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Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review

8 expert score
9 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 21st September by Brandon Law Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
90 other reviews

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 Verdict

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is a versatile racing shoe with copious amounts of cushioning and good stability. While it can handle everything from easy runs to fast workouts, it doesn’t have the “oomph” that some of the other carbon-plated racers have so it doesn’t feel as fast. Version 3 has a lot more foam and a wider base, making it softer and more stable; however the new minimal upper runs a half size too small.

The pros

  • Lighter than the Endorphin Pro 2
  • Higher level of cushioning
  • Great foot lockdown
  • Better breathability

The cons

  • Narrow forefoot and toe box
  • Less durable outsole

Rating breakdown

Comfort
7.0
Build quality
8.0
Upper
7.0
Sole unit
8.0
Landing
8.0
Transition
9.0
Toe-off
8.0
Traction
9.0
Durability
7.0
Value / Price
8.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Endorphin Pro 3
Previous model
Weight
7.2 oz (204 g)
MSRP
$225.00

Heel
39.5 mm.
Toe
31.5 mm.
Heel drop
8 mm.
Carbon plate
Full length carbon plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
Buy half size bigger
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Tight

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Some stability
Flexibility
Rigid

Usage

Racing  
Speedwork  
Daily training
Long distance racing  
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 ?

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.

Who should not buy the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 ?

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.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 Introduction

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.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 First Impressions

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.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 Upper

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 Endorphin Pro 3 Sole Unit

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.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 Conclusions

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.

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Saucony at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.

Reviewed by Brandon

This review was written by Brandon Law on 21st September.
Brandon is a South African who lives and trains in Malaysia. He is a marathon runner who eats, sleeps and dreams running shoes. While most people wear shoes to run, he runs to wear shoes.

User feedback (1)

  • avatar-comment-1019419
    Alberto
    1 day ago
    9 score

    This is the best review I’ve read for the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. The shoe is outstanding – with some limitations, as clearly described in this review. During my runs, I also had some slight tongue sliding, I also believe the toe box could be slightly wider (I understand it is race fit, but for a marathon more room would be appreciated. It is still an extremely comfortable shoe) and I also believe it is not as fast-feeling as other options. In my opinion, it certainly lets you run fast, but it doesn’t necessarily make your run fast.
    Overall, I absolutely love the shoe and will certainly use it for marathon training. Saucony did great with this version of the Endorphin Pro. I also love the Speed but I recently have always paid the extra $ for the carbon plate. This is a great Nike alternative and will likely buy another pair.
    For race day, still Alphafly (1st version).

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