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Hands-on Gear Review
Saucony Peregrine 7 Review
Cons: Outsole lugs have a propensity to rip off, insole slides forward when wet
Bottom line: A comfortable shoe with incredible traction that is suitable for literally any sort of adventure – off trail or on.
The Saucony Peregrine 7 was the third highest scoring shoe overall in our 2017 review, drastically improved from a year ago. While the changes made in this year's model are minimal in appearance, they are very noticeable in improving the comfort and fit, especially in what used to be a very problematic heel. The insanely aggressive and grippy PWRTRAC outsole remains this shoe's top selling point, but solid performance across the board, including surprising sensitivity, helped vault it to the top of our ratings. There is no doubt this is a versatile shoe, as home in sloppy mud as smooth and dry trails, and one of the best options for off trail running and scrambling.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Saucony Peregrine 7 is the latest update to this always popular trail running shoe, and more importantly, vastly improves on some design flaws that plagued the redesigned Peregrine 6. The most notable change is that the heel cup is smaller and softer, and no longer gouges into your Achilles tendon, causing lacerating blisters as the previous version did. An entirely new lacing system combines with new TPU overlay patterns to do a far more efficient job of holding the foot securely in place, while also providing more upper durability. And the Everun foam compound has been extended from only being present in the heel to provide responsive cushioning throughout the entire midsole. All of these improvements, paired with the same pin-cushion like outsole, make this one of the most sensitive and grippy shoes in our review — and one of the highest scorers!
When focusing on underfoot protection, we would say that the Everun midsole paired with the carbon fiber rock plate protects pretty good, but not great. On the other hand, this is one of those shoes that for us offers a nearly perfect blend of both adequate protection and great sensitivity, without unduly favoring either. When performing our foot protection test by running back and forth over a pile of jagged talus blocks, we felt like it offered nearly the same amount of protection as our best overall trail running shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4, but was not as protective as the Vasque Constant Velocity, which had a harder outsole and midsole. The upper has been redesigned this year with far more TPU overlays, intentionally shifted to cover the points on the forefoot of highest wear, and that is an improvement. On the other hand, the toe bumper is nothing more than a TPU overlay, and we wish there was more to help against stubbing our toes on rocks. 6 out of 10 points.
Traction is, without doubt, a selling point of this shoe, and we found that it was extremely useful across all mediums. It is comprised of a ton of deep, multi-directional lugs that are reminiscent of a bed of nails. In our testing on steep grass, dirt, rock, and mud, it gripped nearly perfectly. Only when we tested it intensively on slabs of wet rock was it anything but perfect, which allowed the Inov-8 Roclite 290 to slip in and take top honors for this metric. We thought it performed the same as the longtime benchmark for trail running shoe traction, the Salomon Speedcross 4. Worth pointing out, however, is that these lugs have a propensity to rip off before the shoe is worn out. We experienced this with our old pair of Peregrine 6's, and have seen it happen to friends' pairs of 7's. 9 out of 10 points.
When it comes to stability, we ranked this shoe slightly above average. While its low 4mm heel-toe drop and minimal 17.5mm stack height under the forefoot mean that it rides low to the ground, we experienced slight amounts of foot slippage inside the shoe that compromised our stability while on steep side-hills. We found this effect to be very similar to what we experienced when side-hilling in the New Balance Vazee Summit v2, which was also very comfortable but allowed a small amount of sideways foot slippage. No doubt we are being nit-picky here, but it wasn't as stable as the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4.
As we have already mentioned, this shoe fixes the drastic comfort errors of its immediate predecessor by changing up the materials used in the heel cup and adding more padding, such that this no longer presents a blister and curse-word inducing appraisal of the shoe. It is wider than an average shoe in the forefoot and has a relatively narrow heel, and hugs the foot through the midfoot fairly well.
We think that it is true to size when considering length. If we had any complaints, it would be that there is some stitching overlaps near the top eyelets of the laces that rub and proved to be slight hotspots against the tops of our feet. We also found it to be about average in our water bucket test, neither absorbing a ton of water, nor the least. In the end, we think this shoe was of The North Face Ultra Endurance and Altra Lone Peak 3.5, but doesn't quite display the ultimate comfort of the two Nike shoes we tested.
Our pair of men's size 11 shoes weighed in at 21.4 ounces, slightly better than average. This accorded it the same score as the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 and the Nike Terra Kiger 4. When out running, we felt that the weight was unnoticeable.
As we mentioned before, this is a very sensitive shoe for how protective it is, offering nearly a perfect balance between the two attributes. While the deep rubber lugs effectively dampen a little bit of the sensitivity, it remains very flexible and adapts well to what is underfoot. We felt that it was of similar sensitivity as both the Inov-8 Roclite 290 and the New Balance Vazee Summit v2, both of which were markedly less protective. So for those who like to dance around the rocks but also not pay the price when they mess up, this is a great option for you. 8 out of 10 points.
The Peregrine 7 is a high performing, low profile shoe with excellent traction. It is best suited to difficult conditions, such as cross country and mud, but is also light and sensitive enough to be great in any trail running circumstances. While we love it for scrambling due to the very sticky thread, there is no doubt running too much in excessively rocky conditions will shorten the life of the tread.
This shoe retails for $120, which is right about average for a trail running shoe these days. Because it is one of the highest scorers in our review, we feel that it obviously presents good value. However, if you expect a top end amount of usage before the shoe begins to break down, then we think this shoe only presents average value overall.
The Saucony Peregrine 7 is the third highest rated shoe in our review due to its steady and even performance across all our testing metrics. It is especially noteworthy for the awesomeness of its traction, and the fact that it strikes a fantastic balance between underfoot protection and sensitivity, two attributes that are generally at odds with each other. While it retains most of the familiar features of its predecessor, Saucony has done a great job of fixing the most glaring problems with that shoe, in particular, the fit and comfort of the heel.
— Andy Wellman
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