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Are your daily runs going flat? Are you running on the hamster wheel and not getting anything out of it? The Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 might just be the entertaining shoe that gets you feeling the warm and fuzzies for running again.
Saucony stepped up their game with the Shift 2, improving last year's model by dialing in the fit of the upper fit and heel cup. That being said, our reviewers had mixed feelings on the width of the shoe, with Keith commenting the forefoot felt "pretty narrow with very little stretch," and Toni saying the shoe felt snug to begin with but ultimately molded to her foot.
This year's model kept the original shoe's 4mm drop and significant cushioning, allowing runners to turn over quickly for fast miles with cushioning designed to take the impact. This shoe may have the stack height of a max cushion shoe, but it remains firm and peppy, like any shoe with the Endorphin name should.
HEEL TO TOE OFFSET: 4mm (38mm heel/34mm forefoot)
WEIGHT: 9.2oz / 253g women's, 10.4oz / 296g men's
USE: Road running
SURFACE: Road, track, urban
Keith: The one negative aspect to the Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 is the toebox. It is pretty narrow with very little stretch. It runs slightly long so still provided enough room for me, but if you have a truly wide foot, this might be an issue for you. But it does get better from there. The midfoot locks down nicely, wrapping the foot with no pressure points or gaps to speak of. This helped my foot feel supported from the ground up. The heel cup is wrapped with substantial plastic support that holds the back of the foot in place and gives the shoe a really balanced feel. The ankle collar and tongue are covered in a soft, smooth material. It's not thick, but it does feel super plush and comfortable. The shoe fits well in the heel, with no sliding up and down in my experience. I wish I could spread my toes just a bit more but other than that the shoe feels great with no rubbing and no major blister risks.
Is there a lot of cushion in this shoe? Yes!! Is it soft? Nope!! That's not to say that it is so hard that it feels harsh, but if you are expecting pillows under your feet, you will be disappointed. This shoe may have the stack height of a max cushion shoe, but it remains firm and peppy, like any shoe with the Endorphin name should. The firmness also provides a ton of support for long miles, especially when you add in the heel counter and an ever so slight stability posting. The Speedroll platform allows for an easy turnover and quick transition.
The Endorphin Shift 2 tends to run slightly long, but I'm actually grateful for that as the toebox may otherwise fit too tight. I still went with my traditional size.
Toni: At first glance, the Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 does not look like your traditional daily trainer. It has this high stack height cushion and sleek design very similar to a spaceship. (I can only hope it can help my runs blast off!) The toe box is a traditional mediums width. After my first 3 mile run, the fit became a little more natural, which I enjoy since I have a more volume-sized foot. The heel fit is secured by a reinforced plastic to keep your heel in place while smashing miles. Length is spot on. Last year’s model seemed a bit snug and I had to size up. The tongue and upper construction are lighter weight and seem to disappear on my foot.
The cushion, as I mentioned already is out of this world. It’s stacked up higher than regular running shoes. You instantly gain a height advantage over your competition by wearing them! The midsole itself is Saucony’s PWRRUN which is responsive, supportive, and just solid. Saucony did a great job building up the PWRRUN to create a SPEEDROLL rocking motion with each step.
The fit is slightly snug to me at first. But I do have a wider toe box foot shape. After one run the fit settled in and felt great.
Keith: Stability is one of the strengths of Shift 2. Everything about it feels balanced, from the low 4mm drop, strong heel counter, and a bit of a post that provides good ankle and arch support. I like that it doesn't have to have a super-wide footprint in order to feel this way.
Toni: The PWRRUN midsole is denser than most models. It does give me incredible support for my longer runs. (Longest distance 13.1 in the Shift 2). I’d also add the heel counter of the Shift 2 has an added support that can almost act as a guide rail. I’m a very neutral runner and had no issues thinking this shoe was too supportive. But I do think it would be a shoe that someone with over probation might be successful in running in as well. It has just enough added support it could be supportive enough for that runner.
Keith: I like this shoe for long runs and easy days, but it could cover the full gamut from easy days to race days for someone who needs high cushion at all times.
Toni: The SPEEDROLL of the midsole makes you want to run fast so doing speed work in this shoe would be a blast. I personally like this shoe for long runs and recovery. When I need to push myself but I have nothing left to give, this shoe is there for me.
Keith: With a similar stack height and identical 4mm drop, an obvious comparison to me is the Hoka Bondi. However, the Shift 2 feels like a downright hot rod when compared to the Bondi, which I think of as the Cadillac Escalade of shoes with its super soft, smooth ride. The Shift 2 feels like a higher performance option, but maybe not quite as comfy.
Toni: I’d like to compare a Clifton but the Clifton is too soft for the perfect comparison. You can’t compare an Endorphin Speed, that’s too light and bouncy. What's interesting about the Shift 2 is that I’d compare it closer to a Saucony Ride, Brooks Ghost, or even a New Balance 880. But keep in mind there is waaaaay more cushion and the SPEEDROLL rocker.
Keith: Overall, I am enjoying the changes. The Shift 2 has some major fit improvements over version 1, specifically in the midfoot and heel. In version 1 I could not get a good locked-down feel in the heel and had to resort to a heel lock and thicker socks. It is not common for me to have to work so hard to get a good fit. That problem is solved for me in version 2. I am able to lace them up the standard way and go. Saucony also improved the feeling in the heel by making the heel counter more symmetrical, whereas before it came up a bit high on the inside of the ankle. The midsole is unchanged and still provides a firm supportive ride.
Toni: I feel like Shift 2 is very similar to the original. I’d only add that the upper fit seems more dialed in. Less bulky, more of an adaptive fit, and magically delicious.
Keith: I started testing these shoes after running a marathon. Needless to say, my body hurt! I loved how supportive they felt as I was running some slow recovery runs. I felt like I was just cruising around with no worries. My feet felt better after running in these than they did after running in some more squishy stuff. The combination of a high level of firm cushion and the aggressive SPEEDROLL curvature demands less out of the foot and reduces the amount of fatigue I feel compared to when I wear a shoe with a softer cushion that my foot sinks into. I eventually did some speedwork and a good hard tempo run in Shift 2 as well, coming to the conclusion that I could even race in these if my foot was in need of the extra cushion.
Whether training for long miles or coming back from an injury, this shoe is for anyone who needs a supportive, max-cushion shoe. I would recommend this as a great option if you know you are going to be piling up mileage and spending a lot of time on your feet.
Toni: My first run on this shoe was with dead legs. I did not want to go out but I forced myself anyways. I knew it was that kind of run that you get out, it might not be the best run of the week and I was okay with that. Nope, the shoe told me to hold and for a fun 5am run! Each step I would aim to target my footstep on the SPEEDROLL under the midfoot. I could feel the energy return back from the design of the shoes. The struggle bus that was my run was quickly dissolved into a fun game of feel the shoe, and the shoe will make you feel better.
This shoe is awesome for everyone that wants a little more out of what they are currently running in. Whether you are an interval runner or a marathon runner. I think everyone needs a shift in their closet
37 year old
Wears men's size 11
Running has always been a part of my life. When I was younger it was mainly a way to stay in shape for soccer; running track in the off-season as a way to train hard and stay competitive. I liked it, but it wasn't until my first marathon in my late 20's that I really fell in love with running. Since then I have completed 8 marathons and a 50-mile ultra while also competing in countless 5k, 10k, and half-marathon races. I enjoy running just about anywhere except the treadmill. I prefer trails in the woods to the road. My favorite spot is the Corsair Trail System in the Huron National Forest near East Tawas, MI. I also frequent the many trails we have in Southeast Michigan. I currently work at Running Lab and have worked there for a total of just over 3 years. My favorite thing about running is that it can be super competitive yet the running community is so supportive of each other.
39 year old
Wears women's size 10.5
I have been running since 2011 and am in it for the long haul. The longer the event's distance and the more challenging the better. I've been cultivating the running and walking community managing the Running Lab in downtown Brighton since 2015. Running is grownup recess. When your life is lacking joy, go run. When you need to be moved by nature, go run. When you want to celebrate your abilities, go run!