By Kieran Alger
Running shoes don’t live to see a 21st edition without doing something right for a large group of runners. But the Saucony Triumph has been a long-term popular option for daily training. Saucony describes the latest incarnation as “a light and plush performance shoe that's built for those who need a little more out of their daily miles”. As always, there’s a big emphasis here on comfort. But with a big wedge of energetic PWRRUN+ foam, the Triumph isn’t just about cruising low and slow. Does it have the versatility to rival the best daily trainers? Is it still a triumph? Find out in my Saucony Triumph 21 review.
Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
The Saucony Triumph 21 stack puts a sizable wedge of PWRRUN+ midsole foam underfoot with 37mm in the heel and 27mm in forefoot for a very calf-muscle-friendy and forgiving 10mm drop.
When it comes to weight, the Saucony Triumph 21 weighs in at 9.9oz or 281g in our UK Men’s 8.5 test size. That’s not the heaviest daily trainer on the shelves right now. The Kinvara Pro has more heft. But it’s a good ounce and half heavier than rival daily shoes like the HOKA Mach 5, the New Balance 1080v13, On Cloudsurfer 7 and the Triumph’s stable mate, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3.
At launch the Saucony Triumph price was marked at $160. It’s pushing the pricier end for daily trainers, up there with the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 and the Nke Vomero 17.
Weight (Size 10)
9.9 oz / 281 g
True to size
The Saucony Triumph 21 features a PWRRUN+ midsole and sockliner with a slightly higher stack across the foot than you’ll find on the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. PWRRUN+ is a durable TPU-based foam that’s lighter, bouncier and springier than Saucony’s regular PWRRUN eva. But it’s not as light and energetic as the compressed PEBA PWRRUN PB foam in the likes of the Endorphin Pro and Speed 3.
Up top there’s flat knit upper that’s heavily perforated for good breathability. It’s flexible, too and there are no overlays here. You also get soft, medium padded heel collars and a plush padded tongue that helps avoid lace pinch. There’s an updated lacing design too, to improve the fit and hold. The heel collars contain a very rigid heel counter.
Flip them over and there’s a decent covering of carbon rubber on the outsole to protect that TPU foam and provide the grip.
In my tests, I ran in a UK 8.5 which is my regular running shoe size. I found the fit nice and secure in the heel and across the midfoot. Good hold, no pinching. But I think these come up ever so slightly long in the toe. On the run I had no issues with that extra room, it certainly helps avoid and black toenail issues if you’re using them for 2-3 hour long runs. And if you like a good inch between your little piggies and the end of the toe box you’ll get that here. So I’d be happy to recommend going true to size in the Saucony Triumph 21.
In my tests, I clocked just short of 40 miles in Saucony Triumph 21. That included a 1.45 half marathon test with a mix of paces thrown in, from easy up to marathon pace. Plus some shorter easy plods and the odd uptempo training run for good measure.
Most of those miles were on road or tarmac with some on river paths to really test the stability and durability.
Now Saucony pitches the Triumph 21 as a light but plush performance shoe for conquering daily miles across a range of paces in boosted comfort.
I think it largely lives up to that billing. There’s good step-in comfort and disappearing fit. The shoe manages to feel plush and padded without feeling big, bulky and heavy.
The uppers hug and wrap well and the lock down for me was spot on with no movement, slipping or any rubbing or hot spots to speak of.
This is definitely one of those shoes that feels right on the foot very quickly after you lace them up.
When it comes to the ride, I found it light and agile enough. Where some shoes can leave you feeling like they’re interfering with your run, the Triumph 21 feels like it’s working with you in a natural way.
That PWRRUN+ midsole and sockliner make for a soft and cradled landings but they return at the right time, with enough firmness, to help you clip through your stride.
I find them much better moving at slower to mid-level pace than my marathon pace but they’re also pretty comfortable at marathon intensity too.
In the last half an hour of my half marathon test, they perhaps weren’t offering the extra assistance you might get from an Endorphin Speed 3. But on the flip they offered good protection during those ragged-form miles. That bigger 10mm drop certainly helps.
Having recently been testing the Kinvara Pro almost alongside these I have to say I think I preferred the Triumph 21 or at least I don’t think there’s a huge difference here. If you were considering the Kinvara Pro but wanted a cheaper option, these are well worth a look
The Saucony Triumph 21 ticks a lot of the right boxes and I think there’s a lot here that many runners will like.
They offer good balanced cushioning that’s not too soft, with good response and efficient roll through. There’s great step-in comfort with a nicely disappearing feel on the foot. Despite the big stack, they’re light and agile and you can move with good precision.
Generally, this is a nice easy shoe to run in that offers an enticing amount of versatility. Though arguably it’s better at the lower paces, than when you’re moving faster.
The question really is whether they’re better than some of the stiff competition in this daily trainer space. And for that we need to factor in value. At $160, hey’re pushing the top of this price bracket. But I think they’re as good, if not better than the pricier Kinvara Pro. So if you’re weighing up those two I think you can save yourself a few bucks.
However, I’m not sure I’d choose them over the Speed 3 which are cheaper – particularly if you hunt for deals. Then there’s shoes like the On Cloudsurfer 7, that probably offer more versatility for £20 less. I’d also argue that the HOKA Mach 5 and the Mach X offer as much for a chunk less.
This is a very capable shoe that gets a lot right. It’s maybe just a little overpriced compared to the competition.