Saucony Triumph 21 review

9 expert score
8.6 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 22nd October by Michael Mason-D'Croz Long distance runner, shoe expert.
90 other reviews

Saucony Triumph 21 Verdict

The Saucony Triumph 21 is a daily trainer that can log all the miles you want to throw at it. This shoe is designed to take a pounding and make you feel comfortable the whole time, and it hits the mark.

The pros

  • Incredibly comfortable in all running situations
  • Enough traction for all runs in all conditions
  • Lots of energy return on the toe-off
  • Well proportioned last
  • Breathable upper that flexes with each step

The cons

  • The cushion can be too bouncy for all-day wear if you stand a lot
  • If you land extreme end of heel, the cushion becomes unstable


Rating breakdown

Comfort
9.0
Build quality
10
Upper
10
Sole unit
9.0
Landing
9.0
Transition
8.0
Toe-off
8.0
Traction
8.0
Durability
9.0
Value / Price
7.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Triumph 21
Family
Previous model
Weight
10 oz (283 g)
MSRP
$160.00

Heel
39 mm.
Toe
29 mm.
Heel drop
10 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Tight
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Wide

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced/plush
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Not particularly stable
Flexibility
Medium

Usage

Racing
Speedwork
Daily training  
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Saucony Triumph 21 ?

This shoe is designed for any daily runner who wants high cushion. Bigger, or smaller runners would benefit from it as it provides cushion and is not too heavy.

Who should not buy the Saucony Triumph 21 ?

There is absolutely no stability features in this shoe, so anyone who needs any type of stability — especially with a high-stack and high-bounce sole unit.

Saucony Triumph 21 Introduction

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

Saucony has been putting out quality running shoes for decades, with offerings that are continually some of the most popular on the road. When attending races, you’ll find lots of Saucony shoes on people’s feet.

One of the most popular lines you’ll see is the Triumph, the flagship of the regular neutral line for Saucony. Before the launch of the Endorphin line, the Triumphs were the top-of-the-line offering, and Saucony still treats them almost as though they still were.

Although they no longer use the top-level cushion material offered, these stalwarts still offer quite a bit of return on investment.

At $160 and as a high-stack daily trainer which still focuses on energy return, the Triumph 21s will compete against other offerings such as the Hoka Bondi 8, Puma Deviate Nitro 2, New Balance 1080 v12, adidas adizero Boston 12, Brooks Glycerin 20, ASICS Gel Nimbus 25, and the Nike Invincible Run.

Of those I have run in the Glycerins and the 1080s, and would say the Triumphs are likely my favorite of the three on the run. They are far more fun than the Glycerins, which are sturdy and dependent but a little boring. They also have more bounce than the 1080s, but are less comfortable for all-day wear. Either way, this is a very impressive offering by Saucony.

Saucony Triumph 21 First Impressions

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

When the Triumphs showed up I was excited to see what I received. I honestly hoped for the “Sundown/Linen” colorway, and was a little disappointed with when I saw mostly white. However, this white with lime green colorway quickly delighted when I saw them completely. They are NOT a boring white shoe, especially with the overall shoe shape and sole design. They are really good looking.

When I put them on, I was very pleased with the bounce on the sole, and when I took them on my first 5k run, they did not disappoint. They were light, bouncy, and the upper was snug yet let my foot flex throughout the run.

Saucony Triumph 21 Upper

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

The upper is a soft flat knit material that is breathable and flexes with your foot. With designed printed overlays to help lock the foot in, and an adaptive lacing system, there was never a point in any run where I felt my foot slipping.

While running during a midwestern summer, they managed to keep my feet mostly dry (or easily dry off if they got wet) while also allowing air flow to keep them cool as possible. I never had a chance to run in them during cold weather, but I worry that the amount of ventilation could result in a cold run.

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

The fit of the upper is about as dialed in as any I’ve encountered for someone of my foot shape. My feet are wider than normal, but not so wide as to require a wide shoe for comfort.

This shoe starts with a fairly narrow heel, and a normal-to-narrow arch, but then opens up nicely into a roomy toebox. This results in a very comfortable, and secure, feel on your run. The upper is also true to size with the length of the platform, as my 13s fit me perfectly.

Saucony Triumph 21 Sole Unit

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

The Triumph sole unit continues to use PWRRUN+ cushioning. This light, airy cushioning provides all the cushion you could need for all distances of run, while staying fairly light for speed runs. It is designed to create a high energy return on each toeoff. This combination of cushion and energy return makes for a very enjoyable ride.

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

On the outsole they used XT-900 Carbon Rubber material that provides great traction while staying at a fairly low weight. They put this material into a tri-flex groove design which allows for more freedom of movement on the foot, and for individual flexing throughout your foot contact. This rubber performed well on all the different surfaces on which I ran throughout the test — which included cement (dry and wet), gravel (dry and wet), and dirt.

The sole unit is high stack, with 39mm of cushion under the heel and 29mm under the toe. This can be a bit much for some people, but due to the light material of the PWRRUN+, it doesn’t seem unmanageable.

Saucony Triumph 21 Conclusions

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

Overall, this is one of the more solid shoes you could find out there. Saucony is easily becoming my favorite overall running brand, as I have loved all their different levels of shoes.

The Axons are the best cheap shoes I’ve ever tried; the Endorphin series provides some of the best progression shoes for training, speed, and then race day; and now the Triumphs keep me happy as I try to get back to the peak of my running form.

This shoe was fairly light — my size 13 weighed in at 10.6 oz — for the amount of cushion that it provides. This was felt under foot, as the shoe gave me plenty of cushion on slower, or longer, runs, but also light and bouncy for the times I wanted to pick up the pace or try to hit a target. This shoe could do every workout I wanted to do.

My only real issues were both because of the make up of the cushion. With the stack height as high as it is on the heel, yet the cushion being so soft, if you have to come down on the edge of the heel, the bounce makes for a very jarring landing and can cause you to lose balance.

Picture of Saucony Triumph 21

I’m normally a mid-foot impact runner, but from time-to-time everyone has to land on the heel due to conditions and there were two times where the bounce made me stumble.

The secondary issue is that I found the shoe uncomfortable to wear for a full day of teaching, as the bounce ended up being too much for my feet for that period of time. Wearing them to school resulted in my feet being quite beat up at the end of the day.

These issues, in my mind, are very minor and nothing that would keep me from using the shoe. In fact, I have found myself recommending it to multiple friends of mine who are gearing up to take on a race in the fall. If you’re in that boat, or just want a very solid high-stack trainer, then the Triumph 21s may be right for you.

How does the Triumph 21 compare?

Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
Saucony Triumph 21
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3
Expert score
8
9
7
User score
Retail price
US$160
US$159.95
US$180
Weight
10.2 oz
10 oz
11.2 oz
Heel Drop
8 mm
10 mm
9 mm
Recommended for
Daily training, long distance racing
Daily training
Daily training
Cushioning type
balanced/plush
balanced/plush
plush
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
medium
medium
flexible
Stability
very stable
not particularly stable
some stability
Sizing
buy half size bigger
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Saucony at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.

Reviewed by Michael

This review was written by Michael Mason-D'Croz on 22nd October.
Michael Mason-D’Croz lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, working as a Spanish Teacher and soccer coach. Because training isn’t enough, he gets to chase around his almost 2-year-old daughter when he gets home from work and runs. On his free time — what little of it there is — he likes to play board games and sample tasty local beers.

User feedback (10)

  • avatar-comment-1033635
    Jaclyn Magrin
    6 months ago
    9 score

    thanks for the review! You write that the toebox is wide. I have a bunion but then narrow feet. been suffering from side toe blisters so wanted to give this brand a try after seeing your review. would you go for the regular or wide fit? i was trying to find the wide fit but impossible to find in europe! would appreciate your feedback.

    • avatar-comment-1033663
      Bob
      6 months ago

      I think you should start by trying the medium width and using the runner’s lacing trick to lock your heel down. That is simply to run the laces through the very last hole, not the second to last hole. I don’t know how big your bunion is, but I doubt that you will need a wide width.

  • avatar-comment-1032629
    Greg Goth
    7 months ago

    I underpronate and am a heavier runner, which means the lateral side of the heel gets heavy wear. The 20s did not last nearly as long as earlier versions for me, so I skipped the 21 and stocked up on 19s on sale. IMHO, a premium cushioned shoe needs a durable heel, or why bother?

  • avatar-comment-1032488
    Bob
    7 months ago
    10 score

    The Triumph has become my favorite trainer, after good experiences with the 18 and especially the 20. The cushion is superior for me as a 198-lb. runner. I have found Cliftons, Glycerins, UA Geminis and Ghosts to bottom out faster. So durability ranks as high as the underfoot cushion in my book.

    • avatar-comment-1036692
      John
      1 month ago
      7 score

      How do you know if the shoes have bottom out?

      • avatar-comment-1036753
        Bob
        1 month ago

        John, That is a very good question. Some running shoe salespeople will say 300 to 500 miles or maybe 400 +. I prefer the feel test. Ask yourself if your shoe is even close to the cushion you had when it was new. When your foot strikes down and you feel more of a thud than a cushioned feel, it’s time to go to the running shoe store.

  • avatar-comment-1032052
    Wayne
    8 months ago

    I’ve been a fan of the Triumph line for some time. For the last few iterations they seem to have been running narrow. Nice that you indicate they are tending away from that. I was worried I would have to start buying wide.

  • avatar-comment-1031841
    Phil AHIER
    9 months ago
    7 score

    Great review – very knowledgeable information. I’ve bought a these (prior to reading this review), but on the first two uses I wasn’t sure if they felt that good to me. I’m wondering if I need to give them more time for my legs to adapt to the high stack – which I’m not that used to. I’m doing a marathon in early December. Does anyone have a view on using these shoes for the race and for the training? I’m hoping for 3.00 hours. I’d buy a second pair for the race and run them in a few weeks before. Many thanks.

    • avatar-comment-1033664
      Bob
      6 months ago

      Phil, I think you will adjust to the different stack height better and more quickly than you might think.

    • avatar-comment-1032489
      Bob
      7 months ago
      10 score

      Phil, check out the Endorphin Speed or Endorphin Pro for the race. The Triumph will be a great training shoe for your preparation.

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