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Road Running Shoes • October 4, 2021

The Saucony Endorphin Speed Runshield is a Fair-Weather Friend

saucony endorphin speed runshield - feature

What You Need To Know

    • Weighs 7.9 oz. (225 g) for a US M9 / 7 oz. (200 g) for a US W8
    • Redesigned mono-mesh upper meant for weather-resistance
    • ColdTrac rubber outsole is softer and grippier in colder conditions
    • Water-resistant and waterproof are two VERY different things
    • Available now for $180

The Intro

ROBBE: If you know anything about us, you know that the Saucony Endorphin Speed is one of our favorite shoes out there. After all, we did give it our best overall shoe of 2020 award. Luckily they didn’t change much in version 2, save for some slight upper changes. And then, out of nowhere, we get the Runshield version.

To be honest, we didn’t know we were even getting the Runshield version or that it was a thing. Hell, we’ve never even run in a Runshield shoe by Saucony, which is essentially their version of a weather-resistant version. Other shoes in the lineup have come in Runshield editions, but this is the first for an Endorphin.

So what does Runshield mean? Essentially, the Runshield in the Endorphin Speed is comprised of two parts. First, it features a water-resistant mono-mesh style upper (note: water-resistant does not mean waterproof, more on that later). Underneath the shoe, the traction is improved with a different outsole rubber called ColdTrac, which is essentially grippier and stickier in colder weather.

Other than that, the shoe is essentially the same in terms of ride – still features that sweet PWRRUN PB midsole with a Pebax plate and Speedroll geometry. That said, this is my favorite version of the Endorphin Speed yet, if – you stay out of the rain. Paradoxical, but true.

saucony endorphin speed runshield - medial

The Good

ROBBE: What’s good is good and has been good – if you have any experience with the Endorphin Speed, you know what I’m talking about. The ride of this shoe is still one of the best out there. It can accommodate anything from daily training to tempo runs to race day. The PWWRRUN PB midsole provides the perfect amount of pop and cushion. Combined with the Speedroll technology of the shoe, when you get up to speed this shoe just rolls through the stride. 

Now, let’s talk about the improvements in the Runshield edition, because this is my favorite version of the shoe to date. Not because it’s weather-resistant (it’s really not, by the way), but because it looks better, feels better, and grips better than ever before. 

Looks-wise, this is like a Piet Mondrian come to life in shoe form – if he were into triangles. Interpretation: I love the color scheme and design; it’s definitely a head-turner and you’ll get a lot of compliments. I also really like the mono-mesh material over the previous versions’ engineered mesh. It seems to add more structure to the upper and give a more secure fit which was one of the few dings against the Endorphin Speed 1 & 2. Now, is it water-resistant? Um… if you’re talking about the lightest misty morning fog, then yes. Otherwise, no.

Surprisingly, the upper is fairly breathable. My first run in the shoe was a 10-mile long run in 90-degree weather and I didn’t feel that my feet were any hotter than normal. I thought for sure that was going to be the case, so it was a pleasant surprise when they stayed in the average sweat zone, whatever that is.

The outsole rubber is improved over the other versions as well. Coldtrac is a stickier, gummier rubber meant to stay soft in temperatures where more traditional rubbers harden. While it isn’t quite that cold here yet in the Mid-Atlantic, it definitely felt like a better grip in general.

One last thing – despite using a different upper material and adding things like a pull tab on the heel – this shoe weighs the exact same as the Endorphin Speed 2 (we’ve even seen lighter, depending on factory differences). That’s significant.

Shop Runshield – Men Shop Runshield – Women

The Bad

ROBBE: I just don’t understand the Runshield thing. Generally I don’t understand waterproof or Gore-Tex shoes in general because if water does get in (which it will), then you’re screwed on both ends. Now you have a heavy shoe that’s even heavier.

My opinion on any shoe in wet conditions is – just suck it up. You’re running for like an hour, just deal with it. Yeah your toes are cold and wet, but post-run it makes that warm shower and Deckers KO-Z slides feel even better.

All that said, I really, really, don’t get the Runshield thing. It’s not even close to being waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. If you even step in a puddle the water is through the upper faster than a bullet through the head of a Squid Game contestant. I was so confused because I just assumed it was waterproof. Literally – what is the point of a water-resistant upper??

At least don’t call it Runshield, which implies it will indeed shield you from water. Because it shields about as good as a paper sieve. That said, it may work fine in shedding light snow, but are you really gonna wear that outsole on a snow day run? Doubtful.

Finally, the price is $180, which is $20 more than the regular version. May be worth it just for the colorway, but you’re not getting a huge advantage in terms of weatherproofing. I’ve worn my Endorphin Speed 1 many times in the pouring rain and I see no discernible advantage of picking up the Runshield over the regular versions for rainy runs.

Shop Runshield – Men Shop Runshield – Women saucony endorphin speed runshield - heel

Saucony Endorphin Speed Runshield Conclusion

ROBBE: There are two weather-type scenarios where this shoe will be advantageous: super light mist or cold weather runs where snow is just beginning to fall. So that’s about three days of the year here in Baltimore. That said, throwing all-weather protection expectations aside – as just a regular shoe, I prefer this over both Endorphin Speeds. I think it looks way cooler, I do enjoy the mono-mesh upper, and I think it provides better overall fit and security. Especially since it weighs the same amount. Plus, improved traction is always nice.

I think there’s an interesting case to be made for this as a go-to winter shoe, though be aware of the limitations and shortcomings of the Runshield name.

You can pick up the Saucony Endorphin Speed Runshield for $180 by using the shop links below.

Shop Runshield – Men Shop Runshield – Women saucony endorphin speed runshield - outsole


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Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Adam says:

    Here’s a question – which running shoe that you have tried is the best (or least bad) with regards to waterproof abilities?

    1. Robbe Reddinger says:

      Anything with GTX in the name is fully waterproof and works great. Brooks has a bunch of these, as does Nike and HOKA.

  2. Yisselle says:

    I been working for 11 years in the shoe manufactory industry, with Gore-Tex and other material suppliers, I performed the Gore Tex training for the 100% water proof tests of the products. Also I run and live in a tropical island (Puerto Rico) that it rains almost every day. As a quality coordinator for the company that i work, i have to send our shoes and boots for the end item testing to the Wolverine labs. My experience with the endorphins speed runshield is amazing, they are very comfortable, lightweight and for real the material is waterproof. Obviously if the water is higher than you ankles your feet gets wet, because the waterproof is the material. For me visually and functionally the quality is very high. Really worth paying the price.

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