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Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 Review (Part 2)
By Contributors Megan Flynn and Andrea Myers


The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 is a lightweight, carbon-fiber plated shoe designed for speed. An update from the original Endorphin Pros, there are some subtle changes to improve efficiency and comfort. Weighing 6.3oz (women’s), they are slightly lighter than the originals. An additional lace loop was added for comfort and improved lock of the midfoot.

This is Part 2 of our Endorphin Pro 2 reviews. See our OG contributors Pro 2 review here.




Specifications for the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 7.5 oz / 213 g (men's size 9)  6.8 oz / 192 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 39 mm / 31 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Distance Racing Shoe



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Megan: The Endorphin Pro 2 is a shoe designed for faster workouts and races. With a carbon-fiber plate and Speedroll technology, the shoe propels you forward with a smooth and efficient transition throughout each stride. The PWRRUN PB cushioning is lightweight and responsive, improving efficiency even further. The FORMFIT mesh upper forms to the foot, adding to the stability and comfort of the shoe while also maintaining breathability. The Pro 2’s have a snugger heel fit than the original Pros and an additional lace lock in the midfoot, improving comfort and stability.

Andrea: The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 is an exciting update to one of my favorite plated shoes. The original Pro helped me get PRs in the 5k and 10k last year and reminded me of a rocket boosted Kinvara. The 2 has improved the fit around the heel and an updated mesh upper that provides a nice balance between stability and accommodation.

The Endorphin Pro 2 is a neutral, carbon plated racing shoe that has more roll than bounce (as compared to other carbon plated shoes). It has an S-curve carbon plate paired with PWRRUN PB cushioning, which makes for a firm and responsive racing shoe. It is best for longer intervals and races of 10k and above. Runners who find Vaporflys or New Balance RC Elite too soft may prefer the Endorphin Pro 2.



FIT

Megan: During the review process of this shoe, I was able to wear the original Pros and the Pro 2’s on back-to-back workouts which allowed for any comfort/stability differences to be more apparent. Like the first version, the Endorphin Pro 2s fit true to size in terms of length and width. The midfoot felt secure due to the lacing system and FORMFIT mesh upper. While there were very few upgrades from Version 1 to 2. One upgrade is the more snug heel cup. The improved heel cup combined with the additional lace loop in the upper increased the stability of the shoe, specifically around turns. The stability of the Pro’s around turns is superior to other carbon-plated shoes and sets this shoe apart, in my opinion. If a race course has any sharp turns, I would choose these over other racing shoes including the Nike Next%.

I was able to wear/test these shoes for various marathon-paced workouts including an 18 mile progression run. During this run, I noticed a hot-spot beginning to form under my 5th metatarsal head toward the end of the progression (~mile 14-15). When comparing these to other carbon-plate shoes (i.e. Next %), I attributed the cause of this hot-spot to the more firm midsole in the Pro 2s.

Andrea:
I am a 9.5 in every shoe except the Endorphin line - I size up to a 10 to get additional length. My first pairs of the original Pro and Speed were 9.5s, which resulted in black big toenails despite wearing my thinnest Balega socks. The forefoot width is slightly wider than average, which works well for me. The midfoot is average width and I found that it hugs my foot nicely without any pressure points thanks to the mesh upper. I did not have fit issues with the heel on the original Pro, but the heel on the Pro 2 is slightly more structured without being intrusive. In comparing the original to the Pro 2, the external heel counter on the Pro 2 wraps further medially and laterally. There is a small amount of internal padding at the posterior heel, which is similar to the original. The heel counter was not noticeable while running. I prefer minimal padding and control from a heel counter, and the Pro 2 delivers on this note. The tongue is gusseted and I did not have any tongue slippage issues. One notable difference in the mesh upper is the change in placement in the Saucony logo on the outer aspect of the shoe. The original Pro has a smaller logo that mostly lies over the midfoot, but the logo on the 2 extends well past the MTPs (ball of the foot). The larger logo provides very mild stability to the lateral midfoot and forefoot. When I first tried the shoes on, I wasn’t sure if I would like the feel of the logo in that location, but it wasn’t an issue once I started running. The mesh upper is accommodating but does not stretch, which results in stable, comfortable lockdown.


PERFORMANCE

Megan: The combination of being lightweight, responsive, and stable is a recipe for success in the Endorphin Pro 2's. Thanks to the carbon-fiber plate and speedroll technology, these shoes are extremely responsive and make for a very smooth ride. The heel cup and midsole are snug, allowing for confidence when going around sharper turns. Another upgrade I noticed when comparing Version 1 and Version 2 is that the Pro 2's have improved traction, especially in wet conditions. I am a big fan of Saucony’s shoes, but an area they generally lack in is traction. When training in the original Endorphin Pros, I used to avoid wearing them when there was any chance of rain. With the 2’s, however, they proved to be much more reliable in all conditions.

Something I noticed during fartlek and tempo workouts was that they are way more comfortable to run in at higher speeds than compared to recovery periods between intervals. At slower speeds, the shoe’s “springiness” is not able to be maximized and does not propel you forward as much. In addition, the firmness of the carbon plate and midsole is more apparent at slower speeds which can lead to irritation. An example workout in which this was evident were mile repeats with recovery jogs between intervals. On the harder effort intervals, the shoe felt very comfortable, springy, responsive; during the recoveries, I noticed some discomfort/cramping in my mid/forefoot. I attributed this to a change in mechanics on the recovery runs which caused the plate to have a negative effect on my mechanics. That being said, I would continue to use these shoes for tempo/speed workouts since the shoe IS designed for racing and not meant to be used for regular training runs/speeds

Andrea:
The Endorphin Pro 2 is responsive without having the trampoline-like bounce of other plated shoes. I found its performance to be very similar to the original. The best word to describe the ride of the Pro 2 is smooth. The PWRRUN PB cushioning is most apparent at initial contact (mid-foot for me). The plate and the toe spring make the transition from initial contact to push off incredibly consistent and somewhat stable. The shoe feels like it guides me through stance phase without forcing my foot and ankle to move in any particular way. I used the original Endorphin Pro for some mile and threshold pace intervals on a dirt road while on vacation in June, and had no issues with ankle instability or loss of traction (although the Pro is definitely not an off-road shoe). While this is an 8mm drop shoe, it feels like a slightly lower drop shoe, likely due to the Speed Roll technology and firmer forefoot. The durability of the outsole is above average for a super shoe. I have 35 miles on the Pro 2 and there is almost no wear on the outsole. To compare, I have 250 miles on the original Pro. There is visible wear on the lateral midfoot and under the big toe, but the shoe still feels lively and I expect to get more mileage out of this pair. The outsole of the Pro 2 is very similar to the original, so the Pro 2 could also likely be a 300+ mile super shoe, which gives the Endorphin Pro a durability advantage over other super shoes.



STABILITY

Megan: The Endorphin Pro 2's had a big improvement in terms of stability when compared to the original version. The biggest differences are thanks to a change in the heel cup as well as the additional lace loop which improved the midsole lock. As mentioned earlier, the stability in the heel and midfoot sets this shoe apart from other carbon plate racing shoes especially when going around turns. If a course has multiple sharp turns, I would trust the Endorphin Pro 2's over other racing shoes. The FORMFIT mesh upper adds comfort while also contributing to the stability and security of the shoe. While there is a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole, Saucony did a great job of avoiding “too rigid”, likely due to the PWRRUN PB foam cushioning which adds comfort and enough flexibility.

Andrea:
The Endorphin Pro 2 is a neutral, plated racing shoe that does have mild stability features that feel more like a roll than a guide. The shoe has medial and lateral heel and forefoot flare with a narrower midfoot. The midfoot has unintrusive sidewalls that do not guide motion, but mildly help to stabilize the midfoot. The Endorphin Pro 2 is more stable than the Vaporfly Next% and the New Balance RC Elite due to the sole flare, firmer midsole, and S-plate. Compared to the Pro 1, the 2 is slightly more stable due to the more structured heel counter and the Saucony overlay on the lateral upper.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Andrea: Rocker soles and/or shoes with plates may unload the joints of the foot and ankle. By doing so, they may address many running related problems, including plantar fasciitis, 1st MTP (big toe) arthritis or stiffness, Achilles tendinopathies, posterior tibialis tendinopathies, talocrural joint (ankle) stiffness, and neuromas. DOR Chief Founder Matt Klein explored the effect of rockered soles on Achilles tendinopathy. I would like to explore their effect on 1st MTP arthritis or stiffness (hallux rigidis). People with these conditions have reduced 1st MTP extension, which is essential for push-off during running or walking. Plantar pressure analysis looks at the location and intensity of pressure of the bottom of the foot on the sole of the shoe. This is useful in analyzing running gait because it may identify areas of increased pressure and loading on the foot that would not otherwise be quantified with traditional video gait analysis.

A study done on 18 healthy female runners measured in-shoe plantar pressures for both standard and rockered running shoes (Sobhani et al., 2013). 12 runners demonstrated a heel strike pattern and 6 runners demonstrated a midfoot/forefoot strike pattern in the standard running shoe; 13 runners demonstrated a heel strike pattern in the rockered shoe and 5 demonstrated a midfoot strike. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in forefoot plantar pressure across all strike patterns when running in the rockered shoe. Interestingly, plantar pressure in the heel region showed a statistically significant increase in the rockered shoe. The authors stated that this may be due to increased sole stiffness from the rocker or because they observed that 2 runners shifted their strike pattern posteriorly when using the rockered shoe.

It is important to consider the limitations of a given study. The authors modified a standard running shoe to give it a rocker sole for this study. Other rockered shoes with different features such as different foam density or thickness, the presence of a plate, sole flare, etc. may have produced different results. The subjects were all females of which a majority were heel strikers. They ran on a treadmill at an average speed of 7.6 mph for 20 minutes (10 minutes in each shoe type). The speed was self-selected by the runners as their “comfortable” speed. The results may also have been different if they were instructed to run at a speed closer to their lactate threshold. Overall, this study supports the idea that rockered shoes reduce pressure on the forefoot during running. Anecdotally, I have had many patients who found that rockered shoes greatly reduced their big toe pain with running. Advances in shoe technology allow health care professionals and running shoe specialists to use shoes as tools for runners with different biomechanics and/or injuries.

Sources

Sobhani, S., van den Heuvel, E., Bredeweg, S., Kluitenberg, B., Postema, K., Hijmans, J. M., & Dekker, R. (2014). Effect of rocker shoes on plantar pressure pattern in healthy female runners. Gait & posture, 39(3), 920–925.



RECOMMENDATIONS

Megan: The Saucony Endorphin Pro line has been one of my favorite carbon-plated racing shoes since their release in 2020. The subtle changes made to the Pro 2s made them even better in terms of comfort, stability, and responsiveness. The only change I would suggest is to somehow decrease the noticeable stiffness resulting from the carbon-fiber plate. This could mean changing the placement of the plate slightly to allow for a little more flexibility.

Andrea:
This is one of my two favorite super shoes, with the Vaporfly Next% being my preferred marathon shoe and the Endorphin Pro preferred for 10k-half marathon. However, I find the Endorphin Pro to be too stiff for the marathon and not responsive enough for distances below 10k. Saucony might consider making two versions of the Endorphin: a slightly more cushioned version designed for the marathon, and a firmer, lower drop (4-6mm) version for 10k and below. I would also recommend making the sizing more consistent with non-Endorphin line shoes, as many runners seem to need to size up a half size.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Megan: This shoe is designed for speed and racing, specifically half-marathon and marathon distances. It can be worn for shorter distances down to even a road 5k and 10k due to it's responsiveness and lightweight qualities. As a neutral racing shoe, it provides some level of stability and is a viable racing shoe option for runners who usually train in stability shoes. I would not recommend using this shoe for normal, everyday training runs mainly due to the rigidity resulting from the carbon plate. Running at slower paces takes away from the responsiveness of the plate and may lead to more discomfort.

Andrea:
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 is a neutral, carbon plated racer that is firm and responsive rather than trampoline-like and soft. Runners looking for a smooth and slightly stable ride will greatly appreciate this shoe. Runners looking for greater value out of a super shoe will appreciate the greater durability of the outsole as compared to others in the category. This shoe, like other plated/rockered shoes, works well for runners with foot or ankle pathology.

After running in both the Pro 1 and the Pro 2, I prefer the Pro 2 primarily due to the improved fit in the heel counter. I really enjoyed the 1 for distances up to 10k, but ultimately decided against it for the marathon I did this past spring. I would definitely consider the Pro 2 for a future marathon. For me, the Pro 2 is a valuable upgrade on the original Pro.


GRADING

Megan
Fit: A (they fit true to size in terms of length and width)
Performance:
B (hot-spots noted during longer tempo intervals and progression runs)
Stability: A- (improved stability around turns due to the heel cup and improved lacing system in the midfoot)
Personal:  B+ (While they are comfortable and stable, they caused some irritation on longer workouts/runs which make me concerned to wear them in a full marathon. They are definitely on the more-stable end when it comes to carbon-plated shoes which improves their score here.)
Overall: B+ (The comfort and stability of the Pro 2s set them apart from other carbon-plated racing shoes; however, they lose points in my book for noticeable stiffness resulting from the carbon-plate)

Andrea
Fit: A- (fits me perfectly, except that I need to size up ½ size)
Performance:
A- (smooth and responsive, but a little too harsh for the marathon for me)
Stability: B+ (mild stability features but is not actually a stability shoe)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (unloads foot and ankle, may be go to shoe for those with foot or ankle pathology)
Personal:  A (one of my top 2 favorite super shoes)
Overall: A (one of the best overall super shoes available, will work for many types of runners due to 8mm drop and Speed Roll technology)

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR


Find the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 at Running Warehouse here. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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FURTHER READING

Click here to find our original contributor review to compare!
Check out all of our carbon plated racing shoe reviews here.

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TESTER PROFILES:


Dr. Andrea Myers is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist who sees patients in Bethel, CT at Carlson ProCare. She also provides bike fitting services at Class Cycles in Southbury, CT. Andrea completed her undergraduate degree in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from St. Ambrose University in 2006 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Dr. Andrea Myers is a 5’7”, 130 pound female with PRs of 3:04:48 for the marathon and 18:41 for the 5k. She typically runs 35-60 miles per week with recovery runs at 8:00-8:30/mi pace and 5:30/mi pace for shorter efforts. She prefers firmer, neutral shoes with 4-8mm of drop and high volume toe boxes. IG handle: dreamy560

Megan Flynn, PT, DPT, MS
Doctor of Physical therapy

Megan began running competitively as a freshman in high school (2006) and it has been a major component of her life since then. She was a member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field teams for TCNJ and one season for UD while a first-year PT student. In college, she focused on the 3k/5k for TCNJ and the 10k at UD. Megan continues to train at a competitive level putting in ~70 miles/week and is a member of Leonia Track Club based in Leonia, NJ. She recently completed a track season in spring 2021 and will be transitioning to marathon training for the fall with California International Marathon being the goal race. Outside of running, Megan enjoys hiking, traveling, going to the beach, reading, and playing with her two adorable cats!


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.

***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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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