Sunday, September 19, 2021

Saucony Endorphin Speed RunShield Multi Tester Review: For the Weather and for its Ride, Fit and Looks!

Article by Adam Glueck, Michael Ellenberger, and Sally Reiley

Saucony Endorphin Speed RunShield ($180)


The Endorphin Speed is a nylon plated uptempo trainer/ racer with a PWRRUN PB midsole made of expanded PEBA beads. With a 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm full stack height it is amply cushioned. The version tested here has a weather resistant upper which reduces the weight of a US men’s 9 from the inline Speed to around 7.5 oz / 213g, very light for such a maximally cushioned shoe.

This RunShield edition is a water resistant version of one of RoadTrailRun’s favorite shoes of 2020 and now 2021. The RunShield upper reduces the weight of the Speed by 0.46 oz / 13g in a women’s US8 and yet more in larger sizes. According to Saucony: The RUNSHIELD material upper is water resistant, but also light and thin which as a side benefit results in a shoe that is lighter than Endorphin Speed 2 as the Speed 2 has  3D printed  elements (adding a bit of weight)  and the RUNSHIELD upper is sublimated which does not add weight.  

No other changes to the inline Speed 2 are called out beyond a potentially more cold suitable ColdTrac outsole (confirming).  How does this new upper fit? What are the effects on ride of the lighter weight and new upper? Any other changes noted in test? Please read on to find out


  • Bouncy, propulsive, extreme fun-Adam/Sally/Michael

  • Great looking bold colorway-Sally/Michael/Adam

  • Water resistant enough to keep feet dry in a drizzle, even splashing through puddles -Sally/Michael

  • Cushioned over longer distances-Adam/Sally

  • Lightweight-Adam/Sally

  • Flexible (plate and upper) enough to allow for mostly natural foot movement -Adam  

  • More forefoot room than ‘regular’ Endorphin Speed - Michael


  • Outsole and traction isn’t obviously more wet or trail oriented-Adam/Sally/Michael

  • Outsole is not very grippy on wet surfaces, raising concern over appropriateness in hard packed snow in winters-Sally/Michael

  • Not as breathable or ideal in warmer temperatures-Adam/Sally

  • Outsole color wore off after two runs -Sally

  • Price is up there at $180, higher than the Endorphin Speed 2 at $160.

Tester Profiles

Adam is a cross country ski racer from New Hampshire.  Along with skiing, he’s a big fan of endurance sports in general and does a lot of running.  He’s much faster at skiing, in 2019 participating in the Covid curtailed NCAA’s skiing for Dartmouth College, but can run a 4:43 mile (in trail shoes), 16:59 5k (earlier this week wearing the Sonic 3 Accelerates), and has won a few small trail races you’ve never heard of.  His mileage varies depending on how much snow is on the ground, but he trains about 700 hours a year including 1200 miles of running and 4000 miles of skiing and roller skiing.  You can follow him at his IG: @real_nordic_skier, his blog:, & on Strava

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago and is a patent and intellectual property attorney. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He also has a 2:31 marathon PR from the 2018 Austin Marathon. 

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past seven Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $240,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday she ran the NYC Marathon in November finishing 2nd in her age group with a PR time of 3:28:39.  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.


Estimated Weight: men's 7.5 oz / 213g (US9)  /  women's 6.8 oz / 194 g  (US8)

Samples: women’s US8: 6.8 oz / 194 g

(Speed 2 in same size W8 is 7.3 oz / 207 g

Stack Height: 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm

Available now including at our partner Running Warehouse HERE. $180

First Impressions and Fit

Adam:  The Endorphin Speed RunShield is obviously an Endorphin derivative, and not trying to hide it.  The flashy blue colorway is striking (I quite like it), and I’ve received numerous comments on how distinctive it looks.  This isn’t a shoe that’s trying to blend in and hide what it is.  

Usually, I’m not a fan of water resistant uppers, as they tend to add weight and limit the flexibility of a shoe, but the RunShield upper on these is fantastic.  It’s incredibly thin, and conforms excellently around the foot.  The fabric doesn’t stretch a ton and I think that actually improves the lockdown of the shoe.  While the midsole and outsole appear the same as the standard Endorphin, the upper seems mostly different.  Walking around, I can’t really tell that there’s a nylon plate.  I’m a heavier runner at 180~ pounds, but compared to the Endorphin Pro they’re quite flexible.  Overall, they’re a beautiful shoe, quite comfortable and well put together.

Sally: The Endorphin Speed was my favorite do-it-all shoe of 2020 that I found myself lacing up on a regular basis (haha, don’t you love it when Strava tells you it’s time for new shoes?!). Fortunately Saucony did not mess with success, and the Endo Speed 2 was pretty much the same shoe, just as awesome with a few minor tweaks that made it even more awesome. To say that I am a fan of the Endo Speed is an understatement. 

I was intrigued to see what the RunShield version would be like, and initially shocked that it was even lighter than the original. From past experience, a Gore-Tex or otherwise weather-proof/resistant shoe is heavier, but not in this case: clearly, a brilliantly enhanced upper. 

As a New Englander who runs all winter on snow-packed roads, I am always looking for a dry winter training shoe, so this is exciting. The fit is true to size like the original Endo Speed 2 in size W8, and very comfortable on the foot right out of the box. And the colorway? Beautiful looking shoe, quick to garner compliments. Let’s take it on the road! 

Michael: I legitimately get excited for every shoe we test - who wouldn’t? They’re new shoes! - but I have to admit the Endorphin Speed RunShield (let’s go with “ESRS”) had me more hyped than most. From the established success of the Endorphin line, to the objectively sweet looks, to the added features - a fast shoe built for nasty weather! - the ESRS checks a lot of boxes. But how does it run? I’ll give a little preview of my take here - it’s an improvement over the regular Speed, in my book - but don’t expect it to be an all-weather trail crusher.  


Adam:  The upper is in the name, Shield.  The upper is mostly composed of a thin material that looks plasticy, but feels remarkably soft to the touch.  It doesn’t stretch very much, so to add some comfort to the upper, there’s a well padded tongue and thick soft laces.  

There’s a noticeable toe bumper, but it doesn’t extend so far back as to compress the toes while running.  I found the lockdown excellent, and comfort very good as well.  A pull tab on the back makes the shoe easier to put on as well.  

As for the actual selling point of the shoe, the water resistance, it becomes about a trade off.  The upper doesn’t breathe amazingly well.  I wouldn’t want to wear it to run over 70º F for runs of an hour or less, and above 65º F for runs of more than an hour.  It’s not particularly hot, but it doesn’t wick sweat out particularly well.  In colder weather however this is fantastic, and running through wet grass, it keeps my feet completely dry.  Combined with the midsole stack being high enough to not drench the shoe in a puddle, this makes it fantastic for winter, spring, and fall running (actually most of the year when you think about it that way), as well as for wet weather.  I wouldn’t think of this upper as being superior to other Endorphins, just a lot better when it’s cold or wet, and less breathable and therefore comfortable when it’s hotter and drier.  

Sally:  Besides looking very sharp with its bold black, blue, red, and yellow colorway, the upper is where this model differs from the original Endorphin Speed 2. It is light and soft to the touch, and the magic is in its water resistance. I ran through puddles and long wet grass, yet my feet stayed dry. It is clearly different than the old Gore-Tex uppers of the past that made shoes heavier: this one is actually lighter in weight than the original ES2 by almost half an ounce in my W8, despite its weather resistant properties. 

The tongue is comfortably padded without being too much so, with a convenient ultrasuede pull tab here as well as at the back of the heel. The laces are somewhat stretchy, just the right length, and do not slip. This shoe goes on easily (love those pull tabs) and comfortably hugs your foot in all the right places. 

I found the heel hold excellent without a need for tweaking on the run. 

The black toe bumper is visible, yet the toe box inside is more spacious and accommodating than the original ES2.The drawback to this upper is that it does not breathe as well as others, which was an issue while testing in a tropical late summer weather pattern as my feet were too warm. Yet, as Adam points out, this will be a plus in the upcoming winter running season as the RunShield upper will keep feet warm and dry in snowy conditions. This upper is a homerun for those of us who run outdoors throughout New England winters!

Michael: The most significant change to the existing Endorphin Shield is here in the upper - gone is the tight mesh, and in its stead is a semi-rubbery, largely non-flexible, gridded material that just looks and feels weather-resistant. Fortunately, it really does seem to be tough to the elements - I intentionally ran through some puddles (including one, frustratingly deep pothole that was quite unpleasant) and came home largely dry. I will not testify to them being fully waterproof - whether it was sweat or exterior moisture, I can’t say, but my socks did maintain some moisture - but they are undoubtedly more resilient to the elementsthat your traditional water-sopping material. Additionally (intentional or not) I found the upper here to be roomier in the forefoot than the original Speed - a major boost, as I found that toebox to be overly constrictive. 


Adam:  This is a normal Endorphin Speed midsole, which is to say, it’s exceptional.  I don’t really feel the plate the same way I do in the Endorphin Pro.  It’s cushioned, but firm enough to be responsive.  Powerrun PB is firm enough to be stable and predictable and will rebound without feeling harsh or sapping your energy.  This is definitely a neutral shoe without a ton of additional underfoot width or stability, but that’s to keep it light and prevent it from getting in the way of the stride of a neutral runner.  This is definitely one of my favorite midsoles, and I think it’s more versatile than the carbon plated pros.  

Another key consideration is that in cold temperatures, I’ve found EVA and even gas infused EVA foams become significantly harder and harsher.  Combined with pavement hardening in the cold, this has made winter road running really uncomfortable on the legs for me. In my testing of previous Endorphin Pros, even below freezing running through snow, the Powerrun PB foam doesn’t lose much energy return or drastically change its ride, which means in those conditions, this is one of the only shoes that’ll stay comfortable and fun to run in.  The rubber may harden, but it’s thin and flexible enough I don’t think it’ll majorly change the character of the shoe.  

Sally: Keep in mind I have loved running in every version of the Endorphin Speed, and this midsole is thankfully the same.  The light PWRRUN PB cushioning combined with the responsive nylon plate and Speed Roll technology make for a fun, effortless (well, never totally) ride. It is not the bouncy ride of some of the other midsoles (New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite 2 comes to mind), but is cushioned with some firmness.  I definitely have found the nylon plated Speed to be far more versatile for training than the carbon-plated Pro (Adam seems to agree). 

Michael: The ESRS maintains its sister shoe’s status as one of the liveliest, most engaging trainer options out there, thanks to the loaded midsole here. Even though the midsole is unchanged over the non-RS variant, I actually felt as if the PWRRUN PB and plate components here were slightly more gentle - perhaps it’s the more accommodating fit, or perhaps just the new pair, but either way, I was quite pleased with the blend between speed and comfort. 


Adam:  Honestly the outsole is what disappoints me about this shoe the most.  As far as I can tell, it’s exactly the same midsole as the normal Endorphin Speed.  It has good durability, and grips ok in wet conditions, and is lightweight, but isn’t tailored for the conditions that the shoe could run in.  I’d like to see a slightly more aggressive outsole to deal with wet and slippery conditions, and I feel like with a little more tread, this would make a fantastic dirt/light trail shoe.  Without a more versatile outsole, this shoe can’t necessarily do a lot better than the cheaper Endorphin Speed and Endorphin Speed 2 can outside of cold or wet conditions.  This isn’t to say that it’s a bad outsole, it’s a great balance between weight, durability, and grip for an uptempo road shoe, but it’s not the Endorphin road/dirt/light trail hybrid I’d love to see that would pair well with this upper.

Sally: I didn’t see any difference between this outsole and that of the regular ES2, except for the fact that this one is all blue in both the rubber and the foam (but note that the blue paint/dye on the foam wore off after just two runs for me). Somewhere I read that the outsole here is made of COLDTRAC for better grip in the cold, but honestly it looks exactly the same. And at this time of year, I can not say one way or the other how the outsole reacts to cold temperatures. 

I agree with Adam that the outsole is the one disappointment in this shoe, as they could have used a “beefier” tread to make this shoe more suitable for winter/bad weather conditions. Granted, more tread and more rubber would mean more weight, so that is the tradeoff. Perhaps an outsole with some characteristics of the Peregrine outsole? Many of us have often turned to trail runners such as the Peregrine for winter running in snow.

Michael: I’ll also add my voice to the concern here about the outsole - Saucony doesn’t pitch this shoe as a trail or off-road shoe, so I wasn’t expecting too much, but on some wet runs, I had slipping on metal grates, plastic mats (those used at sidewalk and train intersections), and painted elements on the road. A few more millimeters (or perhaps an extra layer of grippier rubber?) would have gone a long way.


Adam:  I can tell there’s some rocker as it’s much more directed energy than a shoe like the NB Rebel V2, but it can run more comfortably at more paces than the Endorphin Pro (which I find gets harsh at half marathon and up).  The midsole, even with the nylon plate, is definitely flexible.  That flexibility almost makes it more stable than the Pro (especially when combined with Pro's less stretchy upper), whose upper leads the Shield’s midsole to more easily flex in the forefoot, with resulting better ground contact and directness.  

All the runs I’ve done in this shoe were faster than I intended to run them, because it’s so much fun and urges you to give it more energy, because you get what you give back.  Below 6:30 per mile, I start to miss the additional propulsion and directness that the carbon plate in the Endorphin Pro and other similar super shoes provides, but I spend a vast majority of my miles, especially the ones in the rain, slower than that pace, where the Endorphin Speed Run Shield excels.  Absolutely fantastic! 

Sally: This is my kind of ride. It is cushioned yet responsive, smooth forward rolling rather than bouncy. This shoe propels the neutral runner forward and has fantastic energy return. It is versatile at many paces, including the easier long run or easy day paces, yet shines as you pick up the pace (I am currently training for the Boston marathon in a few weeks, and tend to favor a pace around 8:00 - 8:15/mile for training runs). This is a ride that leaves you smiling! Clearly a shoe I will reach for repeatedly, especially as we enter the winter months where the weather resistant upper will be key.

Michael: Saucony has packed a really engaging ride here. The midsole isn’t massively bouncy - I think FuellCell, Hyperburst, and ZoomX are all bouncier and more springy - but the nylon plate is tuned here so that there’s a definite forward-momentum, fall-forward sensation that exudes speed. It’s not perfect - something like the Rebel v2 is a more comfortable shoe for true easy or recovery running - but if you follow my Strava, you know I do a lot of runs quicker than I should, and while I’ve just been logging most of my miles in non-plated shoes, the ESRS is absolutely a shoe that makes faster running feel easy.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Adam:  I really enjoy this shoe, and see it becoming my go to road trainer for wet weather and the cold end of spring and fall, and especially in winter when cold temperatures worsen the ride of EVA midsoles.  I don’t see it as a replacement for the regular Endorphin Speed, especially at a higher price, but if that’s a shoe you really love, and if you live in cold and/or wet climates, I’d recommend adding a pair of these to the rotation for 3 out of the four seasons.  

Adam’s Score: 9.3/10

Ride:  9.5 Fit:  9.5 Value:  8 Style:  10

Sally: This shoe fills a sweet spot for runners looking for a peppy forward rolling fast trainer that performs well in cold and/or wet weather conditions. I have loved each version of the Endorphin Speed, and this one is no exception. It actually fits more comfortably on my foot than the others, having a more accommodating toe box and great heel lockdown. I anticipate reaching for this shoe often, and would highly recommend it to other New Englanders (and other Northern climes runners ) who like a quick ride for their winter running. Saucony has a winner here!

Sally’s score: 9.4/10

RIde: 9.6         Fit: 9.6           Value: 8       Style: 10

Michael:  I’ve been mildly critical of the Endorphin Speed before (primarily due to its upper, to be fair), but whether it was the third go at this shoe, or the minor tweaks, I found the new Endorphin Speed RunShield here to be quite sublime. The midsole still isn’t as bouncy (or even, in my opinion, fun) as New Balance’s FuelCell blend in the Rebel v2, but the forward propulsion here is just awesome - it’s a no-brainer for those faster or tempo runs, where you don’t need a racing flat, but want something more particular than a trainer. Of course, the RS upper addition here makes it a clear choice for fall or winter days, when the weather gets dicier (and, let’s be real, more enjoyable!). Just be cautious with that outsole, and you’ll have a blast in this shoe.

Michael’s Score: 9.4/10


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Endorphin Speed 2 (RTR Review)

The RunShield version is 0.46 oz / 13g lighter in a women’s US8 than the Speed 2.

Brooks Hyperion Tempo (RTR Review)

Michael: It seems like maybe Brooks has forgotten about this shoe, but I’ll compare nonetheless. The upper on the Brooks is better (if similarly narrow), but less weather-resistant, and the midsole and zip of the ESRS are slightly superior to that of the Brooks (which is engaging, but not necessarily “fast”). Both are really sharp at blending that line between workout and everyday trainer, and both are genuinely fun shoes, but I think I prefer the Saucony here!

Endorphin Speed 1 (RTR Review)

Michael: As stated above, it’s a pretty similar platform to the standard Endorphin Speed, with an upper overhaul - but be it the added toe room or any unseen tweaks to the midsole, I found the Run Shield to deliver  a slight improvement in ride. I will say, the upper on the ESRS is slightly warmer, so those in hot climates (or those who generally don’t need all-weather protection) will be just fine in the OG.

Endorphin Pro 1 and 2 (RTR Review)

Adam:  The Endorphin Pro has a more breathable upper, but less toe box space and worse lockdown in the heel (Pro 1, the Pro 2 has comparable heel lockdown to Run Shield).  The substation of nylon plate for the Pro's carbon plate means that the Shield feels better at slower paces, while the Pro feels better at paces under seven minutes/mile.  I find the Pro harsher and a better racing shoe, while the Speed is lovely for training and uptempo, and I would pick it for distances over 15 miles for the smoother feeling over the Pro.  

New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2 (RTR Review)

Michael: An RTR favorite, I think the Rebel v2 matches up really well against the ESRS. It’s bouncier and more flexible, and certainly an easier shoe to handle at slower paces, but doesn’t quite have that same forward drive as the ESRS. For a single, everyday trainer, I prefer the NB - but for a workout-specific option, I think the ESRS is a little faster.

Adam:  I love the Rebel 2, and both these shoes are a blast to run in.  The Rebel is softer and bouncier and I would argue more versatile, but it has worse outsole grip; and the bounce isn’t really propulsive in any particular direction.  The Speed Shield is far more directed forward and holds up better at higher speeds.  Considering the water resistance, I’d pick the Speed Shield for uptempo workouts and cooler and wetter conditions, and the Rebel 2 for easier days.  A better choice would be both of these!

Skechers GoRun Razor Elite (RTR Review)

Michael: The Endorphin Speed is heavier and generally a little less race-ready, but also has higher stack and a comparable (albeit non-carbon) plate. The upper on the Saucony is undoubtedly superior. Additionally, the 8mm drop of the ESRS is slightly preferable to me, as compared to 4mm for the Elite. The Skechers is a faster-feeling option, and I’d take it between the two for a 10K or half-marathon, but I think the Saucony is overall a better and more versatile pick.

The Endorphin Speed RunShield is available from Saucony HERE at our other partners below

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

Available Now!
USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
Available Now!
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Available Now!
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

Available Now!
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: