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Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Team Review
Full Team Review by Matt Klein, Nathan Brown, and David Salas


Saucony continues upon the big success of the original Endorphin Speed with a stellar upper update in the Endorphin Speed 2. The lockdown is improved throughout and the heel security is greatly improved. The shoe rides more fluid through its transition points and also feels a tad more versatile at both easy and faster paces because of this update.



Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 7.8 ounces (men's size 9)  6.8 ounces (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35.5mm/27.5mm
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Performance Trainer/ Racer


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 returns working on the success of the original. Tweaks to the upper create a far more secure upper through the lacing, overlays and especially at the heel. Although no changes were supposedly made to the sole, the ride feels far more stable than previous while still being a neutral shoe. Continuing to use a nylon plate, the ride is bouncy and snappy without being aggressive. A great lightweight trainer/racer for many, subtle changes make for big improvements in the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2.

David: The Saucony Endorphin Speed keeps a lot of its original ingredients, but expands upon the upper. The lacing system, upper/overlays, and the heel layout is updated. The result is a much better lockdown to this already highly versatile favorite of many. 

Nathan: Fans of the original Endorphin Speed will be happy to find a very similar experience in this next version. It’s slightly heavier, and the new upper and minor construction changes allow this to function even more as a trainer than the previous version.



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 fits me true to size in my normal men's size 10. The upper fits slightly snug like the previous version but with more thickness to the upper. There are far more overlays in the heel and midfoot, which provide additional security. The forefoot continues to be a more open mesh that stretches slightly. The heel is far more secure with more volume around the collar. There is what feels like a more substantial heel counter. This is offset but a high level of cushioning and I did not have any irritation wearing it. The midfoot features a gusseted tongue and laces that lock down the foot far better. I have not had to lace lock the shoe and the laces have stayed very secure. There is a toe guard up front that creates a little pressure against the toes when running sockless. This shoe is best to be worn with socks for that reason. The upper does break in and widen slightly with time, particularly in the forefoot. However the laces retain the midfoot security well. 

David: The Saucony Endorphin Speed fits true to size in my normal 9.5. The upper contains the majority of updates with the new model. The shoe now utilizes a lacing system which successfully contributes positively to lockdown throughout the dorsum of the foot. The upper also has less overlays throughout and utilizes a more breathable mesh. The heel also feels like it is secured a little bit better with a better hold from the upper, sidewalls, and the heel collar itself. The tongue is gusseted and I had no slippage. The width is normal to slightly narrow throughout, consistent with a performance like fit. I had no problems with irritation or excessive rubbing, but the medial aspect of the heel does feel a tad snug. The toe box is normal width and has enough room for normal toe splay. 

NathanThe upper is the biggest change to this shoe, and overall is a bit more narrow and snug. The material is still thin and breathable, and despite narrowing a bit still has ample volume in the toe box consistent with what you saw in the original version. By volume, I do not mean that this shoe is wide, but it does not compress down on the toes from above and has good height to the toe box, allowing some wiggle room for the toes. The tongue has adequate padding and the more narrow heel holds the rear foot on the platform very securely. Over the first two runs my heel developed a small blister, but it did not occur again afterwards. The upper did break in over those few runs for me to be more flexible and fit more comfortably.



PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Matt: The set up of the sole is very similar to the previous version. However, like the Endorphin Shift 2, I found some mild differences in the Speed 2. The ride feels slightly softer to me than the previous version but only by a small amount. The PWRRUN PB rolls and gently bounces along nicely. The nylon plate provides some mild stiffness at the front and a snappy toe off when the pace picks up. It is less noticeable at slower speeds, which is really nice when you don't want a super stiff ride. The slightly softer ride makes the heel bevel feel more smooth as the sole seems to give just a bit more. There is plenty of sole underneath for miles of protection. The toe spring is smooth in the forefoot, particularly at training paces. At top speeds the plate is a little more relaxed than other shoes, but it handles a variety of paces well. I have used this shoe for workouts, long runs and easy runs without issue and as per usual, the Speed 2 does well in all of them. This is a well cushioned, bouncy, lightweight trainer than will handle mileage for those wanting a bouncy light ride and races for those who want a less aggressive but protective ride over long miles. The nylon plate is not aggressive, so many people will be able to train in this shoe. The ride is well-rockered, so those wanting a shoe to replace some missing motion in their toe joints without being aggressive will enjoy this shoe too. 

David: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 benefits in the performance category too from the update to the upper. The improved lockdown gives a much more connected feel to the platform throughout the gait cycle. The Speedroll design does make for some very quick transitions through the heel and midfoot, with a slightly prolonged forefoot relying on the flexibility of the nylon plate. The shoe certainly has some forefoot rigidity from the plate, but is definitely more flexible than the carbon plated options. The shoe is pretty relieving with the ride because the plate is noticeable, but not so much you can't run easy in the shoe. I really like having the shoe for full workout days where I can warm up, work out, and cool down in the same shoe. From a racing perspective, you could totally use it, especially if you don't like how rigid some of the carbon plated shoes are getting. Because of the rocker and quick transition and longer forefoot contact, I did get a little bit of burning/fatigue in my shins near the tibialis anterior, but nothing problematic. The shoe can certainly do a little bit of everything. 

Nathan: You like what you had in the first version? Cool, you’ve got it here for the most part. The little extra weight and what felt like a more flexible Pebax plate make this shoe perform even better for daily miles. However, the foam continues to be very bouncy and responsive, and the toe spring (Speedroll) feels propulsive as the pace picks up. For me, it really found its magic when the pace picked up for anything more than just “going out for a run”. The toe spring is quite noticeable, and I did find my hamstrings to be sore after running in this shoe each time I did.


STABILITY

Matt: For a shoe that wasn't supposed to change the sole, the stability has improved in the Speed 2. This is particularly noticeable in the heel, which was a problem that limited me in the last version. The additional lockdown from the laces and increased security of the heel certainly contribute to this. The previous version has some issues with heel security in the upper, which likely contributed to the feeling of instability. The forefoot list still stable like all the Endorphin line. The plate, toe spring and wider base up front provide a quick guided transition forward. Overall, this is a more neutral shoe and those wanting more stability should look at the Endorphin Shift 2. However, there are small improvements that will open this shoe up to more people that are interested. 

David: The Endorphin Speed 2 certainly improves with stability. There were no changes in the outsole or midsole to my knowledge, but the improved lockdown creates a much more stable hold to the platform of the shoe. The runner feels more connected to the shoe and to the ground as well. The upper has a great lockdown throughout and I did not have any problems with heel security like I did in the previous version. Before it felt like my heel was floating, but everything felt very connected in the second version. The shoe has pretty decent stability for its construction, but still leans more towards the unstable end just because of the high stack and narrow platform. The foam itself is stabilized pretty well from the plate I feel. 

Nathan: This was an area of improvement for me. Weirdly, the original Speed was the one original Endorphin shoe that didn’t work for me. This was two reasons: first, the heel was quite unstable for me (particularly at slower pace), and second, the side wall on the medial side of the shoe pushed into my foot causing pain with every run (and also pushing me laterally and likely worsening the instability for me). These two things were both improved. The side wall was mellowed (possibly because of the upper update) and the upper narrowing stabilized the heel enough for me to be able to appreciate this shoe for everything it is. That said, the bouncy foam, overall more narrow platform, and higher stack do create a less overall stability. 



THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Today I wanted to talk about what the influence of an upper can do. Most people think of an upper as a slapped piece of mesh over a shoe platform, but this is far from the case. If the upper does not lock down well on a performance shoe it can create slippage or translation of the foot or slippage in the heel. The previous version of the shoe did not have great heel security and had a floating sensation in the heel. The Endorphin Speed 2 dials in the fit in the heel both with the heel collar/upper and the sidewalls integrated from the midsole. The result is a bucket like sensation in the heel that gives it a good hold throughout both medially and laterally. The shoe also locks down better throughout the dorsum and midfoot as well. The foot definitely feels like it is more connected to the platform and the transition feels more natural because of this. Never underestimate uppers! 

- David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS


RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: The Endorphin Speed 2 did well not not mess too much with the success of the last version. It does well for a large number of people, so it is hard to suggest major changes. I would however suggest widening the midfoot a little for natural stability. This is more of a trainer than a racing shoe, so a small weight gain would be acceptable and would also differentiate this shoe more from the Endorphin Pro 2. 

David: The Endorphin Speed 2 did very well with the update. I am pretty close agreement with Nathan on this one. The shoe has done well for so many and does work well for me personally. I think widening the midfoot slightly, or just creating a tad more rigidity through the midfoot of the shoe might improve the stability a little more. Overall I am pretty happy with the new upper.

Nathan: I think the Speed and Speed 2 have worked so well for so many. It’s hard to recommend major changes to this shoe. Keep this shoe in the same line as it is, and start playing with the Pro for updates to foam, geometry, etc. One option to push stability forward could be slightly widening the mid foot contact with the ground.



WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is a lightweight trainer / performance shoe / less aggressive racing shoe for those who want a PEBA foam plated shoe with a little more flexibility. The mild increase in stability improves the ride at slower paces while retaining the ability to pick up the pace. The Endorphin Speed 2 excels most at tempo runs and long runs given the fun, bouncy and lightweight ride. However, plenty of people will be able to train full time in this shoe given the protection, rocker and less aggressive ride. As versatile (if not slightly more so) as the Speed OG, the Endorphin Speed 2 will continue to make the crowds happy. 

David: The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is a performance driven shoe for someone that wants plate like responsiveness out of their shoe with a little more flexibility up front. The shoe definitely shines with workouts or race type pacing, but does much better than its predecessor with slower paces as well. A highly versatile shoe that many will be able to find room in the rotation for. 

Nathan: The Endorphin Speed 2 continues what people loved about the original with a little more stability in the heel and a slightly heavier construction. Best for uptempo work but certainly can do training and high mileage, this shoe is still simply wonderful.

The Endorphin 2 Collection. (Shift, Pro, Speed)


GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: B+ (Slightly snug in the forefoot with good security in the heel and midfoot. Would like to see external heel counter for additional stability)
Performance: (Versatile ride. This shoe can do pretty much anything. Responsive, plated, but not overly aggressive for easy runs. Really good at tempo and long runs. ) 
Stability: (Improved from previous, but midfoot could be better) 
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (One of the few shoes designed based on research. The Speedroll, nylon plate and PWRRUN PB foam make this a fun shoe that works for a large number of people. Sometimes less aggressive is a good thing!) 
Personal:  A- (A fun shoe. Wish it had a touch more stability at midfoot. Overall better than the original for me though) 
Overall: B+/A- (Continuing to be one of the best versatile performance trainer/racers on the market)             

David

Fit: A- (A little narrow in the medial heel, overall fits great throughout with good volume, width, and lockdown)                 
Performance:  
(Probably the most responsive and versatile non carbon plated racer on the market, really impressive) 
Stability: 
(Good for its construction but high stack, softer foam, narrow last decrease stability a little bit) 
DPT/Footwear Science:  
(A cocktail of solid components, flexible and responsive plate, PEBA based midsole, and a rocker design that feels natural throughout) 
Personal:  
(I really like the Endorphin Speed. This is definitely one of the top training companions I like to reach for, though I do lean Pro for racing) 
Overall:  A- (A highly versatile and responsive performance based trainer that will work for many training to racing)        

Nathan

Fit: B+ (overall comfortable and secure, but had some rubbing and blistering in the heel in early runs)                     
Performance:  (Simply fun and versatile, works great for daily miles for a plated option and can pick up the pace, protective for the legs) 
Stability: (Improved over last version, but higher stack and soft foam do mean runner needs to be stable) 
DPT/Footwear Science: (Speedroll integration, PWRUN PB, and flexible plate make this a fun option for a trainer for the right person) 
Personal: A- (So fun and effortless, just the early rubbing and some increased HS loading from the rocker keep it from being an A)     
Overall:  A- (One of the most fun and versatile options on the market today, just not an A due to the decreased stability)      

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FURTHER READING

All the Saucony Endorphin You Need
Endorphin Speed v1:
Compare with last year's fan favorite
Endorphin Pro 2: The Pro gets some upper upgrades which help secure lockdown for the long haul
Endorphin Shift 2: Similar changes are seen in the Shift, helping improve fit and feel

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Sauocny Endorphin Pro 2 Review  - The Pro returns with a new reinforced upper that will help runners get the perfect lockdown for raceday
Hoka One One Zinal, First Impressions Run - Join David Salas on the Western States Trail for a run in the Zinal, Hoka's new performance trail runner
Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 Review - Version 2 comes in with a new upper and refined heel. Our editor Matt Klein's top three of 2021
Nike Pegasus 38 Review - The classic returns with a refined upper that addresses last year's lockdown issues


Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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