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Saucony is a brand that is well known for making some of the best quality runners on the market. The brand specialises in road runners, but can they make quality trail runners too? Over the past few weeks, we have been putting one of their most recent releases, the Saucony Endorphin Edge “ToTheTest”.
The Saucony Endorphin Edge is a lightweight, responsive trail running shoe that is designed to be used in races as well as training. It has a high stack height (36mm at the heel and 30mm at the toe) which, in collaboration with the soft, bouncy midsole, provides a good amount of protection from impact under step.
The midsole is the home of a Carbitex carbon fibre plate which is shaped to provide a suspension to the footstrike as well as provide an increased energy return with each stride. The carbon plate is mono flex meaning it provides increased energy return without compromising on stability.
The upper is a lightweight breathable nylon mesh that will keep a small amount of grit out. It is not waterproof or even water resistant. There is a lightweight rubber bumper on the toe for some light protection from stones.
The outsole is an aggressive trail configuration with an array of 4mm lugs. The rubber is PWRTRAC rubber which we have found to be quite a sticky rubber on rocks. We would imagine that the outsole will provide good durability and will likely get you through 400km-500km of running.
The shoe weighs a lean 252g in men’s size 9, has a semi-gussetted tongue
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We have taken it on a variety of different types of runs over the past few weeks to see where the shoe excels and where it doesn’t.
We first tried it out on an easy and flat trail run, that included some muddy trails. We found that the midsole felt incredibly soft and bouncy. It almost was encouraging speed with each stride.
The next run we wore the Saucony Endorphin Edge on was an evening trail run with a few short 30-second surges. We wanted to see how the shoe felt when we really got the legs spinning. In the warm-up, we were running up a familiar slope (approximately 8% gradient on a good trail). We felt surprisingly good, especially considering the harder training days that had preceded this run. The surges felt nice and controlled, we expected to really feel the carbon plate pushing us along here as they work best at faster paces. We must say that we didn’t experience the level of snap we were expecting.
Another run that we tested out the Saucony Endorphine Edge on was a run with 12 minutes of tempo on undulating terrain in the middle. This was where we really felt the shoe shone. The weight of the shoe was very apparent on the short climbs and the outsole gripped well into the trails. Yet again it was hard to tell whether this benefit was coming from the midsole foam or from the carbon plate. We would imagine it was coming from both.
Do Carbon Shoes Belong On The Trails?
The Saucony Endorphin Edge, while positioning itself at the racing end of the running shoe market, is primed to be competing against some of the best trail running shoes available. We think that the Saucony Endorphin Edge would be an excellent shoe for longer trail races in Ireland, especially in the spring and summer. Given that the shoe has a higher stack height we would say if you are prone to rolling your ankles this shoe may not be the best option for more technical races. However for races such as; the Kerry Way Ultra, EcoTrail Wicklow 80km, Maurice Mullins Ultra or the Wicklow Way Race this would be a contender for our top pick!
One massive drawback to this shoe is the price. We asked earlier if this shoe will be the Speegoat killer. We highly doubt it! When you consider that at the retail price, the Saucony Endorphin Edge is €70 more than the Speedgoat. This is an understandable price tag for a shoe that features; a carbon plate for energy return, a nylon plate for protection, a responsive midsole, a lightweight upper and an adequate outsole for Irish trails. However €230 is a lot of money for a pair of shoes.
If you are interested in shaving seconds off your times at trail races in 2023 we would definitely consider the Saucony Endorphine Edge. It is an impressive shoe and a massive step in the right direction for trail running shoes. We would also recommend the Saucony Endorphin Edge to those runners that run far! The carbon in the midsole, while offering energy return also helps to preserve your muscles. This leaves you feeling fresher after hard training.
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By Matthew McConnell
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