Saucony Triumph RFG: Tech Specs and Performance Review


The Saucony Triumph Run For Good is an exceptional and environmentally-friendly long-distance running shoe that is propelling the industry forward. Its plush cushioning, responsive bounce, and thoughtful design make it a delightful companion for racking up miles.

These shoes are designed for environmentally-conscious runners who desire a product that can track their mileage without causing harm to the planet. They are sturdy enough to endure lengthy runs, yet flexible enough to accommodate different paces.

If you're seeking a shoe with a high level of stability, this one may not be the best fit for you. While it does provide more stability compared to the Triumph 21, it doesn't offer the necessary support for runners requiring it.

The Saucony Triumph RFG offers a unique take on a top-tier everyday running shoe. Through years of innovation, these shoes now provide enhanced energy return, a plush cushioning experience, and improved speed. Nonetheless, these advancements have occasionally led to increased carbon emissions.

Saucony Triumph RFG toebox

Saucony embarked on the mission of crafting a high-quality running shoe that would be environmentally friendly. Then what's the outcome? The Triumph RunForGood.

The RFG's biggest rival is the original Triumph, but it will also face tough competition from other brands like New Balance 1080, Hoka Clifton, Brooks Glycerin, Nike Vomero, Asics Gel Nimbus, and adidas Boston.

Could it withstand the competition from established high-end models? That's the question I aimed to answer.

I eagerly anticipated the arrival of these, curious to witness the innovative strides made by Triumph in the realm of eco-friendly production.

What would distinguish them from the original footwear? The response was that they would have a more straightforward appearance. The previous design, with its lightweight upper and innovative fabric adorned with 3D printed patterns, was no longer present. Instead, what came forth was a plain woven upper embellished with stitched logos.

The absence of embellishments, devoid of extravagance, and yet exquisitely captivating in its straightforwardness. I was pleasantly taken aback, instantly enamored by their charm.

When it came to wearing them, they proved to be excellent. While they were slightly bulkier and less flexible than the fresh out of the box Triumph 21, they offered a cozy fit and ample cushioning. During my initial 5k run, they performed admirably, providing a satisfying level of rebound.

They did, however, perceive a need for a brief period of adjustment, as they felt somewhat rigid in both the upper and sole components.

With that being said, I was immediately impressed by this shoe upon first encountering it.

Saucony Triumph RFG laces/upper

Saucony has made some changes to the upper of the shoe. Instead of using the thin engineered mesh and 3D printed layers found on the Triumph 21s, they have gone back to using the older knit upper from previous years. This knit upper is made from sustainable cotton and is dyed using plant-based dyes to give it some color.

The shoe is available in several color styles on Saucony official store, which will be described at the end of this article. I prefer the 'SHADOW' color versions.

This knitted upper provides excellent support and utilizes a lacing system that adjusts to keep your foot securely in place. With its thicker material and clever lacing design, your foot remains stable throughout your run, eliminating the need for excessive overlays.

The size of this upper is accurate for my size 13 feet, and it shares the same foot shape as the regular Triumph 21. The heel is somewhat slim, the midfoot is a standard width, and it transitions into a slightly wider toe box without being excessively wide.

Saucony Triumph RFG sole units

The primary focus of the Saucony Triumph RFG lies in its sole unit, which has received the utmost attention, dedication, and investment in the development of an eco-friendly material. Through a collaboration with CovationBio PDO, they have successfully crafted the PWRRUN BIO+ midsole, incorporating 55% Susterra® propanediol. This innovative substance is derived from dent corn that is grown in a regenerative manner, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and promote a sustainable future.

Saucony has incorporated a generous amount of cushioning in this shoe, with 39mm under the heel and 29mm under the toe, resulting in a 10mm drop. The cushioning is exceptionally plush and offers a delightful rebound. While it may not feel as immediately ready for a run as the original Triumph 21, once the break-in phase is complete, it provides a remarkably supple and energetic experience.

The PWRRUN BIO+ incorporates 80% natural gum rubber, providing excellent traction and sustainability. This outsole proved highly effective in different weather conditions, including ice, snow, and rain. I found the grip to be truly remarkable.

Saucony incorporates a Tri-Fold outsole structure to enhance the shoe's flexibility during the transition from impact to toe-off. Nonetheless, this particular aspect of the shoe left me somewhat disappointed. The shoes felt rigid for a significant distance, and while the stiffness did improve as I wore them in, it never completely dissipated.

Upon learning about the Saucony Triumph RFG, I couldn't help but question its authenticity. The concept of embracing sustainability and incorporating renewable resources truly appealed to me. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but ponder how this would be seamlessly integrated into the Triumph line without compromising its essence.

Saucony has truly excelled with this shoe. It manages to capture the same sensation as the Triumph, albeit not the exact identical feel as the 21s. Additionally, it is made from eco-friendly materials and is available at the same cost.

Saucony Triumph RFG quarter

In numerous instances, the term "sustainable" often implies a higher cost. However, this is not the situation in this case. Nevertheless, opting for the 21s would provide you with better performance in exchange for a higher price. The decision between sustainability and performance is a genuine dilemma here.

The only unit comes rigid in its packaging, yet it offers ample padding. This padding gradually molds to your feet after approximately 15 miles, although the upper part may require a bit more time to adjust. Eventually, it transforms into a buoyant and gentle sensation. During my most recent 10-mile run, these shoes provided a consistently bouncy experience.

Nevertheless, the extended period required to break in this shoe was a major concern for me. I am accustomed to shoes being immediately wearable upon purchase, so it was somewhat bothersome that I had to run 25-30 miles before they were completely comfortable, and about half that distance for the cushioning to fully adjust.

Another aspect that bothered me about these shoes was their heaviness and lack of breathability. Unfortunately, the shoes had a weight of approximately 11.7 ounces (size 13), which was about one ounce more than the Triumph 21s. Although not a significant issue, it is noticeable while running.

The main downside was the lack of air circulation in the upper part. This became apparent on a few unexpectedly warm days when I went for a run. When the temperature exceeded 80F (27C), my feet became excessively hot during some of the runs. On the other hand, this feature proved beneficial when the weather turned colder and I went for runs in chilly conditions, as it provided insulation for my feet.

I found more pleasure in using this particular pair for my long runs compared to the Triumph 21s. I tested both shoes on two back-to-back long runs, and even though I had a slightly slower pace with the RFG, I found the experience more enjoyable and experienced less discomfort in my feet afterwards.

In my opinion, this shoe was a definite success. The padding was luxurious and became even better once it was worn in, while the upper part was cozy and insulating. If you care about the environment, this is an excellent opportunity to try out more sustainable footwear.

These shoes have a commendable objective, and the implementation is excellent.

  • Price: $160 (Saucony)
  • Style & Colors: COFFEE / MURK / SHADOW
  • Usage:
    • daily training
    • long distance running
  • Constructions & Features:
    • PWRRUN BIO+ cushioning with 55% corn-based foam to reduce plastic
    • Cotton upper with plant-based dyes for good feeling when wearing
    • Fits true to size
    • Heel drop: 10mm (39mm/29mm)
Saucony Triumph RFG midsole