Saucony Zealot Full Review

Zealot new

Saucony running shoes have been dressing my feet for in or about 5 or 6 years. I started experimenting with running as a hobby-sport-something-new-to-try-thing when I started at University in 2006 and being an uneducated, newbie to the running world, I was running in a fairly basic lightweight Adidas trainer. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even a running shoe and I only bought them because they felt nice, looked nice and had a nice half-price tag on them. They were fine and honestly, I loved them. When I realised that I was starting to get more into this running malarky, however, I figured it was time to get a bit more running savvy and go and buy a decent pair of running shoes.

Asics Disaster

After running about in my wonderful cheapy Adidas trainers and completing my first marathon in them (don’t judge me, I was innocent) I decided it was time to splash the cash. I fell into a running newbie faux pas, however, when I went for a pair of heavy duty highly cushioned Asics Nimbus. Why? Because I had heard from other running peeps that Asics were the best shoe and they would transform my life.  The bloke in the running shop only pushed this ridiculous hype further and I was stupid happy to listen. I shelled out a lot of money and the shoes were horrible. I hated them. They felt so heavy and they made me not want to run. Blehh.

Adidas Disaster

After I fell out with Asics, I instinctively returned to Adidas for obvious reasons and I ended up opting for a pair of Adidas Supernova Glides. Lighter and brighter, I thought I was on to a winner. Alas, they proved to be all wrong for my feet. Too narrow and not enough room in the toe box for my weird feet.

When Fiona Met Saucony

Following the wilderness running shoe years, I finally ended up with the Saucony Kinvara 3s, more by accident than anything else. I tried them on in the shop, liked the lightweight shoe and the materials in the upper and there was more room in the toe box for my weirdnesses. Turned out to be a winner for my feet and I never looked back. I wore those shoes to death before upgrading to the Kinvara 4s (twice), 5s (twice) and most recently to the 6s (again twice). Kinvaras are what have been on my feet for 5 out 6 marathons.

Zealot new

The Zealot

Being a converted Saucony zealot, I’ve been hesitant to move away from these guys after taking so long to find something that works for me. But I have dabbled in other shoes whilst keeping the Kinvaras as my steady mainstay- like the Nike Pegasus (too clunky, too heavy and too much cushion for me) and the New Balance Minimus (which I love but too light for long runs) Last September, however, bore witness to a radical swing in the running shoe preferential order. I decided to live dangerously and bought a pair of Saucony Zealots. The Zealot is like something between the Kinvara and the Triumph. It’s more cushioned than the Kinvara but not as heavy as the Triumph.

Looking a bit more rough "seasoned" these days!
Looking a bit more rough “seasoned” these days!

I half-expected (even when I was buying them) that I wouldn’t take to the heavier Zealot shoe and that these would end up as just another pair of comfy trainers to wear casually. I was wrong and it turns out, no one is more happy than I that I was wrong (confession: probably the first time I have ever said this).

By comparison, the Zealot feels like a significantly bigger shoe. The outsole and the edging around the sole of the shoe is more substantial than the Kinvara – there is just more of it. In addition to this, there is more cushioning around the ankle and it took me a while to get used to this extra padding where the foot sits in. Again, I expected this would annoy me after no time. I was wrong about this also.


I’ve been running in the Zealot for about 5 months now and they have become my favourite shoe, with the Kinvara having been relegated to second choice. Just like Woody in Toy Story, the old faithful has been overtaken by the new kid on the block and although I still trot the Kinvaras out regularly, I would happily wear the Zealots every day. For a self-confessed plushier, heavier number, they feel light on my feet, comfortable on long runs and not at all as heavy duty as other runners I have tried in the past. They even have me considering trying out the Triumph, the next one up in the Saucony shoe range in terms of weight and cushion – and this is from someone who previously would have gone for the lightest, minimalist shoe every time.

After 5 months of running, including marathon training, they are past their acceptable “running age” and I haven’t been as vigilant as I should be about working out how much mileage I’ve actually racked up in them. Having said that, they have worn very well. Inspection of the soles obviously reveals wear, but not as much as the Kinvaras would have over the same amount of time. Not bad, considering. The upper and the heel cushioning has become a little harder/ stiffer in the last month or so, primarily due to rain, snow and atrocious weather. Obviously, I don’t like that as it can cause rubbing, but I think it would be unfair not to expect that kind of wear after 5 months and I haven’t actually had any blisters, grazing or significant rubbing on my skin.

Zealot sole
Please excuse the dirt!

I’ve been impressed with Saucony since the off and I continue to be so impressed. So much so, that I have just ordered a second pair of Zealots (last season’s but they were reduced 🙂 ) and look forward to trying out the newer pair soon (when the price drops 😉 ) . I also intend to run the Paris Marathon in the Zealots and if that doesn’t say I have faith in a running shoe, I don’t know what will.

The only thing that gets me about the Zealot is how low key it seems to be in the running world. I come across gazzillions of reviews of the Kinvaras and the Triumph, among others, and these are often readily available in shops and online. But the Zealot is kind of invisible. I’ve never seen it in a shop in Ireland and in the online world, I’ve only come across it on a small number of sites. You nearly need to be actively looking for it in order to find it, rather than it being a recommended shoe. Seems a bit funny to me, given its quality as a running shoe, that Saucony seem to have kept it somewhat quiet. No need, lads. Shout it out.

Do you have a preferred running shoe or do you rotate your shoes around during the week?

Do you run in Sauconys? If so, which ones?


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