Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Saucony Peregrine ISO Review: Regardless of Terrain- Confidence Inspiring, Secure & Comfortable

Article by Jeff Valliere and Jeff Beck

Saucony Peregrine ISO ($120)
Introduction:
Jeff V:  I have a fairly long history with the Peregrine, dating back to version 5 and every model since.  Prior to the Peregrine 8, the Peregrines that I am familiar with were a few millimeters lower, more sleek, lighter, yet still very well protected.  The Peregrine 5 was an appealing shoe to me in many ways, but was extremely stiff, so stiff that I eventually gave up on it due to severe heel blistering.  The 6 was stiff too, but slightly less so and after a few runs, broke in very well. The 7 was refined even further, stiff and springy, but not overly rigid and with a much improved upper.  If I plan to run for a few hours over the roughest, steepest, loosest mountain terrain and shoot for a PR, the Peregrine 6 or 7 are still in the top handful of favorite picks for this task.  

The Peregrine 8 came along and it was a completely different shoe (RTR review and probably should have just received a different name, as it gained a few ounces along with lots of cushion and padding.  The upper, while secure and comfortable, just was not as secure and overall I found the shoe to be a nice cruiser with the added cushion. Definitely not the all mountain ripper of old.  

The Peregrine ISO has similar stats to the 8 and looks similar in size, stack height, outsole, but has a revised ISO upper and is 0.5 oz / 14 g lighter. Compared side by side with older versions, the ISO seems to be trending back toward its roots.
Left to right, Peregrine 6,7,8 and ISO
Jeff B: I’m coming from the other side of the equation - the Peregrine ISO is my first foray into the Peregrine family. While it’s always been a shoe I’ve been aware of, and heard good things about, it never inspired much confidence in me to be a long distance trail shoe - and I’ve never thought of buying a short distance trail racer. But as the Peregrine’s cushioning has come up, and my weight has come down (205 as I write this) the shoe fell into the sweet spot. I reviewed it’s big brother Xodus ISO 3 last year, and the similarities are substantial, but so are the differences.

PROS
Jeff V.
  • Traction 
  • All day Comfort/Cushion
  • Fit/Secure upper
  • Breathability
  • Durability
Jeff B.
  • Traction
  • Fit/Secure Upper
  • Breathability
  • Enough Cushioning/Foot Protection
  • Toebox is just big enough
CONS
Jeff V.
  • Still a slightly larger/more bulky shoe compared to version 7 and older
  • Weight - Although lighter than the 8 by 0.5 oz., the ISO is still heavier than previous models.
Jeff B.
  • Would kill for another 1-3mm underfoot or a thin rock plate.
  • Toebox is adequate, but slightly bigger would spark joy.
  • Lower sides on the heel collar allow rocks to accumulate inside the shoe.
Tester Profiles
Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's.
Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less.  Jeff runs 30 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in North Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39 both he is working to demolish with help from his coach and fellow RTR tester Dave Ames.

Stats
Weight: men's 10.5oz (298g) | women's 9.2oz (261g) (v7 weighed 11 oz)
US Men’s Size 10 Sample: 10.9 oz. (310 grams)
US Men’s Size 10.5 Sample:11.2oz (318 grams)
Stack Height: 25mm heel/21mm forefoot (4mm drop)
$120. Available now.


First Impressions and Fit

Jeff B: Super aggressive outsole and a form fitting, but not overly narrow upper, makes the Peregrine ISO an interesting entry point into the series for me. I hope I didn’t give Jeff V a facial tic, but at the very least I’m sure he is cringing at my suggestions of adding just a hair more squish and room up front, but this shoe feels like one of those “Do it All” recommendations you can give to your friends who are just getting into trail running. I went true to size 10.5, and it fits perfectly, surprisingly even in the toe box. While it isn’t nearly as wide as an Altra or Topo (or even the Nike Wildhorse), the toebox, and really the entire upper, holds the foot very well, while still giving a good amount of stretch. Head to head the toe box looks more narrow in the Peregrine than the Xodus, but the little stretch makes the Peregrine more comfortable.
Upper
Jeff V:  The Trail specific ISOFit upper is an improvement over the Peregrine 8, with a more refined fit, more rounded toe box, less excess vertical room in the toe box and “wing” like floating ISOFIT overlays integrated with the eyelets for better mid-foot hold and support.
One minor complaint I had with the Peregrine 8 was the slightly narrow and tapered toe box, which was not a problem most of the time, but was evident primarily on fast, steep downhills, although it never caused me blisters or discomfort.  The ISO toe box has an ever so slightly more rounded shape which is apparent while wearing the 8 and the ISO side by side in both look and feel. Saucony has also eliminated the vertical excess space/bulk I observed in the toebox with the 8.
Fit is true to size and consistent with previous Peregrines and other Saucony’s, just with a slightly more dialed in fit with the ISOFit upper.


The heel collar is well padded, but lower and more rounded than the 8.  I am not sure it really makes a difference in terms of hold, control or protection, but I do think reducing the height helped to save some weight with no sacrifice in performance or comfort.


The toe bumper is on the slightly thin and malleable end of the spectrum, but I never feel as though my toes are exposed or vulnerable to hits.
As is the case with previous versions, the tongue is on the well padded side of moderate, and gusseted for a more precise fit.
The mesh is open and breathable with a sock like fit, yet the ISOFit floating support cage provides a very secure and comfortable fit with no pressure points or excess movement, even when pushed.  For additional support, Flex Film welded overlays are still used in the forefoot and heel area.
Jeff B: Jeff nailed a number of the empirical aspects of the upper, and I’d agree with him on most points. The ISOFit lacing system is fine, but I haven’t had an issue with it on any of the previous Sauconys I reviewed, the Triumph ISO 5 or the Xodus ISO 3. Just like its brethren shoe, I found the fit accommodating, and didn’t require much thought or attention. The upper breathes exceptionally well. My final run with the shoe was 13 miles, starting around noon and the temperature got well over 70° - and I had zero heat concerns.


The toebox was one of two pleasant surprises I had with the shoe. In leaked photos, the front of the shoe looked more pointed than I’d prefer, but once I put them on I found the stretch gave me everything I needed. While this isn’t a shoe that I’d put on the shortlist for my first 50K, it isn’t the toebox that takes it out of the running. Also, I’m with Jeff, the toe bumper is adequate, and the fact it isn’t super built up is likely why the toe box works so well for me.
One place I’ll disagree is the heel collar. It is comfortable and just right in the padding department, but the lower sides - which save weight without sacrificing hold - allow a decent number of rocks into the shoe. I’ve never worn gaiters, but I may look into them to keep running in the Peregrine ISO.


Midsole
Jeff V:  The Peregrine ISO retains the same midsole as the Peregrine 8, utilizing the full length Everun top sole for great cushion and response, with below PWRFOAM compound for a forgiving cushioned feel. I found cushioning in previous Peregrines to be firm but adequate for the purpose of the shoe (shorter, more technical fast runs up to 4 or 5 hours). The addition of the PWRFOAM and 2.5 millimeters more of it in the Peregrine 8, as now in the ISO, puts the shoe into the "all day" category for me, while retaining good response and agility for technical terrain.
Jeff B: The midsole is a homerun. The combination of PWRFOAM and Everun works really well, and I’d say makes a more comfortable and more runnable shoe than pure Everun does. Just a hair more cushioning, probably of the more conventional PWRFOAM, and this shoe would be Big Run worthy. I’m not as lightweight or nimble as my colleagues, and so my feet take more of a beating. They weren’t bad at the end of a rocky 13 miles, but they weren’t great either. A thin rock plate might also do the trick - something to dull the multitude of rocks. As it is, the rock feel isn’t overly painful, but just a touch more would help.
Outsole
Jeff V:  One of the main draws for me in any version of Peregrine, has been the deep and aggressive lugs that provide very good traction in most conditions, especially, loose, off trail conditions.  The Peregrine ISO continues this tradition with a PWRTRAC outsole, an aggressive lug pattern that features super toothy 6mm lugs and a rubber compound that is sticky and adheres very well, particularly on dry or wet rock.


Additionally, the (extremely stiff) rock plate that was so obvious in versions prior to the 8, has been removed from the 8 and the ISO.  Given the rocky trails I run almost exclusively, I am usually cautious of shoes without a rock plate, but increasingly, these concerns are becoming unwarranted with improvements in midsole materials and thickness, coupled with more sturdy outsoles with thicker lugs.  In the case of the Peregrine ISO, I do not miss the rock plate whatsoever and find that protection is equally good or better, while improving forefoot flex (aided by flex grooves) which improves agility and contours over rocks and rough terrain better.
Outsole durability has proven to be excellent in the 8 over the last year and I am seeing the same results with the ISO as well.
Jeff B: The outsole is phenomenal. Not only is it super aggressive in design, but the lugs are big enough to help the entire shoe’s cushioning profile. The lugs do help make up for the missing rock plate, but the shoe isn’t nearly as stiff as the Xodus ISO 3, despite having very similar outsoles.
Top: Peregrine ISO Bottom: Xodus ISO 3
I’m confident that regardless of your terrain, the Peregrine ISO outsole will eat it up. We don’t get much mud in Phoenix, but I encountered it on two of my Peregrine test runs - zero slip whatsoever. But it isn’t a primary wet shoe, and was great both on technical trails and groomed canal trails. If you look closely at some of the outsole photos you can see most of the lugs still have the little rubber nub on them. There’s barely any wear - this shoe is durable.


Ride
Jeff V:  I find the Peregrine ISO to provide a very smooth and compliant ride over a wide variety of terrain at various paces. It is reasonably responsive and will do what you ask of it, but does not necessarily inspire speed or beg to go fast. Stability is excellent and I feel as comfortable running in the Peregrine ISO on hard packed (like cement) dirt roads, even stretches of paved road, as I do on technical rocky trails, off trail, loose conditions, the ride is predictable and accommodating.
Jeff B: A great midsole paired with a near-legendary outsole and it is no surprise that the shoe rides great. While I liked its big brother Xodus, the massive weight gain made it hard to pick up the pace - the Peregrine doesn’t suffer from that. The only place I didn’t love the Peregrine was on the road heading to my local trailhead, but that’s not a knock. This shoe is meant for the dirt of virtually any kind, and out on the dirt it works incredibly well.

Conclusions and Recommendations:
Jeff V:  Though I liked the Peregrine 8 and gave it a strong review, over time I found myself not running in it and my enthusiasm waned, primarily due to the overall change in character with the added weight and less race like feel, as it become a bit of a cushy cruiser vs. an all mountain PR machine.  The Peregrine ISO has not entirely reversed that, however it is trending back to a lighter shoe and certainly one with a more dialed in, secure fit and sleeker overall profile.  

Expectations aside however, I find the ISO to be a very good, versatile trail shoe that performs well over a very wide variety of terrain.  I ran on roads, dirt paths, dry rocky technical trails, muddy trails, icy trails, slush, crusty snow, fresh snow, steep off trail, steep sidehilling and even set a Strava PR (just since 2011) on a very technical rocky descent segment. I found traction to be confidence inspiring in all scenarios and the ISO upper exceeded my expectations, never feeling any movement or discomfort on any of my runs.  

I’ll be spending more time running in the ISO this year than I did running in the 8 last year, selecting them for all but my hardest shorter technical efforts where I’ll likely look for a lighter, more slim and agile shoe, but for longer outings where I want a high level of cushion/comfort/traction/performance, the ISO is a great blend of those attributes.
Jeff V's Score:  9.7/10
-.1 for weight.  Even though the ISO is not THAT heavy, I would like to see it continue to slim down a bit more.
-.1 for sizing.  Closely tied with the above, the Peregrine ISO still seems a little bit out of step with previous versions, improved in some ways yes, but I miss the race like feel of the 6 and 7
-.1 for lacing.  Not mentioned above, but I think this shoe could benefit from one more set of lace eyelets, perhaps starting a touch lower on the shoe.

Jeff B: I think this is the “fastest” trail shoe I’ve ever put significant miles on. Over the years I’ve favored more cushioning long-term protection and a more generous fit to avoid pinch blisters. That said, the Peregrine ISO works so well it has made me question if I’ve been making a mistake avoiding more streamlined shoes. It has just enough cushioning underfoot, and just enough room up front, paired with phenomenal grip and an upper that holds the foot without strangling it. I’m running in a number of what I think of as mid-length (20K-40K) races over the next few months and the Peregrine ISO is currently my default shoe. During each run I kept trying to feel it out, and for the most part the shoe just disappeared on my foot - except for the massive grip. 
I can see the Peregrine ISO being a popular shoe for most trail runners. Experienced runners could take it Ultra length. Heavier runners could use it for faster and shorter runs. New trail runners would be able to have one shoe that checks every box. It isn’t all things to all people, but I think it could be some thing to most people. While I’d love to see a tad more underfoot, I realize that’s an unfair call - it isn’t meant to be *that* shoe, its big brother Xodus is.
Jeff B’s Score 9.9/10
-.1 for low sides leading to a rock collection tray.
Comparisons:
LEFT to RIGHT: Skechers Max Trail 5, Wildhorse 4, Peregrine ISO, eXodus 3, Caldera 3
Saucony Peregrine ISO vs. Saucony Peregrine 8 (RTR review
Jeff V: The ISO upper is the biggest change with some other minor tweaks, like the lowered heel collar and slight weight reduction.  The Peregrine 8 is excellent, but the ISO upgrade is well worth it.
Saucony Peregrine ISO vs Saucony Xodus ISO 3 (RTR review)
Jeff B: Little brother vs big brother. While the Peregrine is no ultra lightweight shoe, it is roughly three ounces lighter than the Xodus, and you feel that. Both have great traction, but the Peregrine isn’t nearly as stiff underfoot. While the Xodus does have more midsole, the PWRFOAM and Everun combination in the Peregrine is more effective than the full Everun in the Xodus. Also, the Xodus upper is overbuilt, and doesn’t allow the same level of stretch in areas where stretch is good. I’d go Peregrine for just about anybody, the exception being very heavy runners.
Saucony Peregrine ISO vs Brooks Caldera 3 (RTR review)
Jeff B: The Peregrine has much more grip, both in traction and the shoe’s hold on the foot. The Caldera is 3/4th’s of an ounce lighter yet has more underfoot, but very surprisingly less room up front for the toes. The Caldera 3 has been my go-to Swiss Army Knife do-all shoe, but the Peregrine ISO may have unseated it, at least for sub-20 mile runs. Caldera 3 is a great shoe, but the Peregrine ISO is better.
Jeff V:  Agreed with Jeff B here. The Caldera has a little more foam underfoot, but add in the deep lugs of the Peregrine ISO and you have more underfoot.
Saucony Peregrine ISO vs. Salomon Ultra Pro (RTR review) 
Jeff V: Similarly competent long distance, any terrain shoes, the Peregrine ISO is lighter and more responsive with deeper tread.  The Ultra Pro has a bit more volume for those with wider/higher volume feet and the Salomon Quicklace and upward facing lace garage make for very convenient adjustments.  The Ultra Pro has about the best wet traction out there and superior to the ISO.
Saucony Peregrine ISO vs Skechers GOrun Maxtrail 5 Ultra (RTR review)
Jeff B: A half ounce lighter than the Peregrine and much more cushioned, the Skechers has a lot going for it, but it’s lack of foot security takes it out of the running when trails get technical. The Peregrine can be on my foot for the rockiest and steepest trails I’ll attempt, but I don’t trust the upper on the Skechers on anything more than flat dirt trails that could be run with most road shoes. Peregrine ISO by a country mile.
Jeff V:  The Peregrine ISO is much more secure and able to go just about anywhere with a more durable and better performing outsole.  If running any sort of downhill gradients, technical terrain or corners (which generally sums up trail running, especially for me), then I avoid the Maxtrail 5 Ultra, as the stretchy upper is not confidence inspiring and can be downright problematic when pushed.
Saucony Peregrine ISO vs Nike Wildhorse 4
Jeff B: The Peregrine is lighter by a full ounce, but the Wildhorse offers a little extra squish as well as a rock plate making it a dry trails crusher. The Wildhorse has great dry traction to the Peregrine’s exceptional, but in any wet the two shoes are far apart - the Wildhorse has a deserved terrible reputation when things stop being dry. But, the Wildhorse runs smoother than anything not made by Hoka, and has a near Topo/Altra level toebox with solid foot lockdown. True toss up here - if things are going to be wet or super technical, the Peregrine is the choice. Longer miles, smoother trail, or if foot protection is paramount then the Wildhorse 4 takes it.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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13 comments:

Jeff said...

Following.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff V/B,

How does the Peregrine ISO compare to the Hoka Torrent? Best shoe review site out there BTW!

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks Anon, Hoka Torrent vs. Peregrine ISO, hmmm.... I guess on paper, the ISO has a more refined and perhaps better fitting, more secure/comfortable upper and even better tread, but I find the Torrent to be much more quick and sporty (not to mention a little lighter) and would choose the Torrent over the ISO for my faster runs or racing.

I. Skoinas said...

Hi, how does the Peregrine ISO compare to the Elevate Xa? I liked the 6’s and 7’s but moved on after the 8’s.

Anonymous said...

You say that there isn't a rockplate, but between the lugs on the Peregrine forefoot I can distinctly see (what at least appears to be) a woven nylon rock plate. Did Saucony explain what that material's purpose was?

Jeff said...

Hi Anonymous,

We have reached out for further clarification, but have not heard back yet. The woven material is more like a hard durometer rubber, and each strand can be moved independently of each other. It does give the midsole a little extra firmness, but there is so much flex still in the forefoot I wouldn't characterize it as a rock plate. At most a rock film? It becomes very evident when you grab and twist the Peregrine ISO, and then do the same to a shoe with a full-fledged rock plate, like the Wildhorse 4.

I hope that helps,
Jeff

Anonymous said...

I’m also curious about this. Jeff, any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant in the above comment that I'm curious about how the Peregrine ISO stacks up to the XA Elevate

Anonymous said...

Love all of your work!
Curious why you compared the Peregrine to higher stacked shoes, meant more specifically for much longer days? Looking forward to a comparison of these to the Terra Kiger 5 (April drop), La Sportiva Kaptiva, Hoka Torrent, Altra Lone Peak, Topo Terradventure, Salomon Meh, etc.
Also, would love to see some reviews of the new Raidlight shoes. Any plans?
Thanks again!

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for commenting.
I will let Jeff and Jeff chime in on some of your specifics where they have run the other shoes you mention. I would also refer you to our reviews of Torrent, Lone Peak, Terraventure 2 at the link below. Unfortunately we do not have access in the US to Salomon Me:sh We for sure have tried many times!
We are now testing Raidlight, Terra Kiger 5, Kapitva, and Speedcross 5 for reviews this month with Kiger 5 at April release date per Nike requirements.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
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Jeff said...

Hi Anonymous,

Jeff V can probably chime in more than I can. I made comparisons to relevant trail shoes I have experience in. While none of them are as lug centric as the Peregrine, a number of readers may have varied trail shoe experiences as well - better to have more comparisons to give a wider frame of reference.

Thanks,
Jeff

Jeff Valliere said...

XA Elevate is much more firm under foot that Peregrine 8 or ISO. As far as comparing to higher stacked shoes for longer days, the Peregrine ISO (and 8) is a shoe for longer days given the cushion, comfort and stack on top of deep, but relatively dense lugs (more substance/protection). We try to compare shoes in the same general ballpark, similar usage, shoes that a reader may be contemplating one way or the other, considering fit, feel, purpose. But, it is not always linear or an exact science and is also dependent what any of us happen to have on the shelf at the time of the review. Always happy to answer comparison questions in the comments however. Kaptiva and TK5 reviews in the works, so stay tuned!

John said...

Hi Jeff,

I think one of the reasons why they asked about Elecate is because when you reviewed the Elevate you compared to many different shoes: the Peregrine 7, Akasha, S-Lab Ultra:

https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2017/11/salomon-xa-elevate-review-handles-all.html

So has your methodology now changed with only comparing similar shoes?

Secondly, it would be nice to know if you would actually purchase the shoe. Did you purchase it or was it given to you for free to review? And if it’s the latter, would you actually buy it?