Even now, with the Xodus shoe in its 4th version and some of my review now invalid (due to composition changes in the shoe), that two year-old post of mine still gets about 500 hits a month from around the world, and has received a stupefying 12,000 hits in total since May of 2009. To compare, the post that ranks in 2nd place all-time on this blog only has about 2,500 total hits. Shoot, if you Google "Saucony Xodus Review", my post is the #1 result, which is just ridiculous. Of course, this popularity has nothing to do with me or my writing, it's 100% a result of the fact that until much more recently no one else bothered to write a real review of this great shoe! With the same intention of spreading the word on a great new trail shoe, I present to you my second-ever full shoe review: This one for the 2011 Saucony Peregrine. Keep in mind I have no affiliation with Saucony on any level. I'm just trying to help out any other trail runners who may be curious about this shoe.
|The Saucony Peregrine|
Before talking about how the shoes felt on the trails, let's look at the composition of the shoe:
First off the overall package comes in at less than 10oz. per shoe. They claim 9.1oz. on the Saucony website, but since an "official" weight like that is usually based on a shoe smaller than my size 12s, I think mine tip the scales closer to 10oz. each. Regardless of where your shoe falls in the 9-10oz. window, running in the Peregrines nicely reminds you you're not in a 13oz+ trail shoe with every stride. *This is probably a good time to mention that you should order this shoe 1/2 size larger than you normally do (even if you're always an 11.5 in Sauconys, you'll need a 12 in this shoe - I'm glad I heeded that advice before buying mine).
When you pick up the Peregrine, you quickly realize just about every one of its ounces is located in the outsole. The lugs are packed in tight and vary in shape/size/angle like shards of glass from a broken beer bottle. ...and you know how tough it is to pick up pieces of broken glass without one of the random edges cutting into your skin? Well, these aggressive lugs do the same thing to the terrain below your feet on every step. No matter if you're stepping on a root, a rock, or a slick stretch of mud, there will be a sharp and sticky lug (or ten) perfectly positioned to allow your foot to dig in solidly. Even more impressive than the smartly shaped and angled lugs is the tremendously grippy rubber they used. It's worth noting that, unlike the Xodus/Razor line of Saucony trail shoes from the past couple years, they didn't outsource the outsole of the Peregrine to Vibram. One way or another this probably means they're committing a bit more to their own investment in the trail running world, which can only means good things for future product development.
|The proud "Saucony" stamp replaces the Vibram logo from the recent past. You can see how the lugs on the left edge of the shoe vary in size, angle, and depth to grab onto anything you come across on a trail.|
|Plenty of mid-sole padding between you and the ground - not a "cushy" ride, but one that protects much more than a shoe like the NB MT101 while still allowing for a responsive, "connected" feel to the trail.|
Where the term "minimalist" can definitely be applied is when checking out the shoe's upper. The royal blue layer of closed mesh makes up the main body of the upper, with thin black overlays added in for mid-foot support. There's a solid heel-cup to keep your foot in place, but no other major rigid elements like notable a toe bumper or the Saucony "arch-lock" reinforcement.
Since my feet are apparently composed of random bone ridges and bumps that no other member of the human race has, I usually need to grab a knife and cut out some portion of a shoe's ankle-collar to fit me just right. With the Peregrine, that meant slicing out a 1/2 inch piece on the top of my right shoe. This is a notable point because cutting into the shoe there allowed me to take this photo and show how thin the upper of this shoe actually is. As you can see, this is the upper at its "thickest" point (with added overlay for lace attach-point and a tiny bit of padding in the ankle collar). The rest of the shoe is mostly just as thin as the blue layer alone...so yeah, it's super thin.
|While the blue layer is beyond-thin, it also kept 100% of the debris out of my shoes, so it's a worthy weave indeed.|
|That highly flexible black-mesh "feather" overlay provides all of the support in the upper (which isn't a whole lot!)|
***100 Mile Update*** 3/15/2011
Ok, now that I've put 100 trail miles in on my Peregrines, and I'd like to add a few comments: First, on technical and rocky trails, you'll notice that the lack of reinforcements in the upper (which were left out to reduce weight and keep the shoe "minimal") allow your foot to move around a little too much for my liking when pushing off rocks in a side-to-side fashion. Not much you can do about it (tying laces tighter helps a bit, but at the cost of being uncomfortable on the top of your foot), and every time I hit a rough patch of trail that has my foot sliding around, I can't help but think an built-in sock/sleeve on future versions would help a bit. Also, the tread continues to impress on all surfaces (I basically walked 50 feet straight up and down a smooth and dusty 60-degree red-rock in Sedona last week and didn't slip one inch), but the lack of a rock-plate becomes readily apparent on longer rock trail runs. After 30 miles of rock-hopping that same day in AZ, my feet were pretty tenderized.