Several changes to the outsole and flex grooves result in the Triumph ISO 2 (Men’s | Women’s) feeling less squishy soft. The shoe is still on the softer side, but the addition of Everun cushioning helps the shoe feel snappier. A nearly identical fit maintains its ability to accommodate a broad range of feet.
Anytime a shoe gets updated the manufacturer runs the risk of alienating a few to a lot of followers of the preceding model. The Saucony Triumph went through a major overhaul in November 2014, and was rewarded with the Runner’s World Editor’s Choice award. For November 2015, the Triumph received even more significant changes and was again rewarded by Runner’s World. So does this mean the Triumph ISO 2 is similar to the last year’s version? Not really.
With the Triumph, Saucony has followed a pattern of updates which I think has been unintentional. With the Triumph 4 update, Saucony rejuvenated its brand image with bold, fresh color choices and a soft shoe. With the next three updates, the shoe got a little firmer each time out. Then along came a reboot with the 8th version and the shoe was soft again. And again the subsequent versions of each update got a little firmer. With what would have been the Triumph 12, Saucony repeated the move to a softer shoe and introduced a new, innovative upper to increase comfort around the foot. This new upper has a feature called ISOFIT, which uses a fit sleeve and floating overlays to secure the foot. This change was big enough that Saucony restarted the numbering of models and added ISO to the name. Hence, the Triumph 12 is known as the Triumph ISO. So does this mean its update is firmer? Yes, but in a different way.
The updates that followed versions 4 and 8 were simply just firmer than the preceding model. With the Triumph ISO 2, the experience is entirely different. At first, it seemed like the shoe simply got firmer, but that is because I was comparing the shoes side by side (one on each foot). The Triumph ISO is a super soft shoe. I just kept sinking into it. In comparison, the update is firmer, but that’s not the whole story.
Something I didn’t like about the Triumph ISO, was it lacked energy return. While it was great to have my feet pampered during easy runs, the plushness of the first Triumph ISO made it difficult to pick up the pace. Once I got both my feet in the Triumph ISO 2, the real difference became apparent. Instead of being mushy soft, the new version is simply compliant. Meaning it has a lot of give and thus feels fairly soft, but it also snaps back with good energy return. I liken running in the Triumph ISO to running on a waterbed; super comfy but you aren’t going to get anywhere fast. Running in the Triumph ISO 2 is more like running on a taut trampoline; plenty of give to take out the harshness of the road, but with more than enough energy return to keep you easily moving forward.
The fit between the two shoes seems nearly identical and is universal. It’s a true medium fit that cinches well for narrower and lower volume feet while also expanding nicely to accommodate slightly wider or higher volume feet. The heel is comfortably secure and the shoe sizing is just a touch long, but not long enough to recommend sizing down from typical running shoe sizes.
The big change Saucony has been talking about is the addition of Everun. Everun is an elastic foam which has more energy return and maintains its energy return longer than most midsole foams. In the Triumph ISO 2, the Everun is positioned atop the midsole and just below the removable innersole. It is also located in the later heel portion of the midsole. I attribute the improved energy return of the Triumph ISO 2 to the Everun.
I think a completely new outsole configuration is the reason this version is not as squishy soft as the original Triumph ISO. Gone are the lateral grooves and notches in the heel that extended into the midsole foam, and in its place are more rubber and smaller notches that end at the midsole. Additionally, in the rear half of the shoe, rubber replaces an exposed area of foam. Both of these changes eliminate a bit of give in the back half of the shoe. While the forefoot continues to offer a good amount of flex grooves, the pattern has changed and the resulting feel is decreased flexibility. In this case, the slightly less flexible forefoot helps provide a sensation of increased snappiness.
In the upper, the ISOFIT has a slightly different pattern and the outer mesh has been changed. These changes are minor and not noticeable on foot. The external heel structure has changed in appearance, but again there is no on-foot difference. The one point of change that might be noticed among runners with lower volume feet is the shape of the stitching between the foremost lace loops. This shape is more pointed and results in a slight buckling of the fabric, if the laces are cinched tightly together on a low volume foot.
Stack height*: 32mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 8mm heel-toe offset
Weight*: 10.2 oz (men’s size 9), 8.6 oz (women’s size 8)
*As measured by Running Warehouse