Thursday, June 30, 2022

Saucony Endorphin Edge Multi Tester Review: Carbon Plated, Super Foam Trail Racer! 9 Comparisons

Article by Canice Harte, Renee Krusemark, Jeff Beck, Jeff Valliere, Mike Postaski, and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Endorphin Edge ($200)


Sam: The Endorphin Edge is a lightweight, highly cushioned and carbon plated trail racer/trainer.

The Edge seeks to deliver the lightest possible weight for the most possible cushion and protection by using Saucony’s PWRRUN PB expanded beads PEBA foam with rock protection and propulsion provided by a ¾ length asymmetrically flexing Carbitex plate. 

At 8.85 oz  / 250g (US8.5) with a max cushion 36 mm heel / 30 mm forefoot stack and with a stout 4mm lug PWRTRAC outsole, it is a tremendous amount of shoe, trail or even road, for its weight. 

It is a thoroughly modern take on the long and fast trail racer competing with entries such as Hoka’s new Tecton X, Salomon’s S/Lab Pulsar, Brooks Catamount, Scarpa’s heavier and more mountain focused Kima RT and the similar PEBA midsole foam equipped Speedland also with a Carbitex plate but a DFX (dynamically flexing) one. 

Topped by a simple, thin and very breathable mesh upper, the package said fast moving, long, smooth trails (and even roads) to me. It clearly compliments other models in the Saucony 2022 trail line: Peregrine 12  (RTR Review) for shorter technical trail runs, the Xodus Ultra (RTR Review) as named and the ultra and all around choice for most along with the soon to come Ride 15 TR as the door to trail option.  


Canice/Renee/Jeff B/SamJeff V/Mike P: Incredibly lightweight, well cushioned with a roomy toe box and great forefoot ground feel.

Sam/Renee/Jeff B/ Mike P: Explosive and fast on smooth trails, effective at hiking paces

Sam/Jeff BJeff V:: Very leg friendly, yet also stable midsole foam and midsole

Jeff B: Plenty of toebox room


Canice/Renee: Loose fit in the heel.

Sam/Jeff B/Mike P: Some of our early sample run test pairs saw premature lug wear due to incomplete rubber curing. Corrected for production according to Saucony.

Sam: Plate could be more flexible. Not intended for slow pace running on rough terrain when the plate can’t be fully activated.

Mike P: Some lateral foot soreness - need to become accustomed to plate?

Jeff B: Busy straps and tabs on tongue makes foot pod attachment awkward


Approx. Weight: men's 9.1 oz  / 258g (US9)  /  women's 7.84 oz / 224g (US8)

  Samples: men’s  8.85 oz  / 250g (US8.5)  9.66 oz / 274g (US10.5) 

                  women’s 7.84 oz / 224g (US8)

Stack Height: 36 mm heel / 30 mm forefoot, 6mm drop 

Available now including at Saucony HERE. $200

Men’s US 10

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Canice: At just over 9 ounces in a US9  it’s undeniably light for a trail shoe. When I opened the box and picked the shoe up I was surprised at just how light it felt in hand. I next noticed the stack height and how much cushion was under the heel. The materials felt comfortable and the lugs looked to have plenty of traction.

I slipped the shoe on and instantly found my toes had plenty of room to splay out and wiggle freely, something I love. As I laced the shoe up I realized the heel pocket felt loose and I needed to pull more tension across my instep to find a secure fit. I was able to achieve this using the runners lace loop and did not experience any issues while running. 

Canice: The webbing I am pointing at in the photo is free floating within the upper and is attached under the insole below your foot. This enabled me to pull on the lace across the instep and get a secure fit.

Canice: In this photo above can see the webbing I am pointing at from the inside view. Note the webbing is free floating along the side walls and is attached under the insole below your foot.

I wear a men’s US 10 and found the fit to be true to size. I found the upper to be very breathable and quick drying and I did not feel the carbon plate when I initially tried the shoes on. 

Renee: My first impression was similar to Canice’s regarding the Edge’s weight. I zeroed out my scale twice to make sure it was working. It’s hard not to be impressed with the weight of a trail shoe with so much stack and cushion. As compared to other similar options (see comparisons), the Edge sets a new and high standard for weight, stack, cushion, comfort, and a carbon plate. Speaking of carbon plates, yes, the Edge has one without compromising balance in a way a plated road shoe does on trail (see the Ride section). 

The volume and width of the upper are generous. For sizing, I suggest true to size. Much like the sizing of the Saucony Xodus Ultra, the Edge has a fit that accounts for swelling on long runs. I think runners between half sizes canwear the shorter size if they want the Edge only for shorter (50k or less) distances. 

Despite the generous volume, I have good security across the midfoot, using the same runner’s lace loop method Canice describes. The forefoot and toebox have great height and width without feeling sloppy. Overall, the upper and fit are comfortable. 

For a nimble ride on really uneven terrain, I might prefer a less voluminous fit, but I’d probably choose a different shoe and I don’t think that is a fault of the Edge. Perhaps the heel fit/cup could be tighter for my low volume foot.

Jeff B: Add me to the “impressed by the shoe’s weight-to-cushion ratio” club, my true-to-size 10.5 is sub 10 ounces, and considering how much shoe there is, it’s almost hard to believe. 

The fit is dialed in, with plenty of room up front but very good foothold. There’s not much to gripe about, though I could definitely see some runners having issues with the very flimsy heel counter - but unlike other shoes I’ve run in this year with similar construction such as the Altra Mont Blanc (RTR Review), I didn’t experience any heel slip whatsoever. 

My main issue with the upper is related to the tongue (which is nicely gusseted in a way that's effectively an inner sock-like bootie) and how much is going on with it. 

I normally appreciate a pull tab on the tongue that goes along with a heel tab (makes it easier to pull the shoe on) but because the pull tab strap keeps going down the length of the tongue, it makes it hard to attach a footpod, such as the Stryd I run with. It also has a recent Saucony mainstay, with the elastic band going across the tongue for you to tuck your laces in, and while I appreciate its inclusion, it’s just one more thing to get in the way. While many runners do put a Stryd or Runscribe on for every run, many more do not, so if you don’t use a similar device, you’ve got one less thing to worry about. 

Sam: Of course bright pink in our test colorway, a color shared by 2022 laucnh color road Endorphin models.

As the others have said the light weight in hand for such a big shoe underfoot is quite stunning. We get to that weight through the use of the expanded bead PEBA foam which is considerably lighter than the usual EVA foams found in trail shoes and the upper.

I was initially skeptical that such a light, soft and pliable mesh with minimal overlays other than the logo and the toe bumper were “enough” for a trail shoe’s need for support. 

The tongue is actually thinner and softer than Saucony’s Ride 15 road shoe and in fact the upper is as well, lacking the A support straps of the Ride with only a single more pliable one linking lace up to heel. 

I was happy to see it as such connections of lace up to heel are key to lockdown and especially in this upper.  The heel counter is also more pliable than the road shoe and is far more pliable heel counter than its cousin Xodus Ultra has, somewhat overbuilt actually.  I do wish as the others do it was a bit more substantial in hold. 

It seemed impossible that there would be enough support but then I realized while soft and pliable the mesh is dense and non stretch designed to really wrap the foot completely. 

Fit is true to size for me with plenty of generous room all around. I noted the light and easy heel hold in the pliable heel counter but was happy to see the lightly padded achilles collar  reaches high. 

In combination with the webbing strap, I found heel hold more than adequate if maybe not high mountain tech trail as much as I might prefer. 

During my various runs and hikes including a trail half on mostly non technical single track I never thought of the upper (it’s so light and soft) and never worried my pace exceeded its capability to lock me to the platform but I am not sure I would feel the same on more technical terrain. Then each time I worried a bit such as on decent stretches of pointy embedded rocks I felt the incredibly lightweight with all that cushion and protection and smiled. 

Yes, it is a race shoe and as such the lightest possible weight for the ride is the prime imperative as it is with the directly competing S/Lab Pulsar, Tecton X and Mont Blanc. In terms of the upper, its fit, comfort and its security the Edge’s succeeds for me but doesn’t quite match the Matryx upper of the Pulsar, snug total race fit or the similar but somewhat more secure if narrower lockdown Tecton X’s upper.

Jeff V:  I was at first a bit on “edge” about the loud pink colorway, but the impressively light feel of the shoe in the hand and the exceptional comfort when sliding these on made the color seem completely irrelevant and I knew this was going to be a great one.  

At just 9.6 oz. in my US men’s 10, they feel impossibly light for a shoe with such a stack, tread and a carbon plate.  Fit is generous, with plenty of room in the toe box and a very light upper that seems impossibly thin and light for a trail shoe, to the point where I wonder if it will hold adequately for trail use.  

I found the heel to be a touch loose, so I  immediately employed the “extra” top back lace hole and that solved any heel lift issues that I might have had.  Fit is true to size and while room is generous, I would not suggest sizing down given the purpose of this shoe (long distance).  

While thin and minimal, the upper provides comparable breathing room and comfort as the Xodus Ultra, however I find the fit here to be even more secure.  While not a super locked in snug feel as say in the Peregrine, I have run some pretty fast and technical downhills in the Edge and felt as though I could maintain control in them without issues.  Breathability is excellent and they feel cool and well vented, even with temperatures over 90 degrees.  

Upper protection is somewhat minimal as a result of the thin materials and minimal design, which I found myself taking a few painful hits when going fast through rock gardens and talus fields (but again, not really what the Edge is designed for).

Mike P:  The very low weight of the shoe - for a 36/30mm stack is the most noticeable aspect of the shoe out of the box.  Even though 9.2 oz (US 9.5) is not truly featherweight, for the volume of midsole, with carbon plate, plus full midsole - it just feels amazingly light when handling the shoe.  Overall everything looks well balanced.  What I mean by that is they don’t look overly tall, and they also don’t look overly wide.  The midsole foam visually looks generous, but every aspect of the shoe looks well proportioned.


Sam: The midsole combination of PWRRUN PB expanded beads (a PEBA foam) and a Carbitex AFX plate are the signature features of the Edge. 

Saucony uses what I sense is the same PB as in their upcoming Endorphin Speed 3 and Pro 3 road racers, a softer more energetic and lighter flavor than in prior years from what I can tell. PB was in the Endorphin Trail but here clearly there is more rebound and return and a softer feel on a more flexible platform at far less weight. 

The Carbitex plate provides both a propulsive effect and the rock protection. It sits within the midsole with PB foam above and below it. It delivers  clear propulsion with a flex in one direction down with weight then rigid bending the other way.  

At faster paces and when hiking, there is no “harshness” or rigid feel as often the case in plated road shoes and this here on either road or trail. The soft enough foam and outsole even with the plate and all that stack in the mix, deliver a surprisingly agile trail feel with tremendous cushion and protection  t the same time. This combination is extremely fast and leg friendly (during and after). 

I have one caveat as I discovered in the heat during my trail half in Park City… If you are not able to maintain a decent pace (for me 9 to 11 minute miles) over moderate up and down terrain and activate the plate by applying enough force to it to flex, you end up kind of “high and dry”, a bit unstable and flat.  

Interestingly at fast hiking paces on steeper uphills the plate is activated and the hike is as sensational as is the faster flatter paced running for me. The road ride at any pace is fantastic. 

Not to worry as for those longer more plodding paced (at times) trail runs Saucony’s well named Xodus Ultra with its PWRRUN (EVA/TPU) sidewalls and central same PWRRUN PB core and no carbon plate and with a woven plastic rock plate is the choice. It approaches the Edge at the faster end of things but is more capable on rougher terrain and for slower paces.

I wonder why Saucony did not specify the Carbitex DFX plate which dynamically adjusts its firmness/flex as more or less force is applied. It clearly works and well in the Speeland SL: PDX  with my Speedland clearly more flexible and easier to run those slower paces but is not nearly as cushioned, smooth or fast on more mellow terrain.

Canice: Saucony uses their PWRRUN PB foam which I found to have plenty of cushion and nice rebound with plenty of pop to each step. Saucony also uses a Carbite​​​​x 3-quarter carbon-fiber plate in the midsole. I’ll speak to the carbon fiber plate in detail in the “Ride” section of this review but know it is part of the midsole package. 

What is important to note here is that the carbon fiber plate being a ¾ length is that I did not feel it in the forefoot and with 36mm of foam under my heel, I did not feel it there either.

The Saucony Endorphin Edge has plenty of cushioning for any 100 mile trail race I would want to run and will clearly work at shorter distances.

Renee: Canice has all the details about the midsole and the carbon plate. In my opinion, the midsole feels awesome and Saucony’s combination warrants the hefty $200 price of the shoe. 

The midsole is a perfect balance of comfort (not too firm) and responsiveness (not too soft). Like Canice and Sam, I don’t initially feel the carbon plate the way I do in a plated road shoe, and that’s a positive!

On mellow surfaces (flat, rolling, or smooth), the carbon plate will respond to the pace of the runner. In a road plated shoe, I see two  benefits of the carbon plate: one, to help with responsiveness and speed; and two, to help reduce fatigue. On mellow surfaces at faster speeds, the Edge can be fast; on more difficult terrain, the plate is comforting. 

Jeff B: Easily the most subtle carbon fiber plate I’ve run with, it seems almost non-existent until I picked up the pace. The midsole/plate combination is among the best, hitting that sweet spot of soft, but not too soft, with plenty of stability and effectively leg saving cushioning. In my experience if they were a little more bouncy they’d start causing issues with my Achilles, and less bouncy wouldn't have the same leg saving effect. Saucony’s designers hit one out of the park with the Edge midsole.

Jeff V:  Sam and Canice have summed up the midsole and the characteristics of the carbon plate very well and I agree on almost all points, but have not noticed the same caveat as Sam at my slower paces.  

The PowerRun PB foam is exceptionally light, bouncy, airy and responsive, where the Carbitex Plate gives a nice boost at toe off, while retaining a reasonable level of flexibility and predictability.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is the first carbon shoe I have run in that I can honestly say that the carbon plate offers a benefit to performance, vs. just offering protection (Speedland), or perhaps just cool and cutting edge marketing catch (all other carbon plated shoes with the exception of maybe the Tecton X).  

When running up very steep trails, I can feel the added pop of the carbon plate at toe off and they especially shine when really opening up the stride at faster paces on lesser gradients, rolling terrain and fast downhills.  The PB foam is exceptionally well cushioned underfoot without feeling spongy, but instead feels very bouncy and responsive, predictably so. 

Jeff V:  Sam and Canice have summed up the midsole and the characteristics of the carbon plate very well and I agree on almost all points, but have not noticed the same caveat as Sam at my slower paces.  

The PowerRun PB foam is exceptionally light, bouncy, airy and responsive, where the Carbitex Plate gives a nice boost at toe off, while retaining a reasonable level of flexibility and predictability.  

I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is the first carbon shoe I have run in that I can honestly say that the carbon plate offers benefits to performance, vs. just offering protection (Speedland), or perhaps just cool and cutting edge marketing catch (all other carbon plated shoes with the exception of maybe the Tecton X).  

When running up very steep trails, I can feel the added pop of the carbon plate at toe off and they especially shine when really opening up the stride at faster paces on lesser gradients, rolling terrain and fast downhills.  The PB foam is exceptionally well cushioned underfoot without feeling spongy, but instead feels very bouncy and responsive, predictably so.  

Mike P:  The feel of the shoe underfoot is really great.  The PWWRUN PB is really soft to the touch, but does not feel soft or mushy at all.  The carbon plate is in there somewhere, and it’s well, a carbon plate - but you don’t feel it either.  When walking around in the shoe, there’s no sensation at all of being levered forward, as is noticeable in other plated super shoes.  Perhaps this is due to the nature of the one-way flexing Carbitex plate. 

On the run I also don’t notice much of the action of the carbon plate.  But there is a definite explosive feel at the end of the stride - especially if you’re leaning forward and going fast.  I assume that’s the effect of the Carbitex plate “unflexing” then stiffening in the other direction as you toe-off.  As Jeff V and Sam did, I do notice the effect of the plate when hiking steeper uphills.  When climbing, I do notice the plate pushing and sort of holding up the foot as your heel elevates off the ground. 


Canice: Saucony provides 4mm deep directional lugs which here in Park City, UT provided plenty of traction. I felt comfortable running at speed through rocky terrain and on wet trails. I didn’t have any mud to test the shoes in but I did find plenty of puddles and a few creek crossings and I felt secure with the traction provided.

Renee: I did not experience any durability concerns with the outsole, but I’m not running mountainous terrain so that might be why. I have a slight tear after 50 miles, but I’m certain that’s from hitting a tree root at just the right angle. The 4mm lugs and outsole material are softer than the Peregrine 12, and similar to the lugs on the Xodus Ultra. 

(Left to Right: Peregrine 12, Edge, Xodus Ultra) 

Running on my Nebraska woodland single tracks or gravel/dirt roads, this outsole is great. As compared to the Peregrine 12, the lugs/outsole have give, but because of the stack height and plate, I can’t feel the gravel or tree roots underfoot. 

The space between the lugs helps to shed mud and the 4mm depth lugs work as well as any other trail shoe in terms of traction in mud. I did not run on pavement with the Edge, but given the stack height and 4mm lug depth, the shoes should be fine for a short amount of road between trail heads. 

Jeff B: I am very impressed with the level of traction on the dirt, but not overstepping while on pavement. Similar to the last few models of the Xodus, this is a trail shoe that’s nearly as good on the road as it is the trail, which is surprising given how much dirt/rock traction it has. I didn’t get any mud experience, but deliberately ran a trail with some sandy sections, and the Edge didn’t give me any trail insecurity at any time. 

While I have seen some premature lug wear in my ~20 miles, I’m curious and willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that the pre-release rubber has flaws that the retail release model will not have.

Sam: Another fine PWRTRAC outsole with a great combination of all terrain grip and smooth flow over more mellow terrain and road as the lugs while chevron angled also have large contact surfaces  up front. The rubber feels to be of the same firmness as the Xodus Ultra, maybe a touch softer. 

I saw some premature shearing of a few front lugs after about 30 miles which included a trail half with sections of sharp protruding rocks. Saucony believes this is due to issues in curing the rubber of our early samples, pre production. Given I see no such wear on my Xodus Ultra, albeit with less use on rough trails, we will take Saucony’s word that production outsoles will be more durable but will retest with production pairs and update here.

Jeff V:  As I typically do with any trail shoe I am testing, no matter if the shoe is intended for extreme terrain or not, I go out to test its  limits.  The Edge has performed very well across all of the common surfaces and was even adequate running on steep off trail, moderate slab scrambles, loose dirt, etc….  

The lugs are aggressively shaped and arranged similar to the Xodus Ultra  and Peregrine, so on softer ground they are similarly effective, but the rubber compound here is noticeably softer, which helps the shoe comply with the surfaces underfoot,  with treadwear somewhat below average.  I have not seen the aggressive wear that some others have seen, which is surprising, as I am typically the first to note this given the steep, rocky, technical terrain that I so commonly run on.  This makes me think it could be an issue with pre-production models, so we will update as we hear more.

Mike P:  I’ve had a bit of a mixed bag with the Saucony (pre-production samples) outsoles that we’ve received.  My Peregrines after 90+ miles are in very good shape, with normal wear.  My Xodus Ultras were pretty beat up after my Scout Mountain 50M race.  I noticed some tears in the outsole, and also chunks of lugs were entirely shorn off.  Those definitely seem to have come from a batch with the curing issues, as Sam mentions.  

After an initial easy 6M run in the Edge, I did notice some tiny chipping from the edges of a few of the lugs.  I took them out for a pretty hard trail marathon the next day and I was expecting the worst.  But I was surprised to see that the outsole looked to be in better condition than the day before.  Perhaps some edges of lugs smoothed out, and there was no damage like I saw with my Xodus Ultra samples.

Others have described the performance of the outsole well, and I think it’s of a similar flavor as the Peregrine and Xodus Ultra.  Distinguishing between the three outsoles would be a bit nitpicky, as most of the difference you would feel would be based on the overall feel of the shoe (midsole, upper/security) rather than the outsole itself.  


Canice: A few things really stand out to me in regards to the ride of the shoe. 1.) I love that there is lots of cushion under the heel. 2.) The Endorphin Edge is lively and has lots of ground feel in the forefoot which really surprised me. 3.) I felt the stiffness of the Carbite​​​​x 3-quarter carbon-fiber plate, but did not find it obtrusive.

My reaction to the “ride” of the Endorphin Edge is terrain dependent. I found this shoe to be at its best on smoother hard packed trails . It handles great in technical terrain but the feel of the “ride” is different. 

When I ran intermediate single track and fire roads I noticed the shoe had a nice pop during toe off and propelled me forward which is great. In this terrain I did not feel restricted by the Carbite​​​​x 3-quarter carbon-fiber plate at all. 

When I ran the Endorphin Edge in tight technical terrain the shoe still felt good, but I noticed the stiffness of Carbite​​​​x 3-quarter carbon-fiber plate. This is not problematic but it’s worth pointing out that depending on the terrain I chose to run, I had different experiences.

For my part I really enjoy the ride of the Endorphin Edge and it would be my choice for Western States and/or Leadville and certainly shorter races where I wanted to go fast. The Endorphin Edge is a high performance trail running shoe and the ride reflects that. Plenty of cushion under the heel, lots of ground feel in the forefoot and a nice feeling of propulsion when I toed off.

Renee: Reread Canice’s Ride review! I’ll repeat for emphasis. The cushion underfoot is plenty for ultra distances without feeling heavy and chunky for shorter distances. The ground feel under the forefoot is surprisingly great, and the shoe climbs and descends like a more nimble/less stack height shoe (for those striking on the forefoot).


I never found the carbon plate obtrusive or unstable, in fact I hardly notice it unless I’m running on flat smooth terrain for an extended time. For slower running, the plate helps with fatigue reduction, and while it’s not as “fast feeling” as a plate in a road racing shoe, I do notice it when I’m able to stride out on smooth terrain.

I’m not sure Saucony could have designed a better midsole/ride/plate combination and I hope they don’t change it. On single track when the footing is narrow and against a ledge, I had to walk some because I wasn’t confident about landing stable. 

I think the stack height and the somewhat voluminous upper might not be the best choice for super technical running on single track when the wrong foot landing might mean falling. I have a low volume foot, so other runners might disagree. That’s a really minor note for a shoe with an otherwise excellent ride. 

Jeff B: I can’t disagree with a word Canice or Renee has said. This thing is incredible on hard packed trails, but doesn’t have issues on technical terrain either. I’m not eyeing any ultras anytime soon, but regardless of distance, this would be my shoe of choice for virtually any trail race. As a heavy runner I don’t find the support or cushioning lacking in any way, and found that my time ran short well before my legs gave out on any of my Endorphin Edge runs, almost like little pink Fountains of Youth. 

Sam: Quick and agile feeling (when pushed), deeply and forgivingly cushioned, the plate mostly is a clear plus in the mix stabilizing the foam, protecting and giving a clear snappy impulse. I say mostly as the Edge is clearly designed to be pushed and for me ideally on smoother trail terrain, dirt roads, and even pavement where there it is a joy to run. 

It is capable on more technical terrain.. if you can push the pace. Get flat footed and slow and on more dancing terrain they can feel like you are “high and dry” if you can’t drive the plate. Most should head to the equally excellent more flexible Xodus Ultra for ultras at slower paces or on more technical terrain. This said, and a bit strangely,  they are also excellent at fast walk paces on steeps up and down.

Jeff V:  I echo what my colleagues state above.  The Endorphin Edge is exceptionally energetic, lively, well cushioned, bouncy and pure fun to run in.  Every time I put them on, I am just itching to go fast, though they still perform exceptionally well on my slower runs as well. Protection underfoot is very good, while maintaining enough flexibility to not feel like a liability when the trail gets technical.

Mike P:  I don’t plan to run slow in these shoes.  The ride is just that good - explosive, fast, fast “feeling”, and so much fun.  I’ll be reserving these for racing and fast running in the right conditions.  As Canice notes, the best conditions are smoother hard packed trails.  Perhaps moderately technical, but think - rocks and terrain that you can dance and maneuver around rather than having to go through and dance on top of.  I found that they can really fly when you can open up your stride.  Any type of rock hopping, or twisty technical terrain, and you lose the benefit of the propulsion and have to deal with some stiffness from the plate.

In some rocky sections I did notice a bit of instability at times and if I landed at the wrong angle, my foot got thrown unexpectedly to the side.  It’s not as serious as a very tippy monolithic rock plate, but something to be aware of.  In technical spots I was careful to spot my footfalls.  

In that terrain, I also noticed that the shoe felt stiffer.  When I had to move more laterally and focus on balancing in uneven terrain, I did feel a certain stiffness, especially around the midfoot.  Around mile 18 of my trail marathon, I started feeling some uncomfortable pain on the lateral edge of my right foot.  It could have also been due to the fact that I was basically running them right out the box, but I also believe the stiffness of the plate was a factor in the steeper, more uneven sections of terrain.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Canice: My experience has been when a footwear company designs a shoe for cushioning and distance they give up ground feel, and conversely when a footwear company designs a shoe for ground feel, you lose cushioning. What Saucony has done here is phenomenal. Not only do you get both cushioning and ground feel but thanks to the Carbite​​​​x 3-quarter carbon-fiber plate you get lots of pop with each stride, and it feels fast. This shoe may not be for everyone but it’s now my go to trail shoe .

Canice: As much as I don’t like paying $200 for running shoes I am afraid it’s the new normal (ugh!). The cost of everything is on the rise and running shoes are becoming more technical in materials, design and construction. At least you get a lot for your money with the Endorphin Edge. Besides, how much is a smile worth!

Canice: Score: 9.9/10

Ride: 10, Fit: 9.8, Value: 9.5, Style: 10, Traction: 10, Rock Protection: 10

Smiles  😊😊😊😊😊

New! The Smiles score is about how pleasing/fun (or in the case of race type shoe effective) the experience is on the run and to a somewhat lesser extent its upper comfort.

Renee: The Edge is a winner. $200 is costly, but appropriate for a plated trail shoe capable of being a fast and comfortable race option for a variety of distances and terrains. The midsole feel is perfect; soft enough for comfort at long distances yet responsive enough for speed thanks to the superb implementation of the carbon plate. If I had to improve anything, it would be the fit of the upper; The stability on uneven single track might improve with some change to the heel fit, although I’d hate to add any weight.

Renee’s score: 9.7/10 (-.15 cost/durability ratio, -.15 heel/upper hold)

Smiles  😊😊😊😊

Jeff B: It seems that Saucony has gone and made a trail focused super shoe with virtually zero compromises. The toebox is ample, the upper holds well, the outsole sticks to everything, the midsole has plenty of cushioning and bounce, the plate gives just a bit of spring to keep things in control - oh, and it weighs next to nothing. While it is $200, we’ve seen plenty of shoes well over that mark that don’t perform nearly as well. Runners looking to stand on podiums or just trying to finish will all be impressed by the Endorphin Edge.

Jeff B’s Score: 9.9/10

Ride: 10 Fit: Value: 9.5 Style: 10 Traction: 10 Rock Protection: 9.5

Smiles 😊😊😊😊😊

Sam: A rush to run fast,  the Edge is light, multi surface capable, highly and energetically cushioned racer/trainer with clear carbon plate impulse (and protection). The platform is incredibly leg friendly. 

It sets the bar high in the emerging trail super shoe race and most particularly for those mostly smooth fast Western US states single tracks and dirt roads run fast and where most of my testing and the others’ here occurred.

It likes to be pushed, the plate really activated more than jogged along.  There is a surprising amount of  highly protected and agile trail feel in the mix here as well, again most felt and effective at faster paces rather than slower ones particularly on more technical terrain taken on the run although it also hikes fantastically well. 

It is excellent on road and I would daily train in it there for most runs. It should also prove a near ideal winter snowy roads and muddy trails, understanding its highly breathable light upper will keep you as cool in winter as in summer! 

As a plated trail (and road)  hybrid with a wide range of uses and distances its only competitor is the Hoka Tecton X with the heavier, more stable and I think more effectively plated Scarpa Golden Gate Kima RT and Speedlands the more tech trails plated options. 

Understanding the focus here is an elite long distance race shoe, I personally would have liked to see a bit more flexible and dynamic plate that adjusts better to varied paces such as provided by the other Carbitex option, the DFX and a bit more substantial upper.. 

Sam’s Score: 9.36 / 10

Ride: 9.5  Fit: 9.5 Value: 8.8  Style: 9.5 Traction: 9  Rock Protection : 9.5

Smiles 😊😊😊😊

Jeff V:  The Edge is a blast to run in and will for sure be in the running for best trail shoe overall this year.  It is incredibly light, well cushioned, comfortable, stable, secure, agile, responsive and versatile, with a minimal (but secure) feeling upper and maximal feel underfoot.  It is impressive how much punch and performance Saucony put into the Edge, especially next to the Xodus Ultra, which I am also so impressed with.  

I think the Edge is best reserved as a race shoe for any distance and certainly capable for 100 milers given the comfort, cushion, protection and the  fast springy response for those who push the pace at the front of the pack.  While the Edge can handle technical terrain surprisingly well, it is ultimately not designed for such and for primarily tech terrain. I  would choose the Peregrine 12 and save the Edge for fast running/racing on moderate to less technical trails.  I can see using the Edge as an up tempo trainer as well, however at $200 a pop and the possibility of durability concerns, I personally would save this one for race day or special PR efforts.

Jeff V’s Score: 9.5/10

Ride: 10 Fit: 9.5 Value: 9 Style: 9.5 Traction: 9 Rock Protection: 10


Mike P:  I received the Edge, took them for a quick test run, then promptly ran a trail marathon the next day in them.  I ran 3:30 on a course with nearly 5k feet of gain, knocking 14+ minutes off my time from last year.  My initial plan was to run in OG Pulsars, so that just goes to show what I thought of the Endorphin Edge after that quick test run. 

The Edge feels like a game changer from Saucony.  These are a beast of a race shoe in the right terrain, I’d say the sweet spot being in the range of 26.2 to 50M.  But the sky's the limit, on the right course for the right runner, they’re easily a 100K - 100M shoe.

Mike P’s Score:  9.93 / 10

Ride: 10 - Explosive ! Fast !

Fit: 10 - Best mix of light weight, security, and comfort

Value: 10 - $200 is high, but “normal” trail shoes are going for $140-160 these days

Style: 10 - If you’re wearing this shoe, you need to announce it

Traction: 9.5 - Great in conditions it is suited for 

Rock Protection: 10 - PWWRUN PB + Carbitex plate is very effective

Smiles 😊😊😊😊😊


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Xodus Ultra (RTR Review)

Renee: Saucony showed up in 2022 with trail shoes! Both the Xodus Ultra and Edge are ultra distance capable. The Xodus is softer and more comforting underfoot, without the responsiveness of the Edge with its carbon-plate. The Xodus weighs a bit more than an ounce more in my women’s size 8, although neither shoe is heavy as compared to other trail shoes in similar categories. For all-day soft comfort, I’d choose the Xodus. For everything else, the Edge. 

Jeff B: Absolutely, both outstanding shoes and among the best trail options on the market. Similar to what Saucony did with the Endorphin Pro and the Endorphin Speed, the Xodus feels like the day-to-day dirt options with the Edge coming in for race days or big efforts - not that the Xodus doesn’t excel at those either. Can’t miss either way, the Xodus has a more supportive upper, especially around the heel, while the Edge has a little more under foot protection and cushioning. 

Sam: Agree with Renee and Jeff here. At $150 the Xodus Ultra is a better value with nearly the same fast and smooth trails capabilities and somewhat better slow and technical ones.  Its woven rock plate provides more mellow and more versatile propulsion, its EVA outer midsole frame  and same as Edge PWRRUn PB central core much of the same rebound as the Edge’s full PB midsole with a touch more overall stability and its upper is more supportive particularly at the heel (maybe overly so). It’s not the same rush as the Edge but is more versatile.

Jeff V:  All good points above.  I will add that for my use, I find the Edge has a more secure upper, where there is less give to the midfoot lacing and allows for more confidence when running in technical terrain, despite having a more stiff plate.

Mike P:  Agree with Jeff, and as I mentioned above - Edge feels as roomy as the Xodus Ultra, but more secure.  The lacing, especially that webbing loop, really lets you lock in more than the Xodus Ultra.  I think I’d prefer the Xodus Ultra for the really long stuff, and save the Edge for going really fast.  I felt more uneasy in uneven/technical terrain in the Edge, but perhaps that’s because I was racing very fast.  I’ll have to test more and see how they handle longer distance “ultra” paces.  Both great shoes.

Saucony Peregrine 12  (RTR Review)

Renee: Saucony had a great update to the Peregrine in 2022, with the shoe losing a good amount of weight from version 11. Still, the Edge is .50 ounce lighter in my women’s size 8 compared to the Peregrine 12. The Peregrine is lower to the ground and has a rock plate, making it more nimble and stable as compared to the Edge. For more technical terrain, the Peregrine is a good choice. For mixed terrain and/or ultra distances, the Edge is the winner. 

Jeff V:  Renee nails it, as the Peregrine is better for shorter, faster, more technical, where the Edge reigns supreme for faster, less technical running over longer distances. 

Mike P:  Peregrine is for sure lower to the ground and feels like it.  Due to that fact, it feels like you can really dig in and get better traction with the Peregrine despite having very similar outsoles.  The Edge is much faster and more cushioned, but keep the Peregrines in the quiver for the really technical stuff.

Hoka Tecton X  (RTR Review)

Sam: Very similar shoes on a number of levels including price with nearly identical stack heights and weights, carbon plates, and state of the art midsole foams. The Tecton is a 4mm drop shoe whereas Edge is 6mm with 3mm more heel cushion (felt) and 1mm more forefoot cushion. Overall the Tecton is a bit firmer and more responsive while Edge has a bouncier feel with Tecton having a layer of firmer supercritical foam below a soft and bouncy top layer. The Tecton X's dual plates and Vibram Light Base outsole make it stiffer with less front to back flex and less longitudinal flex and thus it not as stable up front on more technical terrain but more responsive and snappier than the Edge on the straights if somewhat firmer. 

While the Edge upper is all easy secure comfort, the light but somewhat denser less pliable Tecton upper and especially the heel and toe box are more secure if a touch narrower and lower volume and my upper preference.

Jeff V:  Sam gives a great comparison and I agree with all of it.  I find the Edge to be much more fun and energetic and for longer distances. I  appreciate the softer feel underfoot, as well as the more roomy and compliant upper (even for my narrow, low volume foot).

Hoka Speedgoat 5  (RTR Review)

Jeff B: The latest in Hoka’s fabled trail shoe line brought some subtle, but great improvements, giving it just a little more room up front, while not losing any great foothold and traction. While the midsole isn’t bad by any stretch, worn against the Edge it feels a bit like a relic, with less cushioning and bounce. The Speedgoat would be my choice for extremely technical terrain however, but I’d go Endorphin Edge for any other kind of run.

Sam: Jeff has it right.

Jeff V:  I agree with Jeff B in general, though do not see the SG5 midsole as “relic”, but instead just as less springy/bouncy/responsive, which for the more technical terrain and perhaps slower paces where I would select the SG5 and not necessarily a disadvantage, just two different purpose shoes.  SG5 is more secure, has a more protective upper, better traction and overall is more durable for many many miles over technical terrain, whereas the Edge is lighter and more lively/energetic for faster running/racing on less tech terrain.

Brooks Catamount (RTR Review)

Jeff B: One of my favorite “minimal-ish” trail shoes, the Catamount is a nimble and lightweight option compared to most trail shoes, but against the Edge it’s nearly an ounce heavier in the same size with decidedly less protection and traction. The Edge does everything the Catamount was trying for, and then some - which makes the $40 price difference sting a little less. The Catamount is a great trail shoe, but the Edge outclasses it by a country mile.

Jeff V:  Agreed with Jeff B.  I’ll also say that the Edge has far superior cushioning, where the Catamount can feel very firm, even a bit harsh at times.  The Edge also has a more secure upper and is more adept on technical terrain and moderate terrain, where the Catamount can feel a bit insecure.

Mike P: “The Edge does everything the Catamount was trying for, and then some” - YES.  I’ll also note that the Catamount upper is not in the same league as the Edge.  It's kind of generic, doesn’t wrap the foot well, and the heel cup is vertical and rigid.  Yes, the Catamount is outclassed in every category.

Speedland SL  (RTR Review)

Sam: Almost double the price, modular with its plate removable, and featuring a similar PEBA midsole and the more dynamically flexing Carbitex DFX plate, the Speedland has two advantages over the Edge: a truly superb easy to BOA dials and adjust upper and its more dynamic flexing plate which is any pace and terrain more friendly than Edge’s. Thus on tech terrain Speedland.  It lags on less technical terrain and in overall cushion that is for sure and is not as good an option for hard smooth surfaces. 

Jeff V:  Agreed with Sam above and I would add that the Speedland is better for all terrain mountain running, but in comparison to the Edge, is a much slower, heavier workhorse sort of the shoe, where the Edge is all about speed.

Scarpa Golden Gate Kima RT  (RTR Review)

Sam: Considerably heavier, denser in foam feel with a very well executed flexible carbon plate, the Kima is the more technical trails complement to the Edge in carbon trail shoes. Its plate is yet more propulisve on uphills, its stability is superior, and its upper more armored. I ran similar terrain (not very tech) and distance (half and 25K) trail races in the Kima and Edge and despite the felt weight difference had a smoother go of it in Kima as when tired I could still activate its plate better than Edge’s.

Jeff V:  In contrast to Sam above, I found the Kima to be less propulsive on uphills, although I will confess that much of that is likely a result of the Kima weighing 3 ounces more per shoe.  Kima is far superior for all mountain use, with a more durable and competent outsole, more secure and protective upper and overall a more rugged durable design, where the Edge is better suited for fast running/racing on less technical terrain.

Mike P:  I found the Kima to be fast for its weight, but not “Edge” fast.  The Kima is definitely more armored, and designed for skyrunning-type, alpine terrain.  The Kima also has a strangely shaped upper - wide at the forefoot, then pointy, but long, and shallow over the top.  The fit is unique, and you’d have to test it out for yourself.  Edge is far superior in any type of smooth to moderate terrain.

Altra Mont Blanc (RTR Review)

Jeff B: This Altra debuted with a lot of promise this year, lightweight with a large stack of their impressive midsole material, Ego MAX. And while there was a lot to applaud, the minimal upper construction caused quite a bit of heel slip and foot hold issues - while the Edge’s similar lightweight upper didn’t cause the same problem. The Altra has a wider toebox, as expected, and a little more stack height up front but the Edge has it in ride, midsole, traction, and protection. The Mont Blanc is an interesting step forward for Altra, and I’m excited to see what a bit of iterating does, the Edge is incredible right out of the gate.

Sam: Agree with Jeff here. Zero drop, less than ideal heel hold yet a with a nearly as dynamic midsole the Mont Blanc needs a few adjustments to compete. 

Salomon S/Lab Pulsar SG (RTR Review)

Sam: Comparing to the SG version here as the additional lug height provides more cushion than the regular along with comparable traction to the Edge. Over 2 oz / 57g  lighter!,  not quite as cushioned but getting close with a 32/26 stack to the Edge’s 36/30, the Pulsar has a narrower  heel landing platform, an almost as energetic foam, a snug race fit upper, and a hardened foam plate for protection and some clearly felt propulsion. It is incredibly fast and versatile. Would I run it as regularly as the Edge, no, but it not only handles the smooth equally as well with plenty of cushion but it can tackle climbing and the technical rock dancing better. Not as long distance capable and comfortable on smooth or as forgiving, it is the standard for fast on any trail and as I found also is fantastic on road. Clear choice for Pulsar for short and fast here with a pairing to Edge for other runs.

Jeff V:  Sam sums this comparison well.  All valid points and would concur that the Edge is better suited for longer distances.  Despite all the awesomeness packed into the tiny Pulsar, I find that they can still feel a bit too minimal for longer days on my feet and reach for them for shorter, faster efforts where low weight, max agility, traction, stability are paramount.

Mike P:  The Pulsar is an amazing shoe, the weight is still far below anything on the market right now.  I think the Pulsars definitely win out for climbing (that low weight!), and also rock dancing.  They’re so light and nimble, plus you don’t have the diciness of the carbon plate in the mix.  But the Edge is so fast, efficient, and more cushioned for longer distances.  Choosing between the two will definitely be race course dependent.  I’d say the main factor would be technicality, as well as how much of the course would be openly runnable.  Anything skewing more technical, and up/down, I’d lean Pulsar.  But courses leaning more open and runnable, I’d go Edge.

Watch Jeff Valliere's Endorphin Edge Initial Video Review (9:04)

The Endorphin Edge is available at Saucony HERE and at our other partners below

Tester Profiles

Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons.

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 30 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. Mike recently finished 3nd at the Scout Mountain (Idaho) 50 mile trail ultra. Mike shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, with plenty of forefoot space, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

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 in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and curre ntly preferred shoes

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Unknown said...

Jeff V's take????

Anonymous said...

Hello RTR. Any word on when ASICS will be releasing a 2nd version of the trabuco max trail shoe? Also will Salomon be releasing a 5th version of the sense ride? And last but not least when is Nike releasing the zegama zoom x trail running shoe. ?

Bobcat said...

There is no Sense Ride 5, only a colorway refresh
Nike Zegama Trail is coming 7.7.22
Trabuco max no info and it's late in the season

Anonymous said...

Out here in Vermont, the outsole of the Xodus Ultra does NOT handle wet rocks and roots well at all, so a shoe like this with the same outsole would scare me.

Mike P said...

Anon- Have you tried anything from VJ? Our VJ Ultra 2 review is coming soon, and its a great update. Their outsoles can typically handle everything.

Mitchell Watkins said...

Hi, I was wondering if the Endorphin Edge or Hoka Tecton X is stiffer in the forefoot? I have big toe arthritis so it is best to have a stiff shoe (run in Bondi X on roads). Thanks! Mitch

Mike P said...

Mitchell- I haven't tried the Tecton X yet, I think Jeff V can probably chime in on this one. But I'll just say that I didn't find the stiffness of the Edge too noticeable in the forefoot. The one-way flex of the Carbitex plate seems to allow a good amount of flex - the flex point being around the ball of the foot. From what I've heard, the Tecton X sounds like a firmer ride.

David said...

Hi Testers,

when you conclude the comparison between Pulsar SG and Edge you agree that Pulsar is for fast and short and Edge for long and smooth (and fast).
As Trailruns can varie strong in terms of mileage, can you give a number or range when you would do the shoe switch?

Best regards,

Mike P said...

Hi David-

It's so hard to judge, so much is based on terrain as well as personal preference in terms of feel and level of cushioning, etc. I'll try my best two answer 2 ways, both objectively and subjectively, and throw some distances out.

Pulsar has a much narrower platform, so less stable generally, and slightly firmer and less cushion. If you're a very efficient runner with good form you can stretch them into longer distances where they would start to feel more unstable and harsh for most runners. On smooth-moderate terrain, I'd say generally anywhere from super short races up to 26.2 for most runners.

Edge is a bit wider, more stable, and most importantly for most runners, a bit softer and more cushioned. On smooth-moderate terrain, the Edge is good anywhere from super short races up to 50M for most runners. For efficient runners, in the right terrain I could easily see them being a 100K - 100M shoe.

Personally, I've raced the OG Pulsar up to 50M in smooth-moderate terrain, but with ~9k ft. elevation gain. My feet felt it by the end, but weren't totally wrecked. I just raced the Edge 26.2M in smooth-moderate terrain (~5k ft. gain) and they felt good. I had some soreness on the outside of my right foot, but I did run them right out of the box with no testing or break-in.

Hope that helps.

Rob Peters said...

Hi, I've been reading your reviews of trail shoes extensively for the last year and I love them! In terms of trail running, since then I've done the Bridger Ridge Run outside of Bozeman, MT, Tahoe 100 km (Destination Trails) and some shorter runs around Michigan. I'm gearing up for Scummy Summer Slammer a 3 day (not continuous) ultra mountain running event outside of Bozeman. I bought a nice scale to start weighing my shoes (typically a size 12) after pouring over all the information you share and all the shoe choices out there. One of my biggest surprises is that in size 12, the Saucony Endorphin Edge ends up weighing the heaviest (at 11.65 oz) in a group including: inov-8 TUG G270 11.1 oz, Brooks Catamount V1 11.2, Salomon ultraglide V1 11.35, Speedgoat Evo (size 12.5) 11.55, Saucony Exodus Ultra 11.63 and Speedgoat 5 11.65. And I've weighed two different pair both ordered from road runner sports. In the first pair they sent me the left shoe was 12.3 oz and the right shoe was 11.5. That seemed like a defect so I exchanged them. The new pair was 11.8 (L), 11.5 (R). So all this is to say that I am quite surprised this shoe is so heavy relative to others in size 12, especially when a big part of the excitement about this shoe is how light it is. I have not run in it yet and I"m thinking about sending it back and getting the catamount 2 given how great the reviews are for that. Could this be a manufacturing defect after they sent out the "early release" shoes? Have any of you gotten a follow-up pair and weighed them? Thank you for any insight!!

I will add that according to published weights in size 9, the salamon UG V1 should be the heaviest, but it falls right near the average (11.3) for the group and below the median (11.45). And I"ve weighed two different brand new pair of UG in size 12. That is a bit of a surprise, but not nearly as big of a discrepancy as seen in the relative published versus measured weight of the Saucony endorphin edge. Thoughts? Thanks again for sharing all the great insights!

Mike P said...

Hey Rob-

First off, thanks for reading and it's great to hear that kind of feedback. I'm pretty surprised by the weights that you got. Before checking my shoe spreadsheet, I'm almost certain that the Endo Edge would be the lightest of the shoes that you mentioned. I just know then even holding the shoe in hand - it feels noticeably light compared to pretty much everything outside of Pulsar or Kjerag.

It's an interesting question as to whether sizing affects shoe weight - maybe due to differences in the volume of different materials that make up the shoe? But I would still expect the differences to be marginal. The fact that your Edges are the highest is very curious.

These are my weights in US 9.5 or 10.0 depending on the shoe -
Edge - 9.2
G270 - 9.8
Catamount 2 - 9.8
Ultraglide 2 - 10.2
EVO SG - 9.2
Xodus Ultra 2 - 10.0
Speedgoat 5 - 10.7