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Saucony Triumph 18 Multiple Tester Review

While some companies have anxiously put their new foams into their racing shoes, few have applied the things learned in recent years to all parts of their running. Saucony is one of the few that has done this. With a brand new Endorphin Series (Endorphin Shift Review, Endorphin Speed Review, Endorphin Pro Review) for speedy days and a redesigned set of trainers (Ride 13 Review, Guide 13 Review, Hurricane 22 Review), Saucony has made a strong effort with new foams and designs to create a set of strong offers. The new Triumph 18 continues the trend with a super smooth redesigned upper and the bouncy PWRUN+ foam that makes the run far lighter than its listed weight. Another strong contender for trainer of the year, the Saucony Triumph 18 is an awesome update well worth checking out.


Specifications (per Saucony)
Weight: 11.1 oz (men's size 9), 9.7 oz (women's size 7)
Measured Weight: 12.2 oz (men's size 10)
Stack Height: 33.5 mm / 25.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm drop
Classification: Premium Neutral Daily Trainer


HIGHLIGHTS

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 18 is a premium neutral trainer with a bouncy PWRUN+ midsole and an updated upper that provides a super smooth fit. With plenty of room without being sloppy, the Triumph 18 is a refined from the previous version. A super smooth ride, improved stability and riding far faster than the listed weight make this shoe a great choice for mileage, long runs and even some tempo training.

David: Featuring the PWRUN+ midsole, the Saucony Triumph 18 delivers a pleasant bouncy ride with plenty of protection for long miles. For being a softer midsole the shoe actually has a decent amount of stability thanks to some supporting features built into the shoe. More on this later. 

Nathan: The Saucony Triumph 18 is a premium daily trainer done right. Yes, it may sit on the heavier side, but you get a cushioned, bouncy, stable (for a neutral shoe), and durable trainer that can really handle miles while being fun at the same time. 


FIT

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 18 fits fairly true to size in my normal size 10. There is a little extra room at the forefoot thanks to the slightly wider last. However, the Formfit upper provides a solid lockdown, particularly in the midfoot and heel. There is a fairly significant and well padded heel counter that helps further lock the foot in without being constrictive. I have not had to lace lock the upper as there is plenty of security even with uptempo miles. There is plenty of padding in the upper, which provides a fairly plush heel from heel to toe. The heel and midfoot fit fairly normal with a little more room at the toebox. Those with medium to slightly wide feet should do well in this upper, while those with more narrow feet may need to lock the upper down. I don't normally comment on this, but the insole is extremely well contoured to the foot. This is definitely a premium fitting shoe and one of the best uppers I have tried to date.

David: The Saucony Triumph appears to fit true to size. I am actually a half size up from my normal 9.5 and did have to heel lock the shoe to prevent any excessive movement in turns or uneven terrain. Once this was accounted for the shoe was good fit wise. The toe box is spacious and the Formfit does provide a good amount of lockdown throughout the midfoot and heel. The hold is good throughout without being tight in any specific regions. The lacing actually has some stretch to it as well and feels like it helps the tongue further lock the foot down. Overall the upper feels pleasant when snug thanks to a high amount of cushioning throughout in all regions of the shoe.

Nathan: The Triumph 18 fit true to size for me in my men's size 9. Saucony has done a great job with their upper fit in all of their models so far this year, as the toe box has ample volume for many foot types but the midfoot and heel are secure and hold the foot on the platform very well. Saucony's Formfit design includes an attached tongue and a flexible upper through the forefoot that stretches in all the right ways and is secure where needed as well. The medial/lateral slits in the upper allow for volume expansion, but do not let the foot slide medially and laterally. Additionally, the toe guard has some nice reinforcement medially and laterally that gives structure and stability while the upper stretches. The upper is thinned out from previous versions, but is still slightly thick.


RIDE

Matt: The PWRUN + combined with a fantastic posterior-lateral heel bevel and a surprising amount of forefoot flexibility for the amount of shoe there makes for a super smooth and bouncy ride.The Triumph 18, despite coming in at 12.2 oz for my men's size 10, feels like a much lighter shoe. The bouncy and energy return from the PWRUN+ give it a plush yet responsive ride (see speed section). The overall ride is super smooth from heel to toe-off. The bevel in the heel is by far one of the most smooth I have experienced. It is positioned perfectly in the posterior-lateral aspect with just enough width to accomodate a variety of heel landings. The forefoot has a wider last and is super stable and bouncy. Despite the amount of sole, the forefoot has decent flexibility for the amount of sole thanks to the flex grooves and switch to a blown rubber outsole.  There is still a ton of midsole underneath the foot, so those looking for a protective ride will certainly find one here. 

David: PWRUN+ surprisingly has some pop to it. I originally thought this shoe was only going to be an easy day shoe that would be difficult to push in but I was proven wrong. It definitely shines more in the workhorse realm but isn't afraid of a faster pace if asked to push. The ride is very fluid throughout thanks to a posterior lateral bevel and smooth midfoot transition. Because of the softer midsole the shoe may come off a little clunky or "slappy" at first since the foam will have more give on the initial contact but this sensation goes away quickly. The forefoot has a decent toe off thanks to the toe spring built in. At daily paces the toe spring works well but at faster paces the shoe could use a little more forefoot stiffness (though this is not the goal of the shoe). Overall the ride is really smooth on roads and packed fire road.

Nathan: This was my first experience in the PWRUN+ foam, and it surely did not disappoint. The bounce and pop that this shoe has really does offset the higher weight (11+ oz). Admittedly I typical prefer shoes that are a bit more on the firm end of the spectrum, but this shoe does plush really well. The PWRUN+ is very soft, but as you put more into the shoes, they give more back, so you really don't sink into them at all. The once exception to this is on very long runs. I found that on anything more that 15 miles, the shoe seemed a bit flat a toe off (heel strike was always feeling cushioned and smooth). Apart from the foam, the geometry of this shoe is very well done and makes for a smooth ride. The postero-lateral heel bevel combined with a softer midsole foam make for a smooth and cushioned heel strike. There is a slight toe spring and enough flexibility despite the stack height, so the toe off is smooth as well. Really nice riding shoe.  


STABILITY

Matt: The wider last combined with a solid (but cushioned) heel counter, deep guidance grooves and some lateral flare at the forefoot make a very stable ride for a neutral shoe. Being a neutral shoe, there are no traditional elements of stability. However, I found the Triumph 18 to actually feel more stable than the recent Hurricane 22. The above mentioned aspects combined with a slightly firmer ride than the Triumph 17 provide better stability for me than a post does. The deep grooves in the sole combined with a little bit straighter last (although ask Simon Bartold about whether shoe lasts actually effect stability...) also do a great job of helping the foot transition forward. Those who need high levels of stability may need a bit more and a slightly firmer shoe, but the Triumph 18 will work for a large percentage of the population.

David: The Saucony Triumph 18 does a good job of providing a stable ride in most conditions. The shoe does best on roads or packed fire road type conditions. The softer midsole inherently will be a little less stable but the features like the posterior lateral bevel and toe spring help create a fluid transition point in both the heel and forefoot. It has good stability for a neutral shoe but should be hesitant when taken into grass, uneven surfaces, or any trail type conditions. 

Nathan: This is certainly a neutral shoe. There are some things that make it run stable such as the wider lateral flaring in the forefoot and smooth transitions. However, the softer foam and slightly higher stack do require stability through the kinetic chain and the intrinsic foot muscles. For many, this shoe will have plenty of stability built as a typical neutral trainer. 


SPEED

Matt: Coming in at 12.2 oz for my size, this is not the lightest shoe out there. The Saucony Triumph 18 is meant for mileage, recovery runs and long runs. However, the responsiveness of the PWRUN+ is fantastic and can actually handle tempo runs, fartleks and uptempo runs quite well. I have done all of these in this shoe and never once felt like the weight was holding me back. This is certainly not a shoe I would race in (definitely would use the Endorphin Speed or Pro), however the PWRUN+ makes the Triumph 18 ride like a far lighter shoe. So for those looking for a little more versatile plush neutral shoe, the Triumph 18 will be able to handle more uptempo paces than others in this category. 

David: This is best for daily efforts, long runs, and easy days. PWRUN+ responds pretty well to force though and if you really need to pick up the pace it will do it pretty well. I found that I often was running a little faster than I thought I was running because of the pop the midsole gave. The weight can be noticed a little when fatigue ramps up but overall is relatively hidden for being heavier than most trainers. 

Nathan: This shoe had a sweet spot for mid to long distance runs that were done at casual paces. For longer efforts with a workout in the middle, I definitely started feeling the weight. For shorter and faster efforts, this shoe actually performs surprisingly well thanks to the bounce and pop from the PWRUN+ and smooth transitions. Due to that, the Triumph 18 one of the most versatile plush trainers out there. 



DURABILITY

Matt: After over 50 miles in my pair, I have barely noticed any wear. The upper and sole feel like when I first tried them on. The blown rubber outsole only has a very minor amount of wear at the posterior lateral heel. The midsole PWRUN+ cushioning has remained consistent. Overall this is an extremely durable shoe that will likely last long beyond the normal 300-500 miles. 

David: Saucony did a good job with the durability of the Triumph. Anytime there is a premium tag on a shoe I always want that shoe to be durable. The Triumph 18 is very durable and has no signs of breaking down over my wear testing. The outsole hardly has a scratch and the midsole has gotten better as it has broken in. I also have worn this in clinic after testing and has done well with prolonged standing. 

Nathan: Wonderful durability in this shoe for the outsole, there are no changes to the midsole return, and the upper is quite robust. I see no red flags for durability, and the amount of foam combined with the robust rubber and upper will certainly make this shoe last longer than the factory standard. 


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

Matt: The heel bevel of the Saucony Triumph is super smooth. This is probably one of the best I have felt in a more cushioned shoe. The reason I comment on this frequently is that this aspect can make or break the rear portion of the shoe. For those that land farther forward, this will not be an issue. For the rest of the >70% of people that land at the rearfoot, having a smooth transition helps. The heel bone, the calcaneus is curved for a very specific reason. The foot has a few natural "rockers" that help facilitate movement forward and improve efficiency. The curve at the heel allows for a smoother forward progression from initial contact (heel strike) forward.


     This is called the heel rocker. This aspect of the foot makes human beings extremely efficient walkers and for those who land at the rearfoot, runners (we have discussed extensively the differences between heel and forefoot striking and have a post coming up addressing this. Although elite runners tend to have a higher percentage of forward landing positions in distance runners, a majority still land at the rearfoot. Each has its benefits and pitfalls). So when you take that away and either make a rigid straight heel or use posterior heel flare, the muscular system has to work harder to transition over and control forward motion at contact. Most people also tend to land at the lateral aspect of the heel, so the bevel being a bit more laterally biased is important for that smooth initial contact. The Saucony Triumph 18 does this very well, which further contributes to the extremely smooth ride. Many companies are getting better at this, which may be one of the many reasons these rides are improving so much.


RECOMMENDATIONS 

Matt: I have really enjoyed the Triumph 18 for daily training and some tempo runs. My only suggestion would be to consider lightening up this shoe a little bit. Or to consider using PWRUN+ in the Ride 13. Other than that, the fit, ride and feel of this shoe is almost perfect for its intended use.

David: I agree with Matt above. Overall I was happy with this shoe and think the weight could be lessened slightly to make the shoe more fatigue resistant with longer training miles. This would make the shoe a little smoother and easier to pick up as well, making it more versatile. 

Nathan: My biggest recommendation for this shoe is to shed a little bit of the upper to make it more breathable and maybe shed some weight of the shoe overall. 


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 18 is a bouncy, plush, neutral trainer for those looking for a shoe for mileage and a little uptempo work. A slightly wider forefoot means this shoe will work for those looking for a little more room, though there is plenty of lockdown in the midfoot and heel. Those who need a bit of stability will find this to be a stable shoe without traditional methods like posting. Overall, the Saucony Triumph 18 is a plush shoe that can still get down to business when you ask it. Don't let the weight fool you, it rides like a much lighter shoe.

David: For those who like a plush and bouncy ride that can take roads and high mileage the Triumph 18 is worth looking at. The transition points are smooth at daily paces and can pick up the pace if asked to. Overall the fit and upper is comfortable with a significant amount of padding throughout while still being reinforced well. Stability is good on roads for a neutral trainer, but not ideal for many varying conditions and surfaces. Overall a very pleasant shoe. 

Nathan: For those looking for a premium, plush trainer done right, you better check out the Triumph 18. This shoe will provide a consistent bouncy ride that will last you a long time. On top of being plush and protective, this shoe can pick up the pace a  bit when needed.


GRADING
Matt
Fit                    10 /10 (Super smooth and comfortable upper. No chaffing with plenty of room and security)
Ride                 10 /10 (Smooth as butter. PWRUN+ Foam is great. Fantastic heel bevel.
Stability           9.5 /10 (Very stable for a plush neutral trainer)
Speed               9 /10 (Pretty fast for a shoe in this category. -1 for weight. Could be lighter).
Durability        9.5 /10 (very minimal wear in posterior lateral heel on the blown rubber after +50 miles)

David: 
Fit                     9.5/10 (Overall cushioned and breathable, would like to be thinned slightly like endorphin line)
Ride                 9.5 /10 (Smooth throughout. A little clunky at first. Smoother toe off for faster paces) 
Stability           8.75 /10 (Condition dependent. Good on roads or packed dirt road, anything else difficult. Overall good for such a plush trainer)
Speed               9 /10 (I agree with Matt. Not bad at all for this category. Still on the heavy end.) 
Durability        10 /10 (Durability is great and I don't see any problems here)

Nathan: 
Fit                     9/10 (very comfortable, a bit thick)
Ride                 9 /10 (Smooth ride, does feel flat late in long runs) 
Stability           8.5 /10 (Plush trainer that requires some intrinsic stability, but smooth transitions stabilize)
Speed               8.5 /10 (Versatile for it's training category, but heavy for longer tempos) 
Durability        10 /10 (No issues here)

Total Score: 94.7% (M: 9.6/10, D: 9.35, N: 9.0)

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 52 miles (Matt), (37.6) miles (Nathan) and (36) miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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