Saucony Zealot ISO Neutral Running Shoe Review

The Zealot ISO is a shoe with high esteem. We have decided to test it out for ourselves to see if it really does live up to the standards.

This shoe is a neutral running shoe designed to run with most arch types. The cushioning is made to be plush and the design is meant to be very eye-catching. It’s outfitted with ISOFIT, PWRGRID+, and 4mm offset – all Saucony-technology (although the 4mm offset isn’t just limited to Saucony shoes.)

Pros:

The tread design is grippy (though not as grippy as some other shoes), and lasts a long time (unlike some other shoes). This pair of shoes fairs really well on the track and road. In fact, a lot of training can be done for sprint work with just these shoes – spikes aren’t needed until races. They hold up to high speeds and the only thing that can prevent you from going any faster is just simply you.

Is ISOFIT Jargon?

Saucony’s ISOFIT technology is very noticeable in these shoes. They’re form-fitting, yet never too tight. Often times I’ll just grab them instead of other shoes because they’re just so comfortable to wear – whether on a run or walk.

Similarly, the shoes are light and easy to maneuver with. When walking around they have a soft, quiet landing which is due to the light but strong cushioning. The general structure and material in the shoe is brilliant, besides a few minor cases.

Speaking of which, the fabric and structure around the heel makes it hardy and durable despite being light on the feet. The heels in many shoes often suffer tears, but the ISO doesn’t have that issue. To answer the question, ISOFIT technology is not jargon – it works just as advertised.

Offset and Pronation:

The Zealot ISO boasts about having a 4mm offset, which it does. By having a small offset, your feet land more naturally and less on the heel. When trying to improve form, it can be worsened by having a large offset. This is because by having extra cushioning on the heel, it promotes improper landing on the heel.

In barefoot running, your feet will automatically pull back if you land with bad form. Your legs will be jarred to an extreme which teaches you to simply not do that motion. When there’s too much cushioning on the heel, you won’t have such an extreme jar to your joints, but it will still be damaging. You won’t stop the motion. This is what makes a low offset great – your feet will react similarly on all parts of the foot to each other. The Zealot is built for natural motion.

Finally, runners with neutral pronation will find this shoe to serve them well. With my experience, because I don’t have neutral pronation, the outside edges of the tread wore out while a lot of the inner tread still had plenty of life left.

Cons:

The tread design is very flat, with no rubber protruding far enough for it to be a great trail running shoe. If you find that you run trails a lot, this shoe isn’t meant for you. Similarly, this shoe wouldn’t fair well in cross country simply because it won’t be able to dig deep into the soil to propel you forward faster.

The Zealot ISO has a thick, warm upper, yet it can suffer from wear and tear just as much as thinner uppers do. This could be due to the nature of having to keep them breathable, but the upper might not last very long if you try to bring them into harsher terrain or even if you just suffer a slip on the track.

Despite trying to keep them breathable, they heat up quick, and with a good run they hold a lot of moisture. By keeping this moisture, the shoe can cause blisters, tenderness, and much of the comfort is lost. After stepping in a puddle, these shoes do not let go of water very quickly. While other shoes will let it evaporate away, the structure of the Zealot ISO doesn’t allow liquid to leave. It can be days before they are finished air-drying. Use at your own risk in a drying machine.

On the same note, the design print around the front of the shoe on the upper is thin plastic. This simply can’t guard or protect the upper. While it makes for a light shoe, it comes off as cheap and brittle.

Wrap-Up:

Pros:

  • Low Heel-Forefoot Drop
  • Lightweight
  • Form Fitting
  • Very Comfortable, Cushions Well
  • Great on the Track
  • Allows Easy Foot Control
  • Grippy Tread and Rubber
  • Great Heel Support

Cons:

  • Holds Water
  • Low Heel-Forefoot Drop
  • Weak Upper
  • Thin Tread
  • Can’t Trail Train

Awards:

  • Women’s Running – Sole Mate Award
  • Canadian Running Magazine – Best New Shoe
  • Runners World Italy – Editor’s Choice

For those looking to train on the track and road, Saucony’s Zealot ISO has you covered. The tread and rubber is built to grip onto the flatter surfaces, allowing you to go to your top speed without wasting any potential. Sometimes you won’t be able to feel the shoes on you as they are so comfortable when dry.

Your feet will have total control, with a natural range of motion. 4mm offset is wonderful.

However, the upper, like in many shoes, is fragile. Protect it with care. They hold water, and are definitely not waterproof. The tread design is made for use on the road and track, so trail running has the risk of leading to you falling onto your back. There are no lugs, as this would diminish the top speed you can reach on a track.

Despite this, the shoes are fantastic. No one pair of shoe is perfect, and no one shoe ever will be. Everyone has different feet, and everyone has a different body overall. In summation, the writers here at Runners Equipped recommend this shoe to track and road running fans.

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Final Verdict of the Saucony Zealot ISO Neutral Running Shoe Review:


Caleb Thompson is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and other Amazon stores worldwide.

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