Saucony Freedom ISO 2 – A bit too much freedom

This is the first pair of Saucony running shoes that I’ve tried. But I had heard good things about the brand before. The Freedom ISO 2 is a neutral running shoe with a low drop of just 4 mm, with a forefoot height of 18 mm and a heel height of 22 mm. It only weighs 232 grams. 

Upper

The Freedom ISO 2 is part of the ISO series, which are shoes that have Saucony’s ISO Fit. The ISO Fit wraps the shoe securely around the midfoot. I normally use the extra eyelet to tie my shoe laces, but I found that when I did that with the Freedom ISO 2 it created too much pressure on top of my foot. So, I tried lacing them one eyelet lower. Even then I had some issues with finding the balance between the ISO Fit and the rest of the upper. If I locked down my foot firmly the rest of the upper would fit better, but the ISO Fit system would create a bit too much pressure on my foot. If I loosened the laces a bit, the fit of the upper would be less secure. I never quite got the hang of it.  

Saucony has used ISO Fit before in other models and I’ve heard it works a bit differently in every model. Some might work better for your foot than others. But the Freedom ISO 2 now also has an upper which is made out of the new ISO Knit. The Freedom ISO 2 has a single-layer knit upper and that does make the upper quite breathable, but that will also mean you’ll easily get wet feet in wet weather conditions. 

The shoe doesn’t have a full heel cup but a support frame, a supportive arch made out of quite flexible plastic, running along the top of the heel counter.

Midsole

The midsole consists of Saucony’s Everun material. It is a soft cushion, but it is also responsive. You sink into the midsole a little while running, which is the kind of cushioning that I like. Saucony has shoes that have the full Everun midsole and shoes that only have an Everun topsole and the rest of the midsole is made out of EVA. The Freedom ISO 2 has the full Everun midsole.

I like that the insole of the shoe has a performance contoured footbed. It is not a very thick insole, but it does do the trick. 

Outsole

The outsole is made out of Crystal Rubber, which provides both traction and durability. The traction of this shoe is indeed pretty good. The shoe does alright on easy trails and I even managed to run in the snow with this shoe. 

Performance

The Freedom ISO 2 is a low drop shoe. According to Saucony, this will result in you relying more on your natural gait and less on the cushioning and the stability of the shoe. I clearly noticed it when I started running in this shoe. I really needed to foam roll after my first run in the Freedom ISO 2. I’ve ran in the Skechers GoTrail Ultra 4 shoes before, which also have a 4 mm drop and are actually one of my favorite shoes, but I never had the feeling I needed to transition into those like I did with the Freedom ISO 2. 

The Saucony Freedom ISO 2 has also been compared to the Hoka One One Elevon, although the Elevon is more of a maximalist shoe while the Freedom ISO 2 is more of a cushioned everyday running shoe. Both the Freedom ISO 2 and the Elevon are responsive shoes, but Saucony’s Everun in the Freedom ISO 2 has more of a springy feel to it than the Hoka Elevon. And the durability of the outsole of the Freedom ISO 2 is much better than that of the Elevon.

The support frame on the heel together with the knit, sock-like upper do not provide enough stability. Just because the shoe has a low drop doesn’t mean you don’t need any stability. If I pinch the heel of this shoe, it can easily be pinched together. Something that I generally can’t do with the heels of other running shoes. 

It is a responsive and cushioned ride, but it is not a maximalist shoe. It is more of a springy everyday running shoe. It kind of reminds me of the Nike Pegasus Turbo in a way, but at the same time, it’s a very different shoe. The Saucony Freedom ISO 2 is something in between a racing shoe and a long distance shoe. It’s more suited for those short to medium distance training runs where you still want some ground feel, but also a little bit of cushioning. 

Fit

I ordered the shoes half a size up from my normal running shoe size, just to be on the safe side since I’ve never worn Saucony before. But it turns out that wasn’t necessary and I could have just gone with my normal size. 

I also noticed that the plastic overlays on the front of the shoe seemed to differ in size between the two shoes, as if one was meant to be for a size larger shoe than the other (on the left shoe the overlay is almost a centimeter longer than on the right shoe), but this could easily have been a manufacturing mistake. However, I could feel that the left shoe fit a bit differently than the right shoe. 

Conclusion

I really like the Everun material for being soft yet responsive, although personally, I prefer a bit more of a maximal cushioning shoe. The Everun is maybe not as responsive as Nike’s ZoomX foam, but it is still pretty impressive. I also like the traction the Crystal Rubber outsole gives you. But I’m a bit less impressed with the upper of the Freedom ISO 2. It’s almost as if this shoe is actually two shoes in one; I really like the sole, but can’t come to terms with the unstable upper. I can’t really figure this shoe out. I really want to like this shoe, because I like the midsole material, but at the same time, there are so many things wrong with the upper. It’s a bit too much freedom for me, not in terms of bulk, but because of the instability of the upper. 

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