Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Review: Yeah, It’s Even Better
7.3 oz. (204 g.) for a US M7.5,
6.9 oz. (195 g.) for a US W7.5
More of that beautiful and bouncy PWRRN PB
36 mm heel, 28 mm forefoot (8 mm)
Winged plate for more stability, wider base in heel and forefoot
More of a daily trainer than tempo shoe this time around
ROBBE: Like the ever-shifting seasons and the topography of a seashore over centuries of surf, like the kids in Stranger Things and the hopefulness of youth — things change. Time moves on. Or it’s a flat circle. Who knows. Change is part of life, but sometimes it’s feared, sometimes we’re terrified of it, and rarely do we accept it.
In the immortal words of the British philosopher Noel Gallagher: “Don’t go away / Say what you say / Say that you’ll stay / Forever and a day / In this time of my life.” Ignoring the likely possibility that he wrote those words to his coke dealer, I’d like to imagine he was in the future of the flat circle of time, writing that song about the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
If you know, you know — both the Saucony Endorphin Speed 1 and Speed 2 (essentially the same as the first version) are two of the greatest all-around running shoes to come out in the last several years.
A tempo shoe that could do it all, with a firm-yet-bouncy PWRRUN PB midsole, a Speedroll rocker that threw you through your paces, and a nylon plate for a touch of propulsive stability. Daily training, speedwork, race day — pick your poison, the Endorphin Speed was your antidote. All for $160.
So, of course, I was a little bit nervous when an actual update came in the form of the Endorphin Speed 3. Can you really improve on a shoe that was so good? It turns out you can… kind of.
Before we get into that, let’s look at the changes in this version. Two significant changes make the most difference: 1) An updated nylon plate, now with side wings, and 2) a wider platform for improved stability.
The new winged plate is designed to keep you within the shoe and over the centerline, which the Speed 2 struggled with. You can actually see the small winglet edges on both the lateral and medial sides of the shoe.
The stack height goes up just a hair to 36mm in the heel/28 mm in the toe for an 8mm drop, and as I just noted — the PWRRUN PB is now spread across a wider midsole platform, specifically in the midfoot and heel.
The upper is an engineered mesh while the outsole rubber compound is the same; however, it’s spread out more across the outsole, ideally for better traction.
Let’s get into the review.
RYAN: I loved the first Endorphin Speed — I even picked up the Icon Pack colorway because I’m a sucker for the Saucony Originals vibe. It was my go-to half marathon racing shoe until I managed to find a deal on a proper carbon-plated racer. The OG Endorphin Speed was a great shoe, and I skipped version two because I was still cramming miles into the original. They were basically the same shoe, so no harm, no foul.
Now, we have the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. I don’t know why Robbe only called it kind of better, because this is absolutely an upgrade. Somehow, the big brains over at Saucony found a way to make an already great shoe even better. Complain about the colorways if you want to, but I can’t be mad at the all-blue version. It looks better in hand than in pictures, I promise.
Honestly, Robbe crushed the intro, so let’s get on with it.
MEAGHAN: I’ve been a fan of the Saucony Endorphin line since its debut in 2019, but there was always something (probably the generally firm build) that wasn’t perfect. We met with the Saucony team at The Running Event last December and learned about a few critical updates — more stack and a softer foam — so I was excited to give the next iteration a go.
The Endorphin Speed’s great qualities remain Speedroll technology, PWRRUN PB foam, a light mesh upper, and a plate for added stability and propulsion. But as Robbe noted, some changes include a newly designed plate, wider platform, more stack, and a softer foam composite. So what do I think about the updates? Let’s get into it.
ROBBE: What’s good was already great in the previous versions, but they somehow made it better (mostly). Getting the high-end PWRRUN PB in a lightweight shoe at a $160 price point is something nobody has been able to replicate yet (the closest being the Adidas Takumi Sen 8 with Lightstrike Pro). So when we heard there would be a bit more of it, but on a more forgiving platform, we were stoked.
After all, the first version was fun as hell, but it did feel like tap-dancing on the head of a pin. The good news here is that the midfoot and heel sections have widened by a good bit without adding too much weight, making this version much more stable than last year’s. The winged plate tag-teams up with the widened midsole, helping to hold the foot in place. The sum of those parts is that this works even better as a lightweight daily trainer than the Speed 2.
Throw in the winged plate, and the overall ride is much more “normal.” Except it’s not — and that’s a good thing — because with a bit more PWRRUN PB, the shoe feels even softer and bouncier than before. Sometimes when a midsole softens up, it ruins the feel of a shoe, or at least the ground feel people love about it (this is me in a nutshell). However, it just makes the Speed even better than before. You still get that feedback from the ground but have more cushion for longer runs. It still has a sensational bounce, and the Speedroll hits as good as ever. In short, you get all the joys of the Speed 2 and none of the white-knuckle terror.
I also liked the padded/quilted tongue that is still gusseted even though I had some issues that were apparently just particular to me (more on that later). The grip is okay. I never had a problem with it last year, but it was probably the one weak spot in that shoe. This version has more coverage, but there’s still plenty of exposed midsole, so rainy day runs may not be your best friend.
In the weight department, the song remains the same. As I’m sitting here, I just weighed the Endorphin Speed 1, Endorphin Speed RunShield (essentially the Speed 2), and Endorphin Speed 3, and they all weigh the same (7.3 oz./204 g for my size US M7.5).
RYAN: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is the best value you can get in a true do-it-all running shoe. Hands down. It can run at about any pace and distance (I used its predecessor as a race day shoe), and it only costs $160. As Robbe said, the Endorphin Speed has only ever cost $160, which shines even brighter as others raise their prices. It seems like Running Warehouse has it listed at $170, but it’s still a great value.
I think the winged plate might be the best addition to the overall setup of the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. The first version had some stability questions, and I would never wear it as a casual shoe — despite my Jazz-inspired Icon Pack colorway. This time, however, it’s easy to walk confidently in the Endorphin Speed 3 and not feel like you’re gonna break an ankle if you go off the sidewalk. I’m not using it as a walking shoe, but it hasn’t tried to kill me at the end of a run yet.
Everyone giving Saucony flack for the Endorphin Speed 3 launch colorways needs to shut up. The Blue Angels-esque version I got pops. It looks much better in person than in pictures, and there’s just enough yellow to break it up. I would have been even more excited with an all-pink version like the Endorphin Pro 3, but beggars can’t be choosers. Just embrace the occasional loud running shoe.
MEAGHAN: I agree with just about all of Robbe’s sentiments. Saucony made a good shoe even better with these subtle yet substantial changes. Most notably, the underfoot feel has a much cushier and more stable ride. The slightly softer foam paired with the newly designed S-curve plate gives you a bounce that I love.
I’ve been racking up lots of miles this month, which usually has me turning to the marshmallowy max cushioned shoes, but I’ve found myself lacing up the Endorphin Speed more often than not. The rocker geometry (Speedroll technology) gives you that little extra push to keep the legs moving and makes the ‘easy’ day efforts a little bit quicker.
The mesh upper is light and breathable and accommodates my wider feet nicely. There’s enough padding for comfort but not too much to weigh down the shoe. In fact, even with the extra cush, the shoe stayed the same weight. My US W7.5 came in at 6.9oz.Shop Endorphin Speed 3 - Men Shop Endorphin Speed 3 - Women
ROBBE: Apparently, past versions of this shoe ran wide because Wide Foot Jarrett could manage it enough to put the regular-width version on his Best Wide Foot Running Shoes list. However, I always felt like it was a true racing fit and one of my favorite upper fits, even in the RunShield version (my favorite version of the Speed, by the way).
I did not get that feel with this upper. No matter how hard I tried to cinch down my laces, I felt like I was constantly sliding around in the shoe. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but I needed that snug fit and didn’t feel like I could get it, no matter how hard I tried. Also, despite its gusset, the tongue kept sliding down to where it would bunch at the bottom, which drove me nuts. Apparently, I’m the only one who had this issue, so maybe I’m just crazy. Let it be known that I have a narrow foot, so those with wider feet shouldn’t have any problems.
RYAN: Yeah, I don’t know what Robbe is talking about here. I had no problems whatsoever while running in the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. It was a dream from my first run to my most recent, both for daily miles and interval workouts. If I had to complain about something, the blue paint rubs off the PWRRUN PB a little bit where it meets the road, but you won’t notice unless you look under the shoe.
MEAGHAN: I didn’t have the issues Robbe had with the fit. In fact, as I noted above — the shoes fit my wide(r) feet just fine.
I’m struggling to come up with some other negatives about the shoe. I’ve really been enjoying the miles.Shop Endorphin Speed 3 - Men Shop Endorphin Speed 3 - Women
ROBBE: Those of you who were looking for a more stable ride with the same Endorphin Speed feeling — all your dreams are coming true. Kudos to Saucony for not f*cking up an already-awesome shoe. Three versions in, and it’s still great. The result is a shoe more able to handle long miles or daily runs while picking up the pace on an as-needed basis. I don’t think the extra room in the forefoot is a deal-breaker, but if you love that super secure fit, you might not get it like you did before.
If I had to sum up the changes in one sentence, it would be this: The Endorphin Speed 2 was a “budget” racer that felt like a rocket on foot (but could also feel super unstable); the Endorphin Speed 3 is a top-tier daily trainer that can handle fast days, easy days, race days, and anything in-between, providing a wonderful underfoot sensation while keeping the foot in check.
Remind me again why I fear change?
RYAN: If you only have the budget for one running shoe this year, it should probably be this one. Saucony did the opposite of messing with a good thing and made a great shoe even better. I have yet to find a run with which I didn’t trust the Endorphin Speed 3. I had no problems with the fit, and the ride is better than ever.
I don’t know that I’d call the shoe a daily trainer, just like I wouldn’t call a Swiss Army Knife just a knife. It has way more tricks up its sleeve than that, and they’re worth exploring. As Shia LaBeouf would say: “DO IT. JUST DO IT.”
MEAGHAN: The Endorphin Speed 3 did not disappoint. The wider build, slightly softer foam, and newly designed s-curve plate took this shoe to a new level. You could use the Endorphin Speed 3 as a daily trainer, for speed days, and even for the long run. It feels great at about any pace, and you can’t beat the $170 price tag. Go snag a pair.
You can pick up the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 on August 16 for $170 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Endorphin Speed 3 - Men Shop Endorphin Speed 3 - Women
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.
All-time favorite shoes: Nike Epic React, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield, Asics Metaspeed Edge+More from Robbe
Ryan is kind of like Robbe’s Igor behind the scenes. He helps to compile and clean up everyone’s reviews, and finds time to get in a few miles of his own. When he’s not running or editing, Ryan writes and reviews for Android Authority, spending time with the latest tech and complaining when things don’t work quite right. If he’s not doing any of that, maybe you’ll find him nose-deep in a crossword puzzle or trying to catch up on an endless backlog of shows to stream.
All-time favorite shoes: New Balance Rebel v2, Adidas Takumi Sen 8 (or 9), Saucony Endorphin Speed 3More from Ryan
Meaghan signed up for her first marathon three weeks before the race, because it was $10 more than the half she planned to run. She learned everything in running the hard way. Now a USATF & UESCA certified run coach, she loves encouraging friends to go for big goals as she continues to chase faster times. She enjoys a hot cup of coffee, a cold martini, and making bagels for friends and family.
All-time favorite shoes: Nike Alphafly Next%, New Balance SC Trainer, Asics Superblast.More from Meaghan
Somebody got there 25th anniversary of Be Here Now email from Oasis.
It’s ok. IMO it’s softer and not as bouncy/less energy return. The fit is a little more roomy which is nice. Good for long runs but not for racing or workouts. I prefer the 2s.
Maybe it appeals to a wider audience.