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Hands-on Gear Review
Saucony Peregrine 7 Review
Cons: Seams in the heel cup cause blisters, different fit than people are used to
Bottom line: Super aggressive traction make this shoe suitable for the gnarliest of conditions.
The Saucony Peregrine 7 is redesigned, and while there are many things to love about this new edition, there are a few things that were better in the older versions. This is a comfortable shoe that offers a great balance between sensitivity and underfoot protection. The mesh upper is very light and breathable, while the incredibly aggressive PWRTRAC outsole is amongst the best in this review. The shoe is slightly wider in the toe box than previous versions, and is not as stiff through the midsole as we are used to when we think of the Peregrine. Unfortunately, due to the pattern of sewn seams on the inside of the heel, numerous issues with heel blisters have been reported, although of course this hasn't happened to everyone. Overall, we think this is one of the better shoes that we tested, and one that we are happy to wear in any circumstances, although not quite as good compared to the competition as previous versions of the shoe.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
In previous years we have awarded the Peregrine our Editors' Choice Award as well as our Best Buy Award. Compared to the competition, however, we didn't feel that this new remake of the Peregrine 7 was as good as the Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2 v3 or The North Face Ultra Endurance. We still like this shoe a lot, and feel like it is one of the better ones in the review, but not the very best.
For those familiar with the Peregrine 5, we want to detail the ways in which the shoe has changed. The most notable change is the outsole traction, which now features lots of very aggressive lugs in a multi-directional pattern that is completely different than the old outsole. We also found this sole to be made of stickier rubber than the hard carbon rubber of the older soles. The upper mesh is lighter and breathes better, but has a smaller toe bumper and allows in a lot of dust. The shoe is slightly wider than the narrow Peregrine 5, and also a smidge longer. One of the main complaints is that the heel cup has been changed, and sewn seams along the inside of the heel have caused blisters in numerous internet accounts. It seems as if only a small percentage of people are dealing with this problem, and for those that do, they seem to get resolved after a break in period.
We awarded this shoe 7 out of 10 points for protection, comparable to the Salomon Speedcross 4 and the New Balance Leadville v3. It is not as stiff underfoot as the old versions of the shoe, although it does still feature the same mid-foot rock plate. With the added flexibility, comes a newfound balance between protection and sensitivity, two attributes that usually function at odds with each other. This shoe has adequate protection for the bottom of the foot while still maintaining good sensitivity. The upper is a bit lacking in protection, however, as the size and protectiveness of the toe bumper has shrunk, and the very minimal TPU film overlays do little to protect the sides of the feet or the lightweight mesh upper material.
The outsole traction is the most notable change to this shoe. It is simply intense to look at! Luckily, it performs as well as it seems like it should. While we thought the design of lugs and spacing was slightly more effective on the Salomon Speedcross 4, we never-the-less gave this shoe 9 out of 10 points, and feel like it was on par with the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3 and the Montrail Caldorado for excellent traction. The lugs are deep, there are a ton of them, and their multi-directional arrangement grips on any type of surface. They are soft enough to be really sticky, and hard enough to be durable and not rip off, a feature we tested extensively by taking them through miles of sharp granite talus and scrambling on an ascent of Ice Mountain in the Sawatch Range of Colorado. Simply put, we can't help but love the traction on these shoes.
With a 4mm heel-toe drop and a relatively low stack height, these shoes are fairly stable. Compared to the competition, though, we found them to be about average, on par with the Mizuno Wave Hayate 2 or the Brooks Cascadia 11. There is nothing inherently unstable about them, but when we put one shoe on one foot and a different shoe, like the Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2 v3 on the other, we just noticed that it wasn't quite as stable on off-camber terrain as the competition.
In the opinion of our head tester and others that we had test the shoe, this is one incredibly comfortable design. The wide toe box improves the comfort level, and the upper does a great job of holding the foot snugly in place, cushioned on all sides by great ankle padding. However, the norm these days for the inside of uppers is no sewn seams that can rub and create hot spots, and unfortunately, with a newly redesigned heel, Saucony included two vertical seams in the fabric right over the heel that create little ridges.
Read customer reviews online and you will hear a whole lot of people complaining of heel blisters, something that just doesn't happen much these days with the high quality of trail running shoe design. Our head tester for our women's review got blisters from these shoes, as did another female friend who ordered a fresh pair at the same time. It is worth noting that both of these women ended up loving their Peregrine 6's after they broke them in for a while, and customer reviewers seem to mostly agree. But still, the standard has long been set that trail running shoes should need no break in, and should be perfect out of the box. Hopefully this is an error that will be fixed in the next edition.
These light shoes weighed only 21 ounces for a pair of Men's size 11 fresh out of the box. That is among the lightest in the review, roughly comparable to the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3. When it comes to running shoes, it is our belief that light is right, so we love that these shoes didn't gain any weight from last edition.
Like we mentioned above, one of the great qualities of this shoe is the balance it strikes between sensitivity and underfoot protection. Even with a mid-foot rock plate, the midsole of this shoe is flexible and it retains a good amount of sensitivity. We awarded it 8 out of 10 points, roughly similar to the Altra Superior 2.0, but not nearly as sensitive as the highest scorer in this category, the La Sportiva Helios 2.0.
Although its low 4mm heel-toe drop places it in the low-profile category, we feel like this shoe behaves more like an everyday trainer, and is good for virtually any excursion. We think it is certainly protective enough to handle ultra runs, and we also liked how the protection and grip of the sole make it a good scrambler or peak bagger.
The Peregrine 6 will set you back $120, a price that is about average for a quality pair of trail running shoes. As one of the better performing shoes in this review, we feel like they present a good value for the price. It is worth noting that if you should have problems with the fit or comfort level, Saucony will take the shoes back and help replace them for you, making this a low-risk purchase.
The Saucony Peregrine has long been one of our favorite lines of trail running shoes, one we have bestowed numerous awards upon over the years. This year the shoe underwent quite an overhaul. While we still think there is a lot to love about this shoe, we can no longer call it the very best of the bunch. Still, few shoes do such a good job of melding trail feel with the protection of the rock plate, and the new outsole is both incredibly grippy and durable. These are a pair of shoes worthy of any running mission.
Other Versions and Accessories
Saucony Peregrine 6 - Women's
— Andy Wellman
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