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Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD Review: Stable Winter Running
By Chief Editor Matthew Klein

As the days get shorter and colder, having the right gear to keep you warm is important. Although many runners will quickly consider warmer clothes, the number of training shoes with warmer uppers is low, particularly among road shoes. The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD amends this with a warm water-resistant (not proof) upper and the usual RUNSHIELD changes. A warmer, slightly wider fit  marks the differences with the regular Shift 3, making the Shift 3 RUNSHIELD an excellent option when the temperatures start to drop. 

Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.4 oz, 266g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 39 mm / 35 mm
Drop: 4mm 
Classification: Winterized Maximal Structured Daily Training Shoe


The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is a cold and wet weather maximal daily trainer for those who want to get out the door in rough road conditions. A water-resistant RUNSHIELD upper provides protection and warmth from the elements. Providing a normal but secure fit throughout, those wanting thicker socks will have enough room compared to the normal Shift 3. The midsole and outsole are supposedly the same, but provide decent traction on wet road and a rolling responsive ride. Those looking for a stable neutral daily training that can handle almost any type of weather, the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD may be worth the upgrade.

SIMILAR SHOES: None with water-resistant uppers. Rare low drop, maximal weather-ready shoe.


The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is slightly wider than the regular Shift 3, making it fairly normal throughout. The upper is thicker along the entire length. The forefoot fits normal if a tiny bit snug, although this easily breaks in with time. The midfoot fits normally. The tongue is normal in thickness, is gusseted and secure. The laces lock in well with the upper and provide a secure fit when tightened. The heel fits normal to a tiny bit wide. Locking in the laces provided plenty of security, although I initially had some mild heel slippage. I never had to lace lock the shoe and found thicker socks to eliminate this issue. Like the regular Shift 3, there is a thinner but secure heel counter. The additional heel collar and upper cushioning easily protected me from this and I had no issues with it. Those sensitive to counters should approach with mild caution. I would encourage people to wear socks with this shoe. While comfortable, the slight increase in volume works better with thicker socks. 


The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is a maximal cushioned shoe for daily training, recovery runs and uptempo efforts. It features a 39mm/35mm stack height with a large amount of PWRRUN underfoot and a PWRRUN+ insole. This provides a softer initial landing and a slightly firm push off. The ride is slightly softer than the regular Shift 3 but still responds well to uptempo paces. The lower 4mm heel drop is initially noticeable, but the extremely well-rockered ride smooths this out when moving. The large heel bevel transitions well while a sharper forefoot rocker/SPEEDROLL sits up front. The forefoot transition is initially slightly stiff, but thanks to the slightly softer feel, breaks in and is more forgiving than the normal Shift 3. The rocker is still apparent and there is little (if any) flexibility in the forefoot. Thus, those that want a stiff rockered ride that transitions well will still enjoy the Shift 3 RUNSHIELD.

Despite the thicker upper, the Shift 3 RUNSHIELD still comes in at 9.4 oz for men's size 9. This allows it to handle daily training and the midsole can easily handle uptempo running, fartleks, and tempo runs. The shoe is too large to handle all-out speed well, but the slightly firmer PWRRUN is still responsive enough to pick up the pace. The outsole features XT-900 that is extremely durable and provides good durability on wet roads. The outsole has reverse cutouts that provide a mildly lugged outsole that grips well on slick roads, including those with mild ice. Heavy ice, aggressive trails or snow may not be the best (our Xodus Ultra RUNSHIELD review is coming soon), but for sloppy road conditions, the Shift 3 does fine. The durability of the outsole has been excellent. After 50 miles in a variety of conditions, I cannot see any major wear in my normal spots (posterior lateral heel). Thus, I expect this shoe to last far above the average number of miles for most daily trainers.


Like the normal Shift 3, the Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is an excellent stable neutral shoe. Classified by Saucony as "structured cushioning", it features several methods that make this a guided, stable shoe. Significant sidewalls are present on both the medial and lateral sides of the foot at the heel and extend into the midfoot. They also wrap around the heel, integrating with a large heel clip that further guides the rearfoot. There is a large amount of sole flare with a bit more medially. This resists motion in that direction and works with the well-beveled heel and SPEEDROLL to guide motion forward. The guidance line in the rearfoot may further facilitate motion in the rearfoot, which again combined with the rockered ride keeps motion forward rather than side to side. The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is just as secure as its non-water-resistant counterpart, making for a highly stable shoe that can handle the elements. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Why Stable Neutral?
By Matthew Klein PT DPT PhD(c) OCS GCS FAAOMPT

The Saucony Endorphin Shift series has been a favorite of our team for some time not only for ourselves, but for certain patients. It is a clear example of the "stable neutral" category that has recently been increasing with the additions of newer guidance concepts. The high sidewalls, rockered ride, heel clip and all the other components make for a highly stable shoe. Stable neutral refers to a shoe that maintains a stable ride without any posting, wedging or traditional stability methods. These methods have been used for years to attempt to support the feet and prevent/reduce unwanted frontal plane motion for certain people. The challenge is that it was assumed that these methods would work for everyone. However, over the years we have realized that posting and some of these methods do not work for everyone who needs some guidance forward. Certain people may finding posting irritating to their arch or certain parts of their foot. Others may be too sensitive to these abrupt components in shoes. A stable neutral shoe provides a place where these individuals can find a shoe that is stable without things that may press into their feet. Sidewalls are an excellent way to provide guidance forward during motion, much likes the rails at a bowling alley. Outsole flare is similar, although it originates in midsole and may resist motion in a different way. These methods and more provide alternatives for people to find stable shoes that don't attempt to change their mechanics, but simply facilitate them forward.

These types of shoe can be excellent for several people. As mentioned, those looking for a stable platform that cannot handle posting or traditional methods may want to find a stable neutral shoe. Those who find posting to overcorrect them and instead want a shoe that keeps them in the middle should definitely find this shoe type. The benefit of stable neutral shoes is that they generally have guidance methods on both sides of the foot, keeping things centered rather than biased in one direction. This last components opens up additional footwear to both those who have more motion than they can control medially (pronation) as well as laterally (supination). Those that have a history of ankle sprains may want to check out this shoe type given that they also frequently resist lateral motion as well. These individuals were often labeled as "neutral" as they would not respond well to medial stability. Stable neutral shoes usually have stable components in both directions, meaning that they will work for a larger variety of people, rather than a narrow group.

Stable neutral shoes are often versatile in their ability to work for people who are looking for stable shoes but do not react well to traditional stability methods. They are also a fantastic option for those looking to transition out of stability shoes but are not yet ready for all the training wheels to come off. Fortunately, more and more shoes are coming out with these features, making more shoes available for people to try while not alienating others. 


The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD inadvertently addresses all the minor things I wanted in the Shift 3. The RUNSHIELD upper provides a little more room up front and provides a more normal, rather than snug fit. The midsole feels a little softer, despite Saucony's claims about the midsole being the same (this has been consistent among all the RUNSHIELD shoes). Similar to the normal Shift 3, the forefoot is still on the stiffer side. This may be addressed with a slightly longer forefoot rocker, which may make the forefoot even smoother. This breaks in well after a couple miles and may not be necessary, as the sharper forefoot rocker does go in line with this being an "Endorphin" shoe (ie able to handle uptempo efforts). Outside of that minor thing, this is a great shoe!


The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 RUNSHIELD is for those who want a maximal, structured/stable neutral daily training shoe with a water-resistant upper for harsher elements on road. The RUNSHIELD upper provides a warm and protective upper with a normal fit. Those with normal-width feet should do well here, while those with narrow feet may need to lock down the laces. The ride is well cushioned and balanced between soft and firm. Those wanting a daily trainer that can handle longer, recovery and uptempo miles on wet and moderately slick roads may be interested in this shoe. The Shift 3 RUNSHIELD provides a rare, maximal, low-drop option for those training through the winter months that also doubles as an option for those who found the normal Shift 3 too snug or too firm.


Fit: A- (Water resistant and warm upper. Normal width fit with a little extra room in the heel)
A- (Maximal, low drop with balanced cushioning and rockered ride. Best for daily training, long runs, mild uptempo efforts)
Stability: A [Stable Neutral] (Continuing to be one of the best examples of a stable neutral shoe with several well integrated methods.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Excellent integration of cold weather elements into shoes. Slight heel slippage may require a little more lockdown. May also need a tiny bit more outsole traction for extremely rough conditions)
Personal: A- (Addresses all the minor issues I had with the normal Shift 3. A little more room and a little softer)
Overall: A-/A 


Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse

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Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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 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.

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