Saucony Endorphin Speed 4: Versatile Trainer for Uptempo runs

Last updated on February 16th, 2024

Endorphin Speed 4 toebox

The Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 is a versatile trainer with a built-in plate that works best for uptempo runs. While it may not provide as much speed support as other trainers with plates, it offers a smooth and comfortable ride with great grip. Compared to its previous version, the Speed 4 feels quicker thanks to its firmer ride. It also provides a heightened sense of the ground beneath your feet and boasts a sleeker design.

If you're looking for speed trainers that offer a flexible ride and encourage you to push yourself, the Endorphin Speed 4 is a suitable choice. It provides ample cushioning for extended distances and offers satisfactory stability.

If you're seeking a ride similar to the Endorphin Pro 4, the Speed 4 is not the shoe you're looking for. Its midsole is significantly more flexible, leading to reduced propulsion.

Saucony's Endorphin Speed has proven to be a highly popular shoe over the past three years. Its lightness, comfort, and ample cushioning contribute to its success. However, what truly drives its impressive sales is its striking resemblance to the more costly Endorphin Pro, which features a carbon plate. The latest iteration of the Speed further enhances its similarity to the Pro model.

The Endorphin Speed is specifically crafted to serve as the perfect training partner for the Endorphin Pro. However, those who have experienced running in both shoes would have undoubtedly observed the distinct dissimilarity in their overall performance.

Both the Speed and the Pro utilize PWRRUN PB (PEBA foam) in their midsoles. However, while the Speed offers exceptional flexibility, the Pro lacks this characteristic.

The Kinvara Pro was developed by Saucony for a specific purpose: to offer a firmer training shoe that offers a comparable experience to their racing shoes. Personally, I find the Kinvara Pro to be a better choice for faster runs than the Endorphin Speed, as it offers a greater sense of propulsion and increased speed support.

To me, the Endorphin Speed 3 had a different vibe compared to its counterparts like the Deviate Nitro 2, Asics Magic Speed 3, or the Hoka Mach X. It felt more like a regular shoe for daily use rather than a specialized option for intense workouts or races. The main reason for this difference was its notable flexibility, which didn't give off the same speedy sensation as the others.

The Endorphin Speed is a popular choice among runners for their everyday training needs. It offers a more thrilling experience compared to the Ride and Triumph series, while also being significantly lighter than typical daily trainers. However, it is worth noting that the Speed does not provide the same level of cushioning or durability, as it was not intended to be a long-lasting workhorse option.

The weight of the Endorphin Speed 4 is precisely 8 oz (227 g), just a tiny 0.1 oz (3 g) heavier than the Speed 3. I anticipate that its price will stay at $170 upon its release in the first three months of 2024. I personally spent $183 (inclusive of taxes and shipping) on my own set.

During my initial hill sprints session, I immediately noticed a discernible difference in the Speed 4 compared to its predecessor, the Speed 3. The Speed 4 offered a heightened sense of speed, with a greater connection to the ground and a firmer ride. Additionally, the forefoot rocker was noticeably more prominent, providing an enhanced running experience.

That initial jog was quite enjoyable. The pace seemed swifter than a regular running shoe, yet not quite as speedy as a rigid, carbon-plated racing shoe. This edition felt more akin to a training shoe for speed rather than a casual everyday running shoe, which was my impression of the previous model.

The resemblance between the ASICS Magic Speed 3 and the Endorphin Speed 4 struck me, as both shoes exuded a sense of sleekness and nimbleness compared to their previous models. Furthermore, they both featured midfoot cavities on their outsoles, resulting in a distinctive clapping sound when your feet made contact with the ground.

Endorphin Speed 4 upper

The upper of the Endorphin Speed 4 is an upgrade from its predecessor, the 3. It has a sleeker and more breathable design. The standout aspect for me is the added ventilation on the front of the shoe, which allows for increased airflow through small perforations.

The elongated tongue, although slender, features tiny perforations and remains securely in place. Unlike v3, it possesses a greater width and length. The collar and inner lining exhibit a coarse texture that feels slightly abrasive and lacks a sense of luxury. However, the heel lockdown is commendable.

The shoe is accurately sized and features a slender toe area, but there is no need to select a larger size as with the Endorphin Pro 4. If you find the fit too narrow, there is a wide version available. The only drawback of the upper is that when it gets wet, the color tends to bleed and leave stains on the white tongue and laces.

Endorphin Speed 4 sole units

The Endorphin Speed 4 by Saucony is specifically engineered for swift running, as its name suggests. To enhance the sensation of speed, Saucony has made two modifications: a sturdier midsole and a more pronounced rocker in the forefoot. These adjustments facilitate quicker transitions, enabling a smoother acceleration of your pace.

For my workouts in the Speed 4, I primarily focused on speed. These workouts ranged from marathon pace to 200-meter interval pace. I find this version to be more enjoyable than version 3 when it comes to faster paces. It feels more energetic and impactful. Unlike the Speed 3, I prefer using the Speed 4 for fast-paced runs rather than easy or recovery runs.

When I have one foot in the Endorphin Speed 4 and the other foot in the Endorphin Speed 3, I can immediately sense that the 4 is less cumbersome. The fourth version appears sleeker and lacks the sponginess that can be felt underfoot- it feels more slender.

The Speed 4's midsole has been made approximately 10% sturdier compared to its predecessor, the Speed 3. This modification has led to enhanced stability during use. Additionally, the shoe's base has been subtly widened in comparison to the Speed 3, resulting in a more secure footstrike sensation.

I believe that the PWRRUN PB used in the Speed 4 falls short compared to other midsole foams. It lacks adequate compression and energy return. In contrast, Hoka's ProflyX and NB's FuelCell are far more efficient, providing a more engaging and energetic experience. The Endorphin Speed, in comparison, offers a smoother ride.

The Endorphin Speed stands apart from other high-quality Saucony running shoes due to its EVA insole. In contrast, the Endorphin Pro, Triumph, Ride, and Kinvara Pro feature PWRRUN+ (TPE) insoles, offering a softer and more cushioned sensation while running. Therefore, if I were to embark on a long run, the Endo Speed wouldn't be my top preference.

The Speed 4 features a midsole with a winged nylon plate that offers support but lacks in generating forward momentum. Saucony should enhance the rigidity of the plate to enhance the responsive feel of the forefoot. This adjustment will result in a ride that closely resembles that of the Endorphin Pro.

Similar to the Endorphin Pro 4, the Speed 4's outsole has also undergone enhancements. The rubber pattern on the front part of the shoe now boasts an elevated design, resulting in improved ground grip and superior traction.

When I tested out the Endo Pro 4 during rainy weather, I didn't encounter any problems with grip. However, I did notice that the rubber on the side of the heel doesn't quite reach the edge, causing some scuffing on the midsole edge for those who strike their heels while running. Despite this, the overall performance remains unaffected.

Endorphin Speed 4 quarter

The initial release of the Endorphin Speed was truly exceptional, unlike anything else available. Over the past three years, I've tried numerous speed trainers, and unfortunately, the Endorphin Speed 4 no longer possesses that unique quality.

The Endorphin Speed is not the only option when it comes to trainers that offer a similar experience. Other models like the Kinvara Pro, Supercomp Trainer v2, and Mach X provide a more exciting and pleasurable ride. Personally, I would choose any of these trainers over the Endo Speed 4 because they offer a livelier and more contemporary feel.

While the Speed 4 may give the impression of being quicker than its previous model, it falls short in comparison to other speed trainers in terms of speed. This is primarily because of the high flexibility of its plate. Moreover, the flexibility of the plate brings about a distinct sensation that sets it apart from the racing version, the Pro 4.

I personally favor the Endorphin Speed 4 compared to the 3 as it now embodies the essence of a speed trainer. The third version, on the other hand, has more of a daily trainer feel. I believe most runners will opt for the 3 instead of the 4 since it offers a gentler, more comfortable experience that is well-suited for daily training.

The price of the Speed 4 is excessive at $170. However, there are more affordable options available such as the Deviate Nitro 2, the Magic Speed 3, and the Razor 4.

I prefer opting for a previous edition of the Endorphin Pro or spending an additional $10 on the Kinvara Pro within the Saucony collection for faster runs, as their plates offer a greater level of rigidity. A more rigid plate provides enhanced speed support.

  • Price: $170 (available on 29th Feb 2024)
  • Style: S20940-130
  • Usage:
    • Uptempo runs
    • Speed training
  • Constructions & Features:
    • Heel Stack: 37mm
    • Forefoot Stack: 29mm
    • Heel Drop: 8 mm
    • Weight: 8.3 oz (235 grams)
    • PWRRUN PB foam cushioning
    • Super Responsive Sockliner
    • Nylon Winged Plate
    • SPEEDROLL Technology geometry
    • XT-900 Rubber outsole with a lattice design layout
    • Zonal Mesh material forms upper
Endorphin Speed 4 midsole