Saucony trail shoes have always been my favourite, so I was a bit anxious about this Saucony Peregrine 12 review: what if it doesn't deliver the premium trail running shoe experience I hoped for? What if the shoes are just okay and not out-of-this-world?
The previous iteration of the shoes kept me on my feet whilst I was sliding down a Snowdonian slate trail during an arduous 100km FKT, so I was excited to see whether the latest model would be a sufficient upgrade. Thankfully, as soon as I slipped my feet into the shoes, I was reassured that the new Saucony Peregrine 12 would not disappoint.
With their new lightweight design, the Saucony Peregrine 12 performs even better than the Peregrine 11. The grip and comfort are still there, but they now come with the bonus of lightness which prevents fatigue from kicking in on long runs and enables you to glide across the trails.
Saucony Peregrine 12 review: Price and availability
The shoes are available in four colourways and two versions, standard and ST (speed laces plus weather protection).
Saucony Peregrine 12 review: The tech
Like previous models the Saucony Peregrine 12 has soft PWRRUN cushioning but it has been upgraded with a new sockliner for additional spring. Even after five hours of trail running the soles of my feet never felt sore. That said, runners used to road shoes or the super-soft Arc'teryx Novan LD 3 may find the Peregrine 12 offers a slightly harder run than they are used to.
The protective rock plate in the Peregrine remains, a godsend on technical terrain particularly hard stony paths. The plate has also been redesigned to shed moisture more easily so even if your feet get sweaty or wet, blisters should be avoidable because the shoe dries quickly. The outer mesh also acts as an effective water-resistant barrier when splashing through puddles and if completely submerged will dry relatively swiftly.
With a 4mm drop and redesigned lugs, this shoe offers even greater stability and seems to have overcome issues with previous models. On one particularly turbid 15 miler, I lost my Saucony Peregrine 9s to the mud at least half a dozen times. But on my recent ultra training runs the 12s have withstood sticky mud, loose soil and hazardous shale enabling me to fly across the fields with ease.
Saucony Peregrine 12 review: Ergonomics
Available in both regular and wide (in the US) fit the Saucony Peregrine 12 has a decent toe box giving your feet room to expand on longer runs. The tongue is much thinner than the Saucony 11, making it a little difficult to grab hold of but an added feature is the gaiter compatible loops.
The main difference between the 12s and previous models is the weight. The Saucony Peregrine 12s are significantly lighter at 235g, compared to the 270g of the 11s. This means they are more responsive and lighter underfoot but they don't sacrifice grip thanks to the aggressive 5mm lugs. Yes, the heel counter is slightly less padded but when you can move more quickly on any terrain this is an extremely welcome compromise.
And the shoe is environmentally lighter too with its upper layer containing recycled materials.
Another bonus of the lighter design is that the shoe performs well on road too meaning multi-terrain routes which involve a fair amount of road running will still be comfortable underfoot.
Saucony Peregrine 12 review: Aesthetics
Whilst the previous model was a vibrant clash of multicoloured neon the aesthetics in the latest model have been stripped back along with the weight. Each variation has a main single colour with the endorphin fin stripe and lace loops in a secondary, complementary colour.
Most of the colour options are still quite garish with ViZi Gold (yellow), Cool Mint (light blue), Campfire Story (orange) and Blue Raz (dark blue) but there are two more neutral options of Composite (beige) and Black.
I personally prefer the new design and if they weren't covered in mud these shoes would work well as fashion trainers, owing to their funky but simply design.
Saucony Peregrine 12 review: Verdict
The Saucony Peregrine 12 continues to offer a durable, versatile trail shoe which performs well in all weather, and on all terrain. They may not be the cheapest trail shoes on the market but pound for pound they will protect your feet for longer and cope better in slippery conditions than value footwear.
If you are looking to invest your cash in a pair of reliable treads which will see you through hundreds of gnarly miles then this is the trail shoe for you. They look great, feel good and respond quickly and you know they will be a great all-rounder, particularly for long-distance runners tackling a variety of surfaces.
The new lightweight design and sticky traction mean they are great for speed too and won't weigh your feet down in marathon and ultra races even when wet. With additional drainage in the sole, this pair should keep you light and dry on your feet for mile after mile.
Saucony Peregrine 12 review: Also consider
If you have a lower budget then Higher State Soil Shaker 2 (retailer link) offer excellent value for money. They come in six different colours and they feel incredibly light, almost like wearing slippers. Although they don't have a rock plate they do have a reinforced toe to offer some protection.
For something with more cushioning which feels closer to a spongy road shoe, it is worth looking at the Arc'teryx Novan LD 3 (retailer link). It has an aggressive 4mm Vibram lug and a toebox designed to accommodate splay. The brand also has sustainability at its core and is committed to halving its environmental footprint.