Saucony Xodus ISO 3
Type: Neutral cushion, trail running shoe
Heel-toe drop: 4mm
MSRP: $179.99 CAD
Crashing through trail debris, and clawing up muddy climbs is what the new Saucony Xodus ISO 3 is all about. The Xodus line has always been Saucony’s go to for aggressive trail running, and version three is no different.
Saucony starts with a dual compound outsole with massive 6mm lugs. Resting on top of the outsole is a generous layer of plush Everun material. The Xodus sports a plastic heel cup for support, and Saucony uses their ISO upper which gives a sock like fit.
Some improvement over the previous version include: more toe protection in the form of plastic overlays, updates to the heel counter, and more Everun material in the midsole.
Right out of the box the Xodus feels great on the foot. The ISO upper is tongue-less, and has no seams or material overlaps that can cause chaffing. There’s a lot of room in the toe box which can sometimes be an issue with tongue-less shoes, but my heel was locked down into place and the toe box didn’t cause any issues.
Coming in at 366g, the Xodus is no lightweight. If you’re after a light minimalist trail shoe, this isn’t it. However, the gnarlier the trail gets, the more the Xodus starts to shine.
I took the Xodus up to my cottage where I knew I could test the capabilities on lightly traveled snowmobile and ATV trails. The trails are seldom used and as a result are often quite overgrown and covered in debris. This didn’t seem to be a big problem for the Xodus. The 6mm lugs paired with a dual compound sole leave little to desire when it comes to traction. Loose leaves, greasy clay, and boggy mud were all handled well. Even when things got really slippery, I could regain control before having a banana peel moment.
The plastic heel cup is quite stiff. This may be a deterrent for some, however I found it helped to keep my ankle supported when the ground was uneven or undulating, which helped me focus on moving forward.
I really appreciated the overlayed toe shell on the Xodus. The shell covers the whole front of the shoe, and even extends to the inside of the shoe to give more big toe protection. Small sticks and rocks are handled well, and I have yet to see wear on the hardened toe shell.
Surprisingly for a shoe with so much protection the Xodus breathes quite well. The open mesh toe seems to draw lots of air in, and the upper handles moisture impressively. The downside of the breathability is the lack of water resistance. It would’ve been nice to see some water resistance in a shoe positioned to tackle big technical terrain. One wrong step in the Xodus and you might be squishing your way home.
As always the use of Saucony’s Everun material is welcome in the Xodus. The shoe has an elevated feel that’s found in a lot of high stack shoes. The more you run in the shoe, the more you feel like you are sinking into the sweet spot of cushion. The Everun material pairs well with the Pwrertrac sole, which gives you enough trail feel to gauge traction, but also that plush cushioning to help maintain comfort on long runs.
Some may dismiss the Xodus as a serious trail running shoe due to it’s robust construction and heavier weight, but I found it to be very reliable in terms of traction and comfort over unpredictable terrain. I would even consider the Xodus for some light hiking thanks to the extra supportive heel cup, and plush cushioning. No matter where or what you place your foot on, the Xodus gives you a solid platform to push off of.