Our verdict

The Xodus Ultra from Saucony is a trail running shoe for ultra distances. We definitely felt that it let go of the beefy and burly signature of the past Xodus, shedding off a significant amount of weight. We found that it can go fast and far with its responsive and uber-comfy ride. And if you want a shoe that has protection written all over it, the Saucony Xodus Ultra is IT as we witnessed it crush through both well-groomed and rugged terrains like they're nothing.

Pros

  • Protective cushion
  • Responsive ride
  • Extremely comfy for ultras
  • Grippy on mud and loose ground
  • Breathable
  • Lighter than the Xodus 11
  • Stable platform
  • Wide-feet friendly

Cons

  • Midfoot is too roomy
  • Lace change needed for good lockdown

Audience verdict

87
Great!

Who should buy the Saucony Xodus Ultra

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

  • responsive and stable ride over technical terrains
  • lighter shoe for ultra running
  • versatile trail shoe for logging daily miles and racing ultras

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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 we can recommend. And if you want a trail shoe that holds the foot in snugly, we found that the Salomon Ultra Glide 2 offers a secure, sock-like 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 we love it!

The Xodus Ultra has gone through a total overhaul to become our favourite: 

  • lighter weight, departing from the hefty 11.9 oz (337 g) weight of the 11th Xodus to a much lighter 10.3 oz (292 g)
  • +1mm of 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

saucony-xodus-ultra-updates

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 is responsive and speedy, but the Saucony Xodus Ultra has come shockingly close in performance to the icon.

Like the Speedgoat, the Xodus Ultra can also gobble daily miles just as well as ultra-racing efforts.

Overall, the two shoes are such a close comparison that you may want to grab the Xodus as a replacement for the Speedgoat.

Tippy no more in the Xodus Ultra

The Saucony Xodus Ultra is a darn stable shoe! Actually, we can even say that it is an excellent example of a stable neutral shoe. The midsole has some firmness to it and 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!

A pretty breathable trail shoe

This Saucony shoe receives high scores from us in the breathability department. We recommend it as a light and airy shoe for summer runs.

You can also see the most transparent/breathable parts of the upper in the video below.

Xodus Ultra takes care of your feet

The shoe treated our feet and legs so well on the trail that we ended up going beyond our intended mileage. 

From the first step-on feel to the last mile of the run, the comfort of this Saucony shoe remains off the charts.

Unlike most trail shoes, the Xodus Ultra doesn't feel rigid underfoot.

Turning to our durometer measurement, we found that the shoe indeed belongs to the softer range of trail shoes. Based on our durometer measurements, it is 25% plusher than trail shoes on average.

saucony-xodus-ultra-cushioning-softness-durometer

However, it does get noticeably firmer when exposed to cold temperatures. After spending 20 minutes in the freezer, the foam got 36.4% denser. This means that the shoe will take some time to break in if you take it out on a chilly day.

saucony-xodus-ultra-cushioning-firmer-in-cold

Protection is king in this Saucony shoe

The Xodus Ultra is meant to go the distance. The shoe has a very cushioned design and a rock plate that buggers every single rock on the way! The ground feel is very muted; this shoe literally soaks up the miles.

Both the heel and forefoot stack are slightly taller than average in the Saucony Xodus Ultra. The heel is 1.3 mm thicker (33.9 mm) while the forefoot is 2.4 mm thicker (26.7 mm).

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We include the insole when measuring the shoe's stack.

The insole of the Xodus Ultra is also very well-cushioned. At 6.8 mm, it is 2.3 mm thicker than most running shoe insoles.

saucony-xodus-ultra-insole

As for the heel-to-toe drop, we found it to be 7.2 mm, which is 1.2 mm thicker than the officially stated 6 mm.

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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.

At its widest part, the forefoot on the Xodus Ultra is 96.9 mm, which is the typical width for running shoes (98.3 mm is the average).

saucony-xodus-ultra-toebox-width

What's good about it is it's not terribly wide; your feet can breathe, but they won't be floating around the shoe. By any means, it's not sloppy. Even when cornering, we haven't experienced any slips.

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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 get in the way of achieving a 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. 

saucony-xodus-ultra-laces

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

The tongue keeps debris away

A pretty cool feature that is not often seen on trail shoes, is a Debris Shield on top of the shoe's tongue. It prevents small rocks, dirt, and roots from getting inside the shoe without compromising breathability. Genious!

saucony-xodus-ultra-debris-shield

A cutback on weight

This is what the Saucony Xodus series needed.

In the realm of ultras, this is a huge change. And it certainly makes the shoe a top-of-the-line choice for those insanely long miles. 

saucony-xodus-ultra-lightweight

For reference, the Xodus Ultra weighs in at 10.1 oz (286g) which is exactly the same as the average of ultra running shoes for the trail. 

Outsole: Filed under excellent

Be it dirt, rock, mud, sand, grit, gravel, or roots, the Xodus Ultra bites them all! 

Measuring the lug depth of this Saucony shoe, we got 3.8 mm on the calliper. But in practice, it grips like 5 mm!

saucony-xodus-ultra-outsole-traction

Moderately flexible

The shoe bends just enough to provide a comfortable foot flex. It is rather flexible for a trail shoe with a rock plate in it.

Torsionally, it also has a nice balance of rigidity and flex to provide a stable ride.

Worth the price

At £150, the Xodus Ultra belongs to the cream of the crop in the trail running world. We are happy to claim that this is one of the better-value trail shoes on the market.

saucony-xodus-ultra-quality

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

saucony-xodus-ultra-price