BLACK MEANS BUSINESS.
I would lie if I said I haven’t once tried googling any pair of the Saucony Endorphin line at least once in the last two years. Why, you might ask? I have three main reasons. First, Saucony Endorphin shoes are straight up great looking pairs with lots of fresh colorways. Second, they’ve been making the list of “Best Running Shoes of the Year” consistently. Lastly, it’s pretty rare to find people here in the Philippines running in them. To put it straight, I wanted a pair. I need a pair. So when I heard that runnr was finally bringing Saucony to its shelves, I knew they’ll be bringing in something special to our shores.
In true runnr fashion, they opened up Saucony’s “reintroduction” with the big guns coming in first. BANG drops the flagship carbon plated racer, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3! I knew I had to grab a pair and so I did. Now ever since it’s release and countless miles later, I have used them for a variety of runs ranging from easy, tempos, long runs and more. To make things more interesting, I’ve also raced a very quick 5km, a fantastic 10km and a grindfest of a half marathon in these bad boys. Here are my thoughts after logging in a total of 201km with them.
LOOK AND INITIAL FEEL
Let’s start off with the overall aesthetic of the shoes. Let’s be honest, we all want running shoes that look good. As a sucker for fashionable and colorful running gear, I will say it again, SAUCONY MAKES STRAIGHT UP GREAT LOOKING SHOES. When I saw the shoes in person, I was actually surprised with just how beautiful they looked. A color combination of black and gold will give a premium feel to basically anything, so it’s no surprise that it looks sleek on the pair alongside the addition of the iridescent lining around the lace holes and tongue, a really great touch! Adding to the feel of the pair, it’s also amazingly light for a shoe with so much stack height. The lightness might come from the engineered mesh which is see-through and very breathable. Aesthetically, it’s a thing of beauty.
As for the initial feel, it was sublime and I’m not being biased. The foam feels super soft on the first step-in. Think having a marshmallow in between your feet and the ground. Yeah, it’s that soft. On the other hand, the carbon plate is ridiculously stiff. It’s arguably at the top of the stiffest carbon plates out there. Moving on to the fit, it is a bit narrow which I actually prefer. This is mainly because I have narrow feet and came from an athletics track background. Snug fitting pairs are my preference but for anyone else, other runners suggest to get a half size bigger than normal for that accommodating fit.
FIRST RUN AND IMPRESSION
My first run in these were actually on the same day I got them. It was an easy run of an hour and 30mins with a few strides at the end. The foam really felt great and the heel collar wasn’t annoying or rubbing my Achilles too. Those are some of the things I normally pay attention to when trying a new pair of shoes. I just had to fiddle with the lacing a couple of times to get the right fit.
Going over the 10km mark on that run, I was starting to feel the stiffness of the plate. I was actually wishing for the run to end. The plate was just a bit too stiff and aggressive for me on my longer easy runs. First impressions were 50/50 but I’m a firm believer that first impressions don’t last.
RACE SHOES ARE FOR RACING
It was a good thing I had a tempo run lined up two days after that slightly uncomfortable first experience. Now comes the fun part! We all know this pair was made to go fast and that was a great time to test them out. A 40 minute tempo run @ 4:10/km pace. SPOILER ALERT! It was amazing. The stack height was not a problem and cornering & u-turns at full speed were very smooth, which was a surprise. The Speedroll Technology Saucony proudly boasts on also is a game-changer, which legitimately gives that forward push!
I also decided to race in these for the Pinoy Fitness 10km Sub1 event and Trilogy Leg 1 half marathon. Two different distances with different needs but the Endorphin Pro 3s surely delivered. As runnrs, we normally look for a punchier pair of shoes that give us that extra push to go faster during 10km runs and for me, this pair delivered. On half marathons, we usually look for a comfortable pair because the pounding of the pavement will tire us and once again, the pair excels. Both these events did not leave my legs feeling trashed to the point that I couldn’t do a recovery run the next day.
These shoes are definitely at home in the 10km and half marathon distances. I couldn’t comment on anything above a 21K as I have never ran anything longer than 22kms in these but we shall see!
Having experienced other super shoes from different brands, I would categorize carbon plated racers in two categories, those in the “aggressive roaring punchy” plates and the “helps keep you rolling forward” plates. To me, the adidas Adios Pros series are on the aggressive side while the New Balance RC Elites are on the rolling side. The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3s are right smack there in the middle. It has that blend of plushness and aggressiveness, while the Speedroll tech helps you roll forward (think falling forward). I know this might sound funny but I also found that every stride running in the pair is like a game. Land squarely in the middle of the Speedroll and you get the best forward push.
CONCLUSION AND KEY TAKEAWAYS
What I love most about the shoes is that every step is relatively quiet. There’s no annoying sound on every step like with other carbon plated racers. I don’t know if I’m alone in this but that is very important to me during race day because I tend to get annoyed at the simplest things. When I am freakishly tired from racing yet still got an urge to keep pushing, the last thing I need is the sound of my shoes pounding the pavement driving me insane.
Logging in 200kms with my pair on a variety of runs, some negatives will absolutely surface. One of the things Saucony can improve with the shoe is outsole durability. I can say I am an efficient runner as most of the running shoes I retire have minimal wear even after around the 600-700km mark, but the Endorphin Pros had wear marks after just 100km. Right now, this isn’t a deal breaker because shoe traction is still fantastic. I just wouldn’t wear these that much and would rather save them for race day or whenever it matters most.
After my initial long easy run in them which I shared earlier, I was reluctant to wear these on another easy run attempt too but as a shoe reviewer, I knew I had to and it was the right call. Take note, I wouldn’t recommend it 100% but the shoes are okay for occasional short recovery runs but anything above one hour of easy running, I’ll reach for a non carbon plated pair of shoes.
Now comes the question, what is it actually for? Well, RACING. The Endorphin Pro 3 is designed to go fast. The stiffness of the plate paired with the marshmallow soft foam are just perfect for racing long distances. For a full marathon distance, well for me personally, I guess I’ll have to wait for February 2023 to find out.
Grab a pair of the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 now at runnr Bonifacio High Street or at www.runnr.com.ph while there are still stocks. Telling you now, you don’t want to miss out on these.
Looking to run your best during Race Day? Crush your fastest runs yet with the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3! Head on over to runnr Bonifacio High Street today or chat with them through Viber to score a pair! Make sure to follow runnr on Facebook and Instagram as well, for more shoe reviews, running blogs and to stay up-to-date with all the latest on anything and everything runnr, the leading running specialty store in the Philippines. Happy running!