Saucony Triumph ISO Review
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Admittedly, Saucony is the brand I’ve reviewed the least over the years. This hasn’t been by choice, it has just worked out that way. I’ve noted the passionate following that models like the Kinvara have built, so I was excited to get my feet in the 2015 Triumph. This years iteration of the flagship neutral high-mileage shoe for Saucony is packed with tech and new features, like the new ISO fit upper (more later) and a thicker, more plush midsole.
First impressions on the Saucony Triumph ISO
Out of the box, the Triumph feels ultra-plush on the foot. The one-piece wraparound upper is stretchy in the right areas and padded to prevent chafing and pressure. The flat laces also have a bit of stretch to them and the underfoot feel, while standing and walking is quite soft. The overall result is a very comfortable shoe. I always compare shoes to cars, and on first impression, the Triumph is a highway-cruising Cadillac.
Comments on the Fit of the Saucony Triumph ISO
For 2015, the key new feature of the Triumph is Saucony’s ISO fit upper, also featured in other 2015 premium models like the Zealot. The upper consists of a midfoot cage made of a synthetic material which wraps the foot outside the plush one piece upper bootie. The straps of the cage are not stiff plastic and are fairly independent, so they seem to flex and bend side to side somewhat, allowing them to settle into natural positions for best fit, comfort. Saucony touts the ISO upper as giving an almost custom fit, and I agree.
The heel of the shoe is generous and the toe box definitely on the wide side. The open mesh used over the toe of the shoe and on the sides of the saddle is slightly stretchy too, so they fit my wider foot well and I think will work for a wide range of foot shapes. If you have narrow feet, be sure to try them on before buying.
Saucony Triumph ISO Design and Style
The expectations are always high for me when reviewing a premium price point ($150) shoe like the Triumph. Design has to be sleek but give the feeling of high tech, and materials should be varied and high quality. The triumph does all these well with a design that looks fast without being overly garish in the navy blue, orange and yellow color way Saucony sent. Materials range from the open mesh over the forefoot to the high shine midfoot cage to the plush stretch bootie material. The external heel counter which is a techy-looking transparent plastic with detailing that gives a purposeful impression.
Saucony Triumph ISO Performance
No one can deny now that maximum-cushion shoes are mainstream, and the last shoe I reviewed before the Triumph was the worshipped Hoka Clifton, so the bar was pretty high for a plush, high-mileage trainer. The midsole thickness of the Triumph clocks in at 29mm / 21mm (according to Saucony – RunningWarehouse.com measured them at about 2mm thicker in both forefoot and heel), about 20% more than the 2014 model. The midsole is comprised of Saucony’s PWRGRID+ system and a new foam they refer to as IBR+, which Saucony touts as 33% lighter than other midsole foams. You might expect a shoe with this much midsole packed with so many features to be cinderblock-heavy. However, the Triumph ISO tips the scales at only 10.3oz-pretty svelte for a max-cushion shoe. RunningWarehouse.com even measured the shoe at 10oz even.
As I mentioned above, the triumph feels very soft when standing and walking, so I expected it to feel great on slower long runs and super easy recovery days. What really surprised me was that it somehow felt more firm firm when I picked up the pace during tempo training and repeats. I’m not saying this is becoming my track workout shoe, but it is a very versatile shoe and could be a great everyday trainer for (neutral) heavier or recreational runners. The external heel counter of the triumph is hard plastic and provides a solid heel which helps a shoe that is otherwise soft and plush in the upper and under foot, have a rather solid heel strike. Where the Triumph really shines, however, is definitely during the long run. The smooth upper flexes with swollen feet to make those late miles less of a slog, and the additional midsole helped me feel more fresh the day after a 16-miler.
The Triumph ISO is also equipped with sufficient 360° reflectivity for safety.
Saucony Triumph Durability
I’ve put 80 miles and a handful of days of leisure/office wear on the Saucony Triumph and this is about the time any shoes with durability issues start to show their colors. I don’t notice any significant abrasions or tears in the upper materials and no de-lamination of glued pieces. Some softer, highly cushioned shoes start to show signs of midsole failure or feel packed out more quickly than former shoes, but signs of this are minimal now. The outsole rubber is on the softer side, to keep with the plush theme of the shoe, and I do notice a bit more wear on the lugs than I would expect at this point.
Summary of Thoughts on the Saucony Triumph ISO
At $150, the Saucony Triumph ISO is definitely a higher price-tier premium high-mileage training shoes on the market. It does however come packed with features which are not just marketing department inventions but innovations which impressed me on the roads. The ISO fit upper helps to create one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn in recent years. I do believe the upper design and shoe shape make the triumph a shoe that will work for a variety of foot shapes. The new, almost maximal amount of midsole cushion really smoothed out the late miles of long runs as well. And again, while it shines on longer runs when comfort is a high priority, the triumph doesn’t feel completely out of place picking up the pace. Overall, I highly recommend the Saucony Triumph ISO for neutral runners willing to spend a little extra for plush comfort and a smooth ride.
The Saucony Triumph ISO for 2015 is $150 msrp. For more info visit www.amazon.com/saucony.