Saucony Zealot ISO

8.5
8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.6) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.5)/10

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Editor rating: 8.6 / 10
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Saucony Zealot ISOReview Facts
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The Saucony Zealot ISO combines many unique features with a distinctively designed upper featuring an emphasis on maximizing cushion. The Zealot ISO aims to offer neutral support with its modest heel drop and generous padding. Two aspects of these shoes stand out: ISOFIT technology that aims to provide a better fit and PWRGRID+ technology that offers 20% extra cushioning compared to previous models. If you are looking for a shoe that offers an innovative fit with a firm ride, the Zealot ISO might be worth checking out.

Pros
  • ISOFIT sleeve provides comfortable coverage
  • Unique design with no traditional “tongue”
  • Stretchable and breathable upper
  • Pleasant design with red, black and silver color options
  • PWRGRID+ technology provides 20% more cushioning
  • Outsole features durable rubber
  • Excellent traction for runners
  • Heel is held in place by a support frame
  • Moderately lightweight
Cons
  • Decreased flexibility in the back of the shoe
  • Intimidating price
  • Wide in the toe area, unappealing fit for the narrow-footed
  • Uncomfortable firmness may turn off some runners
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Made with the XT-900 technology, these Saucony outsoles deliver traction on road and track. Extra flexibility is present in the forefoot due to the added Injection Blown Rubber technology, also known as IBR+. The rear is made of exposed EVA/PWRGRID+, which is how these shoes manage to be so highly cushioned. The surplus of rubber on the Zealot ISO’s outsoles provide more durability for the runner as well. This durability is absolutely necessary and appreciated, as the outsole’s firmness tends to show its best qualities during faster running strides.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The firmness of the outsole continues into the midsole with the implementation of PWRGRID+ technology, providing a 4mm drop from the heel to the forefoot. When compared to previous iterations of Saucony footwear, this technology has 15% more resiliency and 20% more cushioning than the original POWERGRID tech. The impressive shock absorbing capabilities of the Zealot ISO are most noticeable on the lateral rear half, where Saucony implemented an extended Super Rebound Compound. This gives an impression of flexibility only present in the forefoot and midfoot of the shoe, with a rigid and inflexible back.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Zealot distinctively features the ISOFIT system that Saucony uses on their Triumph, Hurricane, and Xodus models. This is essentially a sock-type shoe without a traditional “tongue,” instead featuring a breathable mesh with boot-style laces. The foot is protected by pressure from the laces and supplemented with a sufficient amount of padding, which extends to cover the ankles as well. Furthermore, Saucony added a support frame for the heel in the form of a stiff heel counter. The end result is a high quality upper with fantastic fabric and an excellent overall design.
Weight
Weight

Weight

Saucony Zealot ISO is a lighter than average kind of shoe, weighing in at only 8.3oz (235g). This is a noticeable difference from many shoes of its kind, including Saucony’s own 10.3oz Xodus ISO. It still isn’t the lightest option out there in terms of footwear, but when you consider the extra heel support frame and cushioning, it uses the weight it has very constructively.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

In regards to breathability, the Zealot ISO performs excellently. The chosen fabric for the forefoot is a mesh, which provides an excellent source of airflow for the rest of the foot. This design philosophy continues throughout the rest of the shoe with the ISO system, also made from a lightweight and breathable mesh. Given the aforementioned wider mesh coverage in the forefoot, these Saucony shoes are a decent option for runners in hot climates. However, some ventilation is lost with the addition of the lace protective padding which limits the full mesh coverage.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Saucony Zealot ISO provides a perfect amount of comfort for your feet. This is aided by the inclusion of the ISO fixing system which wraps around the foot as a sock. The heel and midfoot are very tightly secured in these shoes, with the wider forefoot offering a bit more wiggle room. This could be a problem for runners with narrow feet, especially sprinters, because they will notice the lack of tightness near the forefoot and feel clunky running in these shoes. The best method of evaluating the fit for yourself is to pick up the pace and take advantage of that extra cushioning. For the casual runner however, a 4mm heel-to-toe offset and secure padding will deliver a natural experience.
Style
Style

Style

This shoe looks fantastic. There are a variety of colors to choose from, including grey, black, and silver, making it easy to coordinate them with other parts of your wardrobe. With two or three colors on the outsole, depending on your preferences, these shoes can provide a great personal statement. The most striking style feature with these shoes is the proprietary ISO system that morphs to your foot for a customized look and feel. The lace pattern is also quite distinctive, evocative of something out of a sci-fi movie. Unfortunately, the heel pattern feels out of touch with the rest of the shoe. The mesh is unimaginative as well, resembling some 90’s-era footwear. The overall style is acceptable, with good ISO and outsole design, a lack of anything memorable in other parts can be disappointing.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Runners interested in these Saucony shoes should expect them to be durable for the price. With the XT-900 and IBR+, there is no reason to worry in this regard. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the manufacturer recommends using these shoes on track and road, meaning that these are the surfaces the Zealot ISO’s were designed to be most durable on. These shoes will respond differently to trail running over a longer period of time. Running in the rain shouldn’t be an issue due to the shoes’ mesh is quick-drying mesh. Keep in mind that brightly colored versions of these shoes will be subject to fading over time, so fashion-minded customers should consider this when selecting a color scheme.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The underfoot of these Saucony shoes is very well protected thanks to the extra cushioning. The top of the middle foot is also protected from lace pressure with additional padded material. The entirety of both feet are well protected and are able to stay cool with the addition of the breathable mesh upper. One area in which these shoes aren’t as protective is during heavy rain; while they can dry easily, the predominantly mesh construction of the upper makes water leak in easily, potentially causing a trench foot scenario if you run for long enough without draining them.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Zealot ISO was created for the intention of providing excellent responsiveness. The implementation of ISOFIX helps to hold the foot in like a sock, providing enough tightness to provide maximum awareness of the surface on which you are running. This is the aim of all footwear manufacturers of course; however, Saucony went a step further than the competition in this regard by adding a support frame for the heel. With these two systems working in tandem, the responsiveness from these shoes is on point and will satisfy most runners.
Support
Support

Support

The PWRGRID+ underfoot platform used in the Saucony Zealot ISO provides a decent amount of foot support. This support is ideal for many different types of arches, including higher, lower, and neutral. The heel stack height is 25 mm and the forefoot stack height is 21 mm, offering a modest drop that makes these shoes recommended for a naturalistic daily running. Individuals wearing these shoes should not feel the need to make any changes in their posture while running in these supportive foot garments.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Saucony recommends using the Zealot ISO on road and track environments. These shoes can be useful for training and during competitions, but you should still observe the recommendations in terms of suitable running surfaces to keep them in top shape for a longer period of time. Trying to use these shoes on any rougher surfaces, such as trails or jagged rock paths, can result in damage to the shoe at best and damage to your feet at worst.
Price
Price

Price

The shoes have a reasonable price range that is standard to most above-average running shoes and even some specialty items. This is most likely due to the marketing of Zealot 2 incentivizing return customers. However, finding a reduced price pair of these shoes is possible with some shrewd research, meaning this article of footwear are even worth considering for runners on a budget. These shoes are ideal for newer and more experienced runners alike, so they are definitely a worthwhile investment.
Traction
Traction

Traction

As previously mentioned, the outsole and midsole of these Saucony shoes are designed primarily for use on hard, flat surfaces, such as tracks or roads. The Zealot ISO offers an extended XT-900 outsole providing a greater degree of traction with an additional increase in durability. The design used for this technology is primarily derived from carbon rubber and is combined with IBR+ technology on the forefoot. The IBR+ is 33% lighter than standard blown rubber and also offers 3 times more absorption than previous Saucony footwear products. The result of these design decisions is a shoe with a terrific degree of traction but none of the drawbacks offered by other traction based shoes, like a higher weight and diminished breathability.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

These shoes have decent flexibility overall, with the sole exception of the heel area. This is for the purpose of keeping your heels safe. The flexibility of the outsole is a bit below average as well, at least when compared to competing brands of footwear. Flexibility-wise, the Zealot ISO firmly sits between Saucony’s Mirage and Kinvara models. The Zealot ISO is more flexible than the Mirage and a bit firmer than the Kinvara.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Saucony sells this shoe as an alternative for runners looking for a safe footwear, thanks to its heel support frame. In theory, the ISO system should increase midfoot stability with its dynamic fit that adapts to your individual foot shape. In practice, however, you only feel increased stability due to the stretchable mesh upper. For runners with average sized feet, the Zealot ISO will prove to be a very stable ride.
Drop
Drop

Drop

With an offset of 4mm, the shoe provides a solid cushioning and a neutral drop. The heel stack height is 25mm while the forefoot stack height is 21mm, which works to facilitate the natural motion of the foot. The technology used by Saucony to supplement this design choice is called PWRGRID+ and it offers 20% more cushioning than the standard POWERGRID used in prior models. This means that superior impact protection is present in this particular pair.
Key features
Key features

Key features


  • Dynamically adapts the runners’ movements with ISOFIT

  • 20% increase from previous models to cushioning and durability due to PWRGRID+

  • Increased support and traction from Support Frame technology

  • Designed for use on road or track

  • 4mm heel drop

  • Weighs 8.3oz or 235g

  • Available in several different color schemes

Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Saucony Zealot ISO is a good choice for any runner whether they intend to use it for training or competition. Given the reduced price, it comes at a bargain that should best serve road and track runners. It manages to provide a steady, secure heel platform, and takes care of the comfort of the midfoot and ankles with the addition of extra padding. The outsole’s durable rubber should set runner’s mind at ease with its impressive lifespan. It will provide enough traction to get yourself going at will encourage you to pick up the pace as the extra cushioning will make the difference.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of the Saucony Zealot ISO is how they feel on the foot. The stretchable and breathable upper portion provides a unique experience that feels like a sock with no traditional tongue. It is flexible enough to facilitate different types of running, such as training, marathons and sprints, but firm enough to protect the feet from injuries with the new heel support frame. It is a shoe that can work well with new and experienced runners, given that they don’t have narrow feet and avoid wearing them on rainy days.