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Road Running Shoes • August 22, 2023

Saucony Triumph RFG Review: Jolly Green Triumph

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What You Need To Know


10.4 oz (295 g) for a US M9,

9.7 oz (275 g) for a US W7

Stack Height / Drop

37 mm in heel, 27 mm in forefoot (10 mm drop)

Best For

Easy eco-friendly miles

Key Features

PwrRun Bio+ midsole, Natural gum outsole, plant-based dyes

On The Run
Plenty of plush padding Good natural gum rubber coverage Gets a bit warmer than the standard Triumph


LINDSAY: We all know and love the Saucony Triumph line. A dependable, highly cushioned, neutral daily trainer. A lineage that is now on version number 21 and finally old enough to drink. Cheers!

The Run For Good (RFG) Triumph shoe is all about sustainability, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this out by letting you guys in on the huge strides Saucony is making to meet the needs of a greener environment. The beloved PwrRun foam cushioning is now Bio+ with a 55% corn base and a natural gum rubber outsole. Thus, reducing the need for plastic to produce the OG PwrRun. The upper also stands out in its cotton material colored with plant-based dyes.

If you read our review of the Saucony Triumph 21, you’d know this version of the Triumph (RFG or not) is primarily an updated upper when compared to the Triumph 20. They changed the lacing system from 20 to 21, and it’s even a little different on the RFG. Different is not always bad, though, and here’s what I mean.

RENALDO: Saucony is one of those brands where as soon as I hear the name, my mouth starts to water. The brand has been a part of my running career since the beginning, and every time I get a pair from them, I tend to lean towards loving it or, at the very least, digging it for a good month. The Saucony Triumph RFG is no different. If you’re a subscriber to the Believe in the Run reviews, you’ll probably recognize this shoe from a few reviews back, but this time around, it’s a much “greener” or should I say “corny-er” version.

CARYN: Before I get into this review, I have a brief anecdote for you. For the first decade of my running career, I was a hobby jogger. We’re talking about the head-to-toe cotton, giant iPod armband, watch-free kind of hobby jogging. I had been fitted in Asics Gel Kayanos at the turn of the millennium, and my paralyzing fear of injury was strong enough to prevent me from (literally ever) trying another style of running shoe. The amount of money I’ve given Asics since 2006 is staggering, but I digress. Every 6-8 months, I would stop by my local running store, buy a new pair of Kayanos, and continue on my merry way. Little did I know there was a big, wide, shoe world out there (even in the dark, pre-carbon plate ages) waiting for me.

When I decided to really run my first marathon in 2017, you know, with a training plan, I went rogue and bought a pair of Saucony Triumph for my track workouts because it was… lighter than my Kayano (I’ll let you mull that over for a second). Needless to say, the Saucony Triumph was my gateway drug. From that point on, I wanted to try every shoe I could get my hands on (as such, I’ve found perhaps the ideal gig). Sadly, Saucony changed the Triumph a bit after my initial love affair, and I had a tough time with the smaller toe box and less responsive ride. Even so, when the Triumph RFG showed up on my doorstep, I low-key felt like a kid on Christmas. I couldn’t wait to see if it would bring me back to the humble beginnings of my (slightly) competitive running journey. Let’s see what happened.

What we like about the Saucony Triumph RFG

LINDSAY: Everything that is good about the Saucony Triumph 21 is good about the RFG version as well. The upper is still quite comfortable, with plenty of padding in the tongue and at the heel. The lace lockdown system is even more secure and comfortable than the Triumph 21 (not that any improvement there was necessary). Where they had that outer lace loop on the first peg of the 21, it now sits at the third and more centrally on the forefoot.

The PwrRun Bio+ midsole foam is lightweight and bouncy all the same. If you’re one of those people that want to flex when you’re recycling and “going green,” the midsole foam here looks like straight styrofoam. Obviously much more durable, but you get the idea.

The outsole is grippy and durable while maintaining a whopping 80% natural gum material. If you’re like me, you have no idea what I just said, so here’s a quick science lesson. “Natural gum rubber” comes from the sap of a rubber tree. It’s got a more scientific name, but let’s just call it a rubber tree. Additives go in and allow the sap to coagulate, and bam: rubber. This same sap is used to produce latex, too, which may leave some people questioning, but I assure you, it’s durable. Moving on.

RENALDO: The Saucony Triumph RFG is a vegan-based version of the Saucony Triumph 21. With an upper made of cotton, 80% of the outsole made of natural rubber, a literal corn-based foam for the sole (It’s got the juice!), and colorways made with plant-based dyes, I feel like I absolutely have to add all of that to the positives simply based off of how much effort has gone into the shoe to make it eco-friendly.

Further, the shoe is also a dream to run in. A neutral trainer, just like its less crunchy granola counterpart, the Triumph RFG is a great go-to for just about any run. With a 10mm drop in the heel, a nice thick PwrRun Bio+ foam, and a very comfortable sock liner/upper, this shoe is a breeze to lay some miles in. It’s super comfy, the sole and foam having the right amount of give with each stride but with a responsive pop when pounding the pavement. And the lacing system and locks have been redone to better fit your foot for a more secure fit that makes sense.

Seriously, this is a pretty smart shoe despite all the eco talk. I was able to get my hands on the Coffee colorway, giving it a very modern yet subdued look. The pop of the gum sole gives it a very eye-catching aesthetic for passersby and any other lucky runners that may be catching you on a flyby. I’ve been running in this shoe for a while now for my own personal runs and group runs. But most recently, I put down a half with this bad boy and got everything I really needed out of it to put down a time of 2:05, feeling great for the rest of the day.

CARYN: The Triumph RFG is the eco-friendly sibling of the OG Triumph, but beyond some new sustainability features, the shoe seems nearly identical in fit and ride. Humor me for a moment and recall your elementary school days of yore, where you’d be asked to create Venn diagrams (who was Venn, even?) to compare and contrast various things. Imagine a three-way Venn diagram including weight, cushion, and foam. For me, this shoe really hits all three of these components in a perfectly balanced way. Now, the Triumph RFG is a non-plated, classic daily trainer, so, of course, that context is important. But even so, it certainly stands out in the sea of new offerings and updates we’ve seen this year

For starters, I really like the muted, monochrome knit upper. I’m a fan of anything that feels a little retro, and this shoe definitely fits the bill. Though I’ve moved away from wearing cotton for my workouts (lol), I had no issues with the cotton upper of the Triumph RFG. It’s soft, and I had no hot spots at all during my run. Saucony states that its PwrRun Bio+ foam is made from 55% corn, which in theory sounds great, but I was curious how it would translate in feel while out on the run.

While it’s a high-cushioned shoe, it doesn’t feel bulky, and the foam has some snap – you don’t just sink into it completely. At 37mm, the stack height doesn’t feel excessive, and the 10mm drop works nicely. When it comes to easy day shoes, I enjoy them the most when I notice them the least — and that is exactly what you get with the Triumph RFG.

Shop Saucony Triumph - Men Shop Saucony Triumph - Women

What we don’t like about the Saucony Triumph RFG

LINDSAY: While equally comfortable, the upper is a bit less breathable. I might even go as far as saying my feet got warm while wearing the shoe. I wasn’t a big fan of the pull tab on the back, either. It’s there to make getting the shoe on easier, but this was a bungee cord that laid flat against the shoe, making it tricky to get a grip on. The RFG Triumph is also not a light shoe. It’s almost a full ounce heavier than the Saucony Triumph 21 with the same stack height, so I guess corn-fed foam is just thiccc.

RENALDO: To be honest, I can’t really harp on this shoe too much. It’s a little hefty, coming in a 10.2 oz for a US M10 (I have an M11.5), but that can be negligible for most runners. My fellow reviewers have had complaints of heat once the shoe is on, but I haven’t had any sort of experiences like that myself (looking at you, Skechers GoRun Ride 11). If there was anything I really didn’t like about this shoe, it’s how easy it is to get dirty. It’s a stylish one, so avoid the trails. Don’t end up like me.

CARYN: I truthfully have very little to say here, which is shocking given the basic nature of this shoe. I wish I could knock the $160 price tag, but the shoe is really just keeping up with the Joneses as far as cushioned daily trainers go. It certainly isn’t the lightest shoe that’s been created, but truthfully it feels much better on foot than the advertised weight of 9.7 oz. for a US W7.5. The upper is certainly a true sweater-style knit, and I wouldn’t call it breathable, but let’s be real — not much feels breathable when the dew point is 72.

Shop Saucony Triumph - Men Shop Saucony Triumph - Women

Saucony Triumph RFG Conclusion

LINDSAY: Not only will your feet feel good in the Triumph RFG, but your mind will too. At $160, the Triumph RFG matches the price of the Triumph 21 and other daily trainers out there while maintaining sustainable features. Best for those slower, easy days where cushion trumps weight. I’d say this is a solid venture into the greener side of things.

RENALDO: I really enjoyed running in the Saucony Triumph RFG. I love a great shoe that doesn’t have a plate and allows me to hit the paces and distances I want. I hold this shoe in the same regard as personal legends like the New Balance 880v12 and the New Balance Rebel v3. At $160, that’s really a steal for something new, modern, reliable, and “green.”

CARYN: Sometimes, the best set-it-and-forget-it easy day shoes are the simplest. I’ve put over 100 miles on this new Triumph (none of them during track workouts, much to no one’s surprise), and it feels as good as the day I pulled it out of the box. While my memory isn’t that good, I can say for sure they’re reminiscent of my favorite 2017 Triumph, which means it’ll be a staple in my closet during marathon training. Whether you go with the eco-friendly RFG or the OG Triumph, the perfect cushion and balanced foam of this daily trainer will keep you lacing them up, day after day.

You can pick up the Saucony Triumph RFG for $160 from Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.

Shop Saucony Triumph - Men Shop Saucony Triumph - Women

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lindsey 4
Lindsay Agro
Baltimore Road Reviewer
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Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%

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Fav. Distance


  • 3:35

  • 1:42

    Half Marathon
  • 44:52

  • 22:08

Renaldo Robinson
Baltimore Road Reviewer
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Renaldo is a running enthusiast that’s enthusiastic about pretty much everything. Born and raised Baltimore, Renaldo still resides in his home city and has shared miles with a good chunk of the Baltimore running community. A captain in A Tribe Called Run run group, Renaldo can easily be spotted running with Faster Bastards, Believe Run Club, or doing a solo long run through Baltimore’s midtown. If you spot him, be sure to give him a big “REEENOOO!” or challenge him to a game of pool 🎱

All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Mach 4, Skechers Razor Excess 2, Asics Noosa Tri 13

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Fav. Distance


  • 4:08

  • 1:48

    Half Marathon
  • 48:09

  • 23:19

Caryn Just
Road Reviewer
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Caryn is a recovering ball sports athlete and native Baltimorean who used to cry before the timed mile in gym class. Discovered running somewhat reluctantly when her pants stopped fitting in college, now a big fan of the marathon– go figure! Pediatric ICU nurse and avid UVA sports fan. Can usually be found with her chocolate lab, Gus, looking for a good cup of coffee.

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Fav. Distance


  • 2:52

  • 1:21

    Half Marathon
  • 18:45

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