Friday, September 17, 2021

Saucony Endorphin Pro+ Review: Joining the Sub 7 oz /200g Carbon Super Race Shoe Club!

Review by Michael Ellenberger and Sally Reiley. Video Review by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Endorphin Pro+ ($250)


  • new lighter upper drops weight 0.6 oz / 17g from v2 and 0.8 oz / 23g from v1 and it is felt as we are now 6.9 oz /196g in a men's US9 and 8: 6.1 oz / 174 g in women's US8
  • new, unusual and supportive sock liner
  • same 35.5 /27.5 stack of PWRRUN PB and same outsole.
  • Available 9/28. Limited quantities at Running Warehouse HERE & Saucony HERE


  • improved upper: Sally/Michael
  • weight drop is noticeable: Sally/Michael 
  • midsole and plating are suitable aggressive for “Pro” moniker: Michael
  • great TTS fitting upper with secure hold at heel and great midfoot lockdown: Sally


  • still lacking in cushion, comparatively: Sally
  • stiffness is a turn-off: Michael

Tester Profiles

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago and is a patent and intellectual property attorney. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He also has a 2:31 marathon PR from the 2018 Austin Marathon. 

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past seven 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 $240,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. 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.

First Impressions and Fit

Michael: The “Pro+” isn’t a full upgrade over the 2021-released Endorphin Pro 2 (RTR Review) which was upper reworking of the initial Pro), but it is a fairly significant mid-cycle refresh, with an improved upper and weight drop to bring the Pro+ more into alignment with the top-of-the-line racers of this generation. It certainly looks the part, but without an overhaul of the midsole, the Pro+ is still existing slightly askew of the major super shoes of the day - so is the plus-variant enough to draw the Nike or Adidas faithful? 

Sally: I felt privileged to receive a pair of these beauties for testing, and couldn’t wait to lace them up and see how they stack up against the other exceptional high stack carbon plated race shoes out there now. I was immediately impressed with the classic beauty of the clean white and black upper, the minimalist “less is more” look of the shoe. Clearly the upper is the big change here over the original Endorphin Pro 1 and 2, and you are first struck by the lightness of the shoe (my US W8 drops a significant 16g or 0.6 oz from Endo Pro 1 to Pro + : 6.7 oz / 190 g for Pro 1 vs 6.1 oz / 174 g for Pro +). The other striking change is the total lack of a heel counter and a very unstructured looking upper. The midsole seems consistent with the other Endo Pro. Let’s see how they run!


Michael: The entirety of the upgrade is here, and Saucony has employed a “track spike-like upper” to tempt runners to its Endorphin line for that next big race. In terms of aesthetics, it’s clear they’ve crushed it - I think the Pro+ is probably the best looking marathon racer out there right now (and a massive improvement over the Pro 2 which I didn’t test, and also didn’t swoon over). 

In terms of material, the Pro+ is topped with a single-layer mesh, toting no overlays and lay-flat laces. It’s svelte and fast-feeling, and the oversized Saucony logos really sell the vibe here - but it’s not *quite* perfect. While I do think the mesh is comfortable and suitably long race-ready, it isn’t quite as snug as I would have wanted - something truly sock-like, like what’s on the New Balance Fuelcell 5280, would have been slightly better. What you gain over that intensely-knit material is a little more breathing room, but I actually found the Pro+ to be a little looser than anticipated (even in my true-to-size 8.5). It wasn’t too big, or even an issue, but it just felt more traditional than I had expected. Lace is as you would for a race (i.e. pretty snugly) and you won’t have any issues with slipping or sliding.

Besides looks and comfort, the improved upper also helps the Pro+ sneak under the 7 oz. weight mark… I think most runners, when it comes to marathon racers, have moved past weight as the end-all, be-all - but it can’t hurt, right? The Pro+ feels markedly lighter than my pair of original Endorphin Pros.

Sally: As Michael points out, the upper is where Saucony has made all the changes from the Pro 1 and Pro 2. It just might win the beauty crown at that marathon start line! It is a clean and simple and classy looking race shoe that screams fast without the checkered finish flag busy motif or other flashy colorways. Here again, less is more, and it is a home run in my book. 

I am not and never have been a track spike runner, so I was initially worried about what a “track spike like upper” might entail - I envisioned super tight fit like a ski racer’s boots. What I found is that the unstructured Pro + fits like a glove that you need to pull on gently like a glove - more on that in a minute. 

The fabric of the upper is a barely there soft single layer mesh that feels robust despite its light weight, surprisingly not fragile at all. 

A big difference from the earlier Pro models is that there is no structured heel counter at all, just a soft heel wrap that is slightly padded toward the top, and seemingly held up at the base by the high and firm sockliner. 

The tongue is not gusseted and is made of a very thin ultrasuede like material with venting perforations. 

The ultrasuede qualities prevent any kind of tongue slippage whatsoever. Here’s the putting on a glove thing: the edges of the tongue tend to fold under if you jam your foot in, so you must take care to open the shoe enough to get your foot in, pull up and smooth out the tongue to ensure that it lies flat, and then snug the laces tightly for a great midfoot all the way to heel hold. 

I found the key to excellent fit was a snug, secure lacing of this shoe. Is that like a track spike? But there is ample toe room above and around the toes, a welcome characteristic for me. 

As a matter of fact, I boldly ran a 21 mile training run in the Pro + on day 2 of testing and had no issues at the front of the toes! I unfortunately have a bunion of sorts on the inside of my left big toe joint, and that was aggravated after about 12 miles, so I need some tweaking to overcome that issue.

It is interesting in this shoe how the sockliner seems to play a larger role than usual in the structure of the Pro +. (See Sam's video below for details) As I mentioned earlier, the sockliner holds the bottom of the heel up, and it seems to create a firmer sidewall throughout the shoe to give some form to the unstructured upper.


Michael: As noted above, there aren’t any changes here from the previous iterations - but the upper does securely keep your foot locked over Saucony’s PWRUN PB foam, which is a PEBA-based material. This material is great in a lot of ways - it’s cushioned enough to last 26.2 for most runners, it seems durable (I put a couple hundred miles on my v1 Pros over the years without issue), and it really does give you some energy return in a way that an “average” (or even above average) midsole does not. But… having tried the Vaporfly, Adios Pro, and RC Elite, I do think the Saucony is prolonging the inevitable of mixing up the midsole for something ultra-squishy (ala Zoom X). It’s not going to keep you from a PR, but it might leave your legs a little more beat up the next day.

Of course, Saucony has also worked in its “Speed Roll” geometry here. In the Pro+, in combination with the plate design, it’s a really fulfilling sensation. As I mentioned, this isn’t an ultra-bouncy experience like you’d find on the Adios Pro - but it really does mimic that falling-forward sensation that we’ve come to expect from marathon racers.

Sally: The midsole is unchanged from the original Pro 1 and 2, so not much to say about updates. The PWRRUN PB foam is energetic and responsive, but still somewhat firm and definitely not as bouncy as other marathon racers such as the Next % or RC Elite or Adios Pro. The SPEEDROLL  geometry propels you forward rather in contrast to the upward bounce of some other shoes.


Michael: Not a ton to say here, and if you’ve read our previous reviews, you know what I’m going to say. The Pro+ has  rubber coverings everywhere you need it (and as I’ve raved about before - this is a racer with some depth to its rubber!) and none where you don’t. I had no slipping concerns whatsoever (and, I quite like the visual element of the forward arrows in the black rubber, which is on the Shift and Speed as well - really sharp).

Sally: The outsole is unchanged, and I don't think Saucony needed to change anything. The outsole works great - good traction, plenty of rubber for durability, not too noisy (that’s a thing for me - I really dislike outsoles that make you feel like others can hear you a mile away). This outsole checks all the boxes.


Michael: This will, of course, closely track my feelings from the original Endorphin Pro. And, as I’ve said before, the Endorphin Pro can rip! The ride itself is firm and controlled - not bouncy (and definitely not out-of-control), but propulsive. The midsole, when compressed, is reactive back and you get some definite “pop” upwards. Coupled with a carbon-plate and Speedroll momentum (and an upper that really locks you in place!), you’re going to want to move fast in these. 

The flip-side to the firmer, PEBA foam is that the ride is slightly fatiguing, comparatively - those not used to a forefoot strike but now Speedrolling their way into that form may experience some new soreness (as with many of the carbon plate racers). In this case, I think I can unequivocally say it’s worth it, for the speed gains - but it’s just not the leg-saving, gravity-avoiding feedback you’ll get in some other top-end racers.

Sally: I enjoy the smooth, forward rolling ride of the Pro +, and was pleased that it possibly felt even less aggressive in the SPEEDROLL than the original. I have favored the Endorphin Speed over the Pro in the past (the original Pro fit too short on me at the same size), but the Pro + with this awesome new upper works really well. I chose to test the Pro + on my final long 21 mile run before Boston after just my initial run in them blew me away, and they did not disappoint. My coach might reprimand me for “racing” this long training run and going at too fast of a pace, but the shoes felt that good, and my legs felt lively. And note that my legs felt great the next day as well.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Michael: Marathon racers have come a long way since the initial Endorphin Pro rolled out - and generally, for the better (and bouncier). The Pro+ is undoubtedly the most impressive of the Endorphin line yet, and if you’re a fan of the Pro model thus far, you’ll be thrilled with the Pro+. It’s lighter, more agile, and just more fun than the previous iteration. But, Saucony’s approach to "carbon-doping" is different from some of the other big players, and I tend to prefer the leg-saving, jelly-like bounce of the competition over the stiffer, more traditional feel of the Pro+. It’s personal preference (and ultimately, a choice between really strong options!) - and you’ll need to try it to see.

Michael’s Score: 9.4/10

Sally: Saucony has a winner here with the Endorphin Pro +, and is sure to be a hit with the Endorphin fans out there that prefer the Speedroll geometry to the bounce of other marathon racers. The improved upper makes for a spunky, light, great fitting (and great looking IMO) racer that is sure to please and lead to PRs for that runner. Will I wear Pro + in the upcoming Boston? Decisions, decisions… The Next % is a proven magic slipper for me (PR at my most recent Major, NYC Marathon 2019), but the Pro+ fits well and feels fast! As Michael says, there are many awesome options, and it comes down to personal preferences. I for one am thrilled to see so many different shoes on the marathon podiums now! I predict that this Endorphin Pro + will be there soon.

Sally’s score:  9.6/10

Sam: In the Video I detail and give 1st run impressions of the Endorphin Pro+. It is compared in the video to Endorphin Pro v1, ASCIS Metaspeed Sky, Puma Deviate Nitro Elite, and Nike Next% v, all sub 7 oz club members.

Watch the Initial Video Review with Comparisons (15:54)


Endorphin Pro 1 (RTR Review) and v2 (RTR Review)

Michael: The ride here is largely conserved from previous Pro interactions, but the fit and finish are higher (and, subjectively, the appearance is much improved!). I think Saucony has done right by this shoe, and sort of brought it to the most perfect form of what it is. It’ll be interesting to see whether they keep rolling on with the dense, PEBA-based midsole, or switch to something more like the Adios Pro or Vaporfly - but regardless, I think if you’re a fan of this line, the Pro+ is by far the best option.

Endorphin Speed 1 (RTR Review) and 2 (RTR Review)

Michael: The Speed is a training/workout counterpart to the Pro+, with some racing potential… if you’re between the two, it’ll largely come down to use cases. While I do think the Pro+ could conceivably be an everyday trainer, I don’t think many want to spend the money (or train all day on carbon), and the Speed is a worthwhile substitute. For racing and hard workouts, though, I think the Pro+ is a smoother, more metered ride. Don’t overlook the lighter Speed RunShield (RTR Review) for those trickier fall and winter days, though!

ASCIS Metaspeed Sky (RTR Review)

Michael: I only tested the ASICS Metaspeed Sky (not its Edge brethren) and came away a big fan - it’s not quite as bouncy a midsole as its Adidas or Nike counterparts, but tracks closely with New Balance, and is just a downright fun ride. Between these two, it’s really down to preferences - the ASICS had a superior upper to the old Endorphin Pro, but the Pro+ has closed that gap… so now it’s a matter of taste! For me, I like the softer feel of the ASICS, just to keep my legs fresh after hard efforts - but you do lose some of that all-out, forward-momentum sensation. 

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite (RTR Review)

Michael: The Nitro Elite and Pro+ are probably the closest-feeling shoes in this comparative section; I think the improved upper and slightly more even-keeled ride (read: less harsh) on the Saucony make it a better pick. But! The cheaper price point and relative availability of the Nitro Elite are appealing, and if you can’t get your hands on a Pro+, I don’t think you’ll lose any time on your next marathon due to “only” running in the Puma. Just ask the Bronze Medalist herself.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 

Michael: Believe it or not, while the Vaporfly Next% is the defacto road race shoe, it’s not a shoe I have a ton of experience with. Even so, it’s undoubtedly a fun and springy shoe - a softer, more trampoline-like effect underfoot compared to the more rigid feel in the Saucony. I like the Nike, but those who value stability and a smooth foot strike won’t go wrong in the Pro+.

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 1 (RTR Review) and 2 (RTR Review)

Michael: The Adios Pro 1 is a bouncy, crazy, immensely fun shoe. I think it’s a superior marathon and half-marathon option, but it really does feel unstable on tight turns and quicker paces, and that may allow the Pro+ to compete in the 5K/10K space. If all you want is bounce, the Adidas is for you - but if you want a little more control, the Saucony is a great option here. 

Skechers Speed Freek (RTR Review)

Michael: For whatever reason, the Speed Freek has become my go-to workout option, even though I don’t think it’s a perfect shoe (and, between us, that title will likely now fall to the Pro+). The Skechers has Hyperburst, which I maintain is probably the most energetic midsole on the market, but the plating here is a little harsh, and the upper (in true Skechers fashion) is hit-or-miss. It took a couple runs (and a lost toenail) to break in, then was fine for 50-70 miles, then I landed another nasty blister on a 20 miler. All that to say - the Skechers is an adequate racer and (like I said for the others) shouldn’t leave you feeling left-out on race day - but it’s not quite as polished as the Pro+.
Limited Quantities!
Endorphin Pro+ Available Now!
USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Endorphin Pro+ Available Now!
USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes.. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Anonymous said...

Hello road trail Read a brief note at doctors of running that Saucony is recalling all of its endorphin trail running shoes. Have you heard of this. And do you know why. The reviews of this shoe weren’t favorable so curious about the recall.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anon,
We heard about the recall a week or so ago and have updated our review to put that notice. Our testers have not seen the issue, seemingly around where midsole and upper are joined in our pairs which were of the Reverie color which was it seems was the color most affected. Our pairs were early production so maybe something changed? As far as its use it is a fine shoe very stable and protective with best use for several of us heavy duty fast hiking on rough terrain but I have also found it a buldozer for those days you just want to plow along with complete protection and stability
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Thank youSam for the update. Do you know if hoka one one is bringing out a third version of the torrent and about when?also have you heard anything from I-nov8 about a second edition of the terraultra G-270?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anon,
I do not have any specific info about those updates but popular models so likely.
I personally hope Inov-8 comes out with a low drop shoe right between G-270 and G300.
Sam, Editor