Given the almost universal approval of the Triumph 17, the bets were in for whether or not this legendary running shoe company would up the stakes with their newest version of the Triumph line.
After expert review, the consensus is that the Saucony Triumph 18 offers a sizable amount of upgrades from its predecessor, upgrades that many runners will find more than welcome.
Runners have primarily lauded the Triumph’s increased heel cup stability, cushy tongue and interior, and totally redesigned midsole foam composite. However, this shoe has some drawbacks, its luxury price tag not least of them.
So, is the Saucony Triumph 18 worth your purchase? Are you the ideal runner for this high-end neutral shoe? Let’s investigate below in our Saucony Triumph 18 review.
High Performance, Pillowy Comfort
The Saucony Triumph 18 is the most cushioned running shoe available in Saucony’s running shoe lineup, and it contends with other shoes for the prize as the most comfortable shoe out there. There’s no doubting this is a premium neutral training shoe with some of the most sophisticated cushioning composites in its midsole. It is the Cadillac of long-run shoes.
However easy it could have been for Saucony to cash in on the praise its Triumph 17 received, they took a risk and made some major updates to the 18.
Its redesigned PWRRUN+ midsole delivers a noticeable snappiness and bouncier ride. It’s a springier and more energetic shoe. We think that the midsole geometry improvements are one of the major reasons to purchase the new Triumph 18 version.
Yes, the Triumph 18 is heavier than its predecessor, clocking in at 11.1oz for Men’s and 9.7 oz for Women’s. That makes the 18 0.3 oz heavier than the 17 and 1.3 oz heavier than the average running shoe. It’s true: this is not a lightweight running shoe.
If you’re looking for a lightweight long-run shoe, this shoe is probably not the best option. But the added cushioning also contributes to a hefty dose of comfort, plus it takes the sting out of long runs.
Redesigns in Heel Stability and FormFit Uppers
One of the most immediate changes that runners will notice in their Triumph 18’s is an improvement to the internal heel counter. For many, the Triumph 17’s sole weakness was its low heel setting. Saucony fixed this problem with a totally redesigned heel mechanism. The heel collar is cushier, the tongue is drowning in foam, and the step-in feel is a dream. Put together, the heel has never been more stable through all transitions in the rolling gait cycle.
While the heel has undergone a significant redesign, engineers at Saucony haven’t overlooked the upper. Saucony’s patented FormFit upper molds around the foot for a near-custom feel. Gone are the midfoot issues that some runners voiced with the 17.
The Saucony mesh upper cradles your foot like a baby in swaddling clothes. The customized feel that runners experience from the molded upper comes from overhauled 3D printed contour overlays. The result is a running shoe that feels form-fitted to your upper foot.
Saucony also updated the carbon rubber outsole. Engineers have redesigned the outsole with brand new flex patterns that allow for more flexibility and a better transition to the stride’s toe-off phase.
Better Fit, Form, and Feel
With an 8mm heel-toe drop, the Triumph 18 offers some of the most flexible and form-fitting options for neutral trainers. The shoe consistently fits true to size with medium volume in the heel to midfoot. Runners will also notice a slightly more spacious toe box. Plus, no break-in period is required.
As we alluded to before, the step-in feel of this shoe is unparalleled. It’s like stepping into a pillow. The foot lock is tight from the get-go, allowing for a snappier explosion off the toe.
The Saucony Triumph 18 has a noticeably roomier forefoot area. This is likely a consequence of the more spacious foot box. If you prefer a more constricted forefoot, keep this in mind.
Expert testers remarked after 50 to 70 miles that they felt no hotpots or chafing. In fact, the Triumph 18 has received praise for its durability from all corners of the industry. Experts found no wear to the shoe after 70 miles. The expected lifespan for these shoes is upwards of 500 miles.
Luxury Long Runs For All
The Saucony Triumph 18 boasts a high-end retail price of $149.99. Nevertheless, Saucony’s extensive upgrades will make up for the increased cost for runners looking for long-lasting comfort in a high-end neutral training shoe.
This shoe is best for runners with a neutral gait looking for a super-plush, soft, and bouncy training shoe. Bigger runners who appreciate the highest quality cushioning may also find the Saucony Triumph a worthy addition to their running shoe lineup.
The Saucony Triumph 18 is ideal for long runs or recovery runs on Sundays after your legs are beat, and you need a low-impact long run to cap off the week. It’s not a super light runner, so we recommend runners look elsewhere if you’re looking for low-impact shoes on speed drills and short workouts.
Overall, the Saucony Triumph 18 offers some serious upgrades from its highly-recommended predecessor. The PWRRUN+ midsole is a super comfy and snappy addition that will surely bring a new generation of converts to the hyper-cushioned model of running shoes. Saucony’s FormFit upper mesh design will appeal to just as many.
While the Saucony Triumph 18 is a high-priced running shoe with a higher-than-average weight, we believe that the majority of runners interested in purchasing a comfortable, high-response neutral trainer will find the Triumph 18 to be a worthy purchase.