They Say – The Triumph ISO 2 is going to rock your running world. It features EVERUN, the latest in cushioning construction and material innovation. EVERUN takes a dramatically more lively and responsive foam cushioning material and brings it closer to your foot than ever before, which means more bang for your running buck. It’s what we call Topsole construction, and it’s changing the game in a big way.
Featuring EVERUN Topsole and an EVERUN Landing Zone in the heel
A new TRI-FLEX outsole configuration for better ground contact and a smoother ride
Improved ISOFIT upper for an even closer and more accommodating fit
Welded bottom eyelit for added comfort over the foot
Shoe Category: Neutral
Construction Type: Neutral
Surface: Road, Track
Arch: High, Normal (Mid)
Water Resistant: No
Heel Stack Height: 30mm
Forefoot Stack Height: 22mm
We Say - Injection blown rubber cushioning… Isofit inner sleeve… Rundry collar lining… Everun landing zone… Tri-flex outsole… it’s easy to forget you’re talking about trainers when some of the phrases thrown around sound like they’re straight out of a science-fiction TV programme or car manufacturers advert. However, how many of these features will actually result in a good running experience and how many of them are just gimmicks, or flashy words knocked together and put out there in order to justify the £135 price tag?
Now I should begin this review by saying we don’t mess around with our gear reviews at Trek and Run. While some magazines will just wear trainers for a jog around the block and others will perform an autopsy to examine a shoe’s innards, we just want to run. I could phrase this as ‘we run shoes into the ground’ or ‘we’ll test them ‘til they break’ but to be honest, we’re picky about which products we review so that’s pretty unlikely to happen with any of the shoes we test as we only tend to use the best!
The Saucony Triumph ISO 2 is no exception to this method of testing as I put them through well over 400 miles of training runs and races and as a result they fast became my favourite shoes for longer distances.
The design of the shoe is quite loud with a strange combination of colours offered (the shoes I tested featured orange, blue, lime green and silver, however the website described this as ‘Blue/Silver/Slime’) and the huge 8mm heel to toe drop with a 22mm forefoot stack at the front and 30mm heel-stack at the back means you’ll instantly grow a few centimetres when wearing these shoes, however the cushioning provided by this huge sole is out of this world and led to an incredibly comfortable ride, as well as strong encouragement to run with a mid-foot/fore-foot strike. The sock-liner also looks strange at first with material at the back of the shoe projecting inside the shoe and onto your Achilles, however as a result they fit like a glove which gave me the impression they’d be especially good for trails or gravel paths where the liner would stop small items from finding their way into the shoe.
Throughout my testing period I used them for a large number of activities including distances from 5k right up to Marathons (26.2 miles) and on a variety of surfaces including trails, gravel paths and mud, and I found that during short runs of 5k and under the shoes just didn’t seem as responsive as they could’ve been where it almost felt that some of the kinetic energy transferred from my leg muscles to the ground was lost in the cushioning. However during longer training runs these shoes were an absolute dream to run in – so much so that I managed to achieve a couple of Half Marathon personal bests while racing in these shoes!
This year I’d set myself the challenge of completing 3 marathons in 4 weeks in Rome, Brighton and finally Milton Keynes, but admittedly I’m not a fan of running too many long runs during training as I’ve previously experienced foot pain when my long-run mileage has increased above 15 miles (last year I chose to run a marathon on a base of fast Half Marathons in an effort to avoid this issue!). However I began testing these shoes as my winter training was starting to ramp up ready for my planned marathons, and as the mileage increased my feet still felt great allowing me to continue with the long runs right up until my final long run of 21 miles when I found I had to talk myself out of continuing the run!
I should mention that there was one exception to this during a 19 mile training run where I struggled during the middle few miles, yet seemed to perk up again towards the end. Looking back afterwards at the route we’d taken we’d started our run on roads, headed onto trails for the middle section, then back onto pavement after 14 miles so I wondered if maybe the ‘energy return’ features of the shoe aren’t as effective on trails due to the softer nature of the ground – possibly even causing a negative effect where energy is dissipated elsewhere? Of course this isn’t a major issue when long races are typically held on roads, but after that experience I decided to stick with the Saucony Nomad TR trail shoes I’d previously tested for any longer distance trail events.
Marathon season finally arrived and I went into the first of these events in Rome feeling fully confident with my choice of footwear despite the fact part of the course would be on cobble-stones – a surface notorious to runners for causing foot and leg pain – and this confidence was strengthened when I reached the cobblestones of Piazza Del Popolo 20 miles into the race and my feet and legs still felt great! I crossed the finish line slightly broken physically in a time of 3h47m, but with my feet still intact – great news considering my next marathon was just 2 weeks away!
At Rome I’d decided to take it a bit easier than usual due to the cobblestones (I’d planned to run it in 4 hours but had gotten carried away with the crowd support!), but in Brighton I was on a mission to smash my Marathon personal best of 3h38m set back in 2013, and I felt confident that with an undulating tarmac and concrete course and this great pair of long-distance road trainers, this was the place to do it! The first 20 miles flew by comfortably and even as I started to tire when I passed through the mentally draining industrial area between miles 20 and 23 my feet still felt fine, and as I passed through the finish line my watch showed 3h35m – I’d managed to knock 3 minutes off my personal best!
Unfortunately Milton Keynes a week later wasn’t to be another success story as although I’d entered the race with an intention of chasing sub 3h30m, a number of factors on the day meant my target wasn’t to be. However the first 7 miles of the course were again on tarmac as the slightly undulating route made use Milton Keynes’ famous grid-work of dual carriageways, and again the combination of tarmac along with the Triumph Iso 2’s responsive soles meant I felt absolutely great for the first 7 miles and even ended up running 7:45 minute miles instead of the 8 minute miles I’d planned! Even at 18 miles into the race when I was mentally exhausted and made the decision to slow down, I was on target for a sub 3h30m finish (I eventually finished in 3h39m) and this had made me feel confident that when my next Marathon PB attempt comes round I’ll achieve it in these trainers – or their identical replacement as it’s very likely I’ll have put too many miles on these by then!
I have to admit that throughout my testing I well and truly fell in love with these shoes! With a RRP of £135 they’re not the cheapest on the market and admittedly the flaws previously mentioned mean they won’t be my choice of footwear for short distance or trail races, however they are spot-on for longer distance events and they’ll be put through their paces again this weekend when I reach the final Half Marathon stretch of the Outlaw Half Ironman Triathlon, and I have every confidence that they’ll help me to cover those 13.1 miles comfortably and smash through that finish line.
To find out more about Saucony’s Triumph Iso 2 trainers, visit: http://www.saucony.com/en/triumph-iso-2/21899M.html