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Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 RUNSHIELD Review
By Chief Editor Matt Klein and Contributor Megan Flynn


Saucony has continued to see success with their Endorphin series which have proven to be versatile for a variety of needs. The exception being a variety of extreme weather conditions. That problem has now been addressed as the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is the first to get the Runshield treatment. While this was supposed to be mostly an upper update, the changes up top influence the rest of the shoe for a slightly different ride.




Specifications for the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield (per Saucony)
Weight: 7.9 oz / 225 g (men's size 9) 7 oz / 200 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height:35.5 mm / 27.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm 
Classification: All Weather Performance Trainer/Racer


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is an all-weather performance trainer racer made to handle tough conditions when you want to pick up the pace. An all-new water resistant Runshield upper sits up top, providing additional security and protection from the elements. The sole remains similar to the normal Speed 2 with a nylon plate and full length PWRRUN PB. However, the ride feels more secure thanks to added security in the upper. As the winter months approach, the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is a great option as the weather turns colder and wetter.

Megan: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is a lightweight, neutral shoe with a full-length nylon-plate, PWRRUN PB cushioning and an added bonus of a water-resistant upper. In addition to this upper, another primary difference between the original Endorphin Speed 2 and the RunShield version is the COLDTRAC outsole designed for improved traction in cold-weather conditions. Comprised of PWRRUN PB cushioning and a nylon plate, the midsole remains exactly the same when comparing the regular Speed 2 and the Runshield version.

When I received these to test, I was very excited as I had heard rumors that the Speeds were even more comfortable (and potentially as responsive) when compared to the Pros. I was most curious, however, to see how the water-resistant upper would hold up in tough conditions. Actually, the first run I did in them was at the tail-end of a hurricane and they were so comfortable and responsive that it ended up turning into a progression long run. A majority of the runs I did while testing these were in rainy/wet conditions, but I did take them out in other conditions ranging from sunny/hot temperatures to a typical northeast fall day (dry, mild temps). I also took them out for a spin on easy runs, progression runs, and some tempos. Long story short, the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield lived up to both the hype and the advertised water-resistant upper.



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. Similar to the Speed 2, the Speed 2 Runshield fits snug in the forefoot and slightly snug in the heel and midfoot. There is a significant heel counter in the rearfoot that provides structure to the upper at the back. Those sensitive to heel counters should be cautious with this shoe, although there is some soft cushioning in the heel collar to offset it. The security of the upper is quite good and I did not have to lace lock the shoe at all. The toe guard is less noticeable than the normal Speed 2 and the internal liner is much softer despite the new upper. Although the upper has some breathability, running without socks does make the upper quite warm. I have used these both with and without socks mostly in warm/muggy Los Angeles weather and found that with socks they don't get as warm, but without socks things can get fairly toasty. The trails are finally opening after last years fires, so getting up in the colder mountain air feels better, but I would encourage socks unless you want a little extra heat. The Runshield upper is also much tougher than the normal mesh upper. I have used these on trails and while they are not meant for technical trails, the upper can take much more of a beating from dirt and rough terrain than I would use the normal Speed 2 for. During wet weather, the Runshield upper did keep my feet dryer than most shoes, but a little water still gets through. If too much water gets in, whether from sweat or external sources, the softer inner liner does tend to absorb this and can take a little longer to dry unless you get them next to a heater right away. However, overall the upper provides a little extra warmth and protection on tough weather runs, which is rare to find in a performance shoe.

Megan: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield fits true to size in terms of length and width. They have a comfortable toebox with adequate room for movement in the forefoot. The heel cup adds to the stability of the shoe and the pull-tab at the back of the heel makes them easy to slide on. The combination of the PWRRUN PB cushion and full-length nylon-plate make these shoes a good choice for short/easy runs, long runs, and tempo/progressions. The nylon plate in the Speeds was not noticeable like the carbon plate is in the Pros. The plate allows for a less rigid feel and more comfort. The cushioning and the less aggressive nylon-plate (compared to carbon) come together to create a perfect balance of both comfort and responsiveness/speed.

The material in the upper is thin and lightweight with minimal stretch, which actually serves to improve midfoot lockdown. The FORMFIT component of the upper and the cushioned tongue also adds to the overall comfort. Advertised as water-resistant, I was expecting minimal breathability in the upper and didn’t think they would be comfortable when running in the heat. I was surprised with the breathability in all conditions including 85 degree weather down to 40 degree weather (did not get a chance to test below this temp, yet). The most impressive part of the upper is that it actually was able to keep my feet dry in light rain and even when (purposely) splashing through puddles to truly test them out. A few times I ended up stepping in puddles above my ankles and that was the only time my feet ended up getting wet with these shoes on, as expected.



PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is supposed to have the exact same midsole as the normal Speed 2. However there are some differences that I noticed immediately that make it a slightly different shoe. Like the inline version, there is full length PWRRUN PB foam in the midsole along with a nylon plate. The nylon plate provides some slightly stiffness, which isn't noticeable until the pace picks up. There is plenty of cushioning and the rocker, both the mild heel bevel and SPEEDROLL toe spring are integrated very well into the sole. The 8mm drop is not noticeable for that reason and the ride is very smooth. The changes occur most with the outsole durability and the sole softness. The sole feels softer in the Speed 2 Runshield than the normal SPEED 2. Particularly in the heel, the amount of give in the sole feels more significant, especially for me as I land farther lateral at the heel. This makes the ride far more relaxed and more trainer like than the normal Speed 2. The weight is still light at 7.9 oz for men's size 9, but the softer sole feels better going at easier/longer paces. I have used the Runshield for a variety of runs, but found them best for easy, recovery and long runs as they don't have as much pop when the pace picks up. The PWRRUN PB and plate can still handle uptempo paces but seem to max out at tempo efforts.

The durability has also been much better than the inline Endorphin Speed. I have 130 miles on my pair and have still not worn through the XT-900 outsole rubber. I have chewed through a little of the exposed PWRRUN PB, but not nearly as much as I would have expected. This includes some trail miles, albeit these have been on well groomed fire roads. I would definitely not suggest this shoe for technical trails, but the outsole and upper are durable enough to handle less aggressive trails. So for those looking for a lighter shoe for mileage during tough weather conditions and light trail work with the potential to handle some uptempo efforts, the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is worth a look.

Megan: The Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is a responsive and lightweight shoe that performs well in all tested conditions and provide a smooth ride at various paces and distances. I tested these shoes in a few long progression runs with paces ranging from 7:30min/mi down to 6:15min/mi and they did not falter in either the comfort or responsiveness categories. The midsole adds to the bounciness of the shoe with the PWRRUN PB foam and is more forgiving in terms of rigidity when compared to the Pros (thanks to a nylon-plate instead of a carbon-plate). The nylon-plate in the midsole combined with Saucony’s SPEEDROLL technology results in a springiness and forward propulsion which helps to increase efficiency throughout the stride.

There is one area where this shoe is lacking: traction in wet conditions. When running on wet road/asphalt, the traction is fine. However, on any other wet surfaces – including painted lines on the road, grates, some sidewalk surfaces (such as slate) – I was slipping. After realizing this, I purposely avoided running on any of these surfaces. I did not get a chance to test them out in cold-weather conditions (yet), but I am a bit hesitant to trust them in snowy/icy surfaces after seeing the traction in some wet surfaces.

STABILITY 

Matt: The stability of the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is similar to the normal Speed 2. The forefoot, with the broad platform, well place toe spring and the nylon plate, is very stable. The midfoot, with the narrowing and slight elevation off the ground is less stable. The heel has decent stability thanks to the stiffer heel counter and upper. This is offset slightly by the softer sole that is most noticeable in the heel. This is a neutral shoe, so those needing significant methods of stability will not find it here. However those with mild stability needs will do fine here with the more secure upper.

Megan: The Speed 2 Runshield provides a generally flexible experience throughout the foot while maintaining stability in the midfoot and heel. The PWRRUN PB foam and the nylon plate in the midsole of the shoe provides the flexibility. If this shoe didn’t feel so springy, I don’t think I’d even be able to tell that there was a plate in the midsole. I actually did not notice the plate at all while walking around. The FORMFIT upper and laces lock down the midfoot while the heel counter provides rearfoot stability. At the midfoot, the width of the outsole is narrower, placing additional stability demands on the midfoot – specifically to control pronation during midstance. Some shoes with a wider base (i.e. Hoka, Altra) will provide some stability during pronation, preventing excess navicular collapse – the Speed 2 Runshields don’t provide a ton of this support. Overall, the Speed 2 Runshields are a perfect combination of stability & comfort as well as responsiveness, making them a great option for almost any type of run.





THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Matt: We have discussed the importance of uppers more frequently as of recent given the number of upper only updates we have seen that change the ride of shoes. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is another example of this as the new upper provides slightly more security compared to the normal Speed series. However, the ride of a shoe is a function of all the parts interacting and not just one thing. An all-weather performance trainer is a rare thing to find, let alone one that uses one of the new super foams and has a plate, albeit a nylon plate. The upper locks in the foot very well and provides a nice balance between keep the foot warm and breathing a little.

However, in tougher weather conditions, like rain, snow, etc, solid sole stability/contact is also important. We have discussed that a shoe with more outsole ground contact is inherently more stable. If the surface you are running on is unstable, whether it be due to trail, wet road, snow, etc, then you are going to need more stability from the shoe. There is a degree of balance to this, given that the shoes that have extremely wide lasts like tanks and are difficult to maneuver/react in. So wide lasted maximal shoes also have a risk of ankle injuries due to the fact that if you hit the ground the wrong way, the wider sole will pitch you laterally or medially faster AND you will have a delayed reaction due to the taller stack height decreasing the amount of proprioceptive input, ie the information that your sensory system uses to react. On the other end of the spectrum, you do not want a sole that is too narrow as that will similar to running on stilts. A narrower sole will allow you to be more precise with landings, but will require more stability from your body to control.

The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield has some degree of balance in regards to this. The upper security is great, locking the foot down well and keeping the feet, which tend to lose a great deal of heat and rely on blood flow for warmth, warmer. The forefoot is wider and has a triangular outsole that has some traction. The heel has better durability and a bevel, albeit it is centered more than it needs to be. The midfoot is still narrow and elevates slightly off the ground. In wet/snowy/uneven terrain, the whole sole needs to be on the same page or in this case on the ground. Unless you are a forefoot striker, most people are going to transition through the midfoot. This transition will occur during mid to terminal stance, where the body is passing directly over the foot. Given that one foot is supporting the weight of the body, it needs to be on a stable platform if it is to do this on unsteady terrain. Thus I continue to encourage Saucony to wide the midfoot a bit in the Speed 2, especially given the fact that this is more of a training shoe and the all-weather version needs a fully stable sole to match the solid tough upper. 





RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: My suggestion for the Speed 2 Runshield is similar for the normal Speed 2. I would suggest widening the midfoot to create a little more stability through that area. The benefit of doing that is that it will dramatically increase the versatility of this shoe on different surfaces. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is close to what I was hoping for from the Saucony Endorphin Trail (REVIEW) but clearly did not get. I would encourage Saucony to take the outsole from the Endorphin Trail, put it on the Speed 2 Runshield and widen the midfoot. Then you will have a killer trail performance/racing shoe.

Megan: The Endorphin Speed 2 Runshields exceeded my expectations in terms of comfort, responsiveness, and stability. They are a versatile shoe, being a good option for easy runs, long runs, tempo workouts, etc. making it difficult to find many flaws. The only area of improvement for the next generation of these shoes would be to improve the outsole traction. The COLDTRAC outsole was not reliable in wet conditions unless on a perfectly paved road. While running in wet conditions, I noticed that there were many surfaces that felt slippery and I had to adjust my stride to avoid sliding. My recommendation: improve the grip/traction in the outsole to make these truly all-weather shoes.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is for those that want a performance trainer that can handle tough weather conditions. The upper is redone with a water resistant material that still allows some breathability while being protective. The sole is fairly similar, although the heel feels slightly softer. The softer ride feels better for easier/longer miles, with the ability to pick up the pace lightly if needed. The outsole durability has dramatically increased, which along with the tougher upper gives this shoe a little more versatility on light trails. Those used to the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 should be fairly at home in this shoe, but the upper will keep you much drier and warmer as we enter the winter months.

Megan: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield is an excellent option for someone looking for a versatile shoe to use on daily/easy runs, tempos, or on long runs. During testing, I wore these shoes for almost every type of run (except speedwork on the track) in various conditions and they proved to be comfortable, responsive, and a lot of fun to run in. There were multiple progression workouts in which I wore these during the warmup/easy miles and ended up keeping them on for the entirety of the workout because they were so comfortable and responsive - instead of switching to a different racing shoe, as planned. Being a neutral shoe, they do have some mild stability demands on the body including pronation control due to a narrower midfoot. These are also a great option for someone trying to gradually transition from a regular trainer to a carbon-plated shoe. The nylon plate is not as aggressive or rigid as a carbon-plate but provides that “springy” feeling of a plated shoe. The Runshield upper is an added bonus to an already excellent shoe as it fulfills its’ promise of being water-resistant. Overall, the Speed 2 Runshields impressed me as a perfect balance and hybrid of comfort and speed!




GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: B+ (Slightly snug fit, particularly in forefoot makes for a secure and more performance oriented fit. Durable upper that is water resistant and keeps the feet warm in cold/tough conditions)
Performance: 
B+ (Softer durometer feels better for training miles and some uptempo work. )
Stability: B (Good stability in forefoot and better overall security thanks to upper, but midfoot could still be better)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (The design of the Speed 2 is based on research, however, for a shoe that is supposed to handle tough conditions, like slippery roads, a wider midfoot for stability would be a far better design approach. )
Personal:  A- (A great recovery shoe for me that I consistently reach for when I am beat up. The durability is fantastic and held up well against my normal onslaught)
Overall: B+ (A solid and rare all weather performance trainer with a secure/solid upper and enough durability to handle light trails)
    
Megan
Fit: A (fits true to size in length and width)
Performance: B+ (responsive, lightweight, and comfortable – a perfect combination; however, the traction on some surfaces brings the grade down a couple points)
Stability: B+ (narrower midfoot requiring some additional stability/control during pronation)
Personal: A- (I loved running in these. They’re versatility is unmatched as far as I’m concerned. They’re comfortable, making them a great option for easy training runs; while they’re also responsive and lightweight making them a good option for tempos/long runs)
Overall: A- (The Speed 2 Runshields are one of my favorites so far. The midsole of the Speeds is excellent…add the water-resistant Runshield upper and that’s a bonus!) 

VIDEO REVIEW



Matt Klein and Nathan Brown discuss their thoughts on the Runshield!

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Find the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield at Running Warehouse here
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FURTHER READING

Compare Workout Trainers
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2:
Compare with this year's official sequel to the 2020 favorite
Puma Deviate Nitro: Puma's workout trainer with a TPU plate
Adidas Adios 6: A snappy, non-plated option from Adios. The lightstrike pro forefoot is fun to launch with
New Balance Rebel v2: The light, responsive Rebel v2 is fast enough to workout in and comfortable enough to daily train with

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Thanks for reading!

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TESTER PROFILES:


Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything.

Megan Flynn, PT, DPT, MS
Doctor of Physical therapy

Megan began running competitively as a freshman in high school (2006) and it has been a major component of her life since then. She was a member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field teams for TCNJ and one season for UD while a first-year PT student. In college, she focused on the 3k/5k for TCNJ and the 10k at UD. Megan continues to train at a competitive level putting in ~70 miles/week and is a member of Leonia Track Club based in Leonia, NJ. She recently completed a track season in spring 2021 and will be transitioning to marathon training for the fall with California International Marathon being the goal race. Outside of running, Megan enjoys hiking, traveling, going to the beach, reading, and playing with her two adorable cats!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

NEXT: Altra Paradigm 6 Review

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