The Saucony Zealot ISO 3, in the unmissable bright green and grey colourway, is known as The Hulk in the Canadian Running office. Big, strong, and in this case, green.
The neutral-cushioned slime/grey/black-coloured shoe’s strength lies in putting in kilometres with soft, and plenty of, support.
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On first glance, the shoe resembles the maximalist trend that Hoka One One has taken in recent years. After testing out the Saucony Kinvara 8, the Zealot ISO 3 feels like a beefed-up version of the Kinvara, offering a bit more cushioning and support at the base and toughness in the upper. The Kinvara, however, can seamlessly double as a heavier racing flat whereas the Zealot ISO 3 is geared towards everyday usage in training.
The springy feel of the cushioning felt great out of the box and the shoe didn’t require much breaking in. The heel, though not overly stiff as there is no plastic plate, is full of support around the heel, almost like wearing a second pair of socks. It fits true-to-size though the shoe may feel a bit tighter at first. The thickness of the heel, however, will lessen over time as the kilometres accumulate.
The lacing system utilizes less traditional lace holes than most other shoes. That said, the tongue is super padded so the laces can be tied quite tight without triggering any sort of discomfort on the top of the foot. Two lacing straps on both sides keep the midfoot snug. With less lace holes, maintaining the desired fit while lacing up is a bit tricky at first. You’ll need to find a balance between the two so the shoe fits snug.
Arguably the best feature of the shoe is that it does exactly what it’s intended to do in that nothing is particularly fancy and no drastic changes have been made from previous models. You can lace up, forget about the shoes, and get in those easy and long runs without worrying about whether you’re wearing too light of a shoe. Plus, after a harder effort where you may have worn racing flats, it seems as though the extra cushioning almost lessens the blow of each step on a recovery run.
Available: June 1, 2017
Weight men: 241 g (8.5 oz.)
Weight women: 207 g (7.3 oz.)
Sizes available: Men 7-13, 14, 15, Women 5-12
Heel stack height: 26 mm
Forefoot stack height: 22 mm
Drop ratio: 4 mm
Kilometres tested: 144 (to be precise)
Like many of Saucony’s shoes, the Zealot ISO 3 features the sportswear brand’s signature EVERUN cushioning. The consistent support is designed for runners who don’t require motion control.
The sole is consistent with crevices that aren’t too deep where rocks and pebbles can accumulate if you’re running on crushed gravel or non-technical trail. The stacks are high, a testament to the cushioning in the shoe, with 26 mm and 22 mm heights in the heel and forefoot, respectively. There’s a bit of sacrifice in terms of weight with the added cushioning versus a more lightweight trainer but both the men’s and women’s versions check in at less than nine ounces. The cushioning will be especially appreciated if you land ‘heavy’ on your feet or are more of a heel striker.
CR put most in most kilometres on sidewalk and paved paths for the Zealot, which is arguably one of the tougher surfaces to run on when putting in one hour-plus efforts. It’s not uncommon to get a bit sore after running on asphalt for extended periods of time and the Zealot prevented any sort of delayed onset muscle soreness.
As can be seen in the above photo, the sole’s treads wear quite evenly and the undulating depth of the treads ensure proper grip on the ground. Appeal-wise, there are two colourways for men and women for the Zealot ISO 3.
What we liked and who this shoe works for
The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is for runners looking for a soft and neutral ride, with plenty, but not too much, cushioning. Comparing it to the Kinvara 8, which too features a 4 mm drop, the Zealot ISO 3 is about 0.5 oz. heavier but is overall quite similar.
The shoe is for the runner who sticks mostly to the roads and non-technical trails, likes a snug fit in a shoe that fits true to size and perhaps someone who wants to bump up their mileage and can be more confident in doing so with a slightly more protective shoe. With 144K to the shoe so far, we see this shoe lasting well past the 500K mark.
If $180 is within your budget for running footwear, the Zealot ISO 3 could become your go-to in training whether it’s for lengthy workout sessions, easy runs or your weekly long run. The feel of the shoe is quite soft and if you’re used to a stiffer feel, another Saucony shoe, perhaps the Ride 10, may be the one for you instead of the Zealot ISO 3.