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Road • August 4, 2020

Saucony Triumph 18 Performance Review

saucony triumph 18 - upper

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 12.5 oz. (355 g) for a US M10.5/ 9.6 oz. (272 g) for a US W7.5
  • Max-cushion cruiser for long easy miles (32.5 mm stack height in heel/24.5 mm in toe)
  • Features PWRRUN+ PU-based midsole for a nice combination of bounce and responsiveness
  • Would work best as a cooler-weather trainer

THOMAS: I go way back with the Triumph. I’m gonna lay it on the line– back when there were daily trainers and racing flats, the Triumph was in high rotation. Most notably a pair of yellow and gold Triumph 3 that looked fast and felt fast back in the day. Of course, shoes have evolved a great deal since then, and now we have a different shoe for every kind of run and every runner’s preference.

The Saucony Triumph 18 has become an easy day, highly cushioned trainer. It’s also bellied up to the buffet line a few too many times– my size 10.5 weighs in at 12.5 oz./355 grams. As much as I loathe heavy shoes, I still have a soft spot for a couple of trainers that are well designed and can handle the high mileage pounding some runners can dish out. Is the Triumph 18 one of those trainers? Let’s find out.

JEREMY: Is any other company releasing as many quality shoes right now? From the Kinvara 11 to the Ride 13 to the Endorphin line (Pro, Speed, and Shift) almost all of Saucony’s 2020 offerings have met or exceeded high expectations. The Summer of Saucony continues, with the release of their latest shoe, the Saucony Triumph 18. As the name suggests, this shoe is a winner.  The Triumph is designed to provide comfort first and foremost, but at the same time to provide a little boost of speed and a faster feel to the easy and long run days.

This shoe comes with an engineered mesh upper, PWRRUN+ midsole cushioning, and a blown rubber outsole. While I’m not typically a fan of cushy trainers and will usually reach for the lightweight trainer when the option is available, the Triumph provides an impressive combo of bounce and cush that makes your legs feel nice and fresh even at the end of a long run.

saucony triumph 18 - lateral

The Good

THOMAS: Saucony’s design team has refined the uppers in appearance and fit. The FormFit upper cradles the foot in over the shoe without feeling either lose or restrictive. As someone with a narrow foot, there was no bunching or puckering, both things that I experienced in the ISOfit uppers of years past. This shoe is built for comfort and has a generous amount of padding in the tongue, collar, and heel counter. I received the deep teal/silver color, which is zestier than all the other colors (except for Mutant Red). Mutant Red is the best version of the Triumph 18.

The PWRRUN+ midsole (8mm drop) material has made a splash in 2019/20. It’s like a magic power. It isn’t your grandmother’s EVA midsole. It’s PU based and reports 3x higher durability– more flexible, less sensitive to temperature changes, and lighter to boot. Think about it as a lighter BOOST foam, but don’t get it mixed up with PWRRUN PB that you find in the Endorphin Speed and PRO. That stuff is even lighter and has Peba as an ingredient. Saucony says PWRRUN+ gives the runner the best of six aspects of cushioning – impact absorption, stride response, pressure reduction, energy return, durability, and weight.

The outsole has lots of rubber. The Triumph 18 is a sturdy shoe. It will be able to fight the good fight, and I’d expect you will get every cent of the $150 price tag out of these shoes.

Running in the Triumph 18 grew on me. In my first run, I was concerned with the weight, and the shoe felt clunky. Subsequent runs, I started to enjoy the subtle bounce from the midsole and the excellent fit of the upper. My runs got smoother, and the extra comfort was appreciated.

JEREMY: This shoe is largely similar to the Triumph 17, with a few positive changes. The PWRRUN+ midsole has an impressive level of responsiveness and pop to it while also providing a thick layer of cushioning at a higher stack height (32.5mm back/24.5mm front). Despite feeling a little heavy in hand, these shoes are much lighter on foot with a nice rolling feeling to each step and even a little bounce propelling you forward.

The FORMFIT system keeps everything snug and locks down the foot, with no heel slip whatsoever. After 70+ miles, the outsole shows no signs of wear.

Overall this shoe impressed me a lot, from easy days where the soft, bouncy ride felt perfect, to long runs where I picked up the pace towards the end, even dropping some mid-5-minute miles as the Triumph rolled smoothly underfoot.

MEAGHAN: I’m not sure what happened with the Triumph naming (numbering?) situation, but the last model I tested was the Triumph ISO 4 back in 2017. That seems like a very different shoe, so we’ll skip the comparisons. The Triumph 18 is a neutral, everyday trainer. It’s got a soft, plush upper and some nice thick cushioning underfoot to match.

The midsole is a full slab of PWRRUN+, Saucony’s “award-winning” cushioning compound. It’s the same stuff that you’ll find in the Saucony Hurricane and Freedom. What I liked most about this cushioning is that it stayed consistent on the run. From mile 1 to mile 10, even in the hot hot Summer sun, the shoes felt super-cushioned and responsive. Beneath the foam, you’ve got a full covering of rubber for plenty of traction and durability. This shoe has a smooth transition and generally comfortable ride.

Shop Triumph 18 – Men Shop Triumph 18 – Women saucony triumph 18 - heel

The Bad

THOMAS: The Triumph 18 is heavy. No way around it, and during runs, I didn’t forget it. This kid is in need of a 2-ounce diet. Maybe I just don’t need that much PWRRUN+ underfoot. This review is written in July/August, and the temps and humidity levels are unreal here in the mid-Atlantic, so the soup may influence this next critique, but the upper is warm. Not a lot of airflow getting through the canopy. The extra padding in the tongue and collar doesn’t help keep you cool either. Lastly, I rarely get hot spots in a shoe. Every time I ran in the Triumph 18, I got a warm burning sensation behind my left big toe. I don’t wear the same shoe two days in a row. I noticed that the hot spot came and went away with the Triumph. It wasn’t so painful, and there were no tears in the rain.

JEREMY: There is a bunch of extra cushioning on the inside of the tongue and around the heel, and while this helps for keeping the foot snug, I think the tongue is a bit too thick and could be minimized. In a similar vein, the upper forefoot has some small holes in the engineered mesh, while the rest of the shoe lacks breathability. This led to some accumulation of sweat and a feeling of soaked shoes mid-run (this is more of a problem for those running in humid summer conditions).

MEAGHAN: I never got that disappearing-on-your-foot feeling from this shoe. I think partially because I found the upper to be very warm. The temps and humidity have been brutal the past few weeks and my feet felt a bit suffocated in this shoe. As several people pointed out, there probably isn’t a shoe that’s going to feel great in those conditions, but I was definitely craving a little less plush-ness in the upper.

Also, this shoe is not light. My W7.5 came in at 9.6 ounces (272 grams). That’s entirely too heavy for a neutral daily trainer these days, even one with a lot of cushion.

Shop Triumph 18 – Men Shop Triumph 18 – Women saucony triumph 18 - outsole

Saucony Triumph 18 Conclusion

THOMAS: Saucony is killing it this year. The quality and breadth of their lineup is as good as any Saucony has ever produced over the years and as good as any competitor. The Triumph fits the traditional daily trainer mold with a nice midsole upgrade. I imagine the runner that wants a bread and butter trainer will enjoy this shoe.

The biggest competitor to this shoe comes from within Saucony itself, the Endorphin Shift. If I were the one choosing, I would go with the Shift. It isn’t that much lighter, but I like the Speedroll setup of the midsole. The closest comparable trainer to the Triumph 18 would be the adidas Ultraboost PB. I live for the weekend, so long runs in a comfortable shoe is all I ask for. Well, that and a happy hour with an up martini in my hand.

JEREMY: I’m a big fan of the Triumph 18. This shoe has a little weight to it, making it hefty (but not wimpy), but the support is worth the extra ounces, making it feel like you could run or walk all day in the Triumph. Overall, these shoes look great in the neon orange and green colorway, have a decent pop to each step when you want to pick up the pace, and are seriously comfortable.

MEAGHAN: The Saucony Triumph 18 is a durable daily trainer. I think this shoe will last hundreds of hundreds of miles. While it’s not my favorite shoe from Saucony, it’s a solid option for someone who enjoys a plush upper and lots of cushioning underfoot.

You can pick up the Saucony Triumph 18 for $150 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Triumph 18 – Men Shop Triumph 18 – Women saucony triumph 18 - toe




Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Ben says:

    I have the T17 and I am avoiding it for these summer runs in DC… don’t need all that heat on my feet when I am drenched in sweat. But I have loved it otherwise, great shoe and it seems like T18 improved in all of the right spots without falling back in any. Still, I’ll probably wait for T19 or T20.

    Is there an article about PWRRUN, PWRRUN+, and PWRRUN PB? Mainly, I don’t get the difference between the PWRRUN and PWRRUN+. It doesn’t seem like v1 to v2 since my Ride 13 has PWRRUN but T17 (which came out before) has PWRRUN+.


  2. Terrence H says:

    PWRRUN is an EVA/TPU blend. PWRRUN+ is all TPU.

    If you tried Saucony’s shoes in the last generation, they serve the same function. Back then it was EVA+ midsole in the Kinvara, Ride (with thin layer of EVERRUN TPU topsole) vs. full EVERRUN midsole in the Freedom ISO 1/2 and Triumph ISO 4/5.

    Which means PWRRUN/EVA+ felt a little more traditional and PWRRUN+/EVERRUN has a distinctive bouncy trait.

    1. Robbe Reddinger says:

      PWRRUN is EVA-based, however it does have a PWRRUN+ topsole. PWRRUN+ is PU-based, not TPU (and also has a PWRRUN+ topsole, of course). Endorphin Speed has a TPU plate, but is Peba-based with PWWRRUN PB (no PWRRUN+ topsole). Thanks for reading!

  3. Anne Solley says:

    I loved my T17s and purchased some T18s a few months ago to replace them. Unfortunately, they have not lived up to their hype. They seemed fine when I tested them outside my local running shop.

    It feels as if the cushioning has been cut off at the point which toes really need it i.e. the push off, as my toes are becoming sore after 6/7 miles. It only took a couple of runs to break in my T17s and be able to run long distances in comfort. I have now run nearly 100 miles in my T18s and think I’ll have to abandon them – there’s no way I’ll be able to do my marathon training in them.

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