Saucony has improved the cushioning of the Shift by making it lighter and softer, but it still has a fairly lifeless ride and there are more impressive cushioned shoes to consider both from Saucony and other brands.
- Stable, protective ride
- Lighter than Shift 2
- Has a rocker
- Dull ride
- Outsole is minimal
- Lacks versatility
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The Shift is generally the forgotten shoe in Saucony’s Endorphin range, with the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 carbon racing shoe and Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 trainer/racer gaining all the plaudits. The Shift 3 is the cushioned option in the range, and it does a good job in partnership with the Speed 3 and Pro 3, but unlike the others it doesn’t stand out on its own as one of the best running shoes you can get.
You can certainly get more impressive shoes for your easy and long runs – we rate Saucony’s own Triumph 20 and Tempus among the best cushioned shoes. The Shift 3 serves its purpose as a protective cruiser but lacks versatility, and the ride is a little dull.
Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Review: Price And Availability
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 is available now and costs $150/£140, a rise of $10/£10 on the price of the Shift 2, which is also now often available in sales for under $100/£100.
Design And Fit
The Shift 3 is a big shoe, with a high midsole stack that rises to 39mm at the heel and 35mm at the forefoot, giving it a fairly low drop of 4mm. Like the other shoes in Saucony’s Endorphin range, it uses the brand’s Speedroll rocker design to create a smooth ride.
To ensure the shoe is stable despite the high stack there is a large plastic heel counter that runs around the back of the shoe, and there are sidewalls of foam that your foot sits within to create a “bucket seat”. The Shift 3 is also wide, which helps with stability.
The midsole is made from a softer, lighter version of the PWRRUN cushioning that was also used on the Shift 2, and the 3 also has a thick PWRRUN+ insole, which adds to how soft it feels underfoot. Despite the size of the Shift 3 it’s pretty light for a cushioned shoe at 279g/9.8oz in my UK size 9.
One way Saucony has kept the weight down is by putting minimal rubber on the outsole, with only key areas of the heel and forefoot covered. This may impact on durability, especially if you use the shoe on light trails, and it does mean the Shift 3 doesn’t grip as well on the road at times as other cushioned shoes with more rubber on the outsole.
The upper is made from a breathable mesh, with some extra padding around the heel collar. The shoe fit me well in my normal size, with plenty of room in the toe box.
How I Tested This Shoe
I have run 50km in the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3, using it for general training runs at easy and steady paces. I also tested the original Endorphin Shift, and have also used the Endorphin Pro 3 and Speed 3 extensively this year, along with Saucony’s other cushioned shoes the Triumph 20 and Tempus.
The Shift 3 is a shoe built with a clear purpose in mind, which is to work in a rotation with the Endorphin Speed 3 and Pro 3 shoes as the “easy run” option. It’s designed to protect your body when you’re running a lot of miles at a relaxed pace, before switching to faster shoes for workouts and races.
It does this job well. The ride is dull, but undoubtedly protects the legs from the impact of running, with the rocker smoothing out the ride so it doesn’t feel too blocky or firm. Stick to easy paces and you can roll through runs nicely in the Shift 3, and it has a stable ride as well.
However, that’s a job a lot of other shoes can do, and a lot of them do it better. And if you want to use the Shift 3 for any other kind of run, it doesn’t feel great. It’s not heavy, but it is large, and doesn’t work well for any kind of speedy running. Even when just moving through the gears from easy to tempo pace during a run, the Shift 3 started to feel unwieldy.
In contrast, Saucony’s other cushioned shoes I’ve tested – the Triumph 20 and Tempus – are both more versatile, and they both have more enjoyable rides for easy runs as well. And that’s just Saucony’s other options; there are many cushioned shoes I rate more highly than the Shift 3 from other brands, like the Brooks Glycerin 20, Nike Invincible 2 and Puma Velocity Nitro 2.
Is The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Worth It?
The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 does its job as the protective cruiser in the Endorphin range, but step away from that range and there are many shoes that do the same job better, including Saucony’s own Triumph 20 and Tempus.
It has a comfortable and stable ride, and I don’t doubt you could rack up many happy miles in the Shift 3 if you do pick it up. But it doesn’t stand out in a market loaded with cushioned shoes.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.