Saucony has been in my wheel-house with the Kinvara being among my favorites. My latest grab bumped me into the realm of carbon plate racing flats bringing home the Saucony Endorphine Pros.
I will use these as racers but see no need in my going the carbon route with any brand. Some have noted that the plate works against you.
While I can’t go quite that far, I can be persuaded this might be the case. I am working to PR in the half and/or full in the near future and believe these will help get me there but it appears to be more on me and less on them.
the shoe rocks and pushes you forward
generous cushioning keeps the feet and body safe
the mesh breathes well
supportive, wrapping fit
don't do justice to slower runners
laces dig into the foot when tight
I read a LOT of reviews before pulling the trigger. I had tried Nike’s Alpha a few months back and they were too tight - way too tight. I read of other carbon racers with comments falling in a similar thread - narrow.
Having grown to love the Kinvara and seeing highly positive reviews for the Endorphines all around and minimal mention of narrow, I pulled the plug and grabbed a pair for my next half-marathon.
I am 55, been running for 7 or so years fairing pretty well in races on the podium frequently for my age group.
Need for Speed
I am not a speed demon with my PR speed for the half around a few ticks over a 7-minute mile. This pace is worth mentioning as it will come up again shortly.
Out of the box, I did the walk-around of the house and immediately noticed the roll (called SPEEDROLL) forward. Transferring from the mid-foot to the toe notes a significant role - more than anything I have experienced.
If you remember the rocker shoes of Skecher from yesteryear - with that image in mind, these feel the way those look (that’s the best image I can give - sorry!). You can’t see the roll nearly as much as you can certainly feel and sense it.
First impressions of the Endorphin Pro
As these are “racers” I don’t run in my racers other than, well races. I have learned not to wear new shoes though in a race and took these for a run a few days prior to make sure they were not going to cause an issue.
The drop and build are similar to my other shoes so I didn’t expect any issues there. Lacing up the first time, I noticed how thin the laces are, like really thin. They are skinny to a point that if you lace tight they will dig into your foot.
I had no issues but did notice this immediately. The shoe has a soft feel all around with a good sense of breathing from the very lightweight upper. The heel is almost overly padded compared to the rest but no issue.
Second first impressions
My first few steps recalled that rolling feeling I had experienced right out of the box. Wow!
If you have ever run track from a starting block - think of that feeling. As your foot transitions from the mid to forefoot you can really get a sense of pushing off - very similar (though not that extreme of course) to those blocks.
This shoe has a considerable stack height removing some of the feel of the road compared to some racers. If you are a heavy pavement-pounder, these will nurse your high mileage nicely! These seem to be built for speed and distance which can often be a trade-off.
And the upper (tried to get a picture of the “airiness”) is really super, flexible, and breathable.
This is great unless you need something more supportive wrapping your feet. I noted nor felt any seams or hot spots anywhere from top to bottom, front to back.
In terms of wear, two half-marathons, and a couple of shorter training runs, minimal wear is showing so; no alarms there.
Race Day(s) in the Saucony Endorphin Pro
I was able to land a couple of half-marathons during Covid and was happy to race and excited to put the Endorphines to the test.
These are very comfortable. Even the Wow of the roll quickly adjusted so it was not that noticeable each step.
As a reminder, these are high end, carbon-plated racing shoes. If you are a slower runner, they just don’t do justice.
Someone say need for speed?
As mentioned my best is just over a 7-minute mile. Some have noted that these really don’t “kick-in” until 6:30 or so. I agree.
I dropped a time or two to near that speed and did notice some significant change. I would not hesitate to say a significant change! I would recommend not going the carbon route (that investment) if you are much above that pace.
Saucony has the same shoe without the plate that will give you very similar results and shave some coins (see Saucony Endorphin Speed).
For what this shoe is designed to do (speed demon), I can’t knock it because my specs fall short of getting the most out of its specs.
It is an expensive shoe but in line with others of a like-mind. I do believe it lives up to what Saucony purports.
It has a noticeable transition when getting into some faster faces - by design. It feels like a rocket (even if a short burst for me). I like it and am honestly impressed.
Hi there! I am an old coot putting running shoes on for the first time about seven years go. It was the first time I had run in 30 years. I started with a 5K or two and worked myself into a frenzy setting a goal of running a marathon before I turned 50. I ran my first marathon nine months after that initial lace-up. To date, I have completed 80 or so races including 36 half marathons and 14 fulls. I have placed in the top three in my age-group about half of those races.