Trail running shoes are generally broken down into two primary areas of focus. The first are what can be referred to as true trail shoes, those model designed to work exclusively on soft surfaces. The second are cross-overs, basically road shoes that are given a more aggressive outsole and a brown upper treatment that results in a outdoorsy version of a popular road shoe.
Previously, there was a clear distinction. Outdoor companies did true trail shoes while the cross-overs were left to the big running shoe brands. Then the Brooks Cascadia came along, the first true trail shoe from a big brand that resulted in serious sales. The Brooks Cascadia made up nearly 1/3 of all trail shoe sales. This type of success doesn’t go unnoticed, so along came true trail shoes from the other top brands to capture some of the luster form the Cascadia crowd. What came from Saucony lasy year was the ProGrid Exodus.
The ProGrid Exodus featured recycled outsole and upper materials, a soft compliant upper, aggressive Vibram outsole featuring a rock guard protector plus a lower profile midsole with several of the key technologies borrowed from Saucony’s road shoes such as ProGrid in the heel and SRC Impact areas in the heel and forefoot. This model not only had the legit off-road goods, it didn’t hurt that the shoe looked good. The Xodus proved to be very popular.
Saucony is a company that rarely takes a successful product and completely changes it. Instead they follow the industry trend of making slight tweaks here and there to keep the product fresh and interesting without alienating the existing fan base. This is exactly what we have with the ProGrid Xodus 2.0. The 2.0 features the same midsole and outsole as found in the original Xodus, but with a few key upper tweaks as the lone areas that change. The main tweak is a bit of a Kinvara-look on the upper. Overlays arranged in a similar pattern to the Kinvara that are welded, meaning they are softer, lighter and offers a greater degree of support than traditional overlays found on the original version. The upper should fit better and make the shoe a touch lighter. Coupled with the same midsole/outsole as the popular original version should result in worthy successor to the true trail model in the Saucony lineup.