Running is a little bit like poetry. It as a cadence to it – a flow that showcases beauty, pain, and emotions all rolled into one. So it only makes sense that someone would come along, and actually combine the two mediums.
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD comes about as close as humanly possible, with the last line from the Robert Frost poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” making its mark on the shoe – literally. Let’s dive a little bit more into this.
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is one of three in the “Endorphin family”. Think of them this way:
- Pro = Carbon-plated for race day performance
- Speed = Nylon plated for speed (duh) and intervals
- Shift = Foam cushion for an everyday cushioned ride
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is a super unique shoe to look at. If you happen to just glance at it in passing, it appears relatively basic. The primary black colorway on the upper takes over about half the shoe with a secondary creamy cool blue on the chunky, angular midsole taking over the bottom half. The black laces have some minor color accents that tie the shoe together nicely. It’s a really beautiful and simple looking shoe.
However, dive a little deeper and it amps things up a little further. The title of the Frost poem (mentioned above) is written on a small tag adorning the gusseted tongue. The phrase is a reminder that these shoes are geared for those wet winter runs. And on the inside of the tongue is the last line itself:
Couple that stanza with internal graphics of pinecones and leaves, and dang it if these aren’t a super cool themed shoe. These shoes come in one color only, and we are here for it.
But this shoe is not all about looks.
Fit & Construction:
We have been reviewing a lot of sleek, looking shoes thus far in 2023, and we have seen a gradual shift towards lighter colors. That may be a bit of a generalization, but we noticed it. White shoes are super sleek and fun, but unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest weather is not always kind to them.
There have been more than a few occasions where I think twice, or thrice, about what shoe to wear on a run solely because I want to destroy the pristine colorway. Even though the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is black, that last word in it’s name really makes this a shoe you will never have to worry about tackling the elements in.
The mesh upper is quite nice, though it’s not the most breathable one you will ever try. However, that’s by design. Saucony’s RUNSHIELD tech is water-resistant, meaning that from September through April – you should be pretty good here in the PNW. We wouldn’t recommend standing in puddles for long periods of time, but these will for sure keep you dryer than most other alternatives.
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD has many of the same qualities that the non-RUNSHIELD version has (and a variety of other Saucony shoes as well). Expect a 39mm/35mm stack – relatively high, but not what you’d expect, or call, “max cushion”. They have the tried and true SPEEDROLL tech to boost you forward, with an added modification of a firmer heel and softer midsole. That makes the SPEEDROLL a little more robust and, to me, more comfortable.
The PWRRUN foam cushioning is also back and it seems a little more cushioned than others. It’s a super comfortable ride – something necessary in the wet weather when the rest of your body may be screaming in agony.
In a shoe that is designed to tackle the weather, a solid outsole is a must. The XT-900 rubber outsole has held up pretty good thus far. It’s not super “luggy” (definitely geared for road running), but seems to get the job done.
What is unique in the outsole is a narrow groove that runs from the back to about midway (a “torsional heel groove” as they describe it). It is designed to provide a smoother transition from heel to forefoot. I didn’t necessarily notice anything super different about it when running, but it may be one of those things where the modifications are happening on a micro level.
The outsole also has an amply wider base, meaning that the foot has some room to land and stay stable instead of it being a more snug fit. It’s not a “wide” shoe, but I think most feet will fit nicely.
We have been pretty obsessed with this shoe. It’s a daily trainer that is more than capable of handling most mileages along the way. It took us a bit to get out in these, as even though we received in January – it happened to be in the middle of a weird dry (but cold!) period. These can absolutely be worn in dry weather, but with a name like RUNSHIELD – bring on the wet!