In a quest to find a shoe with some decent traction for wet and muddy trails I arrived at the Saucony Peregrine 5. It took a few failed attempts with other shoes to get here, and although the Peregrine’s lack big lugs for maximum bite in deep mud, they do offer an aggressive outer which provides good traction on the surfaces that the majority of people will encounter on their trail runs or hikes. They also offer good rock protection for a shoe that rides fairly low. Like other shoe reviews here, this one will be a rolling review with updates at regular mileage intervals. There’s been a slight delay in getting it published due to the site update (first post since the update, woohoo!), so I’ve already hit the first few milestones. Anyway – let’s get into it!
Peregrine 5 Specs at a Glance
- Type: Trail
- Stack: 21/17mm
- Drop: 4mm
- Weight: 330g (11.8 oz/each) Size 12 US
- Appearance: Black Grey & Yellow for the tactical look, Multi-Colored Red & Neon for party lifestyle!
- MSRP: $90
How I Arrived Here
When the rain started coming down heavy and the local trails and fire roads turned to slop, my beloved Salomon X-Series (soon to be named Sonic) would not come close to having the needed traction. I started by trying out the Salomon Fellraiser. That shoe sports some serious lugs to provide serious bite in deep mud. Unfortunately I found the Fellraiser to be too narrow and with multiple hot spots on top of my foot. Next I attempted the Inov8 Roclite 295. Another shoe with big lugs and a good following among trail runners and lightweight hikers. The overall fit was awesome, and the traction in mud indeed very good, but there is something in the heel area of that shoe that really bothers my achilles (a friend had the exact issue also)… so those had to go back too. I had heard good things about the Peregrine and, despite them not having the “soccer cleat” lugs I was looking for, I decided to give them a shot. These have been my go-to shoe since fall whenever I anticipate sloppy trails and have become pretty good all-around’ers actually.
Here are a few quick notes that may be of interest to anyone who has run in the earlier generations of the Peregrine…
- Compared to the Peregrine 4: They’re marginally heavier, slightly wider overall (including toe box), slightly deeper lugs, improved lacing design, improved mesh durability on the upper, rubber toe bumper instead of molded plastic. The rock plate, lug design (aside from depth), and material of the outer are the same between the models.
- Compared to the Peregrine 3: All of the changes between the 4 and 5 also apply between the 3 and 4. In addition the rock plate and outer are completely different. The 5 should be slightly less stiff due to the two-piece rock plate vs. single piece in the 3. Moving from the 3 to 5 would be a much more noticeable change in overall fit and weight (the 3 is narrower in the toe box and heavier).
Here’s a photo comparison to backup some of the above observations…
Outsole Profiles – Click any thumbnail to compare.
Side Profiles – Click any thumbnail to compare.
Saucony 5 Rolling Review
I paid $90 for them locally, near the time of their introduction. Today they seem to retail for around $75, which is a very good value as long as they keep holding up.
Out of the Box
A burly looking, but fairly lightweight shoe in hand. I immediately noticed the overall shape is similar to that of shoes that tend to work for me – narrow through the midfoot with a moderately roomy toe box. I slipped them on and everything felt good. For reference, I had/have been wearing Salomon X-Series (now named Sonic) and the proportions of the shoes are similar. The upper on these is a tough feeling mesh, with a finer and thinner mesh inside, presumably to keep the fines out. It looks like it will drain nicely. Stiffness of the shoe is moderate.
First 50 Miles
On my first couple of runs, which were around 5-7 miles, I noticed a few things, both positive and negative. On the plus side the toe box was feeling very good – this is always one of the first things I notice with any shoe. The overall fit was nice and snug, and the traction was a big improvement over my Salomon X-Series which I have pushed beyond their intended use on trails. On the negative side, the Peregrine’s have a very stiff heel. I developed small blisters on the outside of both my heels. Application of some Leukotape solved the blister issue on runs that followed, but the stiffness of the heel is still apparent. In fact the shoes are moderately stiff overall. They do provide good protection against sharp rocks however. My longest run during the this break in period was about 12 miles of rocky trail which they handled nicely. I took them into some mud of course, and for the most part they did fine. Looking promising so far but longer runs will be needed for a full assessment.
At 100 Miles
My longest run at this point has been 20 miles. These shoes have been great to have during the rainy season when the trails are slippery, though they have a limit as to how much mud they’re really cut out for. In deeper, really squishy mud and soft ground they just don’t find much purchase. I have to say though, I don’t have to watch the rocks as much as I do when wearing my X-Series. The Peregrine’s do a pretty amazing job on rock protection. My foot has gotten used to the stiffer heel, though I will still tape up if going 20 miles or more, just to be on the safe side. Oddly enough, I notice the heel and how it irritates me much more when I’m hiking uphill, as opposed to running uphill. I dunno… I still have to suss this out. Traction over all surfaces has been excellent, which is great because finding a shoe with good fit and good traction was the goal and both those boxes are checked. From here I am only left wondering how the heel-fit is going to work out, and to decide if I really need a shoe geared more toward fell running, or if I can make these work for the few months that I find the deep mud…
At 200 Miles
These shoes keep getting more comfortable with the mileage. A few days ago I ran the Marin Ultra Challenge 50 mile in them. The weather was very rough and the trails ranged from wet, to slippery mud and rocks, to deep nasty mud, to rivers of mud flowing down the hills! The Peregrines didn’t let me down. In those conditions there are very few shoes that would have been confidence inspiring over that kind of slop, so I don’t hold it against them that I had to be a little cautious on the most slippery tore up spots, but all in all I was super happy and so were my feet. Zero blisters with wet feet all day. Particularly I liked that they cleared water fairly quickly after completely submerging in streams and rivers of mud along the trails. I was impressed with the lack of debris that made its way into the shoes, the two-layer mesh upper seems to really be the awesomesauce. I look forward to continuing to report on these shoes for the hundreds of miles that they still have left in them.
At 300 Miles
300 miles in and I am more and more stoked to wear these shoes when I go out for a run of any distance. I no longer have any heel issues and the shoes just feel very comfortable. They’re starting to show a little treadwear but it’s pretty minor. These will easily go 400 miles and probably more. I find myself walking around and doing some hiking in them with zero issues now. I don’t really know what else to add at this point, apparently I needed to get through the break-in period, and now it’s much joy! I need to get around to checking out the Peregrine 6 soon.
At 400 Miles
Due to the break-in required with these shoes I was skeptical I’d ever get here, much less have glowing things to say about them – but here we are! I ran a 50 mile race and 100k in the Peregrine 5’s this year; both races were rainy and had slippery trails and mud. The shoes never let me down. From looking at them you’d never guess they have over 400 miles on them. I think I’ve said everything there is to say at this point. I will leave with a note about the Peregrine 6 – Saucony has increased the stack height of them in response to customer feedback asking for more cushion for longer runs. I tried them on at the store and could immediately tell the difference. Whether that’s good or bad, I can’t say (yet!).
An Update ~450 Miles
Quick update, the upper on both shoes blew out right along the instep. The insole rides against the upper in that spot and with all the sand and grit introduced from the MUC 50 mile and Miwok 100k it just wore right through. Shoes are ok otherwise, but gaping holes for rocks and debris to sneek in are not exactly desirable, so I’m replacing these with some Peregrine 6’s.
- Comfort: Initially the shoes were comfortable except the heel felt overly stiff. Now that they’re broken in, they feel great.
- Durability: The out sole is very durable, the uppers are only marginally ok though.
- Drain & Dry: They clear water quickly and breath very well.
- Grip On Roads/Solid Rock: Very good
- Grip On Loose Rock/Gravel: Very good
- Grip On Wet Surface: Adequate
- Grip In Mud: Adequate, but but they don’t have the lugs to handle deeper sloppy mud.
- For racing use? They’ve got confidence inspiring grip. I wore these shoes for the Marin Ultra Challenge 50 mile, and the Miwok 100k. I find them light and responsive enough, yet with adequate protection for the longer distances.
- For training use? Seems like a great training shoe with adequate protection from rocks and a decent stack height to provide just enough cushion.
- For use as hikers? With a solid break in period they should make great lightweight hikers.
About the Author’s Running Style/Locale
I’m typically a front of the mid-pack runner. I run fire roads and single track in the Marin County area, including Mt. Tam, the Marin Headlands, and all the under-respected hills north of there. Long runs on this hard-packed stuff can leave the feet fairly beat up. The surface consists of loose crushed rock, jagged bedrock, and hardpacked dirt. A typical run for me is 9-15 miles with anywhere from 1500-3000 ft of climbing. My “long” runs are in the 20-30 mile range, usually with 4000-7000 ft of climbing. I occasionally do trail runs/races in the 50 mile to 100k range. When I find a shoe I like, I tend to stick with it for as long as possible. I prefer shoes with 4-6mm of drop; I haven’t really adapted to zero-drop footwear. I also like a shoe right in the middle as far as cushion goes; I need to feel the trail under me. Essentially my shoe quest has been to find shoes that feel nimble and responsive, yet keep my feet from getting beat up by the rocks and distance. Hike It. Like It.