Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 vs Pro 3 – Do You Still Only Need Only One in Your Rotation?

saucony-endorphin-speed-3-vs-pro-3

Today, we’re going to be comparing two-thirds of the Endorphin line, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 vs Pro 3.

The previous Speed 2 and Pro 2 were really similar in that you could have only one of them and you’re good to go. But now, your running shoe rotation actually needs both.

So make sure you read our Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 vs Pro 2 as well.

But before pulling the trigger on any running shoe, these are some of the factors that you have to consider :

  • What is the intent of the shoe?
  • Are you buying it just for tempo days?
  • Are you buying it for threshold days?
  • Are you buying it to train in and race in?
  • Are you buying it to get 800 miles out of it or 300 miles of it?
  • What’s your budget?

Let’s dive right into it…

Related:

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 vs Pro 3

In the previous versions, the two shoes performed almost the same and so a lot of runners, including me, were wondering why anyone would pay a lot of extra money for the Pro while the cheaper Speed could almost do the same thing.

Well, I’m happy to report that Saucony did an excellent job of separating the Speed and the Pro and making them their own distinct categories.

After testing these two shoes for quite a while, I feel like there’s no reason not to have both the Speed and the Pro in your running shoe rotation.

If you want to limit your carbon footprint, both the Pro 3 and the Speed 3 are vegan shoes and they’re made with recycled material.

Related:

Did you know that there are shoes that offer a snug fit for narrow heels and a wider toe box area for wider forefeet? Give it a read!

Stack Height – Drop – Weight – Price

nimbus-vs-more-stack-drop-weight

The Speed 3 has 38mm of stack height in the heel and 30mm in the forefoot for that 8mm drop from heel to toe.

In terms of weight, the Speed 3 comes in at a relatively light weight of 7.9 oz (223 grams) for US men’s size 9 and 6.9 oz (195 grams) for women’s size 9.

The Pro 3 has some increased stack height. We’re going up to 39mm in the heel and 31mm in the forefoot, which is just below the top legal allowable limit for World Athletics’ purposes. The Pro also runs on an 8mm heel-to-toe drop.

So the Pro 3 has jumped 4 millimeters in stack height from the Pro 2 while the Speed has only jumped half a millimeter.

Interestingly, the Pro 3 has added the stack while becoming lighter than the Pro 2 and that’s partly because of this very lightweight mesh upper material.

The Pro 3 now checks in at 7.3 oz (207 grams) for US men’s size 9 and 6.5 oz (184 grams) for women’s size 8.

Related:

Price

Between these shoes as far as the stats go, the Pro is going to cost about $60 more coming in almost a full ounce less and having roughly four more millimeters of stack height to the midsole.

You can check their current prices here:

  • Saucony Endorphin Speed
  • Saucony Endorphin Pro

The price is pretty standard for what these shoes have cost in the past, but it is a pretty big price difference, which could kind of persuade you one way or the other potentially.

I think if you’re looking to save a couple of extra bucks and you’re on the fence, I would say the Speed 3 is a really fun shoe.

But if you’re interested in getting a super shoe and you’re fine with paying that hefty price, I think you’re going to be happy that you did because the Pro 3 feels like no other that I have ever put on my foot.

It just feels awesome.

They completely revamped the shoe in all of the best ways and I think the die-hard Endorphin Pro fans out there won’t be disappointed in the shoe but will just become even bigger super fans of it.

Related:

Where the Speed and Pro sit in the Saucony line

Again, what was happening in the past two years is somebody would come in for the Endorphin Pro and leave with the Endorphin Speed because there wasn’t enough difference to justify paying that much for the Pro.

So as Saucony evolved and spent more time with consumers, retailers, and athletes, they knew they needed to make the Pro 3 a little bit snappier and a little bit more race ready.

The Speed 1 and 2 weren’t intended to be a daily trainer, but so many runners trained in it every single day and loved it for that.

So while the Endorphin Speed is still a great shoe in that speed-day category, Saucony made a few adaptations to make it a more runnable everyday shoe.

The Speed and Pro do have their very own identities and now they actually almost work in conjunction with each other instead of compete with each other…

Endorphin Pro 3

As the first kind of contender to Nike’s Alphafly and Vaporfly, the Endorphin Pro 3 is going to be your lighter and more nimble elite race-day shoe to smash out your PRs on race day. You can use it for different races from 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and all the way to marathons.

The ultimate question for me in terms of the Pro 3 is whether the changes finally make the Endorphin Pro a true marathon super shoe.

I think it definitely is. That extra bit of softness you can really feel at that marathon effort makes the Pro 3 a little bit more forgiving and more comfort-oriented than it has been in previous years while still giving a nice sense of pop and propulsion as you’re trying to hit some of those faster times.

Interestingly, I’ve been using the Pro 3 for lots of general training runs. Then, I started using it generally for hard fast sessions as a carbon plate shoe and I used it for fast 5ks and it’s supremely comfortable. I think it’s a shoe that can handle a lot of daily training as well.

Related:

If you’re looking for some good running shoes for your flat feet, it’s worth noting that the Endorphin Pro and Speed might not be the best fit for you. Instead, direct your focus toward the Saucony Guide 16 or the all-new Saucony Tempus. These options provide the essential arch support that flat-footed runners need to excel in their performance.

Endorphin Speed 3

The Speed 3 is your versatile and more durable daily training workhorse for fast training. You can use this shoe for tempos and workouts and you can even use it for some of your daily training.

It is really intended to be a long-run marathon training companion to the Endorphin Pro 3 or it might be the shoe that you’re training in and ultimately planning on racing in.

The Speed is a shoe that you can use for a wide range of events. It’s:

  • Responsive
  • Bouncy
  • Fast
  • Fun
  • Stable underfoot
  • Comfortable at slower paces

… And when you pick up the pace, the pop, the feedback, and the comfort that you get from the shoe is undeniably one of the best.

It is not really intended to be a mile or race shoe and not something that’s necessarily intended for track racing. It’s going to be something that’s a little bit more for threshold efforts or marathon pace.

Overall, the Speed 3 is good for workouts and tempos, but that extra versatility may even make it a better option if you want to use it for some of your daily training as well.

How I’ve been using the Speed and Pro

Endorphin Pro 3

The previous iterations were fantastic for threshold efforts or half marathon racing. However, they just weren’t soft enough for a non-elite regular runner like me to take it for a marathon race distance.

I’m happy to report that the Pro 3 is softer and you can feel it from step-in all the way up to threshold pace. The softness is definitely appreciated in the Pro even at slower speeds.

The Pro 3 now feels like a shoe that isn’t a pain to take on a workout where there’s going to be a couple of different pace changes or maybe some recovery jogging in between.

The way the PWRRUN PB foam squishes and then rebounds combined with the carbon fiber plate which adds both stability and a little bit of spring to the shoe makes the Pro 3 absolutely ideal for threshold paces.

Just like the Pro 1 and 2, the Pro 3 has been a shoe that I’ve always reached for for my toughest mile repeat workouts.

When I went up to mile race pace for those 200-meter repeats, the lightness definitely shines through and that snug well-fitting upper also becomes really pleasant to have on foot.

The Pro can handle those faster paces for something shorter like 200-meter repeats or some strides that are going to be even shorter than 100 meters or so. It can definitely handle all the different paces that someone who’s training for a marathon is going to be encountering over the course of their marathon training block.

Overall, Saucony tweaked the Pro 3 quite a bit without losing the essence of what it was. And I’m happy to report that the Endorphin Pro 3 is finally a shoe that marathoners can actually use for marathon racing as well as for their marathon training.

Endorphin Speed 3

My first run in the Speed 3 was absolutely fantastic. I took it out for a 10-mile run where the bulk of it was a 3-mile threshold effort followed by a set of strides.

I felt like the shoe absolutely loves running at those faster speeds.

It almost felt too squishy, but it was lightweight and I didn’t really feel like it was slowing or bogging me down or I was getting penalized for that extra comfort. It just provided more comfort than I was expecting in a shoe that still allowed me to run really quickly.

So, at threshold paces, the Speed 3 is really lively and super exciting to run in and I had a really fun time taking it out for a workout.

The other runs that I did in the Speed 3 were really focusing on both easy paces and those marathon efforts. At marathon pace, the Speed was a lot of fun. It’s probably even better at marathon pace than it is at threshold paces.

Which is more versatile

The Speed 3 is definitely the more versatile of the two and so it has a little bit of edge over the Pro 3.

Even though they designed the Endorphin Speed for tempos and interval training, people are using it for everyday efforts.

So, Saucony wanted to make sure the Speed 3 was versatile enough to be used for everyday training but still maintain those speed day pieces like the lightweight and poppy nature of the shoe.

Although the Speed 3 is not the softest shoe, it’s going to be very a versatile shoe for easy pace up to marathon pace and even up to the threshold paces as well.

That being said, if you wanted to run a race in the Endorphin Speed 3, you absolutely could. And I’m going to say that this shoe will work well for a 5k all the way up to the marathon.

Which is more stable

Both of these shoes are remarkably stable even when turning corners at slow or fast paces. That’s because both shoes have a wider base.

So, if you’re a neutral runner and maybe overpronate later into a race when your hips give out and your knee dives in and you start to tilt, the Speed 3 and the Pro 3 have a little bit of inherent stability there.

However, these are still not true stable shoes because of how soft and bouncy PWRRUN PB is, but they are definitely more stable compared to their predecessors.

But how do both shoes create stability even though they’re in the neutral category? 

Endorphin Speed 3

The previous Speeds were a bit unstable and so Saucony decided to add a hint of stability to the Speed 3.

Here’s how the Speed provides stability…

First, the Speed 3 has got a slightly wider base and wider fit in general than the Speed 2 to help with stability and also address concerns about it being a bit narrow.

Second, looking at the Speed 3 from the top down, there’s an extra bulbous portion of the shoe on the inside portion of the heel. They’ve added this portion in a place where you might be caving in a little bit when your foot hits the ground.

Third, the nylon plate inside the PWRRUN PB has little winglets on the lateral and medial sides. The idea being those winglets help position your foot correctly and provide a little more guidance and support as you’re rolling through your gait cycle.

endorphin-speed-3-nylon-plate-wings-on-both-sides

Overall, even though there’s a lot of squish and kind of deflection of the foam in the Speed, I still felt like it was pretty stable. I didn’t feel like my feet were caving in at any point, and I think the wings did a great job at keeping everything from deflecting too far in one side or the other as your foot hits the ground.

Endorphin Pro 3

Just like the Speed 3, you’re going to see more pontooning of the midsole of the Pro 3 to give it more inherent stability underneath your foot.

I also tried all different kinds of running motions. I landed on the rear foot, on the midfoot, and in the toe, and I’m happy to report that the Endorphin Pro 3 accommodates really well for that in all the right ways.

Even if you are a hard heel striker, the Pro 3 is not like the Next% where you might roll off the thing on the lateral crash pad. The Pro is pretty stable and the heel is a nice lockdown feel.

Usually, when I take super shoes out for runs, as my stride starts to break down a little bit in the later miles, the shoe gets a little bit sloppy and you start to really overpronate and feel uncomfortable in the shoe.

I didn’t feel that at all when I ran in the Pro and my legs felt fresh the entire day and the day after.

But I have a little complaint…

On the Pro 2, I really liked how the outsole rubber circumnavigated the entire sole of the shoe to give a little bit more stability and some durability.

On the Pro 3, they left it off the medial aspect of the midfoot to lose some weight.

saucony-endorphin-pro-3-bare-pwrrun-pb

But we’re not all perfect neutral runners with perfect form. It would have been nice if they could have maybe removed a little bit of that blown rubber on the crash pad or taken a piece out from the forefoot and just put a couple of inches of it right there just to kind of stabilize that shoe even a bit more.

So, which one is more stable?

I think the Speed 3 is a little bit more stable than the Pro 3 thanks to those winglets on both sides and the fact that the upper is more secure. 

Which is the winner for me

Both the Speed 3 and the Pro 3 are fantastic upgrades and definitely worth considering. And if money were no object, you could probably buy both of these shoes and you would be extremely happy with them.

I ran in the Endorphin Pro 2 and the Endorphin Speed 2, and even though the Pro was lighter, I tended to put a lot more miles in my Speed 2.

I liked the Endorphin Speed 2 better than the Endorphin Pro 2 and I think it was almost flawless in many ways. But with the Pro 3, it just feels like Saucony has really upped its super-shoe game, and now it seems like the Pro 3 is going to start turning a few heads.

For me at least, the Pro is one of the biggest contenders against the Nike Next% 2 which, up until the Pro 3 came out, I thought was the best.

The amount of pop and snap in the Endorphin Pro 3 is just a treat every time I put on these shoes and take them out to run fast.

Plus, you could use the Pro 3 as your fast training shoe and actually daily trainer.

Of course, because I do have both, I will not be racing in the Speed 3. This is going to be relegated to training days and keep the Pro for race days.

But let’s just be real for a second. The Endorphin Speed 3 is so much cheaper than the Endorphin Pro 3. Because of that, I actually think that the Endorphin Speed 3 represents a better value, especially because it is probably going to last longer in the upper.

Another great tip is you can get the Speed 3 on a discount and then buy the Pro through the money you saved.

Also, I would say if you can get the Speed 2, go get it, but don’t get the Pro 2 if it’s cheaper because it’s a different shoe and you’re not going to get the same thing.

Again, if you can swing the price tag, you are going to be over the moon with the Endorphin Pro 3.

Overall, I think the Speed and Pro is a good two-shoe lineup that is better than any kind of fast training/carbon plate shoe pairing on the market. I don’t think any other shoe company has two shoes of this caliber.

Endorphin Speed 3
vs
Pro 3

Speed 3

Pro 3

PronationNeutral
Underpronation
Neutral
Underpronation
Strike PatternForefoot
Midfoot strike
Heel strike
Forefoot
Midfoot strike
Heel strike
UsageRacing
Speedwork
Daily training
Racing
Speedwork
Long-distance racing
Midsole8/108/10
Durometer2923.3
CushioningBalancedBalanced
PlateNylon plateCarbon plate
Ride & Energy7.5/108/10
Stability8/107.5/10
FitTrue to sizeTrue to size
Lockdown7/107/10
Breathability7/109/10
Comfort9/107/10
Build quality8/108/10
Upper7/107/10
Landing8/108/10
Transition8/109/10
Toe-off8/108/10
Traction7/108/10
Durability7.5/107/10
Orthotic friendlyYesNo
Weight7/108/10
Value / Price8/107.5/10

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 vs Pro 3 – More Details

Midsole

saucony-endorphin-speed-3-vs-saucony-endorphin-pro-3-pwrrun-pb-midsole-comparison

Both of these shoes feature an amazing stack of PWRRUN PB which is Saucony’s premiere racing-caliber running shoe foam.

This PeBa-based foam is:

  • Super light
  • Springiest
  • Bouncy
  • Resilient
  • Shock absorbing 

PWRRUN PB looks a lot like Boost, but it’s a lot lighter, much more performance-oriented, and performs a lot better than Boost.

I will say that while the forefoot is slightly bouncier, the midfoot and heel are much more bouncier, springier, and more lively.

But I’m absolutely in love with the midsole on the Pro 3. I think it really does separate itself from the Speed.

The Pro 3 has the most stack of PWRRUN PB in Saucony’s lineup. To be honest, it’s a little bit intimidating, but when I tried this shoe on, the forefoot felt like nothing I had ever experienced in a super shoe or a daily trainer. It felt wide enough forefoot, but it also felt super soft and comfortable. I was like like “This doesn’t feel like any super shoe that I’ve tried”.

It’s more bouncy and feels just much more lively while that stiff carbon fiber plate does a great job of transferring energy and allowing you to feel that extremely fun PWRRUN PB foam.

Overall, whether you’re a competitive runner looking to shave seconds off your personal best or simply seeking a shoe that delivers an exhilarating and responsive ride, the PWRRUN PB midsole is sure to elevate your running experience to new heights.

Related:

Let’s talk about the plates…

Nylon Plate vs Carbon Plate

Both shoes have plates running through Saucony’s PWRRUN PB, but the plates are the main thing that makes these shoes ideally suited for different things.

If we do the bend test, the Pro 3 is actually quite stiff. But I can actually bend the nylon plate on the Speed 3 quite a bit and that makes the Speed more flexible than the Pro.

Speed’s Nylon Plate

The Speed 3 features a full-length S-shaped nylon plate which is going to be much less aggressive compared to the Pro’s stiffer and more energy-efficient carbon fiber plate.

The nylon plate in the Speed 3 is…

  • A little softer
  • Less rigid
  • More forgiving
  • Not super intrusive or forcing your foot in a real mechanical way
  • A little easier on your feet to better serve your training efforts

It just…

  • Gives you decent energy return
  • Has decent snap and springiness to get you right back out of your foot strike
  • Really adapts to your foot strike
  • Has plenty of flexibility

So if you’re looking for a little bit more flexibility in the shoe, then the Speed would probably be a better option.

Obviously, Saucony has put a lot of money into R&D and they know that you are likely going to be putting more distance in the Speed 3 than the Pro 3 because ideally, the Pro 3 is made for race day.

When comparing the Speed 3 to a regular daily trainer that doesn’t have a plate in it, it’s definitely going to feel a little bit more magical and exciting to run in. But when comparing it to the Pro 3, it feels more like a standard daily trainer.

I don’t think nylon itself really does a ton in terms of either propulsion or stability when compared to a carbon plate. I don’t think it’s going to be doing a ton of stuff at least not in a way that I’ve been able to notice.

Pro’s Carbon Plate

saucony-endorphin-pro-carbon-fiber-plate-showing-on-the-outsole

The Pro 3 has a three-fourths length carbon fiber plate which you can see through the arch and forefoot. The carbon plate is light yet incredibly stiff and it’s going to provide a little more snap in the toe-off.

The Pro’s carbon plate is:

  • Not offensive
  • Doesn’t try to direct your stride in any way shape or form.
  • Nice and smooth
  • A little less abrasive than the previous versions of the Pro

I think the Previous Pro’s carbon plate couldn’t compete much with the likes of the Alpha Fly, but the Pro 3 is now a serious contender.

So between the two, I really like this PWRRUN PB midsole/carbon plate combo in the Pro 3.

So, thanks to the carbon plate, the Endorphin Pro 3 is:

  • A very natural-feeling shoe for a carbon racer
  • More energized and more lively compared to the Speed
  • A lot snappier underfoot thanks to the SpeedRoll technology

Speaking of the devil…

SpeedRoll Technology

saucony-endorphin-speedroll-technology

Both shoes have Saucony’s SpeedRoll technology which is basically their branding on the rocker technology.

Designing a shoe for fast training or a shoe with a carbon fiber plate with a soft midsole foam like PWRRUN PB is a challenge without efficient rocker technology. 

So, having that curve or roll in the front where the shoe curls up a little bit helps give you just that little bit of extra spring as you’re pushing off and getting into your next stride.

SpeedRoll is designed to:

  • Create that nice flowing ride
  • Smooth your transition from heel to toe-off
  • Provide a much snappier much faster experience
  • Eventually make the Speed and Pro feel like an extension of your foot

Thanks to the carbon plate, the Pro is much snappier and has a smoother flow to it compared to the Speed.

But the Speed 3 does have quite a bit of an aggressive geometry compared to the Pro. It’s a little bit later in the toe-off, but once you get up on the toes and in the final stages of the toe-off, the shoe really curls up aggressively.

However, I don’t think the rocker technology on both shoes is super aggressive compared to some other shoes.

Thanks to the SpeedRoll technology, the Shift is a real gem for runners with Hallux Rigidus.

Upper

Both uppers are great and I haven’t had any hot spots, blisters, or irritation. The uppers are comfortable, but they’re just a lot different.

speed-3-vs-pro-3-upper-comparison

Endorphin Speed 3

The Speed 3 has a traditional single-layer engineered mesh that’s fairly breathable. However, it has a more fabric-like feel to it than the Speed 2 which I thought was a little bit more synthetic-like and a little bit more plasticky.

The shoe has a little bit more of that everyday style upper where you have a little bit more padding in the vamp and a tiny bit more padding in the back area.

When you manipulate the upper between your fingers, you can find out how thin it really is, but it’s not translucent in any way and so it gives the appearance of being thicker than it actually is.

The upper on the Speed 3 is a little bit toned down from the Endorphin Pro 3. It’s a little bit more traditional, but it’s also not as plush as most of the daily trainers that you’ll see out there.

Everything is stripped down really nicely.

The Pro’s upper is a little bit different…

Endorphin Pro 3

endorphin-speed-3-vs-pro-3-upper-ventilation

Saucony is still calling it a lightweight mesh, but it is a much different-looking mesh than the Speed. This is an interesting “fishnet” type of upper which is just a super thin mesh that’s pretty much see-through.

endorphin-pro-breathable-upper

The upper on the Pro 3 is just going to be very lightweight and extremely race-ready.

In terms of breathability, the Pro 3 has wider ventilation holes all throughout the shoe making it super breathable.

You got to think our feet act as air conditioning coils, and so for that reason, Saucony decided to take breathability to a whole new level and put these three big holes in the tongue.

But is breathability really that important?

I read a study that said “Body temperature can cause an increase of approximately 10 beats per minute per degree centigrade”

So, when you’re running and your foot whips forward, you can get air through the Pro’s upper to cool down your system. That’s really interesting!.

In terms of security, the upper on the Pro 3 is kind of floppy and has no real strength there to keep that upper structured, but the back is fairly stiff. 

But I do want to point out that the upper on the Pro is better than its predecessors and didn’t really feel flimsy on my foot during my runs. I was worried about that because super shoes can get a little bit unstable, but I felt like the upper held me onto the platform pretty well.

Takeaway…

The Endorphin Pro 3 features a paper-thin and reduced upper reminiscent of racing flats while the Endorphin Speed 3 features a more traditional light and airy mesh that’s more comfortable and more race-oriented.

Fit

Both the Speed and the Pro fit true to size and I definitely wouldn’t size up or down in them. I found that they’ve changed up the fit of the uppers a little bit and made both of the forefoots wider.

The Speed 3 feels much more like a daily trainer. It has a thicker upper, a thicker tongue, a little bit more padded ankle and Achilles area, and a little bit more room in the toe box.

The laces are slightly elastic and so you do have to tie them down just a little bit tighter if you want that super secure fit whereas on the Pro, we get non-elastic more traditional laces.

But let me explain something…

If you have narrow feet, you would find that the Pro 3 is true to size, but you would probably be a little bit loose in the Speed 3. So you’ll have to pull the laces even tighter to get a bit of lockdown around the midfoot.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because people with regular and wide feet would find the fit of the Speed to be spot on.

The Pro 3 is slightly more narrow and more race-like fit compared to the Speed. But the Pro isn’t as snug as some other top-tier super shoes and so you do have a decent amount of room in the toe box but a nice secure lockdown.

The overall comfort and snugness and that excellent Saucony racer fit still exists and the shoe fits very much similar to the Endorphin Pro 1 and the Endorphin Pro 2.

Overall, I think both shoes did a really nice job with both of these uppers and they have really exceeded my expectations.

Related:

Tongue

saucony-ensorphin-speed-3-vs-pro-3-gusseted-tongue

The reason why brands always use really thin low-volume tongues is because high-performance runners like that close-to-foot feeling.

The tongues on the Speed 3 and Pro 3 are gusseted. Gusseted tongues basically have a small strip of engineered mesh on both sides to keep the tongue in place.  These tongues are nice and lightweight and cause no pain on the top of your foot.

The Speed 3 has got a little bit more padding on the tongue compared to last year although it is still very minimal and thin. However, it’s pretty thick compared to the Pro 3.

I don’t have anything to write home about here and I thought it worked fairly well. It was comfortable and it kept the lace pressure off. I actually appreciate the extra amount of padding because it really does give you a little bit more protection from the laces.

The Pro 3‘s race-ready tongue is paper-thin and has three holes in the tongue to cut down on weight and provide more ventilation.

saucony-endorphin-pro-3-three-holes-on-the-tongue

When I first saw these huge holes on the tongue, I thought I would probably get some instances where the lacing system interacts directly with my foot and eventually get a little bit of lace bite across the top of my foot.

But the good news is that didn’t happen thanks to some additional plastic overlays that give you additional protection from lace pressure.

Here’s an interesting way some runners have been using these three holes…

Some runners with skinnier lower volume feet complained that the tongue on the Pro 3 kind of migrated longitudinally down into the shoe.

So they just crossed the laces through one of the holes and out to keep the tongue from migrating toward the toe of the shoe.

I think Saucony should actually put a little sleeve for your laces to go through. Hopefully, they will include that on a follow-up model.

Heel

endorphin-pro-3-vs-speed-3-heel-comparison

The style of the heel collar is very similar on both of these shoes. However, I would say the Pro 3 is about 40% thinner in thickness than the Speed 3. This obviously makes sense as the Pro is your race-day shoe.

saucony-endorphin-speed-3-pro-3-ankle-collar-comparison

The heel counter is just a little looser with a little bit of rigidity in the center. But that doesn’t take anything away from the Pro 3 because I had a great heel lockdown and I think mostly it comes down to saving weight.

saucony-endorphin-pro-3-vs-endorphin-speed-3-heel-counter-comparison

On the Speed 3, it’s more of a substantial heel which is emblematic of an everyday trainer.

But the Speed isn’t overdoing it on that padding around the heel collar. It’s actually quite minimal. It’s only when you compare it to the Pro 3 that it seems a little thicker.

But the thickness of the heel collar isn’t really noticeable when the shoes are on my foot because both of them feel exactly the same when it comes down to the amount of cushioning that’s actually against your ankle.

On the Speed though, we have this rigid external piece of plastic which is part of a mild level of structure that’s in this heel cup. This plastic shank kind of shoots up and gives the shoe a little bit more of a sturdy experience compared to the Speed 2 and the Pro. So, I recommend wearing thicker running socks that come up a little bit higher.

Here’s an issue some people had with the Speed and the Pro…

I heard some people noticed some rubbing towards the back of the Achilles when they wore minimal socks, but when they wore those thicker running socks, that went away and it wasn’t an issue.

Otherwise, everything is nice and floppy and the shaping of the materials and the fit of those materials is what gives the Speed all of its structure.

Overall, both shoes provide a very minimal experience in the heel that I think works well and I think the lockdown is superb. Just make sure you wear some thicker running socks.

Insole

The Pro 3 is the first shoe from Saucony where the insole is actually glued in. It’s made out of the exact same stuff as the midsole to give you a closer connection to that midsole.

You could always rip the glue and remove the insole and put your own device in there without compromising the volume of the shoe too much.

The insole on the Speed 3 is still removable and it’s your standard insole that you would have seen in previous versions of the Endorphin franchise.

Outsole

speed-3-vs-pro-3-outsole-comparison

Both the Speed and the Pro have XT900 rubber just placed differently.

XT900 rubber is the same compound that they’ve been using in the past couple of years, but I think it’s definitely an improvement over the carbon rubber that they were using in the previous versions.

saucony-endorphin-speed-3-rubber-depth

On the Endorphin Speed 3‘s outsole, you’ve got a slightly different kind of spread of rubber compared to the Speed 2. It’s a lower thickness of rubber and the traction was fairly fine.

The shoe hasn’t got any cut-out and so they’ve kept the weight down actually by using less rubber than there is on the Pro 3. This is a little bit surprising.

The outsole has done pretty well in terms of grip and the past Speed shoes always proved to be pretty durable for me.

saucony-endorphin-pro-3-rubber-depth

On the Pro 3, there’s much more coverage than there was in the last two years of this shoe.

You’ve got quite a lot of rubber to be fair given the low weight of the shoe giving you some good grip on the forefoot in particular even though that rubber thickness has decreased as well.

There’s a massive cut-out in the midfoot and a smaller one on the forefoot, which allows you to see the carbon fiber plate and allow the Pro to shed a bit of weight.

In terms of grip…

I had a little bit of wetness for those longer runs that I did. And even though there’s more rubber coverage in the Pro 3, I feel like it just feels a little bit slipperier than the Speed 3.

However, I haven’t encountered any serious situation where I’ve been unsure of my footing on either shoe. But, again, I think the Endorphin Speed 3 actually does offer a little bit more grip in the wet.

In terms of off-road running, I don’t think you would be able to do a whole lot of it in either shoe just because there’s some exposed foam on the bottom which you could gouge out if you run on any kind of gravel.

Endorphin Pro 3 vs Other Super Shoes

The Pro 3 has finally secured a premium membership within the big chunky club. It is really quick, really nimble, and spongy similar to what you’d expect from some of the main super shoes like the:

  • Nike Vaporfly
  • Nike Alpha Fly
  • Asics Metaspeed Sky
  • Asics Metaspeed Edge
  • Adidas Adios 3

I think it ends up being more versatile than something like the:

  • New Balance RC Elite 2
  • New Balance FuelCell TC

These are a bit heavier more comfortable shoes but actually don’t necessarily feel that great at those shorter events like the Pro 3.

When I got the RC Elite 2, I just wanted to use it for everything because it was so comfortable, but it just didn’t feel amazing at very fast stuff. The Pro 3 feels like that, but it is very good at the fast stuff as well.

I wouldn’t want to use the Vaporfly for training runs on long runs just because it lacks a bit of that stability and base, but I think the Pro does that really well as well.

Compared to the Vaporfly, the Pro 3:

  • Feels like a more stable shoe
  • Feels quite nice and grounded
  • Doesn’t feel too wobbly

The Pro 3 seems to just do two great things for me that so many other super shoes don’t. It is so comfortable but it is very quick and nimble despite the higher stack.

It’s really a very impressive update across the board.

Here’s our comparison of the Endorphin Pro vs. Nike Alphafly.

Endorphin Speed 3 vs Other Shoes

Saucony Triumph

The Speed is a really nice racing companion like the Saucony Triumph. When I had the Endorphin Speed 3 at marathon paces, it felt like it was like a trimmed-down version of the Triumph in a good way. It’s kind of like a race version of the Triumph and it was very exciting to be able to run marathon paces.

The Triumph is Saucony’s max cushion shoe which has PWRRUN, not PWRRUN PB.

which has kind of the everyday version

PWRRUN is:

  • Also a beaded foam
  • Really nice at absorbing a lot of impact
  • Better for everyday efforts
  • A little bit heavier and a feels little bit more like Boost

The other shoe that the Endorphin Speed really reminds me of in such a good way is the Boston 9 which was a fantastic marathon trainer.

Related:

Adidas Boston 9

The Boston probably will be one of those legend status shoes that don’t exist anymore. The current iterations of it just aren’t quite the same. The 9 is a shoe that a lot of runners will keep harking back to in pretty much an annoying way because they like the shoe so much and now it’s gone.

It was durable enough to handle a bunch of your workouts but also versatile enough to handle some easy runs as well. I was thinking that in my marathon efforts in the Endorphin Speed 3 that this shoe could be the next real successor to the Boston 9 and the shoe that those Boston 9 faithful have really been begging for.

Before we wrap this up, let’s talk a little bit about the real everyday shoe in the Endorphin line – the Shift…

Endorphin Shift

As I said earlier, the Endorphin line consists of three shoes; the Speed, the Pro, and the Shift

The Endorphin Speed is your up-tempo daily trainer and race-day shoe for some runners while the Pro 3 is your marathon or race-day shoe. Then the Endorphin Shift is going to be your more conventional large stack height daily trainer.

The Shift has a PWRRUN midsole and a very nice plush very high-off-the-ground experience, but it does have those everyday pieces.

You do have a very structured back area with the TPU clip and then you do have a really nice breathable double-layered mono mesh which gives you that everyday experience.

With the Shift, you get those efficiency benefits and that geometry that you come to know with the Endorphin series, but it’s a shoe that has that high level of cushioning and it’s going to be a workhorse when you’re going long miles for your daily training.

Overall, all the shoes discussed today are going to keep those philosophies we’ve come to know and love with the Endorphin series but just elevate it further.

Where to buy the Endorphin Pro 3 and Speed 3

Running Warehouse

Endorphin Speed 3, Endorphin Pro 3

Roadrunner Sports

Endorphin Speed 3, Endorphin Pro 3

Zappos

Endorphin Speed 3, Endorphin Pro 3

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Saucony’s latest update, now we have an up-tempo daily trainer (Speed 3) and a true race-day shoe ( Pro 3). A lot of people were nervous that Saucony was going to kill a great thing, but I think Saucony just elevated both shoes further.

The Endorphin Pro 3 is now its own experience and I think it’s a good shoe that’s going to start competing with some of those other top-tier racing shoes.

It is incredibly bouncy and fun to run in. The upper fits fairly well and I love how breathable it is. It feels like a true race-day shoe.

Overall, I think they killed it with the Pro.

The Endorphin Speed 3 is a good update and it is:

  • Slightly more built-up
  • Slightly more stable
  • Slightly bouncier
  • More energy-filled compared to the Speed 2

I will say the “nimbleness” of the Speed did go down slightly, which might bother some runners, but for me, I’m happy with the extra stability and more bounce under the heel and midfoot area.

The Speed 3 feels much improved over the Speed 2, but compared to the Pro 3, it:

  • Feels substantially firmer
  • Feels a little bit more narrow

… which I thought was interesting because super shoes like the Pro are usually more narrow and less stable than regular daily trainers.

The Speed has:

  • A really smooth ride
  • A very nicely cushioned ride
  • A pop that a lot of standard shoes don’t have.

But I have to be honest with you because when I tried the Pro 3, I liked the way it felt in the midsole a lot more.

The Pro 3 really feels like a nice bounce and pop and propulsion forward even going at standard or easy pace. I also get stability and cushion and comfort, which is not something that you can really say about a lot of super shoes.

If you’re going to do a race anytime soon, definitely consider the Pro 3 for just your races. Or, if you’re an overpronator and you need a high-stack go-fast shoe for your speedwork and races, you could probably do that because it has a bit of that stabilization built into it.

Overall, the Endorphin Pro and Speed are very good shoes that could take your running shoe rotation to a whole new level.

Well, that concludes this Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 vs Pro 3 comparison.

Let me know in the comments what you think of the Endorphin lineup.

Until then, see you in the next one 🙂

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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