Lots of running shoe brands are launching shoes with new and exciting technologies to try to keep up with Nike and their carbon plate shoes. Not only does almost every brand now have a shoe with a carbon plate, most brands have also launched new midsole materials promising you softer or more responsive rides, or both.
The same goes for Saucony. It has traded in its EVERUN midsole for the PWRRUN and PWRRUN+. The PWRRUN material is a blend of EVA and TPU and can be found in their Ride 13 and Kinvara 11 shoes and the PWRRUN+ in the Triumph 17 and 18. But Saucony has added a whole new line of shoes to their collection, the Endorphin line. It contains the Shift, Speed and Pro. The Shift also has a PWRRUN midsole, but no plate. While the Speed and Pro have a PWRRUN PB midsole, which is a Pebax midsole, the same midsole material that Nike uses in the Vaporfly shoes. The Speed has a Nylon plate and the Pro a carbon plate.
The Shift is meant to be an everyday trainer, while the speed is for training faster paces and the Pro is meant for race day. I’m curious about carbon plate shoes, but I’m a heel striker, so I’m not so sure they are meant for me. Plus, they are expensive and don’t last very long. The Saucony Endorphin Pro will probably only last you about 200 miles.
So, I decided to try the one without a plate. The Shift. It has a crazy stack height with 38 mm in the heel and 34 mm in the forefoot. I’ve had cushioned shoes before with a high stack height, such as the Triumph 17, but I don’t think I’ve had anything over 34 mm in the heel before.
I was therefore a bit worried that it would be unstable. I guess Saucony considered this as well, since they’ve put in stability features around the heel and in the outsole, which you probably normally wouldn’t do with a neutral running shoe. Even so, it is still a bit difficult to make sharp turns in the shoe due to the stack height.
But despite its stack height, it is not super plush like the Adidas Ultraboost or the Saucony Triumph. The entire Endorphin line has a Speedroll feature which means the forefoot is tapered and a bit stiffer so you roll onto your toes more easily. At the same time it only has a 4 mm drop, which is probably for the better otherwise they would have needed to add even more stack height.
Saucony isn’t the first to come up with a pretty tapered forefoot. Some Hoka One One shoes such as the Elevon have the same and the Ride line from Asics has different levels of tapering in the forefoot as well. The point with a sudden tapered forefoot, rather than a gradual rocker shape is that it is a bit harder on your calf muscles.
Interestingly enough, I have the feeling that this shoe wants me to land on my midfoot and then roll me onto my toes, rather than me landing on my heel and then rolling through. Since I’m a true heel striker this is a bit of an odd sensation. Especially since this shoe is not as cushioned as you might expect with such a stack height.
So far, I’ve done two runs in this shoe: one 6k run and a 13k run. I did feel my calves after the 13k run. I’m still not completely sure what to make of this shoe. Yes, it’s an everyday trainer, but it’s not as plush as you might think. Which might be a good thing for those that find the Ultraboost or the Triumph too soft. But due to the stack height it doesn’t make you faster even though it has PWRRUN. There is not a lot of bounce or energy return. If you’re looking for a race shoe without a plate, but with PWRRUN the Saucony Kinvara is a better option or try one of the other Endorphin line shoes with a plate.