Saucony just dropped some exiting fresh off-road kicks in their Endorphin line. With the aggressive and distinct “Slime” colorway, Saucony wants to assign the success they have with their road supershoe Endorphin Elite from one surface to another. The Waltham, Massachusetts based company has left quite some positive impression with their latest trail models, the Endorphin Trail and the Endorphin Edge. These models have been an amazing addition to the traditional Peregrine and the Xodus Ultra (one of my all-time favorite trail shoes).
The newest unit to the Endorphin trail line – the Saucony Endorphin Rift. This shoe could be placed in a line with the Endorphin Edge. The big difference amongst these high-end trail running shoes is the shortage of the carbon plate in the Rift. The foundation in both shoes is the reactive PWRRUN PB midsole foam that Saucony is using these days. And for a very good reason – it is really good. But there still is some plate build in this shoe. Customarily trail shoes use a shielding rock plate that guards the foot against rocks and everything dangerous that an off-road run might hold. And the Rift is no difference here.
The upper of the Rift is notably robust and notwithstanding me using it extensively across sharp volcano stone trails on La Palma in the recent weeks, it didn’t take too much beating. Its shielding and utmost breathable which I liked during the last hot summer runs. The sock-like inner of the shoe is a great treat and I found it to be very protective and stable during technical downhills.
This picture shows the inside of the Endorphin Rift and the wrap system that is build in to further give shield and steadiness to the shoes performance. It is a nice feeling of the foot locked in and it ensures a secure fit. Nothing that should be underrated in a good trail shoe.
I’m somewhat of a sucker for handy details – and some really nice ones can be found throughout the Rift. Some simple string hangers are attached at the heel and one on top of the tongue. They aid the access of the foot into the sock-like inner. Also, the golden lace cover is quite an eye candy to me.
The outsole of a trail shoe is quite significant and certainly a decision maker when buying such a shoe. The Rift’s lugs come in at 4.5mm plus and that is quite a lot for such a shoe. While I was a bit amazed at first it all made sense while running this shoe in its natural habitation. The lugs work fine and seem to add to the great cushioning of the shoe. Technical trail are no problem but I wouldn’t use it in deep mud or snow.
A closer look at the PWRTRAC Rubber used on the outsole. The 4.5mm Lugs are placed efficiently and I could fully rely on them. They surely work best when it’s a bit dryer.
The PWRRUN PB foam can be seen across the midsole of the Rift. Inside, as mentioned before, is a front woven flexible rock plate. This is the same plate that Saucony uses in the other trail models. I have become a fan of the foam not only in the road running shoes. It works well on the trails as well. It’s a dynamic and light material that overs a lot of ease. The stack height comes in at 32mm to 27mm and with 244 grams this shoe is certainly not a heavy one. This weight with so much cushion – you gotta love the latest foam technology.
Comparting the toebox to other latest Saucony trail shoes, it feels a little bit tighter. The Endorphin Edge would be a bit more spacious in the front part. The material in the front looks a bit like the Xodus Ultra and offers some protection for the toes by using non-stretch material. This is particularly a feature that I really treasure.
The Saucony Endorphin Rift caught me by surprise. I was super pleased with the Edge and I’m still a big fan of Sauconys Xodus, but the newest model gave me so much joy, more then I thought it will. Yes, it doesn’t feature a carbon plate like the Edge but that doesn’t hold back the overall performance. Frankly speaking, I didn’t really feel a huge deviation while on the trails. The Endorphin Rift works fine and stable during uphill, with its inner-sock it is a lot of fun to push up grades. The feeling that your energy is shifted into speed is there and that is very satisfying. Whilst cruising on technical trails, the sense for the ground is noteworthy, despite the cushion, the ground feeling is continually there. Regardless of the stack height the shoe doesn’t feel “elevated”. It’s fun to run it fast and it’s a great choice for downhills due to the effective and well build midfoot wrap.
Tune of the day: dBridge presents Exit Records (The Aptitude Show)