Saucony Axon 3 VS Triumph 21: What Should I Buy?

The Saucony Axon 3 and Saucony Triumph 21 are both neutral cushioned running shoes from Saucony, but they have some key differences. This in-depth comparison looks at the specs, features, and performance of each shoe to help you decide which model is better suited for your running needs. Read on to see how the Axon 3 and Triumph 21 stack up.

Similarities And Differences Between Saucony Axon 3 And Triumph 21:

FeatureAxon 3Triumph 21
Launched In20232023
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityFlexibleLess flexible due to high stack height
SizingTrue to sizeRuns slightly small
Weight10.2 oz (men’s), 8.8 oz (women’s)10 oz (men’s size 13)
CushioningPWRRUN PB foamPWRRUN+ foam
OutsoleXT-900 rubberXT-900 Carbon Rubber
MidsolePWRRUN PB foamPWRRUN+ foam
UpperEngineered meshSoft, flat knit material
Retail Price$100$160

Features Comparison:

Material:

The outsoles on both shoes utilize Saucony’s durable XT-900 rubber for good traction and abrasion resistance. The Axon 3 has a full-length PWRRUN PB midsole while the Triumph 21 uses PWRRUN+ foam. PWRRUN+ is a bit softer and bouncier than PWRRUN PB. For the upper, the Axon 3 uses an engineered mesh that provides a secure fit but can get hot.

SAUCONY AXON 3
SAUCONY AXON 3

Saucony Triumph 21
TRIUMPH 21

The Triumph 21 has a soft, flat knit upper that enhances breathability. Its knit material conforms to the foot better than the Axon 3’s mesh. The Triumph 21’s luxurious upper comes at a higher cost though. The insoles are quite similar – both are removable with good arch support. The Triumph 21 has more plush cushioning underfoot.

Durability:

The Axon 3 and Triumph 21 both utilize premium materials in their construction to promote durability. The XT-900 rubber outsoles on both shoes are designed to be long-lasting and resistant to abrasion and wear.

The midsole foams are also quite durable, with PWRRUN+ having a slight edge in maintaining its energetic feel for more miles. The Axon 3’s engineered mesh upper is decently durable but the flat knit material of the Triumph 21 may be prone to tears if snagged.

However, both uppers should provide several hundred miles of use if cared for properly. The removable insoles on each shoe can be replaced when worn down too.

Overall, the Triumph 21 takes the lead for durability thanks to its luxurious upper and bouncier midsole foam that maintains cushioning longer. But the Axon 3 still delivers reliable longevity, especially considering its lower price point.

Fit:

The Saucony Axon 3 runs true to size for most runners and has a semi-curved shape for a secure midfoot wrap. Its engineered mesh upper contours to the foot decently well while allowing airflow over hotspots. However, some may find the Axon 3 fits a bit long in the toe box.

SAUCONY AXON 3 TOP VIEW
AXON 3 TOP VIEW

Saucony Triumph 21 TOP VIEW
TRIUMPH 21 TOP VIEW

The Saucony Triumph 21 runs slightly small so sizing up half a size is recommended. It has a more tapered, snugger fit through the midfoot and heel. The soft knit upper material provides adaptive support and a sock-like sensation around the foot.

Both shoes have removable insoles to accommodate orthotics if needed. The Triumph 21’s plush flat knit upper gives it the edge for overall fit and foot-hugging comfort right out of the box. But the Axon 3 should accommodate most foot shapes thanks to its true-to-size measurements and breathable upper.

Stability:

Since the Saucony Axon 3 and Triumph 21 are neutral shoes, they do not have any stability features to control overpronation. However, they provide decent midfoot support in different ways.

The Axon 3 has a semi-curved shape for a secure wrap around the midfoot and its upper overlays add some structure. The Triumph 21 relies on its snugger, tapered shape through the midfoot to maintain stability. It has less structure from overlays.

Cushioning-wise, the Axon 3’s lower, firmer stack provides more inherent stability compared to the soft, high stack of the Triumph 21. The additional foam underfoot in the Triumph 21 softens landings but allows for more rolling of the foot.

For those needing some pronation control, the Axon 3 would be the safer choice between the two. But neutral runners who don’t need correction will enjoy the plush landings of the Triumph 21. Both provide enough midfoot security for non-demanding training runs.

Cushioning:

The Saucony Axon 3 and Triumph 21 offer ample cushioning but utilize different midsole foams. The Axon 3 has a full-length PWRRUN PB midsole that provides a responsive, moderately cushioned ride. It gives a nice springy sensation underfoot without feeling overly soft or mushy.

In contrast, the Triumph 21 utilizes the plusher PWRRUN+ foam which delivers an ultra-cushioned feel. The additional stack height and softer foam of the Triumph 21 absorb impact very well for high mileage comfort. However, the bouncy ride may feel unstable at faster paces for some runners.

The exceptional softness of the Triumph 21 makes it the winner for cushioning and shock absorption. But the Axon 3 offers sufficient comfort underfoot at a lower price point, making it a better value for those seeking a moderately cushioned trainer.

Value for Money:

At a retail price of $100, the Saucony Axon 3 is a high-value neutral trainer with features that outperform its affordable cost. You get a durable outsole, responsive PWRRUN PB midsole, and engineered mesh upper that works well for daily mileage.

The $160 Saucony Triumph 21 comes with extras like a plush flat knit upper, more durable PWRRUN+ midsole, and extra cushioning. However, its premium price tag is quite steep. The Axon 3 provides the better bang for your buck, delivering a comfortable, well-constructed trainer for much less.

Unless you value the luxurious upper and max cushioning of the Triumph 21, the Axon 3 gives you the core performance you need at a fraction of the price. For budget-conscious runners or those wanting great value in their neutral trainer, the Axon 3 gets the win.

Performance Comparision:

For Walking:

For walking shoes, cushioning is important to absorb shock from heel-to-toe transitions. The Saucony Triumph 21 performs better in this area with its ultra-plush PWRRUN+ midsole that has more stack height than the Axon 3. The soft flat knit upper also wraps the foot in pillowy comfort that feels great when walking.

While the Axon 3 can work for easier walks, its firmer ride with less cushioning will fatigue the feet faster than the Triumph 21’s superior plushness. The Triumph 21 is the clear winner for all-day walking comfort.

For Running:

As daily trainers, both shoes work well for easy to moderate-pace running. However, the Saucony Axon 3 offers a more stable platform for faster training compared to the heavily cushioned Triumph 21.

The Axon 3’s lower profile and moderately soft midsole keep feet grounded better for quicker turnover. Meanwhile, the Triumph 21’s high stack and plushness can feel wobbly and slow trainees down.

For long, slower runs the Triumph 21’s extra cushioning brings welcomed comfort. But the Axon 3 gets the slight win for versatility across a variety of running paces – from daily jogging to tempo efforts.

For Plantar Fasciitis:

Runners with plantar fasciitis need good shock absorption and arch support in their shoes. The Saucony Triumph 21 is better equipped to relieve pain from this condition.

Its plush PWRRUN+ midsole cushions heel strikes exceptionally well while the contoured insole supports the arch. Though not as well-cushioned, the Axon 3 still has decent padding and arch support for mild cases.

However, its firmer ride may aggravate more sensitive feet. The Triumph 21’s superior combination of softness and support makes it the top choice if you’re managing plantar fasciitis. It better protects and stabilizes the plantar fascia.

For Standing All Day:

Cushioning and comfort are vital for shoes worn standing all day. Again, the Saucony Triumph 21 is the winner in this scenario. Its soft flat knit upper hugs the foot in plush comfort without any pressure points. Underfoot, the generous PWRRUN+ midsole absorbs the shock of long hours on your feet.

The Axon 3 can still work for moderate standing with its decent padding. But as the hours drag on, feet will likely feel fatigued faster than in the well-cushioned Triumph 21. For all-day wear, the Triumph 21 has a clear advantage.

Final Verdict:

Overall, the Saucony Triumph 21 edges out the Axon 3 in metrics like cushioning, comfort, and versatility making it the better choice for runners who prioritize a soft, luxurious feel. However, it comes at a steep $160 price tag.


The Axon 3 provides comparable performance to the Triumph 21 in key areas like stability, durability, and fit at almost half the cost. Unless you need extra cushioning and plushness, the Axon 3 is difficult to beat for value.

In the end, neutral runners who want maximum cushion and comfort are better off with the Triumph 21. But most runners will be very satisfied with the well-rounded performance and affordability of the Axon 3.

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