ROBBE: We went a little out of order in our Endorphin lineup review. We gave you the cake layer with the Endorphin Shift (easy day shoe, $140), followed by the icing on top with the Endorphin Pro (race day shoe, $200). Now we give you the cookie crumble layer in the middle– the Saucony Endorphin Speed (tempo shoe, $160).
Clearly I’ve been doing nothing but eating like shit and drinking alcohol the last week because who even cares about “race goals” anymore. Right now, the only things on the schedule are human race goals– stay away from the rest of them to keep this thing going.
Nevertheless, we were able to get in our miles on this shoe before devolving into living pieces of house furniture.
For those who don’t know, the Endorphin Speed is the middle child of the Endorphin family. Meant for tempo runs (or if you’re feeling bold– daily mileage), the Speed features a full-length S-curved TPU plate, SpeedRoll geometry to roll you through your stride, and PEBA-based PWRRUN PB cushioning. Saucony alleges this midsole material offers 88% energy return and is dramatically more flexible and durable than traditional EVA.
In case all of these specs sound familiar, you’re not wrong– it’s nearly identical to the Endorphin Pro, save for slight variations on the upper and the carbon fiber switched-out for TPU as a plate material. The drop is the same as the Endorphin Pro (8 mm), while the weight is nearly identical as well at 7.8 oz. (221 g) for a US M9.0 (the Pro is 7.5 oz.).
All this may make you wonder– if it looks like a Pro, does it quack like a Pro, and if so– is it just a cheaper Pro?
Yes and no.
ROBBE: Out of the box and on first step-in, the Endorphin Speed feels a lot like the Pro. It certainly looks a lot like it too; I routinely get these both mixed up on my shelf.
Starting with the upper, Saucony’s FORMFIT technology is a mixture of lightweight engineered materials designed to guarantee comfort from every angle. They’re right about their claims. This upper is heaven on the feet. Now, not in a plush Saucony Triumph kind of way, but in a sleek, fast, and breathable kind of way.
It locks down over the foot from every angle– like the Endorphin Pro, you feel like you’re in a luge sled ready to rip. Unlike the Endorphin Pro, there’s a touch more support, which I thoroughly appreciated. The heel counter has some slight overlays that provide some needed structure– my wonky ankles had a hell of a time not folding over in the Endorphin Pro. And if you’re looking for breathability, this shoe has it in spades.
The gusseted tongue keeps it nice and secure and the top of the tongue has a small suede patch that is just a very smooth touch to a flawless design. I can’t explain why I love it, but I do.
In action, the shoe has some noticeable differences between the Pro. Picking it up to 5K or faster pace, it does feel incredibly light and nimble on the feet. The partnership of the Speedroll geometry and the TPU plate allows for a quick turnover. However, it does lack the same pop and rigidity that comes from the carbon plate of the Endorphin Pro.
The TPU plate in the Speed helps to stabilize the PWWRUN PB stack, but it provides more of a softer landing than that firm push-off. Which, by the way, is fine– it’s supposed to be a tempo shoe and it works perfectly for that situation.
Can it be used as a cheaper race day shoe than the Pro or other carbon fiber racers? Absolutely. You just won’t get that same “wow” sensation that comes with the Pro. But for someone who likes a softer feel in a racing shoe, this would fit your needs.
Can I also just say the design of these shoes is flat-out wonderful. The colors, the details– everything about it is intentional. Kudos to you, design team.
MEAGHAN: The Endorphin Speed, the middleman of the Endorphin lineup, is built for up-tempo runs and speedwork. It’s a beefier Endorphin Pro, if you will.
The upper is designed with an engineered sandwiched mesh and 3D print overlays. It’s light, breathable and comes with a good bit of structure and support.
Just like the Pro and Shift, the Speed is built with the rocker design (SPEEDROLL Technology) that propels you forward and gives the shoe a smooth ride. The PWRRUN PB midsole cushioning is light, flexible, and has a nice bounce. As I mentioned in the Pro review– it looks like adidas Boost material, but it feels nothing like it.
While the Pro has a carbon fiber plate lodged in the midsole, the Speed comes with a TPU plate. It adds stiffness, but doesn’t seem to have the same rigidity as the carbon fiber plate. I didn’t feel like I got the same pop out on the run.
Even with the extra cushioning and structure of the upper, my W7.5 came in at 6.9 oz. Super light.Shop Endorphin Speed – Men Shop Endorphin Speed – Women
ROBBE: It’s not really a bad thing, but I’m not sure where I would wedge this shoe into my lineup. I would probably spring the extra $40 for the Endorphin Pro for race day because it truly is at that Vaporfly-level of racers and a whole lot cheaper. Meanwhile, I can find a tempo shoe for a lot cheaper that gets the job done.
I don’t want to use the shoe as a daily trainer either, because I do feel like the presence of a plate with the SPEEDROLL geometry f*cks with my biomechanics a bit. I’m just not used to it. If you are planning on wearing it for a bulk of your miles or using it in a chunk of training leading up to and at race day, I would definitely ease into the shoe.
MEAGHAN: I really like this shoe, but I don’t love it. I’m not sure I know exactly why, other than I’m comparing it to the Pro, which I prefer.Shop Endorphin Speed – Men Shop Endorphin Speed – Women
ROBBE: Should you get the Endorphin Speed? If you prefer a softer sensation and a more structured upper in a race day shoe, then yes. Or if you’re a Saucony stan and have extra cash to burn on a tempo-specific shoe that truly shines.
Otherwise, drop the $200 for the Endorphin Pro on race day, and bookend it with the Endorphin Shift on easy days.
That said, I’m actually coming back to this review a few months after originally writing it to tell you that this may be my favorite shoe of the past year. If you want a truly amazing shoe that kind of “does everything,” you can’t do much better than this. I really have come to love this shoe more than almost any shoe in my arsenal.
MEAGHAN: The Endorphin Speed is a great shoe, but I feel it’s outshined by the Shift and Pro from the lineup. With that said, it really is a quality, durable fast day shoe. Not to mention, it’s $40 cheaper than the Pro. If you prefer a more structured upper with your race day shoe, I would direct you towards the Speed.
You can pick up the Endorphin family at Running Warehouse when it drops on July 1 by using the link below.
You can pick up the at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Endorphin Speed – Men Shop Endorphin Speed – Women