You, but faster. (And smoother. And more protected.) In the ‘arms race’ that the development of lightweight, fast shoes has become, Saucony has fired their opening salvo with the launch of the eagerly-awaited Endorphin Pro.
Billed as the fastest shoe they’ve ever built, the Endorphin Pro provides a fascinating insight into the future direction of the company’s shoe development. It sits at the pinnacle of the Saucony Endorphin Collection, a trio of models in striking colourways being rolled out over the coming months.
Roll to a new PB
Each of the models in the collection features SpeedRoll technology, a geometrical design devised in conjunction with both everyday runners and Saucony’s sponsored elite athletes with the one aim and commitment to make all runners faster. In practice, what the SpeedRoll technology gives is a noticeable and eye-catching silhouette to each shoe, with a pronounced curve to the sole unit. The result? A fast and propulsive ride. But that’s not the whole story.
Let’s look at the three models in a bit more detail.
Three shoes made for smashing personal bests.
Saucony Endorphin Pro
First up is the Endorphin Pro, which sold out within just one week of becoming available for pre-order at run4it.com on 20 May 2020. We are expecting more stock (in limited supply) later in the year.
In a market of carbon-fibre plated road racing shoes dominated in recent times by the huge success of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4/Next%, and with the addition of other excellent models from the industry’s big players like the Hoka One One Carbon X and the Brooks Hyperion Elite (plus a number of others), Saucony have taken a top-down approach. They’ve created a pinnacle product in the Endorphin Pro for absolute top-end race day performance and used the boundary-pushing technologies they’ve created to build a collection of shoes for more regular or even everyday use.
Saucony have been teasing runners since the start of the year with the shoe, displaying them at various events around the globe. Having seen first-hand the buzz which the shoe created at the Barcelona Half Marathon expo back in February I can safely say that a LOT of runners are looking forward to getting their feet into a pair! In the flesh, what instantly struck me was how plush the shoe felt, despite it’s race weight credentials (the men’s model comes in at 213 grams with the women’s at 179 grams). Often racing shoes can feel stripped right back at the expense of some comfort but the Pro definitely looks to have found the right balance.
The Pro uses new and ultralight PWRRUN PB cushioning which is 40% lighter than Saucony’s own PWRRUN+ cushioning but which offers an incredible 88% energy return. It’s also much more flexible and durable than EVA foams. A full-length S-curved carbon fibre plate runs through the midsole and is sandwiched between the layers of cushioning. Being both ultra-light and ultra-firm, this plate acts to enhance the roll from landing to toe-off and optimises the super-springy PWRRUN PB cushioning to create a springboard effect to drive you forward on every stride.
A hyper-light upper inspired by track spikes incorporates Saucony’s FORMFIT technology and uses ultra-thin engineered materials to wrap your foot in a 360-degree system which guarantees comfort from every angle.
The Endorphin Pro is a shoe that’s been a long time in the making but it does look to have been worth the wait!
The Speed borrows much of the technology developed in the Pro but wraps it in a slightly more structured and less-aggressive package. While the Speed may well be a great race choice for many (it weighs in at 221 grams for the men’s model and 193 grams for the women’s), it will also be a fantastic shoe for faster speedwork and tempo training.
The SpeedRoll geometry again delivers a highly propulsive toe-off that makes your running feel faster and easier and the same midsole cushioning materials are used as in the Pro. But instead of using carbon fibre, the Speed uses TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) in the S-curved plate running through the midsole. Once more this provides a smooth rolling transition to your stride but perhaps gives a slightly softer feel than in the carbon fibre-plated Pro. There is a little more structure to the upper than in the Pro, although it is still extremely lightweight and flexible.
Having been lucky enough to try a run in a pre-launch pair of Endorphin Speed, I was acutely aware of the rolling effect the shoes offered – the TPU plate undoubtedly does the job in that respect. What did surprise me though was the feeling of softness and fluidity the shoes gave, far from the rigid and solid feel I was expecting – a thoroughly pleasant running experience and one which I think will resonate with a great many runners out there seeking to push the pace. The use of TPU in the plate instead of carbon fibre does, as expected, make the Speed slightly less responsive than the Pro, while also adding a little weight. But make no mistake, this is a shoe which will add a significant pep to your step!
Saucony Endorphin Shift
The third shoe in the collection is the Endorphin Shift which launches alongside the Endorphin Speed early July.
The Shift is designed as the everyday shoe for those who love the propulsive toe-off provided by SpeedRoll geometry, but has a few notable differences from the Pro and the Speed. The biggest one is that there isn’t a plate running through the midsole. Instead, a thicker midsole with PWWRUN foam cushioning provides the optimal platform for a smooth propulsive roll, but offers more flexibility in the forefoot than in the plated models. Also, a lower drop of 4mm brings the heel comparatively closer to the ground, enhancing stability. Further structural support is created by an extended TPU heel counter and a rubber wrap on the medial side of the shoe.
While noticeably heavier than the Pro and the Speed at 286 grams for the men’s model and 269 grams for the women’s, the Endorphin Shift allows you to access the smooth, flowing running experience offered by SpeedRoll, but adds in extra protection when you’re looking to rack up some longer mileage.
The collection lends itself to trying something new, something different, but without that feeling of being overly-engineered and just too experimental. Like everything Saucony does, they’ve employed a huge amount of research and development time in coming up with their designs and that shines through in the end products.
Run for Good
As a brand Saucony is clear in why they exist – to empower the human spirit, with every stride, on every run, in every community. Their call to action, Run for Good, is an invitation to runners everywhere to experience the transformative power of running. In these incredibly challenging and difficult times, this seems even more relevant than ever. In developing the Endorphin Collection, Saucony have embraced everything they stand for.
Saucony states: “A good day is when we run. A better day is when we inspire others to run.”