Saucony decided to lower the heel to toe drops in several of their shoes for 2012 and the popular Triumph is one of the shoes that received the cut.  The new Triumph features a slightly lower heel drop of 8 mm (down from 12mm) and Saucony engineered the shoe to be an ounce lighter than its predecessor.  At 10.9 ounces the Triumph becomes more of a performance oriented shoe somewhere between the super plush Powergrid Cortana (4mm heel drop, 10.7 oz) and the Progrid Ride 4 (12 mm drop, 11.3 oz).  
You might not believe it, but runners transitioning from a traditional 12mm heel drop shoe to 8mm can feel the difference and may take a short adjustment period.  Otherwise, you may experience sore calves or other discomfort during the transition period.

Saucony Powergrid Triumph 9 First Impressions

When I first tried the Triumph 9 on I noticed the roomy toe box, snug mid foot and great overall fit.  The cushioning felt plush and I appreciated the feel of the lower heel drop.  The only fit issue I noticed was a slight rubbing on my heel where extra cushioning was sewed into the heel collar around the Achilles notch, creating seams and a little abrasion.  Turned out that I didn’t even notice them during my runs in the shoes.

Powergrid Triumph 9 Upper 

Breathable dual density mesh is utilized throughout the shoe and supported by the liberal use of stitched on, synthetic overlays to increase support.  The Triumph 9 features the Sauc-Fit overlay in the mid foot area which provides great lockdown and a snug fit.  Overlays also cover the toe area and reinforce the heel of the shoe.  I felt my heel slip intially when walking around in the Triumph but did not experience any issues with slippage while running.  The upper seemed to move well with the foot and I didn’t have any issues with rubbing nor did I need a break-in period.  The Triumph 9 upper seemed to do well to keep my feet dry running through slush and snow as well and will make an excellent winter training shoe.

For those familiar with the Saucony line, the Triumph 9 upper is more similar to the Progrid series shoes such as the Ride and Guide rather than the lighter, more flexible material seen on the Kinvara or Cortana.

My favorite part of the upper, believe it or not, is the shoe laces.  Saucony utilized flat laces with a bit of stretch to them which helped them stay tied during the run.  The flat laces really cut down on pressure on the tops of my feet as did the well cushioned tongue.  Reinforced eyelets add to durability to the lacing system and aided with a secure fit.

Powergrid Triumph 9 Midsole

There is a great deal of responsive cushioning in the Triumph 9 midsole made possible by the Powergrid system which uses Saucony Powerfoam to dissipate footstrike shock throughout the midsole.  Powerfoam is very lightweight and responsive and Saucony’s SSL EVA is featured throughout the midsole.  The heel cushioning is substantial in the Triumph with a nice transition to ample forefoot cushioning which I appreciated a great deal.

There is a Midsole Support Bridge, a thermoplastic unit, which runs from the heel to the mid foot and decreases torsion through the foot strike.  Saucony made the wise decision to not extend this plastic bar too far into the mid foot section of the shoe as to inhibit forefoot flexibility.

Powergrid Triumph 9 Outsole

As with the rest of Saucony’s Powergrid shoes, the outsole of the Triumph 9 features minimal cutouts which increases surface area contact with the ground.  In fact, the Triumph even handled moderately technical trails fairly well and the durable carbon rubber outsole will likely wear well past 500 miles. Saucony also placed IBR+  in the segmented forefoot to increase flexibility and ride overall.

Powergrid Triumph 9 Overall Impressions

I think that Saucony is moving in the right direction by decreasing the drop of the Triumph from 12mm to 8mm but maintaining the overall stack height of the shoe (the amount of midsole/ outsole material facilitating cushioning and support).  The ride of the Triumph 9 is incredibly smooth and I was able to take this shoe for 12 miles on roads and trails right out of the box without any discomfort.  Runners looking for maximum cushioning with a bit of medial support will love this shoe and the fit is fantastic, especially the wide toe box.  The durable upper takes a good beating and shouldn’t wear out before the midsole.

Saucony has added another star to its lineup with the Powergrid Triumph 9, which is definitely the best Triumph yet.  With so many well cushioned neutral shoes to choose from in their line the only decision is which shoe to go with.

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