Brian Metzler reviews the new Saucony Triumph 18 and weighs in on the updates of this perennial training shoe.
Saucony’s premium neutral trainer, the Triumph, has gone through a lot of changes in recent years — some very good, some not so good. However, it’s come full circle in the past two editions and is back to being the super cushioned gem that it was for so many years.
It’s a soft, opulently cushioned everyday trainer that takes the sting and suffering out of long runs.
The new edition of the Saucony Triumph 18 has been redesigned with a more comfortable upper, a more durable outsole and a lighter, faster feel.
This includes a new midsole foam and geometry for a snappier ride and a new engineered mesh upper for a softer, snugger fit.
In addition to the subtle support of the upper, the Triumph 18 also has an internal heel counter. Coupled with a cushy heel collar, this keeps the heel and ankle snug and secure when the foot strikes the ground and starts to roll through the gait cycle.
Saucony’s FormFit upper design molds around your foot and helps create a luxurious, near-custom. The new engineered mesh upper feels soft and stretchy. It perfectly supports and cradles the precise size and shape of your feet. This is achieved by 3D-printed overlays as they roll through the gait cycle.
The carbon rubber outsole of the Triumph has been updated with a new pattern of flex groves for greater flexibility and quicker transitioning to the toe-off phase of the stride. It’s more durable, offers better traction and aids in the enhanced energetic ride of the shoe.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Saucony Triumph 18 fits true to size with medium volume from the heel through the midfoot area. Add to that, it also features a slightly roomier toe box that allows your toes to wiggle and splay.
The step-in feel is heavenly — soft and cushy from all sides, almost as if the shoe is hugging your foot. The ride gives off a slightly bouncy feel with cushioning for days. This provides a little bit of an energetic spark as your foot rolls to the forefoot.
WHO IS IT BEST FOR?
Runners with a neutral gait who appreciate and enjoy a really soft, cushy training shoe will love the new edition of the Saucony Triumph.
Bigger runners who rely on a lot of cushioning and inherent support will love it, too.
The lighter, more energetic feel is reminiscent of Saucony’s Ride shoe, only with more interior creature comforts and more structure.
With all this in mind, this new edition is ideal for long runs and recovery runs and can also hold its own on a tempo run if called upon.
Pros: Saucony Triumph 18
The secret sauce of the Triumph 18 is centered around the new PRRRUN+ midsole compound and geometry. The thick layer of this next-generation foam feels light, springy and energetic, but it also aids the flexibility, durability and agility, too.
Our wear-testers think this is one of the best updates of 2020. The increased comfort, new foam, enhanced fit and more lively feel put it a rare category among luxe everyday trainer. It’s one of those shoes that feels sublime, and that definitely contributes to the overall running experience.
Cons: Saucony Triumph 18
This edition of the Triumph is amazing for a lot of reasons, but the one thing it is not is super light or especially nimble.
It’s not going to be your first choice for short, speedy workouts. But that’s OK because of how it excels at longer, slower to moderately paced runs!
SHOP SAUCONY TRIUMPH 18
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.
As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”