I’ve been a big fan of Saucony running shoes for quite some time, having discovered the Kinvara 3 in 2013 (ish) while training for the 2013 Dublin Marathon. Before that, I spent a regrettable amount of time ploughing the roads in a clumpy pair of Asics Nimbus mostly because of all the hype at the time about how Asics were the best when it came to running shoes. The sales chap in the shop had been of a similar level of enthusiasm about Asics and he convinced me that the Nimbus were exactly the right shoe for me.
They were not.
Sheep following sheep.
I hated that pair of shoes more than any other pair of shoes I have ever owned.
After that, I decided from then on, I would make my own mind up about what makes a good running shoe and most importantly, what shoe is best for my feet. Cica, cica, whatever…
I played around with different types of running shoes, including the Vibram Minimus, which I out-and-out loved. Did a fair bit of marathon training in these, including long runs and just fell in love with how light I felt on my feet when I ran.
Running in shoes like the Minimus made me realise that how much I loved running in a lighter shoe. I was, however, conscious of balancing out the minimalist running with running in something with more structure and cushioning. This led me to the Saucony Kinvara 3 – a low weight, flexible, 4mm drop running shoe, with more structure than the Minimus but still sold as a minimalist running shoe.
I wore these shoes to death, I loved them that much. Supremely comfortable and fast, even over a long run. I wore these for the 2013 Dublin Marathon and was delighted with how they performed.
Fast forward to 2016 – I’ve since bought many more pairs of Kinvaras, moving with the times as Saucony brought out the 4s, 5s and 6s. Last year I felt that I might need something more cushioned and got myself a pair of Saucony Zealots, which I wore in tandem with the Kinvaras. You can read a review of the Zealot here and a comparison between the two here. Essentially, the Zealot is still a neutral, 4mm low drop shoe but with a lot more plushy cushioning, which consequently means slightly more weight.
I was mighty happy running in the Zealots until I recently picked up stress fractures in my feet (TBC), which has since provoked a lot (far too much, no doubt…) of pondering about whether I should be wearing a more cushioned or structured shoe, particularly for marathon training.
I’ve been wanting to experiment with some of Saucony’s other shoes for quite some time anyway so this has been the perfect excuse… Enter the Triumph!
Saucony Triumph ISO 2
The Triumph is Saucony’s top of the line neutral, cushioning shoe. Weighing in at 8.6 oz (women) and featuring an 8mm heel to toe drop, the Triumph is the next step up from the Kinvara.
Very plush, lots of cushioning, gorgeous design with striking colours and shockingly comfortable.
The heel to toe drop in the Triumph is 8mm, as compared with 4mm in the Kinvara and Zealot which I’ve been running with for years. I’m interested to see how this will bare out, particularly over longer runs and speed sessions.
Cushioning – ample. Particularly noticeable in the heel counter and the “ISO Fit” tongue, which claims to provide a closer fit feel by morphing to your foot for a custom feel. The shoe definitely feels snug without being annoying or suffocating, which is something that has bothered me about other shoes in the past.
Responsive – This is an exceedingly comfortable shoe and your foot sinks into the heel counter very nicely. Yet despite this, there is a surprising amount of spring in the bounceback. Enough give to take the hard feel of the road away, but with a decent energy return to propel you on to the next stride.
Fit – I have wide ugly feet so finding comfortable shoes can be challenging. Not here. These shoes fit like a glove – a fitted shoe that I feel comfortable to tie a tight lace but for once doesn’t leave me feeling like I can’t wait to take them off. The Kinvara 4s were a tad too narrow and the 5s had far too much room in the toe box, but as Cinderalla would say, the fit on these is just right. The heel counter is good and snug too, allowing the heel to sit firmly in place and again, with enough cushioning to counter any heel rubbing.
Underneath – Saucony have changed the layout on the sole of the shoe as it existed on its predecessor. The outsole of the Triumph is actually quite similar to the Kinvara 7 and uses what Saucony call “Tri-Flex” technology. This v-pattern design is meant to provide improved ground contact, pressure distribution and propulsion at toe off.
As you can see below, there is a good amount of iBR+ rubber along the length of the shoe. This should allow for good traction, as well as good distribution of weight/ pressure – a point which should also aid in injury prevention in the foot area. The durability of the outsole rubber remains to be seen and I have found this to be an issue with Saucony shoes in the past.
Forefoot – Soft light mesh materials in the forefoot area allow for breathability and a light feel. A single panel of material, with no sewing or interference across the top of the toe area.
Everun – Ever what? Everun is a new Saucony technology which is essentially a layer of elastic foam which claims to provide more energy return and maintains its energy return longer than most midsole foams. This extra layer is positioned directly underneath the removable insole. It’s also featured in the heel of the shoe
Sound familiar? Probably because you’ve heard it many times before, only it was called Adidas Boost. Same principle. Boost is a midsole cushioning technology involving a cluster of springy urethane granules that are bonded together and placed between the upper and outsole.
The insole of the shoe is regular foam. Take this out and you will see a white foamy layer looking back at you. This is the urethane layer, or Everun. Like a second insole. On the Triumph, Saucony have also included an extra chunk of this in the heel.
I’ve had these shoes for less than a week so it is far too soon to make any conclusions. First impressions are that this will be a comfortable, snug ride for long runs and marathon training, which should prove more forgiving and generous than the Kinvara.
I look forward to giving them a good solid testing. Full review to follow!