Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 Review: A Different Kind Of Carbon Racer

Like its predecessor, the Endorphin Pro is a great racing shoe with a firmer ride than most carbon options

Saucony Running Shoes
(Image: © PR)

Our Verdict

The Endorphin Pro 2 offers a firmer and more stable ride than many carbon shoes, while still being impressively fast.


  • Speedroll geometry creates an efficient ride
  • More stable than other carbon shoes
  • Cheaper than many rivals


  • Not as bouncy as other carbon shoes
  • Ride can be unforgiving in long races

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The first Nike Vaporfly set the template for modern racing shoes, with a high stack of soft and bouncy foam alongside a carbon plate in the midsole. The plate both added stability to counterbalance all of that cushioning and increased your running efficiency.

On the face of it, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 takes the same approach. It has a full-length carbon plate and while the stack height isn’t right up to the 40mm max set by World Athletics, it is 35.5mm at the heel – a far cry from old-school racing flats.

Saucony’s PWRRUN PB foam is even PEBA-based, like Nike’s ZoomX, and it feels similarly soft and springy when you press on it.

Despite all this, running in the Endorphin Pro 2 feels very different to the Vaporfly NEXT% 2, or other high-stack shoes like the New Balance RC Elite 2 or Asics Metaspeed Sky. Key to that is the SPEEDROLL tech that’s also found in the midsole.

This creates an extremely smooth ride, helping you to move through your footstrike and, in combination with the plate and foam, provides some added pop to your toe-off.

When you’re feeling strong and running well, the ride of the Endorphin Pro 2 is spectacular. It feels like you’re just kissing the ground with each landing and running seems effortless.

However, the ride is less forgiving when you do start to run out of steam, as I found to my cost during a half marathon race when I set out too fast, blew up, and had a miserable time in the last few kilometres.

The ride of the Pro 2 felt too firm when I was struggling and it didn’t assist in the way softer carbon shoes do in the latter stages of races when I’m clinging on for dear life. No shoe will help you recover from a huge blow-up, but others are more forgiving in that situation, and I have felt that shoes like the Nike Alphafly helped me hold on for longer in marathons when near breaking point.

For the rest of the time, while the Pro 2 has a firmer feel than other carbon shoes, the smoothness of the ride ensures it doesn’t feel harsh. I was happy logging a lot of training runs in the shoe.

Some might find it too firm for longer events though, where other shoes provide a little more protection to help you power through the closing stages. I still rate it as a long-distance racer, but I’d lean towards something like the Alphafly for half marathons and certainly full marathons.

Over shorter distances the Pro 2 is excellent, with a more natural, stable ride than many carbon shoes, which helps on courses with a lot of sharp turns.

Saucony Running Shoes

(Image credit: PR)

Differences between the Pro 2 and the original Pro are minimal. The fit around the heel is a little more secure and, with new loops next to the laces, the same is true of the fit around the midfoot. However, since the ride is unchanged, if you find a substantial discount on the earlier Pro it would be a smart buy.

The other Saucony shoe to consider is the Endorphin Speed or Speed 2, which are also very similar. The Speed is £35 cheaper than the Pro at £155 and has a nylon plate in the midsole rather than a carbon one. This means it loses a little stiffness and speed, but only a smidgen, and it makes the Speed more comfortable to use in training runs. It’s still an impressive racer and works well as a do-it-all shoe for runners who only want one option in their arsenal.

If you’re looking for the best carbon shoe out there, the Nikes and the Asics Metaspeed Sky have the edge on the Endorphin Pro 2. However, the Endorphin does provide a smoother, more natural alternative to the softer, sometimes unstable ride of those shoes. Just make sure you’ve done the training required and you pace yourself in longer races, or you might find the ride a tad harsh in the latter stages.

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Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

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.