Over the last year I’ve gone through so many different trail running shoes it’s probably not funny… Some I’ve loved and some I’ve hated, and it’s been tricky to find a balance between the minimalist feel I like and something sturdy enough to take the beating our trails dish out year-round. The closest thing I’ve found to perfection so far has been the Saucony Peregrine series, but they just aren’t that durable and I’ve blown out a few pairs. I’ve been looking hard for a trail shoe that would be light, fast, and… bulletproof enough to handle my upcoming run of The Devil’s Path through the Catskill Mountains of NY. Enter the SAUCONY XODUS ProGrid 3.0.
I still have less than 50 miles on these, so it’s too soon to post a real review, but I wanted to give folks my first impressions as a lot of folks have been asking me lately. First off, the Xodus is basically the Peregrine 3.0 on steroids. Rock plate (my feet are already loving that), gnarlier tread (if that were possible), more heavily reinforced upper (notably reinforced over the blowout spots of other models), and use of ProLock rubber webbing on the upper.
The nice thing is that even with all these additions, the shoe still weighs in at 11.1 ounces (size 9), which isn’t bad for a shoe this gnarly. It also features a 4mm drop which, lately, has become my “go to” on the trails.
The fit on these is great. The toe box seems to be a bit wider than most Saucony models, which is a plus for my feet and is appreciated by many an ultra runner whose feet swell considerably during a race.
My first few trail runs in these were in extremely wet conditions, so I noticed right away how quickly these shoes drain. Pretty much drained instantly, which – in my book – is a HUGE plus. Admittedly, they still take awhile to thoroughly dry out, but they don’t stay damp nearly as long as the Peregrine 3.0’s.
The tread on these is monstrous. Just really well-thought-through design from Vibram. The rubber has proven slippery on wet wood/roots, but on mud, dirt, gravel, rocks, etc. they grip really nicely.
I haven’t experienced any hot spots yet, so – again – a huge plus.
Although they feature a rock plate and you can’t really “fold ’em in half” like you can most minimal trail shoes, they don’t run stiff at all. The overall stack height feels a little higher in these than what I’m used to, but I was surprised that they run very close to a minimal feel for a shoe that’s so well built.
I’ll keep y’all posted on these as I break them in. The real test will be in two weeks – The Devil’s Path – 24 miles, 7 Mountains, and 18,000′ Elevation Change in one day… if the Xodus make it through that test with my feet still intact than we’ll have a winner. So far, I have high expectations that these shoes will more than pass the test!