The coveted 3rd entry to Saucony's Endorphin Pro line is finally here. Released in limited quantities, in some retailers for only up to 72 hours, the Endorphin Pro+ aims to improve upon the innovative technology and impressive ride established when Saucony was introduced to the racing scene with the Endorphin Pro 1.
While the Endorphin Pro 2 remained loyal to what made the original model great, it did come with a few bells and whistles to improve the running experience. Armed with pull tabs to allow for easy donning and doffing as well as new eyelet gussets, the Pro 2 sports a tighter, firmer lock-in. The midsole however, is identical to that of the Pro 1, comprised of the fan favorite PWRUN PB which is Saucony's proprietary foam which gives a more firm feel in comparison to other "super shoes" that sport carbon fiber plates along with foam heel stacks. The Endorphin Pro+ does not break the mold for attempting to be creative, as it utilizes the very same components that made its predecessors great. Sporting the same outsole and midsole, the Endorphin Pro+ adds its own flair with a new upper that cuts a surprising amount of weight off - inspired by racing flats.
Upper: Sporting a thicker and more durable upper, the Pro+ manages to give a more firm and secure fit to the front end that was missing from the Pro and Pro 2. The Pro+ however, weighs in at only 182.3 grams (Men's Size 7.5), the Pro+ is 24.9 grams lighter than the original Pro and Pro 2 models - a 12% decrease in weight.
Lacing: Another innovation that I'm also a big fan of is the change to the lacing system. In the Pro+, the lacing system angles towards the inside of the ankle (medial) allowing the tongue to rest on the tendon of the tibialis anterior minimizing pinching when locked in.
Tongue: Another feature that helps the fit of the upper is the new tongue. Manufactured out of a firmer material, the tongue has more structure and minimizes wrinkling. It also has a traditional attachment near the toe allowing more adjustment of where the tongue sits as opposed to the Pro 1/2 which have almost a burrito style attachment (where the tongue is attached on the sides of a sock/liner).
Heel Counter: As we move towards the back of the shoe, you notice a change in the heel construction. Instead of a uniformity from the heel tab down to the heel counter in the Pro 1/2, the Pro+ sports a fabric heel counter but a thicker cushioned heel tab. Initially, I wasn't sure how this was going to affect the fit or grab of the heel but the combination of a more flexible heel counter and more structured heel tab actually allowed the heel to sit quite snug even during the fastest of paces.
General Fit: Overall, the Endorphin Pro+ feels more stable. Without taking away from the Speedroll technology and the forward propulsion of the plate/outsole, there's improved lateral stability when making initial contact and a better width-wise fit particularly for those that have flatter feet.
Changes: Improvements I would have liked to see would have been a more structured/durable outsole. Armed with the same high-abrasion rubber as previous models, I expect the Pro+ to have a similar durability and I've experienced wear at the lateral heel after approximately 400KM's of mileage.
Summary: the Endorphin Pro+ is the epitome of racing technology from Saucony. Its' Speedroll technology gives you forward momentum even while walking. With a lighter upper and armed with the changes previously made in the Endorphin 2, the Pro+ is one of the lightest, and most comfortable marathon-distance racing shoes yet. With more stability than some of its contemporaries like the Alphafly or Adidas Adios Pro, the Saucony Endorphin Pro+ does not give up any performance edge. *The above is based upon initial review. Stay tuned for Post-100KM run review.