The Saucony Endorphin Speed is a very similar, but lesser, version of the Saucony Endorphin Pro. It’s the first time I’ve seen a “take down” model so similar to the top of the line version. Only the color blocking, upper construction, and plate material have changed. Does it perform differently? Yes, slightly. The changes are supposed to make it a better shoe for everyday training that’s easier on your feet. Saucony pitches the Endorphin Speed as an interval and tempo focused trainer while the Endorphin Pro is targeted to race days. How does that play out in practice? Glad you asked…
Saucony’s version of pebax cushion, PWRRUN PB, is the foam of choice. It looks like adidas’ Boost but is a lot lighter and similar in squishiness to Nike’s ZoomX. Instead of the Endorphin Pro’s carbon fiber plate, the Endorphin Speed pairs Pebax with an S-curved nylon (TPU) plate. The plate is still sandwiched between the two layers of PWWRUN PB and you still get a snappy bounce on every toe off. The feeling is muted versus the Endorphin Pro but the midsole isn’t as stiff. And for that, your plantar will thank you.
The pebax and plate combo is paired with a rocker shape that Saucony calls Speedroll. The Speedroll midsole shape keeps the heel to toe transition silky smooth. Saucony’s geometry is right on point. The cushion, nylon plate, and Speedroll shape combine for an efficient ride.
The Endorphin Speed features a traditional (and often used by Saucony) chevron pattern over the entire forefoot. It features plenty of cutouts for the pebax to expand. The midfoot only has rubber on the sides while the heel has some extra rubber on the lateral landing zone. While the rubber doesn’t appear thick, it’s durability is incredible. I’ve run over 50 miles and the outsole basically looks new. The traction is built to last in a way that a lot of running shoes can’t match.
While the rubber on Endorphin Pro stuck to everything, my pair of the Endorphin Speed just couldn’t match the same grip. The traction was still solid but slipped on the mildewy bridges and super slick areas that the Endorphin Pro handled without issue.
The rubber doesn’t feel different. The colors are new so that could be part of it. It’s also possible there might be a small difference in the rubber compound being used by the separate factories. Or perhaps I just got a pair with a rubber issue. Again, the traction is still very good, just not on the Endorphin Pro level of greatness.
Where the Endorphin Pro featured no internal heel counter, the Endorphin Speed delivers both internal and external heel counters. This is overkill. The Endorphin Pro made me feel secure at all times without all that extra plastic at the heel. This was just a different way to get to the same end result.
The Endorphin Speed doesn’t feel tippy and the offset is a traditional 8mm. The forefoot widens nicely and a flared midsole provides extra support. You sit inside the midsole at both the heel and midfoot to help prevent rollovers. The tongue is semi-gusseted, and while it’s a little fold-y when sliding your foot in the shoe, it locks you in place about as well as the fully-gusseted tongue of the Endorphin Pro. Like the Endorphin Pro, the Endorphin Speed is an incredibly supportive shoe for its weight.
FormFit engineered mesh returns from the Endorphin Pro but its construction is quite different. The Endorphin Speed features multiple layers of mesh and a more supportive knitted pattern in the forefoot. Since you’ll be using the Endorphin Speed daily, it’s beefed up to handle it. The Endorphin Speed fits a touch tighter, weighs in slightly heavier, and the lace length seems to vary widely between various sizes. I drew the short end of the lace stick with my US 11.5 Men’s pair and had to deal with short laces. I’ve seen images from pairs in the 7-10.5 range where the lace length is fine. It seems Saucony just didn’t go up to the next lace length for certain sizes (probably to save money). It’s a minor annoyance that I’ll be fixing with a new pair of laces now that I’ve finished the review.
Apart from lace-gate, the remaining materials used on the Endorphin Speed are vinyl overlays (including the logo), a ribbed (hopefully for someone’s pleasure) external TPU heel support piece, and a double layered mesh tongue that’s not as nice as what’s on the Endorphin Pro.
The Endorphin Speed fits true to size with a small amount of dead space above the toes. While the fit is slightly narrower and less accommodating than the Endorphin Pro, there’s still room for wide footers.
The tongue has a small bungie (sometimes called a lace garage) sewn on so you can tuck your laces into it. Because of the short laces issue I had, it was completely worthless to me. In theory, it’s perfect for people who hate the laces banging around as they run.
Heel lockdown using the standard lacing configuration was great. The Endorphin Speed fits like a traditional running shoe, albeit a very light one.
At $160, the Saucony Endorphin Speed is correctly priced. It’s a high-end, light, supportive, and bouncy speed day or long run shoe. You can also easily use it as a daily trainer because it’s so versatile.
Personally, I’d rather pay the extra $40 and buy the Endorphin Pro. At 6’6” and 200 lbs, I’m a bigger guy. I can handle the extra stiffness from the carbon plate on a daily basis. For me, the extra cash is an easy trade-off for the more comfortable and accommodating upper.
However, a lot of runners I trust think this is the shoe of the year. They rave about it endlessly on Instagram and Twitter. So while the Endorphin Speed is clearly behind the Endorphin Pro for me, there’s a legion of runners championing the Endorphin Speed as Saucony’s best shoe ever.
Saucony was not given any editorial control of the review. This review is based on our weartesters’ experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.