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Saucony Endorphin Rift: The Endorphin Speed of the Trails?
By Matthew Klein

The Saucony Endorphin Edge was one of the first super trails shoes. It featured a large midsole of PWRRUN PB combined with a full-length Carbitex plate. It seemed to mimic the Endorphin Pro series but for the trail, which immediately made us ask "where is an Endorphin Speed Trail?" The Endorphin Rift fills this spot as a more flexible version of the Edge while maintaining the same large amount of PWRRRUN PB. The Edge/Rift relationship is a bit different than Pro/Speed relationship but they still complement each other well as both alternatives and companions. 

Saucony Endorphin Rift
Price: $169.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.3 oz, 244 g (men's size 9), 7.3 oz, 207 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 6 mm 
Classification: Superfoam Lightweight/Performance Trail Shoe/Racer


The Saucony Endorphin Rift is a super foam trail performance/racing shoe for those who want some flexibility with a large amount of cushion on soft surfaces. The upper provides extra room in the midfoot and heel while a toe guard up front slightly tapers the forefoot. The full-length PWRRUN PB provides a bouncy and cushioned ride with enough flexibility to provide a smooth transition no matter where you land. The thicker PWRTRAC lugs grip trails and aggressive terrain, making the Rift an adaptable trail shoe that can handle easy and faster runs with ease. 

: Saucony Peregrine 13


The Saucony Endorphin Rift fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is wider throughout the length of the shoe thanks to a one-piece upper with the midfoot featuring a sock-like mesh. The toe box does feel tapered thanks to a flexible plastic toe guard. Even with socks this has caused me some blisters on my medial big toe with longer miles, so those that do not have calluses there should ease this shoe into longer distances. The midfoot is wider and I did have to really tighten down the laces to get a secure fit. I started messing with the adjustable lace straps in the back which secure the heel well, so I did not have to worry about lace locking the shoe. The heel also fits wider but again thanks to the adjustable lace strap I did not have much heel slippage. 

There is a mildly flexible heel counter in the rearfoot that did not bother me thanks to some padding right where my Achilles insertion contacts. Those with high sensitivities in this area may have to approach with caution. The upper is comfortable and accommodates foot swelling well. Despite the comfortable mesh material, socks are an absolute must thanks to the toe guard and the thin heel collar. Thicker socks might be advised for many due to the wider fit unless you want extra room.


The Saucony Endorphin Rift is a super foam trail shoe meant for training, workouts and races. The midsole features a decent amount of full-length PWRRUN PB that compresses and responds well. The ride is softer and more flexible than the Endorphin Edge (the plated version). This provides a pleasant roll at easy paces and a bouncy ride at faster paces. The rock plate in combination with the relatively thicker midsole and tough PWRTRAC outsole does a great job of protecting the foot from rocks. I have not had any stone bruises even on rough technical terrain.

The weight is listed at 8.6 oz and it feels around that area. This is extremely light for a trail shoe with this much outsole and midsole. There is plenty of cushioning underfoot for protection and longer miles but the ride is light enough to be used for faster efforts. I have done several workouts in this shoe, including hill repeats and two fartleks (one 30-second reps and the other 2-minute reps). It felt easy to pick up the pace in the shoe and bomb down hills or technical terrain. The lugs grip best on technical terrain but the midsole is thick enough that the Endorphin Rift feels fine on roads (similar to my experience in the Edge). Hill climbs were especially good with moderately soft terrain, but I had some trouble with extremely soft ground as the lugs are not deep enough to really penetrate that kind of terrain (the Peregrine ST may work better). While I have some done road miles in this shoe, I would keep this specifically for trail. I have 20 miles in my pair and while the rest of the shoe looks new, those brief road miles did chew through the lugs at the posterior lateral heel on my left side (my normal spot). So if you keep this on trail, it will last a long time. If you mix road in, you may see some early lug wear.

There is a 33 mm / 27 mm stack height with a 6mm drop. The midsole felt a little higher than that and the drop felt like it was 6mm. The heel transition was smooth due to the softer midsole and slightly lateral heel bevel. The midfoot transition is seamless and transitions to a smooth forefoot. Despite the forefoot rock plate, there is moderate flexibility up front. There is still Saucony's Speedroll (forefoot rocker) that adds to a nice transition off the toes. The forefoot rocker has very little toe spring, so those that can handle some flexibility but want a rocker with a relatively neutral toe position will like the setup in the Endorphin Rift.


The Saucony Endorphin Rift is a neutral trail shoe. There are no traditional methods of stability. There are large sidewalls in the midfoot on both sides of the shoe and small ones that travel into the forefoot. These are made of soft PWRRUN PB, so they do collapse fairly easily when you roll into them. The softer and more flexible ride is offset by sole flare in the heel and forefoot. The forefoot rock plate adds some additional rigidity to the forefoot, making it the most stable part of the shoe. The midfoot does taper a little, but is offset by the sidewalls. Overall, the ride is neutral with a little guidance in the forefoot.

Thoughts as a DPT: Flexibility and Versatility in Super Foam Shoes
By Matthew Klein

The majority of shoes with super foams that previously came out had some kind of full-length or at least partial-length plate (not including rock plates). The reasons for the addition of plates are several, including facilitating motion and stiffening the midsole to offset the softer sole (Healey & Hoogkamer, 2022; Ortega et al., 2021). As we have discussed extensively, just because a shoe is stiffer or plated does not mean it is faster for everyone. While plates can add some degree of efficiency for certain people, different individuals respond better to more or less stiffness/flexibility (McLeod et al., 2020). Some people will do better with a stiffer shoe while others will do better with a more flexible shoe. Those same people may also prefer something completely different when their pace changes. 

The Endorphin Rift is interesting in that it is slightly lighter (8.6 oz vs 9.0 oz) than its plated relative counterpart, the Endorphin Edge. The uppers are quite different on these two shoes but the soles are similar outside of a Carbitex plate vs a forefoot rocker plate. The majority of super foam shoe duos out there, like the Endorphin Speed/Pro, Altra Vanish Tempo/Carbon usually have the plated version as the lighter, more race-like version. Both the Edge and Rift feel fast but in different ways. The Edge feels faster in general but the Rift has better versatility for training and workouts for me. Having a similar weight also makes it easier for consumers to pick, narrowing down to slightly different uppers and whether you want a plate or not. From a training perspective, it makes sense to keep the less stiff shoe for training and workouts while saving the stiff aggressive shoe for races. However, the Edge/Rift relationship redefines this a bit, providing stiff and flexible alternatives that will race just as well for different people over a variety of distances. The different upper fit further provides contrast between these two shoes but it will be interesting how consumers perceive the differences between these two shoes. 


Healey, L. A., & Hoogkamer, W. (2022). Longitudinal bending stiffness does not affect running economy in Nike Vaporfly shoes. Journal of Sport and Health Science11(3), 285-292.

McLeod, A. R., Bruening, D., Johnson, A. W., Ward, J., & Hunter, I. (2020). Improving running economy through altered shoe bending stiffness across speeds. Footwear Science12(2), 79-89.

Ortega, J. A., Healey, L. A., Swinnen, W., & Hoogkamer, W. (2021). Energetics and biomechanics of running footwear with increased longitudinal bending stiffness: A narrative review. Sports Medicine51(5), 873-894.


I have enjoyed the Endorphin Rift for its purpose of training and workout miles. The wider fit was a surprise and I enjoyed almost everything except the toe guard and tapered forefoot. This is the only major change I would suggest for this shoe is to modify the toe guard. I had several blisters on my medial big toe due to rubbing from it over longer miles. Those using this shoe for shorter miles should be fine. However, I would love to see this integrated better with the upper. I found the Endorphin Edge to have a slightly wider forefoot and was hoping for the same thing in the Rift. Unless they plan to snug up the whole upper, I would encourage a better-integrated toe guard to maintain the toe box room, reduce blisters and still maintain security. 


The Saucony Endorphin Rift is a moderately flexible, wider fitting (except for the toe box taper) super foam trail shoe for training and faster efforts. The lack of an extended plate provides a smoother more flexible ride that can handle easy, workout, and race pace efforts. The upper provides more volume/width with a decent amount of security, making it a solid option for those with wider feet or ones that swell over long miles. The outsole traction is great, which combined with the flexibility makes it a better option than the Edge for super technical terrain. I still prefer the Edge for faster efforts although had plenty of speed runs in the Rift. The bounciness of the Rift still does well for speed but the added stiffness of the Edge works better for me personally. Those who want more flexibility and did not like the stiffness of the Edge will love the Rift. Trail shoes tend to be extremely stiff but the Rift offers a unique ride given its lighter weight (especially for a trail shoe and its size), super foam midsole and flexibility. This makes it a bit more versatile shoe, especially for technical terrain, easy miles, workouts and races for those who don't want a stiff plate.


Fit: B+ (Wider fit with one-piece upper and adjustable lacing. Toe guard tapers and causes some blistering on medial big toe)
A- (Full length PWRRUN PB and moderately flexible ride allow for training, workouts and racing for those who want a bouncy and less stiff shoe)
Stability: B/B+ [Neutral] (Neutral ride despite sidewalls. Forefoot has mild guidance but neutral midfoot/heel)
DPT/Footwear Science: B/B+ (Toe guard more tapered than necessary, inconsistent with fit. Sidewalls need to be stiffened or extended to truly provide guidance if the midfoot tapers. Not unstable though. Upper adjustable laces major plus for unique adaptation to individuals). 
Personal: B+/A- (Fun ride with great grip that is relaxed enough for training and workouts. Not the fastest shoe, but solid option for a super shoe feel without the plate)
Overall: B+ 


Saucony Endorphin Rift
Price: $169.95 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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