As someone who runs the trails not nearly enough, it’s always a singularly exhilarating experience to take off into the woods. Wearing the Xodus ISO 2 trail shoes from Saucony is a little like taking an SUV on the 401: it’s more shoe than I probably need, but it’s a fun ride nevertheless.
I’m in the back woods of High Park swashbuckling through tree stumps and mud and the terrain feels like the track I don’t run on nearly enough at Central Tech Academy. It’s a soft landing in a neutral shoe with padding enough to take me over a live volcano, and yet the ride doesn’t feel heavy or restrictive. Will I run over fire, through streams, across hot lava in my trail running career? Time will tell, though it doesn’t seem likely. But if I do, I will now have the shoes.
When I started my running, I was enamoured with trails, and competed often in the Five Peaks series, in my heyday arriving alone and stashing my keys behind my back tire. I like not running with a watch, not eating gels, not listening to music, and just going like a dinosaur was behind me, trying to make me its lunch. Something about that appeals to my nature.
This evening’s run—in the waning hours of sunlight beside the great Alex Flint and Ravi Singh—feels like it could go on forever, take me anywhere, and I’d be up for the challenge. It’s a review of a sneaker that’s being worn for the first time straight out of the box, so even though the fit feels good and the laces stay tied, I suspect, after taking the Xodus ISO 2 into several more battles, despite its sturdy composition, the Saucony trail shoe will mold more closely to my foot. As a rule, street or trail shoes don’t need to be broken in. But they’re like a horse or a car, and it helps to know each other’s idiosyncrasies.
In the end, the trail run finishes up at a bar with great Vegan food and tons of hip people, and I’m pleased to say the dark blue-and-red sneaker doesn’t embarrass me or my friends. Even though we’re sweating into our French fries, my sneakers remain mellow and cool. It’s good when a shoe, even a trail shoe, doesn’t scream to be noticed by the world. So, to reiterate, the Saucony Xodus ISO 2 has a rubber outsole and medium-thick treading, designed to repel rocks, muds and snakes. The upper, which is synthetic, wraps snugly to the ankle like an old flame. The shoe’s as sturdy as a tank, lighter than my wisp of a 3-year-old son.
It’s a great trail shoe. Now to incorporate trail running into my marathon build-up for fall.