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Saucony Peregrine 12:
Lighter and More Protective Trail Running for the 12th Edition
By Contributors Megan Flynn and Andrea Myers

The Peregrine line has been one of Saucony’s staple trail shoes over the years, as it introduces its 12th model. The Peregrine 12’s had some major improvements from the previous model, with highlights being a significant drop in weight (more than an ounce lighter!) and a new rock plate for added protection while on the trails. In addition, there’s a new 5mm lug pattern on the outsole for improved traction, protection, and quicker removal of debris from the bottom of the shoe. Over the course of testing, the new and improved Peregrines proved to be a great option for various terrains (tow-paths, more technical trails, ice/snow) without sacrificing speed or comfort.

Price: $129.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.7 oz, 275 g (men's size 9), 8.3 oz, 235 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 26.5 mm, 22.5 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Classification: Neutral Trail Trainer


Megan: These shoes are an excellent option for trail runners of all experience levels. Except for the lugs on the outsole and the forefoot rock plate, they aren’t drastically different from the typical daily trainer in terms of stability and weight. Compared to other trail shoes (Hoka Speedgoat 4 = 9.2oz (W), Altra Lone Peak 6 = 8.7oz (W), Nike Pegasus Trail 3 = 9.3oz (W)), the Peregrines a relatively light option making it easier to navigate more technical trails including avoiding rocks, branches, roots, etc. With the forefoot rock plate, this shoe is a solid option regardless of the terrain. Living in the Northeast, and testing these shoes in the winter season is an important note to address. The PWRRUN EVA foam is at a disadvantage in these colder conditions, causing the foam to be stiffer than it would be in warmer spring/summer weather. In turn, this effects the responsiveness and flexibility of the shoe.

I was really excited to receive the Peregrine 12 for testing. I did a lot of trail running a few years ago as I transitioned from cycling to running, and the Peregrine was my favorite for Connecticut’s technical trails and on snow. My only gripe about older versions of the Peregrine was how stiff the outsole was; if I did any running on pavement, I would get hot spots at my lateral forefoot. The updated 12 is lighter and has a more flexible outsole, which made me very curious to see if its performance on firmer ground had improved while still maintaining its excellent grip.


Megan: The Peregrine 12s fit true-to-size in terms of length and width (I’m a size 6.5 regular width). The heel cup is firm allowing for added stability in the rearfoot which is useful when navigating technical trails. One downside of the heel cup for me is that it came up higher on the heel, leading to rubbing and blisters on the back of my heels. Luckily this didn’t irritate the actual Achilles tendon, however is something to keep in mind for runners with chronic Achilles’ tendinitis. The shoe also offers a firm toe bumper, providing protection from kicking rocks, branches, ice, etc. There’s also a toe gaiter attachment, providing the option to add a gaiter for more protection of the foot/ankle. 

The shoe offers a comfortable and secure lockdown throughout the foot which can be attributed to a couple different factors. First, there is an added sock liner in the shoe which essentially hugs and contours to the foot increasing comfort. Second, the lacing system provides lockdown throughout the midfoot. The lacing lockdown provides the security needed for sharp turns and quick steps on the trails/snow. Combine that with the sock liner and you get the perfect combination of security AND comfort. 

The upper is a lightweight mesh with pliable overlays to protect from trail elements. While the mesh is thin, breathable, moisture-wicking, the feet tend to get pretty cold in winter weather. The sock liner serves as an additional layer throughout the midfoot, however leaves the forefoot cold in wintry conditions requiring thicker/warmer socks when wearing these. Again, I tested these during a cold, Northeast winter. In the warmer spring/summer months, these will likely be a great option because of the breathability factor.

The Saucony Peregrine 12 fits true to size in my usual women’s 9.5. The fit is similar to any non-Endorphin Saucony shoe (I go ½ size up in the Endorphin line). I find that the fit of the Peregrine is most similar to the Kinvara. The width of the forefoot is moderate; there is enough room to move my toes, but this is definitely not a “foot-shaped” shoe like Altra or Topo. The Peregrine feels slightly wider in the forefoot as compared to the Kinvara. The new upper is mesh and stabilizes the foot without being constrictive. It is very breathable and drains well when running in rain or through puddles. There is a firm external heel counter that wraps around the calcaneus on both sides and a lightly padded internal heel counter. I did experience some heel irritation during one run in which I wore thicker wool socks, but had no irritation when wearing normal thickness running socks. The gusseted tongue is lightly padded and stays in place. The flat laces lock the foot down securely. The PWRRUN+ sockliner adds some cushion and comfort. The Peregrine has always been a stiff shoe due to the rockplate and I found older versions of the Peregrine to be too stiff for any pavement running. The 12 feels slightly more flexible than previous versions and I was able to run about 3 miles on pavement in them before getting hot spots at my lateral forefoot.


Megan: The Saucony Peregrine provides a smooth and comfortable ride on all surface types tested, making it a solid option for runs consisting of trails, both roads and trails, and snow/icy conditions. The shoe has some responsiveness and bounce (albeit limited), but the lightweight feature of the shoe makes up for this. In a trail shoe, a primary focus is on stability and protection of the foot against various terrain. The Peregrine 12s have a rock plate which adds protection, but may serve to limit some of the responsiveness/bounce. If I had to choose between responsiveness or element-protection, I would choose protection for a trail shoe. The new lightweight design of the 12s makes up for the decreased responsiveness of the midsole, making it easier to navigate trails and clearing obstacles (rocks, branches, roots, etc.). The forefoot has a toe spring which helps to propel you forward onto your toes. The forefoot also offers a new rock plate, providing necessary protection when landing on rocks, branches, ice, etc.    

As mentioned earlier, the EVA component of the midsole foam results in increased stiffness during colder conditions which also decreases the responsiveness of the shoe. The midsole has a relatively low stack height, which allows for some ground feel while running. Despite not keeping the feet warm on cold winter days, the upper is a redeeming quality of the Peregrines when it comes to performance. The upper is durable and contours to the foot allowing for free motion of the midfoot and forefoot. However, the lockdown of the upper and sock-liner adds enough security required for making sharp turns, lateral movements, quick steps – all motions required for a successful trail run.     

The PWRTRAC outsole of the Peregrine 12s was updated with a new multi-directional lug pattern which increases efficiency of clearing debris from the bottom of the shoe. When running through piles of snow after a recent snowstorm, the shoes quickly lost any packed snow/slush from the bottom, making it easier to push off step after step. In conjunction to the ease of debris clearing, the PWRTRAC outsole provides excellent grip and traction on all surface types.

The Peregrine 12 has the best traction out of any trail shoe I’ve worn. It gives me complete confidence when running on snowy or muddy trails. I was even able to run on a packed down, icy dirt trail with confidence and with minimal loss of traction. The 5mm lugs really bite into the ground and allow me to plant my foot and push off with confidence, without changing my stride. The PWRTRAC outsole sheds mud and snow very well; it has never gotten bogged down, even after 4 miles on a muddy dirt road. The 4mm drop makes the shoe more nimble and helps me maintain my preferred midfoot landing pattern, which also improves stability on loose surfaces. I find that shoes with drop >8mm tend to result in some heel contact for me, which can cause slippage on loose trails. I had no problem picking up the pace in these shoes off-road, but they feel a little flat on pavement due to the stiff outsole. Previous versions of the Peregrine felt a little too heavy for racing, but the 12 is light enough that it would excel for races on very technical terrain. The cutouts in the mid and forefoot as well as the decoupled heel contribute to improved outsole flexibility. The improved flexibility of the 12 also results in slightly improved ground feel, a feature that was lacking in previous Peregrines. The shoe is best suited to technical or loose terrain and would not be my first choice for firm trails or roads. While the PWRRUN+ sockliner provides some cushioning, it is not enough to make this a shoe of choice for hard surfaces.


Megan: Being a trail shoe, stability is an important factor when it comes to efficiency, protection, and comfort. The Peregrine 12 provides adequate stability thanks to a few main factors. First, the lockdown of the midfoot provides the necessary stability for quick movements and turns required on trails. Second, the multidirectional lugs provide added stability and traction on a variety of surface types. Third, while the outsole narrows at the midfoot, it still provides enough width to support the midfoot, specifically the medial arch. Fourth, the dense PWRRUN foam adds firmness to the midsole resulting in more stability. Due to the stiffness of the foam, it does place some additional stress on the lower leg due to decreased surface compliance. The stiffness of the foam is less responsive than a typical neutral trainer which is necessary in this shoe for comfort and protection on the trails. The toe spring in the mid/forefoot helps account for this firmness of the foam, providing a forward propulsion and rocker for push-off.

The Peregrine 12 is a neutral shoe with mild non-traditional stability features. The external heel counter is very firm and does a great job of stabilizing the heel without causing irritation. The wider midfoot provides some stability through mid-stance and may provide mild resistance to inversion sprains. The mild toe spring promotes push off without feeling aggressive. The redesigned, slipper-like upper helps lock the foot down and promotes stability on uneven terrain or when making sharp turns.


What is “ground feel” and why is it important?, By Megan Flynn
Ground feel refers to the ability for the foot to feel and detect the surface underneath it which aids in proprioceptive awareness (the body’s ability to orient itself through space or movement). We use proprioception with every movement and the more feedback, the better the quality of movement. A majority of this feedback comes from pressure receptors which are mostly located in the feet. In less than a split second, these pressure receptors relay information back to the spinal cord via an afferent neural pathway. The spinal cord then sends a message via an efferent neural pathway back to the muscles, tendons, and joints of the foot and ankle with instructions on how to respond to the sensory information. With all of this happening faster than the blink of an eye, it is clear how important the feedback of ground feel is when running on either roads or trails.

The level of cushioning in a shoe increases or decreases ground-feel. In maximally cushioned, high-stack shoes the ground feel is decreased due to the high amount of foam in the midsole. The cushioning essentially acts as a barrier, blocking the proprioceptive system’s effectiveness, and therefore the body’s awareness of position in space. Conversely, in minimalist shoes with less foam and cushion the foot has an increased ability to feel the ground beneath it and respond appropriately. For trail running, a balance is needed because without enough cushioning the feet aren’t protected from the elements encountered including roots, rocks, and uneven terrain.

In trail shoes ground-feel and proprioception are arguably more important than in road shoes due to the need for agility and quick responses to different surfaces and terrain. Having more ground-feel allows for more sensory feedback, thus resulting in muscles, tendons, and joints working together to provide awareness and quick adaptations on uneven surfaces. Increased awareness and feedback can help to improve quality of movement and avoid injuries such as ankle sprains when running on uneven trails. One of the best features (in my opinion) of the Saucony Peregrine 12s, relates to the ground feel. 

They have a relatively low stack height (26.5mm heel/22.5mm toe) when compared to other common trail shoes. For example: Hoka Speedgoat 4 (32mm heel/28mm toe), Altra Lone Peak 6 (26mm heel/26mm toe), Nike Pegasus Trail 3 (36mm heel/26mm toe), Hoka Challenger ATR 6 (37mm heel/32mm toe). The low stack height of the Peregrine 12s provide an advantage over most trail shoes because they allow for more proprioceptive feedback and ground feel thus resulting in more stability and injury-prevention on the trails. Despite the lower stack height, the Peregrines don’t sacrifice protection due to the added rock plate, toe bumper, and outsole lugs. Overall, the ground-feel of the Peregrines combined with adequate protection on the trails make them an outstanding choice when hitting the trails.


Megan: The Peregrine 12s are a lightweight, secure trail shoe serving as a great option for runners of all levels. One recommendation for future models – which could result in an even lighter shoe – is to lower the heel cup to avoid irritation at the heel/Achilles. As mentioned earlier, the heel cup rubs higher on the back of the heel leading to blisters and could be a potential irritator to the Achilles tendon.

The Peregrine 12 is the best version of the Peregrine I have tried. I would be hard pressed to think of another trail shoe that performs better on loose terrain, particularly snow and mud, as compared to the Peregrine. I think that the overall performance of the shoe could be improved if Saucony could make the outsole even more flexible while maintaining the lug pattern, which is what provides such excellent grip. It does appear that Saucony made the forefoot slightly wider than previous versions and I would encourage them to maintain this feature, which allows for slight toe splay and improved forefoot stability.


Megan: The Saucony Peregrine 12 is a good option for runners of all levels from new to experienced trail runners. The lightweight quality makes them a potential option for trail racing, providing the comfort, traction, and stability required for quick movements on the trails. With a midsole consisting of EVA foam, these will likely perform better in warmer temperatures (>40deg) and will increase the responsiveness of the shoe. I’m looking forward to testing these out more in warmer temperatures where the EVA foam won’t be as stiff and the breathability of the upper can be taken advantage of. With the new and improved outsole, rock plate, lower weight, and sock liner, I would consider these one of the more versatile trail shoes on the market.

The Saucony Peregrine 12 is for runners looking for a trail shoe that performs exceptionally well on technical, loose terrain. It is my #1 choice for snowy runs due to its unrivaled traction. It is for runners who do not require traditional stability features and prefer a lower drop shoe. If you enjoy the fit and ride of the Kinvara on the road, you will probably like the Peregrine for the trails.


Fit: B+ (The fit is true-to-size in terms of length and width. The irritation caused from the high heel cup was enough to decrease points for me in this category.)
B+ (The EVA foam in the cold weather resulted in lost points in this category. The increased stiffness of the foam led to decreased responsiveness and bounce)
Stability: A- (Between the midfoot lockdown, sock-liner, and lacing system, these shoes provide adequate stability for all surface types that I was able to test them on)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (The relatively high ground feel of the Peregrines when compared to other trail shoes, puts this shoe above most when it comes to sensory feedback and injury prevention on the trails.)
Personal: A- (The biggest negative for me was the high heel cup irritating and causing blisters. The traction, comfort, and stability of the shoe make up for this minor irritation)
Overall: A- (The Peregrine 12s have become a go-to option for me during the winter months when running in snowy and icy conditions. They’re a great option for tough terrain/conditions while not adding too much weight relative to a typical trainer. The traction provided by the lugs and the grip of the PWRTRAC outsole provide stability on all surfaces.))

Fit: A (wider forefoot allows for slight toe splay, slipper-like upper provides excellent lock down, secure heel counter)         
Performance:  A-
(the best on snowy or muddy terrain due to excellent traction. A- due to outsole being too firm for much pavement running)
Stability: B-
(not a stability shoe, for runners who can tolerate 4mm drop and do not require traditional stability features)
DPT/Footwear Science: B
(improved ground feel as compared to previous versions, but lacking compared to other low drop trail shoes)
Personal: A-
(the best shoe for loose terrain, A- due to stiff outsole limiting pavement running)
Overall:  B+/A-
(my #1 choice for technical trail running, could be improved with more flexible outsole)


Price: $129.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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