Saucony Xodus ISO 2 Review Facts
Saucony has made a name for themselves with their excellent running footwear, covering many different styles and accommodating many different environments. The Xodus Iso 2 is their second attempt at a trail shoe, building off their prior design. There are some bold design choices made in the construction of these shoes, with some of these choices being more successful than others.
The outsoles of Saucony’s Xodus Iso 2 are brightly colored in one of a few possible color schemes.
The bright colors help these shoes stand out, but the downside of this is that dirt and grime will become more noticeable as a consequence. The material used is Saucony’s proprietary PWRTRAC, a type of rubber they claim offers resistance from abrasions and excellent traction. The design is different from many other trail shoes
that feature cleat-like nubs, choosing instead to implement a tread pattern similar in appearance to hiking boots or car tires.
A large amount of material was used in the construction of these shoes’ 24mm high cushioned midsole. This is bound to turn off mountain runners who don’t want to wear platform shoes, but the extra weight and height were chosen for the sake of comfort. In addition to a large amount of rubber cushion, a rock plate is embedded in the middle. This is a standard feature in trail shoes
, as it allows for energy dispersal
and prevents excessive bending when running on inclined surfaces. In summation, the cushion, stability, and efficiency of these midsoles are only possible at the expense of their weight and flexibility.
In order to compensate for the gratuitous amount of material used in the design and construction of the lower half of the Saucony
Xodus Iso 2’s, the upper was made to be as light and breathable as possible. This was accomplished with the use of an anti-debris mesh, which does an excellent job protecting your feet from dirt and rocks while providing adequate airflow. A heel collar and clips placed all down the front of the foot maintain a tight fit and allow for a small amount of fine-tuning. This is an impressive upper for a pair of trail shoes, but the waterproofing
is unfortunately mediocre.
Despite having a great deal of material used in the midsole and outsole of these trail shoes
, the total weight for the Saucony Xodus Iso
2’s is only around 10 ounces. This is most likely due to the lighter material used in the upper portion of these shoes, which would also explain why this aspect of them is a bit disappointing. Another disappointing thing about these shoes is that they feel heavier than they really are because of this uneven weight distribution
; the bottom-heavy construction gives the feeling of extra weight, even though they aren’t any heavier than most other trail shoes available.
As is custom with just about every pair of shoes designed to handle harsh trails and steep inclines, the ventilation leaves a bit to be desired. Thanks to the high levels of cushion needed around the sole and toes of the feet when trail running, heat and sweat can accumulate in the bottoms of these shoes. However, the upper portion of Saucony’s trail shoes is designed to provide the tops of your feet with lots of fresh air, thanks to its lightweight
mesh construction. Still, if you’re wearing these shoes on a mountain hike, it may be a good idea to let your feet breathe once you reach the summit before making your way back down the mountain.
There are positive and negative points accrued by these trail shoes in regards to comfort, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. The negatives are that these shoes feel much heavier than they really are because of the high concentration of material on the bottom and that they don’t do a very good job dissipating heat as a result of this. However, all this extra weight and material is used to provide an extremely comfortable
ride, with enough cushion and stability
to ensure smooth running across even the most jagged and hostile environments. The comfort is best experienced when running in colder environments, but be wary of excess moisture since the upper doesn’t handle moisture very well.
The appearance of the Saucony Xodus Iso 2 is remarkably similar to many popular running shoes, with its color scheme of mostly dark colors with splashes of neon. In fact, many observers might confuse these shoes with standard track shoes; that is, until they see the underside. The intricate treading on these trail shoes looks a bit like the tread patterns you would see on a pair of heavy-duty offroading
car tires. However, it’s a jarring sight to behold thanks to the bright orange or blue material used for this treading, depending on what color option you pick. Thought has been put into delivering a stylish look to these shoes, but it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.
The bottoms of these shoes were built to last, with layers upon layers of compressed rubber intended to protect your feet when worn. An unfortunate downside of this extra protective padding on the bottoms of these trail shoes is that Saucony had to skimp on the material for the upper in order to avoid weighing the shoe down any more. That said, the material and design used for this portion of the Xodus Iso 2 is excellent and makes the most out of the lightest and most minimalist design possible. The upper may deteriorate faster than the lower, but neither will be falling apart anytime soon.
As trail shoes, these are designed to offer protection to your feet in a few ways. The rock plated and heavily cushioned midsole are designed to absorb shock and prevent uncomfortable bending when running on harsh terrain, resulting in the sensation that you are running on flat surfaces even when you aren’t. The treaded outsole protects you from slipping or becoming fatigued while running on an incline because it works to evenly distribute the energy from each stride while maintaining a solid grip on the ground. One thing that these shoes don’t offer much protection from, however, is water; due to the lightweight
upper, waterproofing is conspicuously absent.
These are not the most responsive shoes, to put it mildly. Despite having a style that may be confused with standard running shoes, the Saucony
Xodus Iso 2 doesn’t feel like track shoes at all. The main culprit here is the uneven weight distribution, with an obscene amount of material on the bottom half of the shoe weighing down leg movement while wearing them. This cushioning does serve an important purpose, and accomplishes this purpose with flying colors, but there are other trail shoes on the market that manage to provide adequate levels of protection while still feeling responsive during a run. If you’ve ever gone running with weights attached to your ankles, you have a rough idea of how it feels to run in these shoes.
A great deal of thought has gone into the level of support offered by these trail shoes. This can be seen with the focus on cushioning and stability
in the midsole, which provides a high level of comfort as well as protection for the entire foot. A slight heel drop has been implemented in order to provide further heel protection, making these shoes a bit more viable for runners who favor the heel in their running stride. That said, the heel drop is subtle enough that flat-footed runners will still appreciate the support offered by these Saucony shoes.
As should be expected with any pair of trail shoes worth their salt, the Saucony Xodus Iso 2’s are able to handle the roughest stuff. Rocky paths, hiking trails overgrown with roots and brush, steep inclines; all of these can be taken in stride with the aid of these trail shoes. Thanks to the treaded outsole and heavily cushioned midsole, your feet won’t feel anything from the trail beneath you, giving the impression that you’ve been running on marshmallows. Unfortunately, one type of environment these shoes are conspicuously unable to handle very well is a wet one. Customers have noted that the treads just aren’t deep enough to provide the kind of sticking power needed for muddy and slippery surfaces.
The starting price for these shoes is a small measure lower than the average starting price of many similar shoes on the market. Based solely on volume, this is a terrific deal, seeing as these are much heavier and more cushioned shoes than some more expensive offerings. However, customers looking to drop this much money on one pair of shoes will definitely want to shop around before making a decision on this pair, because there are a few things that are conspicuously absent from this design that make its high price tag a bit harder to justify.
Modeled as a marriage between hiking boots and off-road car tires, the outsoles of the Saucony
Xodus Iso 2 are able to provide stable footing when running on surfaces that would make runners wearing standard running shoes slip and injure themselves. Some particular environments these shoes are able to handle the best are sharp rocks, jutting roots, and steep inclines. However, be very careful if you plan on using these shoes in environments with a lot of rainfall or mud. This is the one area in which Saucony’s trail shoes disappoint, as they simply don’t provide an adequate level of traction in this environment.
Flexibility was an afterthought and an unfortunate casualty when designing the Saucony Xodus Iso 2. Thanks to an extremely thick insole made up of 14 mm of cushion sandwiching a rigid rock plate, there is next to no give with these shoes. This is considered a good thing with trail shoes for the most part; running on unstable or dangerous surfaces would require this severe level of rigidity. However, this will result in an awkward transitioning process for any runners switching to these shoes from a pair of basic running shoes.
The stability experienced when wearing these shoes can be attributed to the high focus Saucony
placed on designing well-cushioned and inflexible midsoles. Because of this, it is much easier for you to remain balanced and in control while running on uneven or inclined surfaces. In addition, the heel collar and fasteners on the upper portion of these shoes keep them tightly secured to your feet, providing further stability. The outsoles do a fairly good job providing stability
when running on jagged terrain, but the treads aren’t quite deep enough to handle more slippery environments which can detract from this.
As opposed to many trail shoes that offer a full flat-foot drop, these trail shoes have a heel-to-toe height difference of about 4 mm. This small degree of elevation manages to devote more space toward impact-absorbing cushion near the heel, with the aim being to attract runners with sensitive feet who may be prone to heel injury. It’s a questionable design decision because the entire shoe features about 14 mm of cushion already; what’s an extra 4 mm going to do? Going with a standard flat foot design would have probably been a better decision, as it would increase the efficiency and stability of the entire product.
- Treaded outsole with Saucony PWRTRAC rubber
- Midsole containing 14 mm of cushion and a rigid rock plate
- Mesh upper with high level of ventilation
- Heel collar and foot fasteners for tighter fit
- Slight heel drop to accommodate sensitive feet
- Lower price than most competitors
- Bottom-heavy design
made some bold decisions when designing these shoes; some of them paid off, but some leave a bit to be desired. Having so much cushion in the midsole and outsole contributes a great deal to the Xodus Iso 2’s comfort and support, but the obscene amount of weight this adds led them to make some sacrifices when designing the non-waterproof upper. Overall, these shoes are perfect for runners who want a lot of cushion and don’t plan on running in the rain.