ISO Zealot
Shoe Reviews

Saucony ISOFIT Zealot

Saucony Isofit ZealotISOFIT is a new series of shoes with a two part upper system. “Our design team’s approach to the ISO•SERIES uppers was different. By combining a plush inner fit sleeve with a flexible external cage, ISOFIT technology provides a system that dynamically adapts to each individual part of the foot. In other words, it moves with the runner’s foot in motion.” Saucony provided us with a women’s and men’s sample of the Zealot to review.

The Good

Thomas: The concept behind ISOFIT is smart. You are able to get a snug fit over the arch and lock in the heel while the other areas of your foot enjoy freedom to breath. The shoe feels light at 9.3 oz. (size 10.5) for as much cushioning as the Zealot has. If you like the ride of Saucony’s one piece midsole in shoes like the Kinvara, Mirage, and Virrata, then you will feel at home in the ISO Zealot. The Zealot’s midsole feels closer to the Mirage out of those examples. The Zealot midsole uses Saucony’s new PWRGRID+, Saucony will tell you there is a 20% increase in cushioning and a 15% increase in resiliency compared the POWERGRID midsole. The toe off of the Zealot is smooth and the +IBR gives it a little teeth. There is also plenty of +IBR rubber on the outsole. It should help the Zealot with durability. Overall the shoes quality and attention to detail is really impressive. While it will be a negative in my review, a lot of runners with wide feet will love the roomy fore foot and toebox of the Zealot.

Meaghan: I had no idea we were going to receive these shoes from Saucony, but I was pretty ecstatic when they arrived. My first impression of the Zealot? Holy perfect fit. This shoe was tailored for us wide-footed runners and I couldn’t be happier about it. The Zealot is one of three shoes designed with this amazing ISOFIT upper. If you’re not familiar with Saucony’s ISOFIT, it’s a soft mesh upper that wraps around your foot, complete with a floating synthetic casing that allows you to customize the fit and shape around your foot (to what I consider, pure perfection). My toes have room to shimmy around, yet my foot feels snug and secure. Doesn’t get much better.

It’s the dead of winter in Baltimore, so cold miles are the only option these days. The Zealot kept my feet nice and warm. While this may be undesirable come summertime, I am enjoying the comfort they provide now.  I guess some people will consider this a max-ish shoe; it has a good amount of cushioning. It’s no soft bouncy HOKA Clifton or Skechers Utlra, however. These shoes have a firm ride. It reminds me a bit of the Suacony Mirage… if the Mirage had a slightly lighter, generally more flexible outsole. My W7.5 weighed in at 7.4 oz. Pretty frickin’ light for a bunch of shoe.

ISO ZealotThe Bad

Thomas: This shoe just did not work for me. I wanted to like it, but the shoe is made for a foot a lot wider than mine. To get a proper fit I had to tighten the laces so much that the shoe puckered up. I don’t have freakishly narrow feet either. I would look down at the ISO Zealots while running and they just didn’t look right to me. The front of the shoe is so wide. They psychological repercussion was that the shoes made me think clunky and slow. Let’s talk firmness. For a shoe that feels as big as this one does on my feet, the ride is mighty firm. In a more streamlined shoe I wouldn’t mind the firmness, again this one felt off to me.

Meaghan: Here is my issue with the Zealot – it’s just too stiff. I want to sport these beautiful kicks for long distances but the firm outsole leaves my feet yearning for something softer.

Also, Saucony got a little crazy with the lacing. Noone needs that much. I promise.

ISO ZealotConclusion

Thomas: Some chatter has implied that the Zealot is the heir to the Cortana line. If you have a narrow foot this probably won’t be the shoe for you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and people have complained that Saucony makes narrow shoes. I am guessing Saucony has finally ceded to the criticism and gone overly wide, at least with the Zealot. I ran over 75 miles in the Zealot, mostly because I wanted to change my opinion of the shoe. My opinion did not waiver, this just isn’t the shoe for my preferences. The lesson I learned is: if I have to try to like a shoe and keep looking for positives then maybe I should just trust my gut. For those of you that want the drop – Stack Height: 28mm Heel, 24mm Forefoot, 4mm offset.

Meaghan: If this shoe had a softer outsole, I’d buy one in every color. Okay, maybe not since MSRP is $130 a pop… but I’d consider another pair. If you like a firm ride and the best fitting upper you’ve ever dreamed of, I recommend you try this shoe.

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18 Comments

  1. Hi,
    With Saucony discontinuing my beloved Virattas have you heard of a next gen. in the that range from the new Saucony line? Can we expect reviews in the near future?

  2. Do you have confirmation that Saucony is indeed discontinuing the Virrata? If so, I would have to stock up on them as they are just about the perfect shoe for me.

  3. Meaghan, I’m a little confused by what you mean when you say “stiff” Does that mean you can’t bend them easily or that they don’t feel soft enough underfoot. This seems like a great shoe for my wide feet – but I have learned the hard way that my shoe must have a flexible sole (i.e. Skechers GoRun or Altra One squared)

    1. Hi there. The shoe is well cushioned underfoot, but the outsole is not very flexible. It’s a noticeably firmer ride and much less flexible than the Skechers GOrun or Altra One Squared. Have you tried the Altra Instinct 3?

  4. I tried the Instinct 2 and it was way too non-flexible, That’s when I discovered the One Squared, which is my current fave. I’m just always on the lookout for a light flexible shoe that will accommodate my huge footsies!

  5. I LOVE my Kinvaras..but I do find they are a little lacking in support for long runs. My feet feel fatigued. I’ve read a review saying that the Zealot is “..a great companion shoe for the Kinvara..”
    Would you agree?

  6. Do you have a shoe recommendation (4mm) for someone that wants more support than the Kinvara but is NOT okay with a firmer ride?

    1. I guess I need to know what you mean by support. Off the bat, I would recommend the New Balance 890v5. Not a 4mm drop. The Newton Motion and Kismet might be worth checking out. Those are both great shoes, the Kismet is probably my first choice. So in re-reading this, try the Newton Kismet 🙂

  7. By support I meant “cushion,” but enough to hold up to about the 5 mile mark. Like some other runners have experienced, anything more than a 5k in the Kinvaras and they start to feel more like racing flats. Granted, my last Kinvara was the 3 so maybe this has been fixed in the later editions?

  8. So I have a couple of older pairs of running shoes that I loved when I ran half marathons a few years back… and I’m just getting back into distance runs. I loved the Mirage 3 (NOT Mirage 5) and I also loved the original Zealot. Since all those options no longer exist, where should I go? I THINK I like cushioned shoes and I often have shin splint and IT band trouble. Should I try the new Zealot 3 or possibly the Kinvara or Guide? Thanks for any help you can offer!

    1. Right now, some of my favorites are the Pegasus 35, Nike Epic React, New Balance Beacon, and the Kinvara 9.

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