Saucony has long been one of the best known running shoe companies around, as the company was founded in 1898. Their entry into the shot put and discus throwing shoe market is much more recent, as they have only released their first option, the Saucony Unleash SD, in the past few years.
Rather than simply copying other products on the market, they have created a unique product with input from 2004 Olympic Shot Put Gold Medalist Adam Nelson. Nelson had a major hand in the design process, and you can see his passion for the shoes in the video below. The video shows the old design, but the new one only updates the color scheme.
You can see how Adam Nelson says they spent 2.5 years, and 7 different prototypes, trying to get the shoe designed exactly how they wanted it and the unique design should allow throwers to hit the proper positions more easily. This theoretically should allow a better transfer of energy from the ground up.
The Saucony Unleash SDs are, in my opinion, the fastest throwing shoe available, even faster than the Nike Zoom Rotationals. The shoes are designed to make it easy to turn on your toes that is necessary for discus and spin shot put. They do this by having a large angle between the toe part of the bottom of the shoe and the heel portion.
This unique design will cause a learning curve if you are switching from a different shoe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you should be aware that there will be an adjustment period. You might not want to switch to these in-season unless you have plenty of time to adjust.
Best Events: These are most commonly used for shot put and discus. Some weight and hammer throwers use them as well. However, the extreme angle between the toes and the heels of the Unleashes can make heel-toe turns in hammer much more challenging at first. If you are used to a flatter shoe, it could feel like you are throwing in high heels at first. After a few reps, it should become more natural, but you will only know from experience if you prefer this style.
Best Uses: This is a very fast shoe, but that certainly doesn’t mean that is for everyone. You must have excellent balance throughout the throw to get value from the Sauconys. The angle on the bottom of the shoe makes it extra difficult to stay balanced, but you may find it makes it easier to rotate and turn on your toes, which is so crucial in shot put and discus.
These are probably the fastest shoes for pure spin shot putters and discus throwers. If you feel your current throwing shoes are slowing you down, you may want to try the Saucony Unleash SDs. Remember, a fast throwing shoe isn’t necessarily the best for you. You have to find the shoe that your technique can get the most out of.
I wouldn’t recommended these for a junior high or high school thrower as their first shoe. They may want to consider a slower, more stable option before looking to add speed. Once their technique is more stable and they want to add more speed, they can consider these.
The official product description, from Saucony’s website:
Shot Put / Discus / Hammer The Unleash SD is designed for a thrower, by a a thrower, and is ideal for the shot put, discus, and hammer throw. It combines FlexFilm overlays, supportive synthetics and a robust cross strap with a high density rubber outsole, giving the thrower the perfect blend of traction and speed for the spin or glide techniques.
Price: These aren’t the cheapest throwing shoes, but they aren’t in the most expensive tier. You can usually find them for under $100.
The Saucony Unleash SD are a very unique and fast shoe, but you may find it difficult to complete a throw without altering your technique. However, they may add more speed to your throw than any other shoe out there. If you choose to go with these, make sure you are at least a couple weeks away from your next meet so you can get used to the different feel and speed. After this time, you will know if they are the right fit for your style.