I’ll be the first to admit: I didn’t always know a whole lot about Saucony running shoes. My Google and Amazon search history were full of Asics, Adidas, and Brooks products.
Not so much.
Then the pandemic hit, and I kept reading about Saucony’s Endorphin line.
From the bold color schemes to the ample midsoles, there was something about the Endorphin line that just caught my attention. I spent an inordinate amount of time on Saucony blogs and watching runners test Endorphin products.
Now, my Asics GEL-Nimbus 24 are starting to show signs of wear, and I am 99% certain that my next pair of trainers on which to roll up the odometer will be the Saucony Endorphin Shift.
From what I have seen, the Endorphin Shift is the perfect shoe to help delay the date of my (inevitable) knee replacement. Its PWRRUN midsole and SPEEDROLL design keep the runner gracefully moving forward, making each stride easier than the last.
But while I am giddy about the Endorphin Shift, it may not be for everyone. So I’ve made note of some things that other runners may consider a drawback, as well as given them some strong alternatives if the Endorphin Shift is not their cup of tea.
Keep reading to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the Saucony Endorphin Shift!
Saucony Endorphin Shift Overview
The Saucony Endorphin Shift is one of the premier shoes on the market for easygoing runs.
Its highly cushioned design allows runners to go longer, not harder.
If you are looking to log a lot of miles with minimal impact to your feet and ankles, want a more cushioned alternative to your daily trainers, or are slowly working your way back from a lower body injury, the Endorphin Shift has you covered.
- Arguably the best cushioning on the market
- Runs true to size
- Helps neutral runners maintain their form
- Spacious toe box
- Breathable upper
- More durable than other high-cushion shoes
- The extra cushioning leads to a hefty midsole stack that is too gaudy for some people
- Some runners note heel slippage when upping the intensity
- Very little traction on the outsole
- Less flexible than most cushioned running shoes
- Not the best for those with overpronation issues
Now, let’s take a look at how the Shift stacks up along a few specific points.
The Shift is a more durable shoe than similar shoes that use ample foam in the midsole.
Most runners get at least 300 miles out of the Shift, with some getting up to 500 if well-cared for.
The added durability is due largely to carefully placed rubber in the outsole of the forefoot.
While the rubber makes the Shift a bit less flexible than other high-cushion shoes, it gives the shoe a longer shelf life when running on varied terrain.
The Shift is noted for having an ample toe box, which increases foot flexion and can expedite muscle development in runners recovering from injuries, such as achilles tendonitis.
It is noted as being average in terms of arch support.
Due to the added cushioning in the midsole, the shoe feels a bit heavy to most runners, with most sizes weighing in north of 10.1 ounces.
A few runners note some minor heel slippage when amping up the intensity of their runs.
Although the upper is made of engineered mesh which should provide a breathable running experience, some runners note that their feet do get a bit hot when running in the Shift.
The Shift is one of the most highly cushioned running shoes on the market.
Both its midsole and outsole feature Saucony’s newest PWRRUN foam–a softest and highly responsive EVA foam technology used by the company.
The ample implementation of PWRRUN foam contributes to a forefoot height of 34mm and a heel height of 38mm–both several mm thicker than the average midsole measurements.
While not necessarily a stability shoe, the Shift does offer a stable ride while not greatly altering your stride.
Therefore, it is best for neutral runners.
One of its selling points is how easy it makes long runs. This is because of its rocker-style SPEEDROLL outsole, which smoothly allows you to roll through your foot and drive off of your toe with minimal impact to your joints.
Most runners feel that the Shift fits true to size, although due to the aforementioned heel slippage, some runners prefer sizing down .5 sizes.
It is regarded as a solid option for runners with wide feet due to the spacious design of the forefoot and midfoot.
The Shift is a moderately priced trainer.
Most reviews have it checking in around $140, but there are plenty of outlets where you can get it for much closer to $100.
Saucony Endorphin Shift Features
The following is an in-depth breakdown of the Saucony Endorphin Shift’s design features.
The shift has a plush upper made of breathable mesh. Many runners feel that it is extremely soft and comfortable against the ankles and top of the foot.
It is noted for having an ample toe box, which makes it a strong option for runners with wide feet.
Most runners are huge fans of the gusseted tongue. The shoelaces are stretchy and are not too long or short, allowing runners to lace as tight or loose as they desire.
The midsole is loaded with EVA PWRRUN foam, making the Shift one of the most highly cushioned shoes on the market.
However, this also contributes to a 38mm heel stack. Not only is this eye-popping, but runners used to feeling the ground with each stride may feel a bit unsteady running on such a thick midsole.
Saucony adds some XT-900 rubber to the forefoot of the Shift’s outsole, giving the shoe greater durability than similar high-cushion shoes, such as the Saucony Kinvara.
This also gives the shoe a bit more traction than lightweight trainers–although the Shift is far from being a high-traction running shoe.
The added rubber on the outsole makes the shoe a bit less flexible than some other high-cushion shoes, although many runners feel like this is a positive trade-off for the enhanced responsiveness they receive when running in the Shift. It also makes the shoe more durable.
Despite being classified as a neutral shoe, the Shift offers a solid amount of stability and support.
It is average in terms of arch support but does feature a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, which puts runners in a more natural position for avoiding achilles tendon injuries.
The SPEEDROLL rocker design of the outsole also helps neutral runners maintain good form and avoid overuse injuries.
Alternatives to Saucony Endorphin Shift
The following breakdown looks at a selection of shoes that can be used with or in place of the Saucony Endorphin Shift.
Saucony Endorphin Speed
The Saucony Endorphin Speed should be considered a sister shoe to the Endorphin Shift.
In fact, many runners keep both the Speed and Shift in their running shoe arsenal.
The Speed has many of the same features of the shift: EVA PWRRUN foam midsole, SPEEDROLL rocker design, and breathable mesh upper.
However, the Speed is focused more on high-intensity miles, while the Shift is about easygoing miles.
Therefore, although the Speed has PWRRUN foam and SPEEDROLL technology, they will be conspicuously less pronounced than they are in the Shift. This results in a more “normal” looking running shoe.
The Speed also has more XT-900 rubber on the outsole than the shift to provide more traction when picking up the intensity.
If you love the Saucony brand but the Shift is a bit above your price point, the Saucony Axon may be just the shoe for you.
Essentially, Saucony created the Axon as a budget trainer that mirrored the qualities runners loved about their popular Endorphin line.
As such, you will see a shoe that still provides a well-cushioned PWRRUN midsole–just not as thick as the Shift. Its forefoot stack is 31mm against the Shift’s 35mm, with the heel checking in at 35mm against the Shift’s 38mm.
Its lower price point comes through a mesh upper that is noticeably less plush than the Shift. There is also not as much XT-900 rubber on the outsole, so the Axon may not be quite as durable or have as much grip.
However, if price is your primary purchase consideration and you don’t want to stray away from the Saucony name, there is a lot to love about the Axon.
Hoka One One Bondi 6
If you want the shoe that most closely resembles the Shift but is made by a different brand, the Bondi 6 makes a strong case.
With a pronounced rocker design and impressive heel stack, it may be hard to distinguish the Shift and Bondi 6 from a distance.
Like the Shift, the Bondi 6 is a highly cushioned shoe that allows runners to log their miles while limiting the impact on their bodies.
While they are extremely similar in terms of appearance and performance, it is worth noting that the Bondi 6 is slightly heavier than the Shift and will carry a higher price point.
Altra Paradigm 6
Although heel-to-drop is a desirable feature for runners who suffer from achilles or calf injuries, it can place some extra stress on the forefoot. This can be problematic for runners with turf toe or bunions.
With this in mind, the 4mm drop of the Shift may not be ideal for all runners.
Enter the Altra Paradigm 6, which offers cushioning on par with the Shift with none of the drop.
In addition to the zero-drop design that takes pressure off the ball of the foot, the Paradigm 6 uses Innovarch and Guiderail technology to wrap around your arches and prevent excess pronation.
It provides this while using an EgoMax midsole that provides the same cushioning and comfort for which the Shift is known.
FAQs About the Saucony Endorphin Shift
A selection of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Saucony Endorphin Shift.
Who Should Consider Buying the Saucony Endorphin Shift?
The Shift is an ideal running shoe for people looking to log some “easy” miles. Candidates include:
- People recovering from overuse injuries, such as achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis
- Competitive runners looking to mix up their training with lower impact sessions
- Athletes from other sports looking to use running for their cross-training needs
- Runners who do the majority of their work on asphalt or concrete
- Older runners who want to reduce stress on cartilage and tendons
Who Might Not Be Satisfied With the Saucony Endorphin Shift?
Although the Shift is good for a variety of purposes and definitely has a place in most runners’ sneaker rotation, the following are some instances when the Shift might not be ideal:
- Runners looking for optimal performance – as the Shift is thicker and heavier than the average running shoe, you probably don’t want to use it if you are looking to set a personal record in the mile.
- Runners in need of overpronation support – although the Shift is a fairly stable running shoe among its high-cushion peers, it is a neutral shoe that does not come with overpronation support. In addition, the thick midsole leaves some runners feeling a bit vulnerable to rolling an ankle.
- Runners who are style-conscious – for some people, the bulky look is attractive and thick midsole is a non-issue. However, some find the 38mm heel to be a bit too much in spite of the amazing comfort it provides.
Is the Saucony Endorphin Shift Good to Wear While Recovering from Injury?
The Shift is generally a great shoe to wear while recovering from injury.
Its advanced cushioning helps limit the impact from overuse injuries and can help absorb the shock that can make strains and sprains worse.
In addition, its ample toe box allows for greater forefoot flexion. This creates a better environment for proprioceptive strengthening of the muscles surrounding an injury.
The one exception to be aware of is when recovering from toe injuries.
While the 4mm heel-to-toe drop does a great job of alleviating stress from the posterior of the foot, it can cause the forefoot to absorb more impact with each foot strike. While the 34mm forefoot stack helps absorb some of this shock, you may feel toe injuries quite a bit when wearing the Shift.
What Kind of Surfaces Can You Run On With the Saucony Endorphin Shift?
The Shift is an ideal shoe for running on asphalt, concrete, or any other surface with zero give.
In fact, some outlets refer to it as a “road trainer.”
While it will work on most surfaces, in general, it does not have the greatest traction. Therefore, you should be cautious on cross country runs that have a lot of inclines or loose debris and on wet surfaces when using the Shift.
In Summary: Saucony Endorphin Shift Review
The Saucony Endorphin Shift is one of the premier running shoes on the market for runners looking to log some easy miles.
Its ample PWRRUN midsole and rocker-style SPEEDROLL design keep neutral runners moving on a predictable, low-impact path, helping make each stride easier than the last.
So if you are planning to put some serious miles on the odometer without an uncomfortable shoe adding to the strain, get your Shifts today and hit the road!