Although the launch was under strict embargo until today, everyone knows about the new Saucony Endorphin Elite (we even managed to get hold of a pair for a review), the latest high stack 'super shoe' from US-based brand, as they have been posting about it on social media for at least a week. But we aren't here to talk about the marketing campaign; no, we're here to discuss what might happen to the sort-of predecessor of the Endorphin Elite, the fan-favourite Endorphin Pro 3.
And before I get accused of being a total buzzkill, I'd like to point out that I'm equally as pumped as everybody else about the Elite. The shoes look sexy, and I can't wait to try them, despite the horrendous price tag (once launched, they will retail for $275/280). In fact, of all the super shoes, of which there are many, the Endorphin Elite has the highest recommended retail price in the UK. The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 was initially sold for $275/£270/AU$370, the Asics Metaspeed Edge+ for $250/£225 and the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 for $250/£220/AU$360.
Anyhow, hefty price tag aside, there is a lot to get excited about the Saucony Endorphin Elite. For instance, it features a new foam called PWRRUN HG, which is said to be Saucony's most energy-efficient foam to date. There is also a new heel-to-toe fork-shaped carbon plate, an upper that combines knitted and mesh materials for "next-to-skin, weightless performance", the PWRRUN PB sockliner that we all know and love and the XT-900 carbon rubber outsole. The barely legal shoes have an 8 mm (40 mm heel/32 mm forefoot) heel-to-toe offset and weigh a mere 7.2 oz. (205g, men's; 6.5 oz/185g for women). And they are even vegan!
What about the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3? It also has an 8 mm offset (39.5 mm/31.5 mm), a carbon fibre plate, XT-900 outsole, comfortable mesh upper, PWRRUNPB super-responsive foam, and weighs 7.2oz (204g, men's; 6.2oz/176g women's) – sounds familiar? The Endorphin Pro 3 is a racing shoe through and through, which makes me wonder: what will happen to it once the Endorphin Elite takes the position of best running shoe in the Saucony hierarchy?
I know exactly what will happen, as I've seen this before when the Nike Alphafly was released. Once Nike launched its latest and greatest super shoes, the previous top dog Vaporfly went from 'ermahgerd, the best shoes to run a marathon' to 'great shoes for fast training and half marathons'. And while many still regard the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% as one of the most disrupting – and divisive – running shoes ever made, it's safe to say pros moved on to using the Alphafly (including current marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge).
Is the Saucony Endorphin Pro destined to have the same fate as the Vaporfly? Liked by many, used only by people who can't afford the Alphafly? It seems so. Similarly to the Nike Alphafly/Vaporfly due, the Saucony Elite/Pro tandem will provide an option for runners at all skill levels (and budgets) to experience the high-stack life, which isn't a bad thing. I do feel a little bit sorry for the Pro, though, but as always, life goes on, and I'm sure runners will also – err – jog on. The king is dead; long live the king!
The Saucony Endorphin Elite will be available at Saucony US, Saucony UK, and select retailers globally beginning 21 February 2023. The Endorphin Elite will be available in men's sizes 7-13 and 14 and women's sizes 5-12. The suggested retail price of the Endorphin Elite is $275/£280.00 (AU price and availability TBC).