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Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 review: springy nylon and bouncy foam

A more affordable alternative to the Endorphin Pro 3 that switches carbon for nylon, but still gives a fast, responsive ride

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A likeable, thoughtfully designed shoe that swaps the Endorphin Pro 3's carbon plate for winged nylon. The result is a few extra grams and a little less stiffness, but also a lower price tag that makes a fun, responsive run accessible to runners who don't want to splash out over $200.

For

  • Springy and responsive
  • Thoughtfully designed upper
  • Lightweight and airy
  • Less pricey than Endorphin Pro 3

Against

  • Sizes run a little small
  • Exposed foam may wear fast

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 first impressions

I tested the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 right after the higher-end Endorphin Pro 3, and while there are lots of similarities (masses of PWRRUNPB foam for one), there are also several key differences.

The Endorphin Speed 3 is a light, breezy shoe, but not quite as light and breezy as its premium counterpart. The most immediately obvious difference is the upper. While the Pro features an extremely thin mesh that lets you feel air all around your foot, the Speed is a little more robust.

Specifications

 List price: $170 / £165
• Weight (per shoe): 230g / 8.11oz (US women's 11)
• Drop: 8mm
• Materials: PWRRUNPB foam, nylon plate, some recycled materials
• Colors: Prospect quartz / black / white / ocean (men's) / horizon (women's)
• Compatibility: Races and short to mid-distance training

It's by no means thick, but the fabric has more substance and feels more solid. There's also a small plasticized section on the toe that should provide a little added protection.

There's also more reinforcement around the back; while the Pro features a heel counter made from a soft, suede-like material, the Speed's counter is made from a piece of flexible but tough plastic that prevents the heel getting squished out of shape over time,

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3

The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 has a little reinforcement on the toe to protect the upper (Image credit: Future)

Rather than a carbon plate, the Endorphin Speed 3 uses nylon. The result is a shoe that's still stiff, but not as rigid and (importantly for many runners) less expensive. It also adds a few grams to the weight. When I popped it on the electric scale, my UK women's size 9 (US size 11) weighed 230g, compared to 210g for the Endorphin Pro.

The Endorphin Speed 3 is a little less flashy in the looks department (no metallic threads or iridescent accents here, but it's still a very smart shoe that'll make you the envy of the running club.

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3

(Image credit: Future)

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 on the road

The Endorphin Speed 3 is a very likeable shoe that feels at home in both training and races. I wore it for a 10k race with an energy-sapping hill finish, and the nylon plate really helped power me up towards the finish line.

The fit is very similar to the Pro, meaning you might need to go up half a size if your feet are wide, or you're on the cusp of sizes (my usual size felt just a tad snug).

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3

(Image credit: Future)

The upper fits comfortably though, and the gusseted tongue has just a thin layer of cushioning to keep your metatarsals protected. The laces are stretchy, so you can expect a slightly more flexible feeling than with the Pro.

As with the Endorphin Pro 3, there's not much outsole rubber between you and the road, and the foam does make contact with the ground, so wear might be an issue in the longer term. However, the Endorphin Speed 3 doesn't have a big cutout in the foam to save weight, so the unit feels more durable overall.

Overall, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is a fast, fun, and likeable shoe that's a little less extreme than its pricier counterpart but still provides a very enjoyable, responsive ride. If you're not sure you want to splash the cash on a carbon plate, the nylon still gives plenty of spring, particularly on those hills.

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).