(The Gear Loop) - Saucony has been busy launching all-new versions of its popular Endorphin road running range. Sitting at the very top is the carbon-plated Pro 3, while the Speed 3 packs a nylon version of said plate for rapid runs without the insane price tag and increased longevity.
Kicking off the model range is this, the new Endorphin Shift 3, which does away with the plate in favour of a massive foam stack for added daily comfort, an improved heel fit and a gusseted tongue so runners can achieve a tight, locked-in feel.
Saucony has also added its more durable XT-900 rubber outsole in order to increase the shelf life, while a fairly pronounced rocker encourages forward momentum and makes those daily training runs a little faster and peppier.
We laced up a pair and joined the dawn patrol of low-light, early morning runners to see if they are any good.
With a huge amount of foam underfoot, the Endorphin Shift 3 is exceptionally comfortable over big distances. What’s more, it also offers a fantastic amount of stability. Highly breathable, the upper isn't very weather-proof, nor is it the lightest model in the Saucony line-up, but we’d take it to rack up the maintenance miles any day.
Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 VIZIPRO
- Available in regular or highly visible version
- Huge amount of PWRRUN foam for comfort
- Supportive but surprisingly light
- They look chunky on foot
- Narrow fitting
- Massive stack not for everyone
In the Loop
Everything you need to know about the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 VIZIPRO in brief:
- VIZIPRO reflective details shine in low light
- Increased rocker (SPEEDROLL) for more effortless runs
- Durable XT-900 rubber outsole
- Highly breathable mesh upper
- 4mm offset with a 39mm heel stack height
- New torsional hello groove for smoother transitions
- Weight: 266g in an average Men’s UK9
Fit and features
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 offers a fairly slim fit, and we’d argue it’s not the best shoe for those with a wider forefoot. Even though our toes had enough room to move, we can imagine these would feel very snug on anyone that appreciates a roomy toe box.
However, step into the shoe and it immediately offers a sock-like fit. This is thanks to an elasticated gusseted tongue that wraps itself over the forefoot and locks down nicely once the laces are tied. The interior is pillowy soft and even the heel section has a nice amount of flex to it. Although there's a neat plastic rand that wraps around the lower portion of the heel to prevent any accidental rolling.
Surprisingly, the soft top portion of the heel still manages to grip nicely and we found there wasn’t any lateral movement when out running. In fact, we’d go so far to say you could rock these sock-less, if that’s your bag, and still come away feeling comfortable.
There’s a huge amount of PWRRUN foam underfoot and these immediately felt springy when out on the road. Coupled with a pronounced rocker, the shoes feel fast and happy to tackle more uptempo runs, pushing you onto your toes.
Despite the tall chunk of foam, they’re also surprisingly stable and could well be the perfect remedy for those who over-pronate.
This is going to be down to personal preference, but the Shift 3 look smart and purposeful. That said, we definitely prefer the shoes when decked out in the regular colourways.
Both the black and gold and the all-white versions look sleeker, as the VIZIPRO options pack a number of reflective stripes along the side that spoil the look a bit. We’re also not massive fans of the blue. Alas, the reflective bands work well and light up like Christmas trees when the headlights of cars hit them. If you want added visibility, these are well worth a look.
Anyone not used to running shoes with hefty stacks of foam will also baulk at the general height, as they feel a bit like platform shoes when first walking around in them. This also doesn’t really help the streamlined looks, either, as there’s no getting away from the fact they are bulky.
Saucony has a much more minimalist shoe in the Kinvara 13, if you appreciate a little more ground feel and less overall heft to your running shoes.
Performance in the wild
Despite the height of the heel stack, we found the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 surprisingly stable over numerous runs. Compared to the Endorphin Speed 2, which we found to be fairly skinny around the heel and easy to roll if not paying attention, the Shift 3 felt really planted.
It’s clearly a little heavier than the faster, more performance orientated models, but we’d take the added comfort and stable platform for those lazier, daily runs, as competition isn't really in our DNA.
That said, we never found the shoe sluggish, as it offered plenty of spring when the miles clocked up, nudging the pace towards the faster end of the spectrum, even when we only set out to rack up a bit of maintenance mileage.
We can also see folk wearing these on the daily, as the fat stack of foam is really tempting to walk around on in general life. They are certainly comfortable and supportive enough to do so, if you can get over the rather chunky looks.
The Shift 3 joins the Speed and Pro 3, acting as a more comfortable everyday runner that shuns the plating and therefore some of the speed for increased cushioning. It offers a joyful, bouncy ride with plenty of flex and a proper locked in fit. The addition of a VIZIPRO option will also please early morning and nighttime runners.