The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 was released in August 2023. Obviously the third iteration of the popular shoe, I was reluctant to try it, though I did give it a shot as part of my ongoing effort to find the "perfect" running shoe. Read on to find out how it went...
A little background. I was a huge fan of a now ancient seeming pair of Nike runners called the Pegasus Turbo and Turbo 2 which were released in 2018 and 2019, respectively. See, I'm an injury prone runner. I was fine growing up, then I took many years off of running regularly as I finished school, and when I re-entered the fitness world I immediately started having issues. The main culprit has been "shin splints", but knee, ankle, and IT band issues pop up from time to time as well. I should note at this point that I don't believe the right shoe will cure all ailments, which is why I have also become a huge believer in continual strength training regardless of your endurance goals, but that's a different blog post. Regardless, the right shoe choice is very important to overall running health and performance. Unfortunately, Nike discontinued the Pegasus Turbo line (though the name has recently been brought back in a new, sustainable, shoe which I'm not sure has the same intent as the old ones). Thus began my four year search for a suitable replacement.
I like a soft shoe, but it also should be responsive. Soft because more firm shoes feel jarring to my, apparently, delicate structure. But responsive because I notice a quicker turnover and more comfortable gait when the shoe helps me get back off the pavement. And of course being light helps too.. The Turbos felt like that. They were very light, soft, and responsive. It seemed like a breakthrough that Nike alone had stumbled on at the time, but, thankfully, there are many companies that are developing similar materials, though it has taken a few years. Also, I'm not sure why Nike bailed on that with the newest Turbos, as reviews say they are firm..
Back to the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and why I was reluctant to give it a shot. It looks good on paper, Saucony claims each shoe weighs 8.1 ounces (229 grams), I'm guessing that's a size 9 or 10, but either way that is great! Saucony also claims the following benefits and specs:
Nice right? So why was I skeptical? I tried the original Saucony Endorphin Speed and Pro in 2021 as I was building up for an Ironman 70.3. I don't recall them being super soft, but they did feel softer and lighter than the Nike Infinity Reacts I had been running in. They were also more responsive with the nylon and carbon plates, respectively. My issue, though, was the upper and toe box. The material was fine, but I got some rubbing on the outside of both feet, in both the Speed and the Pro. An aside, Saucony has marketed the Speed as more of a daily trainer, even though it does have a nylon plate, and the Pro as the race shoe. To be fair, I rub on the outside of my feet in lots and lots of shoes, but I judge shoes based on how long it takes for the rubbing to start. With both Sauconies, I only made it about 30 minutes before I felt the burn. I think the rubbing had to do with the shoes being a little too narrow for me, and the fact that the shoes didn't feel super stable, so my feet rolled to the outside more. I don't know for sure, but regardless, I had to bail. I continued to try other shoes and most recently came across the Hoka Mach 5.
Now that was a nice feeling shoe for me! In fact, I still use the Mach 5 for shorter distance training and even some racing. They are very light, they are soft, and they are responsive. But, as I tried to do longer mileage in them, an hour plus of running, they didn't seem as supportive as I needed them to be. Don't get me wrong, I still really like the Mach 5, but I needed more. Back to the drawing board I went. I tried Hoka Cliftons and Bondi's during 2022, and both felt firm and heavy to me. I have some Nike Infinities and some On's, both of which I like to walk and sometimes work out in, but neither of which are what I'm looking for in a long distance shoe. One day I was browsing and ran across a review of the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. People were saying it was light, soft, responsive, the plate was new, and, most importantly, it was roomier! Some reviewers complain about this, and, let's face it, all of our feet are shaped differently, but for me they were perfect. SOOOO soft, but also responsive. I can run a 10 min pace comfortably, but it's very easy to pick up the pace. The nylon plate is definitely not like running in a carbon plated shoe, the propulsion isn't that obvious, but I'm also not fast enough over long distance to truly take advantage of a carbon plate (in my opinion). The nylon plate for sure helps me pick up the pace, though, often surprising me with faster paces than I intend with less effort. In addition to the added room, Saucony also added a heel counter and added width, which seems to make the shoes feel more stable. As I mentioned earlier, I still get some rubbing on the outside of my feet, but it doesn't start until closer to two hours in, and that is great for me. I'm definitely a fan! I haven't tried the new Endorphin Pro, and I'm not sure I will with it costing some $50 USD more than the Endorphin Speeds. I'm a happy customer.
I am not affiliated with Saucony in any way, and I paid for all the shoes mentioned in this post.