These have been my primary running shoes during the summer and fall, this year. As with most of Saucony’s running shoes, I have been quite satisfied. I think every pair I have gotten has served me well. Do keep in mind that I run on a regular basis, an average of three times a week, I have normal width feet, I have a high arch, and I weigh about 160lbs at 6’2″ in height. Each person has their own set of circumstances so your experience may be different.
As usual, my typical assumption is that if you are regularly experiencing pain from running then it probably is the result of a bad/unnatural running form rather than a sub-par shoe. (Note: This is only a rule-of-thumb and not how I have felt about every shoe). But hey, lets just move onto the review.
Firstly, lets dive into the comfort factor. I have had this pair of Zealot ISO 3’s for over 10 months now and I always remembered feeling comfortable in them. Maybe when I first got them, they left my feet a little sore but that seems to be the case with any pair of footwear. Whether its steel-toed work boots or slippers, they all seem to have a short break-in period. These shoes are designed with a heel-to-toe offset of just 4mm (0.15″). This low amount of height difference makes it easier to adopt and maintain an anatomically correct running form, while the common athletic shoe seems to just let you rely on heel-striking that us supported by heavy cushioning in the heel area. I appreciate Saucony for going with this design. More on comfort; this shoe is really stable. Whenever I run on the track, I feel like I have better control going around the turns. It makes it feel easier than shoes with a smaller profile/foot print. With that being said, this attribute is controlled directly by the width of the sole and the rigidity of the connection between the upper and the sole.
If this isn’t a testament of ergonomic design, then my I.Q. is 40 points lower than what I thought it was. So I went on an impromptu 2 hour and 1 minute run after having not gone on a run in a week. This was by far my longest duration run ever. I ran throughout a neighboring town into some residential and commercial areas. The course included several steep hills and most of the running was done on concrete and some gravel to. I finished strong, ending with a sprint to the finish/start point with the other person I was running with. My feet where only about as sore as the rest of my body and I wasn’t injured afterward. My whole body worked just fine, in fact. So you can rest assured that these shoes are up to the task, if you end up getting them.
Now onto size and weight. The profile of the Zealot ISO 3’s is somewhere between minimalist shoe and the standard, modern tennis shoe. They have a little more volume, i.e. size, than what a slim, minimalist shoes would give you. This grants you more control and stability, but they still are more agile than a lot of other shoes I have worn. These weigh in at 10.4oz (294g) a shoe for a size 12.5 US (11.5 UK, 47 EUR) so they are nice and light. Saucony states that this shoe weighs 8.5oz (241g) but this is probably referring to a size 7(6 UK, 40 EUR) which is the smallest size they offer it in. And yes, this shoe runs true to the size.
As far as durability is concerned, Saucony looks to be getting better. The soles appear to be wearing slower and the mesh upper has yet to break through on me. The spots that usually break through first are on the sides where the toes and foot meet, and the spot just above my big toe. With this being said, just try to keep your big toe nails trimmed and breakthroughs in that area shouldn’t happen. The colors are fading at a normal rate. After many runs in muddy and rainy conditions they aren’t lookin’ too ratty. And lastly these shoes are currently offered in only two color schemes. Though, there are still other color schemes still available from retailers.
I like the Zealot ISO 3’s. They have served my feet well in the last 10 months. They allow for more natural running and they are made with quality in mind like with Saucony’s other running shoes. If you are an avid runner like me then I don’t think you will be unsatisfied if you pick up a pair of these shoes.
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