Saucony Endorphin Shift review TL;DR: a well-cushioned – albeit little heavy – everyday trainer, recommended for beginners and recreational runners alike.
Releasing just a single new running shoe model in itself is going out of fashion. More and more brands are rolling out running shoes in tandem so runners can train and race in shoes that have similar running dynamics to each other. This makes sense for some runners, especially those who want to maximise their race performance without sacrificing the longevity of the cushioning in their racing shoes.
Saucony went a step further with its Endorphin Collection. The collection incorporates three shoes: the carbon-enhanced Saucony Endorphin Pro racing shoes, the 'speed-day' specialist Saucony Endorphin Speed and the subject of this review, the everyday trainer Saucony Endorphin Shift. The big question is: which are the best running shoes of the Endorphin Collection? Do you need three separate running shoes to effectively train for races? Is it worth getting the Saucony Endorphin Shift in the first place?
Saucony Endorphin Shift: price and availability
Saucony Endorphin Shift review – Key Specs
Weight: 330 grams (men's UK10)
Drop: 4mm (38 mm / 34 mm)
Price: $140 / £130
Colour: Black/White, Future Black, White Mutant
Characteristics: Structured cushioning, comfort, bounce
Saucony Endorphin Shift review: the tech
The Saucony Endorphin Shift features similar technology that's involved in other Endorphin shoes, which is completely understandable since the whole point of the collection is for the shoes to have similar running dynamics. Tech-wise, the three main players are SPEEDROLL, PWRRUN and FORMFIT.
SPEEDROLL refers to the way the sole curves under the forefoot. On paper, it's supposed to help preserve the momentum and move you forward more easily. Indeed, much like in the case of the Endorphin Pro, this technology makes the Shift roll smoother but also makes the sole stiffer. Great for beginner runners who need guidance, not so much for more experienced runners who can control their stride more efficiently.
The Endorphin Shift packs even more PWRRUN cushioning, making the shoes almost as tall as the notoriously high-stack Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. But because these are training shoes, a better comparison would be with the ASICS Novablast, and of the two, the Endorphin Shift feels more stable, thanks to the wider landing platform, not to mention the added stiffness at the front of the shoes.
I liked the FORMFIT upper in the Endorphin Pro, although I did mention in the review that the looser fit isn't the best idea for a racing shoe. But in the case of the Saucony Endorphin Shift, the FORMFIT upper is perfect the perfect choice: it's supportive, reinforced in the right areas and feels nice and cosy too.
Saucony Endorphin Shift review: the ergonomics
It probably doesn't come as a surprise but the Saucony Endorphin Shift is a comfortable running shoe. The chunky midsole is bouncy and adds quite a lot of height to the shoes. After testing the Salomon S/LAB Phantasm recently, it was quite the – err – shift to run in the Endorphin Shift. At the beginning, my feet often hit the ground sooner than expected, but after logging a few miles in the shoes, I got used to this phenomenon pretty quickly.
For someone who appreciates control over cushioning, I found the Saucony Endorphin Shift a bit too supportive. This could be heaven-sent for less experienced runners and to be fair, I can imagine the Endorphin Shift working well for recovery runs. Not to mention all the recreational runners who I'm sure would love all the bouncing around.
Interestingly enough, the top of the integrated tongue is padded but it isn't actually in contact with the foot; from what I can tell, it's purely an aesthetic feature. This isn't an issue, more like an observation, though.
Despite the chunkiness of the shoes, the upper is actually a little narrow which might be an issue for runners with super-wide feet. That said, I have a wide feet and it's not unbearable to wear the shoes, on the contrary: the FORMFIT upper exands just the right amount to accommodate the extra width.
All the extra cushioning does come at a price: the Endorphin Shift is pretty heavy. Officially, Saucony claims the shoes weigh around 283 grams but the size 10 version I tested came in at 330 grams on the kitchen scale. Not the end of the world, especially considering that the Endorphin shift most likely won't be used for racing.
Saucony Endorphin Shift review: the aesthetics
I always slate running shoe companies for not trying harder to add some personality to their shoes but admittedly, Saucony might have gone a bit too far in the other direction with the Endorphin Collection as a whole, especially in the case of the White Mutant colourway. The shoes are bright white with orange highlights, sport a teal-coloured midsole and come fully equipped with neon-green laces. In my humble opinion, the Future Black version strikes a good balance in terms of not looking too generic but also not pushing the agenda too much either.
Saucony Endorphin Shift review: the verdict
The Saucony Endorphin Shift does what it's supposed to do perfectly fine. It provides a comfortable, cushioned and bouncy ride and doesn't seem to be at all concerned about performance stats or energy returns. This doesn't mean you will be dragging your feet in the shoes, despite the weight, but if you are after performance, you are better off getting the ASICS Metaracer or the Endorphin Pro.
Should you buy all three Endorphin shoes? For majority of runners, I don't think it's necessary. If anything, getting all three shoes would result in over-optimising running training, not to mention it would also cost a lot of money, too.
If I had to chose one shoe of the lot, I would probably go with the Endorphin Speed as that is a good compromise between comfort and performance. But that's only because I'm interested in racing and don't need all the extra support and cushioning the Shift has to offer.
For recreational runners, the Shift is probably the best choice of Endorphin Collection. As long as you don't mind the Shift looking like the running shoe-equivalent of an attention-seeker Instagram 'influencer'.
Saucony Endorphin Shift review: also consider
The ASICS Novablast offers a very similar running experience to the Endorphin Shift. The bouncy FlyteFoam Blast midsole delivers a fun running experience and wearing the Novablast will also make you taller, literally, thanks to the 10 mm of added foam: it's like you have springs strapped to your feet.
For even more support, try the Nike React Infinity Run. Apart from looking pretty fly, running in the Nike React Infinity Run will also significantly reduce the possibility of injuring yourself. The updated Flyknit upper funnels and holds your feet in the right position, while the extra foam under feet guarantees a comfortable and fast riding experience.
This is part of T3's Fit for 2021 programme, which will be running throughout 2021 to get everyone fit and healthy. We aim to bring you tips on diet, lifestyle and exercise that will help you shape up for what is certain to be a challenging year for many. One thing we can guarantee: it WILL be better than last year. And hopefully we'll help you get the most out of it.