Saucony has today (22 June 2022) released the Endorphin Pro 3 and Endorphin Speed 3 – the latest updates to the brand’s Endorphin Collection.
The Endorphin Collection launched in 2020 to huge acclaim. Focused on helping runners develop speed, the collection consists of the Endorphin Pro (Saucony’s top-tier racing shoe), the Endorphin Speed (a more affordable speed training version of the Pro) and the Endorphin Shift (a fast-feeling workhorse of a shoe). Each received an update in June 2021, with both the Pro and the Speed in particular amassing further popularity – specifically among marathon runners looking to shave time off their PBs.
With its lightweight upper, impressive stack of cushy foam and snappy carbon plate, the Endorphin Pro has proved an impressive race shoe – challenging the carbon-plated race offerings from the likes of Nike and Adidas – while the do-it-all Endorphin Speed has become a household favourite among distance runners, for both training and racing. It’s a little more structured than the Pro, offering runners a touch more stability, and has a nylon plate embedded in the midsole. Although it still feels snappy, nylon is a little more flexible than carbon, creating a more comfortable ride and a shoe that is well suited for everything from tempo runs to long slow runs and distance racing.
Now, the Speed and the Pro have been updated once again to give runners even more speed and ‘pop’ underfoot. RW attended the launch of the new models in Paris and spoke to Saucony’s product line manager Vincent Harder to find out more about the shoes and what’s changed in the new models…
RW: What type of runner/running is the Endorphin Pro 3 designed for?
VH: Both the Endorphin Pro 3 and Endorphin Speed 3 were designed to be really fast shoes. We tried to make these shoes as efficient and light as possible, with a competitive runner in mind. The Pro 3 has our super foam, it has a carbon plate in it, and it has a light upper. This new category of racing shoes is quite accessible for a wide range of runners. If you would have said six years ago that a racing shoe is accessible to a wide range of runners, people wouldn’t have believed it because race shoes then were really flat, with no cushioning whatsoever. You really needed good posture and some technique to run in a shoe like that. The new category has more cushioning, it has a higher stack and a higher offset, so is more accessible.
RW: What type of runner is the Endorphin Speed 3 designed for and how does it differ from the Pro 3?
VH: The Speed 3 is more built for speed days, your up-tempo runs in preparation for race day. On the Speed 3, the upper is more built up than on the Pro. On the Endorphin Pro 3, you have a single layer of mesh, where the Speed 3 has double mesh, so it gives you more support on the top of the foot and more structure, giving you that extra support when you need it – like at the end of a race or run.
The carbon plate in the Pro is stiff and can be unforgiving if you are not an elite athlete. We used the exact same foam in the Speed 3 – so it does have the bouncy affect as well – only that plate is not made from carbon but nylon, which is more flexible, so it moves along with your foot just a little bit more. That’s why it’s more accessible, and runners seem to enjoy it for their everyday runs as well.
RW: So, could you see use the Endorphin Speed 3 for recovery runs too?
VH: We see that a lot of runners use the speed for almost every run. It really is an all-rounder. That's why you see competitive runners use it for long runs but also your less competitive runners use it for the marathon.
RW: What is the key difference between the Endorphin Pro 2 and Endorphin Pro 3?
VH: The most important update would probably be that we went up in stack height. We used the same midsole material, PWRRUNRB, which has been doing really well for us, but now we have new regulations from World Athletics in place for stack height (40mm), and went right up to that standard (39.9mm). So, runners are still allowed to race in it but there’s more of that efficient bouncy material.
Because we went up in stack height, it makes the shoe a bit heavier. However, we wanted to make sure the shoe was ultra-light, so we made the upper ultra-thin. You can see your toes in this shoe, and there are holes in the tongue, really to strip it of any weight. Also, the outsole is only 1mm thick to cut any unnecessary weight.
RW: What changes have been made to the Endorphin Speed 3?
VH: In the Speed 3, we added wings to the nylon plate, which cradles your foot and adds stability to make sure your foot stays in the correct position. This makes it more accessible for everyday runners, as well as for elite athletes who want to use the shoe every day.
We also updated the geometry – which is just a small difference from the 2 to the 3 – we went up 1mm over the entire length of the shoe, which gives the shoe a bit more cushioning and a bit more bounce.
RW: What’s the benefit of running in a shoe with a higher stack height?
VH: Higher stack height has more cushioning, which means that, say, 36-38km into the marathon, your legs don’t feel as beat up as they would do in a traditional racing flat. It also makes the shoe really bouncy. We often focus on the carbon plate, but actually the cushioning is the spring that is in the shoe. It is really soft, it has a lot of energy return, but because it’s so soft we have to use a rigid material in there, so the midsole material is the spring, and we are able to use it because we combine it with the carbon plate.
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