Saucony Triumph 21 Review | Running Shoes Guru

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Saucony Triumph 21 9 1

Saucony Triumph 21 Introduction

Saucony has been putting out quality running shoes for decades, with offerings that are continually some of the most popular on the road. When attending races, you’ll find lots of Saucony shoes on people’s feet.

One of the most popular lines you’ll see is the Triumph, the flagship of the regular neutral line for Saucony. Before the launch of the Endorphin line, the Triumphs were the top-of-the-line offering, and Saucony still treats them almost as though they still were.

Although they no longer use the top-level cushion material offered, these stalwarts still offer quite a bit of return on investment.

At $160 and as a high-stack daily trainer which still focuses on energy return, the Triumph 21s will compete against other offerings such as the Hoka Bondi 8, Puma Deviate Nitro 2, New Balance 1080 v12, adidas adizero Boston 12, Brooks Glycerin 20, ASICS Gel Nimbus 25, and the Nike Invincible Run.

Of those I have run in the Glycerins and the 1080s, and would say the Triumphs are likely my favorite of the three on the run. They are far more fun than the Glycerins, which are sturdy and dependent but a little boring. They also have more bounce than the 1080s, but are less comfortable for all-day wear. Either way, this is a very impressive offering by Saucony.

Saucony Triumph 21 First Impressions

When the Triumphs showed up I was excited to see what I received. I honestly hoped for the “Sundown/Linen” colorway, and was a little disappointed with when I saw mostly white. However, this white with lime green colorway quickly delighted when I saw them completely. They are NOT a boring white shoe, especially with the overall shoe shape and sole design. They are really good looking.

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When I put them on, I was very pleased with the bounce on the sole, and when I took them on my first 5k run, they did not disappoint. They were light, bouncy, and the upper was snug yet let my foot flex throughout the run.

Saucony Triumph 21 Upper

The upper is a soft flat knit material that is breathable and flexes with your foot. With designed printed overlays to help lock the foot in, and an adaptive lacing system, there was never a point in any run where I felt my foot slipping.

While running during a midwestern summer, they managed to keep my feet mostly dry (or easily dry off if they got wet) while also allowing air flow to keep them cool as possible. I never had a chance to run in them during cold weather, but I worry that the amount of ventilation could result in a cold run.

The fit of the upper is about as dialed in as any I’ve encountered for someone of my foot shape. My feet are wider than normal, but not so wide as to require a wide shoe for comfort.

This shoe starts with a fairly narrow heel, and a normal-to-narrow arch, but then opens up nicely into a roomy toebox. This results in a very comfortable, and secure, feel on your run. The upper is also true to size with the length of the platform, as my 13s fit me perfectly.

Saucony Triumph 21 Sole Unit

The Triumph sole unit continues to use PWRRUN+ cushioning. This light, airy cushioning provides all the cushion you could need for all distances of run, while staying fairly light for speed runs. It is designed to create a high energy return on each toeoff. This combination of cushion and energy return makes for a very enjoyable ride.

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On the outsole they used XT-900 Carbon Rubber material that provides great traction while staying at a fairly low weight. They put this material into a tri-flex groove design which allows for more freedom of movement on the foot, and for individual flexing throughout your foot contact. This rubber performed well on all the different surfaces on which I ran throughout the test — which included cement (dry and wet), gravel (dry and wet), and dirt.

The sole unit is high stack, with 39mm of cushion under the heel and 29mm under the toe. This can be a bit much for some people, but due to the light material of the PWRRUN+, it doesn’t seem unmanageable.

Saucony Triumph 21 Conclusions

Overall, this is one of the more solid shoes you could find out there. Saucony is easily becoming my favorite overall running brand, as I have loved all their different levels of shoes.

The Axons are the best cheap shoes I’ve ever tried; the Endorphin series provides some of the best progression shoes for training, speed, and then race day; and now the Triumphs keep me happy as I try to get back to the peak of my running form.

This shoe was fairly light — my size 13 weighed in at 10.6 oz — for the amount of cushion that it provides. This was felt under foot, as the shoe gave me plenty of cushion on slower, or longer, runs, but also light and bouncy for the times I wanted to pick up the pace or try to hit a target. This shoe could do every workout I wanted to do.

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My only real issues were both because of the make up of the cushion. With the stack height as high as it is on the heel, yet the cushion being so soft, if you have to come down on the edge of the heel, the bounce makes for a very jarring landing and can cause you to lose balance.

I’m normally a mid-foot impact runner, but from time-to-time everyone has to land on the heel due to conditions and there were two times where the bounce made me stumble.

The secondary issue is that I found the shoe uncomfortable to wear for a full day of teaching, as the bounce ended up being too much for my feet for that period of time. Wearing them to school resulted in my feet being quite beat up at the end of the day.

These issues, in my mind, are very minor and nothing that would keep me from using the shoe. In fact, I have found myself recommending it to multiple friends of mine who are gearing up to take on a race in the fall. If you’re in that boat, or just want a very solid high-stack trainer, then the Triumph 21s may be right for you.

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