Friday, January 27, 2017

Saucony Peregrine 7 Review - All the Greatness of the Peregrine 6, with Improvements

by Jeff Valliere

Saucony Peregrine 7
9.4 oz/266 g US Mens size 9; 8.4 oz/238 gWo mens size 8
22.5mm heel/18.5mm forefoot
$120 available now
Saucony Peregrine 7
The Saucony Peregrine 7 is the 3rd consecutive iteration of this shoe that I have tested.  The Peregrine 5 had so much going for it, but it was super stiff and just rubbed my heels raw.  The Peregrine 6 (my review here) was completely revamped and even though I found it to be a bit stiff at first, it broke in nicely after a few runs and became one of my favorite shoes for moving fast on a wide variety of terrain.  Not wanting to mess with a good thing, Saucony made just a few minor changes to the Peregrine in it's 7th version.
Saucony Peregrine 7
Upper:
The upper is the biggest and most noticeable change to the Peregrine 7, with a TPU Exoskeleton for enhanced support and protection.  The Peregrine 6 had FlexFilm overlays similar to those on Saucony  road shoes.
Saucony Peregrine 6
The fit of this new upper felt a bit different to me, slightly more roomy and voluminous in the forefoot than the Peregrine 6, enough so that I had to double check the size to be sure the shoe was not a 10.5 vs. my normal 10.  In addition to the added volume, the Peregrine 7 runs slightly longer than the 6.  Initially I feared this to be a bit of an issue for my lower volume foot, particularly how it would perform in technical terrain, but those worries were mostly unfounded, as the TPU exoskeleton locks the midfoot down incredibly well.

The toe bumper is an extension of the TPU exoskeleton, wrapping around the entire forefoot.  It is pretty flexible and light and offers very little stub protection.
Saucony Peregrine 7
Ventilation in the Peregrine 7 remains excellent.

Side by side with the Peregrine 6 (top).  The metal gaiter ring found in previous versions is no longer present.  I have never found a need for it, instead preferring to attach my gaiters to a lower lace.
The heel counter is more sturdy where there is black plastic, but is overall semi flexible and has good support/protection.
Saucony Peregrine 7
Side by side with the Peregrine 6 (left), very similar feel with just some aesthetic changes.

The heel collar has a bit thicker padding than previous versions and is shaped such that it holds the heel better.
Saucony Peregrine 7
The gusseted tongue is well padded and comfortable, of medium thickness.
Saucony Peregrine 7
Midsole:
The EVA midsole cushioning is essentially the same, but with a full length Everun topsole vs. the Everun heel insert found in version 6.  Saucony claims that this will increase energy return, but I honestly found it difficult to tell, even when running with a Peregrine 6 on one foot and a 7 on the other.  Either way, cushioning is firm, yet adequate for a half day of running for most people (longer for those who don't require as much cushion) and is quite fast and responsive.
Saucony Everun Saucony.com
Saucony Peregrine 7
Saucony Peregrine 7
Outsole:
The PWRTRAC outsole with EBO rockplate is unchanged.  These lugs are very aggressive and are amazing off trail in loose technical terrain, in the snow, mud and just about anywhere else.  The rubber compound has average to above average stickyness in the wet and on dry rock.  Rock protection is very good, as the EBO rockplate seems as though it would stop a bullet.  It is a bit stiff at first, but I found that it broke in and became more flexible after just 10 miles or so.  Durability is also excellent, as wear is very minimal, if non existent after 35 or so miles.
Saucony Peregrine 7

The lugs are appropriately directional and are extremely effective, but not cumbersome or a detriment on smoother, more tame surfaces.
Saucony Peregrine 7
Compared with the Peregrine 6, essentially identical aside from color.

I have about 100 rough miles on the Peregrine 6 (yellow outsole) and though dirty, show very little wear.

Performance/Summary/Recommendations:

The Peregrine 7 is a light, fast and nimble trail shoe that can handle just about any type of terrain at any speed.  They especially shine on rough trails, steep gradients, loose surfaces, snow and mud, as the aggressive outsole is very grabby and versatile.  Ground feel is somewhat muted by the rock plate, but I find that to be more of a benefit than a detriment, given the rocky terrain that I prefer.  They are quite stable and contour well over terrain despite the stiff plate.  Response is excellent and these beg to go fast, run very well on hard surfaces and even work well for several miles of pavement if looking for a great door to trail shoe.  The Peregrine 7 does just as well at lesser speeds too, so will satisfy a wide range of runners.  

Like Peregrines of the past, I found them to be quite stiff out of the box, but also found that they broke in much quicker than the previous version and with the improved molded padding in the heel, any heel lift/rubbing that I found in previous versions is eliminated.  The new upper locks the midfoot very well and looks to be a bit more durable (though I have seen no issues with the upper on the Peregrine 6).  Despite my initial hesitation on the added room in the forefoot, I quickly came to appreciate it.  I did find that it was slightly noticeable on very steep, off trail sidehilling, but was not really problematic, I was just slightly aware.

I would recommend the Peregrine 7 for anyone looking for a fast all mountain racer/trainer, or anybody just looking for a high quality, lightweight, versatile trail shoe for just about any terrain. 
Saucony Peregrine 7
Saucony Peregrine 7
Comparisons:

Peregrine 7 vs. Peregrine 6 - Nearly identical shoes.  If you happen to find a closeout deal on the 6, then snap them up!

Peregrine 7 vs. adidas Terrex Trailmaker - similar shoes given their all mountain versatility.  I would give the Peregrine 7 the edge in regards to speed and responsiveness, but the Trailmaker has a bit better traction due to the sticky rubber Continental Outsole.  The Trailmaker is a bit heavier (over an ounce), but has better cushion and protection.

Peregrine 7 vs. adidas XT 5 Boost - a toss up, both are similar weight and are built for speed.  For looser terrain, the Peregrine 7 lugs would be an advantage and the Peregrine is better for longer distances.  The XT 5 Boost however would be preferable on less technical terrain, or a mix of terrain over half marathon distance or less.

Jeff's Score 9.8/10

-.1 for forefoot security
-.1 for soft and not so protective toe bumper

The Peregrine was provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.
Photo Credit: Jeff Valliere
Jeff Valliere's Bio

Jeff Valliere is a former pro cyclist who now runs and climbs the mountains of Colorado. He has been top 5 Masters, top 25 overall, at the Pike's Peak Marathon several times, finishing 3d Masters this year. Jeff loves vertical accumulating more than 500,000 vertical feet per year, has climbed all the 14's and 200 of the 13's and has held FKT on several.  He often runs and climbs at night. Passionate about the sport but also the gear he has reviewed hundred of shoes for various magazines and sites and participated in product testing for many brands.  Formerly a bike mechanic he now works in Satellite Imagery. He has twin 5 year old daughters who keep him ever busier yet.


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Friday, January 20, 2017

In Depth Comparative Review: Skechers Performance GOmeb Razor & GOrun 5

Review by Peter Stuart and Patrick Caron

Editor's Note:

Skechers Performance has released the new GOmeb Razor and the updated GOrun 5

Both models share:

  • nearly identical weights of around 7.5 oz/213 g in a men's 9 
  • identical midsole stack of 14 mm/18 mm and total stack height of 22mm/30mm
  • GOKnit uppers
  • 5GEN midsole
  • same outsole
Left: GOrun 5                                              Right: GOmeb Razor
So what are the technical differences between these two shoes?
  • the GOrun 5 upper uses a circular knit GOKnit for a sock like fit while the GOmeb Razor uses a more supportive flat knit GOKnit material to get that secure fit Meb prefers.
  • the lacing system is different with fewer lace loops on the GOrun 5 for a more slipper like fit
  • the Razor heel counter is wider at the foot and achilles levels and is firmer than the GOrun 5
  • the shared 5GEN midsole material is firmer in the Razor

I briefly ran in both shoes and found the Razor firmer with a looser heel hold. The GOrun 5 had a less supportive yet very comfortable foot hold and seemed a touch pointier both likely due to the less structured circular knit upper. 

Left: GOrun 5                                              Right: GOmeb Razor
Let's hear what Peter and Patrick thought. Peter is a sub 3 hour marathon Masters runner.  Patrick is a 19 year old ultra runner who had the 9th fastest US 100 mile time of 2016, 14:51. He was also the 1st finisher under 20 years of age at the 2016 Boston Marathon(2:46)  along with winning several other 2016 ultras wins.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Skechers GOrun 5. PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com

GOmeb Razor Razor

Peter:
Aha, this is the goldilocks shoe from Skechers!!! First run in this shoe suggests that it’s exactly what the earlier shoes suggested was possible. I liked the GoRun series, but found it to be slightly too little shoe—sometimes a little too soft and too flexible. The GoSpeed was just a little too stiff for my preferences (I know, I know they work great for Meb and when I can run 4:40’s I may like them better!). The Razor completely nails the space between those two shoes. The Skechers Razor is a super light (7.7 oz for a men’s 9) daily trainer and racer with a heel height of 18mm and forefoot of 14mm. It’s firmer than the GoRun series without feeling at all stiff. I’ve run easy, run long and run fast in them and it has been a joy across all runs.

Patrick:
These shoes scream speed right out of the box and their flashy, patterned design is certain to turn some heads. As someone who sticks to low-drop, lightweight shoes, the GOmeb Razor fits right in amongst the rest of my trainers, offering a natural and versatile ride.

GORun 5
Peter:
A really nice update to the GORun series. The upper is slipper-like, super comfortable and fits well. They weigh 7.5 oz (men’s 9) and have the same 18mm/14mm stack height of the Razor. They are a softer ride than the Razor, and are really fun to run in.
Patrick:
The similarity in the look and specs of the GOrun 5 to the GOmeb Razor is wild, considering how vastly different they feel on the foot and on the run. A snugger, narrower upper makes the GOrun 5 seem more like a racer, although it’s softer midsole would beg to differ. This plush, cushioned feel makes it perfect for longer races, protecting runners from wear and tear while still providing some rebound.

UPPER & FIT

Left: GOrun 5                                              Right: GOmeb Razor
Peter:
Both the Razor and the GoRun5 have GoKnit™ uppers. They both fit true to size and have soft, supportive uppers. The Razor has 6 eyelets (with another to use for lace-lock) while the GoRun5 has only 3 eyelets (also with an extra eyelet up top). This is the major difference in the uppers of these two shoes and has a real effect on the feeling of the shoes. While the GoRun5 feels like a slipper and lightly holds the foot, the Razor is a more traditional lacing and more solidly holds the foot in place. This makes for a more standard running shoe feel, and is a very secure fit.
Both shoes seem to have varying densities of knit for breathability and hold. The GoRun5 has a “Quick Fit” feature on the back, which is essentially a pull-tab on the back of the heel to yank the shoe on or off. This is a nice feature for triathlon. The heel counter on the Razor seems a bit more substantial than the counter on the GoRun5.
Skechers GOmeb Razor. PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com
Patrick:
Skechers GOrun 5  PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com
GOmeb Razor
The step in feel of this shoe is great. Featuring a GO KNIT upper, the GOmeb Razor provides a secure yet freeing feel around the foot. The upper material is a bit thicker than the material used on the GOrun 5, likely improving the durability of the shoe. The flexible upper combined with the more natural foot shape (no pointy toe box here!) has meant zero foot issues for me, no matter what the distance (and as a fan of sockless running for practically all my runs, this is definitely something I’m happy about). The heel counter has a “barely there” feel and the width of the heel is about average. The reflective detailing on the upper is a nice touch, making them highly visible in low-light conditions.

Left: GOmeb Razor                                       Right: Razor GOrun 5

GOrun 5 
The GOrun 5 features a GO KNIT upper similar to the GOmeb Razor, but is made of a thinner and softer material. There is also an integrated inner support strap-on either side of the second eyelet. This, combined with a narrower last and lower forefoot volume, gives the shoe a dialed-down fit, like that of a racing flat. The laces do not have as many eyelets as the GOmeb Razor (or your typical shoe), which means they have to be pulled a bit tighter to feel secure. The GOrun 5 also features a narrower heel, which holds the foot nicely. A quick-fit pull tag is also attached allowing for quick on and offs. Sockless runs in the GOrun 5 left me with no worries!


MIDSOLE & OUTSOLE
Peter:
Both the Razor and the GORun 5 feature 5GEN® cushioning for the midsole with a layer of blown rubber covering areas of the mid-foot, forefoot and heel. There’s not a ton of blown rubber underneath, but grip and ride are great. What’s really interesting is that with both shoes featuring the same material, with seemingly the same layout of blown rubber, they ride quite differently.

Both shoes have some exposed midsole, and I’m starting to see a little bit of wear around the edges (where there’s no blown rubber). I’m not sure it will be problematic, but I’m keeping an eye on it.
Skechers GOmeb Razor PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com
Patrick:
GOmeb Razor - The midsole of the GOmeb Razor is made of Skechers 5Gen material. While running they have a firm feel with a bit of pop, but still offer plenty of cushion for longer runs. The GOmeb Razor also features a full ground contact outsole (with a diagonal/diamond pattern), with some additional durable rubber in the heel and forefoot. This really impressed me, as it led to a very smooth ride. The GOmeb Razor is designed to be a more cushioned version of the GOmeb Speed, but still offers plenty of energy return for faster efforts.

GOrun 5 - Just like the GOmeb Razor, the midsole of the GOrun 5 utilizes Skechers 5Gen material, although it’s durometer (hardness) is a few notches down. The outsole has the same full ground contact outsole (with a diagonal/diamond pattern), designed to provide grip on a variety of surfaces.

RIDE
Peter:
This is where the Razor and the GoRun5 are clearly two different shoes:
GOmeb Razor : The Razor is firmer, has more support through the arch and a ‘snappier’ feel. The relative firmness allows for speedier turnover when you step on the gas. The Razor’s firmness doesn’t prevent it from being well-cushioned and protective of the forefoot. It’s a nice middle-ground and holds up well over long miles.

GORun 5: The GoRun5 is a fairly soft shoe. It ALMOST feels like it will bottom out, while never really doing so. On most of my runs so far in the GoRun5, the first mile has felt a little too soft, and all subsequent miles have felt just right. It’s a nice long-run shoe and goes fast if you need it to, but I do feel that you lose a little bit of energy return from the road due to the softness of the forefoot.
Skechers GOmeb Razor PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com
Patrick:
GOmeb Razor - The GOmeb Razor has a very unique (in a good way!) ride. The snappiness was very apparent, and I found myself looking to pick up the pace while wearing this shoe. The versatility of the shoe is pretty surprising, as I’ve taken this pair with me on a wide range of runs and paces over the past couple weeks. Whether you’re racing or headed out for a casual jaunt around the neighborhood this shoe will live up to your expectations every time.

GOrun 5 - The GOmeb Razor and GOrun 5 both come in at around 7.5 ounces, and both have an airy, “barely there” feel on your feet. The ride of the GOrun 5 differs from that of the GOmeb Razor in that it has a softer underfoot, with a bit of bounce to it. The GOrun 5 also features a full ground contact outsole like the GOmeb Razor, making the transition from landing to toeing off very fluid. Similar to the GOmeb Razor, the GOrun 5 can be used for a variety of runs, but based off of the fit of the upper, I personally think the GOrun 5 is better suited for race day or a hard, uptempo workout.

RECCOMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Skechers GOrun 5  PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com
Peter:
Both of these shoes feel like a significant step forward for Skechers. It’s interesting to try to figure out how two shoes with nearly identical specs feel so different on the road. Ultimately, the Razor feels like a daily trainer/distance racer while I might use the GoRun as more of a recovery and daily trainer. I guess it depends more on the mood I’m in. They’re both terrific shoes. Skechers has dropped the M-Strike and gone to a more typical running shoe tread that’s nearly full-contact.

The Razor is one of my favorite shoes at the moment. It’s comfortable, versatile, inexpensive and I can see it being a great pick for runners of all speeds and strengths. While it may be a “training shoe” for Meb, I think it’s probably a good distance racer for most of us mortals.  If the Razor didn’t exist I might be a little more excited about the GoRun5. If I had to pick one of them, I’d pick the Razor, but I’m very happy to have both.
Skechers GOmeb Razor PC: www.jonfrederickphotography.com
Patrick:
GOmeb Razor - Impressive to say the least! With a thumbs up in the looks department and a performance to match, this shoe confirms my belief that Skechers deserves a place right next to other top running shoe brands. I am excited to see what is to come from the brand in 2017 and beyond. 

GOrun 5 - A great shoe overall, and an improvement from past iterations of this model, the GOrun 5 is a soft yet fast performance trainer, with a low to the ground, bouncy ride. After testing both models over a couple weeks of high mileage training, I’d also like to point out the durability of these shoes is pretty spectacular. With little noticeable wear on the sole after 50 miles, these shoes have plenty of pop left, feeling practically the same as when they were first taken out of their boxes.

COMPARISONS
Peter:
GOmeb Razor and GoRun5 vs. Nike Zoom Elite 9
These are easily my 3 favorite shoes at the moment. The Nike sits in-between the GoRun and the Razor in terms of firmness and flexibility. I’d be hard pressed to choose between them, so I’ll just highly recommend all 3.
GOmeb Razor and GORun vs. Saucony Freedom ISO
The Skechers shoes are more forgiving in the forefoot and the GoRun is equally slipper-ish as the Freedom. I’d go GoRun 5 over the Freedom.
GOmeb Razor vs. Nike Pegasus 33.
The Razor is lighter and has a slightly more fluid ride than the Pegasus.
GOmeb Razor vs. GOmeb 3
The GoMeb 3 was too stiff for me. I prefer the Razor.

Patrick:
GOmeb Razor / GOrun 5 vs. Altra One 2.5 - My go-to shoe, the Altra One 2.5, has a similar soft feel to that of the GOrun 5, but a more open and natural-shaped forefoot like that of the Razor. The Altra One 2.5 is the lightest of the three shoes, and is zero-drop as opposed to 4mm drop like the Skechers.
GOmeb Razor / GOrun 5 vs. Saucony Kinvara 7 - The Saucony Kinvara 7 falls into the same ballpark as the GOmeb Razor and GOrun 5, but more so the GOmeb Razor. All three of these shoes are 4mm drop, and designed to be lightweight, versatile trainers/racers. The Kinvara 7 is the firmest of the three shoes, but the GOmeb Razor feels like it has more pop. The Skechers are a little more flexible and feature more comfortable and smooth engineered-mesh uppers.

Skechers GOmeb Razor / GOrun 5 vs. Hoka Tracer - The Hoka Tracer is a lighter, much firmer shoe than both the GOmeb Razor and the GOrun 5, but all three feature a 4mm drop, and are great for both speed workouts and long distance races. The GOrun 5 and Tracer have a similar, snug fitting upper to one another, and the GOmeb Razor has a quick, responsive feel like that of the Tracer.

SCORE
Skechers GOmeb Razor
Peter Score 9.5 out of 10
-.25 for potential wear of the exposed midsole.
-.25 for looks. Skechers are getting better, but I still feel they lag in the design department.
Patrick's Score - 9.75 out 10
- .25 for traction (granted, it is winter in New England and these aren’t designed for some of the trails I take them on)

Skechers GORun5
Peter's Score 9.0 out of 10
-.5 soft ride on the verge of bottoming out
-.5 somewhat loose fit on the foot
Patrick's Score 9.00 out of 10
- .25 for the laces (having less eyelets might simplify the shoe, but it felt odd lacing)
- .25 for the softness of the midsole (just a tad too much squish)
- .25 for the heel tab (I’m sure it’s useful for some, but I found it to be an unnecessary addition)

- .25 for traction (same sole as GOmeb Razor)

See Derek Li's First Impressions RTR Review of the GOrun 5 here
See our The Running Event preview with information on the GOmeb Speed 4 and video comparison of the Razor and Run 5 here 
The GOrun 5 and GOmeb Razor were provided at no cost. The opinions herein entirely the authors'.

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