The Rock biter. Careful. It bites. Just look at those teeth! It’s like they’d chomp your fingers off of you put your pinkies anywhere near them. Whomp! Luckily the new Saucony Peregrine 6 are vegetarian: they don’t eat meat (that we know of). Rather they eat dirt. And rocks. A bit like the Rock Biter in The Never Ending Story: munch, crumble, munch, swallow. The trail is just no match (or thinking about it another way, the perfect match) whatever its form.
Okay, so that’s a hyperbolic introduction to the latest (version 6) Peregrines, but seriously, the first thing everybody does when they pick these snarling things up is to turn them over, raise the eyebrows and caress its underbelly. While not quite footballer lugs, I reckon you could get away with using these on the oval as much as on the trail. Rear facing stoppers on the front and forward facing pegs on the back, the Powertrac sole leaves nothing to the imagination and in motion allows you to plant your foot firmly wherever you place it and stick it every time. The result is a confidence on trail that is astounding. Prior to these, a particular member of the Icebug family – attuned as much to obstacle course market as the trail – were the kings of grip in our estimation (with a few others nipping at the heels including Salomon and Inov8 models). Peregrines were always near the top of the grip tree, too, but these take the art of clawing the ground to a new level.
While the grip is the most visual difference and benefit of the latest Peregrines, there are some handy features in the architectural structure, too. Infused with Everun technology, these give an almost perfect balance of trail feel and cushion. The function of the Everun is to absorb more at impact, return more at toe off and weigh less than EVA, claims we reckon are all valid. The ride on this shoe is certainly responsive, the supple chassis giving enough flexibility to really turn over and get a feel for the earth, yet with enough mush to soften the edges should Mother Nature get grumpy. There are no hard or hot spots underfoot. Just comfort spots.
Initially, I admit to thinking the Peregrines would be “too much shoe”, with a fairly beefy exterior, seemingly high stack and thick ankle padding. But on the foot they are deceivingly light and agile. The comfort factor is out of the box good and only becomes better with every kilometre run.
A major change in these over previous models is the space given in the forefoot. The toebox is bigger, wider, which will please many feet in the traditionally slab-like market Down Under (apparently, as folklore has it, because we all ran around without shoes for most of our childhood, as opposed to the shoe-incarcerated European ‘endless winter’ children and their resulting narrow plodders).
Another upgrade addressing a traditional Peregrine weakness is a more robust upper. Past Peregrines have all suffered from quick wear, easy tear characteristics. The new model retains a breathable, wicking mesh upper with a welded Flexifilm giving more structure and hopefully life where once there were holes all to quickly.
There’s only a minimal toe guard, surprisingly, so watch the rocks ahead. But there is plenty of protection underfoot, the combination of big lugs, decent stack and a rock plate dulling any serious impacts. The sole is firm enough to protect the foot from angry, sharp rocks, yet it is supple enough for faster pace and quick-turn running.
While there is a stack height, the heel to toe drop is a minimal 4mm, which we believe sits in the sweet spot for those looking to encourage better form.
You know a shoe is good when a to-remain-unnamed elite trail runner supported by another flavor sees these on your feet and quips: they are awesome; one of the best trail shoes out there.
I concur and, slipping on my Peregrines, I swear I can hear them paraphrasing in the same gravelly voice of the Rock Biter: “Ah, ha! Now I can see why you picked this trail! Limestone rock, my favourite…munch, munch, munch.”
Great for: grip, mountain racing, cornering, technical trails, varied terrain trails.
Not-so-great for: extreme maximalist or minimalist runners. Otherwise, these are good for all.
Test Conditions: technical singletrack, fire roads, approx. 95km
Tester: Chris Ord, Trail Run Mag editor
Tester Mechanics: mid foot striker, tends to more technical style running