Today, we’re going to be comparing two-thirds of the highly anticipated Saucony Endorphin Collection. We have the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Pro, aka, the training Speed vs racing Pro.
A lot of runners wonder if the Endorphin Pro is worth the extra money, what’s the Speed like, and how it compares to other shoes.
After testing these two shoes for quite a while, I feel I have a good idea as to where they sit in my running shoe rotation and as to how they can sit in yours.
I’ll do my best to sort of cover a lot of why these shoes are the same while also how they differ.
Let’s get right on into it …
Related: Best Running Shoes for Speed
Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Pro (Review)
The new Endorphin line is three-tiered with the Pro being the most race-ready, the Speed adapting to race or training environments, and the Saucony Endorphin Shift taking up the role as a heavy trainer.
I am pretty sure we can all figure out exactly what shoe manufacturer Saucony is chasing with these shoe designs, but frankly, both the Saucony Endorphin Speed and Pro are exciting shoes.
The Endorphin is kind of the first contender to Nike that I really thought came anywhere near the Nike shoes. The Pro doesn’t feel soft and bouncy like the Nike, but it’s very smooth and just as efficient.
What is Saucony saying about the Endorphin Speed and the Pro?
The Endorphin Pro is Saucony’s carbon plated racing shoe. The Endorphin Speed is the training partner to the Endorphin Pro as a nylon plate.
The Speed is designed to kind of be used for more running to get you used to the feel of the shoe and then, you can switch to the Endorphin Pro to smash out your PB on race day.
Both of these shoes feature an amazing stack of PWRRUN PB midsole with 33 millimeters in the heel and 25 millimeters under the forefoot.
This is a PEBA-based foam which is much like the Zoom X in Nike’s VaporFly. It is cushioned, soft, and plush yet responsive.
It’s almost like running on a ‘trampoline’ and it gives you that squish and bounce. Energy return in PWRRUN is wonderful especially when you have this amount of it.
Related: Top Energy Return Running Shoes
Even just looking at this midsole is very reminiscent of Adidas Boost because it has the same TPU polystyrene look.
You kind of have these pellets that are welded together to sort of make this midsole material.
It feels a little bit different than Boost in that it’s holding up a lot better. I’m not getting a lot of flattening out or any of that as the midsole begins to open up.
PWRRUN is obviously very soft, and lightweight and all those kind of classic things you’d expect from PEBA-based shoes.
What is PWRRUN PB?
Carbon vs Nylon Plates
This is actually where the shoes begin to differ. You’ll immediately notice a difference in the dynamics of these two plates when you get them on your feet.
The Endorphin Speed features a more flexible nylon plate while the Pro features a stiff and energy-efficient carbon plate.
Carbon fiber plates are renowned for their stiffness and you’re going to feel that energy return underfoot immediately.
The Speed’s nylon plate is basically a little softer and less rigid. This is because the Speed is primarily designed to be a training shoe so that you can rack up more miles in it without the kind of stiffness that you have in the carbon-plated Pro which is purely designed for racing.
Honestly, I’m favoring the Speed’s nylon plate because it gives you decent energy return while not being super intrusive or forcing your foot in a real mechanical way. It really adapts to your foot strike.
It has plenty of flexibility but also lots of snap and springiness to get you right back out of your foot strike.
I was surprised to like it as much as I do. It does not make its presence known in a detrimental way.
Where the Endorphin Pro sits down in the carbon rankings, I think I still prefer the Alpha Fly and I really like the New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite.
But the Endorphin is a very natural feeling shoe for a carbon racer with a really impressive SpeedRoll tech that kind of makes it feel like more of an extension of your foot.
Speaking of the devil…
Both shoes have the SpeedRoll technology.
The idea here is to kind of roll you through your foot strike and get you flying off your toes really comfortably. That really is a standout feature for both shoes that’s very efficient on the foot.
Upper & Fit
The Endorphin Pro features a thinner and reduced upper reminiscent of racing flats while the Endorphin Speed features a more traditional light and airy mesh that Saucony has used in other shoes in the past.
There’s a little bit more padding around the heel of the Endorphin Speed compared to the Pro, but not a lot more. They’re both reasonably comfortable and fairly stripped back kind of fast running shoes.
The Endorphin Pro and Speed fit like all Saucony’s. They’re a bit narrow through that forefoot.
The Speed is going to be more precision fit than many of you are used to and I wish that it was just a bit more accommodating.
So, unlike the Pro, the Endorphin Speed is tighter in the midfoot to kind of get that lockdown fit.
Comfort is really great. The PWRRUN midsole is soft, cushioned, springy, and pops you off with that nylon plate.
Overall, I think the comfort of the shoe is better than I thought. It could use a little bit more width in that outsole for just a little bit more stability through that forefoot when you’re landing.
The outsoles are basically the same. These are road shoes and are designed for racing and fast running.
The grip is ok and I think the Endorphin Speed actually does offer a little bit more grip in the wet even though both outsoles look very similar.
However, neither of these shoes are as grippy as something like the Asics Meta Racer or the New Balance Fuel Cell Elite which has those outsole spikes in it.
You wouldn’t be able to do a whole lot of off-road running just because there’s a fair of exposed foam on the bottom which you could gouge out if you run on any kind of gravel.
With the added stack of this shoe and that sort of soft cushioned midsole material, I feel you’re not getting a lot of width through the outsole or flare through the midsole.
What that leads to is a bit of imbalance in that forefoot strike. Saucony shoes aren’t renowned for their roomy toe boxes or forefoot.
So, if you find their shoes to be too narrow, that’s really the problem that carries over into these shoes.
Again, both shoes are narrow therefore providing a little bit of lateral stability issue.
For road runners who are racing fast going in those straight lines and you’re not going to be dodging around corners a ton, it may not be something that necessarily bothers you.
But I guess if you’re in a shoe that’s a bit higher off the ground and really wants to spring you forward, you would like a little bit more confidence underfoot.
Both the Speed and the Pro are incredibly lightweight for how much shoe you’re actually getting underfoot with the plate, the midsole, stack, and all that.
The Endorphin Pro weighs in at 8.5 ounces in size 11, which is a pretty lightweight shoe with all that stack and everything.
The Endorphin Speed weighs in at 8.9 ounces. Only 0.4 ounces separate these two shoes, which isn’t a lot. So, you’re not saving a ton of weight by upgrading that 40 dollars to the Endorphin Pro.
Another surprise is just how well both shoes are holding up. I’m talking the upper, the welded overlays, and the outsole. But most importantly, the PWRRUN PB midsole hasn’t flattened out.
It’s all holding up better than I ever would have imagined based off of my experiences in other Saucony shoes that tend to wear out after a certain period of time.
The upper materials on the Endorphin Pro are much thinner. While they might hold up for quite some time, I just have a feeling that the Speed is going to hold up a lot better in the long run.
I don’t know how Saucony did it, but they managed to make the shoes look both exciting and boring at the same time.
Many of you might look at these and go ‘I love those. I love the subtlety, the colors, the brightness …’ and some of you might look at those and go ‘Yeah. Not for me.’
This is going to be a mixed bag on the looks of these shoes. One thing I just kind of wanted to note by making this a dislike is the potential confusion that having shoes look so similar can do for the consumer.
So, if you’re looking at a shoe wall, you might see these shoes side by side and think those look like the same shoe.
Almost all of the Saucony shoes this season have that bright fluorescent yellow, bright fluorescent red-pink, and that blue mixed with white and black. That might just contribute to a little bit of consumer confusion.
Again, it’s going to be up to you whether or not you like this shoe.
As you already know, prices go down over time and I’m not sure what both shoes would cost when you read this comparison.
Check today’s prices:
Saucony Endorphin Pro / Saucony Endorphin Speed.
The Endorphin Pro is about $40 more expensive than the Speed. I guess the plate technology in shoes kind of makes higher price point and many of you probably are already expecting that.
Again, these two are separated by 40, and not a lot of quality difference.
But both shoes are definitely more expensive and that’s probably one of their biggest detriments and will probably turn most people off to them because of that.
Obviously, both the Endorphin Pro and Speed are fun, but they’re going to cost you a little bit extra.
My Favorite Shoe
I think I have found one of my new favorite road shoes in quite some time in the Endorphin Speed.
I just found myself wanting to grab the Speed more often than the Pro. You would think the Endorphin Pro is more expensive, it’s faster, and it’s going to get you to the finish line quicker.
The reality is the Endorphin Speed is just more comfortable and a better all-around shoe.
It’s something that would work for tempo runs, long-distance runs, races, short effort speed workouts… It kind of is the best of all of those worlds while still holding up quite well.
This is the best all-rounder option on the market right now. It’s pretty durable, it’s fast, it’s comfortable, and you can use it for everything really.
I do think could definitely race in the Endorphin Speed and I think it is fast enough for that.
So, why spend that extra forty dollars when you have the Endorphin Speed that’ll save you a little bit of cash and give you a really similar experience?
A lot of shoe companies also have very good years releasing their new carbon contenders and I think Saucony has done a really good job here of releasing two absolutely terrific shoes.
You can tell Saucony has tried to create two different shoes on very similar platforms.
Both shoes certainly cater to a certain type of runner looking for cushion, responsiveness, and plated options to race fast, set those highly sought-after PRs, and focus on speed.
The actual difference between a carbon and a nylon plate of these two Endorphins is fairly minimal for most runners and the weight difference is pretty minimal as well.
The Endorphin Pro is a genuinely excellent racing shoe especially over half marathon and full marathon distance.
The Pro does feel slightly quicker to me, but a lot of that could just be the psychology of knowing there’s a carbon plate in there.
This shoe still has the speed edge as you’d expect from the bonafide racing shoe in the Endorphin lineup.
I do think the Pro is kind of outgunned by a couple of shoes in terms of pure racers even though they are more expensive
I think it’s still got the speed for those shorter runs as well, but there are definitely shoes I prefer to it including the New Balance RC Elite and Nike’s kind of super shoes.
Actually, with the Endorphin Pro, you’ll lose a little bit of the durability of the materials, you get a lot more stiffness, and you save a little bit of weight.
That’s kind of another reason why I’m leaning a lot towards the Speed as far as shoe choice is concerned.
The Speed is less stiff and it’s a little bit bouncier than the Pro. It does lose a little bit of speed and probably a little bit of pop in the forefoot as a result of not having a carbon plate, but really not very much.
The Speed is a pretty good case for just being the best all-around shoe released this year. It hasn’t got a carbon plate, but it’s still very fast.
I think the Speed will help you deliver on all your running aims. And if you’re someone who buys one or two shoes for a rotation, the Speed would be the shoe to go for, I think.
This shoe also feels very natural on the foot, whereas something like the Nike Zoom Tempo is a very fast shoe for training runs, but it’s not very natural on the foot. It’s a bit weird and it’s also got very high stacks.
If you have wanted to dabble in a plated shoe, this nylon plated Endorphin Speed is a really great shoe to sort of experiment.
See if it’s something that will work for your race environment or for those long training runs or when you want to pick up the pace a little bit and start moving a bit faster with some technology underfoot that might assist in that.
The Speed is a shoe that can adapt to a variety of situations where the carbon plated shoes tend to work in really fast race environments
But a lot of us can kind of benefit from something a bit more subtle like the Endorphin Speed and it’s not going to rip up your calves in the process.
All that said…
If you are going for pure speed and speed alone and if you’re going to pair this shoe with a training shoe, then the Endorphin Pro is the faster racing option obviously.
However, if you do want to race in something like the Nike, the Endorphin Speed is my go-to training shoe. You don’t have to match up your trainer and your racer from the same brand.
Most people consider that the best thing to do would be to get both of these because training in the Speed and racing in the Pro seems to be the ideal setup.
That’s my comparison of the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Pro.
I hope I was able to answer a lot of your questions in regards to these offerings from Saucony. I hope you guys enjoyed it.
If you’ve got both shoes or just one of them, let us know what you think of them?
If you’ve run in both, how much fast do you think the Pro is to the Speed? Is the Pro really worth a little bit of extra money or is it all in my head?
Are they something that excites you?
Have you PR’ed in a race in them?
Let me know your thoughts down below.
Stay safe and see you in the next one 🙂