Zealot: 'A fanatically committed person'
The Saucony Zealot is a new shoe in Saucony's ISOFIT range. The ISOFIT technology is designed to mould to the foot for improved comfort and stability. The Zealot effectively replaces the Cortana in the Saucony line-up, as a maximal cushioning, low drop shoe in the neutral range. Saucony Australia and Northside Runners Crows Nest were kind enough to hook me up with a pair for review. (www.saucony.com.au) (www.northsiderunners.com.au)
The Zealot features:
- Neutral shoe type
- Maximal cushioning
- 4mm offset (25mm to 21mm stack)
- ISOFIT provides stabilizing support while adapting to the movement of the runner's foot
- PWRGRID+ platform provides 20% more cushioning and better durability than previous versions
- ibr+ injection blown rubber for greater sole resilience
Slipping on the Zealot for the first time, you immediately notice the support the ISOFIT technology provides with its sock-like midfoot. The tongue is attached to the side of the shoe, not too tight to restrict the foot, but very secure and prevents the tongue from slipping laterally. Coupled with the foam strips for lacing, the upper of the shoe creates a snug shape around the foot. Having a narrow midfoot and wider forefoot the ISOFIT structure of the Zealot accommodates this well in comparison to the Cortana and Mirage models I have used before. The heel cup is slightly wider than what I am used to with the Mirage, but due to the tighter midfoot I never found my foot moving around.
For a maximal cushioning shoe the Zealot is surprisingly light, weighing in at 240 grams for my size 46. I would see these placed as a long run shoe in my running arsenal or for faster tempo work with higher volume. From the first few runs, the shoes felt designed for a better stride transition, as the extra cushioning helped to spread the force on impact and allowed for a more comfortable rebound into the next stride.
The Zealot's sole combines Saucony's ibr+ and PWRGRID+, designed for durability and cushioning. The PWRDGRID+ through the midsole claims to give 20% more cushioning than other shoes by absorbing and distributing pressure through the sole. After 100km's I felt that this was pretty well supported, and a marked improvement on the Cortana. The ibr+ provides a lighter rubber alternative in specific areas of the sole for improved cushioning and durability, 100km's in and still no notable wear points in the sole, not to mention the shoes were still feeling noticeably light for a maximum cushioning shoe.
ISOFIT technology moulds to foot shape
Slightly larger heel cup for my foot (well supported though)
Fastening design gives great support to foot
Maximal cushioning without the weight
Variable - perfect long run/tempo shoe
With training shoes, I'm primarily looking for a good fit and a smooth ride, and Saucony have made some fabulous innovations with the Zealot. Usually opting for the lighter Mirage due to its shape and weight, after 100km's I can see the Zealot as my go to shoe for the majority of distance runs. The Zealot will sit well in the Saucony market for users locked in the neutral/natural motion range of shoes, firm enough for the heavier striker, but cushioned and light enough to feel supportive and fast for those lighter neutral runners out there.
Cortana users, you need to give the Zealot a go.
Kinvara fans, a durable and reliable training shoe option for you guys.
Mirage users, this may be a good alternative to protect those precious legs a little more on longer runs.
Would love to see the ISOFIT design on the Kinvara! As a fan of the Kinvara 3, the well regarded 4 and 5 models have been a bit to wide in the midfoot for me, but I miss the softer tough of the Kinvara for racing. I think the ISOFIT design could solve that.