Today, we’re going to be comparing the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Shift vs Pro
The Endorphin range consists of three shoes with the star being the Endorphin Pro. The Pro is a carbon plate racing shoe.
The Saucony Endorphin Speed is versatile and has a nylon plate and it’s the kind of do-it-all fast trainer and the Endorphin Shift is the chunky easy-day option.
We’re going to start talking about the performance of these Endorphins. Then, we’ll focus on some of the key stats, uppers, midsoles, and outsoles.
Let’s dive right into it…
Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Shift vs Pro
I’ve done a lot of running in Saucony Endorphin shoes and the Speed is the shoe I’ve done the most miles in and it’s, again, the most versatile shoe in the Endorphin range. You can do everything in it because it is a comfortable shoe for easy runs. Also, it’s great for you if you’re doing a huge amount of easy running.
I used the Speed for speed sessions and I was really comfortable using this for my easy runs. Obviously, the Speed does shine at faster paces.
Again, I put the shoe through all my track sessions and I’ve even done a 5k race in this shoe just to see how it really would perform on that short sharp all-out effort. Surprisingly, the Speed has never let me down in any way. It’s always been fast enough, it’s always been comfortable, and I just love running in it.
I do think it’s not quite as fast as the Endorphin Pro or a full carbon racer, but it really isn’t far off and there’s a small case of saying that it might be all in my head just because it hasn’t got a carbon plate.
But the nylon plate is comfortable. In fact, I think using a nylon plate means the shoe is slightly bouncier than the Pro because you get a bit more of the feel of the foam in it as opposed to the kind of stiffness of the carbon plate.
In contrast, the Endorphin Shift is not a very versatile shoe. It’s good at what it’s designed to do which is cruise through easy miles and it doesn’t feel in any way cumbersome.
When I did take it out for kind of a 15-mile cruiser run, it was lovely and it rolls through quite smoothly. It is big and it is heavy, but you don’t feel that when you’re running with it at your kind of easy pace.
Actually, what it was especially good for was I did 10 hilly miles in it the other week. All of the Endorphin shoes are great going downhills with that kind of roller effect, but the Shift was actually better. It was rolling downhills and I actually felt quite quick in it.
I took the Shift for an easy-to-steady progression run, but it’s was not great for that. It does start to feel cumbersome and heavy. You don’t feel nimble and you don’t feel like you’re getting a lot of pop off the toe.
It’s just not designed for fast running, which is fine. It’s an easy-day shoe, and when you’re using it for easy-day runs, it is very good.
So, the Endorphin Speed is the kind of do-it-all option while the Shift is the least versatile in the Endorphin range.
The Pro was the first shoe I got from the Endorphin range and it was also the first shoe I’d say that I really thought that another brand had brought out a genuine competitor to Nike in terms of carbon plate super shoes.
I absolutely love the Endorphin Pro. I’ve done lots of different kinds of fast runs and I’ve actually done some easy runs in it as well and actually, it is surprisingly comfortable.
Obviously, fast running is what the Pro is designed for and it does it in a different way to the Nike’s because it’s not as soft and springy.
Even though it is a Peba-based foam and it’s reasonably soft underfoot, but what you’re more getting is a smooth kind of natural roll through the foot with that SpeedRoll technology. The Pro encourages a nice explosive toe-off. There’s a little bit of extra stiffness and pop from the plate that you don’t get on the Speed or the Shift, of course.
I’ve done short track sessions in it, I’ve done long track sessions, I’ve done long hard runs, and it’s always been excellent.
The Pro is definitely a shoe that will shine over half marathon and marathon distances in my opinion just because of the comfort of it, the slight stability benefits you get compared to something like a Nike, and also that SpeedRoll technology.
35.5 mm in the heel and 27.5 mm in the forefoot.
8 mm from heel to toe
Men’s size 9: 7.9 oz (223 grams) / Women’s size 8: 7.1 oz (201 grams)
38 mm in the heel and 34 mm in the forefoot.
4 mm from heel to toe
Men’s size 9: 10.4 oz (294 grams) / Women’s size 8: 8.9 oz (252 grams)
33 mm in the heel and 25 mm in the forefoot.
8 mm from heel to toe
Men’s size 9: 7.6 oz (215 grams) / Women’s size 8: 7.1 oz (201 grams)
As you can see, the weight goes up as you go through the line. The Endorphin Pro is the lightest of the three while the Shift is the heaviest.
The drop of the Pro and the Speed is the same 8 millimeters, but the shift has a slightly lower drop coming in at 4 millimeters.
When it comes to the design of the shoes, while there are some similarities across the line, each obviously has a fair bit of stuff that’s unique to it that kind of demonstrates its main purpose.
The Speed has got a breathable mesh upper with a bit more kind of support around the heel, a bit more stability, and a little bit more cushioning.
It is designed more for fast training than racing, but it still wants to be a fast shoe. I found that actually the Speed comes up slightly wider and I have to really crank the laces to get a tight fit compared to the Shift and the Pro.
But still, the Speed is a nice roomy comfortable shoe with a nice breathable upper.
In the midsole, you’ve got that same PWRUN PB foam which is Saucony’s best lightweight and bouncy foam. Actually, it feels slightly bouncier in the Speed than the Pro because there’s only a nylon plate in there which isn’t quite as stiff and as firm as the carbon plate in the Pro.
The idea is that you can use the nylon plate more often for more training without always having a very stiff carbon base beneath your foot. This makes the Speed slightly more versatile in terms of the amount of running you can do in it.
The outsole is very similar to the Pro. It has the same kind of rubber pattern and a bit of exposed foam as the Pro and the Speed grips really well in wet conditions.
With the Shift, we’ve got a few changes. We’ve got kind of a FORMFIT upper which fits like a sock. As a result of that, the Shift is not roomier, but it does provide a nice comfortable kind of snug fit if you’re into that kind of fit.
There’s loads of cushioning around the collar and tongue. The heel collar of the Shift is really designed for plush comfort on your easy-day runs. Saucony has really gone for stability with the Shift by putting in a massive kind of plastic heel counter that really wraps a long way around the foot.
Also, the midsole foam is different. The Shift features PWRUN foam which is an EVA-based foam with a bit of TPU in there as well.
It’s not the kind of bouncy lightweight Peba. That’s why the Shift is so much heavier with this big stack of cushion underneath your foot.
Saucony is going for stability and so the shoe is firmer and not using a lightweight kind of springy foam.
On the outsole, there’s a lot more rubber, again, designed for durability of the shoe just to keep cruising through a lot of miles in it.
The Shift also has the SpeedRoll technology which is the one thing that’s a feature across the range and it’s really well designed.
The SpeedRoll technology is key with the Endorphin Shift, otherwise, it would be a bit of a heavy clunky shoe. Actually, that roll does help you move smoothly and efficiently despite the kind of large size of the shoe.
The Endorphin Shift’s curved forefoot makes it one of these great running shoes for Hallux Rigidus.
The Pro has a very lightweight mesh upper design and that’s what you’d expect from a racing shoe. It’s a comfortable shoe and it’s got a little bit of padding around the Achilles area and a tiny bit on the tongue.
The midsole is PWRUN PB foam. This is a Peba-based foam which is very lightweight and bouncy. Most top-of-the-line shoes are using Peba foams because of their real lack of weight while also being nice and bouncy, and springy.
There is a carbon plate in the midsole and the Pro also has Saucony’s SpeedRoll technology designed to give you kind of a slight rocker effect to get you onto your forefoot and kind of pushing through your toe-off quickly with each stride.
The outsole is lacking in rubber as you’d expect from a racing shoe, but I found that the rubber around the sides and front is durable and does grip surprisingly well in the wet and on kind of sharp corners.
When it comes to the fit of the Endorphins, I am true to size in the entire Endorphin range. Like I said, the Endorphin Speed did seem a bit wider and I had to crank the laces a lot tighter to try and get a tight fit.
Also, the laces are quite long, but luckily there is a little handy loop that you can loop them into so they don’t fly around when you’re running.
The Pro was completely true to size. The Shift is that kind of sock-style upper and so I found it’s a bit tighter. But I think you still want to go true to size, otherwise, your foot might slide around a bit with that style of upper.
Which Endorphin Should You Get?
If you’re just looking to buy one shoe from the Endorphin range, it’s definitely the Endorphin Speed for me. It’s the most versatile and I’d say it’s the best do-it-all trainer out there from any brand.
If you’re a one-shoe runner and want to perform at speed on race day, there’s nothing better than the Endorphin Speed in my opinion. It is durable, it is comfortable for easy runs, and it does have that performance side to it as well where you’re not going to be let down when you are doing fast running. Again, the Endorphin Speed is a very clear pick if you’re only buying one shoe from the range.
If you are looking to kind of beef up your running shoe rotation with a bit of Endorphin, then it really depends on the kind of runner you are. If you’re someone who loves the feel of the Speed but does want to save it and you are a real high-mileage runner or really value just the feel of a real easy shoe, then the Shift is probably the next one to get.
You can pair the Shift with the Speed quite comfortably as your race day and fast training shoe leaving everything else to the Shift which does lack versatility in terms of how it performs at fast stuff but just using it for easy stuff.
However, if I was buying two shoes from the Endorphin range, I’d get the Speed and then I’d buy the Pro. The Pro is the pinnacle of the range for a reason. It’s a little bit stiffer, a little bit faster, a little bit more pop than you get from the Speed. It’s not a huge amount and obviously, it’ll be a big investment.
So, if you’re someone who’s really concentrating on speed and want to set a new marathon PR and if you were going to buy one racing shoe from the Endorphin range to do it, it would be the Pro.
Of course, you can also buy all three and that would serve you beautifully as a really nice well-designed rotation.
If you want to swap these shoes out for options from other brands, the Speed will always stay in my rotation.
In terms of easy days, I like the Shift but I don’t like it as much as some other options. I do think you can have a bit more fun with the Asics Novablast 1 or 2.
I think the Nike Infinity Run is very similar to the Shift. It’s stable and kind of smooth but not particularly lively, but it does feel a bit lighter to me. So, the Infinity Run 2 would probably be my pick if you’re just looking for that kind of stability.
Or, if you just want all-out comfort, I think the Brooks Glycerin is a more comfortable shoe.
So, if you are looking for a pure easy-day shoe, there’s a lot of good options out there you could swap for the Shift.
In terms of race-day performance, as much as I love the Pro, I think I still find the Nike Alphafly or the Vaporfly just slightly ahead of it. I would pair the Alphafly with the Speed as kind of my main two shoes. The Alphafly for races and the Speed for kind of everything else.
Do you own any of these shoes? Are you a big fan of the Shift, Speed, or Pro? What would your comments be on them? Please let us know.
I hope you liked our Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Shift vs Pro. Thanks very much and I’ll see you in the next one.