If you’re looking for a stable, cushioned, long-distance racing shoe which can handle most types of runs, the Endorphin Pro 3 is an excellent choice. It’s cheaper than most super shoes so it’s excellent value for money.
If you have wide feet or you prefer a minimal ride with lots of ground feel, the Endorphin Pro 3 is not the shoe for you.
Carbon-plated racers fall into 2 categories: the springboard type that launches you forward and the rocker type that rolls you forward. Both types improve efficiency and give you a boost.
The Endorphin Pro 3 is a unique racer that falls into both categories. It has the S-shaped carbon plate for propulsion as well as the SpeedRoll technology to quicken transitions.
The Endorphin Pro is also one of the most durable super shoes on the market. The tough outsole rubber is perfectly placed to protect high wear areas and its beaded PEBA midsole is resistant to creasing/compression over time.
I put a decent amount of mileage onto my pair. I used it for mostly training workouts and tempo runs but never for any races. I prefer a softer, more propulsive racer for long-distance races and I felt that the Endorphin Pro wasn’t in the top tier of racing shoes.
Last year’s Endorphin Pro 2 was only an upper update so in true Saucony fashion, this year is a major update year. The Endorphin Pro 3 has a new, stripped down upper, a beefed up midsole and a tweaked outsole.
The Endorphin Pro 3 weighs 7.2 oz (204 g) compared to the Endorphin Pro 2 which came in at 7.5 oz (213 g). The update that I’m most excited about is that the stack height is now 39.5 mm in the heel and 31.5 mm in the forefoot, a big change from the 35.5 mm heel/27.5 mm forefoot of the Endorphin Pro 2.
The price has also gone up. It’s now $225, which is $25 higher than the price of the Endorphin 2 when it first launched. It’s still cheaper than the Adios Pro 3, Vaporfly Next% 2, Metaspeed Sky+ and Hyperion Elite 3 which are all priced at $250.
When I saw images of Parker Stinson wearing the Endorphin Pro 3 months before the release, I knew that it would have a completely different ride to its predecessor and I couldn’t wait to test it out.
My first run was an interval speed workout made up of 6 x 1 kilometre intervals. The thing that stood out the most was how much softer and more cushioned the ride felt. I felt like I could definitely do a full marathon in it now. It also felt much more stable than the Endo Pro 2.
The higher toe spring made it feel faster and more propulsive because the rocker sensation felt intensified. Transitions felt just as smooth as the Endo Pro 2 due to the full ground contact outsole. The workout felt good but it didn’t feel as fast as some of the other super shoes.
The only negative during that first run was that the forefoot and toe box felt extremely narrow. I regretted not buying a half size bigger because I wore medium-thick socks and the fit was too snug. After the first run, I only wore thin socks with it but the fit was still a bit uncomfortable.
The Endorphin Pro 3’s upper rivals the Alphafly’s AtomKnit in terms of breathability and it’s one of the most breathable uppers of all the running shoes I’ve tested. There are also 3 additional large holes in the tongue for extra ventilation and the 3 holes tie in with Saucony’s logo which is a very clever design.
The gusseted tongue is even thinner than before and I had some tongue slide problems. During runs, it slides downwards and it lets through the lacing pressure of the top row of laces so you can’t tie it too tight.
The heel cup is great and I didn’t experience any rubbing or heel slippage so overall foot lockdown is superb although I did have to use a runner’s knot.
The fit is very narrow, especially in the forefoot and toe box: so narrow that it was uncomfortable when I wore medium/thick socks and too snug during long runs when my feet expanded. I have really narrow feet and I would go up a half size if I bought it again so the majority of runners will definitely need to size up. This is very uncharacteristic for a Saucony shoe- Saucony usually gets the sizing spot on.
Saucony did an amazing job with the midsole of the Endorphin Pro 3. It now has the level of cushioning which I expect from a long-distance marathon racing shoe. 32 km was the longest distance that I did in it and the extra foam really made a big difference. It has more long-distance comfort now and it’s become one of the most cushioned super shoes on the market.
The other improvement they made is to the stability of the shoe. The midsole bulges out so it has a wider net base. Long runs feel a lot more comfortable and it’s much easier to corner fast.
The toe-spring is higher and more prominent than the previous versions so the Endo Pro 3 is the fastest Endorphin Pro to date but its toe-spring isn’t as aggressive as in other super shoes such as the Metaspeed Sky+ and the Adios Pro 3. The forward-tipping sensation in the Endo Pro 3 isn’t very distinct.
The full-length carbon plate remains as stiff as it was in the first 2 versions. It’s one of the stiffest plates in any carbon plated racer and it barely flexes when you put a lot of force into trying to bend it. The rigid plate is great at keeping the forefoot stiff for the SpeedRoll to roll your foot forward. During long runs especially, it feels really efficient and energy-saving.
The carbon plate is S-shaped so the front of it dips down sharply at the forefoot, just like in the Vaporfly Next% 2. This setup gives you a similar type of mechanical assistance to the Vaporfly which launches you forward like a springboard although the midsole of the Endo Pro 3 doesn’t compress as much as the Vaporfly’s midsole so it feels less propulsive.
I enjoyed the Endorphin Pro 3 on long runs, interval workouts, tempo runs and even easy runs. Its heel is no longer wobbly at slow paces so it’s an incredibly versatile shoe but the thing that it lacks is great durability.
The new outsole configuration is a step backwards in my opinion. It does have better grip because of the new protrusions but at the heel, the rubber stops a couple mm short of the edge, leaving the soft foam unprotected.
Just like the Endorphin Speed 3, there’s a lot of wear on the edge of the lateral heel because it scuffs the ground. The Pro 2 and Speed 2 had a much better design where the rubber extended right to the edge of the heel.
The most impressive thing about the Endorphin Pro 3 is that it has gained extra foam but still managed to lose weight. It also has a higher level of stability and better traction so it’s an overall improvement over the Endorphin Pro 2.
Even though it has improved in most aspects, the Endorphin Pro 3 still isn’t in the top tier of long-distance racing shoes in my opinion. While it now has enough cushioning for a full marathon, it doesn’t feel as punchy as the others, namely the Vaporfly Next% 2, the Metaspeed Sky 1, the Alphafly Next% 1 and the Adios Pro 3. In other words, it doesn’t give me the high level of speed assistance that the others do.
In order to be in the top tier, Saucony needs to either make the Pwrrun PB foam even softer so that the carbon plate has more travel or else they need to make the toe-spring more aggressive to increase the forward-tipping sensation (like Adidas did to the Adios Pro 3).
I’ll definitely use the Endorphin Pro 3 in my rotation but not for marathons because the narrow forefoot is a bit uncomfortable and there are faster options which provide a bigger boost.
When it comes to a speed comparison between the Endorphin Pro 3 and the Endorphin Speed 3, there is no comparison. The Endorphin Pro 3 is a much faster shoe due to its stiff midsole and higher toe-spring. The Endo Speed 3’s ride is way softer and not ideal for very fast paces so given the choice, I’d pay $55 more and get the Pro.