ISOFIT 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.
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.
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.
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.