The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 improved on these two shoes by lowering their weight from the last iteration of the line and continuing to provide the two staples of the Zealot.
Having never worn the Zealot but being a big fan of the Kinvara I was expecting a beefier more cushioned shoe from the Zealot.
The testing of the shoe involved using it for mostly long runs and recovery miles after I quickly learned that, while the Zealot ISO 3 is a great long run option, it did not provide enough responsiveness for faster efforts and workouts.
Saucony Zealot ISO 3 General Info
The Zealot ISO 3 builds on the ISO 2 and continues to provide a minimalist, neutral cushioned ride with a low 4mm drop and an ISOFIT premium upper.
The Zealot is the “big sister” to the Kinvara in many ways. It is more of a cushioned shoe then the Kinvara with the same drop of 4mm, and comes in as a lighter and lower drop shoe then the Saucony Triumph ISO 3.
Unboxing the Zealot ISO 3 for the first time, my impression immediately went to a bigger bulkier Kinvara. Picking up the shoe for the first time I was surprised with how light it felt for how big the shoe is.
Immediately I noticed the adaptive ISOFIT upper where the tongue creates a bootie-like construction with an inner sock-like sleeve that runs from the midfoot to the forefoot.
This sleeve created a hugging feeling around the arch of my foot and oddly creates a gap between this sleeve and the outmost mesh of the shoe in the toebox.
The first run I got exactly what I expected in a very light plush cushioned shoe. It feels very comfortable, the upper molded to my foot well and the sole created a soft ride.
I found that the shoe did not respond well to speed work as I had expected, but thrives when used for its purpose of long distance and recovery easy runs.
Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Sole Unit
The Zealot ISO 3 has a natural feel with the 4mm drop and includes a 3mm EVERRUN topsole.
On the outsole is the new TRI-FLEX design which with deep grooves between horizontal zig-zags provides a lot of rubber and surface area for push-off while maintaining some flexibility in the forefoot.
This outsole pattern is not too different from the Zealot ISO 2 and it will hold up well from a durability standpoint.
Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Upper Info
The ISOFIT upper creates a bootie around your foot with a fully connected tongue and the inner-sleeve for your foot hugs the midfoot tightly.
Though the hugging is a tight feeling, it is only the inner sleeve that is tight and feels more like a sock then a tight upper of a shoe.
The adaptive lacing system around the midfoot allows for the shoe to lock down your foot but not be constrictive as the plastic eyelets are flexible.
The outer material of the shoe uses the Saucony Flexfilm which is a light film that is melded to the upper to eliminate seams and give more structure to the shoe.
The inner sleeve does run through the toebox and creates a shallow fit requiring that the shoe is purchased a half-size up.
With the exception of the shallow toe box, the upper is just as comfortable as the sole unit of the Saucony Zealot ISO 3.
Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Conclusions
The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 has quickly become one of my favorite long run options. It is truly a comfortable shoe that just hits all the notes you’d expect in a quality neutral Saucony trainer.
The weight was dropped down from the ISO 2 while maintaining a very cushioned plush ride. I personally prefer a firm racing flat for longer races but would recommend this shoe for half and full marathon distances to other runners.
We purchased a pair of Zealot ISO 3 on runningwarehouse with our own money for this test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.