The original Saucony Endorphin Pro was one of the first carbon plate super-shoes I tested that wasn’t made by Nike. I loved both it and its successor the Endorphin Pro 2, which made few changes from the original.
It had a smooth and efficient ride with some extra pop from the plate, and it was one of the best carbon plate running shoes – for shorter races in particular. However, I had to be at my best to get the most from the first two generations as it could feel firm and harsh in the latter stages of long runs, partly because its stack height was “only” 35.5mm, rather than the 39-40mm that is more typical of super-shoes.
Saucony has increased the stack height in the Endorphin Pro 3, which completely changes the feel of the shoe for the better, and makes it one of the best running shoes available.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3: Price And Availability
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is available now and costs $225 in the US and £210 in the UK, which is a jump in price from the $200/£190 the Pro 1 and 2 cost. It’s still at the cheaper end of the super-shoe spectrum, however, costing the same as the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2, but being cheaper than the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ and Edge+, Adidas Adios Pro 3 and Nike Alphafly NEXT% 2.
My Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 sample for this review was provided by Sports Shoes (opens in new tab).
Design And Fit
Saucony has added 4mm of cushioning to the midsole of the Endorphin Pro 3, bringing it up to a heel stack height of 39.5mm and a forefoot height of 31.5mm, with the shoe having the same 8mm drop as its predecessor.
The midsole is still made from Saucony’s PEBA-based PWRRUN PB foam, and it has an S-shaped carbon plate running through it. The shoe uses Saucony’s Speedroll geometry, meaning it has a rocker design that helps you roll through your foot strike onto your toes.
Despite the increased stack height, the Endorphin Pro 3 is lighter than its predecessor. It weighs 7.65oz/217g in my UK size 9, whereas the Pro 2 was 7.86oz/ 223g.
Part of the reason for that drop in weight is the new upper, which is a very breathable mesh with a tongue that has big holes cut into it to reduce weight. There is still some padding around the heel though, and I had no problems with the lockdown around the midfoot and heel, which I have had with the Endorphin Speed 3. The Pro 3 fits true to size.
Saucony has also changed the outsole on the shoe, using its XT-900 rubber and changing the pattern to provide more grip. I never had significant problems with the grip on the Pro 1 and 2, but on greasy asphalt you get a little more purchase from the new shoe.
How I Tested This Shoe
I have run around 45 miles (72km) in the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3, using it for a hard 23.5-mile (38km) run during my marathon training, as well as some tough workouts and a steady training run. I have also used the first two generations of the line extensively for training and racing. You can read my Saucony Endorphin Pro review and Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 review if you have time on your hands.
What a difference an extra 4mm of cushioning makes. The Endorphin Pro 3 feels very different to the Endorphin Pro 2, being noticeably softer from the off. There’s more bounce in the ride as well, which means you lose a little of the smoothness from the Speedroll rocker, but it’s still an efficient ride and certainly an improvement overall.
My first couple of runs in the shoe were a steady 10-mile (16km) run in just under an hour and a beefy 22-mile (35km) marathon training long run with half done at an easy pace and half at a steady one, with an extra couple of kilometres tacked on at the end to cool down.
In both of these runs it was noticeable just how much more comfortable the Pro 3 is compared with its predecessor. The Pro 2 is a great shoe, but it would start to feel firm on longer runs, to the point where it isn’t a shoe I think many people would enjoy using for a marathon.
The increased comfort in the Pro 3 is accompanied by more bounce and a faster ride. Ticking off miles at a steady or marathon pace feels comfortable, and then the Pro 3 also has the pop you need for shorter, faster efforts.
I did a long session in the shoe, running five 2km reps at 3min 35sec/km pace followed by a hard 5K in 16min 27sec. The shoe protected my legs and made the steadier paces feel easier, then felt light and explosive when I pushed to 5K pace.
The Endorphin Pro 2 was a great shoe, but only really worked well for runners looking for a firmer ride from their racing shoe. The Endorphin Pro 3 is an improvement across the board and the comfortable ride especially makes it a shoe that many more runners will enjoy.
It’s a great racing option for events of any distance, and on pure performance I prefer it to any other carbon shoe that doesn’t have a Nike swoosh on it. It’s a very close run thing with the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2, though the safe bet is to simply pick up the Vaporfly since it is such a proven performer for so many runners. I prefer the extreme bounce of the Alphafly NEXT% 2 for my racing, but it is far more expensive.
It’s a shame the price of the Endorphin Pro 3 has risen, but it is still one of the better value carbon-plate options, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to runners looking for an efficient racing shoe that is also comfortable to use for lots of training runs.
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