Building on the success of the Saucony Endorphin running shoe lineup (the Shift, Speed, and Pro - so far), the brand unleashed an absolute powerhouse of a running shoe just in time to kick off the 2023 racing season - the Saucony Endorphin Elite.
The first edition of Saucony's new flagship racing shoe is immediately eye catching with its ultra-minimalist upper, dazzling electric green colourway, and unique geometric midsole. Besides the fact that it's a total stunner, the Endorphin Elite was designed to compete with the best racing shoes on the market. So how does it perform?
BlackToe Run Club Team member Jon Suckling, who had early access to the shoe, has already taken it through two epic races - both of which resulted in significant personal bests. Take a look at his race-day review, plus more helpful information about what you can expect from the new Saucony Endorphin Elite!
Endorphin Elite Race Day Recap
"The Saucony Endorphin Elite makes you feel fast before even heading out the door, and the high stack, vibrant colourway, and ultra-minimalist upper inspire a lot of confidence. The upper is pliable and quite soft, which gives the shoe a generally natural fit. The toe box is not overly wide, which I like for a race-day shoe. You can comfortably lace up without the top eyelets or with a "lockdown" ankle looping system. Interestingly, they feel very little like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, which I wear for most of my tempo and long runs. The fit is much snugger and the ride is significantly more aggressive.
As I took warmup before my race at the Cherry Tree 10-miler in Brooklyn, NY, I felt confident that I had made the right choice to wear these. The first thing I noticed was the weight. At 7.2 oz, these shoes felt as light as any super shoe I’ve worn. They just felt so easy to lift, and each stride naturally turned over. It didn't matter whether I was going uphill or downhill, the effort stayed the same. The Speedroll tech along with the carbon plate really helped keep my cadence high through the later miles of the race when I typically start to slow, aggressively propelling my stride forward.
The race was three equal loops of a 5.35 km park with a steep uphill and a rolling downhill. I came through in negative splits of 19:45, 19:30, and 19:17 for a final time of 58:32 (3:39/km). I was really pleased with my performance and felt that the Endorphin Elites helped keep my legs fresh all the way up to a final sprint finish. The dry and clear roads of Prospect Park were the perfect track for this speed-focused distance racing shoe. The first time training in them, I ran 5 seconds per km faster than I intended to. The first time racing in them? I set a four-minute PB. Now, we can attribute this to some combination of training, gear, conditions, and the large pork burrito I consumed the night prior. Still, I'm confident that the shoes played an active role in what was a very successful race day."
Fit and Feel
The best way to describe this shoe is "minimalist on top, maximalist on the bottom!" There is a natural lacing system that provides a sock-like fit but with better tie-down that makes you feel completely secure in the shoe. The foam feels slightly firmer than the ZoomX foam in the Nike Vaporfly but a bit softer than the Lightstrike Pro foam found in the Adidas performance lineup. Add to this a versatile 8 mm drop, and we suspect this shoe will appeal to a wide variety of runners. The toe box runs a little narrower than the Endorphin Pro 3, but the razor-thin upper has enough give that it should accommodate a variety of foot shapes. Still, it might be helpful to go up half a size if you have a wider foot.
Saucony's new performance shoe is extremely lightweight and responsive. If you're facing a big workout or race on tired legs, this is the type of shoe that will help take some of the load off. When compared to other speed shoes in the Endorphin lineup and other super shoes on the market, these offer a significant "pop" that becomes even more impressive the harder you push. All things combined, the performance is pretty remarkable, helping your legs turn over quickly and effortlessly over long distances. What more could you ask for on race day?!
How To Use 'Em
The new Saucony Endorphin Elite is best reserved as your race-day shoe. We recommend using them for anything between a 10K and marathon distance. They might be "a lot" for a 5K effort, but everyone has their own preferences. They eat up hills well, but performance could be impacted on a course with terrain changes (loose gravel, dirt, etc.) or multiple sharp corners. Due to the high stack height, the stability of this shoe can become compromised at slower speeds, so keep these bad boys on the shelf during your casual efforts and save 'em for your big workouts and races!