I feel like I started most of my recent running shoe reviews with this statement, but I was a bit apprehensive before this Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review. As Saucony’s ‘super shoes’, there is a lot riding on the success of the Endorphin Pro 3, especially considering how well most of the other super shoe iterations turned out to be in recent times.
Even worse, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Saucony Endorphin Pro; I thought the foam was too firm for the embedded carbon plate to work as intended. I wondered: can the new Pro 3 pick a fight with the best running shoes of 2022, including the ASICS Metaspeed SKY+, Nike ZoomX Alphafly NEXT% 2 and the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3?
Well, it can! Now with an even thicker stack of PWRRUNPB foam, you get more pop underfoot for the ‘ultimate go-fast experience’ (Saucony’s description). It might not be the best of the lot, but compared to its predecessors, the Endorphin Pro 3 is a superb high-stack racing shoe that’s worth the attention. Interested in how it compares and what's good (and bad) about the Pink Lightning? Read on to find out.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review – Price and availability
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 was launched In June 2022 and is available to buy now at Saucony US (opens in new tab), Saucony UK (opens in new tab) and Saucony AU (opens in new tab) for a recommended retail price of $225/£210/AU$340. In the US, this is the same price the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT 2, Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 and the ASICS METASPEED collection sell for; in the UK, it’s slightly cheaper than those.
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 was cheaper at launch and is now waaaaay cheaper than the Endorphin Pro 3, especially at third-party retailers such as SportShoes.com (opens in new tab). You can also buy the original Endorphin Pro, but I wouldn’t recommend getting those; you’re better off with the Pro 2. I’d highly recommend the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 (link to review) as an alternative, especially since it can be used for training and racing, too.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review – What’s new?
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 follows the recipe of recent running shoe iterations – including the Hoka Mach 5 and Hoka Bondi 8 – and is the result of lessons learned not just from its direct predecessor but also from an 'intermediate' shoe, in this case, the Endorphin Pro+.
The shoes have an even thicker stack of PWRRUN PB foam; the 39.9mm stack height under the heel is quite literally just under the upper limit set by the World Athletics. More info on this can be found in my New Balance SuperComp Trainer review. The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 has an 8 mm drop (39.9 mm under the heel and 31.9 mm under the forefoot).
The Endorphin Pro 3 also feature a fully redesigned upper that 'delivers a comfortable fit from heel to toe', Saucony explains; plus, the reimagined S-curve plate is said to provide a smoother ride and more pop. As for weight, the Endorphin Pro 3 weighs 8oz/227g (men’s US 11/UK 10).
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review – Fit
The upper of the endorphin Pro 3 not only looks gorgeous, but it’s also very comfortable. It’s airy and provides a somewhat tight fit. Saucony shoes are the least restrictive of all running shoe brands, and the Endorphin Pro 3 fits this description perfectly. The FORMFIT upper is one of the most comfortable on the market right now.
That said, the upper close up a bit too much at the front. I’m sure all big-name sports brands do a lot of research before they commit to a shape, but surely, people don’t have such pointy feet? I could be wrong. I have wide feet, and this is a bit on the tight side. Not as much as the Adidas Adios Pro 3, but the toa box of the Endorphin Pro 3 could be more accommodating.
Another thing I found interesting was the heel counter. Interestingly, the Endorphin Pro 3 has a very soft heel counter; I’m not sure why. Heel lockdown is far from perfect, and if you aren’t an experienced runner, this might not be ideal, as you’ll have to pay more attention to how you land on your heels.
The shoes don’t look mega chunky, but I was surprised by how light they were. They weigh only 227g, making them some of the most lightweight high-stack running shoes. Great for long-distance, high-speed sessions.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review – Running performance
I remember trying the original Endorphin Pro and thinking, 'Man, this is tough!' The foam was too firm and eradicated the effects of the carbon plate. Thankfully, the Endorphin Pro 3 feels much better on the feet, thanks to the soft and responsive PWRRUNPB foam and the curved carbon plate.
Speaking of the carbon plate: I didn't feel that push every time I kicked myself off the ground as when running in the ASICS METASPEED or the NIKE ALPHAFLY; the shoes feel less fast than those. They are super peppy and agile, though, but I wonder how well they would perform in marathons.
On a more positive note, Saucony's 'carbon rubber' XT-900 outsole is pretty darn grippy if you ask me. Despite the stack height, cornering is excellent, and picking up speed is easy as pie. My feet felt light, and the ground feel was also excellent. I actually preferred using the Endorphin Pro 3 for tempo session up until 10k or so and especially enjoyed the first 5k of my runs.
Maybe the Endorphin Pro 3 will be similar to the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ and performs at its best for up to half marathon distances. The foam is soft and responsive (similar to the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%), but I think the plate hasn't got enough get-up-and-go power to support you for marathon distances. Or maybe I'm just incompetent as a long-distance runner; who knows?
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review – Verdict
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is a superb addition to the Endorphin line. It's agile, lightweight and makes you feel like a gazelle on the road. The shoes are also drop-dead gorgeous; I'm glad to see Saucony is paying a lot more attention to how its footwear looks.
The shoes feature even more foam underfoot, a reimagined upper, and a reworked carbon fibre plate for more responsiveness, more comfort, and more propulsion than before. However, the Endorphin Pro 3 provides less propulsion than some other 'super shoes' from other brands, most notably Nike's and ASICS' trainers.
That said, I love the way the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 looks, and it’s certainly one of the best options for tempo runs, 5-10k races and even half marathons. You might not get the best energy returns, but thanks to its lightweight construction and bouncy foam, it’s a lot of fun to run in the shoes. Plus, it’s the prettiest pink shoes money can buy!
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review – Also consider
The On Cloudboom Echo is firmer than the Endorphin Pro 3 but not as firm as the original Endorphin Pro used to be. Firmness aside, the Cloudboom Echo is an excellent racing shoe for those who prefer a stiffer ride. As much as I love soft, high-stack running shoes, running in the Cloudboom Echo feels a little less demanding on the shins as it helps stabilise the legs when landing.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have the super-soft New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2. The integrated carbon plate does its job perfectly, and the combination of the soft foam and the carbon plate ensures a sublime racing experience. The breathable knit upper not only does what it says on the box – let's air in and out of the shoes – but also looks sexy as hell.