Saucony Triumph 21 Review (2023): Worthy Daily Trainers?
Published on: 08/25/2023The Saucony Triumph 21 is a plus daily trainer for long comfortable miles.
A great max cushion daily trainer, but with few improvements to justify upgrading.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
Saucony’s Triumph range is a well-known soft, plush everyday shoe, offering comfort and stability with a decent stack height and accessible 10 mm heel-to-toe drop. The 21st iteration keeps most of the greatest elements of this range, improving on the upper design to enhance foot lockdown.
Extra breathability and comfort on the upper combine with soft, bouncy PWRRUN cushioning for smooth running in the Saucony Triumph 21. The slight rocker design helps propel feet forward, and the excellent grip, reinforced in high-wear areas, gives confidence in all weather conditions.
A durable, reliable shoe, it’s also light for such level of comfort. But does the Triumph 21 warrant an upgrade if you love the 20? Probably not, especially if you can still get the Triumph 20 at cheaper prices. First-time users will love the lightness and plushy run, enjoying the best the shoe has to offer for daily training and longer days out. However, long-time Triumph customers may find that the new model doesn’t offer enough improvements to be worth the price tag.
Please read our full review of the Saucony Triumph 21 for more information.
- Improved plush upper
- Upgraded lacing system for a more secure midfoot feeling
- Same great cushioning
- Tick most (if not all) boxes for daily training and long runs
- Not enough improvements from previous model
For the last few years, Saucony has consistently created excellent running shoes for all tastes. From the fantastically fast Endorphin range to trail running excellence with the award-winning Peregrine and beyond, the brand is hitting it out of the park in all categories.
Adding to this body of work, the Triumph 21 brings light-touch improvements to a model that’s been the go-to for maximal comfort. With upgrades to the laces and the upper, but not much else to derail from a winning model, the Triumph 21 can’t go wrong… but can it get a lot right? Let’s find out.
Overall, Saucony aims to offer a supremely comfortable shoe in the Triumph 21. With its PWRRUN+ midsole and 10mm heel to toe drop, it’s accessible, soft, and smooth. The brand positions it as a maximal neutral daily trainer. It’s a dream to run in on recovery days, but bouncy enough for all types of workouts.
Stack height, drop, and underfoot feel
The Saucony Triumph 21 features a stack height of 37 mm under the heel, 27 mm under the toes. This creates a comfortable 10 mm drop that makes it a good shoe for everyday training and for beginners. With the PWRRUN cushioning combined with padded tongue and heel collar, these shoes deliver a high level of comfort and soft landings.
Despite the highly cushioned midsole, underfoot feel is relatively balanced, which is good news if you want to use these shoes for most of your runs and even for walking. They’re not the best option for speed workouts, but otherwise your legs will love them.
Feeling equally soft and light, the shoe offers a bouncier ride than you’d first expect. Among other max cushion shoes like the New Balance More v4, the new Triumph hits the ground with more dynamism and feels like it can pick up the pace if it needs to. Of course, it remains a long run shoe, but it’s a bit more feisty than most similar pairs (it also has a bit of a rocker design, albeit subtle).
The EVA used on the top of the midsole foam is extremely soft, helping absorb shocks well. Saucony claims that the material is less heat sensitive, which should mean giving the same level of energy return in all weather conditions.
Support and gait type
Saucony’s plush neutral daily trainers historically, the Triumph 21 continue to suit most runners. There is no in-built added support for pronators, so these are very much the running shoes of regular, no-fuss athletes. That said, most reviewers find them comfortable and stable enough for all types of feet, and definitely more appealing than other max cushion shoes with stability elements, like the Puma Forever Run Nitro.
The Triumph 21 features an upgraded flat knit upper. This is where we find most changes compared to previous versions.
The padding around the collar and on top of the foot creates a plush feeling without making the shoe too snug. The shoes are now more breathable while locking the foot securely in.
Along with vents that optimize air flow, Saucony has redesigned the lacing system for better foot placement. There’s also a cushioned tongue that reduces forward motion during the run.
Fit and sizing
Thanks to a newly engineered upper and better lacing, the Triumph 21 fits well and offers great foot lockdown. While other updates have been minimal, the ones made to lockdown and fit are welcome and effective.
Most reviewers agree that the Saucony Triumph 21 fits just right – not too tight and stiff, not too loose. It’s relatively roomy in the forefoot while holding the foot firmly in place and providing softness that’s good enough for long distance running. Additionally, the new lacing design which has loops closer to the top of the foot provides better ankle stability.
Some runners found the Triumph 21 to be quite tight at the back of the shoe, where the heel counter hugs the foot firmly. Overall, though, this combination of tighter heel hold and better lacing precision leads to an excellent lockdown for pretty much any road conditions or training goals.
Men’s vs. women’s version
The Triumph 21 doesn’t come in too many colors and there isn’t a huge difference between the men’s and women’s versions. It’s a very lightweight shoe for the versatility and plushness:
- The men’s size 42 weighs 9.3 oz/263 g
- The women’s size 40 weighs 9 oz/254 g
Given how cushioned these shoes feel, the (relatively) low weight is remarkable.
Breathability and protection
The new flat knit material in the Saucony Triumph 21’s top section provides better breathability than ever before. The upper feels thick and soft, but not too hot and uncomfortable to run in. In fact, reviewers taking the new Saucony Triumph out in the summer have been suitably impressed with the new shoes’ ability to let the feet breathe.
As a specialized max cushion neutral running shoe, the Triumph 21 is ideal for easy runs. However, unlike the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25, which is supremely comfortable but too bulky for all your workouts, the Triumph offers a versatile ride. You can pretty much wear them for anything but an interval session.
Other suitable scenarios
The “premium cushioning” combined with bounce and light weight make the Triumph 21 quite versatile. It’s quite good for walking, too, but is not a great option for speed workouts or for hitting the trails, where you would want a bit more responsiveness and grip.
The Saucony Triumph 21’s outsole is sturdy and reliable, offering good grip in most conditions. Another element that Saucony calls “premium” for the Triumph 21, it’s meant to adhere well to various surfaces and provide some forward propulsion, too. The sole also looks very durable, with reinforced sections in high-wear areas.
Saucony bills the Triumph 21 as a premium comfort shoe with excellent cushioning and a soft gusseted tongue that provides added comfort for long runs. While there isn’t all that much innovation in the new model, the 21 does improve on the 20 with its new upper and lacing design.
Overall, it looks like the shoes can put up with a lot of mileage.
Quality and pricing
Thanks to high-quality rubber and grippy design, the outsole looks like it will withstand any conditions for a long time. There are multi-directional grooves that offer some added stability for long miles, while the reinforced sections of the outsole should add to its durability.
Saucony suggests that their shoes should last 400 miles/640 km on average. However, it all depends on your usage patterns, weight, etc. If you plan to take the Triumph 21 out for daily training, it should be sturdy enough to provide good value for money over time. This is based on a more heat-resistant midsole foam, double layered upper, and an articulated outer casing that flexes enough with the midsole to reduce wear and tear.
Compared to previous models, however, the Saucony Triumph 21 doesn’t add much in terms of running shoe technology. Although it’s a great option for someone buying their first pair in this range, thrifty runners can save on the hefty price tag for now, especially while you can still buy the Triumph 20 at discounted rates.
Carbon footprint and animal welfare
Saucony is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, aiming to increase efficiency and sustainability in their practices. It also states that the company seeks to use more recycled, natural, or eco-friendly materials in its products. However, there’s no specific information available about how this translates into this model.
Last but not least, this new Triumph 21 is 100% vegan, meaning it doesn’t use any animal products (yay!).
With a new flat knit upper and enhanced midfoot support for a more secure fit, the Saucony Triumph 21 doesn’t add much to the previous version, but continues to deliver plush comfort and a smooth ride. It’s a great highly cushioned running shoe for everyday workouts, easy runs, long mileage, and recovery runs. Not completely worth upgrading from the Triumph 20 if yours are still going strong, but a solid contender for combining max cushion and lighter weight on your next pair.
|Heel height||37 mm|
|Forefoot height||27 mm|
|Weight (men)||263 g/9.3 oz|
|Weight (women)||254 g/9 oz|
|Features||Vegan, Recycled materials|
|Outsole||Tri-Flex, XT-900 Carbon Rubber|
|Upper||Flat Knit, Adaptive Lacing System|
|Distance||Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon|
Reference: Saucony's official site
Comparisons – Saucony Triumph 21 vs.:
Athletes who loved the Saucony Triumph 20 will be happy to jump onto the 21, where not much has changed, yet overall, the shoe feels much better. This version’s key changes can be seen in the new lacing system and the all-new upper, which make it more breathable and give it a slightly better foot lockdown (also thanks to an effective heel counter). If secure fit was an issue for you with the previous version, it may be worth trying the 21s.
At the same time, the cushioning and main shoe design is pretty similar. The two versions have almost the same weight (the women’s Triumph 20 is 1 gram lighter). The drop and stack height are identical. Finally, both feature the same PWRRUN midsole foam – so there are no convincing changes there. At this point in time, you can save up to $100 by buying the old version, assuming there’s a pair left in your size.