Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shoe Review--Saucony Xodus

Last week I wear tested the Saucony ProGrid™ Xodus for Bull City Running Company. Jason Page (owner of Bull City Running Company) and I both wear a Men's 10.5 so we are going to be able to give some good feedback by trading back and forth some shoes. This is a neutral trail runner. When I first pulled it out of the box, I thought, This is a pretty stiff Vibram sole. This might be more than I want in a trail runner now that I have gotten accostomed to more flexible low-profile shoes.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Xodus on a very diverse six mile loop run near Mason Farm and the Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill that included roads, crossing a calf-deep stream, technical single track trails, and lots of steep up and down hills.

The neutral shoe felt fine on the roads which is not true of many high performance trail runners. It's not too aggressive on the lug patterns because that will sometimes make a trail shoe pretty awkward for road running. I wouldn't run more than five miles in the Xodus on roads, but for short distances it works well.

It drained well after getting soaked. I didn't even think of the stream crossing after a few minutes.

The Xodus performed well laterally on the trails, providing both stability and flexibility. Even with what looks like a fairly built up sole and mid-sole, I felt surprisingly low to the ground and very secure in the heel cup. This is an absolute necessity for a technical trail shoe.

It was light enough to not feel clunky on the climbs and the ARCH-LOCK really helped to hold my foot in place on the downhills.

The toe box on the Xodus could be a little bit bigger and those with really wide fore-foots may need another shoe. But I tend to like a lot of room in the front of a shoe, and I found this one to provide just enough room.

I liked this shoe so much that I am going to seriously consider the Saucony Progrid Echelon as a road trainer because it also has the ARCH-LOCK and appears to be a similar last.
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