Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Review
Endorphin Speed is a unique shoe and has garnered quite a loyal following among the runners. A true modern daily trainer, it has a state-of-the-art midsole foam, is lightweight, and has a stack height that can take you nearly the full distance. I was impressed by what I saw when I reviewed Speed 2(review here).
Endorphin Speed 3 is the most recent iteration of this shoe, and it has some significant updates. The shoe is positioned right in the middle of the Endorphin series, with the Shift 3 (review here) targeted at the entry level, whereas the Pro 3 and Elite are targeted for racing. I have been using Speed 3 for the past 3 months, and here is my review. I have tried to answer all the questions one might have on the shoe.
- What are the major updates from Speed 2?
- How does it compare to Speed 2 in terms of ride and performance?
- How does it compare to other speed oriented trainers in the market such as Deviate Nitro 2?
- What kind of runs is it primarily suited for?
What makes up Endorphin Speed 3?
Like the rest of the shoes in the endorphin line (Shift and Pro), Speed 3 continues to be an eye turner with the curvy midsole accents, rocker geometry, and trendy colors. Like its predecessor, it retains the rocker shape. The word “Speed” in the title can be misleading, as it is not only meant for speed, but is rather versatile.
At about 248 grams (for UK 10), it is not exactly a lightweight shoe, but it is one of the lightest among the comparable trainers, such as Puma Deviate Nitro 2, Asics Novablast 3 or Hoka Carbon X3. It has an 8mm drop similar to Endorphin Pro 3, and resembles its racer sibling. Reason why it is often considered as the training companion for Endorphin Pro. On the stack height front, the new edition got a bump of an extra millimeter, and now stands at 36 mm.
The midsole is made of PWRRUN PB, which is PEBA foam. It was the same foam used in Speed 2 and the Endorphin Pro line. The PEBA foam is also used by other premium racers such as Nike VaporFly and Puma Deviate Nitro Elite. Speed 3 doesn’t have a carbon plate but has a nylon plate wedged inside the midsole.
The foam configuration in Speed 3 feels much softer compared to Speed 2. Its softness measures at 22 HA on Durometer, almost the same as Endorphin Pro 3. Here is a comparison of how it stands in softness with a few other comparable trainers.
The upper is an engineered mono mesh, and it is thick and feels quite durable. While it seems to have enough pores for breathability, I did struggle with excessive sweating when running it this summer. The gusseted tongue in Speed 3 is just barebones, it has lost much of its padding, and the reflective elements from the last edition are missing. The lacing however is perfect; and it locks down perfectly.
On the medial and lateral arch, there is a small PU insert. While I am not sure why it exists, Is that to add some stability to the midsole, or is it the nylon plate?
The heel fit is excellent. However, as a fan of Speed 2’s generous padding, I didn’t feel it as comfortable. The heel counter is stiff and offers good stability. The heel also lost reflective material on the back of the counter from Speed 2.
The bottomsole is mostly exposed with plenty of rubber placed at strategic points. The rubber used is similar to what was used in Speed 2, but the volume is a bit more compared to earlier, and even compared to its sibling, the Shift 3. It does feel a lot more durable this time.
Why did I consider this shoe?
Having liked Endorphin Speed 2, it was no-brainer for me to buy Speed 3. A daily-trainer with a bent towards speed was certainly welcome in my current marathon training cycle. It was a good addition to my current rotation.
I have run more than 200 kms in this shoe. Given my experience of Speed 2 and similarities, I didn’t think twice, when I took the shoe for a test with a 25K distance straight away. The run was on a road but had rolling terrain with challenging uphills and downhill sections. Being light and having a large stack of foam, it offered an excellent balance on this rolling terrain. Since then I have used it for several medium-long runs under 25 KM. The only gripe I have here is the more the time I am on foot in this shoe, it tends to lose its spring. If you are considering this for longer distances beyond 30K, this is one thing to keep in mind.
In my current training cycle, I have used this shoe for a few tempo runs as well. These runs are 8k-15k at a pace faster than my half-marathon. This is the most ideal use case for this shoe. The light and bouncy nature of the ride makes it the perfect choice. Probably the best shoe in the Indian market for these up-tempo runs.
Though it may not be the best, uphill repeats, shot intervals, strides, the shoe can handle all of them well.
Fit and Comfort
The fit of the shoe is perfect, and I liked it better than Speed 2. While the Speed 2 fit was good, it felt a bit too snug for the longer runs. Speed 3 fit is a lot more relaxed, and there is plenty for toe room. The additional comfort makes it a lot more versatile. The shoe didn’t need any break-in time, and you settled right in.
PEBA foam and higher stack mean, this shoe is not meant to be a stability shoe. But I don’t have any complaints about its stability. It is comparable in stability to most neutral trainers out there, despite the higher stack and softer foam.
The grip is very good on tarred roads, I can’t say the same for roads that are slippery with sand and construction debris. It does manage to grip well enough, but not the best. Here is where shoes like Deviate Nitro excel. Traction on wet surfaces lacked some confidence. You might have to be cautious running through hydration stations or on a rainy day.
Aesthetics & Ergonomics
Like the earlier edition, on aesthetics, this one has a lot of character. I bought the Ocean/Vizigold colorway. Surely, one of my favorites. The Pelleted midsole has a nice touch of design with a pattern that is very similar to Endorphin Pro 3. It barely needs any maintenance and although the shoe is a dirt magnet, it is the easiest to clean. On the plus side, it is an eye turner in every sense.
RECOMMENDATIONThe Endorphin Speed 3 is a good daily trainer that can handle half-distance easily. It can also tackle a marathon distance, although it is not the best option for that type of distance. As with other shoes in the Endorphin line, the Speed 3 is eye-catching and will turn heads on the road or track.
Speed 3 is an excellent upgrade and definitive improvement over the earlier edition. It is clearly one of the best daily trainers out there. It has not only got the best foam, but also has got the best ride. Barring a few minor gripes such as removal of reflective elements, this is an upgrade that is done well. It is undoubtedly one of the best daily trainers with a bent on Speed and tempo runs, but handles mid-long runs (under 25K) very gracefully
SHOEGEEKS SCORE 95