The best Saucony running shoes might not be as cool-looking as some Adidas or Nike trainers but they are in high demand nevertheless, mainly because they are reliable and will get the job done every time without a fail.
The not-so-easy to pronounce trainer company (it's "sock-a-knee" if you were wondering), kicked things off way back in 1898 in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, named after nearby Saucony Creek. It was this locale that inspired the brand’s logo design, being a place known for its three big boulders that water flowed around. The more you know!
Throughout its history, Saucony has earned itself wide appeal, launching some breakthrough running kicks in the ‘80s and ‘90s with the likes of the Jazz, DXN, Shadow and Grid models, some of which you can purchase modern versions of from the brand’s Original line.
Fast forward to today and after over 100 years of innovation, the trainer company is recognised as one of the leaders in the best running shoes category: enthusiast trainers built for ultimate performance.
But, what if you’re in the market for a pair of sock-a-knees and not sure where to start? There are a good few lines to choose from depending on your running needs, so it’s important to know which is the best pair to go for. This is exactly what we’ll uncover in this here guide.
Best Saucony running shoes to buy right now
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is an updated version of the ever-so-popular Endorphin Speed 2 and, therefore, the best Saucony running shoes at the moment. That said, if you already have the Endorphin Speed 2 and it’s in good condition, we’d say don’t worry about upgrading Endorphin Speed 3. If you have the Speed 2, but it’s starting to fall apart, getting the Speed 3 would be a good idea (it’s only a tad bit expensive).
If you haven’t tried the Endorphin Speed range before, the Speed 3 is equally as good of an entry point as the Speed 2; the Speed 3 is slightly better in terms of heel lockdown. The reworked upper is cosy and accommodating without feeling baggy. There is also plenty of airflow in the shoes to keep the temperature as low as possible when you're out on a long run.
The PWRRUNPB foam is soft as butter, which helps preserve the legs, but the nylon plate is not stiff enough to push you forward quite as much as carbon plates. Is this an issue? Not really. The Endorphin Speed 3 is faster than non-plated shoes; it’s just not as fast as stuff like the Nike ZoomX Streakfly and the likes.
Read our full Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review
Saucony’s latest trail running shoe, the Peregrine 12, hasn’t been around that long but we’re already big fans – our 5-star Saucony Peregrine 12 review is all the proof you need. Built for running on a variety of terrain, from slippery roads to muddy tracks, this shoe is 30g lighter than its predecessor while still offering the same award-winning PWRRUN cushioning technology that made people fall in love with the brand’s Endorphin and Ride road shoes.
However, in the latest iteration, the Peregrine 12 trainer boasts a more streamlined and breathable design, with pliable overlays that help protect from rocks, roots and debris as well as the rain. This means the shoe can feel a bit firm at times, but overall, it’s an excellent off-road trainer that’s comfortable and stable but agile.
We came into the Saucony Ride 15 review having just tested the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, and the difference was telling. Where the Endorphin encouraged you to throw down the hammer at every opportunity, the Ride 15 felt happy enough pootling around in third gear. But they do have different intended uses, so it’s not exactly comparing like for like.
When pitted against other all-around road running trainers, the Ride 15 was certainly up there with the best we’ve tried. Its weight makes it one of the lightest training shoes around, and its lightweight status didn’t detract from a smooth, comfortable ride, mile after mile. It could also hold its own on dry, light trails (something others, such as On’s Cloud range, can suffer with).
The one downside is that, when picking up the pace, the shoes didn’t seem to want to come with you, meaning you’ll probably want to opt for another pair for interval sessions or if you’re targetting your PB in a race.
Read our full Saucony Ride 15 review
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; We're 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.
We 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!
Read our full Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review
If you're looking for both a speed trainer and a race day shoe in one, look no further. The Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield offers high levels of comfort even at high speed, proving to be responsive and durable throughout use. It’s also super light and agile, offering an overall snug feel topped with a breathable mesh and soft suede detailing and anti-slip laces to lock it all together.
Boasting the same PWRRUN PB foam that you'll find in the more expensive Endorphin Pro 2 racer (switching out the carbon plate got a nylon one), along with the propulsion-enhancing Speedroll technology in the midsole, this is one of our favourite shoes to don when we're in a PB-smashing mood. Great for regular training sessions, too.
The Guide 14 builds on the Ride kicks (above) by offering a similar level of agility but with a little more stability thanks to a medial post and heel counter, which give your feet added support when running.
Boasting the same PWRRUN midsole underfoot alongside a cushioned ankle collar and tongue, the Guide 14 is a very comfortable shoe but a little firmer than the likes of Saucony’s Hurricane model. While this makes them more responsive overall, we’d say they aren’t best suited for those looking for speed.
They are, however, a great choice for those who are more about control and don’t like too much bounce underfoot. And above all else, they’re one of the most accessible in terms of price point, so a good option if you’re dying for a pair of Sauconys but not so keen on breaking the bank in the process.
How to choose the best Saucony running shoes for you
One of the most important aspects of a Saucony shoe, which will determine which model to go for, is the cushioning.
In 2019, Saucony unveiled its PWRRUN+ cushioning as part of its Triumph 17 shoe launch. Being 28% lighter than the company's previous EVA-based Everun foam, this new TPU- based bead foam is similar in construction to Adidas' Boost midsole and is bouncier and more durable.
Since then, however, Saucony has launched an updated version, called PWRRUN PB, which is lighter thanks to its use of compressed Pebax beads in an internal lattice structure, which offers better propulsion during runs. So, when shopping for a Saucony shoe, look at which technology provides the cushioning; older models may tout less innovative foam that doesn't get you reaching your top speeds but at least will cost a little less.
Another thing to look out for in Saucony shoes is Speedroll technology, a design detail that has been added to the firm's Endorphin line of shoes. This geometry is based on variables such as foam, propulsive plates, stack heights, and midsole shape to give the shoes a shape that presents wearers with an effortless, always-forward motion by amplifying your stride and making you run faster. This is certainly something to consider if you're looking for more of a race shoe to improve your PBs.
Heel to toe drop
There’s a reason why we’ve mentioned heel to toe drop in each entry in our best Saucony running shoe guide. Measured in millimetres, the heel to toe drop represents the difference in cushioning between the heel and toe of the shoe, from 0mm all the way to 14mm.
Basically, the higher the drop, the more support you’ll have through the ankle. There’s a quick and easy way to work out which is the best drop length for you. Shoes with more than a 6mm drop are best suited to runners whose foot meets the ground with the heel first, which should be most people. Shoes with less than 6mm drop are closer to a barefoot stride and thus recommended for runners who practice regularly and whose forefoot or midfoot hits the ground first.
You can be sure that Saucony shoes don’t come cheap, with most new, full-price pairs retailing for around the £150 / US $200 mark. However, you should be able to pick up a pair of older models or sale pairs for significantly less, such as the Fastwitch 9 that currently retails for £49 / US$89.
The most expensive in Saucony’s lineup is the award-winning Endorphin Pro 2 shoes, which are said to be some of the best speed shoes around but will set you back £200 / US$210. Essentially, the price depends on the model, how new they are and the technology involved.
We should mention that Saucony is infamous for its brightly coloured and somewhat busy finishes, so if you’re more of a minimalist when it comes to design, you might have a hard time finding a pair that doesn’t make you cover your eyes. Most options are pretty tacky; it has to be said.