Sleek Speed: Saucony Endorphin Pro+ Review
ROBBE: Sure, it’s late 2021 and we’re still in a weird limbo space for racing, but that doesn’t mean the super shoe arms race has cooled off by any means. We haven’t seen any brand-new models drop recently, but that doesn’t mean innovation isn’t still happening. Case in point: the Saucony Endorphin Pro+, the limited-edition upgrade to Saucony’s race day princess.
Short history – the original Saucony Endorphin Pro was a shoe that I straight up loved, especially for shorter distances. It was a polarizing shoe, for sure. A lot of people found the carbon plate to be too firm, the toe-off too snappy. But those who loved it really loved it. I found it felt like a rocket and loved running in the shoe, especially the sensation I got from the PWRRUN PB super foam midsole – bouncy and ultra-responsive with plenty of ground feel. Combined with the Saucony Speedroll geometry, the shoe rolls once you get moving.
And at $200, it was a pretty great alternative to the Vaporfly for anything half marathon and under. The only issue was the weight (and the fit of the upper to some degree). At 7.5 oz (213 g for a US M9.0) it wasn’t quite at that level of some of the other super shoes, most notably the Vaporfly and ASICS Metaspeed Sky.
All that has changed with a new upper on the Endorphin Pro+ which has shaved off .6 ounces, putting its new weight right in line with the other heavy hitters of the carbon-plated race scene. (By the way, the midsole and outsole is the exact same as the Endorphin Pro 2.) According to Saucony, the Endorphin Pro+ was built with “the attitude of a track spike,” and features an ultralight mesh upper with suede detailing and perforated tongue for added comfort and breathability.
All that for an extra $50, putting this version at $250, which is just what you’re gonna pay these days for a sweet-ass race shoe. So is it worth it? Let’s find out.
ROBBE: Right off the bat, losing over a half-ounce of weight is always a nice touch. Especially because the upper on version one wasn’t particularly secure, so you’re not sacrificing anything in stripping it down/redoing it. I will say, putting this shoe on and feeling that step in with the new, crisp and clean upper – you feel like you want to race from the get-go.
The ride is as expected if you’ve ever worn the other versions of the Endorphin Pro – it’s cushioned and bouncy, but retains a fast and snappy feel. I realize that all sounds like a contradiction, but it really does feel like a bouncy racing flat. For some, it’s a jarring experience because the aggressive plate combined with the Speedroll geometry really keeps you on your toes. It’s not a shoe meant for slower paces.
I took them out for a 20-mile run last weekend and the first twelve were easy and my legs felt… not so great. But I got a bit of energy and picked up the pace for 5 miles at marathon pace and the shoe really began to shine. Once you get going, the shoe is an absolute joy to run in.
I didn’t have any issues with security using heel lock lacing (you do want to lace the whole way up), and felt locked in throughout the entire run.
Honestly, I love this shoe. I actually prefer it over the Vaporfly because it just “feels” faster to me. It’s a hard sensation to explain. It feels like I just want to run fast in it, where the Vaporfly sometimes feels a tad soft, I don’t love the fit of the upper, and I feel like I’m going to tip over while cornering.
And surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good the next day. Plus, it just looks so good. The Endorphin Pro+ may be the best-looking race shoe out there right now.
Last thing – I found the breathability and fit of the upper to be excellent. It’s a really nice upgrade, for sure.
MEAGHAN: This is a straight-up beautiful shoe. As someone who loves the all-white shoe aesthetic, I was thrilled to receive a pair of the Endorphin Pro+. I love the fit and feel of the previous version, so I had high hopes for any minor updates. And, as Robbe noted, it’s a small update. The midsole/outsole remains unchanged – you’ve still got the great rocker design (SpeedRoll Geometry), PWRRUN PB cushioning, and a full-length S-curved carbon fiber plate.
Of the super shoes, 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.
The changes are minor, but also major. Saucony took inspiration from the track world to create this brand new upper. It’s designed with a very light, breathable suede that provides that barely-there feeling. It’s also the reason the shoes dropped down in weight.
I love the feel of this new upper and it really does replicate that fast, track-spike feeling. When your foot is in the shoe, you just want to go.Shop Endorphin Pro+ – Men Shop Endorphin Pro+ – Women
ROBBE: I have a weird tendinitis that crops up in my knee sometimes (probably because I do close to zero cross-training), and this shoe seems to aggravate it. I say “seems” because it did actually aggravate it last fall when I ran a fast 5K followed by five easy miles in the Endorphin Pro 1. On my long run in the Endorphin Pro+, I felt like I was on the edge of triggering it the whole time. Like I could feel it almost there, so I would change my gait and wait for it to go away. I do think the aggressive nature of the shoe’s geometry can f*** with any weaknesses you got going on.
This shoe is $50 more than its sibling. Is that worth it? Honestly, I think so. But now it has to punch in a new weight class, and some may find it hard to pony up. I’m also not sure this is worth $100 more than the Endorphin Pro 1, which can still be found on sale for that price right now, though it is limited in sizing.
The fit of the upper still isn’t totally perfect. You gotta lock that heel down by adjusting the laces, but once you do, it feels pretty secure.
Like I mentioned in past reviews of this shoe, it is like running on an ice skate. It has a very thin profile and a pretty decent stack height, so if you got weak ankles, it may serve you well to look at the ASICS Metaspeed Sky.
MEAGHAN: As much as I love the look of the brand new upper, I do not love how it feels out on the road. It’s too minimal for me. I liked the structure and support that the heel/collar of the previous version provided. All of that has been removed in the Pro+ which doesn’t provide much confidence when picking up the pace or turning corners. I would take the extra weight, for a more secure fitting upper.
Also, I know suede (or microsuede) is expensive, but $50 more for this shoe? That’s hard to fathom.Shop Endorphin Pro+ – Men Shop Endorphin Pro+ – Women
ROBBE: While this may not be my favorite race shoe for longer distances (that goes to the ASICS Metaspeed Sky), I would for sure roll this out for anything under a half marathon. It’s just a rocket on the foot. That said, if you like a firmer feel but still want that superfoam bounce and carbon plate propulsion (and rocker geometry), then you’ll for sure love this shoe. Especially now that it lost over a half-ounce.
You’ll also look damn good in it, and that’s just a scientific fact.MEAGHAN: The Saucony Endorphin Pro+ is a beautiful, fun super shoe. It wouldn’t be my choice for the marathon or for a course with lots of turns, but I would feel confident lacing this up for the half marathon distance and under. If you were a fan of the Pro 2, you’ll certainly enjoy this update. Is it worth an extra $50? Not in my opinion. It turns out there is more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
You can pick up the Saucony Endorphin Pro+ for $250 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
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