Saucony Triumph 18 Running Shoe Review: A Comfortable Cruiser
There have been a lot of excellent running shoes released in 2020, but even in a crowded field there is a case for saying Saucony is having a better year than most.
Much of that is down to the launch of the Endorphin collection, which includes the Endorphin Pro carbon plate racing shoe, a genuine competitor to the all-conquering Nike Vaporfly and Alphafly. The collection also features the lauded Endorphin Speed and Shift, the first a fast training and racing shoe, and the second a comfortable easy day option.
Given how much I’ve loved past editions of the Triumph, a highly-cushioned shoe with plenty of bounce in the midsole, I thought the 18 would extend Saucony’s cracking form, but although it’s still a good shoe the slight tweaks to the design have reduced its appeal compared with the Triumph 17.
Like the 17, the Triumph 18 has Saucony’s excellent PWRRUN+ foam in the midsole, which is bouncy, durable and lightweight, it’s built for clocking up a lot of miles in training. There have been some minor changes in the midsole though to make the ride “snappier”, according to Saucony, and the outsole has been changed to blown rubber for a more responsive ride as well.
In practice I found the opposite to be true. While the Triumph 17 was cushioned, it still felt quick enough to tackle some tempo runs in as well as speeding up at the end of long runs. The 18 feels much more like a cruiser that’s all about comfort, with little regard for speed. It’s also ever so slightly heavier than the Triumph 17 (315g vs 305g for the men’s shoe), and it was noticeable, perhaps because the 17 runs even lighter than its weight.
Comfort is not, of course, necessarily a bad thing, and it makes for a brilliant shoe for easy runs and is a great pick for new runners who want something durable underfoot which lessens the impact on your legs. However, it does make the Triumph 18 less versatile than past editions for serious amateurs like me, who may find something like the Nike Pegasus 37 a better cushioned all-rounder option.
The upper of the shoe is plumply padded, especially around the tongue and collar, providing a snug fit that holds the foot in place without being oppressive. I did log long runs in a heatwave and this extra padding did feel a little hot at times, but maybe just skip the long run on the rare 33°C day we get in the UK.
I still rate the Triumph 18 as one of the best cushioned shoes on the market, and it’s still a little quicker and more responsive than something like the Brooks Glycerin which is purely built for comfort. However, the latest Triumph lacks a little speed compared with past versions, which makes it that bit less versatile.