Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saucony Endorphin Pro 1st Run Review, Shoe Details, Comparison to Endorphin Speed and Other "Super Shoes"

Article by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Endorphin Pro ($200)

I take Saucony's top new racer, the Endorphin Pro with its graphite polymer plate and very light and lively PWRN PB PeBa midsole for a 1st run and compare to the trainer Endorphin Speed with which it shares the same midsole foam but substitutes a nylon plate for the graphite polymer. 

Molly Seidel wore the Pro to 2nd place in the US Olympic Trials and a ticket to the Olympic Marathon in her first marathon ever.

I compare to the Endorphin Speed and other new "super shoes" in the video. I really like the more forward Speed Roll to toe off from the plate which gives a less flat ride feel than competitors in the carbon plated game, more "natural" as Saucony's marketing says.

Pro weighs 7.5 oz / 221 g has a big 27.5 mm forefoot / 35. 5 mm heel stack, 8 mm drop 
Pro will release April 15 so before July when the Speed and Shift, a heavier more maximal PWRUN TPU/ EVA blend midsole trainer release.

The Saucony Endorphin Family Front to Back: Pro, Speed, Shift
Watch the Video Review (11:00)
Correction: sock liner is not glued in and is removable.


Endorphin Speed review is here


A/B Test Run Pro vs Speed Comparison Video

Pro, Speed, and Shift full multi tester reviews coming soon. 

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Saucony Endorphin Speed Multi Tester Review: Super Light, Lively and Cushioned, Uptempo Long Cruiser/Racer

Article by Sam Winebaum, Sally Reiley, Peter Stuart, and Hope Wilkes


Saucony Endorphin Speed ($160)


Stats

Official Weight:   7.8 oz / 221g men's US 9

Sample Weight:  7.8 oz / 221g men's US 9 (spot on official!)

                           7.1 oz / 202g women’s US 8 (Sally)

Stack Height: 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm forefoot (all in including sockliner), 8mm drop

Available July 1, 2020. $160.


Introduction

Bottom to Top: Endorphin Pro, Speed, Shift

Saucony joins the super foam game with two super cushioned, very light plated shoes: The Endorphin Pro (multi tester review) at $200 a graphite polymer plated racer and the Endorphin Speed ($160) tested here which relaxes the ride a bit with a nylon plate. Both shoes otherwise share identical stack heights of 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm forefoot with both having midsoles made of Saucony's new PWRUN PB a light high energy "return" PeBa foam (similar to Nike Zoom X but in a expanded bead form similar in appearance to Boost but much lighter) and with identical outsoles. Their engineered mesh uppers differ somewhat. The Pro weighs 0.3 oz / 8.5g  less than the Speed.  



A PWRUN midsole super cushioned recovery and daily trainer, the Endorphin Shift also joins the family (RTR multi tester review). As PWRUN is a TPU EVA blend. It is considerably heavier with rear support features from an extended heel cup and has a lower drop at 4mm yet greater  maximal stack at 38mm heel / 34 mm forefoot. It has a plateless version of the Speed Roll technology of the other two created from the relative stiffness of the foam.


Top: Endorphin Pro, Bottom Left: Endorphin Speed, Bottom Right: Endorphin Shift 

Peter Stuart and I "floor jogged" prototypes Pro and Speed a bit in December at the Running Event and both preferred the slightly softer,  easier feel of the Speed and its nylon plate over the carbon plated Pro. Would real testing confirm or change our opinion?


Pros

Sam:

Strong cushion/stack to weight ratio. Very light for overall substance.

Pleasant riding, springy softer PEBA foam midsole

Stable, well directed ride from non totally rigid but propulsive nylon plate, great forefoot feel and climbing ability, 

Overall a fast ride feel with plenty of cushion 

Rockered effectively but not radically or stiffly so with a distinct toe off sensed, a familiar feel

Soft and  secure as well as roomy upper
Peter: great upper, rockered feel, pretty fast feeling

Sally: eye-catching upper that is secure, breathable, and durable

Sally/Hope: light and nimble with softer ride and effective speedroll geometry


Cons

Sam: While the front plate and midsole feel is fantastic, the rear feel is a bit harsh while cushioned. Plate to close to heel?

Peter: Plate and shoe feel too firm for me--though this has eased over several runs.

Hope: Laces are too short



Tester Profiles

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years.

Sally is a mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past six Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $200,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has also run 10K in 44:04. To commemorate her 60th birthday she ran the NYC Marathon in November finishing 2nd in her age group with a PR time of 3:28:39.  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.

Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.



First Impressions and Fit

Peter: Well, First impression was confusion...I tried the Endorphin Pro and Endorphin Speed on at The Running Event in Austin and was convinced that the Speed was the shoe for me. Soft but firm, springy, not overly stiff. And the Pro felt too stiff and not soft enough. Cut to the production models and we’re in opposite land! I love the Pro and the Speed has been more of an acquired taste. The fit is great and they are good lookin’, but they are pretty darn stiff. 


Sam: Love the cheery bold look here. Definitely noticeable and distinct but not overly loud. A clear contrast to the solid neon Next% launch colors. The slightly different but unified look of all three Endorphin makes for a statement that the collection belongs together and I think is outstanding in its visual design.


Peter is right that something changed between The Running Event and production. My first sample was one of those trade show floor models and clearly has a less rigid plate (confirmed by Saucony)  than the production version I also tested.


My first prototype sample was half size up from my true to size and I wore thicker socks to test. With the thicker socks the fit was just fine but I am now in a production pair of women’s 10 which corresponds to my usual men’s 8.5 and which Saucony says fits the same as the men’s. The fit is soft, generous, and secure everywhere. I particularly like the hold at lace up from the mesh strap ( a mini mini 1" wide bootie) connecting to the midsole. 

Sally: I was smitten with the look of this shoe right out of the box. Lively, bold colors! And white seems to be the color of choice this spring. It has a great classic appeal, no elf heel or funky sole flare or odd tongue. The fit is true to size for me with a W8, perhaps a touch short at the big toe for me (but not as exaggerated as in the Pro).The hold is comfortable and  secure all around the foot. The tongue is padded just enough for comfort, and to its credit stays in place beautifully so that I never had to think about it. The forward roll is apparent just looking at this shoe.


Hope: Another stunner from Saucony’s Endorphin line! For me, the Speed is a Pro I can train in: more forgiving and more durable. Who among us doesn’t like to get an extra little spring in their step during a training run from wearing race-ready shoes sometimes? I received a USW9 instead of my usual USW9.5. Fit is great with thin socks — I don’t mind a close fitting shoe, especially one that is meant for going fast. I have about half a thumb’s width of room in the USW9 (a full thumb’s width is ideal), so true to size seems like it would be perfect.


Upper

Sam:The upper is a very soft and pliable engineered mesh. Butter soft I would call it.


A pattern of 3D raised knitting of the same material and softness reaches across the toes, around the soft toe bumper and towards mid foot providing very seamless and effective support while leaving lots of thinner areas for high breathability between.

The mid foot Saucony logos are fairly thick but are also very pliable and part of the support system at mid foot.

The tongue is mostly a dual layer mesh with a netting type open mesh outside and a soft thin inner layer which has many holes through it to the netting. 


There is a narrow stretch mesh strap (seen bottom right in the photo above) extending from behind the last 2 lace up holes to the midsole and forward where it ends at an outer elastic strap riding to the other side between tongue and laces. I not sure what its purpose is but it may draw the wings of the midsole strap forward?   The top middle of the tongue has triangle of firmer leatherette also with ventilations holes. 

We have a full stout heel counter (unlike the Pro which has some quite pliable stiffening)  with moderately plush if on the thinner side collar padding. 

Tech aside this is a super soft and effective upper. Feels incredibly light on the foot and just disappears while holding the foot solidly to the platform and it should be very accommodating to even somewhat wider feet. While my testing has been in colder weather I would imagine highly breathable as well.


Below the foot we have what looks like Saucony's now standard and I think effective Form Fit which takes into account sockliner, lower raised side walls and footbed to better "mold" seat the foot to the platform. The sock liner is removable and molded.


Peter: Well, Sam’s got all the bases covered on the details, so I’ll just say that I’m a big fan of the upper. The materials are top notch, it fits really well and looks terrific. If you want the details, scroll up!

Sally: Sam did a fantastic description of the upper. I really like it as well. It is soft, breathable, and does its job perfectly. And have we mentioned it is incredibly durable? I have put 100 miles on my Endorphin Speed already, and it has held up with no signs of wear, just dirt (and the shoe performs even better with mileage, more on that later)

Hope: Since Sam described the upper so well, I’ll briefly discuss the delta between the Speed and its sister shoe, the Pro. When I first got them, I was relying on “well, one has neon laces” to tell them apart. (The laces could stand to be longer on the Speed!) Visually, the differences between the Speed and the Pro are somewhat subtle: the stripped down Pro doesn’t include the Speed’s external heel counter (or much of an internal heel counter for that matter), outer mesh overlay, or reflective trim. What do these differences add up to? The Speed has slightly better heel lockdown and feels more secure overall. And yes, it’s heavier, but in the world of shoes I’m happy to train in, the Speed is still a featherweight. It’s just that the Pro is a super-featherweight! 


Midsole

Sam:Clearly the magic leading to the ride and light weight with a substantial stack of 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm forefoot is Saucony's new PWRUN+ PB midsole foam. It is a PeBa type foam so "similar" to Nike Zoom X as in the Vaporfly or Reebok's Floatride Foam. PeBa is known for its resilient spring feel and very light weight.  


The midsole foam here appears to be made of expanded granules of differing fairly large sizes and not via an injection process. I took the picture after some runs and dirt to provide definition! It is softer and bouncier in feel than Zoom X or Floatride Foam from Reebok. 


Embedded within the midsole is an nylon S-shaped plate which when combined with the overall geometry and a moderate rocker profile makes for a very stable ride with a distinct but gentle forward roll to toe off which Saucony calls Speed Roll. 


Now that I have tested all the Endorphin shoes I can say they all have a nice roll at toe off with the Speed the most gentle due to its semi rigid nylon plate with Pro having a totally rigid graphite polymer plate. . Interestingly the Shift has a more pronounced final roll to toe off than Speed, and without a plate, relying on the stiffness of its midsole and the geometry for the roll.


Unlike many plated shoes such as the Pro, Vaporfly, FuelCell TC, and new Skechers Speed Elite the Speed is not completely rigid as it has a flex point, if stiffer, at midfoot just about where the outsole ends to the left in the picture above. Further forward there is a touch of springy flex from the nylon plate, nylon not being completely rigid as carbon plates are. It reminds of the flex of the nylon plated Skechers Speed TRL while being stiffer as there is more stack too here. 


Unlike other plated shoes, and more similarly to the new FuelCell TC, the forefoot here is very well cushioned and soft yet propulsive from the plate, geometry, and outsole design. While the Next% is equally if not more cushioned in the forefoot here it is a softer with a more natural less flat roll to toe off feel and also a bit less pop given stiff carbon vs. slightly less rigid nylon but due to the Speed Roll a more distinct forward toe off feel.  That's OK as this is more a Speed training ride that can race than a pure race shoe. Pro is the carbon plated race sibling. 


Peter: As I said, the shoe I tried on at TRE felt much softer than the production model I was sent. The plate here stiffens this foam up A LOT. The midsole foam/plate combo felt a bit too stiff and firm for me to really love the shoe at first, but I have felt it breaking in a bit--and while I really wasn’t a fan on my first run, subsequent runs have been more enjoyable.  The more I’ve run in the Speed, the more the midsole has softened up. It’s far from soft, but it has settled in a really solid way. 

Sally: The midsole cushioning has the same bubbly granular look of the Adidas Boost material, both are expanded beads but acts differently and it is far lighter as it is PEBA and not TPU.

I totally agree with Peter about a break-in period for these shoes, that they become more enjoyable as you put more miles on them. Initially I thought the midsole would be too stiff for my liking, but after 100 plus miles they have softened up considerably and are downright fun to run in (I honestly would not run 100 miles in a test shoe if I didn’t enjoy them!)


Hope: Good out of the box, sublime after a short break-in period. I was concerned that such a soft, light foam would lead to a jarring feel from the stiff plate. That’s not the case. The nylon plate is the perfect foil for the PeBa foam; these components come together to deliver a distinct pop and forward roll. 


Outsole

Sam:The outsole is a single continuous piece of the same relatively firm thin rubber. So far it is proving very durable with excellent grip. The outsole completely wraps the periphery of the shoe providing a touch of mid foot stability, something I felt. I is not always one can say an outsole is elegant but this one is. I can’t  see either any gaps or any excess of coverage. While we are underneath one can also see a decoupled heel landing and wide decoupling groove in the photo above.  


Peter: No problems with the coverage of rubber here. On slightly raised pebbly type concrete, the exposed EVA can hit first and make the shoe a bit slippy. Generally the rubber coverage is good and so far there are no wear issues. 

Sally: The outsole scores a perfect 10 for durability, as it looks good as new after more than 100 miles. No sign of wear whatsoever! And I found it plenty grippy on the roads during some wet rainy runs. 


Hope: I can be a bit hard on outsole rubber, but my efforts haven’t made a dent here. Great grip and durability. I couldn’t be happier.


Ride

Sam:The ride feel is light and lively with plenty of softer cushion and energy.  I emphasize the light part as there is an uncanny sensation that it seems impossible to have this much cushion, support, and get up and go in such a light shoe. Some of the newer, lighter super cushioned shoes for example Carbon X at 5mm drop or Carbon Rocket at 1mm go with lower drops than the 8mm here which can cut weight but that in combination with stiff carbon can feel flat. 

Here with an 8mm drop in combination with the nylon plate's not as rigid, less aggressive feel we get a clear sensation of propulsion from the plate but with more toe off sensation than in other carbon plate shoes (except the Pro version where it is similar and snappier)  and one that is more natural, traditional, gentler and softer, and is especially noted at the stable very well cushioned forefoot. 


Compared to the Pro what we have is a somewhat softer less aggressive propulsion feel. This makes the Speed a great choice for longer runs and tempo days and a great race choice if you seek a light weight ride with plenty of forgiving cushion. In comparison to the Pro I have found the Speed more forgiving on steep downhills and easier to toe off if a bit less springy on uphills. I have been running a 5 mile test loop in Park City with the first half all climbing and the second downhill and the Speed is the record holder over the Pro and Metaracer gaining on them primarily on the uphills due to its longer easier flex. On a flatter course I am sure the snappier more explosive Pro would dominate but who knows! 


I have used the Speed for faster tempos on hilly terrain and flats and longer faster runs. All runs went by with less soreness than expected with only the calves somewhat impacted during the run but not the next day. Recall that with “speed” here, and a plate, we also have a big 35.5 mm heel, 27.5 mm forefoot stack of forgiving dynamic cushion. I was able to maintain pace and accelerate when I wanted to even when tired with credit to the plate and the overall stability and thus consistency of the ride. I especially appreciated the dynamic climbing ability of the Speed where lots of cushion combine with a distinct front rolling response. Steep downhills were adequately stable and well cushioned for such a light shoe but I did wish for a bit more rear “give” and bounce as say the non plated rear of the ASICS MetaRacer has at the heel .As the plate is fairly close to the heel,  I think I am feeling it a bit more than I would like on downhills. This is a tempo ride for sure but also a daily training ride but one for faster paces more off the heel.


Peter: I’m re-writing this section after a bunch of runs in the Endorphin Speed. The ride started out as overly stiff and not particularly enjoyable--but has softened considerably. The rocker does a great job of helping me push through toe-off (unlike the Carbon X which made me feel stuck on my forefoot). The ride has settled in to a place of solid long run cushioning that feels amazing when you turn up the speed. I did a long run with a bunch of fartleks in it recently and the Endorphin Speed was perfect. It felt snappy and fast when I needed speed and it felt restorative and comfortable at slower paces. The ride is somewhere between a soft shoe like the New Balance FC TC and a more firm shoe like Hyperion Elite. It’s a nice sweet spot. Again, this was not love at first run. It took at least 4-5 runs for me to really start to enjoy the ride. 

Sally: I liked the ride of this shoe right away, but did not love it. But as Peter said so well, this shoe gets better with mileage. One can really find their groove on tempo runs with this. The speedroll technology angles your foot forward just enough to encourage a quick cadence (and makes running uphill somehow “easier”)  and the shoe responds with a decent amount of energy return from the plastic plate. It is a softer ride with less pop than the Pro, its race machine sibling, but it is nevertheless a light and nimble shoe that makes for a fun ride. 


Hope: I agree with Sally: the Speed impresses from the get-go and only gets better from there. It’s “how did they do that” light and features serious pop from the nylon plate (by contrast, the Speed springs off the ground while the carbon-played Pro’s explodes off the ground — awesome and fun, but a bit much for most runs). I’m going to catch a lecture from my coach for running more miles than assigned this week, but I can’t help but keep going in the Speed since it’s so fast and comfortable. I sensed that the Speedroll tech has been keeping my stride and leg turnover consistent. Just running by feel during a recent 10-mile effort, I laid down four mile splits that were all within 3 seconds of each other — unusual for me on a rolling course! For a plated shoe, the ride is smooth. The pop is noticeable, but the mechanics of the plate make it feel like that energy is going back into my legs to power me forward, not just upward.


Recommendations and Conclusions

Sam: Saucony is on a roll in 2020 and the Speed delivers a super light, super cushioned, and lively new option for the brand as a member of  an awesome threesome with the nearly identical PRO with its more rigid graphite polymer plate as the full blown race shoe and the Shift the easier days option.  


The Speed is the faster trainer option of the three, and easily for many, as it has been for me, a solid daily training option if you prefer light and well cushioned. The ride is just plain sumptuous in its cushion for such a light shoe, and especially so at the forefoot,  and its lively feel of propulsion from the semi rigid plate which is not awkward, flat or harsh. I do find the plate’s heel feel somewhat more firm than the well cushioned lively rolling nearly perfect in its smoothness forefoot. Does it need a rear plate or could the plate be lower in the midsole stack to take a bit of edge off?


The Speed Roll effect of the semi rigid plate, which I sense most distinctly at final toe off, is exactly as named and natural and easy to find and maintain and more gentle and longer in effect than the more explosive impulse of the Pro where the plate is rigid or the more vertical pop of shoes such as Nike’s equivalent Zoom Fly or the the Next%.


At $160 giiven the light weight, premium materials including the full, resilient and lively PeBa midsole, super cushion sub 8 oz weight, integrated plate and that upper it is also a solid value. 

Sam's Score: 9.3 /10

Ride: 9.3 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)


Peter: I had mixed feelings about the Endorphin Speed, but the more I’ve run in it the more I’ve liked it.  Ultimately I prefer the Pro for racing or pure tempo days, but I’m starting to come around to the Speed. It’s a really good daily trainer and speed shoe if you can get past the rather stiff ride. The upper is great, the shoe looks great and Saucony has definitely upped their game. The more I run in the shoe, the more I appreciate the efficiency of it--and I also seem to be able to hold good form in it. I’m growing more fond of the Speed with each run. It just took a minute to warm up to. 

Peter’s Score 9.2/10 

A little stiff, but breaks in well and is pretty versatile. Can be a little slippery on certain surfaces.


Sally: Saucony has really made a powerful (and fast) statement in 2020 with the Endorphin line. They are classy looking and built for performance. I had the pleasure of testing the race-ready Endorphin Pro first, and I absolutely fell in love. Watching a local Boston unknown named Molly Seidel place 2nd in the Olympic Trials Marathon in the E Pro solidified my feelings: Saucony is on to something great here. And then races began to get cancelled, including my goal race, the Boston Marathon. So we all need training shoes, not race shoes for the short term, as we keep running for our health and our sanity and to train for life itself. 

Enter the Endorphin Speed, which succeeds as a great trainer and tempo shoe, possibly a race shoe for those who like a softer ride. I would not have run over 100 miles in this shoe unless I really liked it, and I honestly have been enjoying it more and more, especially as the initial stiffness has softened. It prefers to push the pace, but can also handle easier and slower days. It is a versatile yet light and nimble shoe that runners are going to enjoy.

Sally’s score: 9.4/10

Ride: 9.4 (50%)    Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9 (15%)    Style: 10 (5%)


Hope: I’m bowled over by the Endorphin line. This is my favorite shoe of the three. Classy eye-catching design paired with tech that’s both race day and tempo run ready — sign me up! Although $160 is a lot to pay for a pair of running shoes with great models to be had for $100, I think Saucony has made a great case for your extra greenbacks by making the Speed not just loaded with meaningful tech you can feel, but also durable. If you like a fast shoe and have perhaps felt that certain carbon plated models were too stiff, I would suggest you take a look at the Speed.

Hope’s Score: 9.7/10

Ride: 10 (50%) Fit: 9.75 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) 

Style: 10 (5%)


Comparisons


Left to Right: New Balance Fuel Cell TC, Hoka Carbon X, and Nike Next%


Saucony Endorphin Pro  (RTR multi tester review)


Sam: The Pro weighs slightly less at 7.5 oz / 213 g. It has a far stiffer graphite polymer plate which makes the shoe completely rigid whereas the Speed's nylon plate is semi rigid. It's upper is a single layer engineered mesh that is lighter weight than the Speed's similar upper with its knit in 3d support. The Pro fit is somewhat more performance oriented and a bit narrower but is still very comfortable. The midsole foam is the same as is the outsole in both. On my first run it was clear that while the Speed Roll functioned in similar fashion with that nice forward roll to toe off the Pro ride overall is more responsive, directed, snappier, bouncier (from the plate)  and somewhat firmer from heel to toe yet with nice springy cushion. It is considerably faster feeling and running shoe yet in many ways similar to the Speed in its cushion and ride characteristics. .


During a hilly 7 mile A/B test with Pro on one foot and Speed on the other while Pro was clearly snappier and faster on the flats with the Speed with its less rigid softer nylon plate was more forgiving and cushioned on the downhills, climbed steeps easier, and had an easier flexing softer forefoot feel.  Watch Sam’s A/B Test, one on each foot Pro to Speed detailed comparison video here 


Peter: I feel like my whole review has been a comparison to the Pro. In the pairs I have, the Speed is stiff and a little harsh to run in and the PRO has bounce and cushion and is overall more fun to run in.


Sally: These two fit very similarly, though I found the Pro runs a bit shorter at the big toe so I must wear thinner socks with them. I admit to a love affair with the Pro, as it is a fast, fun, and peppy ride with a tremendous amount of pop. The Speed will have its fans, but I will take the Pro anyday.


Hope: I love the Pro too, but I really-really love the Speed for its more forgiving feel and more plentiful, harder-wearing outsole. The Pro would be my choice for a goal race and the Speed my choice for training and more relaxed races. The extreme spring action from the Pro makes the shoe mega bouncy. While it may be impossible for any plated shoe to have a completely smooth ride, the slightly less dynamic Speed comes closer than its sibling which makes for a more comfortable, fun experience. I also think the Speed at $160 delivers superior value over the $200 Pro.


New Balance Fuel Cell TC (RTR Review)

The Fuel Cell TC is the shoe I hoped the Speed would be. It’s soft without being mushy, it’s fast and it’s fun. It has a plate but isn’t crazy stiff. The Speed is lighter and stiffer. I prefer the NB. 


Sam: TC is heavier by about 1.3 oz / 37 g. It is bouncier, not as soft but quicker off the heel due to carbon plate in the mix back there as well as more copious rubber which curves around the back of the heel. The rocker feel is more concentrated just ahead of midfoot and is less of a final toe feel propulsion as in Speed. TC is snappier, more decisive in ride. more fun but slightly firmer overall especially upfront where the Speed is oh so sweet in its combination of great springy cushion and easy toe off.  TC has a narrower more performance oriented fit of lighter less structured materials that are not quite as soft and pleasant feeling materials as Speed's and which makes its toe box both not quite as secure, comfortable or as roomy as the Speed's. Strange as the Speed in the end is a much lighter shoe. The difference in weight between FuelCell foam and lighter PWRUN PB is difficult to overcome. A real tough call between these two. I would say the FuelCell is more exciting and dynamic, the Speed considerably lighter, more evenly and softly cushioned and faster. In the end TC may be more practical as a super light, versatile up tempo daily trainer with the Speed more race to tempo workouts oriented,

Sally: Sam summarized the differences well. The NB TC is my other favorite shoe of 2020 so far, and the Speed, though a great shoe, will not surpass the NB in my book. 


Nike Zoom Fly (RTR Review)

Hope: The OG Zoom Fly is one of my most run and most loved shoes. It feels a lot firmer and blockier than the Speed. I loved that solid feel for training and racing up to the half marathon, but prefer how running shoe technology and design has evolved since then to give rise to the Speed. I give credit to Nike for driving innovation and I give my pick to the Speed. I wish I had experienced in the Zoom Fly 2 and 3 so I could make a comparison based on two current models.


Sam: The Zoom Fly 3 is considerably stiffer, It has more cushion than Speed (and earlier Zoom Fly)  but its cushion is denser and less springy with its plate bottom loaded so there is more slap and a less distinct toe off sensation compared to the Speed but with more vertical pop as the Next% has. Zoom Fly is less stable. Its upper is a bit snugger and lower over the toes with less give but overall a touch more secure. Both were true to size for me.

ASICS Metaracer (RTR multi tester review)

Sam: Pure racer for Metaracer vs. very light trainer that can race for Speed. About an ounce lighter with a comparatively miniscule 24mm heel 15 mm forefoot stack, the Metaracer has a front bottom loaded carbon plate and a softer bouncier if lower heel. The Meta’s totally rigid plate has a similar long rocker but a less noticed but present final toe off. Metaracer would clearly be a faster 5K to 10K and somewhat beyond racer for me while Speed could do fine race service at 10K and beyond while serving as a training shoe. 


Hoka One One Carbon X (RTR Review)


Sam: The Speed clearly has a softer more cushioned bouncier forefoot with more toe off roll effect which is very pleasant and quick feeling at the same time, The heel of the Carbon X is more stable as is the midfoot and not as soft although the Speed is plenty stable too.  Overall the Carbon X is firmer and flatter feeling with its more level in the midsole carbon plate playing a role in that. with a less springy feeling midsole foam with somewhat more shock being transmitted, but also with better response. The Carbon X upper has no heel counter and that is noticed in not quite as good a hold for me, Up front the hold is just as good with less pressure than the Carbon X on the big toe, a win for the Speed upper. If you are looking for a super light, super cushioned up tempo plus long run ride the Speed edges the Carbon X out unless you need the more pronounced stability from the Carbon X.


Peter: I prefer this to the Carbon X. THe Carbon X just made me feel like I was working too hard to get through toe off. The Speed rocks through the gait cycle more efficiently. 


Hope: The Carbon X could use a touch more rocker. As it stands, it’s too stiff and the carbon plate doesn’t add any noticeable pop. The upper is at racing weight, but the midsole geometry is not ready to toe the line. The Speed is a much more dynamic shoe, so it’s my pick here.


Nike Vaporfly Next % (RTR Review)


Sam:The Next% has clearly a more race ready yet super comfortable fit, The rear hold is superior even without a heel counter although the toe box is pointier. The PeBa foam in both feels quite similar in its springiness but it seems, accounting for the carbon plate in the Next, that the Speed's midsole is softer. The Next lands and transitions through the mid foot more decisively and quickly as the heel is firmer and not as wide while the sculpted mid foot side walls really give a sense of getting forward. The Speed is more stable by a bit at the rear while softer. Upfront, the Speed is clearly softer feeling with a much more distinctly felt roll to toe off. If you like the PeBa foam feel of the Next, Speed can be a great, let's just say more natural and gentle option, as it has some flex and its nylon plate is more forgiving in feel particularly up front.


Sally: The Next % is my choice for marathon racing, and will remain my choice until I find another shoe that makes me feel as much of a superhero/superrunner as the Next % does. The Speed has a nice forward roll and peppy ride, but the Next % has a magical bounce and more vertical pop that gives me the (perceived) feeling of flying. PRs are tough to come by, and tough to beat. I will stick with the Next % for racing, but alas, we are all in maintenance/training mode these days, so the Speed is a fine option.


Hope: The Next% flexes into track duty and marathon racing for me (and everything in between). All that ZoomX foam underfoot delivers all-day comfort and the carbon plate makes the shoe speedy. The Pro delivers a feel closer to the Next%, but the comparison here is between the Speed and the Next%, so I have to go with the Next%.


Nike Zoom Fly 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: At the same price, almost identical stack heights but weighing 1.1 oz more the Zoom Fly has React foam with a carbon plate. It is more awkward running and not nearly as pleasant for me from upper to ride. Its upper is lower over the toes and non stretch but a touch more secure overall. Hands down Speed.


Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 (RTR Review)

Sam:The Turbo weighs 0.6 oz less and has a combination of React and Nike's Zoom X flavor of PeBa. It is a lower stack shoe at 28mm /18mm vs the all in 35.5mm / 27.5mm  of the Speed which is clearly more and more softly cushioned. The Peg Turbo is somewhat more responsive than Speed with a distinct forward flex point whereas the Speed is a more rolling toe off due to combination of Speed Roll geometry, its relatively flexible nylon plate and outsole compared to the Peg's stiffer React and outsole combination. The Peg Turbo 2 ride is more "taut" and sharp edged overall and closer in feel to the Pro actually vs. a softer more flowing ride of the Speed. The Peg Turbo 2 and Speed have equally superb uppers with the Speed leaning a touch softer and more comfortable for me. My preference is for the more mellow softer smoother ride of the Speed.


The Speed, Pro and Shift release July 1 2020. 


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