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Saucony Peregrine ISO Review

Our Best Bang for the Buck winner for great comfort and traction with a price lower than the other top scorers.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $120 List | $99.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great traction on soft slippery surfaces, extremely comfortable, no increase in price
Cons:  Midsole foam compresses out over time, easily collects rocks and debris
Manufacturer:   Saucony
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 1, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 20
  • Foot protection - 30% 5
  • Traction - 20% 9
  • Stability - 15% 9
  • Comfort - 15% 10
  • Weight - 10% 5
  • Sensitivity - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Saucony Peregrine ISO is the newest version of the popular and much loved Peregrine line, updating the 8 from the previous year. It is a supremely comfortable shoe right out of the box, with a heavily padded upper that ensconces the foot in a way that is unrivaled among this year's other contenders. It has the same super aggressive traction that has made it famous, with tons of deep, sharp lugs that stick to anything, whether grass, mud, snow, or regular dirt trail. This shoe uses Saucony's PWRFOAM midsole compound, a soft foam that absorbs impact, but is relatively thin and gives the shoe a far more sensitive feel underfoot, lacking a bit in firm protection. Since it retains the same price tag that it has carried in years previous, with the other top contenders all adding to their expense, it is a solid choice for Best Bang for the Buck winner.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award 
Price $99.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$179.95 at Backcountry$139.00 at REI
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$148.95 at Backcountry
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$149.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great traction on soft slippery surfaces, extremely comfortable, no increase in priceVery protective midsole and upper, sock-like fit, grippy traction, lighter than previous versionPrecise fit, very grippy on rock, comfortable upper effectively keeps out debrisVery protective, stable, comfortable straight out of the box, good traction, wider fitThe most durable outsole, zero drop, amazing balance between foot protection and sensitivity, high volume fit
Cons Midsole foam compresses out over time, easily collects rocks and debrisExpensive, durability concernsNarrower than average, a bit pricey, not the lightestA bit heavy, expensive, not very sensitiveVery little interior padding, could be more comfortable, pricey
Bottom Line Our Best Bang for the Buck winner for great comfort and traction with a price lower than the other top scorers.The shoe that best balances foot protection and sensitivity, all while providing an incredibly fine-tuned fit.A well-rounded shoe offering high performance for short or long distances.A great choice for ultras or long distance training due to the excellent foot protection.The most unique and innovative trail running shoe we have seen hit the market in many years.
Rating Categories Saucony Peregrine ISO Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 La Sportiva Kaptiva Scarpa Spin Ultra Inov-8 Terraultra G 260
Foot Protection (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Traction (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Stability (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Comfort (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
Weight (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
6
Sensitivity (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
4
10
0
7
Specs Saucony Peregrine... Salomon S/Lab... La Sportiva Kaptiva Scarpa Spin Ultra Inov-8 Terraultra...
Weight (per pair, size 11) 23.1 oz. 22.7 oz. 22.3 oz. 23.9 oz. 22.2 oz.
Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm 8 mm 6 mm 6 mm 0 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 22.5 mm, 18.5mm 26 mm, 18 mm 17 mm, 11 mm Not disclosed 9 mm, 9 mm
Upper IsoFit Mesh Sock-Like knit Mesh, TPU Kevlar, mesh
Midsole PWRFOAM, Everun Compressed EVA Duel-density EV Compressed medium-density EVA with low density EVA inserts EXTERFLOW
Outsole PWRTRAC Premium Wet Traction Contagrip FriXion XF 2.0 Vibram MegaGrip Graphene Grip
Lacing style Traditional Kevlar Quicklace Traditional Traditional W/ lace garage Traditional
Wide version available? Yes No No No No
Sizes Available 8 - 14 4 - 13 38 - 47.5 40 - 48 EU 4-15

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Peregrine ISO is in many ways similar to the 2018 version of the Peregrine 8, with a few key changes to the upper that add considerably to overall comfort. The underfoot combination of soft foam cushioning and shock absorption, combined with the multi-directional lugged outsole remains the same. The ISO uses Saucony's new ISOFIT upper, which they have incorporated into many shoes in their line. This upper uses a padded and gusseted tongue to wrap the midfoot, while the laces lock the foot firmly in place in conjunction with multiple detached "wings," not dissimilar to the design concept of the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2.

The most immediately noticeable change from previous versions is the huge amount of cushioning surrounding the ankle opening and over the Achilles tendon region of the heel, while the very annoying, blister-causing sewn seams that rested over the heel cup in the previous couple versions have thankfully been wholly eliminated. When you put this shoe on, it immediately feels remarkably comfortable and not too different from the last version, and it retains this level of comfort throughout the first and many runs after that.

Showing the last two versions  with the Peregrine ISO in dark blue on the right  and the previous Peregrine 8 on the left  grey. As you can see  the upper design of these two shoes is very similar. The main difference between the two is in the heel and how the upper fits.
Showing the last two versions, with the Peregrine ISO in dark blue on the right, and the previous Peregrine 8 on the left, grey. As you can see, the upper design of these two shoes is very similar. The main difference between the two is in the heel and how the upper fits.

Performance Comparison


The Saucony Peregrine ISO are an extremely comfortable shoe that are very sensitive underfoot and have incredible traction on all sorts of terrain.
The Saucony Peregrine ISO are an extremely comfortable shoe that are very sensitive underfoot and have incredible traction on all sorts of terrain.

Foot Protection


Over the years, the Peregrine has slowly morphed into one of the softest shoes underfoot that you can buy. It uses a layer of squishy foam in the midsole that feels very similar to the foam compound found in the Altra Lone Peak 4, giving you a bit of rebound springiness when you run. While this foam layer does a decent job absorbing the inherent impacts from running, it does a pretty poor job of absorbing direct blows to the feet that come from rocks and roots. You will feel the rocks that you are stepping on, which can be nice and liberating in certain circumstances but is a bit of a deterrent for runs on especially rocky trails, or for ultra distances. Stiff midsoles, like the one in the Scarpa Spin Ultra, do a better job of handling these types of terrain.


The Peregrine ISO also lacks an overly protective upper. Made of the standard lightweight mesh, it lacks the durable TPU overlays in the creases of the forefoot where the most wear and tear takes place. We also noticed that the gaps between the "wings" allow dirt and dust to filter into the inside of the shoe easier than most, as does the extra amount of padding around the ankle. Consider pairing them with trail gaiters.

We tested these shoes by jumping across rocks and boulders in this talus field and found that they are very sensitive  but the foam underfoot is quite soft and allows for every impact to be felt in the foot.
We tested these shoes by jumping across rocks and boulders in this talus field and found that they are very sensitive, but the foam underfoot is quite soft and allows for every impact to be felt in the foot.

Traction


The crazy looking lug pattern of the PWRTRAC outsole on the Peregrine ISO provides some of the best traction that you can buy in a trail running shoe. The bottom looks like a waffle-iron, but with much deeper and sharper lugs than the waffle patterned outsole found on the Nike Wildhorse 5. These lugs do an amazing job of gripping soft surfaces like grass and snow, and also work great on regular dirt trails.


Our comparative testing also found this outsole to be relatively soft and sticky, giving us good purchase on rock. That said, the large, soft rubber lugs have a propensity to rip off prematurely if you do too much scrambling in them, and the soft foam midsole doesn't absorb the blows of running over rocks very well. We liked the La Sportiva Kaptiva better for missions where lots of rocks or scrambling were a guarantee, but love these shoes for grassy tundra and running in the slippery snow of shoulder seasons.

The traction on this shoe is among the most aggressive that you can buy  and is sticky on both rock and softer surfaces like mud and snow  as well as dry dirt. As you can see  the lug pattern and design of the outsole has not changed from the previous version.
The traction on this shoe is among the most aggressive that you can buy, and is sticky on both rock and softer surfaces like mud and snow, as well as dry dirt. As you can see, the lug pattern and design of the outsole has not changed from the previous version.

Stability


These are a very stable shoe, as they tick many of the boxes that ensure a solid, well-balanced landing and takeoff. With only 18.5mm of stack height under the forefoot, they ride low to the ground, and the low 4mm heel-toe drop is noticeably more stable when compared directly to a shoe with an 8mm drop, or greater, like the high-heeled Salomon Speedcross 5. Furthermore, the upper does a good job of holding the foot securely in place without allowing for internal slop, and the opening around the ankle and heel is supremely comfortable when traversing across hillsides.


The only knock when it comes to stability is how supple the shoe is. We generally find that stiffer lasted shoes enable the foot to take off from a flatter platform more consistently, while easily bendable shoes mold themselves to the shape of the ground, sometimes at the expense of take-off stability. This is a minor complaint, however, and we feel this shoe does a great job of mitigating ankle-rolling risk.

Running on this trail that has been recently demolished by horses and cattle  or both  requires attention and a very stable shoe. The Peregrine performs well at this sort of terrain due to its low to the ground  4mm heel-toe drop.
Running on this trail that has been recently demolished by horses and cattle, or both, requires attention and a very stable shoe. The Peregrine performs well at this sort of terrain due to its low to the ground, 4mm heel-toe drop.

Comfort


What an unbelievably comfortable shoe! This is the first thing you will notice when you slip it on your foot, and the greatest sales pitch a shoe could have. Simply put, we have a hard time remembering another shoe that felt so plush and comfy the moment we put it on. If that isn't enough to make it worth a try, we don't know what is.


The fit of this shoe is average, with it feeling true to size, and not feeling too wide or too narrow. Those with extra wide feet will be happy to hear that Saucony is now making this shoe in a wide version as well!

These are the most comfortable shoes this year  in large part due to the super thick and plush cushioning around the ankle opening and on the tongue  as you can see here. There are no seams anywhere to be found on this heel cup  which helps reduce any chances of rubbing or hot spots.
These are the most comfortable shoes this year, in large part due to the super thick and plush cushioning around the ankle opening and on the tongue, as you can see here. There are no seams anywhere to be found on this heel cup, which helps reduce any chances of rubbing or hot spots.

Weight


Our pair of size 11 shoes weighed in at 23.1 ounces on our independent scale. This is 0.6 ounces lighter than a pair of the Peregrine 8, so like most trail running shoes these days, they are managing to find ways to make them lighter.


Despite shaving the grams year to year, these shoes are still one of the heavier options in this review, weighing in at four ounces heavier than the similarly sensitive Altra Superior 4, and a shade heavier than the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2, which feel significantly burlier. Anecdotally, they do not feel like a heavy or clunky shoe while running in them.

Despite using only soft EVA foam underfoot  the Peregrine ISO are not among the lightest weight shoes that we tested. However  they are the most sensitive of the everyday trainers.
Despite using only soft EVA foam underfoot, the Peregrine ISO are not among the lightest weight shoes that we tested. However, they are the most sensitive of the everyday trainers.

Sensitivity


The Peregrine ISO is one of the most sensitive trail running shoes we tested, especially among the non-lightweight options. While super thin and minimalist shoes like the Adidas Terrex Speed or the Hoka Evo Jawz are super sensitive due to their almost non-existent midsole, shoes with thicker midsoles typically dampen the trail feel a bit. Not so with these shoes, which are balanced more towards sensitivity than they are towards foot protection.


The underfoot foam of these shoes allows a lot of feeling to come through to the sole of the foot. Run on smooth trails without too many rocks, and this feeling is a revelation, and much appreciated. However, spend your days scree hopping or picking through boulder fields, and you may feel like your feet are taking more of a beating than they should. Additionally, it has been our experience that the soft foam in these shoes compresses out over time as you wear them more and more, and as this happens they become even thinner, and a bit more sensitive.

The Peregrine ISO are a very sensitive shoe  and are a good choice for those who value trail feel  which can be very liberating. They are not ideal for those who prefer to stomp on top of rocks and never feel a thing  however.
The Peregrine ISO are a very sensitive shoe, and are a good choice for those who value trail feel, which can be very liberating. They are not ideal for those who prefer to stomp on top of rocks and never feel a thing, however.

Best Applications


With their aggressive and sticky traction, we feel these shoes are ideal for seasons or terrain where avoiding slipping is a primary concern. Grassy, snowy, muddy conditions are where this shoe will thrive. It also handles dirt trail with ease, and can stick to rock no problem, but wears out quicker. We like these shoes better for smoother trails that may be slippery and choose something else if we are spending the whole day running over rocks.

These shoes grip the ground as well as a set of dog's claws! The Peregrines are a solid bet for any type of terrain where enhanced traction is valued above all else.
These shoes grip the ground as well as a set of dog's claws! The Peregrines are a solid bet for any type of terrain where enhanced traction is valued above all else.

Value


At $120, these shoes are by no means a steal, but in an era where the price of trail running shoes seems to be escalating quickly, they offer high performance for a price that has long been standard. Since they are one of the top-performing trail running shoes in our testing, we think they are a good value and a worthy choice for our Best Bang for the Buck Award.

Conclusion


The Saucony Peregrine ISO is our Best Bang for the Buck winners because they offer great value. They are an extremely comfortable shoe, offering great traction, awesome stability, and a sensitive feel for the trail. They are a bit light on foot protection and weigh more than most, but for those who value comfort, make a great choice.

Running in the evening sunlight in the hills surrounding Grey Butte and Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon while wearing the Peregrine ISO.
Running in the evening sunlight in the hills surrounding Grey Butte and Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon while wearing the Peregrine ISO.


Andy Wellman