The Endorphin Speed 3 continues the line’s fine tradition of offering a genuinely fast shoe with a plate in the midsole that’s comfortable for easy training runs as well, but the new wider fit won’t suit everyone.
- More stable than past versions
- Comfortable, fast ride
- Very versatile
- Improved grip
- Wider fit can be loose for some
- Price rise
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There is no one shoe that can truly claim to be the best running shoe, simply because every runner has their own individual needs and preferences. However, if there’s one shoe that’s had a better claim than most in recent years, it’s the Saucony Endorphin Speed, which has become a fixture in our best running shoes round-up as the ultimate all-rounder.
It’s a trainer with a nylon plate that offers almost as much speed as the best carbon plate running shoes, while also being comfortable enough to use for your regular training. The Endorphin Speed 1 and 2 did it all, and I was worried therefore that any updates to the third version of the shoe risked ruining that.
I needn’t have worried. The changes Saucony has made will make the Endorphin Speed 3 a better option for more runners, since it is now more stable. On the other hand, the wider fit won’t work perfectly for everyone as I found to my cost, and the rise in price is, of course, unwelcome.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3: Price And Availability
The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is available in the UK now and costs £165, and will launch in the USA on 16th August where it will cost $170. The price has increased from the $160/£155 the Endorphin Speeds 1 and 2 cost. It’s billed as the training partner to the Endorphin Pro 3 carbon plate shoe, which costs $225/£210.
Design And Fit
The main changes Saucony has made to the Endorphin Speed 3 are to widen its base and add wings on either side of the S-shaped nylon plate in its midsole, both of which make the shoe more stable.
There is also more foam in the midsole with the new shoe, which has a 36mm stack height at the heel – 0.5mm higher than on the Speed 2. The shoe has an 8mm drop, with a forefoot stack height of 28mm.
The foam in the midsole is Saucony’s PEBA-based PWRRUN PB, which is the same stuff that’s used on the carbon-plated Endorphin Pro line, though the latest version of that shoe has a higher stack that hits 39.5mm at the heel. The Speed 3 weighs 8.5oz/240g in my UK size 9, a small increase on the 8.1oz/231g of the Speed 2.
Central to the success of the Endorphin line is the Speedroll tech in the midsole, which is essentially a rocker that creates a smooth transition from heel to toe.
The mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, and the tongue and heel are lightly padded. The outsole is made from the same rubber as on past versions of the Speed, but it covers more surface area in an attempt to improve the shoe’s grip.
As a result of the wider base, the fit of the shoe is different from the first two Endorphin Speeds. I suspect this will be for the better for most people, but I have a narrow foot and struggled to get a secure lockdown with the Speed 3.
I had some rubbing on the heel on longer runs, even when I used a runner’s knot, and had the cinch the laces very tight to get a good hold in the midfoot. It’s the right length for me so I don’t think I could size down, but the more spacious fit is something to be aware of if you do have a narrow foot.
How I Tested This Shoe
I have run 70km in the Endorphin Speed 3, doing a variety of sessions to test out its versatility. I’ve done long workouts in it, plus some steady base runs and a very easy recovery run. I also clocked up around 550km in the Endorphin Speed 1 and used the 2 extensively as well.
The Endorphin Speeds 1 and 2 were essentially the same shoe, and it was a great shoe, so my fear with the Speed 3 was that the updates would negatively affect the ride in some way. This is fortunately not the case. The shoe is as smooth and impressive as ever, and the wider platform adds stability without taking away the zip in the midsole.
The fit has changed, though, and on any run over around 10 miles (16km) in length I did find the looser upper resulted in some rubbing on my heel. Nothing disastrous, but it would make the Speed 3 a shoe I was less likely to pull on every day.
It is only the fit that gives me pause, though, because the ride is still very versatile. I’ve used the Speed 3 for an easy early morning trudge, plenty of base miles at steady pace, and a long workout running four sets of 4km at 3min 40sec/km pace with 1km float recovery. It’s also light enough for short, sharp reps, and a great racing option if you want to avoid the sky-high prices of a carbon plate super-shoe.
Aside from the fit, the other minor qualm I have comes in comparison with the Endorphin Pro 3, which had a bigger stack height increase from 35.5mm to 39.5mm at the heel. As a result, I found the Pro 3 more comfortable than the Speed 3 on longer runs, which is the opposite of my experience with the first two generations.
Is The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Worth It?
Even at its inflated price the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is worth it. It remains the best all-round running shoe available, with the most versatile ride. There is now a clear difference between the Speed and Pro in Saucony’s line-up – the Pro 3 is bouncier, softer and more of a true super-shoe – so there is a case for having both in your rotation. But if you are a one-shoe runner who still wants to excel on race day, the Speed 3 is the best in the business. Just be aware of that wider fit.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.