This is a shoe, very close to my heart. Why ? I had all the models. I mean really from the first edition to this last one, all of them and multiple of them. My very favorite was the 5th sneaker. It had an indestructible outsole, a very strong toe-bumper, comfort, just enough cushioning and precision toe-box but wide mid-foot. For me it was the perfect choice for long scrambling days in the mountains, fast races up to 80km and for training in general.
Since then, the shoe went through big changes. A major update happened to the 6th in case of upper, outsole, midsole and Everun heal foam layer. To the 7th they added 1mm more cushioning and a full length Everun top foam.
After customer feedback, Saucony probably realised that despite the comfort of P7, the mesh’s durability was an issue and minor problems appeared with the outsole too. Every single trail-mountain athlete know on the planet that no midsole or rock-plate should be exposed beneath the outsole ! This is where rocks and other objects can poke through, and also grasp on the rubber and tear it off ! We see this constantly happening with all Hoka shoes, with 2 previous Cascadia editions, the Xodus Iso first edition, the Salomon Sense shoes and so forth.
In case of the Sense however, I understand the giant holes, as they carved off like 50grams of rubber and EVA. In the Peregrine, they did this probably to stay just under 300grams, but honestly, there is no point to decrease durability just for that 8 extra grams. Of course, they wanted to show off the carbon-fibre textured Rockplate too, however outsoles should have only function to them, not fashion !
The second, mid-year release has a different mesh. Probably the thermo-welding is more stable and will not cause any issues like we have seen with V1, where all layers kind of got unglued after just a couple of kilometres of mountain use. I did 3 outings of 12hours – fast and light – and the shoe looked like it had a thousand miles in it ! Two of my trail running mates had the exact same experience with the shoe after the ultra running race, TransGrancanaria:
– Excellent shoe, very comfortable with enough of everything, however the upper durability is an issue.
Who do I recommend the shoe for ?
- For already minimalist, sporty runners with a nice forefoot stride. For them the shoe could potentially hold up to the 100miles distance. In case of sky-running the limit I would set would be around the 30 km mark. I would rather choose a hard midsole, hard toe bumper and protective rand, like on the Bushido !
For fast races the shoe is also just epic. 15 to 25km technical or 50 to 80km not too rocky not too techy !
- For heel strikers or non-efficient runners, the shoe might still offer some benefits. Practicing running form and using it as a transitional footwear. As a racing shoe up to the 20km mark.
- For hard pronators or supinators, if they had an orthopaedic insole. I would be very careful with this model. It is really contrary to choose a minimalist shoe what favours natural running motion and add an orthopaedic insole. It is like buying a V12, but using the wheels of a Trabant ! Get your feet re-worked and re-educated – what might take years due 3 decades of abuse – and just then go into natural shoes.
Advice to the Saucony Brand
I think they already know this: We cannot and should not want to please all runners !
The Peregrine is super flexible with a 4mm drop and is a historically light shoe. Until edition 5 it was a minimalist mountain racer with a way more comfortable fit and feel than for instance the La Sportiva Bushido for the exact same purpose. Technical, light and fast mountain racing shoe. It was often compared to the La Sportiva C-Lite or the X-Country and the Adidas Adizero XT 4 ! All of them were great scrambling companions !
Peregrin 1 to 5 with te red 5th edition as my favorite ever shoe !
I think to please the US runners, where running fast on groomed trails is the current hype, they added cushioning, what increased weight and the shoe ended up with less durable and substantially less protective upper.
What I want to say with this, that after 5 editions of one type of shoe, they continued with 2 editions of another type of shoe.
In addition to this mishap the Peregrine 8 is again way different. A bit more and stiffer toe bumper will appear, with another 2,5mm added to it’s cushioning, the 8th edition will boast a 25mm/21mm, 4mm offset stack ! There will be no rock-plate, the midsole will be a different kind, a PwrFoam and the outsole will be more agressive, but with the still remaining exposed midsole foam. It seams that this model is still not decided, to which market to serve. Either ways, unfortunately we will not talk about a light shoe anymore, as 320grams will be way too heavy for speedy mountain racing.
So to return to the line of thought about which running-populations to serve. Saucony has no shoes in all line up for all type of runners. The KOA ST is a superbly agressive shoe, but only for athletes like me, with a large and wide feet. What a great great shoe, but narrow footed mountain athletes are still going to search for Inov 8, IceBug or other shoes. The Xodus is on the contrary for narrow feet with it’s IsoFit construction and is a cushioned moderate trail running shoe for mid to long distances (What used to be a technical brut’ with a sturdy Vibram Outsole). So if you needed the same for wide feet, you go over to another brand like Altra, Topo, Nike Wildhorse or even the Akasha is wider. The Peregrine has low stack height, great flexibility, light weight and just enough under foot protection for nearly anything, but with no protective rand and no toe-bumper. Inov 8, Adidas and even Brooks has shoes that correspond for instance to the 5th Edition of the Peregrine.
If you understood my line of thinking, you realised that, not only in the trail shoe line-up of Saucony, but in any brands’ shoe range, all runners needs cannot be covered. Each model should go into a certain direction, to let customers come back year after year for that particular model. This is how all these brands can stay alive and fill each other’s gaps. Look at the Ultra Raptor or the XA PRO ULTRA 3D ! Those shoes are not really getting any major updates, talking about cushioning, protection, fit and form, sizing and so. But surprise ! They are selling like candy forever with so little guaranty returns. This was the situation with the old Peregrine and Xodus too !
The brand should choose it’s direction for each of it’s shoes ! They really should be having a team, getting those models tested, reviewed and updated in the view of one collective decision.
PS: I base my ideas on 7 years of personal experiences with the Saucony Peregrine and Xodus, but also on selling and advising these models to runners and personal training clients. The year after year, long term trend of customer returns and reviews are the most important crucial information what any running shoe brands should use as principal development guide ! Actually this is what social media management should cover on the first place, way before Facebook and Twitter hashtags happen ! Basically it is “free immediate product feedback” without spending a cent on advertisement, market research, ambassadorship and sponsoring !