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Saucony Triumph 21 Review

A bouncy and cushioned shoe we love for long, easy miles, though it's not the most stable
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Saucony Triumph 21 Review
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey
Price:  $160 List
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Manufacturer:   Saucony
By Nathaniel Bailey ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 9, 2023
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 19
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6.0
  • Stability - 20% 5.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.5

Our Verdict

Recovery runs aren't always the most enjoyable, but the Saucony Triumph 21 bucks that trend. It may not be a great workout day shoe, but the bouncy chunk of PWRRUN+ foam left our legs feeling fresh after long efforts and put a smile on our face even on days when our legs were sore. We love this shoe for easy miles. It has a comfortable and breathable upper that is easy to lace for good lockdown, making it a great choice for long runs. While it could be a bit more responsive, it's an impressive plush, high mileage trainer. To see how it stacks up, check out our full review of the top men's running shoes.
REASONS TO BUY
Fantastic cushioning
Great grip
Breathable upper
REASONS TO AVOID
Struggles at faster paces
Heavy
Unstable

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Bottom Line Fun and plush cushioning for all-day comfort if you're okay carrying some extra weightA daily trainer that can handle most runs, the Novablast 4 is fun and extremely comfortableAn extremely versatile daily trainerA daily trainer that blends comfort and versatility at a reasonable priceComfortable and plush cushioning meets adequate responsiveness for a shoe we love for easy runs
Rating Categories Saucony Triumph 21 Asics Novablast 4 Adidas Adizero Bost... Puma Velocity Nitro 3 On Cloudsurfer 7
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.3
8.0
8.0
8.5
Responsiveness (25%)
6.0
7.5
8.0
7.0
6.5
Stability (20%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.5
Weight (15%)
5.5
6.4
6.1
5.8
7.3
Specs Saucony Triumph 21 Asics Novablast 4 Adidas Adizero Bost... Puma Velocity Nitro 3 On Cloudsurfer 7
Weight (per shoe, size 10.5) 10.37 oz 9.76 oz 9.95 oz 10.07 oz 9.15 oz
Style Cushioning Daily/cushioning Daily Daily Cushioning
Sizes Available 7 - 15 US 6 - 15 US 4 - 15 US 7 - 14 US 7 - 14 US
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 11 mm 7 mm 6 mm 10 mm 15 mm
Measured Heel Stack Height 38 mm 43 mm 35 mm 39 mm 40 mm
Measured Forefoot Stack Height 27 mm 36 mm 29 mm 29 mm 25 mm
Claimed Heel-to-Toe Drop 10 mm 8 mm 7 mm 8 mm 10 mm
Claimed Heel Stack Height 37.0 mm 41.5 mm 38.0 mm Not stated Not stated
Claimed Forefoot Stack Height 27.0 mm 33.5 mm 31.0 mm Not stated Not stated
Measured Outsole Length 12.3 in 12.6 in 12.3 in 12.3 in 12.1 in
Measured Outsole Width 4.7 in 4.8 in 4.8 in 4.4 in 4.5 in
Upper Engineered knit Engineered woven/knit Engineered mesh Engineered knit Engineered knit
Midsole PWRRUN+ FF Blast + Eco Lightstrike 2.0/Lightstrike Pro Profoam Helion
Outsole Rubber AHAR Lo Continental Rubber PumaGrip Rubber/Exposed foam
Measured Outsole Hardness 75 64 Heel: 62
Arch: 30
Forefoot: 62
Heel: 55
Arch: 55
Forefoot: 55
Heel: 68
Forefoot: 68
Rest of shoe: 33
Heel Tab Type Finger loop Finger loop Flap None None
Width Options Regular, wide Regular Regular Regular Regular
Heel Compression Stiffness 41 lbs 44 lbs 50.5 lbs 41 lbs 42 lbs
Toe Compression Stiffness 49 lbs 44 lbs 56 lbs 48 lbs 43 lbs
Toe Box Volume 9.7 in cu 7.6 in cu 8.1 in cu 8.4 in cu 10.2 in cu
Rocker Angle 19.0 degrees 22.5 degrees 18.5 degrees 18.0 degrees 17.5 degrees

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Triumph 21 is a cushioned triumph. It won't win any speed contests, but that isn't what we want this shoe for anyway. Saucony has managed to put a thick chunk of soft and bouncy foam in a package that isn't too heavy and topped it with a comfortable and very breathable upper. We think this is a perfect shoe for runners looking for a non-plated and well-cushioned cruiser that will last hundreds of miles.

Performance Comparison


saucony triumph 21 - the saucony triumph 21 is great as a recovery run shoe when we're...
The Saucony Triumph 21 is great as a recovery run shoe when we're feeling a little beat up.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


Saucony uses variations of their TPU foam in a variety of shoes to great success. In the Triumph 21, the PWRRUN+ feels soft and uniquely bouncy. With a measured 38mm in the heel and 27mm in the forefoot, this shoe has one of the higher stack heights in the test, and it shows every time you land. There is no bottoming out even on the hardest impacts, and the 11mm drop feels natural with a very slight rocker geometry.


Really, it's the cushioning of the Triumph that put it on our awards list. The sensation of bouncing along at an easy pace in these shoes is fantastic. It's not in any way intrusive, just pleasant. We've found that well-cushioned, higher-stack shoes can sometimes feel pillowy and pleasant but also dead. In contrast, the cushioning of this shoe feels pleasant and lively. Think very mild trampoline rather than soft pillow.

saucony triumph 21 - a thick stack of foam pwwrun+ foam gives this shoe a great ride.
A thick stack of foam PWWRUN+ foam gives this shoe a great ride.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Cushioning on this shoe was tied for the highest score with the Nike Vaporfly 3, which is impressive. Nike's ZoomX foam has long been lauded as some of the most enjoyable on the market. The two shoes obviously feel drastically different; the Vaporfly is a race day shoe, after all. But the ability of the foams to absorb impacts at the end of long runs was similar.

Because of that, the Triumph was among our favorites in the test for easy runs of moderate to long distances. On the flip side, that thick chunk of cushioning doesn't really do any favors when you're trying to hit faster paces. We definitely didn't enjoy trying to hit 5K paces in this shoe, where we felt like we were working against the weight and the softness of the cushioning. The Triumph might work for racing a marathon, depending on your running style and pace, but we'd go with a lighter and faster shoe in that scenario.

The Triumph provides solid grip on uneven and loose surfaces, a pleasant surprise. We also found that landings on cold, wet pavement were surefooted — something we aren't used to with Saucony trainers.

saucony triumph 21 - we were impressed with the grip of this road shoe on wet clay...
We were impressed with the grip of this road shoe on wet clay, especially given our experiences with other Saucony shoes...
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Responsiveness


Typically, a highly cushioned shoe isn't the most responsive, and that holds true with this model. The responsiveness isn't bad, but you definitely sacrifice some for the excellent cushioning. We've been talking about this shoe as an easy day cruiser because that's where it thrives. As bouncy as the foam is, there isn't an aggressive rocker geometry, a plate, or multiple layers of different-density foam to promote a snappy toe-off. Instead, you have a bouncy feeling ride, but it doesn't drive you forward.

Again, this isn't a shoe you'll seek out for workouts. If you're used to running in heavy, high-stack shoes, you might find it works for speed days. But if you are used to lighter and faster shoes for hard efforts, you'll be disappointed if you take this pair out for a threshold session.


The Triumph does have a very slight rocker geometry that helps promote a bit of turnover, but not much. Initially, we were torn on whether we'd like to see a more aggressive geometry. On one hand, a bit more responsiveness would make this shoe more versatile. On the other hand, a more aggressive geometry would likely mean it isn't as comfortable to relax in on easy runs — which is what this shoe does best. After running a couple hundred easy miles in our test pair, we decided that Saucony hit the mark by sacrificing responsiveness and letting us enjoy the shoe at slower speeds.

saucony triumph 21 - a great shoe for relaxed running.
A great shoe for relaxed running.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Stability


This is a high-stack, neutral trainer. With good lockdown from the upper, we didn't find the shoe particularly sketchy on uneven terrain, but it wasn't good either. We did roll an ankle multiple times in the Triumph when going around faster turns on grass. The 37mm of foam in the heel definitely puts some leverage on your ankles; this shoe does best on smooth surfaces.


Over the course of our testing, we noted that the foam in the Triumph seemed to mold to our footstrike during runs more than others. This is a neutral trainer, so this isn't much of an issue. However, we're noting it because following a two-hour long run on a crowned road, the left (outside) shoe felt beveled on the next run. It evened out after a few miles, but it was unusual.

For those looking for a shoe that provides support, we'd look elsewhere. If you're comfortable in neutral shoes and stick to fairly even terrain, we think the Triumph will serve you well.

These are best on smooth and even terrain.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Upper Comfort


The relatively lightweight and plush upper does well. We never experienced any issues with heat, regardless of sock thickness. The upper is relatively thin in most areas but has plusher padding around the heel and ankles that does a good job of limiting abrasion on long runs.


The tongue is well padded. We didn't experience any slippage or hot spots as a result of lacing. The laces themselves are fine and were easy to achieve great lockdown with. Initially, we found the toe box to be a bit roomy, although that was solved with some lacing adjustments. Heel lockdown is great without being intrusive, and a loop to pull the shoe on is an underrated feature we're glad the Triumph offers. We aren't sure why more shoes don't have some type of tab or loop. It's not essential, but it's nice to have.

saucony triumph 21 - the upper is very comfortable with a well-padded tongue. heel...
The upper is very comfortable with a well-padded tongue. Heel lockdown was good, although you can see we did rub through the collar somewhere around 200 miles in the shoe.

Weight


The Triumph boasts a thick stack of foam and a comfortable upper, great attributes for a daily trainer. None of that suggests this should be a lightweight shoe — and it isn't. We weighed it at 10.37 ounces per shoe and definitely noticed the weight at faster paces.


But, given the intended purpose of this shoe, we don't really care that it's a little heavy. Also, it manages to have some of the best cushioning in the test without weighing the most, so it's a nice balance. Similarly, we're fine with carrying some extra weight for the good traction this shoe provides.

saucony triumph 21 - not a light shoe, but overall everything feels in good balance.
Not a light shoe, but overall everything feels in good balance.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Should You Buy the Saucony Triumph 21?


If you like neutral cushioning and are looking for a shoe to stack lots of easy miles in, the Triumph is for you. It feels fantastic on easy days and leaves your legs fresh after long runs. You won't love it for workout days, so it's best as part of a rotation if you do regular hard sessions. The Triumph is the shoe we'd pick for most easy days on smooth surfaces, and we think you'll love it for that, too.

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


If you want similarly pleasant cushioning but in a slightly more responsive package, the On Cloudsurfer combines a smooth landing with a bit more responsiveness. If you like the idea of a well-cushioned shoe for easy days but want more lateral stability and a bit of motion support, check out the Asics Gel-Kayano 30.

Nathaniel Bailey