In today’s article, I’m comparing two max cushion daily training running shoes; the New Balance 1080 vs Saucony Triumph.
To stay up to date, we’re going to be comparing the New Balance 1080v11 vs Saucony Triumph 18.
This article is not intended to be a full review of either shoe. It’s just a comparison of the main similarities and differences between these two great running shoes.
New Balance 1080 vs Saucony Triumph
In a hurry…
If you’re looking for that high-mileage neutral trainer, both the New Balance 1080 and the Saucony Triumph definitely offer that max cushioning underneath your foot.
The Saucony Triumph 18 (successor to the Triumph 17) is all about luxury and comfort and it features their PWRRUN+ midsole material.
Both the New Balance and the Saucony are using two very different cushioning setups to do the same thing.
Also, both midsole materials have been sculpted in ways to improve or take advantage of the greater energy return when you compress that material.
Both shoes run with the 8mm drop in them, which is quite a standard drop over most running shoes to try and get you onto that forefoot a bit quicker.
The Triumph 18 has Saucony’s PWRRUN+ midsole material and there’s a lot of it.
The shoe is 32.5 millimeters in the heel and 24.5 millimeters in the forefoot for an 8-millimeter offset from the heel to the toe.
I’ve been impressed with the Triumph 18’s performance of that midsole material pretty much since the very first day that I ran in these.
And although the Triumph is heavy, which we’ll get into later in the article, it doesn’t act like a heavy shoe when you’re out running.
I feel like I get a lot of energy return, which I do appreciate a lot. This helps me feel a little faster in these than I sometimes think that I am just because it takes a little less effort on my part moving through my gait cycle.
PWRRUN+ does use that thermoplastic. What that does is it just doesn’t deteriorate over the life of the shoe like the EVA on the 1080 for example.
PWRRUN+ isn’t affected by heat or cold. So, it’s not getting sloppy throughout those hot runs and it’s not firming out throughout the colder runs.
So, if you do have quite a different seasonal period throughout the year, PWRRUN+ will last a bit longer over the life of the Triumph compared to something like Fresh Foam.
New Balance 1080
The Fresh Foam X midsole material on the 1080 is 30 millimeters stack height in the heel and 22 millimeters in the forefoot.
Just like the Triumph, the 1080 has an 8-millimeter drop from the heel to the toe.
Fresh Foam X offers a lightweight responsive springy ride throughout your foot. It’s a bit firmer but again, it offers that cushioning as well as response.
The first thing I noticed when I took off to running in these is that I felt like I sank down just a little bit into that foam.
However, I didn’t feel like it was mushy like I was going to get stuck in it but rather it kind of bounced forward for me.
So, I did like that feeling and again I do feel like I got some help in my gait cycle to help me move through it just a little bit quicker.
With New Balance, they have some laser engravings on the lateral side of the shoe.
As you come down on that lateral side as you run, it’s nice to have a little softer landing there just to make it a little more comfortable as you move through your gait cycle.
Something that’s also different throughout the midsole is the New Balance 1080 has more of a pronounced rocker than the Triumph.
If you’re looking for that rocker sensation and have something like the Hoka Bondi or Clifton and want something that does a similar job just a bit better, something like the 1080 will work.
The Triumph is a generic shoe and does have more of a beveled heel. It’s not much of a rocker at all.
Looking at the weight, the Triumph 18 is considerably heavier than the 1080v11.
The Triumph 18 comes in at 11oz for men’s size 9 or 312 grams while the New Balance 1080v11 comes in at 9.3oz or 264 grams.
Related: Do Saucony Run Small?
The Saucony Triumph 18 has an engineered mesh material. It has some strategically placed 3D-printed overlays to improve the flexibility as well as to give it a little bit of structure.
Looking at the V-shaped heel counter, the Triumph has a pretty good plastic overlay there to give it some structure as well as some stability.
There’s a lot of plushness around the upper and the shoe does feel nice on the foot.
New Balance 1080
The New Balance 1080v11 is made of a synthetic mesh material and it has lots of perforations in the toe box. It’s really soft to the touch and it’s very stretchy.
As we kind of pan around to the side of the shoe, the 1080 is threaded through the midfoot area so you get that nice midfoot lockdown.
You can also see that the New Balance “N” branding is actually made out of this sort of TPU and wrapped in and out of the laces.
This material is actually quite thick and it’s going to act as a mid cage to the midfoot, which you can feel if you push down on the middle of the shoe.
What’s that actually going to do is it’s going to give you more lateral support and give you a more stable supportive run.
On the heel counter, there’s a different material altogether back there. It’s more of a soft almost neoprene material called Ultra Heel.
This adds some structure to the heel counter along with that nice concave area at the back. However, the Triumph does lock you in the heel a bit better.
Fit & Feel
With the Saucony Triumph 18, it’s a real FORMFIT shoe and I can feel the difference especially when I put one on each foot. In the Triumph, I feel much more snugged in and secure across the midfoot.
With the New Balance 1080v11, it’s very comfortable, but it’s more of an airy feeling to it, which explains why it’s a little bit lighter. It’s just a completely different feeling.
So, if you’re into that kind of stretchy upper material, then the 1080 is the shoe for you. What the stretchy upper does is that it has a really nice grip over the midfoot, but the entire shoe is really stretchy.
So, the 1080 fits runners with a high instep better.
The FORMFIT 360 material on the Triumph 18 is also stretchy but it’s a lot better. It just fits your feet in a better way.
In terms of feel, it’s a totally different thing. The 1080 is great. The Triumph just feels a little bit too clunky and it doesn’t invite you to run faster.
The Triumph is just that really nice comfortable shoe while the 1080 really gives you the feeling that you want to run fast.
So, in the feel category, the New Balance 1080 wins over the Saucony Triumph.
In terms of breathability, I found the 1080v11 to be a little cooler underfoot and I could feel more of that cool air coming through that toe box giving it a little bit more breathability.
Now where that might come into play is when you live in a hotter climate. If you’re trying to decide between the New Balance and the Triumph and you’re looking for which one might be the coolest underfoot, I think you’re probably going to get a bit of an advantage with the 1080v11 over the Triumph 18.
But in cool weather, they both do really well and my feet were comfortable.
The lacing system or the eyelet chains are very basic and they’re pretty much the same across the board.
They both have some plastic overlay on the outside to give them a little extra durability.
They both have that extra eyelet in case you want to run with a runner’s knot.
The biggest difference is I was able to get a more locked-in secure feeling across the midfoot of the Triumph 18 than I am in the 1080v11.
I think in part it’s because the Triumph has all that plastic material there that takes some of the stretch out of the upper so that when you cinch those laces down, you can just get it a little bit tighter across your midfoot, and this kind of locks you in a little better and gets that heel set into place.
With the New Balance 1080v11, this material has a lot of stretch to it and it seems like that stretch is pretty much everywhere.
So, I wasn’t able to get quite as locked down as I did in the Triumph. Plus, it just feels like there’s a little bit more room up in that midfoot when I put these on.
So, in terms of the lockdown secure feeling, I’m going to have to give the nod to the Triumph 18.
They both have a gusseted tongue giving them that bootie fit, which is really nice to have.
I always appreciate the fact that I don’t have to worry about the tongue of the shoes migrating around or causing any kind of hot spots or discomfort. So, I like that aspect of each one.
The big difference here is the amount of padding. Not just in the tongue of the shoes but also around the heel collar and the tab.
One of the reasons why the Triumph is heavier than the 1080 is because Saucony packed in about as much padding as they can get in the tongue as well as around the heel collar and in the tab compared to the minimal amount of padding that’s in the 1080v11.
The tongue of the 1080 is padded, but it’s just not nearly as padded as the Triumph 18 is.
Also, there’s virtually no padding really around the heel collar as well as in the tab of the shoes. It’s really just a thicker material.
As I said earlier, the 1080 fits people with really high insteps a little bit better, but the Triumph still has enough depth to it and it won’t cause any blood circulation issues.
If you’re wearing some low-cut socks, I think there might be some discomfort there. I put both of these shoes on without socks so I could just get a better sense of the comfort so I could describe it to you guys.
Well, I could tell right away that I wouldn’t want to run in a really low-cut sock in the 1080v11 because I think there could be a lot of discomfort around my ankles especially. It just felt like it could almost get rubbed raw.
So, this is just something to keep in mind that you’re probably going to be wearing some crew socks in the 1080v11.
Another noticeable difference between the New Balance and the Triumph falls in the heel counter.
With the Triumph 18, they’ve got a lot of structure back there that gives you just a little extra stability.
When I try to pinch that together, that’s pretty solid. And if I just try to push forward on that as well, there’s a lot of structure there.
So, if you’re looking for a shoe that has a fair amount of structure in the heel for pronation concerns or anything along those lines, it’s a really stable ride with the Triumph 18.
With the New Balance 1080v11, they do have some structure back there but just not as much. I can pinch it together a little bit easier than I can with the Triumph 18.
Also going forward, there’s a little more give that way as well. Again, there’s still some structure there but just not as much as you’ll find in the Triumph.
Let’s take a look at the outsole on both of these shoes …
The 1080 is using carbon rubber in the heel and the toe and Saucony is doing the same thing with their XT-900 in the heel as well as the toe.
The major difference with the outsoles is New Balance does use that air-blown rubber in the midfoot to offer a bit more cushioning and responsiveness underneath the forefoot.
Just like the Saucony Triumph 17 (review), the Triumph 18 is using the same crystallized rubber. This crystal rubber obviously doesn’t have that similar kind of cushioning benefit the 1080 offers.
However, if you’re looking for something that’s going to last quite a lot longer, the crystallized rubber in that forefoot will certainly offer better traction and last quite a bit longer than the air-blown rubber on the New Balance 1080.
To increase flexibility, the Triumph has what they call a Tri-Flex design that makes just for a quicker transition and better flexibility.
I always appreciate that anything I can do to help make my transition from my heel to the toe a little smoother through my gait cycle is always much appreciated.
The 1080 also has some flex grooves up in the forefoot just to make it feel a little more natural as you roll through your gait cycle.
As you know, prices change on a regular basis and I can’t tell when you’re going to be reading this.
Here’s where you can check today’s prices of both shoes:
So, if you are looking for that very high-cushioned high-mileage trainer, you can’t go wrong with either of these shoes.
If you want a shoe that’s a little bit faster and gives you a little bit better feeling, then go with the New Balance 1080.
If you, on the other hand, are a heavy runner or a runner that just wants a soft nice cushioning, go for the Saucony Triumph.
If you are looking for a durable shoe, I’d probably consider the Saucony Triumph. The Triumph’s PWRRUN+ midsole and carbon/crystal rubber outsole are going to take a bit more of a beating especially if you’re just using them for running.
I hope you guys enjoyed this New Balance 1080 vs Saucony Triumph side-by-side comparison.
If you’ve ever run in the New Balance 1080 series or the Saucony Triumph series, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Until then, see you on the next one.