I'm very picky when it comes to my running shoes. At times it can feel like I'm in a war of attrition with sneaker brands.
While it's true that quality can be at least somewhat subjective, I've tried on (quite literally) thousands of sneakers. I ran competitively in high school and college, worked at multiple running stores and am a certified running coach.
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I've watched maximalist cushioning — think: Hoka — spring onto the scene. These sneakers provide a pillowy landing, but softness often means a big, chunky shoe. Peculiar-looking models and silhouettes only became more prevalent when carbon-fiber-plated racing shoes grew in popularity. But many of these shoes were so narrow and fitted to the individual runner's foot that they just weren't realistic to use for everyday training.
This is where shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 come in.
The Endorphin Speed 2 is no longer the latest version of this model (the newest version, the Endorphin Speed 3, made our list of best running shoes as the best for sprinting), but that means you can score some great deals well below the original price.
The measly 7.9-ounce shoe is a hybrid between a classic trainer and speed-work sneaker. You won't feel like you're wearing moon boots, but it certainly has enough space to allow your foot to breathe. The toe box is roomy enough so your toes won't be cramped, either. The offset or heel-to-toe drop is 8 millimeters — meaning if you're like me and have struggled with Achilles tendonitis, the shoe won't put extra strain on your lower legs.
What truly makes this shoe different, though, is its full-length nylon plate running through the midsole. Unlike many carbon-fiber-plated competitor shoes, Saucony's nylon plate is softer and more forgiving, making the Endorphin Speed 2 legitimately suitable for long runs.
Many competitive runners utilize a stiffer, less cushioned shoe for races in order to feel light and speedy. However, many of these same athletes often prefer a softer, higher cushioned option for everyday mileage.
What Saucony has done here is try to split the difference. The nylon plate in the midsole is flanked by the brand's PWRRUN PB cushioning on either side to give it a unique propulsion on each toe-off. Runs are just more fun in stable-springy shoes like this.
While all the technical specifications will make a shoe nerd and running-stat-obsessive like myself Ooh and Ahh, the reality is the Endorphin Speed 2 is just as versatile as it is speedy.
The wide base of this model makes it stable enough to wear in the gym while lifting weights or for lateral movements in a HIIT class. And the 10 colorways for men and 12 for women ensure there's a style for every individual.
Added bonus: Like many of Saucony's running shoe models, the Endorphin Speed 2 is a completely vegan shoe and is produced using recycled materials as well.
But arguably the best aspect of the Endorphin Speed 2 is the price point. You can find various sizes and colors for as little as $77 on Amazon. And even at the full price of $160, the Endorphin will keep your bank account happier than some other high-end running shoes.
Saucony, like many footwear manufacturers, markets running sneakers to men and women. The main differences between most men's and women's shoes are width and size. In some cases, men's shoes are built to support greater weights, so people with bigger bodies may want to try men's versions, while people with smaller bodies may prefer women's versions.
Saucony typically sells the Endorphin Speed 2 from men's size 7 to 15 and women's size 5 to 12, but availability varies depending on the model and color you prefer.