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Saucony Endorphin Speed vs. Pro – Which Is Right For You?

 

Love Saucony shoes and in the market for a new pair? Today we’re comparing the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs. Pro. The shoes are quite similar, but some key differences may make you choose one over the other.

Saucony shoes are known for their roomy toe boxes, great cushioning, and comfortable fit. These two shoes feature all of those things but have some specific features that make them attractive to those who like to run faster for longer.

The Endorphin range features rocker technology, propulsion plates, and responsive cushioning that provides the best of both comfort and performance.

Let’s have a look at two shoes within this range, the Endorphin Speed 3 and the Pro 3.

Main Differences

Both of these shoes are made for speed. But they do have some noticeable differences that could make one more suitable for you.

The Endorphin Speed 3 features a double-layered upper, which is more structured and supportive, while the Pro 3 has a single layer of mesh for improved flexibility and breathability.

A nylon plate is present in the Speed 3, which is somewhat flexible and easier on the feet. The Pro 3 features a carbon plate, which is stiffer and can take some time to get used to.

In terms of weight, the Pro 3 is lighter by about an ounce than the Speed 3, despite having 3.5 mm extra foam in the midsole. However, it has a narrower toe box and doesn’t come in wide sizes.

Upper

Endorphin Speed 3

This shoe features a new upper that’s made from a double layer of soft, engineered mesh with a slightly wider fit.

The upper molds to the natural shape of your foot. This accommodates wider feet nicely with more room in the toe box while providing a snug and secure midfoot lockdown.

Thinner mesh and a perforated toe box allow for excellent breathability, keeping your feet cool and dry on long runs. The gusseted tongue is thinner, flatter, and slightly stretchy with a less plastic feel. This helps provide a secure midfoot lockdown.

The collar and the heel are lightly padded, which provides enough cushioning without being overly soft or adding weight to the shoe.

The heel counter is less rigid but is reinforced with a synthetic overlay. This helps add structure to the heel without causing any irritation.

Endorphin Pro 3

The mesh upper of the Endorphin Pro 3 has been redesigned. The engineered mesh is incredibly lightweight, with large perforations that offer excellent breathability. It also has a good amount of stretch that follows the contours of your foot without being overly tight.

The darker color and the bright pink upper have a slight sheen to them that adds a bit of fun sparkle. The gusseted tongue is suede, thin, and wraps around your foot without creating any hotspots or discomfort.

Although there’s a minimal number of eyelets, it’s easy to cinch down and get a customized fit thanks to the tubular laces. The eyelets are reinforced with an overlay that adds structure and makes the upper more durable.

There are also three large holes punched out of the tongue, which helps reduce the weight of the shoe. Fortunately, the design of the tongue combined with the laces prevents any lace bite.

The heel is semi-stiff, lightly padded, and has a light and minimal feel. That being said, it offers a comfortable, secure fit even on longer efforts. Despite the minimalist nature of the shoe, wearing them without socks may lead to some Achilles chafing.

Overall, the streamlined upper provides an excellent lockdown and fit, even if you have narrow feet.

Midsole

Endorphin Speed 3

The midsole of the Speed 3 has also been updated, and it now has a slightly wider fit to match the wider base.

Featuring PWRRUN PB foam and an S-shaped nylon plate, the Speed 3 offers an excellent blend of comfort and responsiveness.

The shoe’s stack height has increased to 36 mm in the heel and 28 mm in the forefoot, which offers a soft feeling underfoot.

But runners will find that, although the PWRRUN PB foam is soft, it provides excellent shock absorption. It’s responsive, creating a peppy feeling while offering great energy return.

The winged S-shaped nylon plate is slightly more flexible and doesn’t feel harsh underfoot. It’s also combined with higher side walls, providing inherent stability, making it an excellent choice for a daily trainer or potential racing shoe.

Runners will notice the nylon plate at faster paces and that it has just the right amount of rebound without being overly aggressive

Speedroll geometry—solid forefoot rocker—works with the nylon plate, making the heel-to-toe transitions smoother and your toe-off phase more energetic.

The shoe is versatile as it’s able to pick up the pace, which is great for speed work, where they excel at tempo runs. But they’re also good to have in your rotation of daily trainers and for those longer runs.

Endorphin Pro 3

Is there such a thing as an ultra-max cushioned racing shoe because the Endorphin Pro 3 is just shy of the legal race limits?

Featuring an additional 4 mm of PWRRUN PB midsole foam, the Pro 3 has a massive stack at 39.5mm in the heel and 31.5mm in the forefoot. That’s 0.5 short of the legal race regulations from World Athletics for a stack height of 40 mm.

Fortunately, they’re officially on the approved list, so you can use these shoes race day!

Although the stack height has increased, making the shoe softer, it’s not overly plush. This shoe is super comfortable but also fast and bouncier, making it easier to pick up the pace when you need to.

The midsole also features a firm S-shaped carbon fiber plate that propels you forward. It works in unison with the Speedroll rocker. This creates smooth transitions allowing you to run effortlessly for miles.

The midfoot is wider, with sidewalls on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe to enhance stability and support. This will help reduce overpronation when your legs are tired on those long runs or after all the miles on race day.

While you may think that the increased stack height may make the shoe unstable, the shoe is exceptionally stable. Runners won’t find any sloppiness when running in this shoe.

Outsole

Endorphin Speed 3

The outsole on the Speed 3 uses the same XT-900 rubber as previous versions of the shoe. But to reduce the weight, rubber has been placed in all the right places—areas of high-wear—which helped reduce the shoe’s overall weight.

The high-abrasion carbon rubber is durable, with very few signs of wear after 80 miles. So runners should be able to get at least 250 to 300 miles out of this shoe. The exposed foam, however, may show more signs of wear after about 60 miles.

Runners will find that the new outsole coverage has improved the traction, and you’ll be running confidently on wet and slick roads.

Endorphin Pro 3

Although the Pro 3 also uses XT-900 rubber, the configuration is different, and the rubber is only 1mm thick.

The forefoot is mostly covered in rubber apart from a thin cutout. To improve toe-off, the tip features a ribbed piece of rubber. This may enhance the Speedroll geometry, add to the lateral stability, and provide additional traction.

The heel features rubber on both the lateral and medial sides with a cutout of a couple of millimeters between them.

Even though the rubber is 1 mm thick, it’s durable and shows very few signs of wear after 50 miles, but they may start showing signs after 65 miles.

Traction is excellent and grippier on wet roads than the previous versions. Although the shoe is designed to be used on the road, it has great traction on pavements.

Stiffness/Flex

Endorphin Speed 3

The Speed 3 features a nylon plate and slightly less cushioning than the Pro, making it significantly more flexible underfoot. The nylon plate moves with the foot, allowing you to get a more natural feeling as you run.

Endorphin Pro 3

The Pro 3 feels somewhat stiff due to the carbon plate in the midsole. This may take some time to get used to if you’ve never run in a carbon-plated shoe before. The breaking-in period may be uncomfortable for those who are new to it.

Fit

Endorphin Speed 3

The Speed 3 appears to fit true to size. It’s slightly wider than the previous version of the shoe, although the toe box is a little shallow and comes down close to the tops of the toes.

A snug heel keeps your foot in place as you run, with light cushioning that isn’t overly plush but feels comfortable.

The thinner tongue helps you to get a good lockdown without causing lace bite. With a slightly stretchy upper, this shoe should fit well on most feet.

The Speed 3 has a wider toe box than the Pro and comes in wide sizes.

Endorphin Pro 3

The Pro 3 has a more snug fit than the Speed. If you prefer a slightly more spacious fit, you may want to buy a half-size up from your usual size.

It has a slightly stretchy upper that can accommodate tighter or looser lacing, depending on your preference. The toe box is average in width and feels a little more spacious in height than the Speed.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

Both the Endorphin Speed 3 and the Pro 3 have a heel-to-toe drop of 8 mm.

Weight

Endorphin Speed 3

A men’s size 9 in the Endorphin Speed 3 weighs 8.1 oz—230 grams. This will obviously change as the size of the shoe changes.

Endorphin Pro 3

The equivalent size—US 9—in the Endorphin Pro 3 weighs 7.25 oz—206 grams. This is almost an ounce lighter, despite having more cushioning.

Price

Endorphin Speed 3

The Endorphin Speed 3 is the more budget-friendly shoe, selling for $170 at the time of writing. It’s an excellent choice for those who want a speedy shoe at a good price point.

Endorphin Pro 3

The Endorphin Pro 3 is more expensive, retailing at $225 at the time of writing. However, it’s designed to be faster than the Speed and offers superb energy return thanks to the carbon plate.

Summary

You should be able to make a better decision between the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs. Pro now that you know the differences.

The Endorphin Speed 3 is the better choice for those who are on a budget. With a slab of protective yet bouncy cushioning and a snappy nylon plate, you’ll find yourself going fast with these shoes on your feet.

They’re great for speed work, tempo runs and can also be used for easy runs or recovery runs if you wish.

The Endorphin Pro 3 is the most expensive, but it’s designed to be the best combination of plush and fast.

We recommend this shoe for those who already have experience running with a stiff plate in their shoe, as it can feel quite uncomfortable if you aren’t used to it.

However, if you’re after speed, the Pro 3 is the better choice. It also has a single-layer upper, which not only makes it cooler but also makes it more aerodynamic.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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