FULL REVIEW SCORE:
Saucony trail running shoe designers and engineers are on to something big with the Saucony Endorphin Edge. The transition to carbon fiber plate trail running shoes has been a little slow over the past 2-3 years. Beginning with The North Face line, and eventually ending up in Salomon trail running shoes, CFP understep on the trails is certainly a work in progress. Similar to road running shoes adopting CFP after the Nike 4% Flyknit, it was at least 2 years before other companies really started making inroads against the powerful ZoomX and carbon fiber plate combination.
But now, we look to the Saucony Endorphin Edge, what I think to date is the best attempt at the CFP trail running shoe game. With the Carbitex (the plate) technology, it is a fresh approach to agile energy return while negotiating the rocks and roots on your favorite trails around the world.
Lightweight mesh greets your feet in the Saucony Endorphin Edge. Semi-gusset for the tongue, and the angle of the gusset (toward the rear of the shoe) really helps lock the foot inside the shoe, especially the heel. The collar and heel counter is not incredibly plush, which is okay for a faster trail running and racing shoe. I might as well get that out of the way now, I would absolutely train in this shoe for faster days. With 36mm and 30mm of PWRRUN PB understep, I would not hesitate to go past the 20-mile mark. In fact, this shoe did great for the 50K distance on muddy trails here in Colorado. In addition, the toebox has a thin rubberized overlay to help keep your feet dry in puddle running conditions. If creek crossing are your jam, drainage out of the vamp on the upper will be great. Lastly, the Saucony Endorphin Edge is gaiter compatible with a hook at the bottom of the eyelet chain.
On to the heart of the shoe, the PWRRUN PB midsole foam is polymer-based, which means Saucony has made this midsole with compressed beads of Pebax foam that creates a lattice structure between you and the trails. A lattice structure midsole design is a three-dimensional arrangement of the beads to add energy and durability to the foam. This midsole is amazing, really a great step forward for CFP trail running shoes. Saucony is on to something big with this lattice approach. Outside of ZoomX foam, I think PWRRUN PB has the most potential to disrupt the entire running shoe marketplace, road or trail.
Not only did Saucony swing for the fences with PWRRUN PB in a trail racing shoe (and training), they added in a fork design for the carbon fiber plate. This plate runs three-quarters of the way from heel to toe inside the midsole foam, but includes a fork (two prong) under the forefoot for a faster toeoff and more agility over the rocks. For example, if you land on a rock the plate will not bend, but will be slighty more flexible in the opposite direction to help with stability in your footstrike. If you’re worried about the sharp rocks out there, fear not, a full-length nylon rock guard has been added for complete protection understep. Not once did I feel a rock in the testing. Take note, if you prefer more ground contact feel on the trails, then I would lean away from buying the Saucony Endorphin Edge. Between the lightweight upper and high end midsole, this trail running shoe is made for speed whether in training or racing, especially for the 20+ mile trail races.
Do you need to negotiate some mud on your local trails? The 4mm lug depth will get the job done for your gripping needs. The PWRTRAC outsole lug depth and pattern is ideal for keeping speeds high while remaining confident on sharp corners or over varying trail conditions: ice, snow, mud, sand…. The lug pattern is laid out for climbing under the forefoot, and braking under the heel. On steep descents when you have to speed check, the lugs will bite into the trail for you with this mirrored forefoot/heel approach to the outsole layout. Not once did I fall in the testing, and I was training in some very muddy conditions.
Would I Buy This Shoe Again?
With a final score of 7.8 in the Shoedio, I absolutely would buy this trail running shoe again. They are not giving the shoe away by any means, but the technological advancements are hard to deny for those trail runners who are ready to pick up the paces. With future iterations surely on the horizon from Saucony, the Endorphin Edge will certainly be on many trail racing starting lines in 2023. I predict ultramarathoners will also opt for this trail shoe in their future racing adventures.
Global Running Shoe Experience
Lee has taken his Saucony Endorphin Edge trail running shoes to the 200 mile mark:
- Drop: 6mm
- Stack: 36mm / 30mm
- Weight: 8.3 oz / 235 g
Mens (Size 9) – 8.9oz / 252g
Womens (Size 8) – 7.8oz / 221g
- Upper: Durable nylon mesh
- Midsole: PWRRUN PB
- Durometer: 32-36 Shore C
- Outsole: PWRTRAC Rubber
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