Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 Review: 8 Comparisons

Article by Mike Postaski, Jeff Beck, and Allison Valliere

Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 ($150)


Mike P: I extensively tested the new Xodus Ultra (V1) last year including racing them at Scout Mountain 50M. Initially I tested a US 9.5 - which was later sent back for outsole testing. I then received a 10.0. Both shoes featured a quite roomy fit - perhaps one of the widest and most roomy uppers of any current trail shoe. Some found them overly roomy, but I appreciated the space - especially as I had them pegged as a long distance ultra shoe (50M+). 

As with the recent Peregrine 13 update, I didn’t expect such a big update in the Xodus Ultra’s 2nd model year. But V2 does receive quite a different upper which greatly affects the shoe. Read on to find out what’s different.


Better midfoot wrap and hold (internal midfoot brace) Mike P

Improved, more secure, less stretchy lace rail system Mike P/Jeff

Non-stretch laces work better with new upper Mike P/Jeff

There aren’t enough bronze accents! in running shoes Jeff

Well cushioned Allison

Comfortable Allison

Responsive Allison

Great traction Allison

Light Allison

Good foothold Allison 


Less flexible, more forward-directed ride Mike P

Toebox is now tapered in comparison to spacious V1 Mike P//Jeff

Loses agility, runs “taller” Mike P

Heel height & drop feel higher, or is more noticeable than V1 Mike P/Jeff


Approx. Weight: men's 9.25 oz  / g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

v1: approx. 9.9 oz  / 281g (US9)

Samples: men’s US 9.5 10.0 oz  / 284 g (0.2 oz / 4g less than V1)

Stack Height: Spec 32.5/26.5mm. We measured 36mm at heel  vs. 33mm for V1

$150. Available April 2023.

Tester Profiles

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. In 2022 Mike won both the Standhope 100M and IMTUF 100M trail ultras within a 7 week period - both extremely rugged Idaho mountain races. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Allison Valliere is a 5th generation Coloradan who is passionate about the outdoors and has been hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and running in the mountains since she was young.  She has completed all but 5 of the Colorado 14ers (a dozen or so in winter), has many hundreds of year round ascents of 14ers, 13ers and other peaks in Colorado and the West.  Allison has also traveled the world and trekked to over 18,000 feet in the Himalayas, to high altitudes in Ecuador and has worked for the National Park Service mapping plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California .  Her almost daily routine involves runs/power hikes in the foothills above Boulder, or 4-5 mile flatter runs at 8-10 minute mile pace if schedule necessitates.  But what really keeps her on her toes is working as a nurse and taking care of her 12 year old twin daughters who are also growing to share her love for the outdoors.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Mike P: The V2 upper definitely has been “reined in”. Gone is the loose (borderline baggy) fit of V1 - replaced by a more structured and rigid upper material. There is quite a large underlay section (dubbed “internal midfoot brace” in the specs) which tightly wraps around the midfoot. V1 used something of a crisscrossing underlay design, but not such a uniform strap design as in V2 (see the pic below). Sizing-wise they remain true-to-size, but with a much snugger fit all around.

[Gusseted tongue, then the perforated blue section which I believe is the “internal midfoot brace” - that interior underlay design is on both sides]

In addition to the tighter midfoot wrap, the toebox has also been narrowed. This is perhaps one area that I wish they had not touched. I do like the more secure fit all around, but the toebox would give me pause about using them for longer ultras, without sizing up. Ideally, they could have gone with the more secure midfoot fit, but kept the more rounded toebox shape of V1. 

[V2’s upper is noticeably more snug, and more tapered in the toebox]

Another prominent upper update is a more rigid lace rail system. I think most of us at RTR did not like the previous loose and stretchy rails in place of standard eyelets - especially in combination with V1’s stretch laces. V2’s lace rails are anchored down - with no give, so there’s in turn no stretch, or give once you tension the lacing. The provided laces are also non-stretch.

[Lace rails are now fixed, and spaced wider across the foot]

Jeff: Mike breaks it down very well. The upper change is subtle, but really changes the flavor of the shoe. While I appreciate the better foot hold, the toebox narrowing is not something I really ever am in favor of - give me all the toebox room you can. It is a little eye opening, however, how much a refined upper can change the feel and purpose of a shoe.

Allison: The upper is excellent and fits me true to size, with a secure midfoot, heel and just enough room in the toe box for my narrow, low volume foot (though not much extra room).  I did not test the previous version, but Jeff described to me how flexible it can feel.  I did not find any such issues here with version 2 and it holds my feet well most of the time.  I do feel a little bit of wavering on very steep terrain, but it is very minimal and hardly worth mentioning, as I feel quite secure in them 99% of the time.  While I have only been testing them in temperatures below 70, I think ventilation will be excellent once the weather really starts to warm up.


Mike P: My first impression when stepping in is that V2 feels a bit higher in stack. This remained the case throughout testing, and even with one foot in V1 and the other in V2 the V2 feels just a touch higher. We  asked Saucony if The Xodus Ultra 2 had received a similar 1.5mm stack increase of PWRRUN EVA/TPU foam as the new Peregrine did, but we were told that the midsole/outsole unit was unchanged. Perhaps the internal midfoot brace gives the effect of holding the midsole up and not allowing it to “spread out” as much? 

I manually measured 36mm at the heel vs. 33mm for V1 - which is pretty much in line with what I feel underfoot. Since I received a replacement test pair of V1, both of my pairs - V1 and V2 have the same mileage in them. 

I will also point out that the spec sheet mentions “increased foam in the heel”, but at the same time the listed stack height remains unchanged at 32.5/26.5mm. Also - Sacuony’s highly durable PWWRUN TPU beaded insole is again on board, as in V1. 


Ultimately the midsole feels higher than V1, and I believe the effect of the tighter midfoot brace also makes the cushion feel a bit denser and more concentrated underfoot. V1 seemed to have a softer and more flexible feel - even to the foam itself. V2 feels taller and denser, yet not as soft. V2 does drop 0.2 / 4g in weight in my (US 9.5) sample size from V1. Given that the shoe does feel higher and more cushioned, I’d guess the weight savings likely comes from the lower volume and lighter upper material. 

Jeff: PWRRUN PB might be my favorite midsole material of the three Saucony has out, at least for trail shoes. The standard PWRRUN is a little firm, while PWRRUN+, especially the latest interaction in the Triumph 20 is soft and bouncy, but could be too soft and bouncy for a trail shoe, while PWRRUN PB is noticeably softer than PWRRUN and much more versatile for trail runs than PWRRUN+. The woven rock shield isn’t the most robust rock plate out there, but it’s enough to help.

Mike isn’t crazy, when worn against the v1 you can absolutely feel just a little bit extra underfoot. It isn’t a massive shift, just a bit more throughout. I also thought the v2 felt like a more narrow platform, but breaking out the calipers and measuring the outside of the midsole, it is the exact same shape as the previous version.

Allison:  The midsole is well cushioned and very responsive, comfortable for long days on your feet and are quite quick.  While I am not a fast runner, I do appreciate the light and quick feel.  Protection under foot is great and no matter how technical the terrain is underfoot, I feel protected.  I have run in the Xodus Ultra 2 on all types of terrain, from road to easy trails, dirt roads, rocky technical trails and the midsole always feels appropriately cushioned and predictable.


[Outsole remains unchanged from V1]

Mike P: The 3-piece PWRTRAC outsole remains unchanged from V1 - three separate sections of rubber allow a bit more flexibility in the ride than a single solid slab. The new Peregrine received a revamped, larger swallow-tail design which is not the case here - perhaps in the works for V3? 

I’ve got over 50 miles in my test pair and durability is fine so far. There were some production issues with early pairs V1 with shearing of lugs, which seems to have been fully resolved. The PWRTRAC outsole is a solid all-around trail outsole, works well in most conditions, and sheds well in all but the most muddy terrain.

[Outsole wear at ~50M, pretty good]

Jeff: Saucony trail outsoles have all been pretty great over the last few years, and fresh from the Peregrine 13 ST review, the Xodus Ultra 2 outsole has plenty of grip, just not the legendary status that the 13 ST brings. Considering how much rubber there is, the shoe is relatively flexible.

Allison: The outsole is excellent and has proven to be grippy over a wide variety of surfaces, loose off trail, packed trails, wet conditions, snow, slush, mud, rock, I always feel confident.  

Durability is excellent and with over 70 miles on them, am only seeing ever so slight wear on the forefoot lugs.


Mike P: Ride character changes a bit from V1 to V2. I find the ride to be more forward-oriented and less flexible and agile. The best way I can describe it is that V1 felt like one of those all terrain sand buggy racers where the shoe was flexible and adaptable to the terrain at all 4 corners. That was one of the aspects that made the shoe so interesting - to have that type of ride in such a high-stacked and protective long distance shoe.

V2 now feels like a 4WD pickup truck- still adaptable in variable conditions, but you probably have to pay more attention to keeping it on track and pointed in the right direction. 

I mentioned earlier how the shoe stack feels higher to me - it also feels like I’m riding higher in the shoe. It could be the effect of the new upper fit (although I did measure higher at the heel), but I feel a bit less connected to the ground with this new version. Due to that, my confidence in technical and off camber terrain drops a bit. It can certainly handle technical terrain, but you likely have to pay a bit more attention to your footfalls. 

On the plus side, they do feel more cushioned and protective underfoot. For terrain that leans squarely on the moderate side and less technical, your feet will be more comfortable and less fatigued for bigger miles and duration in V2 as opposed to V1. 

I don’t have occasion to get to truly extended sections of technical terrain too often, so I find the Xodus Ultra 2 to be the perfect mid-long run training shoe for me. They just eat up the miles, and keep the legs and feet protected and happy.

Jeff: I actually get Mike’s sand buggy vs 4WD comparison, and would agree. The V2’s extra height and more dialed upper is great and less than great, respectively. I don’t mind the extra stack, and wouldn’t even mind another 1-3mm, but it seems counterintuitive to make the shoe fit that much tighter which usually telegraphs it should be for a more technical terrain. I have a hard time finding what the ideal use is for the v2, while the v1 was pretty good for nearly everything.

Allison:  I find the ride to be quick, smooth, protective and predictable, with a smooth transition on a wide variety of surfaces.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mike P: The Xodus Ultra 2 takes a step sideways with the recent updates. The shoe is neither better nor worse - whether you think it’s an improvement or not depends on what you’re looking for. If you loved the wider fit, and soft, flexible feel of V1, V2 may end up being a disappointment for you. If you struggled with the spaciousness and foothold in V1, and were hoping for a more secure fit, V2 may be just the ticket. 

Personally, I’m usually a fan of more space in a long ultra shoe, so V2 is a bit of a downgrade for me in that regard. But I still really like the shoe and it will be a training workhorse for me this coming season in moderate terrain. If the fit works for you, the Xodus Ultra 2 surely can be a race shoe for longer distance ultras.

Mike P’s Score:  9.28 / 10

Ride: 9 - Loses some flexibility and agility, but a solid  and stable ride overall

Fit: 9 - Much more secure, but the more tapered toebox is unfortunate

Value: 10 - An ultra workhorse for training and long races

Style: 10 - Great looking shoe, better looking than V1

Traction: 9.5 - Excellent in most conditions

Rock Protection: 9.5 - Lots of stack, plus flexible and unnoticeable rock plate

Smiles 😊😊😊😊

Jeff: The Xodus Ultra 2 is a great, if confused and confusing shoe. There’s no fatal flaw in any aspect, the midsole, outsole, and upper all do their job very well. But this is one of those shoes that the final result is less than the sum of its parts. The midsole grew slightly from last year, which typically says “laid back trail cruiser” while the upper got more form fitting with a tighter toebox that says “technical terrain monster”. I’m with Mike that the toebox is a step back, I always prefer more space, not less, though with the upper’s enhanced hold this shoe is much less Xodus Ultra and much more Peregrine Plus - all terrain but with a little extra squish under the foot.

Jeff’s Score 8.55/10

Ride: 9 (30%) Fit: 8 (30%) Value: 8 (10%) Style: 10 (5%) Traction: 9 (15%) Rock Protection: 8 (10%)

Allison: I like everything about the Xodus Ultra 2.  I appreciate the comfortable and secure upper, the fit, comfort, protection, traction, cushioning, quality and style, I just can’t find anything negative to say about them.  I think they are great as a versatile daily trainer for a wide variety of terrain over shorter or longer distances.

Allison’s Score: 9.5/10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9.5 (10%) Style: 9.5 (5%) Traction: 9.5 (15%) Rock Protection: 9.5 (10%)



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Xodus Ultra V1 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Compared extensively throughout the review. V2 feels higher and therefore runs a bit “taller”. It loses flexibility and agility but feels more cushioned and protective underfoot. Narrower and more secure fit, lengthwise the same (true to size).

Jeff: The looser fit of the V1 made it one of the more comfortable trail shoes for my slightly-wider-than-normal foot that wasn’t a complete loose and sloppy trail cruiser - I can dabble in technical terrain in them. The V2 tighter upper changes the intention of the shoe for me, and puts it into a slight no man’s land.

Saucony Peregrine 13 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The new Peregrine received a cushion upgrade which moves it more towards the Xodus Ultra in terms of distance/duration, but the XU2 still trumps it. You can go decently long in the new Peregrine, but you can go all day in the XU2.  The Peregrine is lighter and has a quicker and more agile ride - it’s more fun for shorter runs, but the solid and stable cushion of the XU2 is preferable for truly longer outings. Traction is roughly the same, as well as rock protection. 

Saucony Peregrine 13 ST (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The ST flavor of the new Peregrine trends towards the same distance and duration range as the regular Peregrine. Essentially, you can go farther, more comfortably, in the XU2. The ST trumps the XU2 in soft trails and mud traction (obviously - look at those lugs). But I did find the ST to be decently flexible and agile despite the thick rubber underfoot. That’s an aspect that kind of went away with the XU2. I’d go with the ST for more moderate distance runs in either muddy or rocky/technical terrain. XU2 wins for longer distances, moderate terrain.

Jeff: I prefer the softer ride of the PWRRUN PB in the XU2 over the PWRRUN in the 13 ST. The massive lugs in the 13 ST are in a class all their own, making the great traction of the XU2 seem somehow underwhelming. They have similar fit in the midfoot through the toebox, and I’d agree with Mike’s use case, XU2 for longer days, 13 ST for muddy or more technical terrain.

Saucony Ride 15 TR (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): This is a shoe I really like - I find myself reaching for it when I want a nice comfortable feel for easy runs up to moderate terrain. Heel stack is comparable at 35mm (I measured 36 for the XU2), but the TR has an 8mm drop. But I’d say there’s not too much difference in feel from XU2’s 6mm drop. The TR’s upper is built more for comfort, while the XU2 is now more locked down and secure. TR’s foam feels softer, XU2 is a bit denser and more protective. The TR is great for mellow days, XU2 for more solid trail miles.

Hoka Mafate Speed 3/4 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): XU2 feels more comparable to Mafate Speed 3, while the previous XU1 feels comparable to Mafate Speed 4. XU2 is not quite as stiff and fast as the MS3, but similar in that the cushioning is denser and tends to feel a bit “taller”. Both the Mafate Speed 4 and Xodus Ultra 1 feels softer and more flexible underfoot. I prefer the Mafate Speed 4 for longer distances in more technical terrain, especially if traction is needed. The Xodus Ultra is a better pick for moderate terrain as it seems slightly quicker when going in a straight line.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): SG V5 didn’t agree with me. The upper seems to be just as secure as XU2, but it relies more on lace tension and uncomfortably squeezes my forefoot. It has a slightly wider platform and is more technical terrain capable, if the fit works for you. SG5 is a polarizing shoe. I much prefer the Xodus Ultra 2.

Jeff: Same, same, same. The narrow toebox of the Speedgoat makes it hard to appreciate all the great aspects of the shoe, not to mention the Xodus Ultra’s PWRRUN PB midsole shines compared to the Hoka EVA midsole. Speedgoat gets the traction win, but the XU2 is a an easy win for me.

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The Peg Trail is a fine shoe, but the 9mm drop feels noticeable for me, as well as the thicker heel making it more backweighted in feel. Both shoes are the exact same weight, and play in the same terrain. The Pegasus 4 has a more roomy toebox, and is more comfortable up front - I wish the XU2 had a similarly shaped toebox. Aside from that factor, I prefer the 6mm drop and ride of the XU2. 

Topo Ultraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): Of course, the Topo wins out on comfort with its wide toebox. But it suffers a bit of foot movement once the terrain shifts towards more technical. The midfoot fit is great though, and I find it manageable, as the shoe is really geared towards moderate terrain. Xodus Ultra 2 surely has better traction compared to the Topo’s flattish lugs. The Topo is a bit heavier, with equal stack underfoot, and is slightly softer in feel. I like both shoes and there’s a lot of overlap between the two. The XU2 is more versatile though once the terrain goes beyond moderate. 

Jeff: The relaxed fit of the Topo is more comfortable not just in the toebox, but in the midfoot too. It definitely doesn’t hold the foot as well as the Saucony, and the Saucony traction wins as well. But ultimately I prefer the Topo because it’s very clear in its use - easy to light trails or runs long enough to allow for some foot swell - but I’m also biased since those are the trails I usually frequent.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff: ASICS surprisingly great max cushion trail shoe uses their incredible FF Blast+ midsole with an ultra grippy outsole and an upper that holds the foot nearly as well as the Xodus Ultra 2 - but with much more room up front. The extra few mm of stack height make it that much more comfortable for long days while providing even better protection, and the midfoot hold and wider platform make it a trail crusher that can also spend some time on technical terrain. Unless it’s a purely technical run, I’m grabbing the Trabuco Max 2 every time.

Xodus Ultra 2 will be available April 2023

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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azer89 said...

Wow thanks for the super fast review, but I feel like people with wide forefoot will be sad with the new version.

Unknown said...

How does the fit of the Xodus 2 compare to the Peregrine 13? Particularly interested in toe box width and taper.

Mike P said...

Saucony is one of the best if not THE best brand at getting us shoes to test before they release. It's very helpful and makes for better reviews.

The toebox width thing is a bit relative. I find enough space without any issue for very long runs - it's just noticeably less in comparison to V1. If you REALLY needed all that volume from V1, then you'll be sad. But in general its not a narrow shoe by any means. Just though of this one - they're quite similar in snug fit to the Tecton X, except the Hoka is more rounded up front. But I was 1/2 size up in Tecton X, i.e. (Xodus Ultra 2 9.5 = Hoka Tecton X 10.0)

Toe box width and taper is similar to the Peregrine 13 - there's a little bit of extra volume over the top of the toes with the XU2. I was usually wearing thin socks (Darn Tough ultralight) with the Peregrine 13s, but I use regular socks with the XU2 (Drymax Run Lite mesh).

Evan said...

Thanks for your detailed review, been waiting on this one! My biggest issue with XU1 was the ankle collar- it rubbed the underside of my ankle bone to the point of bruising and significant pain. Any noticeable changes on the shaping or feeling of that collar?

Mike P said...

Evan - I hear you - bad and overly stiff ankle/achilles collars are one way to ruin an otherwise good shoe. The shape of the ankle collar looks the same, but as mentioned in the review - my foot sits deeper in V1 than V2. I just tried them on again paying attention to that area and V1's collar hits at the bottom of by ankle bone. In V2 my ankle bone is clear of the collar. So I would say it's better, but collar issues can be individualistic sometimes. Everyone's got different ankle bones.

Another factor, if you check the side by side pic is that the span across the top eyelets over the tongue is wider in V2 than V1. Overall the span between eyelets is wider in V2 (I'm not sure but I think it's called the throat? don't hold me to that). But anyway, I think that would reduce the amount of "collar" that is pressed up against your ankle.

Ante said...

Thanks Mike, your insight and detailed reviews are just great!!

Anonymous said...

Been looking forward to the review having sold on my v1 as I suffered with lack of midfoot and heel hold. But I loved the toe box as I have quite wide feet at the toes. Was hoping this was going to be my shoe for a 17 mile trail race in a months time on very moderate terrain. The ultra venture 3 isn’t on sale yet here in the UK. Not sure what to get. Maybe the G280? Or NB More Trail v2. If their toe boxes are less tapered than XU2. Or maybe the Ride TR or even the Edge?? Great review, thanks Wes.

Simon Blackburn said...

I have version 1 of this shoe and wouldn't call it a broad fit - certainly not in comparison to Altra Olympus 5 I have in rotation. Tread on v1 also not really up to scratch as wears fast. Disappointing that Saucony shoes getting more pointed again as back in the day their shoes had a more accommodating fit before foot-shaped shoes such as Altra and Topo were a thing.

Mike P said...

I don't think anything would be considered broad in comparison to Altra Olympus! But surely in terms or "regular" shoes, V1 is definitely a spacious fit.

Most of the Saucony's I've tested have been pretty decent though. But I'd say if something is targeting "Ultra" in the name of the shoe - the toebox needs to lean more towards the comfort end of the spectrum.

Mike P said...

Wes - Of the shoes you mentioned, I've tested, run a lot, and really like both the Ride TR and the Edge. Both are great in moderate terrain, but I'd be careful in anything more than that. Depends on your ability level - TR is a great shoe, but the upper is not so secure for moderate+ terrain. Edge is a super fast racer - I've run a fast trail marathon, and a 50k in them. You just need to be sure you can handle the bounce and stiffness if the terrain is uneven, rocky. etc.

Another great option with a spacious toebox is the Nike Pegasus Trail. It can definitely handle moderate terrain and the toebox is one of the most comfortable out I'd say. Plenty of width there, and not tapered at all.

Heather said...

I too like shoes that have good hold at the back whilst offering room for toe splay so count me as someone else who's disappointed that Saucony's solution to the lack of heel and midfoot hold in v1 (way too sloppy on me even after sizing down) seems to have been to make the whole shoe narrower. It sounds as if the shape is going to be more like the old X10/11 and I got the sizing completely wrong in those in an attempt to avoid friction at the toes and am still trying to get enough use out of them to make me feel less stupid about the money I wasted.

Wes, have you considered the Fuji Lite (2 or 3, I don't think it makes much difference)? I find these combine good forefoot width and rear security and run in them a lot when it's not too muddy. Very flexible and the cushioning is soft, so on rocky terrain you have to be willing to dance around. 4mm drop - not dissimilar to those you mention. Maybe not enough midsole for 17 miles though, depending on your preferences and the terrain.

Mike P said...

I also reviewed Fuji Lite 2 - V3 is the same with slight upper mods. I found them overly soft, especially if running fast. The upper doesn't hold well. I did a 30K in Moab and got blisters from my foot sliding around - but that was on pretty uneven slickrock.

Can't believe I forgot to mention - Brooks Catamount 2 - that is a great shoe, IMO one of the best shoes out right now. Very secure fit, and importantly a wide yet secure and stable forefoot. That's the shoe you should check out! I did a full review and also a race report from a 50K last month. Didn't add it to comps here as it's not in the same cushion class as Xodus Ultra 2, but if you're efficient or lighter, I think you could take them pretty far. I plan on testing them for much longer stuff this season.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike, very helpful. I may even try the Nike as it will be dry so won’t be hit with grip issues.

Mike P said...

If you need something for wet/cold, the Peg Trail 4 GTX has different, grippier rubber than the standard version.

PieterB said...

I would like to know how it compares to a Salomon SLab Ultra 3. Especially for anything above 50k

Mike P said...

Pieter B-

I've only tried on the SLab Ultra 3, but I did have a pair of V2. The Salomon has a more precise fitting upper - thinner material and a more space up front in the toebox. The Saucony's upper has some more padding in the midfoot/rear/tongue and is a bit more comfortable.

The Saucony has more cushion underfoot, also a bit softer. The Salomon is more stable, with a bit more ground feel, yet it still has a thin rock plate and is protective.

Choosing between the two would come down to preference of cushion underfoot. Tradeoff is more cushion/less stable with the Saucony, firmer feel/more stable with the Salomon. Of course depends on terrain too - The Saucony is stable enough, as long as it's not overly technical.

Larissa said...

Currently needing to replace my Ultra V1's. My only real concern with that shoe (apart from the slightly loose/stretchy upper, which it sounds like this version corrects) were the lugs. Yours is the first review I have read (and I've read a lot) that mentioned the shearing on V1 - and the lugs sheared badly for me - like within 50 miles the lugs on the front third of the outsole were breaking, and they are now worn well below the life still in the midsole, which makes me sad, especially since I haven't put a ton of miles on them and I truly love the midsole feel. I have run in the Peregrine's for the last 3 years (the 13 is so perfect I want to kiss it - just not quite enough cushion for the very long days), and have never had issues with the lugs like with the Ultras. But, from this review it sounds like there was no observed shearing on V2?

Mike P said...

Larissa- Yes indeed there were some known issues with some Saucony outsoles during that period - due to pandemic/production issues. On Some of the outsoles during that time, the rubber seemed a bit "dry" and pieces chipped off. The rubber on subsequent models seems to have been fixed and I have not noticed any issues since. I'm pretty certain in was an issue with the rubber itself and not the shoe model or version. If your Peregrine 13s are fine, you should likely expect the same durability from Xodus Ultra 2.

Larissa said...

Quick update in case there is any interest - and follow-up question. I must have terrible luck, because I took these out for the first break-in run today - 8 miles on some of the typical technical, rocky, mountain bike trails here in Northwest Arkansas - and I have 2 lugs completely sheared off of one shoe, and 3 already crumbling on the other... I am going to return them, and am sad about it because I still absolutely love this midsole and appreciate the more secure upper. Maybe I just got a bad set? I've put maybe 100 miles on my Peregrine 13s on similar trails and see hardly any wear at all, let alone lug tearing. I'm hesitant to try another set, but these are like the perfect sweet-spot midsole for my longer runs on the terrain I have here. What else in the shoe world is most similar to the stack and comfort of these? (I don't run in anything with more than this 6 mm stack, and have a moderately broad foot. Have run in a variety of Topos in the past, and while their outsoles wear like rocks, I'm not a huge fan of the trail midsoles anymore and just don't find the forefoot fit super fine-tuned for really technical terrain, and I have also moved away from the Altra 0 drop on the heftier hills I'm running. Is there another moderate-drop, not-narrow trail shoe with a rock plate that has good cushion and technical abilities?

Mike P said...

Larissa- That definitely sounds like a defect and you should return them. It does sound like the same issues from V1 that should have been resolved. The rubber should be the same as in the new Peregrine.

Have you tried any of the Topos with the new Zipfoam (gen 2)? I'm a huge fan of the MTN Racer 3 - I think it's their best trail shoe yet. There's more stack, but still lots of ground feel, and the new foam feels more energetic and durable. If Topo has worked for you before - I highly recommend those. 5mm drop should work well for you too.

Another option to consider is the Salomon Genesis. It's a beast in all kinds of rough and mountain terrain. It has one of Salomon's best toeboxes yet - nice and spacious, not pointy. Drop is 8mm, but I don't find it a hindrance. I actually like it for steeper climbs and descents. I'm sure you noticed Courtney rocked them at Western States and I'm sure she'll use them at Hardrock.

Larissa said...

That's so helpful. Thank you! I read your all's review of the MTN Racer 3 and I've been seriously considering it. I ran in V1 and it was a solid technical shoe, but I found that the midsole broke down way before I expected it to, and with no rock plate I could suddenly feel every tiny point and had to replace them well before I usually have to replace trail shoes. Does the new Zipfoam hold up better?

Mike P said...

I also found that previous Zipfoam models tended to pack out a bit early. The newer version does feel a bit more durable, and also they've added an additional 3mm up front in the MTN Racer 3. The thin forefoot was probably my biggest gripe with V1/V2. But the new foam + 3mm really seems to tip the balance making them protective enough while still maintaining ground feel.

I've got 100M in my pair and they still feel great. That's a solid amount of miles considering I've been testing a lot of shoes and also doing some races. They're one of the staples in my rotation.

Anonymous said...

Just got the Xodus Ultra 2, in US 10 it is tighter and a bit smaller in general than my ASICS Trabuco 11 in 9.5.
@Mike and @Jeff, forget about the Trabuco Max 1 or 2, try the "normal/non-max" Trabuco 11, you might like it more than Xodus 1/2 and Catamount 2. Has a super roomy toebox, fit is not as tight and secure as on the Xodus 2 though. And yes, I know I am late. 😀✌️