Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Review
Zealot ISO 2 from Saucony, with new Everun topsole.
On the suface, both the Zealot ISO (2015) and new Zealot ISO 2 appear to be very similar shoes. But all is not what it seems...
The original (pictured in bright orange) had a 4mm drop, deep cushioned midsole and ISO Fit upper, all of which are present in its updated version, the Zealot ISO 2. But gone are the mouldings for added support through the midsole (the flared outer edges). Gone is the massive block of midsole material positioned right underneath the medial side of the foot. Gone is the tight fit around the toebox.
This is a different shoe and a different experience. One that I'm happy to report, feels a million times more comfortable.
And the 'Zealot 2015' was comfy!
Zealot '15 and its loud/proud colour option.
Firstly - Saucony have remodelled the midsole, creating a much more balanced shoe. While both are neutral, the original always had a habit of blocking my mobile foot thanks to that massive section under the arch. I just ended up with sore feet, or on longer runs, tired over-worked hips.
This update features a completely level platform that feels incredible to run on.
Underneath, there's a much straighter look to it. Not so much curved, as chevronned from heel to toe. Your foot can (and should) handle the job of rotating across the inside of the shoe, but can do so with help in reaching the front end by time to toe off from the floor. Simple enough.
But that journey is made all the more comfortable by the new ace up Saucony's sleeve..... Everun.
The new material being flitered into their footwear range is Everun, a material resistent to wear. To temperature or shock. It's just a bouncy layer or 'topsole' that sits along the top surface of the shoe's existing midsole, but it adds a couple of extra millimeters depth to an already deep cushioned pair of shoes. So now stands at an indulgent 26mm at its heel and 22mm in the forefoot.
And that, for some - will spell easy running.
The toebox and fit around the foot has been altered, to allow a slightly more relaxed feeling. So they invite you to spend a little longer in them that you might have expected for a 'natural' 4mm drop shoe.
The new Zealot ISO 2 upper is 'roomy'.
Those searching for an alternative to their higher drop Triumph ISO might enjoy the chance to work a little harder with their lower leg, while assured of a comfortable landing when things turn demanding. Anybody already running in 4mm drop may just enjoy the opportunity to reduce the impact on longer, or slower runs.
The revised midsole configuration.
Original version under foot.
Looks wise, there's a nice colour scheme, with nothing too loud about them this time around. Flat laces that stay tied, wrap around ISO Fit upper with a slightly different structure, which adds a greater foot hold, but still feels like there's nothing awkward or pressing anywhere.
The deep cushioned midsole of the Zealot ISO2, with ISO Fit upper and rigid heel cup.
The inner edge - near identical in profile.
So, a subtle collection of upgrades, but for me - every bit successful. I no longer suffer from any unnecessary structural influences via that ill-positioned flex groove down the one side of the outsole. I don't feel in any way squashed in the toe box. I can run fast or slow in total comfort. The 26mm of heel allow for some bravery on steep downhills, since I could still land 'lazily' on my heels and feel looked after.
The one thing I've come to understand where my own personal running is concerned...I don't like too much shoe under foot when trying to run quickly or for a considerable length of time. That's because of the amount of crushing my foot will cause, which in turn means rolling a little too far onto the big toe. Too much hard running for too long and I'm getting hot spots or blisters, while also having to deal with the delay in push off as I sink and squash the midsole when trying to put full force through the floor.
Having said that, as a high mileage 'armchair' that offers a 'natural' running position and occasional burst of speed - for most of your training/racing at a more measured pace, these should prove to be very easy to get along with. And for those with strength/good form - no surprises - just hundreds of miles of happy running. If comfort is your thing, then hello Zealot.
I'd rate it 5/5 for anyone wanting a deeply cushioned shoe that doesn't get in the way of the toes as they spread and will allow a turn of speed, while remaining exceptionally comfy on runs of upto 20 miles or so (furthest I've run in mine).
Chris Hough is part of Team Accelerate and writes for @TheOutdoorCity
He blogs on our Buzz page as Houghboy
You can read his tweets by following @HoughboyRunner
Monday 18th of July 2016