Saucony Endorphin Speed Review

TL;DR

Super shoes for normals.

Intro

The onslaught of super shoes with advanced foams and stiff plates in 2020 has given runners a myriad of race-day choices. While above average in performance, they are also above average in price. It makes it expensive to use these shoes for everyday high-volume training miles. Rather than featuring a single top-tier halo model, Saucony has released a three-shoe lineup for its Endorphin series – the Endorphin Pro, Speed and Shift.

The Saucony Endorphin Speed is the middle child of the lineup. With a Pebax (Polyether Block Amid) based midsole and plate, it has more in common with the top-tier Pro than the Shift, which has more conventional EVA+TPU foam.

The standout feature is that the Speed costs $200 CDN, which very much in the middle of the premium trainer segment and less than the $250+ cost of super shoes from virtually all other manufacturers. The question is does the Speed give up too much to get to this price point?

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New Balance Fuel Cell TC Review

TL;DR

Better performance with more trampoline and less marshmallow.

Intro

New Balance’s first entry into the super shoe sweepstakes is the Fuel Cell TC. I first saw prototype variants of this shoe line being raced by elite athletes last year (2019). The production launch consists of two models the TC (Training & Competition) and RC (Racing & Competition). I am testing the Fuel Cell TC in this review. The Fuel Cell RC is expected to be released later in 2020.

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Saucony Endorphin Pro Review

TL;DR

The Saucony Endorphin Pro is the real deal. A fast shoe that wraps the latest technologies into a slightly more conventional package. 

Introduction

2020 is the year of the super shoe. The dominance of the Nike Vaporfly series has not gone unnoticed by athletes, both elite and recreational. The impact of the shoes also hit mainstream media and many of my non-runner friends sent me articles about this crazy shoe. The other shoe companies have been working on a response. Their hands were forced by the January 2020 World Athletics rule change to require shoes worn by competitors to be available for general purchase. The previous timetable was April – when new shoe models needed to be available for sale four months before the Tokyo Olympics in August. Thanks to Covid-19, the Olympics have been postponed, which relaxed the deadlines for these new shoe models.

All of these new super-shoes seem to share two common elements. 1. A high-tech foam that promises better energy return than the EVA found in typical running shoes. 2. A stiff plate made of composite materials, ranging from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the high end, to fibreglass or plastic for the lower tier models. It’s interesting to see each manufacturer’s take on these elements, at different price brackets.

Enter the Saucony Endorphin Series. There are three models – the Pro, Speed and Shift. All share similar characteristics and span the range from a high-end competitive marathon shoe, to a premium everyday high mileage trainer. I am reviewing the top-tier Endorphin Pro model. This model has the highest end materials, with a carbon fibre plate and Pebax (Polyether Block Amid) foam.

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New Balance Fuel Cell 890v8 Review

TL;DR

For a shoe with so many crazy curves and angles, the NB Fuel Cell 890v8 ends up straight up the middle.

Intro

I’m excited each time I get a new version of New Balance 890. Unlike many other models where they just update the colourway and maybe tweak the upper a bit, the 890 typically gets a full redesign, midsole tooling and upper, each model year. It’s kinda like Christmas, but also a scary box of chocolates, if the prior model was particularly good. What’s more, sometimes the shoe switches categories. The 890 is typically a fast version of the daily neutral trainer, but in 2019, version 7 became practically a racing flat, dumping nearly 3 oz., turning into a 6mm alternative to the 1400. 2020 is no different and we see another full redesign in version 8. The biggest is a foam change from Fuel Cell from Revlite. This was good news, since the 2019 Fuel Cell shoes were great. The Rebel was an excellently responsive shoe and the Fuel Cell Propel was a soft and bouncy high mileage trainer at a very reasonable cost. The 890’s weight is back up a bit, into the 8 oz. class, but still less than most prior versions.

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Saucony Kinvara 11 First Look

The Saucony Kinvara was model that popularized the lightweight-flexible-cushioned neutral category eleven years ago. Each year, I always look forward to see what’s been added, deleted and changed, and how it compares to my favourite past versions.

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to demo the Kinvara 11 before the Feb 1, 2020 release. I ran a 12k hilly tempo run, over a variety of paces on both flat, uphill and downhill terrain. Here is a brief overview of my experience with them.

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