Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saucony Triumph ISO 5 Review: Heavy on Comfort, Cushion and Durability and with some Zing!

Article by Jeff Beck, Sam Winebaum, Hope Wilkes, Dave Ames, and Shannon Payne
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 ($160)
Introduction
The Saucony Triumph ISO 5 is a premium daily neutral trainer featuring a full Everun TPU midsole and an ISOFit upper.
This update ups the comfort and cushion game with 2mm more Everun underfoot, a very soft and roomy new Jacquard mesh ISOFit upper, and a redesigned TriFlex outsole of mostly Crystal Rubber. The last is the new broader forefoot grippier heel flavor first found in the Ride ISO. The result is a softer very forgiving shoe top to bottom with a truly commodious upper and which despite its considerable weight is also easier to transition, even at slow paces, and easier on the legs than its predecessor and other plush heavy weights. The ISO 5 maxes out comfort, and yes weight at well over 11 ounces, but can still move along.


Stats
Weight: Men: 11.4 oz/ 323 g Women: 10 oz / 283 g
Pre Production Samples inclu. 0.5 oz sockliner: 11.4 oz/323 g, 11.6 oz /330 g (M US 9)
Stack Height: 30mm heel / 22 mm forefoot, 8 mm drop
$160. Available now.


First Impressions and Fit
Sam: My size 9 sample was a half size up from my usual 8.5 due to availability. I often can make the common size 9 sample size work well with heavier socks. Here my heavier socks, really hiking socks had me close to swimming inside but no so much that they weren’t very runnable as the ISOFit bands did a great job holding my mid foot. In a next pair I would size down half a size to my true to size so as to be able to also wear thinner socks. The comfort on foot from the soft Jacquard engineered mesh is simply sublime here and the focus. The volume, toe box width and the very soft mesh upfront make this is a shoe that I doubt anyone would need to size up in as Saucony offers wide versions for men and women as well as sizes up to 15 for men and 12 for women.


Dave:  Saucony has done quite well for me in 2018. In fact, Kinvara 9 was, and is, so far my top shoe of 2018!  (4% is in a totally different league) The ever so smooth transition made it work for me mile after mile so far this year.  I liked the Ride ISO, minus struggling a bit with the ISO fit, but put a ton of miles on Ride ISO and jogged a Marathon in California wine country a few months ago in it with no issues at all.  
This led me to be intrigued by the Triumph ISO.  I really am in search of a quality everyday trainer.  Something solid for recovery days and those key 10-15 mile medium long runs I like to do now, as I am transitioning to Ultra’s and can’t get to the trails, mid week.  My size 9 is perfect with all sock types and the ISO fit, I can tell was immediately improved from the way it struggled on my foot in Ride ISO. The tongue is center locked very well in place, but when lacing the Triumph up, the outer portions of the heel strap (Form Fit) pull in nicely and mold around my ankle really well.  I have narrow ankles and struggle with the lacing on the upper eyelets of a shoe if it’s not built correctly for my foot type. I found no issues on ISO on the Triumph.
Shannon: My initial impression of this new version of the Triumph when I first saw it at Outdoor Retailer last summer was that the aesthetics were head and shoulders above its predecessor. While the previous Triumph’s upper was baggy, loosey-goosey and overall admittedly pretty ill-fitting on most feet, the new version has a clean, sharp looking upper devoid of the bagginess seen in the previous model. Upon slipping my foot into the shoe, I found the sizing to be true, and the upper to fit well across the foot when laced up, as is the intention of ISO fit. The toebox offered substantial width which, despite the fact that I do not have a wide foot, I like a wider toe box. Possibly this could pose a problem for those with narrow feet, but so far so good. I will say that with the combination of a crystal rubber outsole and Everrun midsole, this is one heavy lunker of a shoe relative to others in its category, we’ll see how it goes.


Hope: My size 8 was 1.5 sizes down (*gulp*) from my usual W 9.5/M 8 due to availability. But as a longtime fan of the Triumph ISO line, I decided to give these a try anyway. My big toes caused the toe bumper to bulge out slightly, but I never felt cramped or uncomfortable during testing. The upper materials are accommodating -- soft and stretchy yet supportive. ISO Fit got the job done, even when the deck was stacked against it. Of course I’d be happiest in my regular size, but in a lesser shoe I might have developed blisters and/or been in outright pain.
Jeff: I also went up a half size from my standard 10.5 to an 11 due to availability, and I'm glad that I did. Length wise it is just about perfect (if only a hair long) but the forefoot and toe box width is as good as anything not made by Topo or Altra. This is the first version of the Triumph ISO that feels like a connection with the Triumph 11; the four shoes in between felt like they had lost their way, but now they had found their way back. If anyone thinks shoes still need a break in period they should throw this shoe on and change their mind. It is incredibly comfortable from the first step.


Upper
Dave:  Saucony has done an outstanding job with uppers over the past few years and they continue to get better and better by the season.  I’m becoming a big fan. Wait until you feel the upper on the new Kinvara 10! The Jacquard knit mesh wraps the foot very well and the breathability is outstanding, especially on mornings that are a bit more humid here at the beach in Long Beach, CA (weirdly humid here the past 6 months)  
Shannon: Reiterating what has been said, this upper is NICE. More and more brands are turning to the Jacquard knit material for uppers and for good reason: it’s stretchy, yielding, fits like a glove and works seamlessly with the foot. In this upper’s case, there is ample room in the toe box, but without the baggy excess of the previous. Saucony did a tremendous job cleaning this up.
Hope: The upper is where the “super premium” features of the T5 begin. This will catch your eye when you see it on the shoe wall at your running store. The materials are visibly plush. You’re paying for the Cadillac of neutral shoes and you’re getting the Cadillac of neutral shoes. Think of the Brooks Glycerin line and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. In hand, and more importantly on feet, the upper is pliable. The ISO Fit system contributes to a moderately locked down midfoot. I can just pull the laces tight and tie the shoes, no fiddly adjustments needed. This is not a race-tuned fit -- think of it as a luxury car, not a sports car. There’s enough give to accommodate swelling feet during a long run, but enough structure to keep the shoe securely in place. I ran my last 10 miler as part of my fall marathon taper in the T5 without fear and was comfortable the whole time, even though my T5 is 1.5 sizes down from what I’d normally wear.

Jeff: The upper is a slam dunk. Comfortable, breathable, and very tunable with the ISO system, I think this is a shoe that will work for anyone looking for a heavy duty training shoe. Runners with narrow feet may have to tinker to fine tune the upper to lock down their foot (or get the shoe in true to size rather than a 1/2 size up), but I have fairly normal sized feet, and didn't have to do much adjusting. The upper utilizes a very comfortable mesh in the midfoot and toe box, with a flexible inner bootie that keeps the tongue (and your foot) in place. I had zero heat issues with the ISO 5 (yeah, it’s late October but we’re still in the 90s in Phoenix), and the upper is very breathable. My favorite element of this upper? It no longer has thick padded sides around the heel like skateboarding shoes. From the Triumph ISO 1 to the ISO 4, they have all had very thick uppers on the side of each foot, and it was very off-putting. The ISO 5 looks like a running shoe.


Sam: This is one luxo comfortable upper as the others have said. Roomy, soft, and adequately held feet are really pampered here. It is voluminous so, as others have said, narrow low volume feet may find the fit on the loose side.  I too found the ISO 4’s upper quite baggy, the tongue overly puffy and soft and a comfortable fit quite hard to dial in. Things are way better here.
The tongue now is somewhat thinner but still very well padded with the last ISOFit band at lace up wrapping a bit further over the foot and the next one as clearly shown in the photo above now also wrapping over the foot with more precision even when unlaced. The bootie now extends further back and clearly keeps the tongue better aligned while increasing mid foot support.
This new more precise “flatter” wrap seems largely due to the fact that instead of running through loops at the end of each ISOFit band the laces run through slots a little further back keeping the tie up flatter across the foot.


The T4 toe box while not bad had more overlays and greater variations in density and a not very seamless fit or feel. No such issues here as not only do we have the new Jacquard knit upper but the last, shared with the Ride ISO and upcoming Guide ISO, has a broader forefoot and grippier heel, the heel shape change can be seen in the photo above, the wider forefoot in the photo below .  
Jacquard Knit
The upper is made of a double Jacquard knit. Jacquard knit uppers have two knits woven together on both sides of the pattern to create a more stable and strong pattern yet remain breathable. Surprisingly supportive for such a soft and pliable material, the upper is comfortable and secure while not being exactly a performance shoe fit and feel but after all this is a comfort cruiser.


FormFit
Going forward most Saucony performance shoes will have FormFit, essentially sock liner footbed and midsole sidewalls are designed to more closely mesh to the foot and with each others contours.
The conventional approach is to drop a contoured sockliner on top of the flat footbed.
While difficult to capture in photography the white Everun footbed area is slightly contoured upwards on the medial side to better mesh with the raised edge of the sockliner. On the run there is a slight but distinct sense the foot is in more continuous contact with the sole.


Midsole
Sam: The T5 features a full midsole plus topsole of Saucony’s Everun TPU material. TPU, also the compound used in adidas Boost is by nature heavier than EVA foams. It is more resilient, compresses less over time and is less temperature sensitive so less brick like feel in winter cold.
The T4 also had an full Everun midsole, but here we have 2mm more stack of it and the new softer mostly Crystal Rubber outsole. I was very surprised by the change in run feel between the two. While in my 2017 comparisons of heavy duty premium trainers the T4 had the most responsive firmer feel of the group, the T5 has now has a clearly bouncier feel which I attribute more to the changes in the outsole from densely packed fairly firm Tri-Flex chevrons, particularly up front to mostly softer Crystal Rubber in a less dense more open pattern than to the 2mm more Everun.
The result translates to a softer more flexible feel and a more comfortable one as the T4 was actually a bit stiff and firm upfront and at the heel. Boost shoes such as the Supernova, Energy, and Ultra also come to mind. In all cases the mid to forefoot of the T5 better balances midsole softness and cushion with a smooth stable get up and go transition and toe off, and this without using any plastic pieces as the adidas do. Everun is somewhat denser than Boost and doesn’t require stabilizing pieces even if it is a touch less bouncy.  All of this said, I wonder if the 2mm more Everun and its added weight is really needed given the new outsole materials and the changes to the more open more flexible front outsole coverage.


Dave:  Here’s where the Triumph ISO shines for a heavier neutral daily trainer.  It pops. The full length EVERUN midsole allows for a smooth, smooth transition from heel to toe, mixed with more EVERUN in the topsole and dang, for a everyday trainer, I really am digging it!  While it is a tad heavier at 11.4oz/324g (My size 9) - - you rarely even notice it as a heavier shoe on your foot. In fact, I was able to do a few longer progression runs and really dial down on pace, just to put this midsole and transition rate to the test.  The Triumph ISO did just fine. Would I use it for a speed workout? Heck no. But I did this to discover the overall versatility of the shoe at all speeds. It is ideal for easier general aerobic cruiser days my legs feel fresh mile after mile, especially when beat up from a workout or a really long run for Ultra training (20-25+)


Shannon: I admittedly did not expect to like this shoe’s midsole given that I'm not a fan of mushy shoes, and TPU midsoles such as Everrun tend to be quite soft and squishy. However, I'm not sure if it was the combination of crystal rubber on the outsole that gave this shoe more firmness, but the midsole ended up being surprisingly responsive.


Hope: Saucony has found the right combination of a supportive upper and a (nearly) full-coverage outsole that lets EVERUN shine. It has serious pop which gives the T5 a nimble feel not usually found in its weight class. Midsoles constructed from compressed TPU beads have historically been too mushy and uncontrolled for me. A certain well-known model with a similar midsole material (that shall remain nameless) was relegated to casual wear after just one run because the midsole was so squishy that it amplified every imperfection in my stride, making for an unstable, dangerous ride. The T5 delivers the total opposite of that. With the combo of Crystal rubber and conventional blown rubber outsole taking care of some of the cushioning duties (i.e. absorbing some of the impact when I make contact with the ground), the EVERUN midsole doesn’t compress too much. Instead, the EVERUN compresses just enough make the T5 feel lively and springy. This springiness is well complemented by the ISOFIT upper -- there’s no slop in the fit of the upper, so the spring back helps keep me moving forwards. It bears noting that there are no visible creases or wear on my midsole. Saucony gave the T5 a midsole that should last as long as the practically indestructible outsole.
Jeff: While nobody would confuse this shoe for a Hoka, it is very well cushioned and the midsole is very plush. The Everun midsole is Saucony's answer to adidas Boost, while they have used a similar midsole in this shoe for the last few years, this is the first one that really felt right to me. I briefly ran in the last version, and wasn't a fan, but this time around Saucony added two more millimeters underneath the foot, and I think the shoe is better for it. That said, I'm a bigger guy, north of 200 pounds, and while it feels very well cushioned to me, I wonder if smaller and lighter runners would feel like there is too much there. Luckily, Saucony has an answer for that in the Freedom ISO (which didn't feel like enough shoe for me when I tried it). Don't confuse plush with mushy or sluggish though, those are two adjectives I wouldn't attribute to this shoe.


Outsole
Dave:  The Crystal Rubber outsole looks like it could be loud and slappy.  I wasn’t a fan by any means of the Freedom ISO, but the Crystal Rubber outsole worked well on the Freedom and here it does as well as it is smooth and quiet on the roads. The outsole sidewalls round corners well and for any supinators out there you’ll find the sidewalls to be very soft, yet provide the quick feedback to not keep you there and keep your legs fresh upon footfall and through your gait cycle.


Shannon: There appear to be two materials on the outsole: the crystal rubber that is seen in the Freedom and Liberty, as well as more conventional durable rubber in the higher wear areas as seen in the photo above: the two vertical rows of center chevrons up front and the heel area are the more conventional rubber.


With the durability of these two materials, I'd expect this shoe to be ridiculously durable. After 25 or so miles, I'm still not seeing any wear. Also somewhat unexpected to me was the “stickiness” of the crystallized rubber, you can be confident on any and all surface conditions in this guy.


Hope: Crystal Rubber wears like iron. I put a lot of miles on the original Freedom ISO’s full crystal rubber outsole and it still looks almost new. I’m less impressed with crystal rubber's grip (rain slicked sidewalks became downright hazardous for me in the Freedom ISO), so I’m happy to see it paired with conventional blown rubber in the heel and forefoot. As Dave mentioned, the T5’s outsole is whisper quiet and transitions smoothly.


Jeff: Saucony kept the usual herringbone Tri-Flex tread pattern they have used for the a number of their shoes over the last few years.


This version has a number of small gaps, exposing the midsole, but the outsole rubber is thick enough that I have no premature wear concerns. But, those gaps give the shoe really good flexibility, especially for a shoe of it's heft, which is nice.
Most of the shoe is covered is their crystal rubber, which is a good balance of durability and softness, but they use a more traditional blown rubber in the center of the forefoot as well as at the rear, wrapping around to cover the last quarter on the lateral side.
This traditional rubber may be less flexible, giving the shoe a little more stability than the Freedom, which is very flexible. Pairing this rubber outsole with an Everun midsole means this should be a very high mileage shoe for virtually all conditions, shy of technical trails.


Sam: I think the outsole is key to the transformation of the Triumph ISO from a lumbering yet responsive heavier trainer into a far more fun and dynamic one. The combination of Crystal Rubber and the new chevron pattern up front transforms the shoe and puts it into the lead in the premium category of heavier plush trainers.
Instead of a dense thick largely un broken side to side longitudinal front outsole we have considerably more opening across the outsole. This translates to more flexibility and less of monolithic somewhat firm feel to the forefoot which leads to more flexibility and the noted less harsh forefoot outsole feel. The substitution of blown rubber in the center two rows of chevrons (slightly darker above) adds some stability and pop.


Ride
A/B test run T4 vs. T5
Sam: The ride is on the soft side and softer than the Triumph ISO 4 as there is 2mm more Everun and the outsole now includes softer Crystal Rubber. Moderate paces are fine here with the ride quite bouncy and lively, if not as responsive as the T4’s which despite its cushion felt somewhat harsh under the forefoot due to the more extensive firm rubber coverage there. Despite its weight, far more than I prefer i,t flows along very well at all paces and better than the T4 reminding me of the Brooks Levitate in many ways but with a less pneumatic measured feel and more of a snappier bounce.
Shannon: The ride of the Triumph was not what I was expecting, in a good way. While the previous Triumph felt to me like a lifeless blob of a deflated marshmallow whose upper didn't seem to belong with its midsole that fit more like a garbage bag for the foot, the new version has some serious snap to it, despite its weight and the fact that the midsole is still comprised entirely of Everrun, just as the previous. Is it the crystal rubber outsole that gives this newer version more pep to its step? I'm not sure, but it works.


Hope: The T5 is one of those shoes that I don’t necessarily want to admit that I need or admit that I like. If only I were light enough, efficient enough, or just plain cool enough to get by in only uptempo trainers and lightweight racers! For better or worse, I’m not that person. On days when nothing else is going right for me, I know that the dependable T5 won’t add to my difficulties. In 2015 I struggled through a marathon in the original Triumph ISO. On a day when I wasn’t feeling my best, I ran surprisingly well. I chalk that up to the fact that my feet were comfortable and my legs weren’t getting unnecessarily thrashed by the hilly course because the soft, superb-fitting Triumph ISO was protecting me. While the T5 has changed a lot from the original Triumph ISO (the outsole is now full-coverage, thinner, and made partially from crystal rubber; the upper is a simpler one-piece jacquard knit mesh; the midsole is now made of EVERUN), but it has the same genes as the standout model that launched the ISO line. The T5 runs smooth. It’s protective. It’s not the most responsive shoe on the market, but it’s got enough pop to it that my legs don’t notice its daily trainer-level weight. Thanks to the single slab of EVERUN and the full-coverage outsole, the T5 delivers a comfortable ride that can endure for the long haul.
Jeff: The Triumph is bouncier than it's heft would suggest, as a product of its Everun midsole. There isn't as much of a sinking in feeling as you get with other heavy, well-cushioned trainers. As a by-product of living in Phoenix I didn't get a chance to wear them in the rain, but on my most recent run the sprinklers in the park had gone rogue and soaked the sidewalk for a few hundred yards, and there were no traction issues. While the ride is comfortable, it is unique, as are all of the recent TPU cushioned shoes. The Brooks Levitate 2 rides differently than the ISO 5, and different from the adidas Ultra Boost, which all ride differently from more traditionally cushioned shoes. It is hard to speculate which is better, but I personally enjoy Saucony's offering the most. My last marathon was Chicago in 2014, and I ran it in the Triumph 11. I'm not sure when my next full will be, but the ISO 5 is on the short list for consideration. There's enough underneath the foot to keep me going, but if I feel like pushing pace some I can do that in this shoe.


Conclusions and Recommendations
Shannon:
Saucony went back to the drawing board a little bit with the Triumph ISO 5. While it maintains its place in the world of high-end cushioning shoes, it is without the ill-fitting upper and lifeless ride of the previous. So if you had set your previous Triumphs on fire, definitely give it another chance with the 5. You won't be disappointed, as has a far more snappy, stable ride and a far better fit. If you like plush shoes like the Solarboost, Ultraboost, Freedom and Levitate, add this to your arsenal.
Shannon’s Score: 8.5/10
-1.5 for weight


Hope:
I kind of want to hug those poor “garbage bags for the [feet]” that some of you apparently set on fire! Someone worked hard on these shoes and for the most part, I like them. I loved the original Triumph ISO. I enjoyed the T2 even though it took a lot of its design cues from the worst sneakers my dad wears. I’ll admit that I turned away from the Triumph line after the T3 because its ride felt too dead to justify its heavy weight. Saucony was still figuring out how best to implement EVERUN in those days (the cushioning war among brands wages on and “innovate or perish” may be a guiding principle), so I can give them a pass for that. In preparation for this review I ran in the T4 which was a marked improvement over the T3. In turn, the T5 improved upon the T4, albeit by sacrificing a bit of snap in favor of more stability and more EVERUN underfoot (this probably affected weight too). If neutral shoes work well for you and you are in the market for a daily trainer that has enough pop for tempo days and enough cushion for long runs, you can’t go wrong with the T5. To Shannon’s point, I think that Saucony dialed in the fit better for the T5. If you’re deciding between a discounted pair of the T4 or the full-price T5 and budget is not an issue, I would recommend the T5. Recall that I tested a pair 1.5 sizes below my usual, so I’m basing that fit assessment on midfoot lockdown, heel hold, and toebox height/width then extrapolating the rest.
Hope’s Score: 9.0/10
-0.5 for weight -- While I like the fit and feel, I’m not convinced that Saucony can’t achieve the same level of secure comfort without having such a plush tongue and heel collar.
-0.5 for price -- The T5 is built to last, but $160 is hard to stomach.


Jeff:
I am a big fan of this shoe, and can see it as a mainstay in my regular rotation for some time. I have zero complaints about the upper or the outsole, and while I'd prefer it if the shoe found a way to lose a couple ounces, I know it would change the shoe, turning it into a Frankensteined version of the Freedom ISO, which I haven't enjoyed nearly this much. Aesthetically Saucony finally figured out the Triumph ISO after four failures, and the toe box is the best among typically shaped shoes. There are three different colorways, and while one of them leans a little too close to the Seattle Seahawk's colors for this Cardinals fan, all three look great, finding that mid-place between boring black and white and super outlandish neons and clashing colors.
Jeff’s Score: 9.5/10
-.5 point for weight
The heavy element of a "heavy duty trainer" is no joke. I'm not one to split hairs over partial ounces, but my size 11 was 13 ounces and that's a heavy shoe. It's a necessary evil, that extra weight is a result of the most padded Triumph they've ever made.


Sam:
Heavy but not ponderous, dull or boring the Triumph ISO 5 sets a new standard in the premium daily trainer category defined by plush comfort and lots of cushion. The new upper in many ways, and unlike its predecessor’s is more in  keeping with the luxo comfort theme of the category. I do wish the Jacquard mesh’s fibers were a touch more stout to give the shoe a bit more upper substance. I think the new outsole’s effect on ride is pretty dramatic. It makes the shoe flow far better than the T4 and the competition with a softer forefoot feel that is bouncier yet also stable.
Sam’s Score: 9.25/10
-0.75 for weight. This is the heaviest shoe I have run in years and way up there even compared to most all trail shoes.  I really wonder if the 2mm of additional Everun midsole stack and the weight it adds is really necessary here and overkill.


Comparisons
Triumph ISO 4 (RTR review)
Sam: The T5 finally gets the premium super cushioned and plush trainer right. The T4 was firmer, stiffer, and topped with a more awkward fitting upper. In the T5 we get a softer bouncier ride due to the 2mm additional Everun midsole stack and softer less extensive new Crystal Rubber outsole. Transitions are smoother and toe off is less harsh and firm and maybe a touch less responsive. The upper wraps the foot better while remaining very roomy, accommodating, and soft.
Hope: I got my hands on the T4 at the same time as the T5 and gave them somewhat less attention than the T5 in preparation for this review. I was impressed by the T4’s bouncy midsole (thinner and therefore lighter than the T5’s by my reckoning, but given the size differences in my pairs, I can’t be certain about the weight) and the fierce grip of its full-coverage outsole, but I was not enamored of its overly roomy fit. My women’s size 9.5 was so spacious that I had to use heel lock lacing, which I never do. It’s both long and wide. I had far more than the idea thumb’s width of space between my big toe and the end of the shoe. Lock lacing saved the day by letting the ISOFIT system work its magic in the midfoot. I’d give the nod to the T5 for its superior fit and its more durable (mostly) crystal rubber outsole. If weight and cost are a concern, go ½ or a full size down in the T4 and reap those end of model year savings.


New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 (RTR review)
Jeff: The 1080v8 has a lot going for it, but its midsole is the fatal flaw. The upper feels good, the toe box has plenty of room, the outsole has lots of rubber and will last forever, but its ride is more boring than the slow boat through Its A Small World. I’ve never had a shoe move to “casual wear” faster than the 1080. If it used the same Fresh Foam as its little brother Beacon, maybe this would read differently, but I definitely prefer the Triumph ISO 5.
Sam: Agree with Jeff here. A great upper but a stiff very ponderous ride in comparison to the Triumph.
Sam: While the 1080v8 has for me a more secure if not quite as comfortable upper, underfoot they are far more of a chore to move along despite weighing 0.5 oz less. The 1080 has a single distinct forward flex point and more extensive rubber coverage further back making it more difficult for me to run at slower paces than with the Triumph. Bottom line while heavier the Triumph is more comfortable, versatile, and lively and more fun to run if a touch less responsive at faster paces.


Brooks Levitate 2 (RTR review)
Jeff: In many ways this is the same shoe from two different companies. Premium uppers, proprietary TPU or PU cushioning, crystal rubber outsoles, there’s a lot to unpack. The Levitate 2 is a very good shoe, unfortunately for it, the Triumph ISO 5 is a great shoe. I’d recommend runners try both, they both have unique rides, and just because I like the way the Saucony feels doesn’t mean you will too. Probably the best single shoe to compare it to.
Sam: Again agree with Jeff the Levitate is the closest comparison to the Triumph. The Levitate has a more “pneumatic” slower measured bounce than the Triumph but otherwise a similar ride feel so finding a way to compare before buying is a good idea. I prefer the Triumph’s softer less structured upper, particularly at lace up and around the ankle collar, even if it fits a bit to roomy while the Levitate 2's upper is super supportive but a bit rigid at lace up.


Brooks Ricochet (RTR review)
Jeff: The Ricochet is lighter, but feels like it has less pop along with the lesser cushioning. Similar in a number of ways to its more plush (and expensive) brother the Levitate 2, the Ricochet just didn’t do it for me. On the plus side, it is a full $40 less than the Triumph, but if you can stretch your dollars to make the purchase, I’d recommend that you do.
Sam: The lighter Ricochet has a very muted, very well cushioned, ride which also quite firm at the same time. How is that possible? Well yes it somehow is. It has somewhat more more giddy up due to its lighter weight but has a quite dull and boring run feel in comparison to the ounce heavier Triumph.


Brooks Glycerin 16 (RTR review)
Jeff: The Glycerin 16 uses more traditional cushioning, but it has a very similar upper to the Triumph. Both shoes fit very well, and I’d give the Glycerin the edge when it comes to plush, and the Triumph the edge when it comes to responsiveness. Ultimately I prefer the Triumph, but I would put this contest inside the margin of error. Either way, a great shoe.


Topo Athletic Ultrafly 2 (RTR review soon)
Jeff: I only have about 15 miles on my Ultrafly 2 so far, but it’s the closest shoe I have run in that would give the Triumph a run for its money. The upper isn’t as nice as the Triumph, and the cushioning is more plush than responsive, the Ultrafly 2 makes a nice “similar but different” component to the 1-2 punch of every day trainers. If I could only have one? I might have to flip a coin. The Ultrafly 2 is such a good all purpose shoe with lots of rubber and an even better toebox than the Triumph, but I’ve enjoyed every single run I’ve had in the Triumph, and a few falls during a nighttime trail run in the Ultrafly 2 left me a few bruised ribs. Neither of the falls were the shoe’s fault, but call it guilt by association, so Triumph wins by default.


Adidas Energy Boost 2017 (RTR review)
Sam: Coming in a few tenths of an ounce under the Triumph the Energy Boost’s TPU midsole is softer and bouncier than the T5’s Everun TPU midsole. Boost midsoles are bouncy and unruly by nature so the Energy relies on an extensive plastic Torsion system in the midsole. Not exactly as elegant as the T5 slab of the same material, firmer and formulated differently. Despite the Torsion I found the Energy Boost’s heel mushy at slow speeds in comparison to Triumph’s with a more ponderous transition. At fast paces, or if one is mid to forefoot striker as I am not, they feel better having a lively forefoot bounce. This said the ride is inconsistent while the Triumph’s is consistent in feel ,regardless of pace. As to upper and fit, yet more plastic is found in the Energy Boost’s upper. It has a plastic midfoot  cage and external heel reinforcements. The Energy upper is just not as smooth fitting as Triumph’s if it is a touch more secure. Clear nod to the Triumph here.


Karhu Iconi Ortix (RTR review)
Sam: About a half an ounce and $30 lighter, the Karhu in contrast to the Triumph’s single slab of Everun has a complex midsole design of differing densities including a EVA and TPU (as in Triumph) blend and a plastic propulsion plate to stabilize lightly and move the rocker design to a fairly flexible forefoot. Topped with a similarly roomy and comfortable upper, although with a pointier toe, the Karhu’s upper comes close to the Triumph’s in comfort and fit but doesn’t not quite get to the level of the Triumph’s,as despite the support underfoot, the upper’s hold is a touch less secure at mid foot, lacking anything like the ISOFit bands. If you want a touch of stability with plush, a more dynamic directed ride and toe off, as I prefer, choose the Iconi. If you want a plush, smooth and consistent soft feel from heel to toe chose the Triumph.
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The product reviewed in this article were provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am looking for a shoe to replace my ageing Saucony triumph iso 3. I tried the saucony triumph iso 4 and to was to firm and not as comfortable and as flexible as iso 3. Is the iso 5 as soft as flexible, cushioned, breathable as iso 3. is it more responsive, weight? Also looking at adidas solar boost. How do those two models compare solarboost vs iso 5. Thanks.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
I find ISO 5 the best of the three mentioned as while heavier ti regains some flexibility and is softer than ISO 4. It is a touch less responsive than 4 or 3 but smoother transitioning at all paces with a less firm forefoot feel. Solar Boost is a great option but the upper is challenging where laces end. Very thick stiff lace eye stay which may irritate and forefoot upper may irritate those with bunions which ISO 5 will not. It is a faster shoe than Triumph with great cushioning but the upper may present challenges. See reviews of all at the link below,
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Keep_Moving09 said...

This is a great review! I am considering either this or the newly released Hoka Clifton One. Which would you choose? Thanks!

sam winebaum said...

Hi Keep_Moving09,
Significantly different shoes. Big differences in weight, more than 4 oz. and 5 mm drop vs. 8mm The T5 will last considerably longer. The Clifton 1 will be a livelier ride and a more unstable one in my experience. What shoes work for you now? What are you seeking from this choice? I did not care much for Clifton 1 as I found it unstable at the heel for slower paces but fun at speed so for me not that versatile. You might also consider Ride ISO as a shoe between the two as well as Brooks Ghost and Reebok Sweet Road 2. Reviews below.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Keep_Moving09 said...

Thank you for your response! Definitely looking for a neutral shoe BUT with more stability. I don't like to feel "wobbly" by any means. The Saucony looks to have better cushion. Will most likely choose that.