Monday, October 17, 2022

Saucony Triumph 20 Multi Tester Review: Soft, Bouncy, Light, Max Cushioned & Moves Along

Article by Jeff Beck and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Triumph 20 ($160)


Sam: Always Saucony plush neutral trainer, the Triumph has in recent versions lost weight but remained for me a ponderous and slow moving shoe. With the 20 ,we are higher stacked with a new softer and lighter PWRRUN + TPU foam with a new more sculptured flowing geometry and 2mm more drop at 10mm. 

As a result, the Triumph 20 checks in at 9.7 oz  / 274 g (US9) for a substantial weight loss over the 19, weight loss with new foams and often considerably lighter weights being a common thread with 2022 Saucony. The sub 10 oz weight, new foam and geometry had me willing to give them another try. I was not disappointed!

Jeff: Saucony has gone back and forth over the last decade with the Triumph. Some versions have been a well cushioned daily trainer, while other iterations have definitely skewed toward max cushioning - borderline a recovery run only type of shoe. 

The 20th shoe in the line doesn’t waffle at all. It is the most cushioned Triumph, while also being the lightest the shoe has been in quite some time. Saucony had said that they reformulated their PWRRUN+ midsole they’ve been using in the Triumph since the 17, and they weren’t kidding. Gone is the borderline adidas Boost-level of dense cushioning, now we’re dealing with light, soft, and bouncy - and more of it than we’ve ever had. As a professed fan of shoes with plenty of squish, it was love at first sight.


-Elevates the Triumph into the real max cushion category. Jeff/Sam

-Completely new midsole material is a massive step up. Jeff

-Noticeably lighter and softer than the 19. Jeff/Sam

-New geometry banishes the ponderous flat feel at mid foot of prior Sam

-5mm narrower front platform and new outsole design improves agility and flex Sam

-Far smoother flow and transition, no longer flat and ponderous Sam

-Upper gains back some of the plush nature of the T18 yet with solid lockdown. Jeff/Sam

-Might set a new bar for daily trainer softness. Jeff/Sam

-More than ample toebox room. Jeff/Sam

-More segmented outsole improves the ride from previous slabs of rubber. Jeff

-100% recycled upper materials but for the tongue and collar linings (78%), laces & webbing


-Midsole is so soft heel strikers could have stability issues. Jeff

-Runners who prefer heavier shoes with less cushioning will be disappointed. Jeff

-Road feel is absolutely muted with this much cushioning. Jeff

-Ride is soft could use a bit more firmer response despite excellent geometry  Sam


Official Weight: men's 9.7 oz  / 274 g (US9)  /  women's 8.8 oz / 244g (US8) 

  Samples: men’s  9.28 oz  / 263g US8.5 (v19 9.88 oz / 280g (US8.5) 10.12 oz  / 287g US10.5 (vs 19 11.39 oz / 323g US10.5)

Stack Height: 

37 mm heel / 27 mm forefoot 

Available now. $160

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Jeff: Right out of the box it’s clear Saucony is going for it with the 20. The 19 was 32.5mm/24.5mm - 8mm drop to the 20’s 37mm /27mm so the 20’s heel measures 4.5 mm taller and the forefoot 2.5mm higher moving the shoe to a 10mm drop. 

The fit is generous, though not overly wide. Length wise it is spot on true-to-size, my standard 10.5 leaves just about a full thumb’s width in front of the big toe. Widthwise my foot is between a D and 2E, and I haven’t had any complaints about the fit. The Triumph 20 is also available in 2E wide sizing

The mesh upper is about the same thickness as last year’s upper (the 19 upper was noticeably thinner than the borderline wool sweater that the 18 came with), while not losing much in the way of breathability. Saucony got a little clever, skipping an eyelet near the top for a flexible strap that helps lockdown. The Triumph hasn’t historically had bad foothold, but this one steps it up even more. They also use the same flexible strap for a heel pull tab that’s a nice touch. 

The internal heel counter isn’t overbearing, but gives enough support, and the tongue stops just shy of what I’d term plush, but it’s got enough cushioning to pad the top of the foot from the laces. 

The gusseted tongue hasn’t moved on any of my runs. 

Lastly, the toebox is very good, both in width and height. Even Altra/Topo fans won’t feel too cramped.

Sam: A superb upper of about the same thickness as last year’s but with a less plasticky slightly more pliable feel. As with many 2022 Saucony (both road and trail), we have dual (pink) webbing straps on both sides between the 2nd and 3 eyelets. 

The straps deliver a secure lockdown in combination with the gusset tongue and now flatter laces. 

The toe box is just right for my narrow to medium feet with a nice combination of comfort and lockdown from a quite high and moderately pliable toe bumper with plenty of toe room. 

Need more width? The Triumph 20 is available in wide but those between regular and wide should do fine in regular and slightly better than you might have in the 19 due to the more pliable mesh here. I was true to size, no question and no issues.


Jeff: The upper is good, but this is where this shoe really shines. Confusingly, Saucony is calling the midsole PWWRUN+, which has been their premium midsole since 2019, but this is very clearly a new flavor of their expanded bead TPU. Previously the midsole was plush, but dense, but the dense feel isn’t anywhere to be found. We still have a plush and comfortable midsole, but dense is the last word I’d use. The midsole also has a slight rocker geometry, you won’t confuse it with the Endorphin Shift or ASICS Glideride, but it’s enough to keep the foot constantly moving forward.

Sam: Agreeing with Jeff on the midsole feel. Plush, comfortable, soft and with noted bounce. I do wish it was a touch denser to increase the shoe response as while it is well matched to the outsole I wish for a touch more pop. 

Out back, the 10mm drop and midsole outrigger are key to slower paces. I found the heel soft but not back weighted or that slow to transition off of the midfoot as the 19 was this was clearly confirmed in a short A/B test run.  

The forefoot is soft, high cushioned and has a long flex. It bounces but could use a touch more snap and response for my tastes, the outsole potentially the issue here.


Jeff: The Triumph 20 outsole offers plenty of coverage for durability and traction, but it’s segmented well enough to avoid the dull rubber slab that Saucony has gone with the last few years. The shoe has full coverage all the way around the perimeter, leaving the only exposed midsole in the very center of the shoe from the midfoot back to the heel. That should alleviate any durability concerns from the removed rubber. The rubber compound is a nice combination of grippy and durable, with no premature wear showing up thus far.

Sam: Saucony went with a more longitudinally segmented, slightly more minimal coverage outsole for the T20 with, in addition, a 5mm narrower front platform. The flex is easy and long.  

While this new outsole pattern very likely reduces weight as rubber is the heaviest material in a shoe, I think the front outsole went a bit too far. I wish for more rubber coverage to improve the response on toe off and stiffen things up a bit . Nothing wrong for the mostly more mellow paces intended uses, and the front of the shoe is in no way over soft but I do wish for a bit more snap upfront. 


Jeff: The bounciest Triumph ever? No question. Softest Triumph ever? Also, without debate. And yet, I don’t think the 20th version is a “bigger” version of the Triumphs that leaned hard into the recovery shoe, there’s enough pop in this shoe to work for most runs. I have to think the mild rocker geometry helps the shoe’s versatility, but a good rocker with a mushy midsole still won’t work. This shoe takes it right to the edge of being too soft, and then…stops, giving you the best of both worlds. 

Sam: Agree with Jeff the softest and bounciest Triumph ever! Also the smoothest flowing and most runnable ever for me. 

I found prior and I tested many versions ponderous, especially at midfoot, to move along, heavy and really a chore.  I much preferred the various recent Ride. 

Here Saucony has a big soft shoe that can move along. The sub 10 oz weight, additional drop to 10mm and new side wall geometry including the 5mm narrower forefoot platform with more flex make the shoe considerably smoother flowing, agile and more of a daily trainer class shoe. albeit a max cushioned softer one.  All paces were just fine, even slower ones where the prior Triumph really fell down for me with faster near tempo a bit over bouncy and soft.  

While I will for sure take the weight drop and  the new geometry,  I wish the ride was a touch firmer and more responsive, or at least for my tastes. For those who do like a soft bouncy ride that is now for sure more than a “slab” that is hard to roll along, this ride will for sure have you smiling big time. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff: I’ve been a Triumph fan since the Triumph 10 featured the then newfangled PowerGrid EVA and this is easily the most cushioned of the line. But more importantly, this is the most exciting to run in Triumph ever made - two things that don’t usually go hand in hand. This Triumph can be your daily trainer, your long run big cushion shoe, and/or your easiest day recovery run shoe. All that and more than an ounce lighter than last year's shoe (with a more comfortable and roomy upper) puts the Triumph 20 at the front of the pack for me. 2022 has been an incredible year for well-cushioned trainers, and Saucony might have swooped in late to seal shoe of the year for me - and I’d imagine quite a few other runners will be enamored as well.

Jeff’s Score 10/10

Ride: 10 Fit: 10 Value: 10 Style: 10

Smiles: 😊😊😊😊😊

Sam: Max cushion and soft ride done right here. As with all 2022 Saucony, we have very deliberate improvements in all aspects of the shoe that deliver the best Triumph ever for me and one that is very close to perfect for its intended uses The upper is supportive (key with a soft shoe) and very comfortable, the geometry and higher drop moves me off the soft heel right on time, and the forefoot has just enough response from the outsole and narrower platform to drive the softness to toe off.  I wish for a touch firmer snappier ride, a quicker foam response as one gets with PEBA based foams such as Saucony PWRRUN PB. 

It always depends on preferences and if they are for a soft bouncy, deeply cushioned ride that is directed, any pace  friendly (leaning slower) and well tamed and not overly mushy I don't think you likely will find a better 2022 option in its class. 

Sam's Score: 9.45 /10

Ride: 9.3 Fit: 9.8 Value: 9.3 Style: 9.3

Smiles: 😊😊😊1/2

7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Triumph 19 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Last year’s Triumph was a really solid big cushion shoe, but had a dense feel. This year’s shoe is softer, more cushioned, more plush, and lighter. The 20 is a big step forward from the already good 19.

Sam: Dense, dull, flat but improved over the 18 for sure the 19 is easily eclipsed by the 20 in all respects.  

I particularly like that the midfoot platform is now far less flat feeling due to the new geometry of the midsole and that the forefoot platform is narrower, more agile and more flexible. 

The new foam is a clear plus in energy return feel but I wish it was a touch firmer. Fit is true to size for both with the T20 softer in feel on foot and more secure due to the new webbing straps. This is one shoe where the choice is clearly go with the new and not the on sale T19.

Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: Saucony’s other “big” trainer the Shift is yet higher stacked at 39/34 vs. 37/27 here and actually weighs a few tenths of an ounce less. It has a PWRRUN TPU/EVA blend midsole that like the PWRRUN+ here is now softer than before and sits on a broad platform. With more of a focus on faster paces and long runs the 4mm drop is harder to get past at slower paces for me than the 10mm drop of the Triumph 20. Unlike the flexible Triumph it has a mostly rocker based  and wider (than Triumph) on the ground platform which for me feels best at faster rather than slower paces whereas with Triumph it is the opposite. Shift is a faster trainer and a less relaxed one in terms of geometry and flow. It has a light comfortable upper but I prefer the yet more dialed in a last up Triumph’s. Both true to size for me.

Saucony Ride 15 (RTR Review)

Sam: The latest ride as with the other 2022 Saucony got lighter and softer. It has the same PWRRUN foam as the Shift 3 but on a more flexible higher drop (8mm) platform similar to the Triumph 20’s. At 35/27 stack it has a couple millimeters less heel stack and the same forefoot stack as the Triumph.  At 8.7 oz / 247g it is a full ounce (28g) lighter than the Triumph due to its thinner yet equally supportive upper and its less dense PWRRUN foam which is also less bouncy soft and more responsive than the PWRRUN + in the Triumph. As with the Triumph I wish it had a touch more forefoot response. At $130 it is a better value and a better daily all around trainer if your paces lean faster with the Triumph the more luxury cruiser in comparison. Both true to size. 

Brooks Glycerin 20 regular upper (RTR Review)

Jeff: This was the Sophie’s Choice I’ve been dreading since the early previews of both shoes came out. Both are nothing shy of incredible, easily the best of their respective lines. Both versatile, with lots of cushioning while still being very runnable, they are very much the flip side of the same coin. Neither holds much of an advantage over the other, with the main differences being very subtle. The Triumph is a little softer, the Glycerin has a little more bounce to it. You absolutely can’t go wrong with either one.

New Balance 1080v12 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Another shoe that got a big upgrade this year, the v12 didn’t change the formula much but fixed every complaint I had from the v11. Unfortunately, the v12 was nice update while the Triumph 20 was a massive step forward, and when worn against each other the v12 feels dated and a bit dull.

Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra (RTR Review)

\Jeff: Yet another incredible big cushion shoe of the year (remember above when I said it’s been a heck of a year for these?) the Wave Neo Ultra is on par with the Triumph 20 in the forefoot cushioning department and is nearly as soft in the heel as well. The Triumph upper hold is definitely better, and the $90 price difference just reinforces what a great shoe the Saucony is.

ASCIS Gel-Nimbus 24 (RTR Review)

Jeff: The 24th Nimbus got a lot right, and against the Triumph 19 compares favorably. But against the T20 the Nimbus feels dated and dense, making me wonder if ASCIS is going to make a similar leap next year.

Hoka Bondi 8 (RTR Review)

Sam: The OG max cushion road shoe the latest Bondi sits on a broader and higher platform at 39/35 and has the weight to show for it.. almost 11 oz vs 9.7 oz here. It is for sure somewhat more stable due to the platform and its denser less bouncy EVA type midsole.  

If you need a touch of stability in a giant shoe it is the pick but otherwise the Triumph is more exciting and quicker with much more clearly noticed bounce. Both true to size with Bondi 8 upper very similar in hold with Bondi’s upper slightly thicker and less pliable with no straps as in the Saucony but with the foot sitting considerably deeper into the midsole.

Jeff: Completely agree with Sam. As big as the Triumph is, the Bondi is still bigger. The Bondi has the classic Hoka bucket seat feel while the Triumph still fits like a running shoe. And while the Bondi platform is wider, the Triumph has a little extra midfoot width that I appreciate quite a bit. It’s likely the best Bondi they’ve made, but between the fit, the weight difference, and the extra bounce - make mine Saucony!


New Balance Fresh Foam More v4 (RTR Review)

Sam: Another soft and max cushioned giant, the More v4 is1.3 oz / 37g heavier and sits on a very broad on the ground 35/31 platform so 2mm less at the heel and 4mm more at the forefoot than the Saucony. It is mostly rocker based with some mild front flex, Everything is overdone in the More v4 one could say and comparatively awkward.  Its upper is OK, for sure roomier  and almost too voluminous at true size and as with the Shift 3 I prefer the more locked down Triumph’s approach.  In the class I clearly prefer the Triumph.

The Triumph 20 is available from Saucony HERE & from our other partners below 

Running Warehouse, Fleet Feet, and Road Runner Sports.

Watch Sam's Saucony Triumph 20 Initial Video Review (11:19)

Tester Profiles

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he is lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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Mikael Koskinen said...

Thank you for the review. The shoe is now available as a Runshield version and I’m thinking it could be a possibly good choice for the wet and dark base season.

Any similarities to Craft CTM Ultra 2 or to Glideride 3?

geomaz said...

Thank you for the very nice review.

Can you please give us a comparison between the
saucony triumph 20 and the asics novablast 3.

thank you very much.