Saucony Endorphin Edge: first impressions
The Saucony Endorphin Edge is a trail shoe built for speed, and upon pulling it out of the box, the first thing you'll notice is its light weight and stiff build. Both of these can be attributed to a full-length carbon plate embedded in the midsole, which is springy and fun even on difficult terrain, offering plenty of control. This is reinforced by a full-length rockplate to protect the midsole EVA foam from stones and roots.
• List price: $200 / £200
• Weight: Men’s 9oz / 255g, women's 7.8oz / 221g
• Materials: textile upper, EVA foam midsole, carbon fiber plate, rubber outsole (includes some recycled materials)
• Colors: Prospect Quartz (pink), Ocean (blue), Black/Goldstruck
• Compatibility: Trail running, mixed terrain routes
The upper is closely woven with a thinly cushioned, gusseted tongue to prevent ingress of dirt, grit, and water. The collar has minimal padding, but is ergonomically shaped and I never experienced rubbing during my runs.
The toe is reinforced with a generously sized rubberized area, and there's a firm plastic heel counter round the back. Saucony has also built in a heel loop to make the Edge easier to pull on swiftly when it's time to hit the trails.
The outsole is equipped with chevron-shaped lugs, which are quite widely spaced to prevent accumulation of excess mud.
As you'd expect from a Saucony shoe, its color options make a statement. Both men's and women's sizes are available in a choice of Prospect Quartz (hot pink), Ocean (bright blue), or Black/Goldstruck (black with gold accents). Thankfully none of them should stain easily.
Saucony Endorphin Edge: on the trails
The Saucony Endorphin Edge is the most comfortable trail shoe I've ever worn. It fits true to size, and the toebox is particularly roomy, giving plenty of room for your feet to swell during a long, hot run. The extra wiggle room was something my toes particularly appreciated in the summer months.
Your foot won't slip around though; the lacing system is excellent and allows you to get a good snug fit around your midfoot without putting uncomfortable pressure on your metatarsals. The laces are flat, non-stretchy, and give you plenty of length to create a heel lock if you like.
The amount of cushioning here feels just right; enough to absorb lumps and bumps, but not so much that they feel bouncy or unstable at low speeds. It's also springy thanks to that carbon plate, which feels particularly great on hills. Raise up onto your forefoot and you'll just fly up.
Although the Edge is built for trails first and foremost, I'd say it also works well as a road-to-trail shoe for mixed terrain. My first adventure with them was a route between Bath and Keynsham that included dry compacted soil, grass, and some paved surfaces, and it felt great on all of them right out of the box, with no need to break it in.
The Endorphin Edge even felt good on wet manmade surfaces after heavy rain (I hadn't intended to wear it then, but poor planning meant I didn't have my road shoes to hand). The closely-woven upper resists splashes, but is very breathable too – even on a day over 30C it never felt unpleasantly warm.
It's very hard to fault the Endorphin Edge and the only real downside here is the price – full carbon plate shoes don't come cheap, particularly with this kind of engineering involved. You can really see where your money is going, though. If your wallet can take the hit, the Saucony Endorphin Edge is easily one of the best trail shoes you can buy today.
Where we tested the Saucony Endorphin Edge
My first experience with the Endorphin Edge was a 10-mile run from Keynsham railway station to Bath Spa. It was a particularly hot day, so I appreciated the extra toe room, and the shoe kept out grit on parched trails. She shoe also provided plenty of maneuverability on hard, rutted field tracks.