By Brian Metzler
A long time ago in a running store not so far away, the Saucony Triumph was a premier neutral cushioned everyday training shoe that runners of all abilities raved about. But then a midsole foam revolution took over the shoe walls at running stores, followed by the innovation of carbon-fiber plates embedded into midsoles. The combination of those two elements changed how we felt about the everyday trainers we loved for so long. By 2020, the Triumph became a bit of an afterthought when compared to other maximally cushioned trainers and also compared to the stunningly good Endorphin Speed trainer in Saucony’s line. Well, this is the year, the Triumph makes a triumphant return! Revitalized with new materials and a new vibe, it’s everything it ever was back in the day, but also a whole lot more too.
What’s New: When the Triumph was in its original prime a few years ago, it was built on a basic EVA midsole that was at least as good and as light as other everyday trainers on the market. But now it returns to a new level greatness with a new PWRRUN+ foam compound that’s lighter, softer, springier and cushier than ever before. Yes, this is the trickle-down impact of having the derivatives of high-end materials from racing models coming down into everyday training shoes. As such, the Triumph 20 is now a true maximalist training shoe that compares favorably with other max training shoes from Hoka, New Balance and On. Even though it doesn’t have the hyper-responsive PWRRUN PB midsole as the Endorphin Speed 3 performance trainer, it feels pretty amazing underfoot – especially compared to how average the previous editions of the Triumph might feel now. Both the slightly narrower shape under the forefoot and the rockered geometry of the midsole contribute to a more natural ride.
Why It’s Great: It’s great because it’s everything the Triumph has always been — reliable, cushy, comfortable and durable — only considerably better with the softer and livelier new midsole foam, increased midsole height, improved engineered mesh upper and propulsive rocker geometry.
Fit/Feel/Ride: The Triumph 20 fits true to size with a comfortably snug but not restrictive interior feel. Once you lace it up, it feels supple, cushy and flexible with ample room in the forefoot. The gusseted tongue, plush sockliner and new engineered mesh upper help cinch up your foot in the medium-volume interior. The ride is smooth, flowy and semi-soft with a mild bit of energetic pop in every stride. (The ride feels like a soft propulsive rolling sensation, not so much of a bouncy ride.) The 10mm heel-toe offset — the difference in height between where the heel sits in the shoe and where the forefoot sits in the shoe — is greater than many shoes, but the rocker geometry means there is less propensity for hard heel-striking gait pattern. In general, it fits, feels and rides much better compared to the previous edition of the shoe. It’s not too flashy compared to some other models, but it is very comfortable, extremely reliable and consistent.
While You’ll Love it: You’ll love the Triumph 20 because it’s a high-mileage workhorse of a training shoe, and most runners should enjoy a 400-500-mile lifespan from it. It’s especially adept at long runs and recovery runs because it’s very soft, smooth and accommodating and won’t break you down. Although it doesn’t have a top-end gear for faster training, it can handle tempo runs and spontaneous fartlek sessions in a pinch.
Saucony Triumph 20
Weights: 8.8 oz. women’s 8; 9.7 oz. men’s 9
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (37mm in the heel, 27mm in the forefoot)
Pro: The best aspect of the Triumph 20 is the thick PWRRUN+ foam midsole layer. The EVA/TPU blend gives it a moderately energetic vibe, allowing it to offer just the right amount of softness and just the right amount of responsiveness. It’s definitely one of the softer midsoles out there, but it’s not marshmallowy and undefined.
Con: There are many training shoes that are faster and springier than the Triumph 20. It’s not nearly as energetic or agile as the Endorphin Speed 3, and the increased foam height reduces the proprioceptive feel for the ground. But when it comes to reliable everyday trainers, the Triumph has been greatly improved.