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Saucony Goes Toe to Toe with Nike, Adidas in Marathon Running Faceoff

The race to create the most efficient marathon running shoes is officially heating up.

This spring, Boston-based footwear brand Saucony is prepping its own carbon-plated marathon runner—a style of racing footwear that has courted controversy—which Jared Ward debuted at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29.

It’s part of Saucony’s Endorphin Collection, a new family of footwear that includes the Endorphin Pro, Endorphin Shift and Endorphin Speed, each offering specific features and benefits.

The sneaker trio is designed to encompass each stage of the running experience. The $200 Endorphin Pro is designed for maximum race-day speed and endurance, the Endorphin Speed sacrifices some endurance for a faster run during speed and interval sessions, and the budget-friendly, least-specialized Endorphin Shift is suited for a variety of scenarios.

All three shoes will feature Saucony’s proprietary Speedroll technology, developed with input from the running label’s stable of elite athletes. Speedroll propels runners off the toe of the shoe for an easier and faster run, according to Saucony, angling the forefoot ramp to move the wearer’s hips forward for a more powerful stride.

Combined with the Endorphin Pro’s full-length, S-curved carbon fiber plate, Saucony’s entry in the marathon footwear category is meant to stand toe-to-toe with similar products from Nike and Adidas.

Saucony is planning to release a whole new set of running footwear ahead of the U.S. Olympic Trials, hoping to throw its footwear into the performance running conversation
The Saucony Endorphin Pro features an embedded carbon plate in the midsole and an ultra-thin mesh upper. Saucony

“The essence of the Endorphin Pro is simple: to make running fast feel easier,” Shawn Hoy, Saucony’s vice president of global product, said in a statement. “The Endorphin Pro has been tried, tested and engineered with and for Saucony athletes.”

The Endorphin line will also feature a new midsole foam formed from polyether block amide (PEBA), reducing the weight of its cushioning by 40 percent compared to Saucony’s $150 PWRRUN+ running shoe. PEBA is engineered offer greater flexibility and durability versus traditional foam composed of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), Saucony said, supporting energy return of 88 percent.

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For the uppers, Saucony’s Formfit technology takes inspiration from track spikes, wrapping the wearer’s foot in a 360-degree “hyper-light, ultra-thin” mesh with 3D-printed overlays.

The Speed will come with all of those same features but will include a lighter nylon plate instead of the Pro’s carbon analog while the Shift will swap out PEBA foam for the same cushioning found in the brand’s PWRRUN line.

Saucony is set to release the Endorphin Pro on April 15 while the Endorphin Speed ($160) and the Endorphin Shift ($140) will be available on July 1. All will be available through saucony.com and select specialty running retailers worldwide.