The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 has a heavy cross the bear. Its predecessor, the Speed 2, is considered one of the best running shoes of 2021 and is loved by runners around the globe. How do you update shoes that are already perfect? Can you?
These are the questions I imagine Saucony designers and engineers had when trying to redesign one of the best Saucony running shoes of recent times. And, at least for now, they chose the safer option by only tweaking a few bits (i.e. upper) and leaving alone other areas (i.e. foam) to ensure the Endorphin Speed 3 is as well received as its predecessor.
Should you buy the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, and can these trainers make it to T3's best running shoe guide? Read the full review below to find out.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review: Price and availability
Price - $170/£165 (Speed 2 RRP $160/£155)
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 was announced in June June 2022 and is available to buy now in the UK directly from Saucony UK for a recommended retail price of £165. The shoes will be released in the US on 16 August 2022 and retail for $170 at Saucony US. AU price and availability TBC.
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is available to buy via third-party retailers such as SportsShoes.com.
It goes without saying, but the predecessor of the shoes is already available to buy cheaper in the UK, even directly from Saucony, where you can bag a pair for a friendly price of £109, down from £155. I expect to see an immediate price drop in the US, too, as soon as the Speed 3 lands.
If you're after a slower, more cushioned ride, try the Endorphin Shift 2. I reviewed the OG Saucony Endorphin Shift back in the day, and just like all the other members of the Endorphin family, the Shift 2 has also received some significant updates the second time around.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review: What's new?
Saucony played it safe and only updated what needed to be updated with the Speed 3.
The upper has been redesigned to provide even more comfort and breathability. The Speed 2 used to fit well, but I must say, the Endorphin Speed 3 feels even better on foot (more on this in the next section).
The S-curve winged nylon plate has also been 'reimagined': it now centres and supports the foot better. The nylon plate sits a bit further back than traditional carbon plates – from what I can tell – and helps stabilise the feet.
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 added more PWRRUNPB foam but has the same 8 mm drop as the Speed 2. you have 36 mm of foam under the heel and 28 under the forefoot (compare this with the Speed 2's 35.5mm/27.5mm). Thanks to the added foam, the Endorphin Speed 3 weighs more than its predecessor at 8.9 oz/253 grams (men’s US 11.5/UK 10.5).
As for sustainability, the Speed 3 is vegan and 'contains recycled materials', whatever this means.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review: Fit
I thoroughly enjoyed putting on the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3; the step-in comfort is fabulous. The collar is wide, and the laces open up quickly, not to mention the very accommodating upper, especially in the toe box area. I was particularly fond of the stretchy laces and the lightly padded, gusseted tongue – there is absolutely no pressure on the top of the foot, thanks to these two.
There is no heel tab to help you put the shoes on easier, but it’s easy to slip into the Endorphin Speed 3 nevertheless. The insole cradles the foot like a glove and provides plenty of support on the medial side. The midsole runs up on the side of the upper, proving even more of that supportive feeling. Heel lockdown is better than in Speed 2, thanks to the reworked angle of the rear section.
My only criticism – and I know I'm splitting hairs here – is that the reinforced part of the upper right at the front keeps the fabric away from your toes, so the lockdown is not 100% there. This has been an issue with the FORMFIT upper from the beginning, at least for me, but maybe it's only due to my unusually flat feet.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3: Running performance
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 uses the same lightweight PWRRUNPB foam as the Speed 2, but there is more of it now; the new stack height is 0.5 mm taller than the predecessor.
Not like it's an issue; the PWRRUNPB foam is super soft. I remember I used to hate the original PWRRUN foam as it was hard as hell (read my Saucony Endorphin Pro review for more info). That's not the case with the PWRRUNPB; the midsole is brilliantly responsive and controllable.
Embedded in the middle is the S-curve winged nylon plate. This is Saucony’s answer to carbon plates, which certainly works better in soft foam. However, if you’re after propulsion, the nylon plate is not stiff enough to provide that.
The nylon plate helps with stabilisation, but not so much with propulsion, or speed, so to say, as paradoxical as it sounds. That said, I loved running in the Endorphin Speed 3. I went with a half size up because I couldn’t source the ‘right’ size – but as it turns out, half size up is equally as comfortable to wear as my normal size; it might be worth remembering this for future purposes.
The best thing about the Endorphin Speed 3 is that my feet didn’t feel restricted when running in the shoes – there is more than enough space in the shoes for your feet to expand into. I also felt in control; the Speed 3 provides a free-flowing, comfortable ride, especially for those who know how to properly control their gait.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review: Verdict
Should you buy the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3?
If you already have the Endorphin Speed 2 and it’s in good condition, I’d say don’t worry about upgrading. 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, though!
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 still lovely and soft, 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.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review: Also consider
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 is a brilliant and reasonably-priced daily trainer that enjoys moderate tempo sessions the most, thanks to the addition of an extra Air Zoom unit and more React foam. It's much cheaper than the Endorphin Speed 3, albeit less spacious.
The Brooks Hyperion Tempo was the lightest, fastest and most capable running trainer from Brooks when it came out, and almost two years later, this is still the case. The Tempo's DNA Flash midsole is up there with the PWRRUNPB in terms of softness and responsiveness. At this point, it's basically half the price of the Endorphin Speed 3.