When considering a trail shoe I like to place it on a continuum with 'almost a road shoe' at one end and 'almost a fell shoe' at the other. The Saucony Xodus ISO 3 sits around the middle of this continuum, leaning slightly towards the fell shoe end due to its aggressive outsole.
The do-it-all design of the Xodus encouraged me to select it for a route involving various terrain types.
Overall, I found it worked well across the broad range of surfaces and should work as a year-round trail shoe and a good weather fell shoe.
Saucony Xodus ISO 3
Weight: 445g (half pair, size 11)
More info: saucony.com
Like most people, my runs from home start with a road section, so a trail shoe that functions as a road shoe is useful. The Xodus outsole features gnarly lugs, but they're flat bottomed and don't squirm around on hard surfaces.
The midsole is Saucony's Everun, a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) technology that promises comfort and more energy return for a lively feel. Saucony's take on TPU has the 'compressed bead' look to it that may appear familiar if you're a shoe geek!
With a 26.5mm heel stack and 22.5mm under the fore-foot, the Xodus's 4mm differential is quite low. It gives it a natural feel and a heel that doesn't get in the way when descending.
The ISOFIT upper is a booty construction; no tongue means less debris getting in. I found the fit comfortable; a fairly wide fore-foot and a mid-foot that laced up snugly.
The heel has a hard external Support Frame that feels a bit over engineered. This bring me on to my only complaint... weight. In my UK 11, a light trail shoe might sneak under 300g per shoe, 350 for a medium weight shoe. The Xodus is 455g. It doesn't feel too heavy when you get it moving but you might not choose it to race in.
There are reasons for the weight; TPU is notoriously heavy, design features like that chunky heel counter and the beefy one-piece outsole all adding to that total.
One final advantage of TPU over EVA is that it doesn't soften on hot days or firm up in the winter. So you'll get that same springy feel for the life of the shoe and through all seasons, making the Saucony Xodus ISO 3 a solid recommendation. It's just a shame it's a bit... well, solid.
Shoe Category: Trail. Pronation: Neutral. Cushion: Moderate. Construction Type: Trail. Surface: Trail. Arch: Normal (Mid). Water Resistant: No. Waterproof: No. Offset: 4mm. Heel Stack Height: 26.5mm. Forefoot Stack Height: 22.5mm.
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