Who should buy the Saucony Xodus Ultra

Apparent through its name, the Saucony Xodus Ultra is an ultra trail racer that's the perfect go-to for runners who want a:

  • responsive and stable ride over technical terrains
  • lighter version than the Saucony Xodus 11
  • versatile trail shoe for logging daily miles and racing ultras

Who should NOT buy it

If you want the best of the best when it comes to laces, the Saucony Peregrine 12 is a chart-topping shoe that comes highly recommended by runners. And if you want a trail shoe that holds the foot in snugly, the Saucony Mad River TR 2 offers a sock-like and secure wrap. 

Saucony Xodus Ultra vs. the Xodus 11

The Saucony Xodus Ultra is a trail beast that turns all the misses of the Xodus 11 into hits. And trail runners are loving it.

With comments saying, "everything I didn't like about the Xodus is gone," "the Xodus line had a yard sale," and "it ain't your mom's trail shoe," it's crystal clear that the Xodus Ultra goes through a total overhaul with a: 

  • lighter weight, departing from the hefty 337-gram/11.9-ounce weight of the eleventh Xodus to a much lighter 292-gram/10.3-ounce weight
  • 1mm more heel stack for a more cushioned ride
  • 1mm less forefoot stack, upping the drop from 4mm to 6mm 
  • more flexible rock plate for a more forgiving ride

From having "classic trail shoe death sentences," the Saucony Xodus Ultra is here for the entire Xodus line's "resurrection" as one reviewer puts it. 

It's coming for the Speedgoat

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is the talk of the town (and rightfully so) when it comes to ultra-distance trail racers. It's responsive and speedy, and the Saucony Xodus Ultra is shockingly close in performance but in a lower profile. 

"It's not far off" is a comment that one of the testers gave in terms of versatility. Like the Speedgoat, the Xodus Ultra can also gobble daily miles just as well as ultra-racing efforts. 

Overall, it's a close comparison that one of the runners boldly claims that you may want to grab the Xodus as a replacement to the Speedgoat. 

Tippy no more in the Xodus Ultra

Many, if not all, are in agreement that the Saucony Xodus Ultra is a darn stable shoe. One of them even reports that it's an excellent example of a stable neutral shoe. The midsole has some firmness to it; it ensures planted, slip-free steps. 

And if there's one word that perfectly describes the entire ride of the shoe, it's "synergetic." It blends both responsiveness and stability so well; "the full underfoot recipe is surprisingly dreamy," expresses one avid trail runner. 

Will take care of your feet

"It treated me very very very well out there," a video reviewer has this to say about the Saucony Xodus Ultra. So much so that he went beyond his usual 50-mile test run. 

Another says that it "feels lovely underfoot," while another adds that the shoe's step-in comfort is "off the charts." 

Unlike most trail shoes, the Xodus Ultra doesn't feel rigid underfoot. Some runners even find it plush for a trail shoe. 

Where protection is key

"Beefy. Gritty. Meant to go the distance." Overall, this is how the Xodus Ultra is designed and running experts can't help but agree. It has a very cushioned design and a rock plate that a critic finds "awesome, awesome, awesome!" He says he never felt the rocks out there at all.

The ground feel is very muted; this shoe can just "soak up the miles," confidently remarks one commenter. 

An ultra fit

An ultra event, in general, is where stretch and room are needed. And with the Xodus Ultra, "comfort was certainly a priority." What this means is there's space throughout the shoe to welcome wider feet and some swelling for the ultra miles. 

What's good about it is it's not terribly wide; your feet can breathe, but "they won't be floating away." By any means, it's not sloppy. Even when cornering, there have been no reports of slips. 

For narrow-footed runners, however, extra caution is necessary. The midfoot can feel a tad too roomy, but it can easily be remedied by cinching the laces down (and more about the laces below). 

The laces get a thumbs down

The laces are so stretchy and flat; they're "counterproductive" to achieving that locked-in fit. The laces are also the suspected culprits when it comes to the shoe's rather loose midfoot wrap. 

Although they're solid in the comfort arena, they're just too elastic for that secure feel. What's worse is after some miles, they need a retie. 

The solution? Switching up the laces would make the whole run a ton better. 

The upper nails it to a T! 

It's flexible, breathable, and durable. "I have seen no wear after 35 miles," shares one trail runner who claims that he ran his pair through aggressive trails.

A cut back on weight

This is what the Saucony Xodus series needed. From "heavy duty (and heavy)," it became "dramatically lighter" with the Xodus Ultra's introduction.

In ultras "where weight is weight," this is a big change. The "HUGE weight drop," as one expert explains, makes the shoe a top-of-the-line choice for those insanely long miles. 

For reference, the Xodus Ultra weighs in at 292 grams/10.3 ounces while trail running shoes, on average, weigh in at 298 grams/10.5 ounces. Ultra shoes, on average, weigh in at 311 grams/11 ounces in US men's 9. 

Outsole: Filed under excellent

"I have no quibbles," says one critic when asked about the shoe's outsole and traction. On dirt, rock, mud, sand, grit, gravel, and roots, it bites. 

Some even compare the Saucony Xodus Ultra's traction to shoes with Vibram outsole with one saying that it's "solid as always." 

Worth the price

At $150, the Xodus Ultra belongs with the "kings and queens of the trail running world," happily remarked a trail running athlete. Another backs this stating that this is one of the better-value trail shoes on the market.

It's not too expensive. And you get what you pay for, given the shoe's performance, quality, and versatility. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 10.3oz
Drop: Men 6mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: Men 26mm
Heel height: Men 32mm

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Saucony Xodus Ultra video reviews

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.