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

Post Page Advertisement [Top]


Saucony Triumph RFG: Some Mighty Fine Corn
By Bach Pham and Nathan Brown

The Saucony Triumph RFG is the brand's introduction to Run For Good, their new sustainability standard. The idea is that the brand is investing in a future focused on sustainability while meeting performance. The shoe is their first foray into the space, providing a splashy new foam that offers a surprisingly solid ride underfoot for a shoe that blends 55% corn into the midsole. In this review, we take a look at all the regular features of the shoe and discuss what the release of this shoe may mean for the industry.

Saucony Triumph RFG
Shop: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.4 oz, 296 g (men's size 9), 9.7 oz, 275 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 37mm heel, 27mm forefoot
Sizing: Men's 7-15, Women's 5-12
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Daily Trainer


Bach: The Saucony Triumph RFG first and foremost is a Triumph. This neutral, max cushion trainer still looks and feels the part, but now features a brand new PWRRUN Bio+ midsole that includes corn in 55% of the mixture. Other sustainable elements include an 80% natural rubber outsole and upper using plant-based dyes. The design otherwise is a mirror of the Triumph 21, offering a highly cushioned, very comfortable ride that satisfies on many levels.

Nathan: People have come to know the Saucony Triumph as a durable, highly cushioned workhorse trainer, and the Triumph RFG holds to this standard for the most part. Many elements of this shoe are pushing forward their sustainability initiatives, but that did not hinder performance on most fronts and remains very comfortable, responsive, and cushioned. 

: Saucony Triumph 21


Bach: The Triumph RFG fits true to size and is best for narrow to medium width feet. There is a narrow heel with a very rigid heel counter that goes up about 3/4ths of the heel. The midfoot has a snug fit upfront. There's a wider lace hole over midfoot that lets you expand that area out just slightly, which did help give me a little bit more room for comfort over the midfoot. For those who need a wider midfoot, it will be a close call on whether the widening is enough. The laces do a good job of locking the shoe down. I didn't feel the need to lace lock the shoe, but did try it and felt it added an extra performance fit if desired. The toebox has good width and okay volume. The upper is soft over the toes and breathable. I've used the shoe for all-day walking and errands and felt comfortable doing those activities.

Nathan: The Triumph RFG differs from the regular Triumph 21 mostly in the upper feel. The upper in this model is a bit more sock-like and malleable in the toe box compared to its counterpart, but is still overall true to size in length and width. In terms of softness and comfort, the RFG model takes the cake. However, given the cotton-based material, it does hold water and sweat a bit more than other, more synthetic options. I've found this problematic for security in the rain and on hot days when I sweat more. Once it is wet it loses its structure a bit and also feels a bit heavier. If rain is not an issue, the lockdown is adequate with a secure and more narrow heel, a gusseted tongue, and effective lacing system. 


Bach: The question Triumph fans will want to know is how PWRRUN Bio+ feels. To me it sits somewhere between PWRRUN+ and regular PWRRUN. It has more comfort and responsiveness to it than regular PWRRUN, but is not as soft as PWRRUN+. It does lean a touch firmer, but is not firm by any means. I found the comfort right in the middle and enjoy it's responsiveness. I felt like I could turn it up just a little bit which was nice at the end of runs. The forefoot also has a little bit of flexibility which feels great. I've done a variety of distances in the shoe and found it receptive for just about any amount of time on foot. It's definitely a max cushion trainer that feels cushioned and balanced on the run. I like that it doesn't feel mushy either; the shoe's touch of firmness helps make turnover feel a little quicker for me.

The shoe certainly is a daily mile cruiser and a good option for long run efforts. I think for some it could be a decent recovery shoe as well if you prefer something max cushion but less soft than the regular Triumph. For first time marathoner, this could easily be an option for the over four hour marathoner looking to finish comfortably.

The outsole is made of 80% natural rubber and gripped the road just fine for me on dry and wet surfaces. It has a lot of grooves throughout which adds a small sensation of grip that feels pretty confident. It's not as aggressive as Nike waffle outsoles or PumaGrip, but it feels plenty capable. I have no wear on my outsole so far after two months of usage between running and everyday use.

Nathan: If you saw a silhouette of the Triumph and Triumph RFG, they would look the same geometrically. They have the same rocker profile, same heel bevel, and same stack heights. The only differences are on paper: a cotton-based upper, PWRRUN BIO+ (corn-based) midsole and insole, and a gum rubber outsole. These changes also result in a 0.6oz weight difference, with the RFG coming in at 10.4oz. 

The real question, then, is how it performs in comparison to the regular Triumph. Usually, midsoles that incorporate higher levels of bio-based material markedly feel firm and lifeless. This surprisingly wasn't the case. The Triumph RFG is soft and has a bit of the pop typically found in the PWRRUN+ midsole. It may be a touch firmer than the mainline Triumph 21, but I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't put them on at the same time. This means that I found it worked best for similar purposes as the regular Triumph: long runs, easy runs, and recovery runs. It's still a mileage hog and the rubber and foam have held up very nicely. The wear on the rubber is slightly more pronounced in the RFG but has held up for 30+ miles and daily wear for a month very well. 

The only minor knock is the impact of a cotton upper in the rain, which is very situational. Otherwise, the difference between the two models in terms of performance is very negligible. I've also been wearing this shoe for work all day over the last 4-6 weeks, and it has been very comfortable for daily wear with long periods of standing and walking.


Bach: Despite being a neutral shoe, the Triumph RFG does feature a few characteristics that made it comfortable for me stability-wise. I was not a big proponent of the Triumph 20 due to its very narrow midfoot and soft midfoot through heel which aggravated my flat feet. The Triumph RFG, however, while still providing a similar narrow platform, does a really good job of keeping my foot centered on the shoe's platform. The less soft sole also does a nice job of providing some stiffness underfoot. This is still very much a neutral shoe due to the narrowing midfoot and lack of stability elements, but flat foot runners who don't need a lot of inherent stability and want a max cushion shoe that isn't at all intrusive underfoot will do well here. Neutral runners in general should have no issues, while moderate to high stability runners will want to consider the Tempus or Guide instead first.

Nathan: The Triumph RFG is a neutral trainer. It has a higher stack, slightly softer foam, and narrows in the midfoot. It is by no means unstable and I have been able to do some body weight lifting in the shoe without feeling unstable during single-leg lunges (which I typically reserve for firmer, lower stack, or gym-specific shoes). For those looking for some structure, they will need to look at the Guide or Tempus, with the Tempus being more similar in feel underfoot in terms of softness and responsiveness.

Culture Corner: The Next Step is Here
By Bach Pham

The Triumph RFG is arguably one of the best attempts from one of the top echelon of brands in the market today, which maybe means more than crafting the most sustainable shoe in 2023.

I think one of the most important things about the Triumph RFG is that it fundamentally is a great shoe. It feels good underfoot, it competes well in the class, and it's a looker to boot (subjective, I know).

Sustainability has been touted as a key focus for just about every brand over the past several years, but the momentum hasn't quite translated as well in the running market thus far. Performance is a major driver, and most haven't quite been able to fully match the expectations runners today have with so many good shoes in the market. To be able to produce a substantial shoe like the RFG and be able to set it at a good price point (here, matching the regular Triumph 21), it pivots itself as a very exciting entry.

I've talked in the past how sustainability has had a real problem being a big deal in the running shoe market up to this point. There's been barriers, however, from performance quality to pricing that's held the idea back til now.

It is notable that there has been excellent work done in the sustainability space. We've touted several positive ideas over the past few years. Saucony's attempt here, however, sets a high bar for its top running brands which makes the RFG all the more interesting. Being able to say "hey, we made a thoughtfully good sustainable shoe, and we're going to use this as the catapult for doing a lot more in the space at a fair price" has been one of the most important things to happen so far in the race for bridging performance with sustainability for the future of running. Much credit to Saucony's engineering team for being able to take a corn-based midsole and finding a way to neatly elevate it and make it comfortable and functional. The real test will be seeing if Saucony is willing to take the next big step and decide if they are willing to make bio-based midsoles a permanent part of one of their major lines in the future, whether it's the Triumph series or even Ride series and making a statement that this is a natural progression they want to go and not just a one-off concept.


Bach: In general I really enjoyed the Triumph RFG. I've tested corn-based midsoles in the past, and none have come anywhere close to the quality seen here. I'm excited to see as Saucony ramps up the quantity of bio-based material in the shoe how it changes over time. My recommendation ties to future development of Saucony's product line. I think it might be controversial, but making this midsole become a central part of one of their legacy lines would be a big step in standardizing the use of bio-based materials in running shoes.

Regarding the shoe itself, I think the fit could be a bit more generous in the midfoot initially for runners, as the material laces down really nicely. We've seen a growing trend to be a bit more accommodating on fit and I think that would be nice to see here as well in terms of comfort, especially over long miles.

Nathan: I completely agree with Bach. Other corn-based midsoles we have tried have been very firm and lifeless, whereas this shoe (albeit only 55% corn-based) could handle long runs while maintaining a cushioned feel. The only consideration is finding a way to alter the upper to hold less water while maintaining the sustainability goals of the model (not that I have any input on how to make that happen). This midsole is good enough to use in all their mainline shoes, and I hope we see that happen over the next season, with it also trickling into what they can do with PWRRUN (not +). 


Bach: The Saucony Triumph RFG first and foremost is a max cushion trainer built for daily miles. It's got all the things you look for in a Triumph in a sustainable package. It pairs well with Saucony's Endorphin performance trainers or any workout shoes for a good training duo.

From a sustainability perspective, there are certainly shoes more eco-friendly than the Triumph RFG, Newton Running's line-up and some sustainably-focused brands like All-Birds being standout companies, and Newton's performance line (Motion+, Gravity+) and Mizuno's Wave Neo Wind are  two specific standout shoes that have been solid performers for us. The Triumph RFG has been the most affordable of these options though and one I think runners will be most open getting behind long term.

Nathan: It probably shouldn't have waited until now to bring it up, but this shoe costs the SAME as the regular Triumph. Someone call me out, but I don't think I've seen that in models that are pushing sustainability initiatives. Given the cost comparison and that it is the same as the traditional Triumph, it's a no-brainer to add this shoe instead of the regular unless there are specific desires. For example, if I was getting a Triumph as a marathon shoe, I may not want this one because if it rains... you're in for a long day. But if you try both on and, like me, notice only small differences, go with the RFG. It's comfortable, looks good for casual use, and increases demand for more sustainable models. 


Fit: A- (For standard to narrow feet, a solid performing feet with some minor room for midfoot adjustment. Wide feet may find this too narrow)
Performance: A-
(Solid ride for daily training, long mileage, and for some recovery)
Stability: B (No traditional stability elements. Decently keeps runner on platform and some stiffness underfoot help keep it more stable than some max cushion shoes)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (A big step forward in sustainable footwear)
Personal: A- (Easily a top five shoe of the year for me, and one I'm happy to grab any day of the week)
Overall: A-

Fit: B+/A- (True to size and comfortable and secure, just the wet cotton issue)
Performance: B+/A-
 (Midsole performs great, the issue is really the upper...getting wet)
Stability: B (Neutral trainer with high stack and narrowed midfoot)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Best majority bio-based midsole I've tested)
Personal: A (Wearing for running and daily use, it's great)
Overall: A- 


Saucony Triumph RFG
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse

Shop Men | Shop Women

*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Check out Gear We Love
Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Saysky Running Gear: We were really taken aback by this Scandinavian company's ultra-thin, durable performance clothing
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!


Adidas Ultraboost Light - The 23rd ultraboost features Light Boost to help cut 2 oz from the trainer
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 [Supermax Trainer] - Now a super maximal stacked shoe over 40mm!
Brooks Aurora BL - Brooks experimental project offers a look into the future
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 - Shoe reduces stack to make a nimble max ride
Nike Invincible 3 - Updated to improve stability, this max cushion trainer evolves for v3
Salomon Aero Glide - Salomon brings max stack to their lineup with this new offering
Saucony Triumph 21- The excellent Triumph from last year gets a new upper that dials in the fit for an excellent overall ride
Skechers GORun Max Road 6 - A totally new redesign for this max cushion shoes

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

Thanks for reading!


Facebook: Doctors of Running
Youtube Channel: Doctors of Running
Instagram: @doctorsofrunning
LinkedIn: Doctors of Running
Strava: Doctors of Running
Podcast: Virtual Roundtable
Pinterest: Doctors of Running


Check out the Doctors of Running Podcast to find more reviews, interviews, and running features from the team.

Visit our Podcast Page
Find us on Apple
Find us on Spotify

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 *** 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2

Bottom Ad [Post Page]

// ]]>