Saucony Peregrine review by Neil Bryant
I am on my second pair of these fantastic shoes. My first pair were the blue and black ones. I have been tinkering with minimalism a little but find that it is just too painful over long runs. Maybe with extensive building up training I could reach a level that would enable me to use really minimal shes but I don’t have the time to dedicate to this as I need to and want to do longer miles. I have lowered the amount of heel to toe differential I am comfortable with down to 4mm and below. I was on the look out for some off roaders that were Low heel to toe, lightweight but with average cushioning. Enter the Saucony Peregrine. When I first read about these I was interested. They where getting great reviews all over and seemed to be the shoe that did what I wanted and did it well. I ordered a pair and my first ride in them other than around the office at work was the North Downs Way 100 miler. I had a great race dropping below 20hrs. It left my feet not feeling as battered as normal, needless to say they instantly became my favourite shoe. So, how are they built…
The upper is constructed with a very fine mesh that is totally overlaid with a pvc-like skeleton that encases the entire upper. The fine mesh will of course help to keep grit from entering. The toe has a small but ample protector to look after those toes when you go kicking roots and rocks. The heel cup is pretty solid too providing some stability when you are tiring and your style is breaking down. On the medial side there is a piece of faux suede the reaches from the sole to the eye holes. I’m not sure what the purpose of this is if any. The tongue is gusseted providing a little more defence against debris entering. The tongue itself is reasonably padded but nothing over the top. It also has two fairly thick chunks of rectangular faux leather. The only purpose of these that I can imagine is to disperse the pressure of the laces on the top of the foot. Please let me know if anyone knows of any other reason. Internally the shoe is coated with Sauconys Hydrator Lining which provides ‘next-to-skin comfort and maximizing wicking’. The insole is very thin with little if any arch support that follows the minimal nature of these shoes. Let’s move down to the next level.
The stack height of the Peregrines is 21mm at the heel and 17mm for the forefoot giving a very low but comfortable 4mm differential. This shoe should be used with caution if you are used to standard running shoes. I am pretty good in 4mm diff now so these are ideal in that respect. Part of the reason for this shoes low weight is the low density midsole being constructed from ProGrid Lite which is supposed to react in a very similar way to the heavier ProGrid. It is a neutral shoe so there are no medial posts or any other support structures.
The outsole has the EBO (External Bedrock Outsole) rock protector adds some defence to this minimal shoe that will enable you to stretch the range of these shoes while keeping your feet comfortable, as proven by my maiden voyage in them. The outsole itself is manufactured with XT-900 rubber which is said to be a good balance of stickiness and durability. The tread itself is not exactly gnarly but certainly has some bite in it. The gaps are not too big but are open enough to release mud build up.
So, as mentioned previously I have ran a 100 miler in these straight out of the box which is perhaps not the most sensible of race plans but seemed to work. They were great leaving my feet feeling fresher than they normally would after a 100. The lightweight (258g) and excellent fit gave a comfortable and fast feel. They managed well on the short spells of road and the tread did well on rocks and trail. I have also ran in incredibly wet and boggy conditions and although not exactly up to the Inov-8 X-Talons standard for sticking to anything no matter how muddy it got, they coped admirably providing enough confidence to keep running and staying upright. During long very wet runs I did once have an issue with the thin insole sliding forward and creasing creating a rub point. Not great. The low profile gave a nice stable footing and the low heel gave my foot the natural landing I desire.
So, as you can see, I really like this shoe. Since the North Downs Way, It has been on a few more adventures, the last being my 100 miler on the Offa’s Dyke. If you read my post about this run you’ll appreciate that I and my Peregrines were really put through our paces. You’ll also see that I sadly had a shoe failure, which a few days later when I cleaned them both I discovered was in fact a double shoe failure! The uppers had started to tear away from the midsole on the lateral sides. It didn’t seem to be poor build quality, just weak material. I first noticed this at around the 95 mile point when I was pretty exhausted and was up on top of the hills as the night was drawing in. Not the time to actually lose the sole so that I would actually have no useable shoe. Pretty dangerous really. I made it to the end and have since had a new pair sent out from Saucony after I sent them some pictures of the damage. What do I think now after the bad experience on the Offa’s Dyke? Well they’re still one of, if not my favourite long distance, do anything off-road shoe. I did read somewhere that this has happened to other people and that it will be addressed in the new version that comes out later this year. I guess that having such a lightweight shoe is easy, but to have it so that it can handle hundreds of miles of off-road is not so easy. I was offered the choice to get my money back or to get the replacement shoes. I didn’t even think about it.
A fantastic off-road shoe that can cope very well with a wide spectrum of terrain, even coping very well on the road. The 4mm drop and low profile sole gives a really comfortable and natural gait that will enable you to run for hours and hours, with minimal pain from stones underfoot due to the effective rock protector. Yes, I had a failure with these and the insole was annoying when it creased up, but still completely endorse them as your do anything shoe. A real star in my ever growing shoe collection.