Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review: Lighter Than Air, Faster Than Lightning

My thoughts on these popular carbon plate racing shoes, including the features I absolutely love and a couple that fell short.

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I was super stoked when Saucony reached out to send me their latest speed machine, the Endorphin Pro 3. This isn’t just a shoe for elite runners; it’s a weapon of choice for anyone gunning for a new PR or trying to bring out their inner Eliud Kipchoge.

UPDATE: The NEW Endorphin Pro 4 is out – Read my in-depth review now.

And let me tell you, I couldn’t resist putting these racing shoes through their paces – I even put them to the test in worst case scenario, yes..gnarly trails. Why? Well because I can and I like to live dangerously haha.

While the Endorphin Pro 3 promises a lot of speed (and delivers on that promise I might add), no shoe is without its quirks, and just like I found some drawbacks with the HOKA Rocket X 2 (HOKA’s equivalent carbon plate shoe), there are some aspects of the Endorphin Pro 3 that could make or break your buying decision.

But hey, we all know that the quest for speed comes with its own set of trade-offs.

In this Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review I’ll be talking sizing and fit, my favorite features and the ones that could use a little tweaking, and of course, the performance rundown.

I’ll also get into who this shoe is really for, who should probably pass, what distances it shines in, and finally, whether shelling out for these high-performance tempo training and racing shoes is worth the investment. Let’s get into it, starting with the key specifications first. 🚀

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 14
Me with a big smile on my face running in the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 carbon plate running shoes. There are lots more images of me wearing these running shoes in the gallery below. Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review by Alastair from Trail & Kale

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 sizing and fit

When it comes to sizing, I found the Endorphin Pro 3 true to form, just like other Saucony models I have reviewed. If you’re familiar with the fit from other big brands like HOKA, On, Brooks Running, or Nike, you’ll find these consistent.

So, go ahead and stick with your usual size; the Endorphin Pro 3 fits like a glove. If you have wide feet however, you may be out of luck as Saucony doesn’t make these in a wide version too.

The shoe has a medium width and offers neutral stability, which is pretty much on par with what you’d expect for a shoe that’s packed with high-performance cushioning and a carbon-fiber plate.

It’s as if this shoe just knows how to hug your foot without stifling it, and that has a lot to do with the breathable upper; more on that later.

Need to know specifications

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 20
The Endorphin Pro 3 is an attractive looking running shoe even though Barbie pink wouldn’t have been my first choice of color…
  • Price: $225
  • Weight: 7.30oz (207g) for a size US(M)9 (my pair) – That’s lighter than the Rocket X 2 by the way! Wow!
  • Drop: 8mm (a sweet spot for a lot of runners)
  • Carbon Fiber Plate: Yes, and it’s shaped like an S-curve for that extra pop
  • Toe box width: medium
  • Stability: Neutral
  • Cushioning: Responsive, thanks to that responsive PWRRUNPB foam

How does the Endorphin Pro 3 compare to the Endorphin Pro 2?

From what I’ve gathered, the Endorphin Pro 3 isn’t just a minor update; Saucony has pulled out all the stops, revamping everything from the upper to the outsole. The shoe sports new geometries, an upgraded upper design, and an even beefier stack of that PWRRUNPB foam for the midsole.

Based on reports and comparisons, the leap in performance from the Endorphin Pro 2 to the Pro 3 seems pretty significant, and the changes aren’t just cosmetic; they’re engineered to make you run faster and more efficiently.

While I haven’t personally tested the Endorphin Pro 2, the Pro 3’s S-curve carbon-fiber plate and enhanced foam stack have been getting rave reviews from Endorphin Pro runners, for their synergy in delivering great energy return.

Without even having tried the previous version, I can see why the Endorphin Pro series is in a league of its own because the Pro 3 has impressed me on so many levels.

The key features worth knowing about

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3’s breathable mesh upper

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 4
Endorphin Pro 3’s upper is so breathable with mesh holes that you can easily see through.

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 features a new lightweight breathable mesh upper that is designed to provide a snug and secure fit for the foot, thanks to Saucony’s proprietary FORMFIT technology.

The mesh material is lightweight, ultra-breathable, and flexible, allowing for natural movement of the foot while running which is a ‘must’ if you plan to run long distances at speed.

To get an idea of just how breathable and thin the upper mesh is in places, look at my photo below.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 27
To get an idea of just how breathable the upper mesh is in places, look at this photo.

The upper also features a gusseted tongue, which helps to keep debris out and provides added comfort and support to the midfoot however this is one of the key areas in which I believe the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 could be improved.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 6

Firstly, for me the tongue is a little on the short side, and adding to this, there’s no way to secure the tongue to the lacing system.

This does allow for the tongue to slip down, although I haven’t noticed any discomfort there, I just feel a simple fabric loop in the tongue would improve the fit there.

The only other area I feel these shoes could be improved is the ‘heel counter‘ and how the fabric can rub on the achilles if not completely locked in place with proper lacing.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 7
Here you can see what I mean about the heel counter | Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review

A simple fix for this would be to articulate the heel counter backwards slightly to allow for more freedom of movement during running strides.

So, those are really the only two issues I have with the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 and they are both due to the design of the upper, so that’s not too bad at all.

It has a carbon fiber plate that WILL make you run faster, FACT

Carbon fiber plate technology isn’t just a gimmick; it’s a game-changer for runners looking to up their speed and performance.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 9
There’s a sneak look at the Carbon Plate | Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review

Here are 3 ways the Endorphin Pro 3 leverages its S-curve carbon plate to give you that extra oomph:

1. Energy Return

The carbon fiber plate in the Endorphin Pro 3 is strategically positioned in the midsole, spanning the area that flexes most.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 17

When your foot hits the pavement, the plate flexes, storing up energy like a coiled spring.

Then, as you push off, it releases that pent-up energy, giving you a little turbo boost. We’re talking less effort and more speed which equates to a more efficient run over longer distances. Who doesn’t want that?

2. Stability & Support

Beyond just making you faster, carbon plates also help when it comes to stability.

By acting like a rigid lever, they help distribute the forces across your foot, reducing strain and enabling a more efficient forward energy transfer.

You’ll feel this most in the midfoot and forefoot, helping to fine-tune your gait.

3. Reduced Muscle Fatigue

Any tool that helps us run longer without tiring as quickly, is always going to be a win in my book.

The stiffness and support from the carbon plate reduce the workload on the lower leg and foot muscles, which means you can maintain that brisk pace for a bit longer before you start to feel the burn -hence why they’ve been so successful for marathon runners.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 13

It’s important to note however that while carbon fiber plate shoes can contribute to faster running speeds, other factors such as individual biomechanics (good running form), fitness level, training, and terrain also play crucial roles in overall running performance.

It’s always recommended to find the best running shoes that fit your running style and comfort preferences.

Saucony’s SPEEDROLL rocker silhouette that compliments the carbon fiber plate and forward propulsion so well

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 28

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3’s midsole has a rocker geometry to promote a smooth and efficient running gait.

SPEEDROLL Technology is an advanced form of footwear geometry based on variables like foam, propulsive plates, stack heights, and midsole shape.

Each style is engineered to give you an effortless, always-forward motion that makes every speed feel like top speed. It’s all about amplifying your stride and unlocking your own feeling of fast.

The rocker part of the SPEEDROLL system found in the Endorphin Pro 3 helps guide your feet through a natural and efficient rolling motion during your running stride; this promotes a quick and smooth transition from heel strike to toe-off, reducing the risk of energy loss and improving running efficiency as a result.

Combine this rocker with the carbon fiber plate mentioned above, good running form, efficient breathing practices, and a proper cadence and you’ll have a great recipe for speed and improved endurance over long distances like half marathons and marathon races.

Saucony’s PWRRUNPB foam cushioning midsole

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 12

PWRRUNPB is Saucony’s premiere cushioning material. It’s a beaded foam made from a proprietary blend of PEBA polymers, PWRRUN PB is half the weight of EVA and exceptionally bouncy (88% energy return).

It’s also very consistent across a wide range of temperatures, and dramatically more durable than EVA.

It provides an awesome feeling of bounce that gives a sense of cushioning while maintaining a responsive ride.

This allows for a smooth transition from heel to toe and a more efficient stride, helped even further by that rocker and carbon plate I talked about earlier.

The grippy XT-900 outsole

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 8

Saucony’s XT-900, zoned rubber outsole is what gives the shoes added durability and grip in the areas where it’s needed the most while keeping the weight of the Endorphin Pro 3 down (by not having it all over the outsole).

I recently took these shoes on some of my local trails just for fun, although admittedly I started my run thinking I was going to stick to the pavements, then somehow I ended up on light trails, followed by the hardcore stuff, haha.

Needless to say they performed very well on the light trails and as expected, not so great on the technical stuff (as that’s absolutely the opposite to what the are designed to be run on).

It’s an incredibly lightweight shoe that’s tuned for performance

This isn’t really a feature as such but I have to drive home this point about how damn lightweight the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 running shoes are, and somehow they’re even lighter than the HOKA Rocket X 2.

I mean 7.3oz (207g) for a size US9(M) 9 is just incredible, and you really benefit from this when you’re running long distances like half and full marathons.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 performance review

This really is a running shoe that sits in a league of the few in terms of performance, which includes the fantastic HOKA Rocket X 2.

The Endorphin Pro 3 are for anyone who wants to run faster during tempo runs and hit new personal bests on race day; this could be for any distance from 5k racing, all the way up to marathon races, and everything in between.

I’m not an elite runner but I love to run hard and compete against myself at most distances, including 50km ultramarathon and these running shoes are certainly helping me run faster.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review 15

This shoe’s geometry (the midsole and outsole more specifically) is something really special. The rocker when combined with PWRRUNPB foam cushioning, and of course that shiny carbon fiber plate creates an extremely propulsive experience that will have you running faster than you normally would, and that’s pretty much a fact – well it is for me at least!

That combination of smart engineering in the midsole and upper also provides a smooth and comfortable ride which is just as important as speed when you’re running for multiple hours training for a marathon, and also racing one!

While the technical mesh upper does provide a very nice fit for medium-width feet, that short tongue can slip a little out of place as there’s nothing to pin it in place.

Overall, these running shoes are a real pleasure to train in, and I’ll likely be mixing them into my speed/tempo shoe rotation, along with the Rocket X 2 and Mach 5.

Are they worth your hard-earned money?

I’m all about chasing that next PR, whether it’s through killer training plans or the latest shoe tech so if the $225 price tag doesn’t make you break into a cold sweat, then I’d say the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 are totally worth the investment.

Now, I know there are some heavy hitters in this price range, like the Rocket X 2, Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, On Cloudboom Echo 3, Brooks Hyperion Elite, just to name a few but honestly, the Endorphin Pro 3 holds its own in this elite crowd.

So if you’re trying to decide between these top-tier options, the Saucony’s unique combo of that carbon plate and PWRRUNPB foam is a game-changer, and at a reasonable price when compared to some of those other shoes.

After reading this review, you should now have a good feel for whether the Endorphin Pro 3 is your next go-to racing shoe.

Only you can truly make that call on whether they’re worth it for you, but from where I’m standing, they’re a serious contender for that spot in your running shoe rotation.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review summary (rating with pros and cons)

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➡ I hope you enjoyed this Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review; As always, your thoughts and experiences with the Endorphin Pro 3 would be awesome to hear, so drop a comment down below and let’s keep this running community thriving! 🏃‍♂️💚

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For all of you who follow us on Instagram (and hopefully thats all of you! :oP), stay tuned for some exciting reels and updates on new running shoes, as and when I get them in for review.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 Image Gallery

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

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