Friday, February 02, 2024

Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 Multi Tester Review: 9 Comparisons

Article by Derek Li, Renee Krusemark, Jacob Brady, and Joost De Raeymaeker

Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 ($225)


Introduction

Derek: I have previously tested the Saucony Endorphin Pro 1, Pro+ and 3. Didn’t get v2 as it didn’t seem like a big difference from v1; bought the Pro+ instead as I’m a sucker for white colorways. Pro 3 was the first big upgrade in terms of geometry and with the Pro 4, they have decided to revamp the geometry yet again. 


Pro 4 also sees the incorporation of their new HG foam (first used in the Endorphin Elite), while previous versions of the Endorphin Pro only ever used their PWRRUN PB foam. 


Other notable changes include the use of a new bouncier foam for their sockliner, coined SRS for Super Responsive Sockliner, and an updated lattice structured outsole. Ultimately, it’s the overall ride that counts, so let’s see how all these changes add up!

Jacob: I was especially excited to test the Endorphin Pro 4 as I hadn’t run in the line since version 2. I didn’t get to test 3, which sounded dramatically better than 1 and 2 for my preferences (wider, more forgiving).

Joost: I am the lucky one who got all versions of the Endorphin Pro so far. Version 1 and 2 were practically identical, apart from a minor upper update. They felt great for uptempo work and the pronounced rocker and low forefoot worked well for my gait, but they weren’t really suited to running a whole marathon. 


Version 3 was a radical departure from the previous versions and I took them almost straight out of the box to run a local informal marathon in them. They felt great, well cushioned, balanced and extremely comfortable. My only gripe with them was that the upper ripped apart on me on the lateral front side where I land after 300 miles or so. Version 4 is yet another departure from the previous version, with a different foam core and geometry and a different upper. I was excited to try them out.

Pros: 

Comfortable fit with good lockdown - Derek/Renee/Jacob/Joost

Outsole better on wet roads than predecessors- Derek/Jacob

Light weight, great for speed work - Renee

Smooth, forgiving ride - Jacob/Joost

Stable - Jacob

Soft, very cushioned, yet snappy - Joost


Cons: 

Less responsive and less aggressive rocker - Derek

Requires fast forefoot landing for efficiency and comfort -  Renee

Not as fast at short distances than many racers - Jacob

Heavier than some of the competition - Joost


Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Stats

Weight: men's 7.76oz  / 220g (US9)  /  women's 6.68 oz / 189g US8

Samples: 

  men’s  7.62 oz  / 216g US8.5   (v3: 7:3 oz / 206g US8.5) ),  

                 7.95 oz / 225g US 9.5, 8.9 oz / 251g US12

  7.94 oz /225g  US 9.5

  women’s 6.68 oz / 189g US8, 6.70 oz / 189g (US8)

Stack Height: men’s 39.5 mm heel / 31.5 mm forefoot (unchanged)

Platform Width: v4 85mm heel 75mm midfoot 110mm forefoot

                          v3 85mm heel 67mm midfoot 110mm  forefoot

 $225  Releases Feb 29, 2024


First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Derek: Out of the box, the Pro 4 look bigger and wider than its predecessors and in fact the midfoot platform is approximately 8mm wider than v3. 


It’s clear a lot of work has gone into the sculpting of the midsole, to give it a more angular appearance.  It certainly looks radical compared to shoes from other brands, and indeed other shoes within the Saucony lineup. Step-in feel is very comfortable with the new upper. The primary material used is a thin perforated synthetic mesh that is less abrasive than the v3’s net-like nylon material. 

The material is a bit stiffer at midfoot and around the heel, with a semi rigid heel counter. 

The construct of the heel is nearly identical to the v3, except at the Achilles, the material feels a bit softer and seems to extend up the heel a little bit more. 

There are 5 primary rows of eyelets with an additional eyelet for heel lock lacing for anyone who needs it. I doubt it would be necessary for most runners. 

The laces are semi-elastic and sit on an integrated knitted tongue. The execution on this is very good, and there is no bunching of the tongue or sloppiness after you lace up the shoes. 



Overall, the internal volume is on the higher side at the forefoot, with a good laminated internal toe guard that guarantees good height at the toebox. V3’s fit was somewhat on the long/narrow end of the spectrum. 

People with narrow feet tended to size down, and people with wider feet had to size up. In the past year, looking at fit recommendations from users, i could see it was all over the place. 


Personally, v3 was true to size and fit me well. V4’s fit is now more moderated, and should fit the vast majority of runners well at bang on true to size. I would have liked a slightly snugger toebox for a racier feel, but i think for a marathon racing shoe, it works fine. 


Renee: I received the EP4 after reviewing the Puma FAST-R v2 and while also reviewing the New Balance SC Elite 4. I had great speed workouts in the EP4, and I think it’s yet another great option in the now vast universe of plated super shoes. 


Derek has the details about the upper. I had great security and comfort with the upper. I have a narrow heel and a low-volume foot, and while the upper looks overly stretchy, it’s secure. 

The heel looks like a trainer, missing the extra internal pads some of the super shoes have, but I had no slipping. 


As  Derek mentioned, there is an additional eyelet, and I only laced through it when running with ultra thin socks (I always laced through the extra eyelet on the SC Elite 4). 


The integrated knitted tongue offers a lot of volume (if you need it but I don't), so the material folds over itself on the lateral side. I never had issues with the material of the tongue causing irritation or discomfort. 

I found the sizing similar to all Saucony shoes, with a touch more length as compared to other super shoes in the same size. 


Jacob: The build quality and design is professional. It has a slipper-style, tongueless upper with elastic on the tongue area. It has a streamlined style. With the white, red, black, and deep purple colorway, it’s bold but not bright. The materials are soft on the foot. I think the upper is great and I like the look and fit. 10/10 style to me.

The fit is true to size and fits my medium width foot well. Shoes usually fit me true to size but the Endorphin Pro 1 and 2 were too narrow for me. The Endorphin Pro 4 is very comfortable, not a snug race fit. I have to lace tighter than I thought I wanted to given the minimal padding below the laces, but I never had an issue with discomfort. At looser lacing it feels too imprecise but when laced ideally it is locked in while remaining comfortable. 


It is plush underfoot, the foam feels forgiving but not mushy.


Joost: The others went into great detail about the upper. The Pro 4 fits me true to size and even though, it’s a race type fit, it never felt constrained in any way, in spite of my wide feet. 

One smart move Saucony made was to extend the toe bumper a bit, bending backwards (the translucent piece shown on the bottom shoe above below the logo)  and attached to the upper, so the big toe is never touching the upper directly. With such thin material, I think lots of people would easily tear through the upper in that area. It has happened to me in a number of shoes. This smart trick will avoid that completely. My very tender heel felt great in the flexible heel counter of the Pro 4. Great upper and I figure it will last quite a bit longer than the previous version.


Midsole & Platform

Stack Height: men’s 39.5 mm heel / 31.5 mm forefoot (unchanged)

Platform Width: v4 85mm heel 75mm midfoot 110mm forefoot

                         v3 85mm heel 67mm midfoot 110mm  forefoot


Derek: The midsole is now dual density, with PWRRUN PB as the outer carrier with PWRRUN HG sitting as the inner core. HG was tested as more metabolically efficient than PB in the Endorphin Elite (RTR Review) by Saucony and I also found it firmer than PB by durometer measurements

I think runners who previously found v1/2/3 to be overly narrow and perhaps unstable would appreciate the more stable design here. Even though the measured widths of the heel are the same on v3 and v4, the flared midsole with a slightly more scalloped design lets your foot sit a little lower in the shoe to give it a bit more inherent stability. 


Saucony confirmed to RTR that the carbon fiber plate is unchanged from v3.  The heel to toe drop stays unchanged at 8mm. 


In terms of underfoot feel, the shoe is definitely softer and bouncier at the heel than v3 for me, to the extent that the shoe compresses noticeably more at the heel when loaded, and the dynamic drop of the shoe feels lower than what a typical 8mm drop shoe should feel like. The forefoot underfoot feel stays pretty close to that of v3, with a more responsive touch that still gives you good rebound when you pick up the pace. 


The Speedroll geometry of the forefoot rocker is still there, though I have to say I miss the more rigid formulation used in v1/v2.

In terms of cushioning and vibration dampening, it’s better than v3, and on par with the best 39-40mm heel stack shoes from other brands; think Vaporfly 3 here.  

Renee: Derek has the details. I found the midsole to feel comfortable. I stopped running in the shoe to review the New Balance SC Elite 4, and when I switched back, the midsole felt firm in comparison. I had several workouts in the EP4 when I ran a slow 2-3 miles for a warm-up. Getting to the end of those warm-up miles, the midsole can feel too firm. The shoe wants to go fast to remain comfortable. I don’t think the shoe is narrow, but the midfoot felt a bit snug when I wasn’t striking fast from the forefoot. The roll forward is what I expect from a super shoe.  

Jacob: The midsole is dual layer, composed of PWRRUN HG and PWRRUN PB. The majority of the visible midsole is PWRRUN PB, but some HG is visible at the top of the heel with the HG actsingas the central core of the shoe. 

The Pro 4 has a forgiving, bouncy, feel—classic characteristics that you’d find in a super shoe in 2024. It is also, as you’d expect, carbon-plated, and continues Saucony’s Speedroll technology using the same plate as v3. 


On the foot I don’t feel the plate very much and the foam is really comfortable. It isn’t overtly powerful or distinctive in its category. Along with the wide platform and design of the plate, it’s a "cruiser"—a pretty easy going super shoe.

Joost: To the touch, squeezing laterally, the midsole feels nearly identical to the Speed 4, but when running, it feels very different. Part of that is probably to ascribe to the PWRRUN HG core, but another big contributor to the very soft feel of the shoe and what Derek pinned as the lower dynamic drop feeling is the new sockliner. It is quite thick and very soft. If you’re a heel striker, you will definitely feel like you’re in a lower drop shoe than the listed 8mm. 


For forefoot strikers, the main feeling is one of a great amount of cushioning, but also of great rebound, something we’ve come to expect from most super shoes. I found the Pro 3 a little easier and more natural feeling right out of the box to just go out and run. The Pro 4 required some “thinking” before it became more natural.


Outsole

Derek: The new lattice outsole looks great and has proven to be very durable in testing. I’m expecting outsole durability to be on par with v1/v2 here, so better than the blown rubber formulation that v3 used at the forefoot. The downside of this is that while the lattice design gives better outsole grip than all the prior versions on dry surfaces, there is still a bit of skidding on wet roads, though not as bad as it was in v1/v2. 


Renee: The outsole is fairly on par with other racing road shoes. To add to Derek’s thoughts, the outsole has a cutout to expose the plate and reduce weight. Other plated shoes have this type of cutout, and there’s always the chance of picking up larger gravel. 


Jacob: The outsole is made of Saucony’s typically durable, thin, firm-leaning rubber. It is the typical racer pattern of a large piece in the forefoot, then one piece on the perimeter of each side of the heel. The traction and durability are solid. 


As I’ve been testing in the winter in Maine, USA, I have tested on a lot of wet roads and also snow and ice. It’s decent, predictable, and not sketchy. As the rubber is thin, even with the quality compound, I was a bit concerned about high-mileage durability for using it as a trainer. However, At 65 miles / 104 km on the shoes so far, there is no significant wear.


Joost: Enough rubber where you need it, in this new configuration provides more than enough traction. I also don’t foresee any durability problems.


Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations


Derek: I managed to take the shoes up to 22 km in distance, and also used it for a bunch of shorter fartlek type sessions. The shoes will likely still suit midfoot and forefoot strikers the best. Although cushioning is excellent, I found the heel to be overly soft and transitions struggled at anything less than race efforts. 

The likely reason for this feeling could be the decision to have less outsole rubber coverage in V4 compared to V3, since stack numbers are unchanged from from V3 to V4 and the plate shape is unchanged. 


Even the moderate-uptempo paces (7:00-7:30/mile for me) don’t feel very efficient, as I linger a bit too long on the heel, and the roll-through seems to lack that bit of assistance. Maybe they need to angle the plate forward a little more? 


At faster paces, the shoe feels better, and the spring off the forefoot on toe-off is much better, but I doubt this sort of stride is sustainable for long races for the majority of runners. 


Overall, the shoes don’t give me as much of a mechanical assist compared to the Endorphin Pro 3, and I think the primary group who would benefit from it are people who want a more cushioned forefoot and are primarily mid-forefoot strikers. It is puzzling for me as I generally prefer lower drop shoes that suit forefoot loading like the ASICS Metaspeed Sky or Nike Alphafly 1. Perhaps it is the overly soft heel? 


As an example, Hoka Rocket X 2 is a low drop soft heel shoe, and it too doesn’t really work for me and I struggle to stay on the forefoot in that shoe. I think the main thing is that there is hardly any plate feel underfoot, or maybe there is no dynamic drop increase with the forefoot loading in this EP4.


I find that with EP4, the whole package seems to bounce up rather than forward. Maybe a plate geometry issue? Maybe I would prefer a more differentiated softness from heel to forefoot? The EP4 actually reminds me a lot of a more cushioned version of the Hoka Mach 4. The ride is very similar, just with a ton more cushioning underfoot. You will need a similar sort of running style, so if you liked the Mach 4, you definitely want to try this shoe. With Mach 4, as it is with EP4, it feels good for about 6-8 miles, then I start to tire and it feels harder to maintain turnover in them. 

Derek’s score: 8.88 /10

Ride (50%): 8.5 Fit (30%): 9 Value (15%): 9.5 Style (5%): 10

Smiles score 😊😊😊1/2


Renee: The EP 4 is a fun shoe and very capable of fast paces while remaining comfortable and secure. The shoe favors a strong mid to forefoot strike. The shoe works fine for warm-up paces, although I did find them a bit harsh while going slow for 3 mile warm-ups. For speed workouts, by the time I reached cool-down miles, I needed to remain within 30 seconds of marathon paces. 


To be clear, the purpose of the shoe: to maintain a marathon pace or faster. The Speedroll and geometry want to go quick, and the midfoot can feel a bit narrow when not quickly taking off from the forefoot. 


I wouldn’t choose the shoe for slower efforts or for a marathon when I wasn’t putting forth a good effort.  There are other super plated shoes I would choose if I wasn’t feeling my strongest, notably the NB Elite v4. I can see some runners choosing the EP4 over the VF4 if they want a more solid forefoot landing. 


Those who like the Endorphin Elite but can’t handle the aggressive forefoot rocker will find the EP4 more user friendly. I lost track of the miles I have in them. While snowed in for a few days, I used these shoes for multiple 6-10 mile treadmill workouts, which made indoor running enjoyable. I probably have 70+ miles and they look and feel like they are new, aside from some dirt in the outsole. 

Renee’s Score: 9.4/10 (-.40 requires a consistent forefoot strike for comfort, .-20 might be narrow in the midfoot for some)

😊😊😊😊😊



Jacob: The Endorphin Pro 4 has a relaxed, easy cruising ride. It is forgiving, stable, and smooth. It has plate-directed energy, is lightweight, and leads to faster paces for the effort level. Combined with the comfort, it is a great shoe. I have worn it for training more than any other plated racer since the NB RC Elite 2. I usually don’t use carbon-plated racing shoes for training, but the Endorphin Pro 4 feels to me clearly not as fast as many of the extant modern racing shoes, so it seems reasonable.


I find the best pace is endurance up to marathon pace. When taken faster than that it is harder to move and not snappy enough. At slower paces, it’s still an acceptably enjoyable ride, but I wouldn’t use a plated racer for slow, easy runs. I have not been running long recently, but I did take the Endorphin Pro 4 for a 10-mile cruise and had a great time. It was easy to move faster than expected, my feet were comfortable, and I had reliable traction on the small sections of snow and ice. If I was marathon training, I would use it for some long run workouts.


I raced the Endorphin Pro 4 for the only race I had on my schedule at the time, a hilly 4-miler. From testing prior, I knew this did not give me my best chance of running a fast time, the Endorphin Pro 4 does not feel that fast, but I thought it was worth trying it for testing. As expected, it was not ideal. I felt there was a lack of snap, like it didn’t feel smooth nor encouraging if I tried to go faster (for absolute pace reference, I averaged 5:50 min/mi). For me, there are other shoes, such as the Nike Alphafly 1 (which I wore in the 4-miler last year and ran a PR in 21:43 [5:23 min/mi]), which feel smoother the faster I can go. For the Endorphin Pro 4, the fastest pace I think it handles well is around marathon pace.  


I would recommend the Endorphin Pro 4 to runners who like training in a carbon-plated shoe and are looking for something easy going to bust out long runs and fartleks. It could be an asset in marathon training to keep your legs fresh. As I noted above, I used the NB RC Elite 2 for the same purpose. I also ran the RC Elite 2 for a backyard ultra (66 miles). I would consider the Endorphin Pro 4 for road ultra use, though I think it favors a slightly faster pace than the RC Elite 2. Runners who find other plated super shoes to be too aggressive for the marathon might like the Endorpin Pro 4 for racing.


My rating assumes the use case is not to race short distances.

Jacob’s Score: 9.23 / 10

Ride: 9.5 (50%), Fit: 9.5 (30%), Value: 7.5 (15%), Style: 10 (5%)

😊😊😊😊😊


Joost: As a forefoot striker, the Pro 4 felt very soft and efficient. I never experienced the issues Derek has because of the soft heel. Speedroll and the new foam combination work a charm for marathon and faster paces for me. Doing strides in them was a treat. I’ve also run slow in them, but had to think a bit about my feet when doing so, which is not ideal when you want to go for a recovery run or just relax. It’s not entirely fair to judge the shoe by how it feels running slow, though, since it’s made to run fast and long.


Lately, I’ve been checking with my athletes on how they feel in different super shoes and boy, there are a lot of different opinions. Some swear by brand A and can’t even stand the sight of brand B and some are the complete opposite. Last Saturday, I took the Pro 4 to the training session on our local track and had some of my faster guys run a couple of laps in them. Overall opinion was more or less like mine: very comfortable, great to pick up the pace in, soft and bouncy with a good turnover. Even if you don’t plan to race in them, you might want to get a pair to use for your next half marathon, marathon or ultra training block. Jacob mentioned ultras and I think he’s onto something here. I was planning on running the Comrades ultra marathon in South Africa (which is now a no go for me because of my heel injury) and this would be a great choice for the distance and the road.


Joost’s Score: 9.70 / 10

Ride 9.6 (50%), Fit 10 (30%), Value 9.5 (15%), Style 9.5 (5%)

😊😊😊😊😊

9 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE Roadtrailrun 


Saucony Endorphin Pro 1, Pro+, Pro 2 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in all models. The earlier Endorphin Pros only saw upper update variations of EP1. In general, the earlier EP models have a more traditional firmer heel, softer forefoot type of ride, with an aggressive rocker that made them very popular for workouts and shorter distance races. 


The EP4 bucks this trend for me, and feels generally softer across the board, and the resultant effect is a less effective rocker but also better cushioning for longer runs. I feel the earlier Endorphins maybe worked better for people who use more of a roll-through type of stride, while EP4 works better for runners with a more “push off from forefoot” type of stride. 


Jacob: US 12 in all models but both 1 and 2 were too narrow for me, firmer and more rigid than I prefer, and I didn’t care much for either of them. Verison 4 resolves all my problems with 1 and 2 but feels like a different style of shoe. It is less snappy and less racer-like.


Joost (M9.5 in all): I really liked the Pro 1 and 2. They felt very snappy, fast and the rocker was incredible, but they were less suited for longer distances. The Pro 4 is a very different beast altogether. Much softer, bulkier, but more in line with the current trend in super shoes. Better suited for that longer faster work and (ultra)marathons.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 3  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. The EP3 while revamped in geometry and foams, has the similar firm heel, soft forefoot type of ride, and the difference is similar to what I experience as described in the EP1/2/Pro+ vs EP4. Again,Ii think they work better for different types of running styles.


Joost (M9.5 in both): The Pro 3 was a put on your feet and forget it’s their kind of shoe for me. The Pro 4 is quite different, with the added cushion and different geometry. The Pro 4 has by far the better upper, but it might not appeal to heel strikers.


Saucony Endorphin Elite  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. This is where things struck me as odd. It made sense to have EP3 and Endorphin Elite as they suit different types of runners, but now both top end racers are sort of targeted at the same sort of running style. EE has a more aggressive rocker and nicer forefoot spring and rebound. It feels faster for me at all paces. The drawback of EE is that it has quite a weak outsole on wet roads and the EP4 has a relatively better and more durable outsole in this respect.


Renee: As Derek wrote, the EE has a more aggressive forefoot rocker. While both shoes favor a strong forefoot strike, the EE is far more aggressive. I find the EP4 a bit more user friendly for that reason. The EP4 upper is more comfortable without compromising security. The EP4 also has more ground feel between the two, which helps with a stable landing. Sizing is comparable. 


Nike Vaporfly 3  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.0 in VF3 and US9.5 in EP4. Both are quite soft and forgiving. The big difference is that the VF3 heel does not bottom out as much as EP4 so the higher drop is preserved better and you get a much more effective roll-through effect with the shoe. The VF3 is lighter and fits quite similarly to EP4 in terms of lockdown. The forefoot of VF3 is marginally narrower to me. Overall, i prefer the more versatile ride of the VF3.


Renee: I agree with Derek that the VF3 is more versatile. As a lighter, more nimble shoe, the VF3 is good for any distance (including 5ks), while the EP4 favors the marathon or maybe half marathon. Both shoes work great for speed workouts, but the VF3’s lighter weight is noticed. I find the EP4 to have a more cushioned forefoot. I wore a women’s size 8 in both. I found the sizing similar with a touch more length in the EP4. 


Jacob: This comparison is not close, they are very different shoes within the high-stack plated category. The VF 3 is lighter, more responsive, feels closer to the ground, is snappier, is snugger, and feels like it wants to go fast. The EP4 is more relaxed, slower, more plush. I agree with Renee that the sizing is similar. Both fit well at true to size.


Joost (M9.5 in both): Although I really like the ride of the VF3, the upper doesn’t really do it for me. I tend to land on the very lateral edge of my forefoot and I feel my foot slipping off the platform a bit. None of this with the great fitting upper and geometry of the Pro 4. If I were to race a marathon tomorrow, however, I would still pick the VF3, but would prefer the Pro 4 for almost all of my long hard training runs.


ASICS Metaspeed Edge+  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Both shoes have an official 8mm drop but the differences in perceived drop when running is quite stark. The Edge+ sits at the other end of the spectrum with a relatively firm underfoot ride across the board. Despite the EP4 feeling softer and more cushioned, i feel more efficient in the Edge+ and i would prefer the Edge+ for all types of runs with the exception of easier runs where i would prefer the softer ride of the EP4.


Adidas Adios Pro 3  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 for both shoes. AP3 is the same 8mm drop as the EP4, and near identical stack. The Lightstrike Pro is a bit firmer, and the overall underfoot feel is a bit firmer for the AP3. AP3 is a bit more stable for me. Neither shoe has a particularly effective rocker that works well for me, but i would say the AP3 feels more effective for my running style. That said, the EP4 upper works better for me. Between the two "evils", i would say ride trumps fit, and i would prefer the AP3 over the EP4 for all runs. 


Renee: The shoes run differently for me as compared to Derek’s experience. The Adios Pro 3 feels more forgiving and softer underfoot. The EP4 requires a fast forefoot strike to remain comfortable. In terms of the uppers, I agree with Derek that the EP4 is more comfortable and secure. For fast and aggressive paces, I’d choose the EP4. For comfort at longer runs only, I’d choose the Adios Pro 3. For sizing, the Adios Pro 3 is unisex. The men’s 7 is a women’s 8, which I found a touch long. For women’s sizing, I suggest the EP4 at one and one-half sizes longer than the men’s/unisex Adios Pro 3 size. 


Jacob: Somewhat similar shoes in that they are both of the looser-upper, relatively slower style (I wouldn’t race either for less than a marathon). I agree with Derek that the AP3 feels a bit firmer. For me it is less comfortable around and below the foot than the EP4. The AP3 doesn’t feel that fast or smooth to me, I don’t get much snap. I think the EP4 is more versatile and comfortable so would pick it as a trainer.


On Cloudboom Echo 3  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Cloudboom Ech 3 is a shoe that has a relatively firm ride for most people. I actually find it ok. I find it on par with the Adios Pro 3 for cushioning. It has a firmer heel, softer forefoot type of ride, and an aggressive heel-toe rocker that suits both the roll-through and forefoot loading type of stride. The weak point of the On is the outsole durability, but otherwise, it’s a very refined shoe for me, that is among the most stable and versatile on the market.


Joost (M9.5 in both): The Echo 3 is a very different feeling shoe. It rides a lot firmer than the Pro 4 and feels more natural and responsive to me because of that. I would race in the Echo and train in the Pro.


New Balance SC Elite 4  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in the EP4 and fit US9.0 best in the SCE4. SCE4 is a lower drop type of shoe, similar to Nike Alphafly 1, ASICS Metaspeed Sky, Sky+, and favors a running style with a strong calf action and forefoot loading type of stride. It has superb underfoot cushioning and a deep, cushioned rebound. If you are a heel-striker, however, you might find the ride a bit flat and transitions a bit sluggish. In that respect, i think the EP4 and SCE4 are quite similar. I find the SCE4 to have a bit less of a bottoming out type of feel, and tends to roll-through a little bit better even for heel-strikers. Overall, EP4 is probably better for workouts and shorter races as it is noticeably lighter, but for long runs and marathon races, the SCE4 is the better shoe for me.


Renee: I ran in the EP4 and SC Elite 4 during the testing time frame. The SC Elite 4 is by far the more accessible shoe in terms of pace and comfort. The shoe can be fast and works much better at slower paces as compared to the EP4. For speed, I’d choose the EP4, but only if I could maintain a consistent and quick forefoot landing. For comfort, I’d choose the SC Elite 4. I had some issues with the tongue sliding on SC Elite 4. Sizing is comparable. 


Puma FAST-R Nitro v2  (RTR Review)

Renee: The FAST-R v2 is a fun shoe with a great upper and unbeatable outsole. While I enjoy the shoe, it’s heavier than other options, including the EP4. Both shoes require a fast forefoot strike, although the FAST-R even more so. For the average runner (me included), the EP4 will work far better. Sizing is comparable, with the EP4 having a touch more length. 


Joost's Video Reviews of the Endorphin Speed and Pro 4 



Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 Multi Tester Review 6 Comparisons

Tester Profiles

Derek is in his 40’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:39 marathon PR from the 2022 Zurich Marathon.


Renee is a former U.S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.


Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over four years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 27 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.


Joost is a Belgian in his 50s living in Luanda, Angola, Africa, where he faces the heat, humidity and general chaos to run anything between 60-100 miles per week. He was on a mission to run and win in his age group in the 6 marathon majors and got his 6th star at London in 2023 with a 2:26:10 PB in Berlin in 2019 at 51. He won his M50 AG at the 2022 Chicago Marathon in 2:29 and in 2023 won his AG in London in 2:36. Only Boston, so far, escapes him for an AG win at the 6 Majors. He ran in primary school, but then thought it would be a lot cooler to be a guitar player in a hard rock band, only picking up running again in 2012, gradually improving his results. Please check out Joost's coaching service here


The Endorphin Pro 4 releases Feb. 29, 2024

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