Shoe Review: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Since its inception two years ago, the Saucony Endorphin Speed has earned rave reviews from runners and wear-testers for being among the lightest, cushiest and most energetic training shoes ever made.
Like its predecessors, the newly updated Endorphin Speed 3 is a next-level training shoe that has a light and cushy feel with a lively pop similar to some top-tier racing shoes but at a much more affordable price. It shares some of the same materials and features as the Endorphin Pro racing models, namely the extremely responsive PWRRUN PB midsole foam and Saucony’s propulsive SpeedRoll geometry and FormFit upper design. Instead of a carbon-fiber plate embedded in its midsole, it has a semi-flexible nylon plate that provides an energetic vibe with flexibility and agility.
Our Fleet Feet review team tested the latest version of the Endorphin Speed, taking it through training runs and even a few races. Here’s what you can expect from the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
7.2 oz (W) / 8.1 oz (M)
7.0 (W), 7.9 oz (M)
Everyday Training, Long Runs, Fast Workouts
Everyday Training, Long Runs, Fast Workouts
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Brings Comfort and Liveliness to Everyday Training
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is special because it’s as light and almost as fast as your favorite racing shoes, but it’s also as comfortable and cushioned as your favorite training shoes. With a slightly thicker layer of PWRRUN PB foam than previous editions and a more stable makeup, it’s essentially a maximally cushioned everyday training shoe that runs like a performance trainer.
The Endorphin Speed 3 fits true to size with a medium-volume interior in the heel and midfoot and a bit of wiggle room in the toe box. The upper moves and stretches while still keeping feet locked down to the chassis below the foot and allowing you to make precise, efficient footstrikes. Ultimately, the new upper creates a foot-hugging personalized fit that’s supportive and accommodating for a wide variety of foot shapes.
“The Endorphin Speed 3 has a fairly roomy fit. I’ve got plenty of wiggle room in the toe box, but no slippage. It fits true to size for me,” says Kate. “The texture of the upper seems pretty typical. It’s breathable, but not super advanced or race-specific, like we see on this year’s Endorphin Pro 3. The laces are plenty long enough to make any special adjustments.”
“I love the step-in feel of this shoe,” says Nate. “It feels like a high performance car with a very cushioned and comfortable cockpit. The upper is simply perfect. My feet feel locked down with plenty of breathability and just that touch of extra padding for that’s nice for longer miles. There’s enough room for my wider feet to stretch out as needed.”
The peppy feeling is created by the resilient midsole foam, the rocker SpeedRoll geometry and the curved nylon plate embedded in the foam. The PWRRUN PB foam is both shock-absorbing and responsive, meaning it absorbs the impact with the ground but it also captures downward energy and returns it.
What’s a midsole? Learn about the parts that make up a running shoe.
The Endorphin Speed 3 offers a soft feeling underfoot at the touchdown of every stride, but feels slightly more firm and energetic as you start rolling through the midfoot to the toe-off phase. This shoe isn’t as stiff as most road shoes with carbon-fiber plates, but instead its chassis has a moderate flex pattern that bends slightly as your foot rolls forward. The outsole features sections of exposed foam and high-abrasion carbon rubber to reduce weight, ensure traction and maintain durability.
Overall, our wear-testers loved the smooth ride, cushioned feel and the energetic sensation of the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3.
“I have loved each of the Endorphin Speed models, but this one is the best,” says Brian. “The combination of the comfortably secure fit and the high-performance ride with a jolt of energetic pop in every stride create a near-euphoric experience no matter what pace I run.”
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 vs Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
The biggest updates to the Endorphin Speed 3 from the previous edition are an updated nylon plate and a slightly wider base. The updated nylon plate features side wings that add to the propulsive feeling in every stride. The slightly wider base (7 millimeters wider in the heel and 5 millimeters wider in the forefoot) improves the shoe’s stability.
A slightly softer midsole is approximately 1 millimeter thicker than the previous editions, which is why the Endorphin Speed 3 weighs about a quarter ounce more. That weight is barely noticeable, but the added girth, stack height and softness give it a more cushioned and stable feeling.
“I felt so smooth and efficient on my runs in these. I absolutely love the added cushion, it’s a major upgrade to the previous versions,” says Caroline. “While the previous versions felt snappy, they lacked the cushion needed to make them comfortable for longer workouts. These hit just the right balance of cushion and responsiveness.”
Also of note, there’s a $10 price bump on the Endorphin Speed 3. The $170 price tag puts it into the same range as many other high-end performance trainers and, given the vast improvements, our wear-testers felt it was a worthy increase. It’s $55 less than the top-tier Endorphin Pro 3 racing model and much more versatile.
It’s rare to find a shoe that’s capable of doing everything well — long runs, recovery runs, speed work, tempo runs and intervals. Typically shoes with that much energy are found in the racing category and are limited only to fast running. The Endorphin Speed 3 can truly do it all, no matter what pace you run in them.
If you’re seeking a lightweight, well-cushioned shoe with a lively sensation, then you’ll love the Endorphin Speed 3. It’s agile and versatile enough to run at any pace and tackle any kind of workout with ease. It can also be an ideal racing shoe for any distance from the mile to the marathon.
“I’m definitely adding these to my line up for tempo workouts, intervals, and even fast-paced long runs,” Caroline says. “Saucony really checked all the boxes with this update. If you enjoyed the previous versions of the Speed, I think you’ll also like these. And if you felt the previous version lacked cushion and stability, you’ll enjoy the new update.”
As with any running shoe, it’s best to find a model that fits the specific shape and dimension of your feet. It’s always best to try on shoes at your local Fleet Feet before you buy them.