(The Gear Loop) - Look around at the start of a fairly serious running race and there will be a number of brands adorning the feet of competitors. Big names like Nike, with its Vaporfly, and Adidas, with the multiple medal-winning Adizero Adios, will naturally feature, but you’ll also see plenty of runners donning Saucony.
The American brand has a long and illustrious history in making advanced running shoes and its Endorphin range is arguably at the very forefront. Topping out with the hideously expensive, carbon-plate Endorphin Pro 2, the range also features the Endorphin Speed 2 - a shoe that boasts many of the technical accomplishments without the insane price tag.
Available in a number of colour schemes, from the eye-popping yellow and orange hues, to the far more subdued and traditional (read boring) blues ands whites (as tested here), the design itself is nothing to write home about. It’s certainly not as whacky as the latest Adizero Adios 3, nor as futuristic as the Hoka Carbon X 3, for example.
That said, the first thing to notice is the enormous amount of foam that adorns the midsole of the shoe, arguably the beating heart and the area in which the most the most research, development and technology has clearly been crammed.
It feels a little like Saucony may have shot itself in the foot (excuse the pun) with this shoe, as it packs many of the great bits of its carbon-plate, race day Endorphin Pro 2 brethren without the hefty price tag and firm ride.
Sure, save those swanky Pro 2s for race day, or those times you absolutely have to smash a personal best, but the Endorphin Speed 2 feels like it could be equally as fast and certainly more versatile.
It’s a great intro into the world of extreme rocker, midsole plate running shoes too, even flattering Spam-footed novices like us.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
- Secure heel fit
- Speedroll rocker promotes healthy stride
- PWRRUN PB midsole for massive energy return
- High stack = lack of stability
- Not the most robust build
- Some colour schemes are bland
In the Loop
Everything you need to know about the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 in brief:
- Speedroll tech for effortless propulsion
- Full-length, responsive nylon plate
- Ultralight PWRRUN PB midsole
- FORMFIT hugs the foot in 3D comfort
- Light and breathable mono-mesh upper
- XT-900 outsole with reinforced high-abrasion zones
- Weight: 7.9oz (224g)
- Offset: 8mm (35.5mm/27.5mm)
Fit and features
Saucony’s fit is true to size and we found that there was no need to size up or down with fractions, although the brand does offer this up to UK size 11.5 if you find yourself sitting in the middle.
Despite a fairly narrow silhouette, the toebox is roomy and there’s no pinching around the mid foot or the knuckle of the big toe when first lacing them up. This is helped by Saucony’s "mono mesh" upper, which is both nicely flexible and very breathable.
We question its robustness though, and we can imagine that those who rack top serious miles will find this upper likely gives out over time - as with many race shoes. But then we have been testing lots of hard-as-nails trail running shoes recently, which are built like tanks by comparison.
The laces have a good amount of elasticity and there’s a small loop that makes stashing any excess lacing nice and easy.
Features-wise, there’s also a reflective panel on the heel, which isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing on the planet but it certainly helps ratchet up the safety levels when out chasing PBs after dark.
Saucony has improved the heel of the Endorphin Speed 2, so it now features more cushioning and locks the heel in place with greater efficiency. They certainly feels light, fast and agile when you first try them on.
There’s a lot going in this department, not to mention the myriad marketing terms used to describe the various materials, shapes and technologies used throughout the upper, mids and sole.
Perhaps most important is the full nylon plate, which runs through the middle of the shoe and features an exaggerated rocker. Dubbed Speedroll, this plate promotes a healthy running gait, rolling runners onto their toes before exploding into the next stride.
Next up is the Ultralight PWRRUN PB foam used throughout the midsole, which is among some of the springiest we’ve tried in a long time. Take a close look at some of the photos taken during our testing and you’ll see the insane amounts of compression when landing and cornering.
Finally, an XT-900 outsole with reinforced high-abrasion zones provides a good level of grip underfoot, while it packs reinforced areas in the highest impact zones to increase the longevity of the shoe.
The Endorphin Speed 2 immediately feels like it has been made to smash PBs. It’s a light, fast and purposeful shoe that takes a focussed runner to really eke the most out of it. Although it’s no way near as firm, nor as daunting as the fully carbon-plate runners out there.
The 8mm offset from rear to front might not sound like much, but the Speedroll tech and nylon plate running throughout is felt from the moment you take your first stride. It promotes a fantastic running gait but that high stack can also be the undoing of any sloppy form.
In all honesty, we found the spring from the foamy midsole to border on the ridiculous for the first few metres of our typical road run route. It’s so far removed from a typical training shoe and goes way beyond anything that would be acceptable in the trial running circles.
But as the kilometres clock up, the incredible spring and energy return soon comes into its own, as the more difficult uphill stretches feel that bit easier and good form is promoted through the darker kilometres of a run.
Admittedly, we are no marathon lovers, but instead prefer to chip away at 5km and 10km times, and the Endorphin Speed 2 feels right at home here. It’s a great shoe for these fast tempo training runs but doesn’t compromise on long distance comfort either.
Although not packing the full carbon plate of its big brother, the Endorphin Pro 2, the Endorphin Speed 2 still represents the cutting edge of running technology. With an 8mm offset, ridiculously springy PWRRUN PB midsole and Speedroll rocker promoting the perfect running gait, this is a serious shoe that can fend off competition come race day, as well as accompany longer (but equally rapid) training runs.