SHOE REVIEW: SAUCONY ENDORPHIN PRO 3
As a fan of the original Endorphin Pro 1 – I was incredibly excited for the Endorphin Pro 3 as initial reviews had spectacular ratings regarding some new technology and changes in the 3rd installment of the Endorphin line. Employing the same SpeedRoll technology in previous versions of the shoe, the Endorphin Pro 3 has the same turnover feel on your stride as it’s predecessors but a very different feel overall due to other changes as we’ll get into (spoiler alert: in the best of ways). My overall thoughts on the Endorphin Pro 3 after having clocked over 200KM’s (2 marathons and 1 half-marathon included) are that this is a very well-built shoe. Minimal wear and compression are seen in the midsole after those kilometres and the density and feel of the foam appears extremely resistant to weather, creasing and overall wear-and-tear. Unlike previous versions, the Endorphin Pro 3 stacks on a bit of thickness in the midsole going all the way to a beefy 39.5mm stack height (vs 33mm in the Pro 1 and 35.5mm in the Pro 2). This is felt immediately as the entire ride of the shoe as it feels significantly softer and has a more comfortable landing. While some reviewers noted that the Pro 3 felt less “snappy” than previous versions or other more minimalist racers, I actually much prefer the rollover effect it provides as I tend to mid-foot strike and rollover onto my toe during the last stage of stance phase. With the extra stack height, I didn’t have to worry as much about the stress build up over the later parts of a race.
The Endorphin Pro 3 sports a new minimalist upper that is extremely light but did unfortunately end up being a half size too small. My regular sizing is US 7.5 / UK 6.5 / 255cm but wearing the US 7.5 in the Endorphin Pro 3 was nearly unbearable even doing a casual 5-6KM slow run. Despite the sizing issue, my preliminary thoughts on the shoe were good enough that I decided to sell the US 7.5’s on marketplace in order to purchase a brand new pair in US 8! Even with a half size larger, it was still clear that the whole forefoot and toe box of the shoe was quite narrow.
What the fit of the upper provides however, is a very cohesive feel of the entire shoe. The midsole felt glued to my feet and the lockdown of the shoe is second to none. Coupled with the same stiff carbon plate found in the Pro 1 and 2, the rollover effect of the SpeedRoll was more prominent and felt particularly efficient during a long run.
The outsole of the Pro 3 was entirely reworked in comparison to the previous versions with some improvements such as durability of the rubber but also came with the downfalls of less traction. The midsole base width and outsole grip seemed to provide a lot more stability during the run but strangely came with a design quirk where the rubber doesn’t actually extend to the edge of the shoe. As a result, the foam near the lateral heel seems to touch the ground a little more often than I’d like, leading to some fraying (depending on your individual strike pattern).
Overall, I’m a big fan of the Endorphin Pro 3 despite the sizing issues I had (it is also worth noting that the insole is glued in as opposed to the removable insole in the Pro 1). The Endorphin Pro 3 is a competitive addition to the Endorphin roster providing an incredibly stable ride with added foam for comfort during long runs and greatly benefits those who rely more on an efficient stride and high cadence than someone who toe strikes hard and requires the snappiness of a firm reactive shoe. It manages to get lighter than it’s predecessors but has loads more technology in it creating a more integrated feel. I would firmly place the Endorphin Pro 3 amongst the top marathon racers next to the Vaporfly Next% 2 and Metaspeed Sky +. Fit: 8/10 Feel/Rollover: 9/10 Outsole/Grip: 8/10 Comfort: 9/10 Durability: 9/10 Overall Rating: 9/10