Saucony just officially entered the super shoe chat. The Endorphin Pro 3 sees Saucony completely overhaul its most popular carbon fiber road racing shoe. The brand has changed the upper, and added more PWRRUN PB foam underfoot to completely change the ride of the shoe — it’s extremely fast, yet comfortable on the run.
Weight: 7.2oz (M), 6.2 oz (W)
But how does it compare to some of the best carbon fiber running shoes on the market? The max stack height and $200 plus price put this shoe in the same league as the Nike ZoomX Alphafly Next% 2 and the Asics Metaspeed Sky+. How does it compare to its speedy counterparts and is it worth saving money on the Endorphin Pro 2, which is bound to be on sale now the newer shoe has launched? Read my full Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review below to find out more.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review: Price and availability
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is available now at saucony.com and select running retailers such as sportsshoes.com. At launch (June 2022), the Endorphin Pro 3 is available in a pink colorway, named "Prospect Quartz" in both the men's and women's sizes. The Endorphin Pro 3 will be available in men’s sizes US 7-15, and women’s sizes US 5-12.
The shoe will cost £210/$225, which is more expensive than the Endorphin Pro 2, which cost £190/$200 at launch. The Endorphin Pro 2 is likely to be cheaper now that the newer shoe has been released; if you’re looking for a cheap carbon fiber running shoe, now’s a good time to buy. That said, as I’ll outline below, there are some big improvements on the Endorphin Pro 3.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review: Design and fit
Saucony has completely overhauled the design of the Endorphin Pro 3, which straight out of the box looks like a different shoe, not an updated version. The stack height has increased to 39.9mm, making it just legal in the World Athletics guidelines, and similar to the stack of the Nike ZoomX Alphafly Next% 2. The upper has also been overhauled to more of a mesh — it’s pretty much see-through and during testing I found it to be one of the most breathable uppers on the market.
Fit-wise, I found the shoe came up a little short — I wear a UK 5 in most running shoes, and wear a UK 4.5 in my everyday sneakers. I found I didn’t have an awful lot of room between my big toe and the end of the shoe in the Endorphin Pro 3, and wish I’d sized up an extra half size. That said, you don’t want racing shoes to be overly huge, as you don’t want to be stopping to tighten them when you’re trying to set a new personal record.
As mentioned above, the upper is designed to be super lightweight. The mesh is thin, with a good amount of stretch. The tongue is minimal — there’s no plushness or padding across the top of the foot — in fact, Saucony have cut huge holes in the tongue to save on weight. That said, there was a good amount of lockdown in the shoe. The mesh isn’t overly tight across the top of the foot, and I didn’t experience any hot spots during testing. The shoes did stain my white socks bright pink on the first run, but I won’t hold this against them; maybe I’m just a runner with particularly sweaty feet (nice).
The midsole of the Endorphin Pro 3 is where the magic happens. Saucony has added a thick stack of its PWRRUN PB foam, giving the shoe a completely different underfoot experience to the Endorphin Pro 2, which just didn’t have enough pop to compete with some of the better racing shoes on the market. The Endrophin Pro 3, on the other hand, is bouncier and faster than its predecessor — it’s far softer due to the higher stack height, but it’s not overly plush. It’s comfortable and efficient, and it’s easy to pick up the pace when you need to in this shoe.
The second element worth mentioning in the midsole is Saucony’s ‘Speedroll technology’ which is the geometry of the shoe, designed to keep you rolling forward onto the ball of your foot for a fast transition. There’s also a full-length, S-shaped carbon fiber plate in the midsole of the shoe, designed to propel you forward as you run.
While Saucony market this as a neutral shoe, it's used a few design features to add some stability to the racer, especially as many runners find their form suffers during the final miles of a marathon. There are sidewalls in the midfoot on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe, which add some support through this area of the shoe. The midfoot is also wider than on previous versions, adding more stability. I find I overpronate when running on tired legs, but didn’t in this shoe, making it a solid marathon shoe for my autumn race.
The outsole of the shoe is made from Saucony’s XT-900 rubber for a grippier ride than previous versions. There aren’t huge lugs on the bottom of the shoe — it’s definitely still designed for the road, but during testing, I had no issue with slipping on the pavement as I ran, even in wet conditions. After 30 or so miles clocked in the shoe during testing, there’s no signs of wear on the outsole, but like most carbon fiber running shoes, you probably wouldn’t want to wear this for all of your training miles. Carbon plated shoes are not designed to last miles and miles — they’re built for racing, but by adding a more durable outsole, I’d guess Saucony is trying to increase the endurance of this shoe. I’ll report back on signs of wear and tear after running more miles in it.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review: Performance
Until now, I’ve not been a fan of the Endorphin Pro. For me, the second version of the shoe just didn’t feel that good to run in — the foam was too firm, and the shoe just felt a little unstable underfoot when I tried to run fast in it. I wasn’t looking forward to running in the Pro 3, despite it looking like a different shoe when I lifted it out the box, and I’m the first to admit I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it.
The shoe feels light and fast underfoot. I’ve worn it for a tough kilometer repeat session, and found I was easily able to run faster without feeling it in my legs — even my cooldown session was at an 8.15 minute mile rather than my normal 8.30 minute mile. On a long run, the shoe felt a little clunky running at a slower speed, but I find carbon fiber running shoes always do, and as my legs warmed up, I soon found the run turned into more of a progression run, with the shoe encouraging me to run faster.
I really enjoyed running in this shoe, and would say it’s definitely more of a contender for those shopping for a racing shoe. Alongside this, I’ve been testing the Nike ZoomX Alphafly Next% 2 and the Ascis Metaspeed Sky+, and the Endorphin Pro 3 had a similar amount of bounce and responsiveness underfoot.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review: Verdict
This is an excellent carbon fiber running shoe. Fans of the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 might not recognize this as an update — it feels and looks like a completely different running shoe. It’s fast underfoot, has an excellent amount of cushioning and is an enjoyable ride on days where you really want to pick up the pace.
While it’s not the cheapest carbon fiber running shoe on the market, especially compared to the previous version of the shoe, in my opinion the higher price tag is well worth the changes made. It’s around the same price as the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2. But as Nike’s racer has been around for a few years now, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you’re more likely to be able to find a last-season colorway at a discounted price.
If you’re looking for a running shoe that’ll last for an entire marathon training plan, you’re going to want to shop for one without a carbon fiber plate. Check out the best running shoes on the market here, which includes the Saucony Ride 15 — a comfortable, reliable workhorse, that will get you from A to B comfortably, whatever speed you decide to travel.