Review: The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 Addresses the Original’s Only Flaw

We've been running in the new Endorphin Pro 2s, and we have some thoughts

August 19, 2021 11:47 am
saucony endorphin pro 2
Is this shoe worth $200? We think so.

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

I’ve only ever had one admittedly very niche issue with Saucony’s Endorphin Pro 1s.

When I take a turn in the shoes — meaning a 90-degree sidewalk left or right, not a gradual veer around the track — I have to significantly slow down. That same “speedroll” technology (which I’d informally define as a whole lotta cushion around a carbon plate) that makes the Pros one of the fastest running shoes ever released, can also easily cause you to roll your ankle. It’s a slight shame, and the biggest reason that my most Strava runs generally resemble straight lines.

No fear: the second installment in the Boston-based brand’s best-selling collection, the Endorphin Pro 2s, solves for those wobbly heels, while offering an array of clever touch-ups to the original.

saucony pro 2s
Same speed, same bounce, but this time with way more support.

The new support system — which includes beefy, diamond-shaped padding at the heel, and a sturdier “frame” on either side of the silhouette — was achieved without sacrificing the Pro’s trademark featherlight feel. Like the 1, the 2 is just over seven ounces. I could feel the difference immediately on the roads; there’s just a bit more to this shoe. Not too much, but enough to hit turns with the gusto they deserve.

Elsewhere, Saucony took time to tinker with a region of the running shoe that’s usually an afterthought: the laces and tongue. The laces are different, for starters. If they were a noodle, they’re now more fettuccine than spaghetti. That’s wider, flatter design ensures that they’re “anti-slip.” They’ll literally refuse to come untied during even your hardest runs. Meanwhile, a pair of elastic bands prevent the tongue from scrunching up in one corner, which is a common pet peeve of runners.

The design team has time to focus on laces because every other part of the shoe was damn near perfect the first time Saucony released it. The S-curve carbon-fiber plate is back, as is the energy return foam and a single-layer engineered mesh upper. As others have pointed out, the mesh is a nice change of pace from Nike’s patented VaporWeave tech, which, while flexible and nice to look at, has left some runners with overheating feet during longer races.

Plus, the price on the Endorphin Pro 2 ($200) is on the lower end for carbon-plated fare. Some popular options have recently ballooned up to $275. There’s even an “Endorphin Pro 2 Junior,” the Endorphin Speed 2, at $160, which comes with a nylon plate instead of a carbon plate. It isn’t as fast because of it, and Saucony recommends it for training days, while you would save your Pros for race day — 5Ks all the way up to marathons.

That’s your call. Personally, I wear the Pros every day. I like to run four miles or less, at quicker clip. They’re perfect for that cadence. As one reviewer gushed: “Used a friend’s pair and felt like it was hard to actually go slow.” Indeed. More and more, casual runners (aging guys included) are starting to embrace the function and fun of incorporating tempo runs and track workouts into regular training routines. This is the perfect shoe for making that leap.

If I have one wish for next year’s iteration, it would be for a bit more traction on the outsole. At the moment, the shoe’s XT-900 system can’t really handle roads slick with rain. It’s a bummer to have to sub them out on a wet day. Fortunately, though, the Pros can handle just about everything else, including turns, and they look great doing so. Choose between four different colorways here. I’ve got the racing flag whites.

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