Saucony Xodus ISO 3 Review Facts
Saucony chose to rebuild much of the shoe from the bottom up in this third iteration of their widely popular Xodus ISO series. This version features an entirely rebuilt midsole that utilizes the company’s Everun midsole running the entire length. This material is known to provide flexibility, durability and continuous comfort during any length of the run. Saucony kept the PWRTRAC outsole from the ISO 2 to provide an extremely sticky grip for those difficult runs through difficult terrain but also added XT-900, a carbon rubber that will add even more traction. What else is new in the third iteration? Let’s take a deeper dive and see what else this shoe has to offer and if it’ll withstand even the most rugged of terrain.
Saucony outfitted the Xodus ISO
3 with their PWRTRAC technology. PWRTRAC is a type of tacky rubber that provides not only abrasion-resistance for that rugged trail terrain but traction and durability as well. Also utilized on the outsole is their XT-900 carbon rubber. This premium material furthers the shoes ability to provide traction while ensuring that it won’t break down in any of the higher-wear areas. The lugs on the tread of the Xodus ISO 3
are aggressive at 6mm with a multidirectional pattern. These lugs act as a clamp on uneven terrain, allowing wearers to feel safe during even the most rugged of trail runs. There are grooves at the front of the shoe that provide wearers with the ability to bend and flex their toes, which really comes in handy when it comes time to toe off.
Running the entire length of the midsole is Saucony’s Everun foam cushioning system
. The previous iteration of the Xodus ISO used an EVA midsole with an Everun top ole. In this third version, Saucony has done away with the EVA and second layer altogether. The Everun tech is designed to provide flexible and durable cushioning. It’s created from thousands of bouncy thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) beads that are meant to help the midsole keep its shape and provide a consistent response at all times.
The upper unit of the Xodus ISO 3 is comprised of a breathable mesh material. Even though the pores in the upper are designed to let air flow in and out of the shoe, these pores are meant to keep the trail debris out. As its name suggests, this shoe joins Saucony’s line of ISO footwear. The ISOFit tech utilized in the upper morphs to fit each individual foot, providing runners with an incredibly customized in-shoe feel
. The ISOFIT shoes are also characterized by a very soft inner sleeve that is made out of a stretchy mesh material. This allows the shoes to be comfortable and breathable.
Weighing in at a whopping 13.8 ounces (391 grams) for the men’s version or 11.8 ounces (334 grams) for the women’s, the Xodus ISO 3 is definitely not a lightweight trail running shoe
option. In fact, a number of current users felt that they couldn’t get past the bulkiness of the shoe. Over the last two updates to the Xodus ISO line, the shoe has gained about three ounces. While that might not sound like much on paper, when it comes to running shoes, every single ounce counts. While we personally found the ISO 3 to feel a bit clunky, especially during our first few runs with them on, we still felt that the other benefits of the shoe outweighed the bulkiness. The nearly 14 ounce weight wasn’t then a deal breaker for us.
We were impressed with the ability of the Xodus ISO 3 to be simultaneously breathable and protective. Often times we see a tradeoff is necessary as many shoes can’t be and offer everything all at once. The breathable nature of these shoes is due largely to the open mesh toe at the forefront. We loved the way these handled moisture, overall, though it should be noted that they are not a water-resistant trail shoe
option. They’ll definitely work best on trails where you know you won’t be encountering too much in terms of water. As we mentioned in the Upper section of our review, the breathable pores found in the fabric of the upper make it so an adequate amount of air can flow in and out without allowing in any potentially harmful debris.
Since trail runs are often jarring, long and grueling, it’s important that you equip yourself with a shoe that provides a lot of comfort in order to make the run more of an enjoyable experience that you’ll want to repeat in the future. Luckily, the Xodus ISO 3 has plenty of features that are present to provide comfort for the wearer. The sock-like fit
of the upper is meant to wrap around your foot, providing a snug fit that is both soft and pliable. The new Everun midsole is cushioned just enough. We personally loved that the ISO 3 had no tongue as this feature helped to provide a seamless (thus, chafe-free) ride.
The men’s version of the Xodus ISO 3 is available in two different color options – olive/ black or black/lime green. The women’s style is available in three different colorways – green/aqua, grey/black or grey/citron. The men might be a little disappointed to see that there are no bright colorway options for them this time around. If you find yourself to be attracted to more neutral color options anyway, you won’t be disappointed. Looking at the shoe, it is a bit clunky by design. It looks bigger than the second iteration, but it’s still not an unattractive option at all. This bulkier look is likely due to the completely redesigned and snug-fitting sock-like upper.
The outsole of this shoe is made for durability. The heavy-duty construction of the outsole ensures that the Xodus ISO 3 can withstand whatever trail you’re taking them on. The two rubbers that make up this section of the shoe are designed to provide durable protection on even the most rugged of terrain.
The Xodus ISO 3 features an overlayed toe shell over the forefront of the shoe to help provide protection. This shell actually covers the majority of the front of the shoe, though it does extend to the interior as well to ensure protection for the big toe. There is no need for a rock plate in this model, though the ISO 2 also didn’t have one, as the stiffness of the outsole provides more than enough protection. An external support frame adds an extra element of protection.
This is the first time that Saucony has outfitted the entire midsole of one of their Xodus ISO shoes with their Everun cushioning system. In previous models, Everrun was used as a top sole but in this third iteration, we see it run the entire length of the midsole. The thousands of TPU beads that make up the Everun material provide an exceptionally bouncy ride that is especially useful as you leap over tree roots and rocks on your trail runs. We found the Xodus ISO 3 to give a solid amount of energy return, a definite improvement from the previous iterations of the shoe. Saucony claims that this version provides an 83% energy return, which is especially noticeable when comparing it to the Xodus ISO 2.
There are a number of features that make the Xodus ISO 3 a viable trail running training shoe for folks searching for a supportive option. The plastic heel cup is quite stiff, but this actually adds to the overall sense of security. The shoe provides neutral arch support which makes it a great option for people who don’t need any additional arch support or for those who have normal or higher arches in their feet.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Xodus ISO 3 is a trail shoe. It will not perform well on concrete or road runs but if you’re a trail runner, you’re going to be extremely happy with the features offered here. These perform extremely well on wet trails, slippery rocks, uneven slick terrain and basically any other technical terrain you might come across on your trail runs. Frequently find yourself on the mud-slicked trails? The deep lugs and aggressive tread are going to come in handy for you.
With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $220, the Xodus ISO 3 is definitely an investment. Of course, these shoes will more than pay for themselves once you see how much value and protection they provide. If you’re a serious trail runner, these are going to be worth the cost. That said, if you’re a savvy shopper, you should be able to find these for much cheaper than that MSRP. At time of publication, we were able to find these on Amazon for anywhere between $112 and $150, depending on what size and color option you prefer.
If you’re a serious trail runner who takes their runs on all different types of terrain, you are going to want to invest in the Xodus ISO 3. This shoe gets its amazing grip from the two rubbers utilized on the outsole. The PWRTRAC rubber is three times sticker than most other materials. The tread features alternating grooves and ultra-aggressive 6mm lugs that are designed to provide the traction you need to take your runs on rugged mud-covered trails or slippery rocks.
The Xodus ISO 3 is a bit of a walking contradiction. The IsoFit material used in the upper is an extremely soft and pliable fabric that is flexible enough to stretch comfortably over each foot. That said, however, there is very little flexibility in the midsole and not much in the outsole either. We didn't find this to be much of an issue for us.
Thanks to the full-length Everun midsole, the Xodus ISO 3 conforms to the individual foot, adding an air of stability even on the most difficult of terrain. The heel cup holds the foot in place and prevents unnecessary wobbling or unsteadiness. As we will get into in the more Drop section of our review, the relatively low drop featured here allows runners to rely more on the natural movement of their feet and less on the stability features of the shoe. So while there are some stability features offered here, this isn’t the right shoe choice for folks who know they need a dedicated stability shoe in order to stay safe and stable on their runs. Our research suggests that runners who supinate will like the amount of stability offered here.
With a forefoot height of 22.5 mm and a heel height of 26.f mm, the drop of the Xodus ISO 3 is then just 4mm. With such a low drop, wearers should expect a more natural feeling during their runs. This drop encourages runners to use their feet and legs in a more natural way instead of relying so heavily on the cushioning and stability features of the shoe.
- Everun material now runs the full length of the midsole for cushioning
- ISOFIT upper material made specifically for the trails
- Protection comes from the external support frame and heel cup
- PWRTRAC rubber on the outsole adds durability and extreme grip for exceptional traction
- 4mm drop
The bottom line is that we loved the Xodus ISO 3. Saucony really upped their game with this third generation in their popular trail running line. They've improved on nearly every aspect of the shoe in comparison to the ISO 2, which we didn't really love all that much. That said, though, if you beginner trail runner, you might want to start out with something a little less bulky that requires a little less of an investment. If you consider yourself to be more intermediate or advanced, however, we really think you will love all of the features that the Saucony Xodus ISO 3 has to offer you. Happy trails!