Saucony Endorphin ELITE review – better than the PRO?

Is the Saucony Endorphin Elite only for Elite runners?


Saucony (or should we write Sock-a-knee as per the box?) is adding a new contender to their racing line with the Endorphin Elite. Not only is it a new plated racing shoe from the US brand, it’s also the launch of a new foam compound called PWRRUN HG. But what we all want to know is whether this shoe offers something more compared to the very good Endorphin Pro 3 that released mid 2022. Let’s find out! 

Specs: the Saucony Endorphin Elite is a solid competitor against the likes of Nike Alphaflys or Adidas Prime X

At 239g (8.4oz) in my size US11 the Saucony Endorphin Elite is a lightweight racing shoe. As a comparison, the Vaporfly Next% v2 is around 220g in my size whereas the Nike Alphafly Next% v2 is more in the 260g ballpark. Something like the Prime X Strung from Adidas comes at 290g which is way heavier. 


In terms of stack height and drop, the Saucony Endorphin Elite has a 39.5mm stack height in the heel and a 31.5mm stack in the forefoot for that 8mm drop.

A super lightweight upper with a twist on the Endorphin Elite 

Silke: Step in feeling is WOW! This is how it feels when you get nearly the most possible foam package. This agressive and new Speedroll technology creates a unique step in feeling and even though the shoe has so much foam you would not think it is so lightweight that it comes in with 186g in my size US W 8,5. Saucony completely designed a new performance knit mesh that is very breathable and instead of using classic overlays it has that band that wraps around your midfoot and under your foot and under the carbon fiber plate too (you can see,
when you look underneath). There is also a flexible toe protection at the front. The mesh is not as soft as you could wish it to be but then I did not have problems with irritations and for a racing model I found it to be very comfortable in the forefoot and it fits TTS. The gusseted tong is extremely light and thin and like nowadays with other racing models its perforated (editor’s note: this is for instance the case with the Endorphin Pro 3). There are so many holes in it that it looks like a Swiss cheese. It is butterfly shaped and lays beautifully on top of your foot. To keep your upper foot from the pressure of the laces there is just a printed Endorphin Elite Logo at the top of the tongue. The laces are slightly flexible and the PWRRUN+ foam insole is glued. Around the ankle there is no padding at all and in the heel there is just a pad to give a little comfort on your achilles tendon. As there is no heel cup it feels a bit floppy when walking around and running at slow paces. I tried a runners knot to get a better lockdown but I did not even feel a difference.


saucony endorphin elite

Alex: Silke did a great job at explaining most technical features in the upper and I do agree with many of her remarks. This is mostly the case when it comes to the sizing of the shoe, which is a proper TTS fit with a relatively wide (but low) toebox. One of the most debated feature has to be those huge holes on both sides of the upper, where the gusset of the tongue can be seen. They somehow don’t have any impact on the fit in my opinion and will be a great asset for anyone considering this shoe for the summer. Speaking of the gusseted tongue, I do like it although I really don’t see the point of having that piece of mesh going under the plate. Unlike Silke I find the mesh pretty soft and pleasant against my feet. I would have like this upper and fit even more than the one on the Endorphin Pro 3 but the heel padding on the Endorphin Elite kills it for me. That single pad placed on the Achilles is really not my cup of tea. I did not get any rubbing from it, but the feeling of having something pressing against my Achilles was not nice. Maybe this is just something you need to get used to, so I may update this section if my sensations improve after more runs in this shoe. 

The Saucony Endorphin Elite rides differently than the Pro 3 

Silke: When you step into the shoe you would expect a very soft and squishy foam, but it is not mushy at all. The new PWRRUN HG midsole foam provides a bouncier but a bit firmer ride and the forked carbon plate helps to gain flexibility through your gait cycle. During my first two runs the ride felt a bit strange due to the huge amount of foam under the foot and I needed a few more runs to get to know how to enjoy the ride with this agressive rocker. At slower paces the running feels still strange because this shoe wants you to go faster. And that is what you expect from a racing model. When I did longer runs with different faster paces I got into a rolling kind of running and that felt very nice, not an easy squishy cushion but a firmer bouncier ride. Due to the massive stack height I would not take it out for a sprint workout or hill repeats.


Alex: PWRRUN HG is not PWRRUN PB and you can feel it immediately. The Pro 3 has a mushy step in feel with lots of compression even only walking in the shoe. You don’t have that at all on the Endorphin Elite – especially in the forefoot. The heel has a little squish to it but it remains minimal compared to the Endorphin Pro 3. That translates also into the ride of the shoe, which will certainly not work for everyone. The heel compresses a lot and that feels almost nice at easier paces but the issue is the lack of forward momentum after that heel phase – leaving the runner “waiting” for something to happen. At faster paces – or for forefoot runners – the ride is more pleasant taking more advantage for the late rocker of the shoe. The rocker geometry is good and propels you forward, but a bit too late. I would have love to have the same foam compression in the forefoot as in the heel and a more early rocker to facilitate my gait cycle. The ride is not disappointing but it clearly misses the leg saving and energy saving aspect that the Pro 3 seems to bring a lot more. I would contemplate this shoe if I were to race a 10k or maybe a half marathon, but most likely not a full. 

saucony pwrrun hg

Can a Supershoe outsole be worse than that?  

Silke: The outsole rubber looks very well placed and in dry conditions it is very grippy. On wet tarmac at low temperatures it felt a bit slippery. After about 50k in the shoe, the rubber on the outsole holds on very well and there are no signs of wear. But due to a niggle on my left calf I had to strike with my heel more than usual and I hit more of the exposed foam and there are true signs of use.


Alex: I wish I had the same grippy experience than Silke. Unfortunately my first run in the Saucony Endorphin Elite was performed in wet conditions and I really went through a nightmare in terms of slippage. I almost fell twice and I was quite pissed during this first 18k (11mi) run in the shoe. The subsequent runs I had were better but Brussels tend to be humid in February and I never experienced a decent grip. Just like Silke I’m striking more with the heel lately to spare my forefoot and the exposed foam shows some wear already. I doubt the durability of the outsole will be an issue as such but it’s certainly not a positive.



Silke: The Saucony Endorphin Elite is an agressive and superb cushioned but not too squishy shoe. It is obviously a race or race preparation workout shoe. I will use it for longer and faster workouts and maybe race a half marathon in them.

Alex: At $275, this shoe is certainly not cheap but when compared to the Alphafly or Prime X it remains “in the right ballpark” from a price perspective. You’re the right runner for this shoe if you want a firmer but still bouncy ride, with a late yet aggressive rocker. Wider feet can also be good candidates for a match with this shoe. The outsole situation will restrict the geographic areas where this shoe can be used, excluding in my opinion humid areas where roads are never 100% dry. You also need to add this shoe to a wider rotation as it will wear quicker than other supershoes. 

Alex Filitti Meta Circle


28 years old

183cm (6′) – 68kg (148lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner

Moderate pronator




49 years old

167cm (5’4″) – 55kg (121lbs)

Midfoot strike 

Pronation level TBD


Get in touch

Want to find out more about how Meta Endurance can help you?  Get in touch with our team today, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.