website, you can find the new Saucony Axon for a fraction of what you’d pay for most equally valuable shoe brands. Even if you don’t elect the Axon 2 as your go-to shoe, it’s a solid pick to have in your rotation to take the load off more fancy models like the Endorphin Speed.
|Heel stack height||35 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||31 mm|
|Weight (men)||286 g/10.1 oz|
|Weight (women)||259 g/9.1 oz|
|Midsole||PWRRUN, Speed-Driven Geometry|
Comparisons – Saucony Axon 2 vs.:
The Saucony Axon 2 maintains every benefit the original Axon offered (budget-friendliness, high-stack cushion, PWRRUN foam, etc.) while tweaking the formula in crucial ways.
The new design helps the shoe fit better with most foot sizes, allowing for better control and an uninterrupted pace. In addition, since runners can roll without fear of anything slipping, they can enjoy a smooth ride on any daily workout.
This latest version also makes minor improvements to the shoe’s overall durability and grip.
We found very few negative remarks across every Saucony Axon 2 review we scanned for our analysis. We didn’t see a single reviewer who preferred the original Axon over the new one.