The Gearage: Saucony Endorphin Rift

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Cody Jett in a red jacket and running clothes after finishing a race, holding hands up smiling.

By: Cody Jett

Cody Jett is our East Coast (or, more accurately, Beast Coast) contributor. Cody lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with his wife and two kids. When Cody is not working or spending time with family, he enjoys trail documentaries, his Phillies, and checking out new gnarly trails.

You can find the Gearage podcast on Youtube and wherever you listen to podcasts. Make sure you listen to Cody’s interview with Saucony Trail pro-athlete, Katie Asmuth. Interested in trying a pair for yourself – bop on over to grab a pair!

Saucony has been around for 125 years, and in those 125 years, they have produced some world-class shoes. The Saucony brand is well established on the road scene, having some of the greatest marathoners toe the line rocking their kicks. While the roadside has easily become an industry standard, the trail side still has a lot of newbie energy. Saucony has some solid trail options, but they have yet to hit that homerun – out of the park – that we know they are capable of. That is until the Endorphin entered the trail lineup! The Endorphin lineup for the roads has been tremendous, but is the Endorphin Rift dialed in enough to make Saucony a trail scene player – or is it just a shoe that looks great on the local shoe store shelf?

Saucony Endorphin Rift

Total miles run before review: 85

The Good:

  • Foam – The PWRRUN PB in the Endorphin Rift feels fantastic underfoot. Unlike other trail shoes utilizing PWRRUN PB, the Rift does not have a carbon plate, and this definitely helps the shoe remain soft and comfortable for long days on the trail. In a recent 50-kilometer race the PWRRUN PB foam felt great – from the first mile all the way through mile 32. When you’re on your feet for a long period of time it is nice to have a shoe that maintains that fresh feeling. Happy to report the PWRRUN PB foam is no longer only for the roads!
  • Weight – Usually when I get a trail shoe, especially one with a lot of foam, the weight is in the double digits. Not the Rift. For a Men’s size 9, you are looking at about 8.4 oz. While that might not seem light for road shoe standards, anything less than 9 oz in the trail shoe world is ideal. Having a light shoe option is clutch for those long days on the trail when you know your legs will get tired. 
  • Upper – I usually am not a fan of booty-like uppers (tongue-less wrap). I tend to find them to feel messy and difficult to achieve a solid lockdown. The Rift upper is an exception, it did a great job of securing my foot. I have taken the Rift on multiple long runs and a race and have experienced zero heel slippage, hot spots, or discomfort. At the end of the day, that is really all you can hope for from a shoe – a solid ride where you forget it’s even on. Fair warning though, if you have a super narrow foot, you might see some fabric bunching. 
  • Versatility – While the Rift has decent lug depth, it still does a great job on a variety of trails. During the testing of the Rift, I paced a friend on a rainy, sandy, flat course, completed training runs on gnarly east coast trails with road-to-trail efforts, and completed a 50-kilometer (which included a ton of stone steps, steep ascents/descents, roads, and water crossings). The Rift excelled in every situation I threw at it!
Saucony Endorphin Rift 2

The Bad:

  • Water Retention – While the Rift does a lot of things great, it does not do a great job of draining water. I took the Rift through multiple creek crossings, and while at first it was fine, by the third water crossing my shoe would not stop squeaking. While I’m impressed I did not end up with a blister, the noise and wet sensation were rather unpleasant.
  • Running on Wood – While the Rift is incredible on gnarly, muddy, buffed-out trails and rocky terrain, I found it does not like wooden bridges. The PWR Trac outsole on wooden bridges would leave me slipping and sliding. While startling, unless your race includes a large portion on wood bridges, it is not a deal breaker. Just something to note. 
Saucony Endorphin Rift 3

The Pro:

The rift has been my go-to shoe. It’s the lightest trail shoe Saucony has ever made, but can handle the gnarliest terrain.” Saucony Trail Pro Katie Asmuth

The Verdict: 

The Endorphin Rift has become a go-to trail shoe of mine. The shoe has hit the mark on everything I look for in a shoe – comfortable, light, aesthetically pleasing, and a great lockdown. While the Rift is an absolute buy for me, if your race or training run includes a lot of water crossings, maybe think twice – unless you like the smooth sounds of squish. 

Saucony Endorphin Rift 4

***Disclaimer: The Endorphin Rift was provided by Saucony for review. Saucony did not pay for this review, all opinions are our own.***

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