Shoes & Gear

Saucony Xodus 3.0

Saucony Xodus 3.0

In my arsenal of trail running shoes I have a pair that’s 8.0 oz. with no rock protection, a pair that’s 10.2 oz. that can’t last 120 miles on my local trails without falling apart, a pair that’s 12.9 oz, built like a tank and just as slow, and several other trail shoes I’ve thrown in the back of the closet and don’t wear any more. The closest thing I have to a pair that really works for me is the Saucony Peregrine 2 at 9.9 oz. and great rock protection. But the training miles required for this years Javelina Jundred are adding up fast and the Peregrine’s just aren’t enough shoe for me to wear on a daily basis while running 90-100 miles per week. After extensive research I recently picked up a pair of Saucony Xodus 3.0 and want to share my opinion and thoughts with you on this shoe.

Background

Unlike Goldie Locks it has taken me way more than three tries to find one that’s “just right”. In fact I have nine different pairs of trail running shoes in my closet and there’s something wrong with all of them, it’s easier to find a compatible spouse (I only have three of those in my closet). So to find the perfect shoe for me I took the best parts of all my shoes and made a list of what I wanted in a new shoe. Here’s the list in no particular order;

  1. 4mm heel to toe drop
  2. excellent rock protection
  3. firm outsole (I hate soft, spongy trail shoes)
  4. well constructed to last 300-500 miles (I once got more than 750 miles out of a pair of La Sportiva Wildcats)
  5. 10 oz. or above (but trying to stay below 12 oz.)
  6. comfortable upper that breathes and lets water drain quickly
  7. snug on my foot to prevent heel slippage and keep out trail debris
  8. excellent traction on rock trails
  9. neutral (no support or motion control)



I tried wearing lighter weight trail shoes but for me they have the opposite affect they’re intended to have, I actually start to run slower as my feet and ankles take more of a beating on the rocky trails. It’s hard for me to let go and run fast when I know every step is going to be painful.

Saucony Xodus 3.0

After an extensive search and several failed shoe experiments the shoe I found to best fit my needs was the Saucony Xodus 3.0. At 11.1 oz. the Xodus 3.0 is 1.1 oz. less than the popular Brooks Cascadia 7 and a full 1.8 oz. less than the La Sportiva Wildcat 2.0 that I wore for last years Javelina Jundred.

Saucony Xodus 3.0 lugs

Check out the lugs. A little overkill in my opinion.

The Xodus 3.0’s Vibram outsole has aggressive multi-directional lugs for stable and steady traction and provide a firm, yet comfortable ride. I have read a few other reviews that mentioned poor traction by the Xodus 3.0, but I haven’t found that to be that case at all, in fact I think one of the only somewhat negative things I can say about the Xodus 3.0 is the lugs might actually be too aggressive. If you look down from the top you can actually see lugs sticking out the sides, rear and front of the shoe.

The Xodus 3.0 has a 4mm heel to toe drop that allows me a more proper running form. One thing to note about the drop is the heel 26mm, forefoot 22mm provides 4mm more cushioning in the forefoot than the Brooks Cascadia 7 and still weighs less.

My last comment about the actual shoe construction is in regards to the Xodus 3.0 upper. The Xodus 3.0 has one of, if not the most comfortable upper I’ve had the pleasure of wearing. Open mesh covers the entire upper with breathable lightweight fabric. Using an internal support strap called “Pro-Lock” keeps the foot locked down to the shoe. Saucony even thought to include a lace pocket so you can tie your shoes and tuck the laces into the pocket to prevent them from catching on a stick, limb or root and tripping you. But my favorite part of the upper is the Gussetted Tongue, it sounds silly but it helps prevent debris from getting in your shoes (it wasn’t that noticeable until I wore a different pair of shoes one day and had to stop three times in the first five miles to empty rocks from my shoes).

The Test

In a previous post found on Trail Running Club, Jay Danek talked about finding the products that work best for you, not the products that advertisers want you to believe are best for everyone. I’ll take that a step farther and tell you to be careful when reading product reviews on popular blogs that proclaim a shoe to be the “greatest shoe” only to find out the truth is they wore the shoe once or twice on short runs then wrote the review. I have a pair I purchased based on a popular website’s review only to have the shoe start breaking down after 50 miles and totally fall apart at 120 miles. They might in fact be the worst constructed trail shoe I’ve ever worn.

To date I’ve worn the Saucony Xodus 3.0 a total of 148 miles in 11 days on rocky Arizona trails. Here’s what I did last week alone:

  • Monday: 25 miles
  • Tuesday: 12 miles
  • Wednesday: 4.1 miles
  • Thursday: 19.2 miles
  • Friday: 11 miles
  • Saturday: 20.4 miles
  • Sunday: 9.1 miles



Here’s a sample of the trails I ran on one of these days, which is typical to what I run most days.

Arizona Running Trails Arizona Running Trails Arizona Running Trails
Arizona Running Trails Arizona Running Trails Arizona Running Trails



Looking at my shoes they don’t show any wear at all, more importantly they still have that “new out of the box” comfort we all love.

Saucony Marketing Issues

The only thing preventing the Xodus 3.0 from being one of the most popular trail shoes on the market today might just be Saucony themselves. I went to four local specialty running stores nearest to where I live and none of them carried the Xodus 3.0. In fact they all said they never would! When asked why they all told me because they only have so much shelf space and inventory dollars to spread around. Saucony does not do a good job of marketing the Xodus 3.0 so it’s a really hard sell. Customers come into the stores after seeing ads for other shoes in popular running magazines and online and that’s what they want to buy, they don’t normally buy shoes they haven’t already heard about (I guess I’m not a normal customer). I would agree with this and have always wondered why more trail runners don’t wear the Saucony Peregrine 2, it’s an awesome neutral shoe too.

Conclusion

I’m loving this shoe. In fact I’ve already decided to wear it in this years Javelina Jundred (I’ll have to get Jalloween Orange for color though) and during all my training runs leading up to Javelina Jundred. That will include the Flagstaff 50 Mile Endurance Run on September 22nd and pacing 46 miles at Mogollon Monster 100 on September 28th.

I’ve also written two articles about Chi Running Hills & Trails recently and my progress in learning Chi Running. The Saucony Xodus 3.0 is an excellent trail shoe with it’s 4mm heel to toe drop if you’re working on your form and learning Chi Running or another natural running technique.

If you’re in the market for a neutral trail running shoe with more cushioning than the normal sub-10 oz. shoe on the market, yet a firm feel and low heel to toe drop, I would encourage you to search high and low for a specialty running store in your area that carries the Saucony Xodus 3.0 and try a pair on, I think you’ll say “they’re just right”.



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