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Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 Review

The most versatile shoe for runners looking to chase their next PR, this is a solid choice for both easy days and fast workouts
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Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 Review
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey
Price:  $170 List
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Manufacturer:   Saucony
By Nathaniel Bailey ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 5, 2024
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 25
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 8.0
  • Stability - 20% 5.7
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.5
  • Weight - 15% 7.1

Our Verdict

In the competition for the top shoe that can do it all, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 is the shoe to beat. It is a great choice for runners who value versatility and performance. Combining a responsive PEBA foam with a nylon plate and moderate rocker geometry, the Speed 4 is comfortable enough for easy runs and long sessions but still snappy enough to get after it in workouts. For some runners, this shoe might be a quiver killer that carries them from recovery days to race day. We think it's sweet spot is as an uptemo trainer; it's not as responsive (or pricey) as a super shoe, but it packs more comfort features than race-oriented models and still provides a boost at pace. This is an excellent choice for runners who value some speed in their daily trainer.
REASONS TO BUY
Near-perfect balance of comfort and performance
Best-in-class versatility
Can be a race day shoe for some runners
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricey for a daily trainer

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Bottom Line An all-around standout that can handle easy days as comfortably as hard workoutsA daily trainer that can handle most runs, the Novablast 4 is fun and extremely comfortableBouncy, responsive and well-cushioned, this shoe is performance-oriented but still versatileA daily trainer that blends comfort and versatility at a reasonable priceFun and plush cushioning for all-day comfort if you're okay carrying some extra weight
Rating Categories Saucony Endorphin S... Asics Novablast 4 New Balance FuelCel... Puma Velocity Nitro 3 Saucony Triumph 21
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.3
8.5
8.0
9.0
Responsiveness (25%)
8.0
7.0
7.5
7.0
3.5
Stability (20%)
5.7
7.0
4.0
6.0
4.5
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.5
8.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
7.1
5.9
8.8
5.3
4.9
Specs Saucony Endorphin S... Asics Novablast 4 New Balance FuelCel... Puma Velocity Nitro 3 Saucony Triumph 21
Sizes Available 7-15 US, regular 6 - 15 US, regular 7-16 US, regular & wide 7 - 14 US, regular 7 - 15 US, regular & wide
Style Plated daily Daily/cushioning Daily Daily Cushioning
Measured Heel Stack Height 38 mm 43 mm 36 mm 39 mm 38 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 6 mm 7 mm 5 mm 10 mm 11 mm
Plate Type Nylon None None None None
Rocker Angle 25.0 deg 22.5 deg 19.5 deg 18.0 deg 19.0 deg
Rocker Apex Location 67.74% 66.53% 62.18% 66.67% 70.66%
Measured Weight 9.73 oz 9.76 oz 7.98 oz 10.07 oz 10.37 oz
Upper Engineered mesh/knit Engineered woven/knit Engineered mesh Engineered knit Engineered knit
Midsole PWRRUN PB FF Blast + Eco FuelCell Profoam PWRRUN+
Outsole Rubber AHAR Lo Rubber PumaGrip Rubber
Heel Tab Type None Finger loop None None Finger loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Endorphin Speed line has always been popular. While the last iteration was excellent in many areas, we found that the fit was too heavily biased towards runners with wide feet and experienced significant lockdown and rubbing issues (our test pair was pretty blood stained). The Speed 4 solves that problem, bringing new materials, a snugger fit and a fairly middle-of-the-road last to an already phenomenal trainer.

The Speed 4 brings significant improvements to the already great Endorphin Speed line.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Saucony also gave the Speed 4 a little more responsiveness in this version, striking what we think is a near-perfect balance between performance and comfort. We don't think any other shoe in our lineup is as versatile.

Performance Comparison


saucony endorphin speed 4 - this is a great option for pretty much any type of run.
This is a great option for pretty much any type of run.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


Let's start with the basic stats. We measured 38mm of heel stack height with a 6mm drop in our standardized testing. Most of the midsole is made of PWRRUN PB foam, one of Saucony's PEBA-based foam blends. PWRRUN PB has consistently been one of our favorite foams over the past few years, combining a high resilience (energy return) with excellent cushioning feel. This iteration feels very slightly firmer underfoot than in the Speed 3, which we feel aids the natural motion of the Speedroll rocker.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - the stack height on the endorphin speed 4 is taller than it actually...
The stack height on the Endorphin Speed 4 is taller than it actually feels, measuring 38mm in the heel.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

The cushioning of this shoe is an unsung hero. While it doesn't feel noticeably plush or bouncy compared to other options, it disappears on your foot and works very well at a wide range of paces. Very few shoes in our lineup score this high in the cushioning category, and none of them carry their comfort as well from easy jogs to 400m repeats.


For runners who have run in previous versions of the Endorphin Speed, it's easy to contextualize how the ride feels. The 2 was exciting and snappy with bouncy, leg-saving cushioning. It was one of our all-time favorite trainers. The 3 brought a wider, more stable ride, but also a softer feeling midsole that lost some of the bounce that made the 2 special. This current version feels like a near-perfect balance of both. It doesn't have the bouncy feel of the 2, but it retains the snappiness. It retains the comfort of the 3 over long distances, but doesn't have quite as much of a plush underfoot feeling. That means it works really well, and will do so for a wide variety of runners and use cases.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - we think the cushioning of this shoe is better than in previous...
We think the cushioning of this shoe is better than in previous versions.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Responsiveness


No other daily trainer in our test performs as evenly between cushioning and responsiveness as the Endorphin Speed 4. Much like the cushioning in this shoe, the responsiveness is understated. It doesn't feel exciting, but it turns over well and provides a noticeable boost when running faster.


We think there are two reasons for that. First, the Endorphin Speed 4 utilizes a winged nylon plate. That means the shoe feels more flexible underfoot than carbon-plated options, but still directs your foot and the energy of the foam well.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - we love the snap that the speed 4 has. it's a near-perfect balance.
We love the snap that the Speed 4 has. It's a near-perfect balance.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Second, the Endorphin Speed 4 has an aggressive rocker angle, but it starts a little closer to the midfoot than in something like the Endorphin Pro 4, which feels like it's rocking onto your toes more aggressively. When combined with the less-intrusive nylon plate, it results in a shoe that is deceptively snappy as you speed up, albeit slightly less propulsive.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - you can see both the nylon plate and the rocker geometry here. the...
You can see both the nylon plate and the rocker geometry here. The rocker starts closer to the midfoot than in more aggressive feeling options, lending a natural feeling to the ride that doesn't feel hard to control at easy paces.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Upper Comfort


The biggest changes from the last version are to the upper. The upper materials are similar, although we think the Speed 4 has a slightly softer feel. The entire upper seems less abrasive than previous models. The material is still breathable. The tongue is gusseted and made of a dual-layer mesh that does a great job of resisting wrinkles as you lace up.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - the endorphin speed 4 is still a lightweight and breathable daily...
The Endorphin Speed 4 is still a lightweight and breathable daily trainer.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Most importantly, the fit has improved. The Endorphin Speed 3 left many runners with too much room in the forefoot; we had to fully tighten the laces and still experienced sliding. Saucony narrowed the forefoot of the upper slightly in this version, solving our fit issues. There is now plenty of room to loosen or tighten the fit with the laces, so we expect that those with wider forefeet who liked the fit of the 3 should be fine.


Another welcome change is an update to the heel counter. The counter on the Speed 3 extended nearly all the way to the top of the shoe. We found that it created significant abrasion on our Achilles area at faster paces. With the Speed 4, the heel counter is still there, but ends about an inch or so below the top of the shoe. That means we haven't had any issues with rubbing, and no bloody socks during long sessions.

Overall, the changes to the upper have moved this shoe significantly higher up in our ranking, earning it an Editor's Choice.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - the upper of the endorphin speed 3 was a huge problem for us...
The upper of the Endorphin Speed 3 was a huge problem for us, causing significant blistering and bleeding during faster sessions. That isn't an issue anymore thanks to the new upper fit.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Lateral Stability and Support


The Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 is a neutral daily trainer. It isn't designed as a stability shoe, and the higher stack and rocker geometry combine to create very middle-of-the-road lateral stability. There are definitely shoes that feel more unstable, but these are not a great option if you value dedicated support features.


On the other hand, we think that this version adds slightly improved stability over the last one, thanks to the slightly stiffer feeling ride. We think these are perfect for runners who are looking for a race day shoe that is approachable and more stable than true “super-shoes”. Sure, you might be leaving a bit of performance on the table, but the ride feels more natural and much more planted.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - the slightly firmer ride of the speed 4 leads to a more planted...
The slightly firmer ride of the Speed 4 leads to a more planted feeling.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

One other significant change to the Endorphin Speed is the outsole. Saucony ditched their previous design in favor of a more complete and aggressive grid-shaped lug pattern. We noticed a big difference on wet roads. However, we also found that the lugs do wear down quickly, observing significant wear towards the front of the outsole within the first 80 miles.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - the new outsole tread provides much better grip.
The new outsole tread provides much better grip.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Weight


We measured the Endorphin Speed 4 at 9.03 ounces in a US Men's 10.5. That's lighter than average for a daily trainer, in keeping with the performance bias of this shoe.


Interestingly, this shoe has gotten heavier since the last model we weighed. We think that's likely due to the increased outsole coverage and lugs. If you regularly run in wet/varied terrain, it's a tradeoff worth making.

saucony endorphin speed 4 - this is a pretty lightweight daily trainer.
This is a pretty lightweight daily trainer.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Should You Buy the Saucony Endorphin Speed 4?


No other shoe in our lineup balances comfort and performance so perfectly. For runners who value some pace in their daily trainer, whether just for workouts or easy runs as well, we think this is the best option. For runners who want a race day shoe but don't want to spend super-shoe money, this is a strong contender. Finally, for runners who are training seriously and want one pair to do it all, you can't beat this shoe.

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


Runners who want a versatile daily trainer but aren't as concerned with performance should check out the lightweight Hoka Mach 6. The Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 is a super-shoe that feels similar but has a more aggressive and faster feel than the Speed 4 and is a touch lighter.

Nathaniel Bailey