Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Saucony Triumph 17 Multi Tester Review: Lots of Foamy, Plush, Move Along Goodness!

Article by Jeff Beck, Canice Harte, Derek Li, Jeff Valliere, Sally Reiley, and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Triumph 17 ($150)

Sam: The Triumph 17 is clearly a complete update. Dropping more than an ounce (over 30g)  per shoe and $10 in price with about the same very well cushioned and big stack height of 33.5mm heel / 25.54mm forefoot and the same 8mm drop, the big news is a new midsole material PWRRUN+.

The new PWRRUN+ midsole is still TPU but instead of Everun as in the ISO 5 it is a new heated and expanded TPU bead based material called PWRRUN+.

PWRRUN+ is called out by Saucony as being 25% lighter than their “previous best” (assuming Everun) with a sensation of softness and response, 3x more durable and 3x more temperature resistant than EVA foams, 2x as flexible as standard cushioning, and with 5% more impact absorption than Saucony's "previous best" foam.

We will also see PWRRUN+ in the January Freedom 3. Other updates such as Guide 13, Kinvara 11, and Peregrine 10 get PWRRUN, a TPU EVA blend (RTR Saucony 2020 Road PreviewRTR Saucony 2020 Trail Preview)
Women's color (PC: Sally Reiley. Sally will join the review soon)
Notice no “ISO” in the naming. They didn’t skip all the versions from the Triumph ISO 5! Saucony simplified naming to actual annual version and is also doing this for all upcoming models. Well not just marketing simplification, they also did away with the ISO Fit bands replacing them in the upper here with a soft engineered mesh with bootie tongue, thin overlays towards mid foot and a stout toe bumper similar to the ISO 5's and really the only upper hold over other than bootie tongue from ISO 5. The molded rear collars are unusually plush looking and feeling, and even somewhat stretchy covering a stout heel counter. The outsole combines areas of firm rubber at the heel and toe with softer crystal rubber elsewhere. 

Clearly aimed at the heavy duty more cushioned and premium daily trainer segment, the Triumph 17 is very solidly built, copiously cushioned, with lots of durable rubber yet is reasonable in weight for its substance. It was one of the most exciting shoes I saw at the last Outdoor Retailer from a brand that clearly is shaking up all the shoes with new midsoles, uppers and streamlined naming. So let's find out what our testers thought.

Canice: Cushion, fit and ride
Sam: Well controlled responsive bounce, plentiful cushion, easy any pace transitions, superb upper particularly the stretch soft rear collars
Jeff B: Plush upper breathes well, midsole/outsole provide lots of cushioning but still has some flex, and plenty of pop when the pace picks up
Derek: very comfortable upper, overall well balanced shoe with decent flexibility for its stack height
Jeff V:  Controlled bounce, ample cushion, upper breathability and security
Sally: superlative in comfort, well cushioned with restrained bounce, flexible and active ride

Canice: Lots of foam in the upper
Sam: far rear of sole overhang and weight (outsole and midsole), stiffish front of mid foot flex point
Jeff B: Tube laces feel like they are coming untied, even if they aren’t
Derek: padding around the heel seems a bit excessive, even for a premium daily trainer
Jeff V:  Laces, fit is snug on met heads if not careful with lacing, a touch heavy
Sally: a bit heavy

Weight: men's 10.5oz/ 298 g(US9)  / women's 9.44 oz /266g (US8) 
W8: 9.4 oz / 266g, M8.5: 10.26 oz /291g, M11: 11.5 oz/327g, M9.5: 10.7oz / 304g, M10: 11.25 oz /319 g
Triumph ISO 5 Weight : M9 11.7 oz / 331g
Stack Height: 33.5 heel / 25.54 forefoot, 8 mm drop
Blue men’s and women’s colors shown here will also be available in wide 
Available November 2019

First Impressions and Fit
Sam: A plush fit without compromises here. True to size without slop anywhere and without excessive “strap down” as this class of shoe has often had in the past for me. I particularly like the smooth very soft slightly stretchy rear collars mated to that stout heel counter. Comfort and security. Initially they were a bit tight at the met heads but after a few miles stretched nicely there.
The Triumph ISO 5 was clearly more voluminous and sloppier in hold on my medium feet which in combination with the stiffer ISO Fit bands providing a fit best suited to wide high volume feet. Not to worry a wide version is available in the blue colors of our test pairs for men and women. The look is OK but I do think the silvery lace up accent adds clutter to the design with the thinner ones at the toe and mid foot fine by me as they are also reflective.

Canice: Foam, lots and lots of foam in the upper here. This is a max cushioned shoe without actually being in the Max Cushion, aka Hoka, category. The moment you take the shoe out of the box you feel the foam in the rear collars and the tongue. And when you slide your foot into the shoe you feel foam enveloping you. So the big question is, is this a good thing?
Yes, in the case of the Triumph all this cushion and foam feels great and the shoe runs beautifully. Now this assumes you’re looking for lots of cushion, but if you are, the Triumph should be on your list of shoes to try on. My size 10’s fit true to size and the shoe has a roomy toe box.
Jeff B: This is one of the plushest shoes I’ve ever slipped on my foot, in every sense of the word. The midsole is super cushioned, and the upper is smooth and comfortable - even more so than last year’s Triumph ISO 5. Don’t worry about the $10 price drop, they didn’t cut any corners to appease the bean counters, this is still very much a premium shoe. For testing purposes Saucony sent me a half size up 11, and while it is just a touch long, I don’t mind it. I like a thumb’s width of space in front of my toe, and I get just barely more than that - and considering this shoe is made for long runs (or the day after a long run) when feet are likely to swell, the extra room is welcome. That much room in a race flat would be less than ideal, but while this shoe is many things - a race flat is not one of them.

Derek: This shoe has an extremely plush step in feel with plenty of padding around the ankle opening and tongue. The fit is true to size for sure. This shoe has a snug and luxurious wrap around the heel and midfoot, opening up more towards a relatively roomy toe box. Even walking around in the shoe, there is a subtle bounce to the foam which is very nice and reminds me somewhat of the original Saucony Freedom but in a more stable balanced and tamed package. Aesthetically, it looks ok. I would have like a little bit more colours and maybe more curves in the design. That said, the Triumph never really gone with very radical themes in the past. 

Jeff V:  Plush seems to be the catch phrase here and agree 100%.  I actually received these shoes in error and was looking to ship them back, as I primarily test trail shoes and rarely run on roads, but after sliding my foot in just for kicks and watching Sam’s Saucony preview video here, I couldn’t resist giving them a go.  Super comfortable with ample padding, soft cushioning, a classy looking, secure breathable upper, but equally noticeable was the distinct bounce, they felt just wearing them in the kitchen, so right up my alley.
Sally: I am in total agreement with all the testers here: Plush luxurious comfort, beautiful to look at, delightful to pull on and wear, amazing to run in! True to size, the ample padding simply envelopes your foot (I particularly like the padding around the heel/ankle), and the peppy cushioning makes you want to smile like a little kid with his first running shoes. Thumbs up Saucony!

Canice: The upper which is now branded “360 Fit” is soft, comfortable and looks good. There’s plenty of breathability and it is well constructed. For me, I like less foam in the upper. I recognize this shoe is all about cushion and comfort but if I could make one change I would have less upper build towards the heel.

Jeff B: Canice is not wrong, there is a lot of soft foam in the upper, especially around the heel. But unless I’m looking at the shoe (and especially the heel) I don’t notice it. The upper breathes very well, and is soft and smooth at every point the foot comes into contact with it. I’ve never been the sockless type, but I’d bet this shoe would be great to wear without socks, you monsters. The abandonment of the ISO system seems to be celebrated by many, but I never had a problem with it - you could chalk that up to my medium-to-slightly-high-volume foot - and never had a hard time getting good lock down.
The midfoot has a series of overlays that kind of looks like a cage, similar to a number of shoes adidas and Reebok have put out over the last few years. Luckily, the overlays are narrow and thin, and don’t impede your foot in any way. The toebox is excellent, with adequate, if not good, room width wise and lots of stretch vertically. 
My only gripe comes in the form of the laces - they are a stretchy smooth tube style lace, and on every run I had a handful of “are they coming untied?” moments. They never actually were coming untied, so maybe I’m just completely in my head, but switching out laces is a couple minutes of my life I’m never getting back, so I’m not going to begrudge them too hard on that.

Jeff V:  The upper is wonderfully constructed with a very classy look, open breathable mesh and no longer uses ISO bands but instead a series of 10 overlays running parallel over the midfoot.  I personally never had an issue with ISO and rather liked it in the trail Peregrine, but I guess I could take it or leave it. Either way, midfoot lock is secure, but never uncomfortable or overbearing. The heel and tongue are notably plush in their padding and while it may be a bit much, I really like it and feel as though it adds to the comfort, while maintaining excellent heel hold. While the forefoot feels spacious upon initial try on, I noticed that even my thin, low volume foot swells and expand enough that after 5 or so miles, I start to feel some pressure on my met heads.  Coming from a steep, technical mountain trail background however, I have a habit of over tightening my laces for a ski boot like lock down and may have been doing that here. Being more careful with lace tension however helps ease that pressure, but those with wider feet may want to consider a wider version of this model.
Sam: A super plush upper which blends great comfort and very secure front to back hold. While a bit extreme in their plush look and feel the molded rear collar padding is soft and stretchy and really molds, along with the stout heel counter to the rear of your foot, with a gentle but totally effective grip and not a vise like harsh grip that's for sure!
ISO Fit is absolutely not missed as the substantial bootie tongue and the thin diagonal overlays work together to lock the foot into what is a softer engineered mesh upper. 
The stiffer ISO Fit bands of the ISO 5 are gone. Even at a half size up from my normal (provided sample not by choice) the ISO 5 was voluminous and awkward fitting. While regular sizing may now be a bit snug for high volume feet, a wide sizing is available. 
I found the laces just fine, working well with the upper but floppy and sloppy in appearance,
Derek: I honestly did not notice a huge difference in the move away from their old ISO fit system. My demands from an upper are relatively basic. All I want is something breathable, and allows for adequate lockdown without creating hotspots. From that perspective, Saucony uppers have always worked pretty well for me and this one is no different. The main thing for me with the Triumph upper is the generous amounts of padding around the heel and tongue. I suppose this is to be expected for a premium trainer but the padding seems a bit excessive, even when compared to older versions of the Triumph. 

Sally: Great classic looking upper that envelops your foot securely with good lock down of heel. The padding around the ankle and the padding on the tongue make for a fine easy fitting shoe that I might choose to wear around when not running as well.

Sam: PWRRUN+ in a single slab is what we have here. PWRRUN+ is an expanded TPU bead material similar to Saucony’s EVERUN, adidas Boost and to a lesser extent Reebok Forever Energy.  

PWRRUN+ replaces EVERUN which was also a TPU material made from expanded beads. While the kernel structure is sanded down in the T5, they do appear to be smaller than the kernels in the Triumph 17 and thus maybe gave ISO 5, along with its overall flat geometry and extensive mid foot rubber a dense not particularly lively feel, if a “responsive” ride  I didn’t care for the ride that much in the ISO 5 or for that matter Freedom. 

The kernels here seem slightly smaller than Boost but bigger than Forever Energy where for all intents and purposes one is not able to see them making me think they are much smaller and denser. The result of the final kernel sizes seems to deliver a slightly firmer more stable midsole feel than Boost and a softer less springy one than Forever Energy. Unlike Boost performance running shoes, there are no plastic stabilizing pieces here just the outsole  
The overall geometry is not particularly “overbuilt” except at the heel where it has an adidas like medial midsole overhang and very thick outsole rubber leading for me to an overly wide somewhat firmer heel landing feel when compared to the rest of the midsole/outsole which is more consistent in feel.
This new geometry seems to reduce weight but also improve performance as the shoe is now much easier to transition at all paces.  Saucony carved out a deeper decoupling groove and also eliminated midsole and outsole on the medial side of the midfoot. As a bonus, this also helps the shoe flex better as its primary flex point is towards mid foot, kind of far back for my tastes. This said is no question this new geometry is a drastic improvement in performance and fun over the ISO 5 which was a stiffer far less decoupled shoe.

Canice: PWRRUN+ is a springy midsole that really helps strike the balance between cushion and performance. When you run these shoes you clearly feel the cushioning effect of the midsole, yet here, Saucony has also managed to keep the shoe feeling lively as it also delivers a nice pop to your step. It should also be said that the midsole foam is 25% lighter than the previous version something you can really feel.

Jeff B: If PWRRUN+ is part of the future for Saucony, then the future looks bright. I never loved EVERUN. In small quantities it felt dull and lifeless, and in large quantities it felt heavy, dull and lifeless. Luckily, we can move on from the grim near past, and into a similar but completely different midsole material. In addition to being lighter (my size 11 is 1.5 ounces less than my Triumph ISO 5 size 11), this shoe has so much more pop than the previous version, and that’s all in the midsole. 

Jeff V:  The midsole is what truly drew me in and it was immediately obvious just trying them on in my house.  Given that I RARELY run anything outside of steep mountainous terrain, when I do choose to run on flat, hard surfaces at quicker paces, I want maximum cushion and a fair bit of bounce to help motivate me and propel me along.  The Triumph 17 offers this in spades!  

While perhaps not an uptempo trainer/racer, the Triumph 17 provides enough pop and bounce to easily urge you forward at just about any pace. The PWRRUN foam looks similar to Boost foam, but at least in my limited use, I find it to be much more bouncy and lively, not to mention it provides better (softer) impact absorption without feeling squishy.

Derek: I like the way PWRRUN+ feels. It appears to have a more springy quality than Boost while also retaining some degree of flexibility even at high stack heights. Most importantly, it doesn’t appear to trap heat as much at high stacks, which I find Boost was wont to do in its more maximalist models e.g. Pureboost Go. Compared to the foam in Reebok’s FFE, I think there is a bit more compressibility in PWRRUN+, likely a consequence of the pellets being bigger. Overall it seems that Saucony has managed to recreate the original bouncy feel of their early Kinvara/Virrata in a maximalist package, something I felt they had failed to translate in previous years. 


Canice: Not a lot to say hear other than my test pair have a little over 60 miles on them and the sole looks great. It’s durable and I have plenty of traction.

Jeff B: 100% with Canice. The crystal rubber that covers most of the shoe has fantastic durability, and the heavier rubber at the heel and toe are even more resilient. 

Saucony introduced a thin gap in the outsole at mid foot that last year’s model didn’t have, as well as lengthened and deepened the decoupling channel down the center towards the rear. The result is substantially more torsional twist, which helps the shoe feel less like a slab of foam under your foot. It doesn’t have the twist of a Vibram Five Fingers or Nike Free, but you can get more than the few degrees of twist the last shoe offered.

Jeff V:  Coverage is appropriately distributed and provides ample grip for its intended use.  The rubber compound is durable with strategically placed high abrasion rubber for toe off and heel landing.  The rubber compound absorbs shock well and integrates with the PWRRUN midsole nicely to not feel at all harsh or slappy. So far, durability seems to be excellent.  
 (LEFT) Triumph 17           (RIGHT) Triumph ISO 5

Sam: There is less outsole coverage than the ISO 5 and that is a good thing as the ISO 5 had almost total coverage with a smaller central decoupling channel. Stiff it was!  Here we have high abrasion black rubber with all the rest red orange crystal rubber. What you see is what it is whereas in the ISO 5 the heel (diagonal lines above) there was high abrasion rubber, most of the rest of the outsole was crystal rubber. I say most as there was a center chevron of conventional rubber, likely only adding to the stiffness and firmness but which did provide a touch more response there than I feel in the T17.
 (LEFT) Guide 13             (RIGHT) Triumph 17    
I do find the front of the outsole lacks some flex. The flex point is essentially at the gap in the medial sole to the right above, It is not bad but I would prefer a more open Tai-Flex chevron pattern as in the Guide 13 (Initial RTR Review) shown above left, a shoe while somewhat firmer has more continuous/smoother towards the front flex and which is more responsive. Not sure I am a huge fan of crystal rubber, seems softer and less responsive than I like.

Derek: I think it’s fair to say that crystal rubber is here to stay. It’s been 3 years since they first appeared in the Freedom ISO, and by all accounts, it is a very durable and relatively grippy material. I like that the Triumph did away with the rubber across the length of the medial arch and went instead with a gap at the midfoot. This I think played a big part in giving the shoe some flexibility through the midfoot. Otherwise, overall I think the forefoot chevron configuration of rubber allows for a decent amount of flex through the forefoot, which is what you want in a daily trainer. 

Sally: As the other testers have all pointed out, Saucony really nails it with this midsole. They have found the sweet spot that balances cushion with peppy performance. I would not choose this shoe for a race, as I prefer a bit more forward toe off for speed, but the midsole here provides controlled bounce that encourages active movement. Simply fun.

Canice: The ride really is the star of the Triumph. Saucony has managed to give you all the cushioning you could hope for and yet they have maintained ground feel and pop in your step. Now I say they’ve maintained ground feel, and this is true, but it’s within the context of a max cushion shoe. I happen to like ground feel but I recognize a lot of max cushion leaning runners do not as much, and if you’re really looking for the experience of running on a cloud, then you have that too here. And this is why the ride is the star.

Jeff B: Yup, this shoe’s ride is the reason I’ve been shouting about it from the rooftops (please stop calling the police nosy neighbors). The Triumph 17 brings back a well-cushioned shoe that isn’t numb to the ground, it just smooths the world out a little bit. I have experienced a similar ride to the New Balance Beacon 1 and 2, where most runs end up being faster than I anticipated because the shoe is so smooth and has a nice pop to it. They feel great anywhere from 9-11 minute miles, but even when things pick up, like strides that get into low 7/upper 6 - the shoe felt great. I wouldn’t take them to the track for a day of 400m or 800m repeats, but my next tempo run will likely be in them, same for fartleks or hill repeats.

Sam: We have a wonderful training ride here. The midsole is on the soft side, and bouncy, with tons of lively cushion, yet in combination with the outsole, provides plenty of stability and some response. The heel is somewhat rear weighted but in no way firm in cushion, yet all that rear outsole rubber is noticed. My use would lean towards easier days and slower tempo runs but faster days are just fine too when I want some cush with a locked down, stable neutral ride.

Derek: I agree with the others. The ride is very smooth and unfettered over a wide range of paces. Obviously at this weight, the shoe is not meant to shine at faster paces, but it really works well with a muted bounce at easy paces. I think this shoe will be a great long run shoe for many people. Even though it’s a neutral shoe, the slightly raised midsole sidewalls of the Form Fit system give the shoe a tad extra stability and I think even mild overpronators should be able to use this shoe without any issues. 

Jeff V:  A very smooth shoe with plenty of cushion, bounce and response.  I found the sweet spot for me to be moderate slower paced runs in the 7-9 min/mile range, This said I felt that it also worked well running at low 6 pace, though at those speeds I was longing for a lighter, more pared down and more snappy shoe at toe off, but did really appreciate the max cushion and excellent shock absorption. At paces faster than 6 min/mile the Triumph 17 felt a bit forced, but then again, that pace is a bit forced for me, at least for any duration!  

Sally: Everyone above who has run in this shoe agrees that Saucony has hit a homerun with a five star ride. Well-cushioned yet controlled bouncy and vibrant ride ! Ideal in my mind for those easy long runs, recovery runs, and daily training runs. ANd yes, for wearing around town in comfort and style.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Canice: The Triumph 17 is an incredible max cushion shoe. It fits great, has a nice ride, is lighter than the previous version and is lively and fun to run.
Canice’s Score: 9.7/ 10

Jeff B: Saucony Triumph 17 is a love letter to heavy duty big mileage trainers. For the last few years the Brooks Glycerin and a number of others have pushed the Triumph to the back of that pack, and suddenly things have changed. I’ve lamented the choices Saucony has made in the Triumph line after the 11 - when the shoe went from well-cushioned-but-still-a-svelte-trainer to a big burly workhorse that looked like the shoe that ate the Triumph 11. As coincidence would have it, I last wore the Triumph 11 five years ago today (Chicago Marathon 2014, and the 2019 version is wrapping up as I write this), and breaking out my old pair I had a startling realization. My favorite shoe of all time isn’t ~10 ounces like I remembered, it’s 11.6 ounces for my 10.5. The rubber outsole is thick muting the ground feel even more than this year’s shoe without nearly as effective cushioning. I’m looking forward to see how Saucony utilizes this material, and hoping it is as versatile as it seems in their first attempt.
Jeff B’s Score: 10/10 
Ride: 10 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

Sam: A wonderful, highly protective yet lively bouncy training ride but at 10.5 oz somewhat heavier than I like day in day out, limiting its use to easier days for me and this despite the considerable drop in weight from its predecessor. I wish for a longer more gradual flex to the front and less weight and outsole midsole off the back of the heel to improve the ride. I don’t hold the weight against it in terms of value as this is clearly as shoe that will be durable and protective given the characteristics of PWRRUN+ and its durable outsole. This said the Triumph 17 is a very successful update and a shoe that passes towards the front of the pack in its category
Sam’s Score: 9.1/10 
Ride:8.5 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)

Jeff V:  An excellent, plush, bouncy, well cushioned high mileage trainer for mellow to moderate paces.  I really appreciate the balance cushion and bounce, without it feeling excessively so with the upper is secure, comfortable and well ventilated.  The tubular laces are not my favorite and are a bit thick and floppy, even when tied double/triple knotted, but that is a very minor complaint.
Jeff V’s Score: 8.9 /10
Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 8.5 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)

Derek: Overall it’s a very comfortable and cushioned daily trainer, with a subtle bouncy ride to boot. It has a nice blend of cushioning, stability and liveliness, which is pretty much everything you would want in a daily trainer really. If you already have a lightweight trainer dedicated to tempo runs, and are just looking for a workhorse to cover the easy runs and the long runs, then I think there are very few better shoes on the market that pack this level of durability.
Derek’s Score: 9.3 / 10
Ride 40% 9, Fit 40% 10, Value 10% 9, Style 10% 8

Sally: As they said… an excellent well-cushioned, plush, controlled bouncy daily trainer that is sure to please many types of runners. Uber comfortable and lively and downright FUN to run in! 
Sally’s Score: 9.5/10
Ride 9, Fit 10, Value 10, Style 10

Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Triumph ISO 5 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both samples are half-size up 11, but fit true-to-size. ISO 5 has EVERUN, which time will show is best because it led to PWRRUN+. The 17 is lighter, $10 less, and runs exponentially better. The ISO 5 has a bigger toebox. Don’t take the bait and get last year’s model for a discount, the 17 is worth paying full price for.
Sam: Agree with Jeff 100%. Other than its gigantic volume for a small minority of runners, there is no miracle in getting the ISO 5 as here you have a livelier more bouncy ride still with tons of cushion for less money and weight. 

Adidas Ultra Boost 19  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size, but UB19 is much tighter overall, the knit upper doesn’t have as much give as the T17. adidas did themselves a favor by making the midfoot cage a flexible and non-obtrusive material, but the upper isn’t nearly as comfortable as the Triumph. Midsole and ride are the classic Boost, which has some spring, but nothing compared to PWRRUN+. Same weight on the scale, but the UB19 feels a little heavier. Triumph 17 all day long.

Adidas Solar Glide (RTR Review)
Jeff Both fit true-to-size. Solar Glide’s upper holds the foot as well as the Triumph, and is a little more streamlined. It trades the plush comfort for more utilitarian design, but it isn’t lacking - and it’s toebox is as good as T17. While it has a nice uptempo, but still well cushioned balance, it isn’t anything like the T17. Saucony wins again.

Saucony Guide 13 (RTR Initial Review)
Sam: Both true to size although Guide 13’s upper is slightly more supportive and dense. Surprising me with its more responsive dynamic if slightly firmer ride from its new PWRRUN midsole, a blend of TPU and EVA instead of the pure TPU of the Triumph 17i  along with its better flexibility and more streamlined and balanced heel landing, I sort of prefer the Guide 13 and it weighs the same and cost $30 less. I say sort of as I usually don’t run stability type shoes and while very mild in its guidance feel we do have a TPU L shaped plate at midfoot.  Worth a look at for even neutral shoe runners.  

Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. This might be the closest matchup on this list. Both are extremely comfortable, both use premium materials, both have a cushioned without being mushy ride, both have a durable and flexible outsole. Both will definitely be on my top 10 list of the year, and both are big steps forward for their respective manufacturer. However, the Mizuno is $10 more, weighs a half ounce more, and doesn’t have quite the same pop the Saucony has. Wave Sky Waveknit is a great shoe, but the Triumph 17 is an amazing one. 
Sam: Going to differ with Jeff here. Yes heavier but not heavier running. It is smoother running and at all paces for me, with a more polished heel landing and more flexible toe off.  Both true to size but I would give a slight nod to the Triumph 17 lighter, more breathable upper. In the heavy duty category overall I prefer the Wave Sky.

Brooks Glycerin 17 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Ever heard of Ford F150 vs Chevy Silvarado? This is that. And the Brooks has been absolutely killing the Saucony for five years as the Glycerin continued being a plush daily trainer that worked as a jack of all trades while the Triumph went off and got bigger, bulkier, and harder to recommend. But it’s 2019, and what have you done for me lately? The Glycerin upper is just as premium, if a little less overly cushioned. And the DNA Loft midsole is a joy to run in, but it doesn’t have the same pop as Saucony’s PWRRUN+. This is another situation where one shoe is great, but the other is amazing. Triumph 17 wins handily.
Sam: Both true to size. Agree with Jeff here. PWRRUN+ has lively bounce while DNA Loft is soft and cushy but more lacking in get up and go with an overly flexible forefoot. My happy medium is between these two in the flex department. I might give a slight nod to the Glycerin upper but overall Triumph 17.

Brooks Ghost (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. These shoes look much more similar than they actually are. Brooks only put their best midsole material, DNA Loft, in the heel of the shoe, leaving the front feeling thin, dull, and lacking. Both uppers are great, but the midsole wins it without qualification for Saucony.
Sally: Triumph hands down over Ghost 12! More plush fit, more responsive bounce, more fun

New Balance 1080v9 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. One of the best updates of the last year, the 1080v9 was a quantum leap forward for New Balance’s big neutral daily trainer. While the upper is very comfortable, it had heel slip issues. The 1080v9 rides a little firmer than the Triumph 17, and has a similar pop to it when bringing the pace up. Give me the extra plushness of the Triumph, but firm trainer enthusiasts should probably stick to the New Balance.
Sam: For slightly faster performance and lighter weight the 1080v9 but for midsole feel and cush days the Triumph 17. 
Derek: I had some issues with heel slippage with the 1080v9. There is none of that with the Triumph 17. I prefer the more forgiving ride of the Triumph. I also think that the Triumph has better overall balance in that the 1080v9 feels a bit more bottom-heavy. 

Skechers GO Run Ride 8 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The best trainer Skechers Performance has ever made against the best trainer Saucony has ever made - and they are releasing within a few weeks of each other? Exactly. Skechers Hyper Burst midsole material is one of only two on the market that has the same plush and pop qualities Saucony’s PWRRUN+ has (I’d slip Nike’s ZoomX into that short list as well), but in this case the lower stack of the GRR8 can be felt. The Saucony upper also breathes much better, with a slightly wider toebox, but the Skechers comes in $35 less. As much as I raved about the GRR8, if you can swing the $35, I’d go Saucony, but both are truly excellent shoes.
Sam: A clear nod for me to the Skechers for lighter weight and lighter price. Somewhat less cushioned with more a spring than bounce feel the two share a not very flexible agile toe off at faster paces for me but for daily training paces the Ride is fine.
Derek: I prefer the Skechers, mainly because it is a more versatile overall shoe that can handle faster paces as well as the easy runs. The Triumph does have better cushioning and vibration dampening, so if you are really going for high mileage then maybe the Triumph is a better option. 

Salming Greyhound (RTR Review)
Sam: A somewhat similar bouncy feel the Greyhound has a stiff voluminous upper than either fits you or not, shades of the ISO 5...I might size down a half to make it fit my narrower lower volume foot, The Greyhound also, like the ISO 5 has to much outsole rubber in strange places to make it move along. Clear nod to Triumph 17 

Nike Zoom Vomero 14  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Saucony true-to-size, Vomero is half-size up, my standard in Nike. One of the more divisive Nike shoes of late, the Vomero 14 was a massive departure from previous Vomeros, and a big step back in my opinion. Aesthetically it’s a home run, but the lack of forefoot cushioning, along with the lumpy feel of the midsole air pocket gives a very unbalanced feel. Heel strikers will likely love it, though the Triumph 17 has as much, if not more, in the heel. Both uppers are great, toe boxes included, but for an extra $10 just go Triumph 17.
Sam: My 2018 shoe of the year in part for its sharp contrast between very stable, maybe a touch weighty heel, and lively more flexible forefoot.  Heavy duty as with the T17 it is a shoe that likes to go fast. Still prefer it to the T17 but the T17 may be more “practical” day in day out for many including me.
Derek: the Vomero is for me a heavy duty shoe that likes to go fast. The Triumph is a heavy duty shoe that excels at slower paces. I feel that from a cushioning to weight ratio perspective, the Vomero 14 doesn’t give enough cushioning for its weight and I feel a bit beat up in it over longer runs. I don’t find that with the Triumph. 

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2
Jeff: Saucony true-to-size, Peg Turbo is half-size up, my standard in Nike. What looked like an upper update (but really was a full fledged ninja rework), the Pegasus Turbo 2 feels like the stripped down lightweight version of the Triumph. Both have comfortable uppers, Triumph is more plush, Peg Turbo is more bare bones. Both have soft but springy midsoles, and both have decent (Peg Turbo) to ample (Triumph) rubber coverage outsole, giving lots of durable miles. But at a $30 less price point (even though it shaves nearly three ounces off) the Pegasus Turbo doesn’t have the same everyone-should-try-this quality that the Triumph has. Saucony wins again.
Sam: As Jeff says much much lighter, pricier and I would say a bare bones ride feel despite Zoom X with a strange sharpness around the edges, a sudden end to the platform. The Next% is actually a better trainer from Nike than the Turbo for me for its additional cushion and even stability and the Triumph 17 far more practical day, day out. Runners who are super efficient and fast may nonetheless lean towards Turbo.
Sally: Like Jeff, I have to size up in Turbo. The Triumph is a different beast than the Turbo: much more cushioned. Both have similar bouncy ride, but the plush ride of the Triumph wins for me. 

Salomon Sonic RA Max 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The Sonic Max is a gem hiding in plain sight, with lots of firm cushioning that works for easy miles and shines when the pace picks up. The upper is breathable and comfortable, but doesn’t wow you with its comfort - much like it’s midsole doesn’t wow you. It is $30 less than the Triumph, but that extra money is well spent. The Triumph is a smoother ride that is more comfortable, even at pace, which is admirable for the heavier shoe.

ASCIS Glideride  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Another clash of brand titans, the Glideride represents one of, if not the best, shoe that ASICS has made in a very long time. But while the Triumph accomplishes a great running shoe with material innovation, ASICS went with a geometry design that works much better than it has any right to. Both uppers have fantastic foothold and breathability, both have great toe boxes, and they cost the same. Personally, I gravitate toward the Triumph, but I’d implore runners considering either to try both on and see what they like. The PWRRUN+ midsole has a fantastic bounce to it, while the Glideride toe spring encourages a similar fast and bouncy step. No right answer, just a matter of what you like to run in.
Sam: Jeff is right. It comes down to preferences as he describes. I lean towards the dynamic geometry from that toe spring rocker of the ASICS vs the flatter Triumph geometry, a smoother more consistent feel between all layers if a touch firmer and less bouncy, and slightly lighter weight and lighter feeling, so Glideride for most of my training with the Triumph for easier days. Both true to size with outstanding uppers. 
Derek: There is no question I prefer the Glideride here. It has a more dynamic ride and the rocker really helps turnover vs a more traditional shoe in the Triumph. As good as PWRRUN+ is, the dual density approach of the Glideride is just better, over all paces for me. 
Sally: Agreed that we are talking personal preferences here: Glideride rocker pushed you to a faster pace, but the Triumph provides the soft comfort that can sustain you for more miles. Apples and Oranges for different running days.

Topo Athletic Phantom (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The Phantom is Topo’s first big cushioned premium shoe, and it shows. The upper is nearly as plush as the Triumph, with Topo’s massive-but-not-too-big toe box, and the midsole is made from their new ZipFoam. Unfortunately there’s too much foam and not enough zip, and the Phantom ends up being too plush for anything but a recovery run. It’s a step in the right direction for Topo, but the Triumph wins handily.

Tester Profiles
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.
Dom 47, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 3000 miles and 500k ft of vert per year.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  
Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 
Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100 and Western States 100 as well as many other Ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as traditional road races and triathlons.
Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39 both he is working to demolish with help from his coach Dave Ames as he trains for his first 50 mile race in December 2019.
Sally is a mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past six Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $200,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday (and hopefully crush the new age group), she will run the NYC Marathon in November. Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5' 2" and 105 pounds.

The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Jeff said...


Anonymous said...

Comparison with NB fuel cell propel please

Anonymous said...

Max cushioned shoe and no comparison against the Bondi 6 or any Hoka shoes. Strange

Jeff said...

Anonymous 1,

Not sure who tested the Triumph 17 and Propel, but if anyone did they will definitely chime in here.

Anonymous 2,

Same deal, not sure who had the Bondi 6 and Triumph 17 - personally I did not. The only Hoka road shoes I could compare it to would be the Rincon or Carbon X, and I dont' think either of those are comparable to the Triumph. But if someone reviewed or ran in the Clifton or Bondi (in a few weeks I'll be able to compare it to the Elevon 2) I'm sure they will chime in. Sorry I don't have better info for you.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous (1 & 2)
I have run the Clifton 6 and Propel and can make some comparisons.
Clifton is lighter max cushioned yes but with not as much noticeable bounce. It also has considerably less outsole coverage. Clifton has a 28mm forefoot stack so 2.5 mm more upfront and about the same at the heel so a lower drop shoe that relies more on the rocker to move along and for me a less lively forefoot, kind of dull and stiff. Requires knee lift to move along! Heel stack is about the same.
Propel is lighter more bouncy in feel more fun with a more accommodating if somewhat less secure upper. It is a great trainer but just doesn't have nearly as much substance and for me support for heavy daily miles where the Triumph will shine.
Bondi haven't run since v1 but considerably more stack 4mm more heel and 8mm more forefoot , much stiffer, and I found a chore to run. More cushion than most really need when T17 has plenty unless you have a serious need due to injury such PF (the choice for several run friends with PF) and some do have a need for such cushion levels but way to much for me. See reviews of Clifton 6, Bondi 5 and Propel at the link below
Sam, Editor
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!

Daniel Culbertson said...

Thanks for the comparison to the Clifton 6, the shoe I’m currently running in after skipping the Triumph ISO 5. I had previously run in the Triumph ISO 3 and 4 as my daily trainers and the 17 looks really interesting.

Gafas said...

Great review, thanks.
I think I'm gonna order a pair. Should I go for the same size as my Kinvaras?

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks Gafas,
I am the same true to size in both. This said Kinvara is more a performance fit than Triumph 17, more trainer fit for sure.
Sam, Editor

Meg said...

Could you compare the triumph 17 to the ride iso 2? Need a neutral trainer and trying to decide between these two.

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Meg,
The Ride ISO 2 is a lighter and for me more agile faster trainer than T17. It has a more conventional EVA midsole so is firmer and more responsive. What are you daily training in now and paces? The Ride iSO 2 is a good choice if you like a faster firmer daily training ride, the T17 a more plush one. Ride ISO 2 review 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!

Dave W said...

How would you compare these to the Bondis? I'm looking for a well cushioned daily trainer. I'm a slow runner (10 min/mi) and deal with some osteoarthritis in one foot and PF in the other rigid one.

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi Dave, thanks for reading. I can't really say one or the other would suit your maladies better than the other, but Bondi has higher stack, is heavier and feels more maximal. I do like the meta rocker in the Bondi and seems to want to move me forward a little quicker. I also prefer the fit of the Bondi, as I got a little pinching on my right foot met head when wearing the Triumph 17, but otherwise was very comfortable and plush. I don't think you could go wrong with either, ultimately would come down to fit.

Dave W said...

Thanks, Jeff. I picked up a pair of Bondis for right now (grateful for REI return policy). I'm hoping the meta rocker design will work to take some pressure off my foot and ankle joints. I don't love running with a huge slab of foam underfoot, but I'll give them a fair shot and see how my body responds. Appreciate the feedback.

bushrunner said...

Currently running in the Hoka Clifton 6. Love the cushioning but longing for a slightly more responsive midsole without loosing too much cushion. Do you think the Triumph 17 would be a good option to rotate with the Clifton 6?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Bushrunner,
Triumph 17 would be good option but also look at NB1080v10 which is more responsive than either and Skechers Ride 8. Both have lots of cushion, Reviews 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!

abhishek said...

Nimbus lite vs triumph 17 which has softer feeling?

Jeff said...

Hi abhishek - really good question. With one on each foot, they feel very similar as far as under foot softness goes, which is surprising given the difference in weight and stack height. I might even say the Nimbus Lite has a softer feel, while the Triumph 17 has a more cushioned feel. The Saucony feels like it has much more substance to it.

Marcel said...

Hey guys, great review as alaways! Do you have any information regarding the new Triumph 18? I've read that it was sheduled for June but i did not find any information yet besinde one spanish website?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Marcel,
Triumph 18 will have a more conventional simplified heel collar and some different sculpting of the midsole sidewalls, and looses crystal rubber which I welcome. coming out faster than usual to better coincide with retail seasons. Was expected June but will verify with Saucony See Saucony preview here: https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2019/12/saucony-fall-2020-previews-endorphin.html
Sam, Editor

Marcel said...

@Sam: I was just informed by Saucony, that the T18 will be released in July - at least in Europe. Therefore, i will probably go for the Shift which will be released at the same time.

TheRandyGuy said...

On my second pair. Absolutely my favorite shoe ever, in rotation with the Adidas Solar Boost (very different feel). I use custom orthotics and this shoe accepts them with no issues. I do tend to wear through the black rubber on the outside of the heel within 100 miles.