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Saucony Xodus ISO, $130
Saucony has overhauled its most rugged trail runner, and our testers loved nearly everything about it. This shoe is considerably lighter and more agile than the Xodus 6.0 that came out last year. It also serves up an enhanced fit, feel and ride. Part of the reason for that is the additional soft and responsive layer of foam called EverRun, which Saucony rolled out in its road shoes earlier this year. It’s also due to a new outsole lug system with a directional wave pattern that offers amazing stability and traction on rocks and steep terrain. Although this shoe is best for rugged trails, the improvements have made it great for mellow terrain too.
Plus: The ISO-Fit system (which is on many of Saucony’s road shoes) effectively wraps the top of the foot like fingers of a glove.
Minus: Proprioceptive feel for the trail is a bit muted in this shoe because of the thick cushioning and outsole lugs.
Weights: 10.3 oz. (men’s), 9.2 oz. (women’s)
Heel-to-toe offset: 4mm; 25mm (heel), 21mm (forefoot)