As the sport of trail running continues to grow in popularity and numbers, some of the big names in running are starting to make big strides in developing solid trail running shoes. Saucony, no stranger to making a great running shoe has done some great work in developing a few great trail running shoes including the Perragrine and Xodus. The Saucony Xodus 3.0 has gone through a number of changes since version 1.0 One of the most noticable changes is the change in drop going from 12mm to 4mm heel to toe.
I am all for reducing the amount of drop as long as the runner knows that this is something they must gradually adjust to. If you are going from 10mm or 12mm to 4mm, injuries can happen if you don’t take this adjustment slowly. In case your brain forgets to take it slow, your body will remind you as when making the change over, your feet and legs often get a little sore a day or two after making the change, listen to your body.
The upper of the Saucony Xodus 3.0 is a combination of mesh for breathability and synthetic and plastic material that gives the shoe some form and structure. The Xodus 3.0 has a little more synthetic and plastic material on the upper than most trail running shoes on the market, but I don’t feel this is a bad thing. In short, it provides a more secure fit in the upper but does sacrifice a little bit of weight. From the forefoot to the toe, I found the Xodus 3.0 to provide a nice foot wrap keeping me nice and stable while running. One problem that I ran into in the upper was that my foot would often slide up and down in the heel cup. I typically don’t get any heel movement in road or trail running shoes, so I find this is something that Saucony should address in its future models of the Xodus.
The midsole is made of blown EVA with a rock plate for protection. There is a decent amount of EVA in this shoe as it sits up at 23.5mm in the heel and drops down to 19mm in the toe. Similar shoes you will see go down to a drop around 10-14mm in the toe for trail running shoes. Though I feel there is a tad more EVA in this shoe compared to similar trail running shoes, I wasn’t able to notice a difference once I got onto the trail. As for distances covered in the Xodus 3.0, I’ve tested this shoe on shorter trail runs of 3-5 miles and I’ve also taken the shoe up to 15 miles. All distances were very comfortable and I would feel comfortable upping the mileage to trail marathons and longer distances.
The outsole of the Saucony Xodus 3.0 is super luggy and it is evident from pictures and from when you pick the shoe up. These lugs are very aggressive and are sure to keep you on the trail whether you run on a rocks or sloppy mud. The one downside to the lugs on this shoe is that they stick out a little far from the shoe. I sometimes nick my shoes against my other legs on both road and trail runs. After a long run in these shoes, I almost broke skin because the lugs were sticking too far outside of the outsole for me. If this doesn’t happen with you while running, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. For my gate/running style, this was a big downside.
In a size 9, the Saucony Xodus 3.0 weighs 12.7 oz. and a women’s 7 is 11.2 oz. which is on the heavier side for today’s trail running shoes.
My overall impression of the Saucony Xodus 3.0 was that it needs a few tweaks to make this good shoe a great shoe.