July 17, 2018

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With the launch of the new Peregrine 8, we asked ultrarunner, Dan Ribu to take them for a test run as he prepares for the Ultra Trail Australia 100km race in May. Here’s what he had to say.

In Chinese culture, the number 8 is a lucky number, and in 2018, the number 8 is definitely Saucony’s lucky number with the release of the Peregrine 8s.

I first discovered the Saucony Peregrine series with the Peregrine 6s. I remember trying them out and thinking they were the lightest trail shoes I’d had to date and were comfortable. They were a great pair of shoes but really didn’t work for my foot, I kept getting blisters on the back of my right heel from the heel cup and fatigue set into from the limited cushioning in the forefoot particularly when running ultras (which didn’t suit my midfoot-forefoot running style). Eventually they were dropped from my shoe rotation.

When the Peregrine 7s were released, I was intrigued but wasn’t enticed to give them a try because I still had two Peregrine 6s sitting with the rest of my running shoes begging to me take them out for another run.

But when I read about the changes that were made to the Peregrine 8s, I was excited. Not because of the more aggressive outsole, but because of the promise of a softer heel cup, replacement of the rock plate (which was probably the cause of the foot fatigue) with more cushioning and the full length EVERUN topsole. While these changes caused some increase in weight to the shoe, I was still very keen to give it a go and give it a go I did.

When the Peregrine 8s arrived, I was surprised by how light the shoes still felt in the hand. The real surprises were yet to come when I put on the shoes for my first run.

On my first run in the shoes, I was overjoyed with the tonnes of room in the toe box (I tend to have a narrower foot) which allowed my toes to splay out and move around unhindered. I was also happy with the new lacing system (similar to Saucony’s ISO lacing system) that made it so much easier to tighten the shoe laces (in comparison to the 6s).

My first run started on a mixture of cement footpaths and bitumen roads, and I was surprised to not hear the suction/sticky sound that some of my previous trails shoes have had on these kinds of surfaces. When I finally made it onto the fire trails (mostly sandy fire trails with some rocky and compacted/harder surfaces), it was surprising to see how responsive the shoes were despite the increased cushioning. The shoes handled the terrain very well, with the odd occasions where the lugs were digging into the sandy terrain a bit too much and made for tougher running.

When I got into some more technical downhill sections and rocky single trail sections of the run, this is where the shoes really came into their own. I flew down those hills with no problems and the extra cushioning absorbing the impact, the lugs gripped onto the rocks with no problems, helping me propel from rock to rock. At the end of the short 10km trail run, I was absolutely in love with the shoes and could not stop raving about them.

The second time I ran in the Peregrine 8s was on a back-to-back scramble (some may call it a bush bash) up two steep mountains to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately, it was a rainy morning, but the Peregrine 8s had no issues gripping onto the slippery technical single tracks. The only problem with the 8s in these conditions was that they were like sponges – even just from absorbing dew from the grass and even worse when the rain started up the mountain. Luckily, the drainage on these shoes are great and the sloshing disappeared quickly. Again, the responsiveness and the cushioning were great, with no issues or fatigue after the 15km run.

The more I ran in the Peregrine 8s, the more “at home” my feet felt. I didn’t feel like I needed to “break in” the shoes. In the past, it’s taken me at least 50-100km to feel comfortable in pair of shoes (e.g. the Hoka One One Speed Instincts, Clayton 1s and 2s, Vanquish 2s and Clifton 3s). This “comfort right out of the box” feeling is something that Saucony has done really well lately, especially with the Freedom ISO and its “socks with a rubber sole” feeling.

One thing to note though when running on more technical trails – make sure you tighten the laces because those lugs grip hard and my feet were moving side to side inside the shoes when you land on a surface that’s not flat.

The Peregrine 8s will definitely be my choice for shoes to help me through the Ultra Trail Australia 100km race in May and all my training runs prior.

GREAT FOR: Suitable for all trail terrains, including mixed trails (i.e. trails that require some bitumen/cement path running) but perfect for muddy and slippery technical terrain
NOT-SO-GREAT FOR: While can be used for sandy trails, it can dig in too much into the sand and can result in a slower/heavier run
TEST CONDITIONS: dry and sandy/rocky fire trails, muddy terrain, wet and dry technical single trails with slippery rocky terrain
TESTER: Dan Ribu, Ultrarunner (road and trail)
TESTER MECHANICS: Midfoot to forefoot striker

Follow Dan’s journey as he prepares for the Ultra Trail Australia in May by following him @dan_therunning_man Article from The Saucony Blog

Dan is also a run leader within Qrun affiliated Springfield Runners Group