Monday, February 06, 2023

Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RunShield Review

Article by Jeff Beck

Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RunShield ($160)


The Endorphin Shift has been Saucony’s easy daily trainer in the Endorphin line, to complement the uptempo trainer/speedwork Endorphin Speed and race day shoe Endorphin Pro

All three iterations of the Shift have used Saucony’s more traditional (read: firmer) midsole, PWRRUN, and an aggressive geometry/forefoot rocker to get the shoe moving. While it is a highly stacked shoe, the firm material gives it plenty of inherent stability. The Runshield version is all of that, plus a water resistant upper and a Robert Frost quote.


One of the best uses of aggressive geometry

Big slab of firm foam works well

All day comfort underneath the foot


Runshield toebox feels more constrained

Traction is average at best with lots of exposed midsole


Weight: men's 9.4 oz  / 266g (US9)  /  women's 8.1 oz / 229g (US8)  

  Samples: men’s  10.3 z  / 292g (US10.5)

Stack Height: 39mm heel / 35mm forefoot, 4mm drop 

Available now. $160

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

I didn’t review the standard Endorphin Shift 3, but I was part of the team that reviewed the 1 and 2 - and while the 3 got some subtle changes, if you’d have blindfolded me I couldn’t tell you the difference once they are on the foot. The massive stack of PWRRUN and forefoot rocker is unmistakable, and several years in, it still works very well for all manner of easy runs.

The upper uses their thicker Runshield material, which doesn’t carry the Gore-Tex brand name many running shoes water resistant models do, and as a result doesn’t have a separate waterproof lining - the entire upper is now a thicker and less breathable material. 

The tongue is partially gusseted, enough so that it stays in place, but it doesn’t expand the water resistance to the gusset, so if you dunk your foot in water that’s deep enough to get to the laces your foot will get wet. It’s a bit of a miss, because it makes the water resistant element of the shoe much less effective. 

Also, the thicker upper makes the toebox more narrow. 

We’re not talking 2014 Hoka levels of narrow, but it does pinch enough that after 45-60 minutes, I’m ready to be done - which is a step backward from the previous standard editions. 

There isn’t much of a heel collar, most of the shape is lended to the upper from the midsole, which allows the foot to sit inside like the Hoka bucket seat analogy. It has plenty of give in the midfoot to heel, but doesn’t feel flimsy. The ES3RS runs true to size in length, and overall its width isn’t problematic, just in the toebox


The PWRRUN midsole got some new styling, but it very much remains the same midsole they’ve used for the previous two versions. There’s a plastic heel clip around the perimeter of the heel, but it doesn’t seem to do a whole lot considering the already firm nature of PWRRUN. The midsole’s width seems underwhelming at first for stability, considering the shoe’s gargantuan stack height, but the midsole’s firmness should assuage any fears you have. If they tried to recreate this shoe with their PWRRUN+ midsole I think it’d be a gloriously comfortable disaster as it allows much more sink in than its less premium little brother. 

The Speedroll technology That Saucony calls out for the front  geometry continues to work well, making you want to move forward even when standing still.


Saucony used minimal rubber, with a relatively narrow strip of rubber that runs nearly the entire perimeter of the outsole and introduces a single stripe running up the middle of the shoe. 

Otherwise, it’s all exposed midsole that’s got a few underwhelming (for traction) lugs in the forefoot. I don’t see outsole failure being a concern, due to the firm midsole and strategic rubber placement, though the traction is fine at best. Considering this is supposed to be a wet weather shoe, I’m more than a little disappointed with the outsole’s grip.


Speedroll technology is more than just a clever name, Saucony has clearly figured out updated geometry with the best of them. This shoe runs smoothly at all speeds , foregoing any kind of bounce for a constant flow forward. It rides virtually identically to the previous iterations of the shoe, and that’s not a bad thing in the slightest. No need to rework what is already working very well.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The cramped toebox makes an all day shoe wear out its welcome in the first hour or so, and the water resistance of the shoe is underwhelming without a gusset of the water resistant material to prevent water from soaking the foot. Wet traction isn’t great, which all points to the same conclusion for me - this is an okay version of a great shoe. The standard Endorphin Shift 3 would be my ultimate recommendation (even for runners in wet climates, the water resistant nature of the ES3 doesn’t go far enough to be effective) so you can save $10 and get a more breathable upper with more  forefoot room.

Score 8.15/10

Ride: 9 Fit: 7 Value: 7 Style: 10



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Endorphin Shift 1 & 2 (RTR Review)

Virtually the same shoe, the Shift has had minor changes over the last few years that really disappear once you start running. All versions have been pretty great, as long as you are a fan of the geometry of the shoe, outshining  any updated midsole material.

ASICS Glideride 3 (RTR Review)

Another shoe that leans heavily into modern geometry, the Glideride 3 also has two different midsole materials, both softer than the Saucony PWRRUN in the ES3, as well as a reinforced plate. Plus, the ASICS outsole is much grippier than the Saucony, so even run in the wet, I’d lean toward the ASICS.

Saucony Triumph 20 (RTR Review)

One of my favorite shoes of all time, Saucony’s other big stacked trainer goes the other way with it, focusing more on the updated PWRRUN+ midsole with a subtle forefoot rocker and more drop at 10mm. The Triumph has a much more dynamic ride and a substantially more plush upper as well. The Shift wins the water resistant battle, but otherwise, the Triumph sweeps the table.

Tester Profile

Jeff Beck 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 20 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.

The Endorphin Shift 3 RunShield and other Saucony RunShield shoes are available now


Running Warehouse US SHOP HERE

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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1 comment:

Viktos said...

Huge fan of the sole and how it feels, but upper mesh material wasn't for me... Still a great pair of running shoes!