Monsters. That one word sums up our view of the Saucony Xodus 5.0 GTX. They are rugged, waterproof, and they have traction… boy, do they have traction. These bad boys will find a home on most trails and they have been designed to suit every complaint every trail runner ever had. In fact, it’s like they were modeled with the Pacific Northwest winter and spring seasons in mind.
THE DESIGN OF THE SHOE
The tech on this shoe is insane, but before we dive into that let’s touch on aesthetics. This is the most personal part of a shoe for many people and is going to be my biggest gripe with Saucony on the Xodus 5.0. The black and red is the only colorway available and when you make some of the most strikingly beautiful running shoes on the market (check out our Triumph ISO review for a really good looking shoe), it’s a disservice to not offer another more striking option. I get the black and red is very muted for the trails and the dirt is less visible, but it would be great if they could offer another option. The rant is over, now moving to the tech… and note this totally outweighs any gripe I had with the color.
Let me just run through the tech laundry list: waterproof (but breathable), multi-directional traction on the sole, external rock plate, gaiter compatible, pro lock lacing system, lace pocket, gusseted internal bootie, and a Vibram outsole that resists abrasion. Its kind of like all the little things you have thought about wanting are in one shoe and yes, they are all there and yes, they work really well.
The multi-directional sole is the star on this piece and it can be one of its weak links as well. First off, they provide a ridiculous level of control on trail, and went through everything we could throw at it in stride (mud, water, rocks, sticks, you name it). The only caveat here is that build up that can occur. Because the treads are so deep you do tend to pickup a good portion of mud during really wet runs and sometimes need a clean out. This is rare, but we did see it happen a few times. I would say the overall traction control you gain outweighs this.
HOW THEY FIT
First off, they don’t fit like other Saucony shoes do. For me, the arch feels much higher than in other models and it actually put a little more pressure on the arches when I first wore them than I expected. I did get used to it after a while, but I would suggest trying them on before buying to assess as everyone’s arches and tolerances are slightly different.
The internal bootie fits like a glove and the comfort level of the shoe is very high. The lacing system keeps your foot very secure and I had no problems with tightening or relaxing of the laces throughout. The upper of the shoe does feel a little soft which I will go into more in the running section, especially when compared to the sole.
In terms of the sole, the traction is really nice and definitely the standout. You get a lot of responsiveness from these shoes and there is a broad impact area, yet you still maintain a high level of control. So while it is a bit wider than normal, it’s not so much where it affects the shoes ability to turn with precision or control the speed.
HOW THEY RUN
They run really well over various types of terrain. During most tests I found them very responsive, and they probably have more rebound than most trail shoes we have tested. It is extremely comfortable as well even over the long haul, so this mix of comfort and responsiveness definitely leans toward distance usage. My only real gripe with the run came during speed testing and this went to my comment on the softness of the upper. When I picked up the pace, things started to feel a little sloppy up top and I lost some control which forced me to back off.
The target for this shoe is definitely distance runners and aside from a few minor gripes, the Xodus 5.0 GTX does an amazing job. The shoe is really comfortable, superbly responsive, and offers a very high level of protection from the trail and from the weather. It is definitely a try it on before you buy it shoe, but if your foot is a good match for the design then they are really hard to beat. All that and you can hose them off… big bonus.
TECHNICAL STATS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY
- Weight: 11.4oz (size 9)
- MSRP: $140.00
- Available: Buy Now