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Road Running Shoes • March 27, 2020

Saucony Endorphin Pro Performance Review

Saucony Endorphin Pro feature 1

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 7.5 oz. (213 g) for a US M9.0
  • Full-length S-shaped carbon fiber plated midsole featuring PWRRUN PB cushioning
  • 8 mm drop (35.5 in heel, 27.5 in toe)
  • The shoe is a straight-up rock’em, sock’em knockout
  • Saucony should give out free pairs to anyone who gets a Mike Tyson-style face tattoo of the river logo

ROBBE: Honestly, there may be no company I feel worse for right now than Saucony. While I think the buzz is still holding strong for the Endorphin line, they’ve gotten totally f-ed over in the last couple of months.

First, a left hook to the side when the World Athletics ruling made them move up the Endorphin Pro release by a month and a half to April 15. Then a recovery jab to the competition as Molly Seidel took second in the Olympic Trials Marathon, guaranteeing them a spot in the 2020 Olympics. 

But wait– here comes an uppercut to the chin– COVID-19 and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics until next year.

 Now, there’s no official timetable on the release of the Endorphin Pro (the April 15 release has been pushed), and it’s a damn shame because it may be the best shoe on the market for $200 or less.

MEAGHAN: I’m just the referee in this match, so I’ll hand it over to the other side of the ring.

THOMAS: Not to throw a jab at Robbe, I don’t have the same level of sympathy for Saucony as Robbe does, in fact, I think you can look at all these things in a different positive light.

They have an awesome shoe ready for production in time for the World Athletic ruling. Molly had a knockout performance in the Endorphin Pro proving they have a world-class shoe and athlete. Finally, the Olympics being postponed was a blow, but it was a gut punch for everyone.

Personally, after trying on the Endorphin Pro at The Running Event last December in Austin, Texas, I have eagerly been waiting for a chance to run in the trainer. Sometimes you know the minute you slide your foot into a shoe if it is a champ or a chump– the Endorphin Pro was love at first stride.

Now all the shoe had to do was perform well in the ring.

QUICK RUNDOWN: The Endorphin Pro is a lightweight, carbon-plated race day shoe, the king of the Endorphin line (which also includes the Endorphin Speed and the Endorphin Shift). The carbon-plate is a full-length S-shape following the bottom of the black paint on the midsole (while coincidentally mimicking the Saucony river logo).

 Speaking of midsole, it’s made of PEBA-based PWRRUN PB, which is 40% lighter than Saucony’s PWRRUN+ and allegedly provides 88% energy return. Features an 8 mm offset. It all comes together to provide an incredibly responsive and form-fitting shoe.

Saucony Endorphin Pro feature

The Good

ROBBE: Despite reviewing a ton of shoes here, I actually haven’t had a chance to run in any carbon plate racers (the Carbon X withstanding, which isn’t really a race shoe). The Endorphin Pro was a great way to start.

When we got the shoe a few weeks ago, I was ready to rip it on a St. Patrick’s Day 5K course until my entire race schedule broke in pieces like the heart of a sad leprechaun without his Lucky Charms. That said, this shoe will be my heart, stars, horseshoes, and clovers for any race I have in the near or distant future. It’s so good.

The FORMFIT upper is made of ultralight materials and minimal 3D overlays that wraps the foot perfectly. No extra fabric, no intrusive collar edges– it just locks down beautifully. Because of its minimal structure, it’s super breathable and flexible. It feels like a rocket.

Step-in feels a little squirrely, but once the shoe gets going, everything irons out perfectly.

When taking it down below 5K pace, it picks up completely effortlessly. The turnover­– aided in part by the Speedroll geometry of the outsole– is lightning quick and buttery smooth. It felt like I was doing no work with my feet and legs, just carrying over and over into the next steps.

The shoe is firm, but in the exact way you want it to be for a race-day shoe. The cushion is just right and the energy return simply springs into the next step with little to no effort. It’s the kind of shoe you just want to run fast in, forever.

Last thing– man, this whole lineup looks so good, but in a bold and different way. Kudos to the design team for taking a risk and dropping all-white for the initial colorway.

MEAGHAN: I’m just going to say it. I’m borderline obsessed with this shoe. With the Endorphin Pro, Saucony has put together one beautiful, form-fitting, lightweight, carbon plated gem of a racing shoe.

Let’s jump right in with the upper. The engineered mesh with 3D printed overlays is oh-so-light and breathable. While there isn’t much support through the midfoot and forefoot, the lacing, heel, and collar give you all the structure you need to get a locked-down, secure fit.

As I’ve noted before, I love a rocker design (Saucony calls it SpeedRoll Geometry) that encourages the forward momentum of running. This feature is very apparent in the entire Endorphin line, but particularly so in the Pro.

The midsole is designed with Saucony’s new PWRRUN PB cushioning, which is superior in all the ways: it’s lighter, more flexible, more durable and provides more energy return than EVA. It looks like adidas Boost material, but it feels nothing like it (a great thing, IMO).

Of course, like any good racer these days, it comes with a full-length S-curved carbon fiber plate. Since I know you want to know… it’s not the same sensation you feel in the Vaporfly. Not worse, just different. The Vaporfly has a squishier midsole material, that paired with the carbon plate, gives the shoe an apparent pop. The Endorphin Pro has a firmer overall feel, with a less apparent pop, but you still get a nice bounce from the plate and the SpeedRoll Geometry encourages that forward momentum. All I know is the faster I ran, the faster I wanted to run.

Also worth noting, my W7.5 came in at 6.4oz (slighter heavier than the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% at 5.45 oz, but I am not complaining).

Saucony Endorphin Pro image

THOMAS: This shoe does not disappoint. Robbe and Meg have covered all the tech in the shoe, so I will just use this section to talk about what I like about running in the shoe.

I don’t know what the perfect softness to firmness ration of cushioning is, but the Pro is it for me. There is bounce and a feeling of energy return without any sloppiness. Call it Speedroll, call it rocker geometry, call it whatever you want, this shoe likes to roll through your stride like a boxer on a speed bag.

Without any races to look forward to in the near future, I went out for a 10.43-mile run where I didn’t have any pace goals. My only thought was to run by feel and just enjoy the miles. I ended up comfortably punching out the miles at an average of 7:44 min miles almost effortlessly. That is only a few seconds higher than my marathon pace. The shoe likes to roll.

My size 10.5 weighs in at 8.25 oz./234 grams, which is about an ounce more than the NEXT%, but the more stable feeling of the Endorphin Pro and better fitting upper has me thinking this shoe may work better for me.

The single layer of engineered mesh lets air in and the gusseted tongue locks the arch down over the sole. While the shoe is stripped down to shed weight, the lightly padded heel counter provides comfort and minimizes heel lift.

All my miles were in good conditions, so the traction wasn’t put to the test. My educated guess is that there won’t be any issues. Add in the fact that the shoe’s platform is less squirrely than some other high platform plated racers and you’ll be taking corners at higher speeds with more confidence.

Shop Endorphin Pro – Men Shop Endorphin Pro – Women Saucony Endorphin Pro outsole

The Bad

ROBBE: You’re not going to find much from me here.

This isn’t so much a bad thing, because it’s a race day shoe– it’s supposed to be light with a thin, not-much-there upper. But if you have any sort of stability issues, be careful.

I have terrible ankles and rolled them a couple times on uneven footfalls (see: shitty Baltimore roads). To be fair, I was going at slower paces at the time, so staying on your toes will help alleviate this. In the later miles of a marathon when your form sucks, it could become an issue though.

MEAGHAN: I can’t think of anything negative to say… my shoes did come untied once?

THOMAS: The Pro will have you wanting to run faster, and you should. The shoe doesn’t shine until you speed up your gait. Keep this shoe to your tempo runs and race days. The Pro isn’t for sparring, it’s for fight night.

Shop Endorphin Pro – Men Shop Endorphin Pro – Women Saucony Endorphin Pro heel counter

Saucony Endorphin Pro Conclusion

ROBBE: It looks like we’ll all be sparring for awhile, but when you’re ready to rumble, just know that the Endorphin Pro is the golden glove you’re looking for. 

MEAGHAN: The Saucony Endorphin Pro has got to be right at the top of my all-time favorite running shoes list. For the first time in two years, I’m contemplating wearing something other than Nike Vaporflys for race day (assuming race days come back at some point). I also have a special place in my heart for this shoe– it’s helped me keep my sanity as we continue to practice social distancing.  Strapping on a pair of Endorphin Pros and knocking out a progressive run is the most fun I’ve had in weeks.

THOMAS: The Saucony Endorphin Pro is a hammer blow from Mike Tyson– it doesn’t matter who you are, it will knock you the f*** out. Saucony’s team has done an outstanding job with this shoe. Pair this with the Endorphin Shift for your easy miles and you have a one-two combo that will make you consider getting a face tattoo of the Saucony logo. And at $50-$75 dollars less expensive than its closest competitor, you can save enough to keep your tiger eating USDA Prime steaks.

When it’s available, you can pick up the Saucony Endorphin Pro for $200  at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Endorphin Pro – Men Shop Endorphin Pro – Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Erik Hash says:

    What’s the anticipated mileage lifespan on the Elites? I’ve always heard around 100 miles on the Vaporfly 4% and Next% and would like to know how Saucony’s midsole material holds up in comparison.

  2. Colin Baker says:

    Wait, the logo is a river? I always thought it was supposed to be a bird (and an S). Huh.

    1. D says:

      Hi great reviews as ever thanks guys

  3. Carly Tu says:

    Helpful review! Can’t wait to run in these shoes.

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