Saucony Xodus Ultra Review (2022): Top Pick for Long Distances?
Published on: 08/22/2022
Saucony reinvents its star cushioned trail shoe and surprises with a lighter, more responsive build.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The brand’s star ultramarathon trail shoe, the Saucony Xodus, has not been as successful as expected in the past due to its relatively heavy weight compared to its competitors. Also, it was just not as gritty as the Peregrine (the better-known model in Saucony’s trail collection). But with the Xodus Ultra, Saucony breaks with tradition: the new edition maintains max cushion while reducing weight to offer an ultra-comfortable shoe for long distances.
The new Saucony Xodus Ultra features Frame overlays to hold the foot in place on more technical trail sections and a heel-to-toe drop of 6 mm. The PWRTRAC outsole ensures great grip, even on soft ground like mud.
It’s a very good shoe for long trails, where you can accept sacrificing a bit of lightness for comfort and advanced foot protection. This landmark new iteration is a bold twist to the series and promises a lot for the future!
Please read our full review of the Saucony Xodus Ultra for more information.
- Huge weight drop, making it much lighter than all its predecessors
- Maximal cushioning without completely isolating the foot from the ground
- Good toe protection
- Effective and flexible foot lockdown
- Excellent grip and flexibility of the outsole
- The shoes can still slip on wet rocks
- The upper is a bit too flexible beyond moderate trails
- Very elastic laces often need adjustment while running
Saucony Xodus Ultra Complete Review Analysis
Saucony crafted Xodus 10 and 11 as heavy-duty shoes with generous cushioning. These shoes seemed more suitable for fast-hiking than trail running due to their weight. Therefore, it was time for a change in style and marketing: here comes the Xodus Ultra.
The new name label signals the brand’s intention to embark on a new path for the collection. Not only is this new shoe changing its name, but it also seems to have given up on everything that hasn’t worked with the Xodus.
What’s changing? Almost everything:
- The heel-to-toe drop increases from 4 mm to 6 mm;
- The weight is drastically lower (from 11.9 oz/337g to 9.9 oz/281 g);
- And the new outsole incorporates elements similar to the brand’s other successful model, the Peregrine.
The result is a pair of ultra-distance trail shoes that will attract many more fans, for a good reason! Find out everything you need to know in our in-depth Saucony Xodus Ultra review.
Grip and durability
Boasting a new design to give more grip on rugged, uneven terrain, the PWRTRAC outsole now has three separate parts. This makes it more efficient and comfortable on any terrain.
This segmentation gives it more flexibility on trails, while the 4 mm lugs allow you to venture out in all-weather conditions.
Very similar to the Saucony Peregrine, this outsole features Saucony’s PWRTRAC technology, renowned for its durability. This is an essential aspect for ultrarunners, especially when considering the triple separation of the sole, which can lead to fears of rapid wear.
In tests, the Xodus Ultra holds up well on soft mud. The traction is equivalent to that of the of the Hoka Speedgoat 5‘s Vibram Megagrip on soft grounds. So it looks like Saucony has done a good job of combining the flexibility of the triple separation with ideal grip.
Even though Saucony continues to offer maximal cushioning with the Xodus Ultra, the underfoot feel is pretty light while running. The cushioning is soft and comfortable, without feeling heavy or stiff. This shoe is so different in feel from the Xodus 11 that one wonders why the brand didn’t introduce this shoe under a totally new collection!
With 32.5 mm under the heel and 26.5 mm under the toe, this is a very cushioned shoe with a drop of 6 mm. This new configuration makes the Xodus Ultra even more comfortable than the Xodus 11.
Next, the well-structured and comfortable PWRRUN PB core foam offers great foot support. The rock plate is excellent too. It absorbs the shock of rocks and provides a comfortable ride during long runs.
Finally, the PWRRUN PB sock liner enhances the overall comfort. However, some may find the underfoot slightly “too” cushioned in this model. However, the goal of the model is to ensure comfort over long distances, and it does so well! For less foam, there are always other trail shoes like the Peregrine!
Foot lockdown (upper)
We’ve already established that the Xodus Ultra will support and protect your feet with its rock plate, toe guard, and great midsole.
On top of all that, Saucony provides super heel protection and excellent breathability with a soft engineered mesh upper that wraps around the foot.
The upper is well ventilated, and the addition of the Debris Shield prevents moisture infiltration. It’s a comfortable upper, although experienced runners find it gives a little too much range of motion in the foot for technical terrain.
An important feature of the Xodus Ultra is the general elasticity of the upper and laces. This allows runners with wide feet to have a more precise shoe without compromising on space, including in the toe box. This elasticity also provides better foot lockdown, and the shoe has the advantage of being relatively lightweight.
Lastly, the shoe is more eco-friendly thanks to the use of recycled upper materials to reduce its carbon footprint.
The Xodus Ultra may seem big and overly cushioned when you first put them on. But once you give them a run for a while, their merits become clear: the cushioning makes them super comfortable, and the new configuration makes the shoe hold the foot well while still providing a decent ground feel.
The Xodus Ultra is more responsive than its predecessor while still delivering a forgiving ride. With their split outsole, these shoes let you adapt your stride to the terrain much better than the Xodus 10.
They are ideal shoes for daily trail runs and will make a good pair for very long distances – perhaps Saucony’s sharpest tool for this use.
After going big with the Peregrine 12, Saucony is changing the game in its Xodus line with the Xodus Ultra. The most important aspects of these new shoes are balanced and comfortable cushioning, lighter weight for a more responsive ride, and improved grip compatible with most scenarios.
These shoes will be perfect for beginner and experienced runners looking for a solid all-rounder to go the distance comfortably.
|Heel height||32.5 mm|
|Forefoot height||26.5 mm|
|Weight (men)||281 g/9.9 oz|
|Weight (women)||249 g/8.8 oz|
|Features||Wide feet, Heavy runner, Recycled materials, Toe bumper, Rock plate|
|Outsole||3-Piece PWRTRAC, Flex Grooves|
|Midsole||PWRRUN PB, PWRRUN|
|Upper||Engineered Mesh Upper|
|Distance||Mid, Long, Marathon, Ultramarathon|
Reference: Saucony's official site
Comparisons – Saucony Xodus Ultra vs.:
Saucony Xodus 11
There’s a world of difference between the already known Xodus series and the new Xodus Ultra! Saucony has dramatically reduced the weight of its ultramarathon running shoes, going from 337g to 281g in the men’s size 42. And, with that, we say everything!
For a much closer to the trail feel and cushioning that holds up to ultra distances, the Xodus Ultra will be about as good a choice as the Hoka Speedgoat 5.
Conversely, the Xodus 11s are a bit too heavy and stiff for those who want to get out in the wilderness.
So no hesitation: go for this new model!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, and it has enough space for wider feet, too. Overall, it’s quite flexible to adapt to your foot shape.
The Xodus Ultra is made for ultramarathon running and features comfortable cushioning with a convincing grip for technical trails. However, the foot lockdown is not optimal for everyone. So try them out thoroughly before using them for a demanding run.