Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Product Review and Race Tested - Saucony Peregrine 6

Making the great better!!

About a year ago, I had a rare opportunity to test on the Saucony Peregrine 5 (P5) and I concluded the review with Saucony had a winning product and giving other brand a run for the money. Can they make the successful model even better in the form of Saucony Peregrine 6 (P6)? Read on!!

When Saucony Malaysia launched the EVERUN technology at the local running store, P6 was part of the range of shoes that was introduced  during the event. Given the experience that I had with P5, I quickly put on the P6 and did a test run on the treadmill. Are you kidding? Trail shoe on treadmill? Nothing wrong with that after all the tagline says #Runanywhere and all I did was to make sure Saucony meant what it says LOL. First impression was superb, immediately I can feel the improvement of the P6 over predecessor. I did not wait long to put my money down for a pair

Top Peregrine 5 and Bottom Peregrine 6
Fearing that the purchased was an impulsive buy, I was eager to take the P6 out for a spin and so I did for a couple of Saturdays at the local forest reserve with a mix of tarmac and trail? Now why tarmac you may ask. P5 comes to live over the trail terrain but can't say the same on the road as with other trail shoes, it was a tad too hard on the road. Improvement on the tarmac ride handling would be really great to make P6 a better shoe

At 9.8 oz for US size 9, The P6 wasn't exactly light on paper, but in actual fact it is not heavy either considering the cushion that you enjoyed similar to the predecessor. The generous toe box just got more generous from the P6 which my wide feet loves to bits. Aesthetically, the wider toe box can immediately be noticed from the top view without slipping my feet in. The outsole sees a complete revamp with a more aggressive lugs layout from the P5. PWRTRAC is the rubber of choice by the company in Kuztown, Pennsylvania in their latest Peregrine over the XT-900 rubber, combining with the nylon rock plate, the new outsole gives gripper unrelenting traction at the protecting your feet from sharp rocks or debris.

Notice the wider forefoot on the P6 (left) compare to the P5 (right) resulted in wider forefoot area

The aggressive lugs on PWRTRAC rubber
25mm - 21mm heel to toe sees a higher stack height over P5 but maintaining the 4mm drop. Although I can't confirmed this (don't quote me), but I suspect this is due to the inclusion of the EVERUN heel insert over the lightweight EVA midsole cushioning for a smoother transition. Whatever it is behind the philosophy of the raise, I don't really care coz I love the ride as it sees an overall improvement. P6 is now bouncier and softer compare to P5 but it did not compromise any of the stability on the ride department carried over which is a winner to me. On the tarmac which I briefly mentioned above, it is now a lot closer to its road running siblings which is really great!! Now you can run the train terrain with lots of grip and yet gives you similar ride of a road running shoes on the tarmac. Is like the analogy of a SUV with a road car handling, for a lack of better word, it does feels that way.

The coordinates around the collar area indicated the home of Saucony

On the upper, my feet sits comfortably and fit snugly. Flexfilm overlays over mesh helps hold and wrap my feet in place without having any sliding around no matter how hard I tried. A gusseted tongue helps keep the debris and a RunDry heel collar completes the upper without any surprise. However the rubber toe cap now being replaced by some sort of synthetic leather, I'm not sure it will be as effective as the predecessor design in keeping pain away from unwanted kick on the rocks or roots. Not a deal breaker, but is worth a mention in the review.

Notice the rubber toe cap (Right) on P5 has been replaced by the synthetic leather (left) on the P6

Race tested!! Now I didn't put up a race report for the small event that I raced the P6 as I thought it would be a good idea to put the two together for a combine post (yes I'm lazy). My wife signed me up for a 8KM trail race (more like a 5km trail and 3km road) which is great given that I always wanted to race a shoe that give no compromise to both the road and trail terrain.

Race was held on my usual training ground which gave me some advantage knowing the race route well, saying that it is still a hard course if one decide to go all out. The race stared under light rain and I knew the trail will be slippery. The competitive side of me couple with the P6 which I have full confidence of doing a great job, I was pushing to the limit the moment the air horn was blown. First 1KM was done on tarmac, with the P6 giving the ride close to road running shoes, I was able to churn out 5min pace comfortably. The forefoot section of the P6 is responsive at the same time soft enough to take away the road pounding feel from the feet. It doesn't gives as much feedback/road feel like a racing flat, but it was better than expected providing a stable platform stride to stride.

Next it was trail, lots of midfoot and heel striking for grip as opposed to the forefoot road for the first KM. I was immediately greeted with a steep incline for several hundred meters with 3 other competitor. It was a hard climb that sees me almost come to a walk, but running in the leading pack helped push me and tagged along the lead pack as this was as close a chance I could get to put myself on the podium. There was very little between the four of us, but the bite from the shoes PWRTRAC outsole gave me the little advantage on the slippery terrain due to the rain. Beyond 3KM mark, the fastest runner among the lead pack has broke away some distance ahead, and  I was able to slowly power away and put in a healthy lead over the other 2 runners from the pack.

Soon I was all alone huffing and puffing in a very unfamiliar situation. I have never ran in the lead in any race beyond a 200m race distance, I have no idea what to do nor do I know what to expect. Should I keep pushing and risk bonking later or slow down slightly to control the race. With no experience, I just did both to be on the safe side or risk throwing the race way. My legs felt really great as the P6 held my feet snugly, good cushioning and I was able to speed up on demand with no problem. The ride was smooth with plenty of grip coming from the shoe

1.5KM from finishing line was again on the tarmac. The road condition is a lot more slippery at this stage of the race as it had rained for some time now. Out from the trail immediately I was able to push again on a mid/forefoot run  over the remaining rolling hills section. It was cooling with fresh breezy air to fuel the run and for the first time the thought of stepping up on the podium was real. I kept looking back to see how big of a lead I have built and how much I could afford to slow down. Honestly, I was almost running out of breath with a KM to go and I just had to run smart for the remaining distance.
Podium moment
Big relief to see the finishing gantry beyond striking distance. One last glance to the back to make sure there were no surprises and I sprint lightly crossing the finishing line. I was handed over with the age group champion card and I was totally surprised as I'm very sure there is a runner in front of me. Later I found, the other runner had ran the wrong way and did not pick up the mandatory ribbon for the finishing and on top of that my 45mins finishing time was good enough to crowd me the overall champion for the race. It was so surreal,  me being the champ haha. It was a good race event (for obvious reason), I was on form and of course a pair great shoe in this slippery condition helps.

All said, P6 saw a number of improvements over the P5. From a wider toe box, a complete revamp of the outsole with the grippier PWRTRAC rubber and the inclusion of the EVERUN insert on the heel section sums up the major improvements. In my opinion, P6 is a complete redesigned product providing an overall smoother and more stable ride for both trail and tarmac terrain. I still stand by the good things that I have said on the P5, but the boys at Kuztown had beat themselves with the latest edition of the Peregrine trail shoes. They make the great better.

Go get yourself a pair or slip it on at any Saucony authorized outlets. The P6 is retailed at RM429.00.

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