Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Saucony Triumph 20: Quite Triumphant
By David Salas, Bach Pham, and Matthew Klein

The Saucony Triumph series is a long-standing premium daily trainer line that features plush materials and a softer ride. The Triumph series continues its lineage with some big updates. The 20th iteration loses a lot of weight and provides a fun and bouncy ride that sustains itself well for miles.  

Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.7 oz, 275 g (men's size 9), 8.6 oz, 243 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 37 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Premium Daily Trainer


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 20 is a premium daily trainer with a slightly snug fit and a bouncy ride. A taller stack height of PWRRUN+ provides a softer, bouncier, and lighter ride for easy and long miles. A new upper provides a secure and slightly snug fit while allowing a little bit of adjustable stretch. While the softer ride and increased midsole height put it more squarely in the neutral category, the Saucony Triumph 20 has returned as one of the lightest and bounciest premium daily trainers on the market.

David: The Saucony Triumph 20 is a premium daily training shoe in the neutral category. The shoe is much more streamlined than previous versions and feels much lighter on foot. The midsole is on the softer end and provides a nice bounce to it through toe-off. The Triumph is a neutral maximum cushioned daily trainer that creates a very fun and lively ride. 

Bach: The Triumph remains a highly cushioned trainer that roars into its 20th edition lighter than ever before. Cutting in under 10oz is a huge deal for a max cushioned shoe, giving the max cushion shoe a feeling of nimbleness you rarely find in the genre. The shoe features a surprisingly bouncy forefoot and smooth transition. It easily goes into the debate of best max cushion shoes this year and also continues Saucony's success of delivering on shoe after shoe after shoe in 2022.

SIMILAR SHOES: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12, ASICS Gel Nimbus 24





FIT

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 20 fits me true to size length-wise in my normal men's US size 10. The width throughout is slightly snug with a snug to narrow heel. This is partially due to a stiff heel counter with a decent amount of heel collar cushioning. Those that are sensitive to heel counters to approach with caution, but the additional heel collar cushioning and the more rounded shape of the counter have not irritated my heels so far. The midfoot is slightly snug and features a gusseted and slightly thicker tongue. I did not have to lace lock the shoe as the gusset and laces did a great job of keeping the foot secure. The forefoot fits slightly snug with a little stretch from the mesh. This mild stretch has maintained over the 45 miles I have used these, providing almost a performance-like fit up front. The toe box is not narrow but has a lower height. This provides additional security but does put pressure on the top of my toes. I have not had issues with this, but the Saucony Triumph 20 will work best for those with narrow feet or those with normal-width feet wanting a more snug fit.

David:
The Saucony Triumph fits true to size in my normal Men's 9.5. The mesh material is pretty comfortable throughout and feels a little on the softer side. The upper definitely has a plush nature to it but is a little more streamlined than previous versions. It feels like a blend of a plush upper and a performance upper. The heel collar is padded and there is a heel counter that is semi rigid. This holds the structure of the shoe pretty well and provided no irritation to me. The volume of the shoe is pretty dialed in and balances right between daily trainer and performance trainer. The fit is normal while being slightly snug throughout. The heel and midfoot are normal width while the forefoot is normal to slightly wide. The lockdown throughout is quite good. The material has a little bit of stretch to it and this is slightly noticeable in turns or in off-road conditions. Overall, a very well done upper that provides decent security and a lot of comfort. 

Bach: The Triumph 20 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. While not as plush and premium as prior editions, there's still plenty of cushion and comfort in the latest model. There is a lot of structure in the upper to hold the foot down. I had no troubles with breathability.

There's a semi-rigid heel counter and a bit of a more snug fit, though the material is stretchy and accommodating. I would say the fit was generally standard throughout. I had no issues with the toebox and felt there was enough room to splay width-wise, though I would say the volume is a touch low. The stretchy mesh didn't cause any issues though. For those who need more room in the toebox, there is a wide model. Additionally, the insole is removable.




PERFORMANCE

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 20 provides a maximal stack height with a full-length PWRRUN+ midsole. The midsole feels far more bouncy than previous versions no matter where you land. The new taller stack height (37mm/27mm) provides a ton of foam that compresses well and bounces back. The slightly higher heel drop is not noticeable due to the extra foam compression. It still feels like an 8mm drop shoe, especially with the large and smooth heel bevel at the rear. Heel landings are cushioned and transition easily with the bevel. The forefoot features an early rocker, which combined with the mild flexibility provides a smooth toe-off. The bounce is more prominent than the roll, although the Triumph 20 is still a solid easy day and long-run option. The lighter weight is noticeable. I was surprised by how large the shoe looks and how light it feels on foot. This combined with the bouncy sole allows for some pace pick-ups, including uptempo runs and fartlek workouts. Thus, the Triumph 20 does have some versatility, but will not be a primary workout shoe due to the higher relative weight. The outsole rubber has been incredibly durable and will do well for long runs and long miles. I have 45 miles on my pair and have still not made a major dent on the outsole. These changes make the new Saucony Triumph 20 a durable, maximal stack height, lighter premium daily training shoe.

David: The Saucony Triumph 20 is a maximalist daily training shoe using PWRRUN+. The midsole is on the softer end and does provide a good amount of bounce to it. The shoe has a relatively full contact outsole underfoot that does firm up the ride slightly. The softness of the foam and density of the rubber feel like they balance pretty well. The shoe does have decent centralized heel bevel that rolls through the initial contact of the gait cycle well. The forefoot has a slight toe spring to it, but nothing dramatic. The forefoot has a moderate amount of flexibility to it and gives off a bouncy but natural feeling toe off. The transition from the heel and midfoot are rather quick, though the forefoot is a little more natural and slower. Those that may be sensitive to sharp rockered shoes may do well here. The outsole provides decent traction and does give a little bit of rigidity to the platform as well. The shoe performs best at daily paces for me, but still does okay if you push the shoe a little bit too. The ride is lively and bouncy throughout and provides a great option to the maximum cushioned category.

The only thing I noticed is that the shoe doesn't do great in softer dirt or trail conditions. On packed dirt it does okay, but the combination of the softer foam and the slightly stretchy upper material make for some apprehension when running in those situations. I did find my self shortening up and slowing down more to make sure I didn't fall. Otherwise the shoe sustains a fun neutral ride for miles, as I have taken this upwards of 20 miles so far in a single session. 

Bach: The Triumph 20 has a lot more bounce in the forefoot than I ever expected it to. With a high stack of PWRRUN+ in the forefoot, you get a bit of pep if every step. There is a mild, early rocker on the Triumph that does a really nice job of helping you transition quickly. I really enjoyed the shoe best for easy day paces, though the Triumph can pick up the pace a touch too. The shoe transitions nicely through the forefoot in particularly with the slight rocker and bounciness of the foam pushing you forward. Sneaking under 10 oz helps give some added nimbleness. It is still a high stacked shoe though and feels a bit unstable when picking up. It is ultimately still best at easy and recovery day paces. It's very well-cushioned and would be a fine option for anyone looking for comfortable daily miles and easy longer efforts, and possibly the marathon if you are efficient. The narrow midfoot makes me personally a touch weary about it for my own mechanics as a runner who tends to prefer some mild stability. I think the forefoot transition is excellent and reliable, but I could feel a touch of fatigue in the midfoot at the end of my hour and 45 minute long run test and really wanted it to be filled in to help give me a bit more support. Stronger, truly neutral runners likely will do fine and really enjoy the bouncy forefoot over long distances in the Triumph 20.

The outsole of the Triumph 20 is basically unbreakable. It is a flat, smooth outsole that does a nice job of just giving you durability and amplifying the smoothness of the shoe's ride. There is a full-length rubber outsole which does add a slight bit of firmness underfoot to the Triumph on initial ground contact, but the stack quickly compresses right after and gives you that cushioning. I did my last test run on some soggy roads after Hurricane Ian, and the shoe had no issues handling the long run. Like past editions, the shoe is well-built throughout and should last many miles.





STABILITY

Matt: The Saucony Triumph 20 is a neutral shoe. There are a few methods of guidance in this shoe, but the only traditional stability method is the stiff heel counter. The counter is on the larger side, running almost into the midfoot on both the medial and lateral sides. This both locks in the heel as well as provides a degree of guidance. There are also small sidewalls at the rearfoot that mildly guide the heel. There is a guidance line in the rearfoot outsole. although with the soft midsole I am not sure how much this contributes. It may place a factor with the well-beveled heel guiding things in. The midfoot does narrow, but fortunately, the mild sidewalls continue to that area. There is mild sole flare in the heel and forefoot. The soft ride combined with the tall stack height does make the ride a little less stable. The combination of the above factors seems to balance this out though. There is not enough to consider this a stable neutral shoe, but it certainly is a neutral shoe that isn't unstable.

David: The stability of the Triumph is pretty good. For being a maximal cushioned shoe in the neutral category there will always be some elements of stability, but Saucony does a pretty good job of mitigating that. The upper locks down pretty well and provides good security in most situations. As mentioned above it does have a little bit of stretch to it which made running in trails or sharper turn environments harder. The foam is also on the softer end which makes your foot position awareness a little bit harder, though the outsole does help with this problem some. There are some sidewalls integrated throughout as well as some gentle sole flaring. This helps keep you guided linearly and feeling like you are on a platform you can trust. Because of the soft foam and upper though, I did have more issues in runnable trail conditions than I would have liked. On road conditions though, stability is pretty solid here. 

Bach: The Triumph, for me, is a fairly neutral shoe. The midfoot narrows enough to be noticeable. The wider forefoot and security of the upper are the two primary forms of stability in the Triumph, along with some subtle guidance from the mild rocker. If you are a fairly mid-to-forefoot runner, the forefoot has a pretty decent width that feels very good to bounce off of. I did, however, feel that narrowing midfoot on the run and felt it would have been nice to feel that a little more filled in. If you are in need of practical stability through the midfoot, you may want to check out the Endorphin Shift 3 instead which does a nicer job of filling in that area. The upper, however, does do a very good job of providing security and keeping your foot centered on the platform. I do agree with Matt that the midsole, while soft, isn't soft to the point where it is unstable. The outsole also provides some rigidity. It is one of those tricky borderline shoes that will work for a lot of runners in this spectrum from neutral to stable neutral, but is not really a stable neutral shoe itself. Those with major stability needs though should check out the Tempus, or at least Shift 3 first.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Impact of Foam Compliance
By Chief Editor Matt Klein

As foams are starting to advance, we are seeing an increase in the number of them that are resilient and not just compliant. Compliant refers to how much a foam compresses. This is often what people mean when they refer to soft vs firm cushioning, where soft is a highly compliant foam that compresses a great deal and firm is a less compliant foam that does not. A resilient foam is one that both compresses and rebounds. While there are extensive examples of resilient foams in racing shoes (ZoomX, PWRRUN PB, etc) the newest version of PWRRUN+ is a great example of a resilient foam in a training shoe. The cushioning is not just soft but also bounces back a great deal. How specifically this will impact runners outside of comfort and bounce is not clear. We know that much of the large economic improvements in these new super shoes come from these resilient foams compared to other components (Barnes et al., 2019; Herbert-Losier & Pamment, 2022; Hoogkamer et al., 2019; Roy & Stefanyshyn, 2006). How this impacts runners in a training shoe is unknown. It is suspected that many runners will continue to gravitate toward these cushioned and responsive shoes as people tend to prefer compliant and resilient surfaces. These types of shoes have not consistently been found to reduce injury risk (Theisen et al., 2014). However, while each individual will have unique biomechanical responses to them, runners tend to demonstrate stiffer mechanics when running in these shoe types (Kulmala et al., 2018; Onodera et al., 2016). The carry-over of highly resilient foams to training shoes is expected and will likely continue. How that will affect runners remains to be seen as research always takes some time to catch up.

References:

Barnes, K. & Kilding A. (2019). A randomized crossover study investigating the running economy of highly-trained male and female distance runners in marathon racing shoes versus track spikes. Sports Medicine, 49(2): 331-342.

H├ębert-Losier, K., & Pamment, M. (2022). Advancements in running shoe technology and their effects on running economy and performance–a current concepts overview. 
Sports Biomechanics, 1-16.


Hoogkamer, W., Kipp, S. & Kram, R. (2019). The biomechanics of competitive male runners in three marathon racing shoes: a randomized crossover study.
Sports Medicine, 49(1), 133-143.

Kulmala, J. P., Kosonen, J., Nurminen, J., & Avela, J. (2018). Running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and amplifies impact loading. Scientific reports, 8(1), 1-7.

Onodera, A. N., Neto, W. P. G., Roveri, M. I., Oliveira, W. R., & Sacco, I. C. (2017). Immediate effects of EVA midsole resilience and upper shoe structure on running biomechanics: a machine learning approach. 
PeerJ, 5, e3026.

Roy, J. & Stefanyshyn, D. (2006). Shoe midsole longitudinal bending stiffness and running economy, joint energy and EMG.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: 38(3), 562-569.

Theisen, D., Malisoux, L., Genin, J., Delattre, N., Seil, R., & Urhausen, A. (2014). Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury risk. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(5), 371-376.v

Worobets, J., Wannop, J. W., Tomaras, E., & Stefanyshyn, D.
(2014). Softer and more resilient running shoe cushioning properties enhance running economy. 
Footwear Science, 6(3), 147-153.



RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: I have enjoyed the new bouncy midsole in the Saucony Triumph 20. However, with the extremely tall stack height, I would suggest adding a little more width to the midfoot. This was done successfully in a variety of Saucony shoes, including the Endorphin Pro 3. This will create a more inherent guidance without making it a stability shoe. The upper fits snug and while I would like a little more room and height at the forefoot, this is actually a rare option for those with narrow feet. The upper does stretch so those wanting a performance fit will be fine. I was surprised by the snugger fit given the greater width previous versions have had. Saucony will have to decide if they want to keep the performance fit or add a bit more width for a more universal fit. 

David: My main recommendation for the Triumph 20 is to use an upper material with a little less stretch to it. The lockdown on the shoe isn't bad, but I do notice my foot translating a little bit when in unstable or softer conditions. On grass, soft dirt or sand, or mulchy situations I wouldn't opt for this shoe. Otherwise, it is a really solid daily trainer in the maximalist category. 

Bach: The Saucony Triumph 20 contains some excellent changes for the better. It's lighter, it's more nimble, and it feels like it's really tuned the PWRRUN+ foam well. Like Matt, I would love to see more width in the midfoot to solidify the ride further, especially for particularly long runs where I tend to fatigue and want a bit more support. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR


Matt: The Saucony Triumph 20 is a maximally cushioned premium daily training shoe with a bouncy sole and a snug fit. The tall full-length PWRRUN+ midsole provides a ton of cushioning, creating a ride that bounces along at easy to uptempo paces. The upper fits slightly snug, providing an option for those with narrow feet or those wanting a more performance-style fit. An excellent option for those who want a lively ride for daily training and want a little less room in a shoe that maintains some upper stretch. The Saucony Triumph 20 returns as the lightest and bounciest version yet and doubles as having one of the best pairings of those components in a premium daily trainer on the market. 

David: The Saucony Triumph 20 is a maximal cushioned daily training shoe for someone looking to have a soft and bouncy ride without sacrificing weight. The shoe has some rounding to the heel and a more natural flexing forefoot. Those who are sensitive to rockered designs may have some benefit with this shoe. For those looking to have a little bounce in their daily trainer, the Triumph may ring triumphant. I am really enjoying this shoe for easy days and time on feet. 

Bach: If you are looking for a light, well-cushioned neutral trainer for logging tons of miles, you'll be hard-pressed to find options better than the Triumph 20. Saucony did a great job of refining everything about the shoe and really maximizing every part of it to reach their goal of creating a lighter, more fun Triumph. It's an easy go-to as a daily mileage grinder that can also tick off many happy long runs for those who are efficient. Saucony produced two great max cushion offerings this year between the soft, stable, and heavily-rockered Shift and the light, bouncy, and well-cushioned Triumph.


GRADING

Matt
Fit: B+ (Snug and secure fit with a locked-in heel)
Performance: 
A- (Bouncy and soft ride for easy, long and uptempo miles. One of the lightest premium trainers)
Stability: B [Neutral] (Solid lockdown at heel with mild sidewalls in heel/midfoot. Softer and narrowed midfoot keep this neutral)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Impressive weight drop and increase in responsiveness. Need to explore geometry options more without sacrificing midfoot stability in such a tall stack height shoe)
Personal: B+/A- (The ride is fantastic, but the upper is a bit too snug for me over longer miles)
Overall: B+/A- 

David
Fit: A- (Good lockdown throughout though the material stretches a little more than I would like)
Performance: B+/A- 
(Great transitions and ride on road or packed dirt. The security in softer situations could be better, though great for easy days and long runs.)
Stability: B (Upper material stretching makes off road a little difficult in combination with the softer foam. Otherwise good on road conditions.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (A solid update with taking a significant amount of weight off without sacrificing ride or responsiveness)
Personal: A- (A really fun neutral option with a good amount of cushion and bounce, though I wish it could be better with turns or unstable terrain)
Overall: B+/A-

Bach

Fit: A- (Solid lockdown throughout with just enough room in the forefoot, and a wide option available for those who need it)
Performance:
A- (Really lovely transitions and a bouncy forefoot. Hits the mark as an easy day and recovery run shoe)
Stability: B (Pretty neutral midfoot asks for a good amount of efficiency for longer efforts)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Saucony knocked it out of the park when it came to refining the Triumph for v20)
Personal: B+/A- (Loved logging easy miles in the shoe. If it had a little more midfoot, I would have absolutely loved it for longer efforts too, hence the back and forth grade)
Overall: A-
 

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FURTHER READING

Asics Fuji Lite 3 - The sustainable, nimble trail runner continues to deliver a fun ride
New Balance Fresh Foam More v4 - A stable neutral max cushion trainer for long, easy days
Puma Electrify Nitro 2 - A budget trainer with surprising responsiveness
Newton Motion+ - A light, snappy stability performance trainer
adidas Adizero Adios 7 - The snappy performance trainer returns with a recycled upper
Newton Running Distance+ - A fast and fun performance trainer for track and road

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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.

***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 systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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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