The Saucony Peregrine 8 is a rugged trail running shoe with amazing traction and a responsive and comfortable fit. While it updates the previous versions of this shoe, namely the Peregrine 7, a significant number of changes have taken place, including a new lug pattern on the outsole and the removal of any sort of rock plate. The resulting shoe feels springy and bouncy but isn't as protective underfoot as previous versions. We love this version and feel that most people will as well, although must point out that many people are reporting durability issues with the upper mesh, and we are also experiencing some early wear, especially at the forefoot pinch point. For a comfortable, cushioned, highly grippy shoe that can tackle all types of terrain, check out the Peregrine 8.
Saucony Peregrine 8 Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Amazingly grippy traction, very comfortable fit, good balance between sensitivity and protection
Cons: Upper mesh breaks down too quickly, no rock plate
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Our Analysis and Test Results
If you are well acquainted with the Peregrine line of shoes, then check out the tip box below where we describe the updates and changes to this most recent version. For those readers who don't know about this shoe and are wondering what to expect: think insanely grippy traction. It has long had one of the most heavily lugged outsoles available on the market, and this new version continues that trend. Regardless of the terrain, you can count on the Peregrine 8 to help you stick. It pairs this with a relatively thin stack of foam without a rock plate and a mere 4mm of heel-toe drop. While there are a few flaws to be reckoned with, namely the durability of the mesh upper, this shoe has long been one of the mainstays of the trail running shoe world, and will continue to be so.
Outsole: The lug pattern has changed dramatically. The new lugs are even larger, deeper, more aggressive, and seem less prone to tearing off.
Midsole: The rock plate is completely gone, replaced with EVERUN foam. The new ride is squishy and springy, not unlike Hokas, but with a far thinner stack height remains less protective and more sensitive.
Upper: The new upper has a different method of locking the foot in place that works great. The shoe offers more breathable mesh and fewer overlays, with the benefit of greater breathability but less durability.
Weight: This new version weighs about one ounce per shoe more than the last version.
There is no doubt that this shoe offers less foot protection than previous versions, especially those from a few years ago (the 5 and previous), which included a very hard rock plate. Gone is the rock plate, and it is replaced with only foam and fatter, deeper lugs on the outsole. The effect is that this shoe is very flexible and supple, but with a mere 20.5mm of material under the forefoot, does not absorb all of the impact of blows from rocks like the Hoka Speedgoat 2 does. Likewise, the toe bumper is a bit underwhelming without much-added protection at all except for thick rubber, and the majority of the film overlays on the upper have also been ditched. These overlays may not have done a whole lot to protect the foot, but they seemed to do a good job of protecting the mesh material from wear and degradation. The mesh on our Peregrine 8s is already showing wear after less than 100 miles of testing.
Traction is the number one selling point of this shoe, and indeed our testing reveals that it is easily among the best on steep dirt, grass, mud, and even snow. It also grips rock fairly well. The outsole is made up of rows of very large, 6mm deep diamond shaped lugs that bite into any surface. It is a different pattern than in years past, with far fewer gaps in the rubber.
While we noticed significant issues with lugs ripping off in the past, we have yet to experience any of those issues with our test pair. The soft and flexible midsole seems to aid in traction because it allows the shoe to mold to the surface it is standing on, enhancing its ability to grip. Like the Inov-8 Roclite 290 and the Salomon Speedcross 4, this shoe makes an ideal choice for off-trail travel.
With a fairly low to the ground platform and a minimal 4mm heel-toe drop, we found the Peregrine 8 to be quite stable. While we experienced a minor amount of forward slippage when running down very steep hills, we were also able to effectively counteract this movement by tightening down the laces a bit. On side-hills we experienced no tendency for our foot to slip or propensity to roll an ankle. The opening around the ankle is very heavily cushioned, meaning we experienced no discomfort from running across hills. Similar to our Editors' Choice award-winning Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4, this is a very stable shoe.
We found this to be a very comfortable shoe in large part due to the amount of cushioned padding surrounding the ankle opening on all sides. It runs average in length or every so slightly short (we felt no need to size up, but others seem to like a larger version of the shoe). Regarding width it feels pretty average, neither overly narrow like the Salomon S/Lab Ultra or extra wide like the Altra Lone Peak 3.5. The heel cup is moderately spacious but thankfully far snugger than previous versions, and it lacks the blister-inducing seam that defined the Peregrine 6. Truthfully, this is one of the most comfortable and least finicky shoes straight out of the box and requires no break-in time of any sort.
Regarding their ability to shed water once wet, we discovered mixed results in our water bucket test. They are near the bottom of the pile concerning water absorption, meaning that all their comfortable padding does indeed soak up the water like a sponge. However, this fact is easily overcome by their performance in ditching water after a five-minute run, where they rank relatively close to the top. Expect them to get heavy when wet, but also expect them to dry out pretty fast.
Our size men's 11 weighed in at 23.7 ounces per pair, 2.3 ounces heavier than the previous version of this shoe. Since they now lack a rock plate and have less material on the upper, we aren't sure where the weight gains come from. Regardless, they are one of the heaviest shoes in this review, one of the few knocks we have against them. That said, on the trail, they don't feel at all like clunkers; rather they feel light and springy, so we aren't sure that it's worth putting too much stock in the addition of a few ounces.
The Peregrine line has long been an exemplar of hitting the perfect balance between underfoot protection and sensitivity, catering to both without denying either. This shoe still fits that bill, although for the first time we can say it feels more sensitive than it does protective. Much like the springy foam cushioning of the Altra Lone Peak 3.5, this shoe allows a fair amount of the trail to be felt by the foot. It is also very flexible and can certainly bend to match the shape of whatever it is landing on. The stiff and even hard platform one may remember from the Peregrine 5, and earlier is long gone! If you are like us and wish it would come back, all we can do is point you toward Nike's line of trail runners.
This shoe is a good foot for nearly anyone who is looking for an everyday rugged trail running shoe. With its incredible traction, we have found it is especially effective at off-trail travel (we often wear it on Colorado peak bagging missions that involve talus, steep grass and dirt, some mud, and often snow). It is very comfortable for trails as well.
At $120 retail, this shoe is priced pretty much average for a trail running shoe these days. While its attributes and performance definitely suggest it makes for a good value purchase, the preponderance of people complaining online about breakdowns of the upper mesh, as well as our own testimony that this has happened to us, means it is quite possible you will be disappointed with the number of miles you get out of this shoe.
The Saucony Peregrine 8 makes some rather drastic changes to this ever popular trail running shoe, including changing the lug pattern on the outsole, removing the rock plate from the midsole, and removing much of the protective film from the upper. In our opinion it performs at least as well, if not even better, than previous versions, and remains supremely comfortable. Purchasers should expect one of the most well-rounded trail running shoes available today, but be warned that durability may become an issue.
— Andy Wellman