Strengths: Warm, good fit, excellent protection esp around ankle.
Weaknesses: Warm, too thick a sole to race quickly in. Not lightweight at 357g.
Overall: A shoe that will suit heel strikers but one in which you can easily run midfoot too. For the latter runner the sole is just as thick as it can be without making the shoe unsuitable. Ideal shoe to clock up the miles in before stripping back to something lighter for a fast race.
Strengths: Neutral shoe with large heel, reminiscent of a 2002 Nike Pegasus in feel.
Weaknesses: Big Toe side of toebox cuts in far too sharply and 'archlock' now very wide
Overall: From the Triumph that version 4 of this shoe, version 5 is a huge backward step.
There is extra unnecessary engineering in the sole, taking the feel more toward the weetabix-strapped-to-your-feet school of shoe design that Nike Vomero users may be used to.
More than this thought the toe box is smaller on the inside of the shoe (big toe side) where it cuts in far more sharply than the previous model. If you must buy a Triumph 5 you might consider whether you need to go up half a size to compensate. Of course if you go up half a size there may be other fit issues to contend with.
My third issue with this shoe is the much wider archlock. This is a band that crosses from the arch to the instep on the shoe. On the Triumph 4 it is a centimetre wide strap. On the Triumph 5 it is a 3 inch wide piece of plastic. My friend and I both own Triumph 5's and we have had to pack in wearing them following strain in the foot caused by this 'support'.
So in summary, and with great regret, Saucony have snatched disaster out of Triumph with the Triumph 5.
'PRICEY SHOE THAT PERFORMS ONCE YOU BIN THE FOOTBED'
Strengths: The Adidas Adistar Control is a fairly flat motion control shoe that feels as natural and responsive as a neutral shoe. You may not agree with me, but there is a catch. You have to bin the footbed which amongst other flaws has an overly high arch. Put a better one in, use one from a trusty old shoe.
On the road the Adistar Control 2 is fairly grippy suffering less from moss, slime and leaf mould than other manufacturers shoes. A wide toebox also makes the shoe suitable for anyone who has ever had a nasty accident involving a road roller or in fact if you are half human and half platypus.
Weaknesses: The Adistar Control has several rubber bands over the toebox. These can rub and the shoe takes a bit of breaking in because of this. Also the usual holes for the top of the laces are marginally too high up but this is easily solved with a bit of creative lacing over the last three sets of eyelets. Lace from the third from last to the last then back to the second from last pairs of eyelets.
Overall: This shoe works best for a midfoot runner despite its design as a control and support shoe. The adiPRENE+ in the forfoot and the geofit memory foam both help you stay comfortable on long runs when on your midfoot. The shoe is fairly laid back so will suit anyone who likes a flat feel to the road, but might be a little too squashy on the outside of the heel for heavy heel strikers to feel at home.
With this model, having been superseded, now available in places such as the 'McArthur Glenn' discount shopping centres it is a good buy, pick a pair up for as little as £35. If you are a midfoot or chi runner you can't go wrong.
'TRIUMPH PERFORMS, PERFORMS THEN PERFORMS SOME MORE'
Strengths: A great shoe for the neutral runner, the triumph is flatter than many other cushioning shoes and easily out performs all that I have tried, which believe me is a lot. The shoe holds you steady on the road and is equally at home if you are a heel striker, if you run mid-foot or on your toes. The shoe is very well ventilated and surprisingly supple in the middle, which does make sprinting and climbing hills on the balls of your feet easy. My Triumphs have now done over 800 miles, so have out lasted comparable models by other manufacturers by quite a margin.
Weaknesses: The shoe comes in a few different colour styles, one of which is gold and black. Be warned, people keep stopping me to ask where to buy them, which actually becomes a bit tedious after a while. Look out for a small flaw, a fold, in the manufacture of the toe box and make sure it doesn't rub your big toe if your shoe has this common fault. One other odd problem with this shoe is that it is so well ventilated, it fills with sand really quickly if you run on the beach, so sand is really not much of a go-er if you are out in your Triumphs.
Overall: This shoe will run and run, Saucony's best neutral shoe yet. This shoe will eat up the miles and still deliver every time.
Strengths: Grippy sole that deals excellently with a wide variety of terrain and is comfortable on and off road.
Weaknesses: If you are used to running with two weetabix tied to your feet then the flat feel of this shoe, common to most trail shoes, might take some getting used to.
Overall: If you are running off road or on a range of tricky terrain then you will not do better than this grippy little number. Light and nimble for a trail shoe and equally at home on stretches of tarmacaddam, paths, mud, stream beds or bog.
With its responsive and flexible sole, you will find that if this doesn't stick nothing will. Outer of the shoe holds your foot snugly so there is no chance of sliding about inside. In my own tests it was not only far and away better than the Pegasus Storm but easily out-gripped the New Balance 845.
Tested on races like Race the Train and The Terminator this shoe was always coming back for more and its effortless ability to stick to the terrain left me with plenty of steam to finish each race in style.
Strengths: Why have more people not discovered this shoe ? It is a gem. Light and delivering great performance but functioning well up to marathon distance. Should suit wearers of Nike Pegasus, Saucony Trigon Ride + Guide, Reebok Road Lite 11/111 which are the other shoes I find I can use. Copes well with a heavier runner and lasts longer than other shoes in the Saucony range. A flat racy feel that once you get used to makes you wonder how you ever ran with two weetabix tied to your feet !
Strengths: Speed, distance and heart rate are recorded as you would expect and can be interpreted in almost every way you never imagined possible. There is a massive variety of settings to make the machine use this data, and it is not restricted just to running. Partnership with www.motionbased.com also allows routes to be viewed and elevation over a run to be plotted. Remember to normalize your elevation profile first though, otherwise every time the unit mis-reads a satellite it will add to your climbs. A virtual training partner allows the 301 to track you against its chosen pace.
Weaknesses: Doesn't understand when you are running up hill or downhill so it can nag you about your pace or heart rate needlessly. Also they are not very good at holding on to satellites so the sniff of a tree or a tall building and the results can be out. Definitely no good in a forest or a city centre. Forget the unit’s software and use motionbased.com to log your runs. Look at mine on welshalex.motionbased.com to see how a really slow Welshman plods about.
Overall: A fine bit of kit, but don't forget that the main event when running is the use of your muscles. It is all too tempting to get trapped in the spell of your Garmin. Looks like the 305 will greatly improve things as the satellite reception is supposedly much better. Chest strap on the Heart Rate Monitor does my head in, but I guess most get used to this.