Sunday, May 01, 2011

Review: Nimble Saucony ProGrid Peregrine Trail Runner is also a Mighty Fine Road Runner

I have had 2 pairs of the Saucony ProGrid Kinvara and have liked their low (4mm) heel to toe drop and light weight. My only complaints has been that the combination of light soft, foam and minimal upper makes the Kinvara somewhat mushy and sloppy for me.
Saucony Peregrine

 I saw the Saucony ProGrid Peregrine at Outdoor Retailer this winter. Saucony offered to send me a review pair.  I sensed that while a trail runner the Peregrine might solve some some of the minor issues I had with the Kinvara, on the road, while also being a lightweight responsive trail runner in the mold of the Inov-8 295 and 305's.  I am always looking for that elusive shoe that performs equally well on trail and roads. Could the Peregrine be a shoe for all terrains?

After approximately 40 miles of hard pack gravel trails, muddy Utah single track and  a good deal of pavement  I am very impressed with the Peregrine. It is indeed a close cousin of the Kinvara. It shares the same 4mm drop, and  roomy, non restrictive toe box.
Roomy Non Restrictive Toe Boxes
Peregrine (left)                     Kinvara (right) 


Differences between Peregrine and Kinvara:

  • Peregrine has a more traditional upper with a welded on overlay of ovals to reinforce the upper. It also has a  secondary fabric over the instep (see below). The Kinvara's only has light welded instep reinforcements under the upper. Peregrine while not a stability shoe has a very small piece of hard plastic down near the outer sole on both sides of the arch. The Kinvara has none. 
  • Peregrine has a real heel counter vs. a mininal heel counter on Kinvara 
  • a deeply lugged sole for Peregrine vs. a blown rubber midsole with reinforcement patches for Kinvara. While I have not had sole durability issues with my Kinvara,  I retired them when the upper got sloppy  the Peregrine clearly has a more durable outer sole.
    Kinvara (left)        Peregrine (right)
  • The outer sole on the Peregrine is narrower in the heel and mid foot and about the same in the forefoot.
  • When the more reinforced and traditional upper is combined with firmer heel counter, narrower overall footprint and lugged sole the Peregrine feels more responsive and supportive, especially on the road. And few would want to take the Kinvara on a trail, the Peregrine's true home!
  • The Peregrine is heavier at 9.7 oz vs. 7.7 oz for Kinvara.  Not much heavier in my view based on what you get for those 2 oz. 
  • The total stack height for Peregrine is 24mm heel/ 20 mm forefoot vs. 21mm/17mm for the Kinvara
* Weight and stack height from Running Warehouse.

On the Trail:
I ran some muddy, non technical single track in Park City's Round Valley last week.
Round Valley, Park City UT looking towards Park City Mountain and Deer Valley
Western mud can be very sticky due to the clay and most shoes end up with a block of mud which one has to scrape off on rocks. Peregrine evacuated the mud very nicely indeed. I was pleasantly surprised.

While the trails I ran weren't particularly rocky, I felt sure footed and didn't feel any "rock stabs" through the sole.  Peregrine is a great Western trails shoe. A test of rocky, rooty New England trails will follow this week.

On the Road:
The Peregrines are proving to be an excellent road shoe. A bit slappy due to the lugged sole they are very responsive and well cushioned. The combination of more substantial upper, the lugged sole, and thus higher overall height, give a great ride on pavement. A touch firmer than Kinvara, likely due to the narrower heel and firmer outsole material, they have a great road feel and sense of directed forward motion.

Pros:
Under 10 oz. trail runner which can handily double as a very capable road runner. Not sure yet if it is better road or trail runner as it handles both well. So far no compromises on either trail or road with a single shoe. Low drop at 4mm for more a natural mid foot running form. Roomy toe box. Deeply lugged, durable sole has great trail grip.

Cons:
None so far. Have not tested on technical rocky rooty single track as of yet.

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