Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Review: Shifting Into High Gear
Weighs 9.4 oz. (266 g.) for a US M9 / 8.1 oz. (229 g.) for a US W7
Got even thicker but somehow lighter
We’re suckers for a good monochrome colorway
Man, remember manual shift cars?
Available October 4 for $150
THOMAS: My first cars all had manual shift transmissions. If you’ve ever driven one, you know how much experience helps. I have vivid memories of jerking violently in the driver’s seat, searching for the sweet spot somewhere in the clutch. I also have explicit (i.e. terrifying) memories of prematurely shifting while merging onto a highway and suddenly losing my power to accelerate. Eventually, I got better, finally learning to merge into any traffic with buttery ease. Where’s all this going? The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3, of course.
I feel like the old days of learning how to drive stick and the development cycle of the Saucony Endorphin Shift are an apt comparison. The first two versions were a bit stiff and unforgiving — some might even say jerky — compared to the most recent version. Now, the Shift 3 shows us where Saucony might be headed with its everyday Endorphin. If you liked the last version, buckle up because the Shift is in high gear.
LINDSAY: I had a major fangirl moment when I found out the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 was coming my way. Its siblings, the Speed and Pro, have been staples in my training rotation for a while, and I was stoked to complete the trio. Unlike those two with their race-ready features, the Endorphin Shift takes a decidedly everyday approach. I like to think of it as the gentle giant in Saucony’s speedy family.
Instead of a giddy-up pop, the Endorphin Shift 3 stakes its claim as the calm after the storm. It’s a shoe for the runs that we say will be easy (and should be) but always end up too fast. You know the ones. Why is it a shoe for those runs? Simple — the Endorphin Shift 3 forces you to slow down and savor your steps thanks to a little extra PwrRun cush.
It has all the makings of a daily trainer, so let’s get to the highlights.
THOMAS: While the Shift has a high stack, I wouldn’t have described it as a max cushioned trainer in the past. Even with the 39mm heel and 35mm forefoot, it’s never been a plush shoe. The PwrRun midsole has historically been firmer, but it seems like Saucony has found a way to soften it up this year. It’s a simple change, in theory, but one that brings the shoe to life and makes it feel much better. Saucony’s Speedroll geometry is nothing new to the Endorphin series, but the Shift 3 takes a slightly different approach. It relies on a firmer heel to add stability and guide you through a more forgiving midsole and out of a quick toe spring.
I don’t know what Saucony is feeding their designers, but whatever it is, keep it up cause the uppers this year have been dialed in and spectacular. The Shift 3’s mesh upper with welded overlays and an all-important gusseted tongue does an excellent job of locking your foot onto the thick stack of PwrRun foam. At the same time, the large plastic heel cup that’s helped to define previous versions has finally been trimmed down to a light sliver. It kinda breaks up the previously blocky design, which helps to free the Shift 3 from looking like an orthopedic device. I guess we have to say something about the outsole, too. If you like rubber, the Shift has it on the outsole and works fine for grip and durability.
My miles in the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 were more enjoyable than I expected. The fit is top-notch, the ride is forgiving without being mushy, and the all-white look I received is slick. Did I mention the shoe lost an ounce despite the extra 2mm of foam? My US M10.5 weighs 10.25 oz. (292 g.).
LINDSAY: Given the success of the previous Endorphin line, including the Shift, I was curious to see how Saucony could continue to one-up itself. First, the upper. I’m going to work my way backward and start with the heel because the new beveled heel is a sweet, sweet update that keeps the ride smooth and stable. Add a bit of cushioning and some side walls, and my foot was cradled without ripping up my Achilles. A lightweight, breathable mesh kept things cool and comfortable through the forefoot. The Endorphin Shift 3 was good to go from the second I put it on with virtually no lace adjustment — a true-to-size fit on all accounts.
On to the middle child. I mean midsole. It’s thicker than a Snicker, or at least the previous version — and more supportive. Like I said earlier, Saucony added 2mm of PwrRun foam. Perhaps more importantly, the PwrRun material has evolved in its own right and is now lighter, which means the shoe is lighter despite the extra material. Well done, Saucony. The stack height is higher in the forefoot, so there’s a lot of propulsion with each stride. Props to the Endorphin Shift 3 for saying: “The Pro can keep its Carbon plate, and the Speed can keep its Nylon, I’m just doing me, and that’s enough.”
The outsole is similar to the previous versions, other than the heel. It’s still soft on each landing, with little to no wear and tear after 30-plus miles. The durability is strong with this one.
We can’t leave this section without talking about the design. Capital B-E-A-utiful. I love these colorways. The white/gum combo is crisp and clean, with the gold Saucony logo moved to the heel of the midsole to open up the … upper. Not only does this design shine on the run, but, as Thomas said, I could see myself wearing this throughout my workday or on a casual outing just for kicks.
THOMAS: I don’t have any negatives for the Endorphin Shift 3. It’s not that it’s a perfect shoe. I just can’t think of anything I would change. I would guess this shoe accomplished what the designers set out to do.
The odd thing about the shoe is that the Endorphin Shift 3 doesn’t fit squarely in any running category. If forced, I would put it in the daily trainer category. Even with the high stack height, I don’t consider it a max cushion shoe.
LINDSAY: Does anyone hear that? It’s Crime Mob singing “Stilettos (Pumps)” while I strut in my stacked-high-AF Endorphin Shift 3. I was so scared of ending up with Robbe ankles during my first few steps in the shoe. It was like watching a baby calf getting its footing, except without the David Attenborough narration. Thankfully the outsole is wide enough that you don’t get the same wobbly, unbalanced feel that the Pro and Speed sometimes give off.
Oh, that’s just me? Ok. There were a lot of upgrades to this model, and I wouldn’t actually change any of them — including the stack height.
THOMAS: Without knowing where this shoe fits in, I can say it works for all kinds of mileage. I could see using this shoe for 90% of my running needs. I’m a sucker for monochromatic shoes right now, and these all-white joints with the gum sole hit right. I’ve been wearing the Shift 3 as a casual shoe with no regrets. It’s just that comfortable. At $150, the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 is a big thumbs up from me. I’m confident all levels of runners will enjoy what this shoe has to offer.
LINDSAY: The Endorphin line, throughout its evolution, has not disappointed, and the Shift 3 is no exception. Building on the previous two models, it continues to offer plenty of firm cushion without ruining the Speedroll technology or toe spring. It brings the Endorphin line full circle, keeping it all-inclusive for runners and workouts alike. If I had to pick a mantra for the Endorphin Shift 3, it would be “work smarter, not harder.” And all for $150? Say less.
You can pick up the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 for $150 on October 4 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.
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As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’ goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Kinvara 2, Hoka Clifton 1, Nike Alphafly Next%More from Thomas
Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.
All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%More from Lindsay
I feel like the shift 3 is what adidas tried doing with the Boston 10/11? A max stack trainer for their racing shoes ? Both have good stability and stack but the Boston is much firmer ?