Saucony Zealot | First Look

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Saucony Zealot Men's Shoe (Sample Shown)

Available February 2015 – MSRP $130.00

The Saucony Zealot is a low weight, low offset, premium cushioned running shoe.

Tech Specs

  • Stack Height: 28mm Heel, 24mm Forefoot, 4mm offset
  • Weight: 8.3 oz (Men’s size 9.0), 7.4 oz (Women’s size 8.0)

Competing Shoes

  • HOKA ONE ONE Huaka – MSRP $150
  • New Balance 980 –  MSRP $110

What makes the Saucony Zealot relevant?

When the minimalist movement began to catch on, Saucony introduced the Kinvara, a not-quite-minimal shoe that weighed under 8.0 oz. Adopted by serious runners seeking a more natural foot position without the extreme nature of a true minimal shoe, the Kinvara delivered a rare combination of a lightweight, semi-soft ride with exceptional energy return.  The Kinvara was arguably the first shoe to bring the 4mm offset to the masses, and while it could not be classified as a true minimal shoe, it found a very desirable niche and redefined the current lightweight/performance running shoe category.

More recently, there has been a movement toward maximal cushioning in running shoes. Simply look to the expanding line of Hoka One One (the creators of maximalist shoes), the recent success of the Altra Olympus and Altra Paradigm, and the upcoming 2015 release of the Asics 33-M as evidence to maximalism beginning to take hold. Just as with the Kinvara, where Saucony did not go to the extreme end of minimalism, the Zealot moves in the direction of maximalism without going to the end.

Isn’t the Saucony Zealot simply the next Saucony Cortana?

In essence, yes, it would be easy to say the Zealot is the Cortana 5 that was never built. Both shoes have a 4mm offset and boast an outstanding cushioning to weight ratio; but the Zealot takes it one step further. With a higher stack height and weighing about an ounce less than the Cortana 4, the Zealot improves the cushioning to weight ratio while using the latest Saucony technology. In the midsole, the Zealot utilizes Saucony’s new PWRGRID+, which Saucony claims is a 20% increase in cushioning and a 15% increase in resiliency over the POWERGRID found in the Cortana 4 and many other Saucony shoes.  The Zealot will also employ the new ISOFIT upper, which adapts to the foot’s shape and movement using a stretchable mesh supported by an external cage.

How unique is the Saucony Zealot?

The Zealot will compete directly with the New Balance 980, the HOKA ONE ONE Huaka, and the February release of the Asics 33-FA. The Saucony Zealot is likely to deliver the most premium fit experience of the four shoes thanks to its ISOFIT upper, while the PWRGRID+ midsole should deliver exceptional cushioning. In regards to softness, all four shoes are on the softer side. We expect the Huaka to be the softest shoe, followed by the Zealot, then the 33-FA, with the 980 being the least soft of the group (note that the 980 softens up a bit after an initial break-in period). At about half an ounce lighter than the tightly grouped weights of the other shoes, the Zealot is specified to be the lightest of the bunch.

Who should buy the Saucony Zealot?

If you are an efficient, neutral runner with a midfoot to forefoot strike and you want a light shoe without giving up the cushioning found in more substantial shoes, then the Saucony Zealot will definitely be worth a try. It will also make for a great companion shoe for those running in the Saucony Kinvara and Brooks PureFlow, who feel they can sense the ground too much toward the end of longer runs.

Look for the Saucony Zealot to be released February 2015!

Saucony Zealot Women's Shoes (Sample Shown)

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