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(The Gear Loop) - The act of trail running - essentially running anywhere that isn’t a beautifully laid stretch of tarmac - requires a special set of shoes that not only provide the necessary grip underfoot, but also go the extra mile in terms of cushioning, protection against the elements and general robustness.

Attempt to tackle a slippery woodland track in a pair of high tech road running shoes and it’s highly likely you’ll end up on your bum at some point, roll an ankle or generally not get very far before calling it a day.

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 1

Saucony, a brand that has been pumping out dedicated running shoes since the mid-1900s, knows a thing or two about protecting runner’s feet and improving overall performance, and the Peregrine 11s take everything they’ve learnt from road-running exploits and transfers it to the lesser trodden path.

Our quick take

We very quickly fell in love with Saucony Peregrine 11, simply because they shroud the foot in such a way to promote plenty of confidence on the trails.

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 5

Running through mud, slippery clay surfaces, loose shingle and wet inclines is not really the ideal situation for any shoe, but these dealt with it admirably. Yes, they are slightly heavier for it, but we’ll take that for the added peace of mind when running in the wild and they didn't seem to slow pace at all. In fact, the extra grip promotes faster running.

Those with wider feet might not find the fit as comfortable as this reviewer (a very average size 8) - although some markets offer a wider version - while the extra stiffness through the sole won’t be to all tastes and, admittedly, it does take some getting used to.

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 12

But we found ourselves reaching for the Peregrine 11 time and time again, purely because of the excellent grip they afford and the tricky nature of some of our favourite off-road loops.

Saucony Peregrine 11 review: a beast of a trail running shoe

Saucony Peregrine 11

5 stars - The Gear Loop editors choice
For
  • Sole is fantastically grippy
  • Great toebox protection
  • Cushioning and comfortable
Against
  • Relatively heavy
  • Colour schemes can be mad
  • Feet can get hot

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In the Loop

Everything you need to know about the Saucony Peregrine 11

  • A FormFit upper that tightly shrouds the foot for added stability
  • 5mm lugs on the durable rubber sole
  • Chevron tread promotes flexibility 
  • A chunky heel height of 27mm for additional cushioning
  • Secure lacing system
  • Foot-hugging fit to avoid ingress of debris
The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 11

All in the sole

Flip a pair of Peregrine 11s over and you’ll be greeted by the grammatically awkward but fantastically grippy PWRTRAC rubber outsole. This features rows of aggressive and rugged lugs that are built to grip on to anything underfoot, while their tough rubber construction means they should last many miles.

What’s more, there chevron tread pattern allows the sole to flex nicely, meaning your running gait isn’t adversely affected by an overly stiff sole. That said, they are stiffer than road running shoes

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 2

When out on the trails, we found this beast of a shoe gripped in pretty much every kind of terrain we could find. It dealt with loose shingle admirably, made mincemeat out of some steep muddy inclines and generally powered over a carpet of slippery pine needles during one of our favoured forest loops.

That said, the shoes felt immediately heavier (they weigh over 300g) than some of the more featherweight road running shoes we often slip on and the sole, despite its fancy chevrons, is relatively firm. All in all, they take a bit of getting used to.

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 9

Padded, for your pleasure

Both the tongue and the upper of this shoe are heavily padded, which is a welcome addition given the punishment the feet take when scrambling over rocky surfaces and generally pounding unpredictable terrain.

Saucony delivers what it refers to as a FormFit upper, which is essentially a snug fitting body of the shoe that keeps the foot locked into place and stops any debris, bugs, stones, sticks and other nasties from entering. 

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 18

The lacing system adds an extra layer of security, as it’s possible to really lockdown the mid-foot area to prevent any movement, while the flat tongue does a great job of proving extremely comfortable and not rubbing over those longer runs. Plus, it did a great job of keeping the foot warm and dry.

Overall, it’s a great fitting shoe that errs on the narrow side of the spectrum. Anyone with wider feet might find these a tad restrictive, and it’s not helped by the fact the shoes are fairly stiff, reducing the amount of flex and wiggle room generally afforded by lighter road shoes.

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 21

A midsole maestro

Anyone moving in keen running circles will have likely heard of Saucony’s PWRRUN technology. It appeared in our best high tech running shoes article, written by one of The Gear Loop’s most renowned runners, who waxed lyrical about the midsole foam.

That's because it packs fantastic shock absorbing properties and coupled with the FormFit tech, the shoe seems to adapt to various different running gaits without feeling alien or uncomfortable.

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 20

Throw in those reassuring 5mm lugs on the sole and it all equates to a very stable, reassuring running experience.

That said, the additional weight of the shoe and the weather resistant upper means they aren’t the most breathable and when paired with some thick running socks, we found the feet do become sweaty on milder days. 

The Gear LoopSaucony Peregrine 11 review photo 13

Saucony claims the mesh upper features increased ventilation over previous versions of this shoe, but we’d still predict things get hot in the summer.

To recap

An excellent all-rounder, the Saucony’s Peregrine 11 feel extremely stable on rough surfaces, pack plenty off cushioning for all-day comfort and come stuffed with clever technology that promotes protection and grip. These quickly became some of our favourite off-road running buddies.

Writing by Leon Poultney.