Saucony Trail Running Shoes
In this article, we'll discuss how Saucony’s trail shoes enhance your performance. Then we'll help you choose the best model for you based on the type of terrain and the distance you’ll be running.
How Saucony trail running technology improves your performance
Saucony Xodus 10 -- maximum cushioned, multi-terrain shoe
Saucony built this shoe to be their maximum cushioned shoe.
The Xodus 10 midsole is made with a lightweight foam. It’s soft and comfortable with bouncy responsiveness. And has premium shock absorption. You’ll experience lasting comfort even on longer runs.
The outsole has 5mm lugs that face forward in the front and backward in the heel. This improves the shoe's performance when running up or downhill. And, it has a nice sticky grip that is great across dry or slippery surfaces.
The 5mm lugs are decent for gripping down into a variety of trail conditions. But the Xodus 10 might not be the best for extremely muddy trails.
What you’ll notice:
- Flexible Midsole.
This shoe has a rock plate for added protection underfoot. Most rock plates tend to be rigid and stiff. But Saucony uses a woven design that helps make the shoe more flexible.
- Secure Fit.
Both the heel and tongue are padded to provide comfort and a snug fit around your foot. This also helps keep out dirt and debris.
Saucony Xodus ISO 3 -- best for rugged, muddy terrain
The ISO 3 was built to be able to handle more slippery or muddy conditions.
The ISO 3 has a toothy, 6mm lug. This helps the shoe grip down into the trails that have more technical challenges like deep mud.
Saucony reinforced the upper across the forefoot and around the heel to give this shoe extra support. And thanks to the one-piece upper interior, there is no tongue to worry about having to adjust.
Being a rugged shoe, at 12.9oz, the ISO 3 is a bit heavy. If you need a lighter shoe that won’t feel too clunky but is still great in mud, then the Peregrine 10 ST might be a good choice. Just know that it is a little more expensive.
What you’ll notice:
- Comfortable insole.
While the ISO 3 isn’t heavily cushioned, the insole has a nice plush feel. That, with the squishy midsole, gives you a decently comfortable ride.
- Roomier heel.
This shoe offers a tad bit of a wider heel area. If you have a narrow foot shape and notice any heel movement, you might want to wear a thicker sock.
Saucony Peregrine 10 -- Saucony's daily trainer
Saucony named this shoe after the fastest bird on earth, The Peregrine Falcon.
The Peregrine is Sauconys’ go-to shoe for a variety of trail running. It was designed to be a combination of both speedy and aggressive.
This shoe was built with an outsole that is configured to handle a variety of terrain. The 5mm lugs grip down to secure your footing and then assist you into your next step.
Since this is their Flagship model, Saucony wanted to expand the line. So, this shoe is also available in an ST (Soft Terrain) model, which is more aggressive on muddy or sloppy trails. And a GTX (waterproof) model for wetter conditions.
If you are looking for a speedy shoe with less underfoot cushion, you might like the Switchback 2.
What you’ll notice:
- Tight heel cup.
Opposite from the ISO 3, The Peregrine 10 has a tighter heel cup to give you a secure fit. Some foot shapes might find that it is a bit too narrow and can cause soreness.
- Great durability.
This shoe can go 200+ miles on a combination of trails and pavement without noticing any wear on the outsole. And the reinforced upper holds up nicely against sharp objects or abrasion.
Saucony Switchback 2 -- Saucony’s minimalist shoe
The Switchback 2 is Saucony's light and speedy shoe for moderate terrain.
The full length of the outsole is covered with shallow lugs. This gives you great traction on dry dirt surfaces and gravel. Also, because of the design of the outsole, it has great balance.
It is designed with a mesh flap that wraps over the forefoot and connects to a “Boa” system. You twist the knob to secure the shoe to your foot. To loosen, you simply pull the knob. This feature is great for cold weather because you don’t have to remove your gloves to tie your laces.
Because of its non-aggressive outsole, this wouldn’t be the best shoe for rugged rocky terrain.
What you’ll notice:
- Responsive cushion.
The midsole has a bouncy responsive feel. But, it might not be enough comfort for longer runs like a marathon.
- Underfoot protection.
The switchback has a flexible, woven rock plate, unlike a typical plastic one. This protects you from sharp rocks, but still allows plenty of ground feel.
How do I choose the best Saucony trail running shoe for me?
Choosing the right trail shoe depends on the type of running you’ll be doing.
Let’s take a look at some of the differences and look at models that would be best suited for each.
Casual runs --
These are more laidback runs, focused on getting exercise and relieving stress. If you run 2 to 3 times a week or split your time between roads and trails, you’ll probably want a versatile shoe.
For this type of run, you'll likely want a daily trainer like the Peregrine 10. It has a 4mm drop which is more aggressive, making it slightly more inclined for faster casual runs.
Or, if you want a daily trainer with a bit more cushioning, the Xodus 10 would be a great choice. It's a versatile shoe that can perform well on all types of terrain.
Tempo / Fartlek training --
If you'll be doing more intense runs that require more energy and effort, you’ll probably be doing Tempo training. This will be across a variety of terrain.
The Mad River TR 2 would be a good choice for high-intensity runs. This shoe has decent flexibility that helps you maneuver in and out of steps in multiple directions. The midsole is firm and protective but doesn't have a rock plate.
If you’re an overpronator, you’ll need a stability shoe. The Guide 13 TR would be a good choice. It has a guidance frame that helps to keep the shoe level. And unlike some other stability models, this shoe doesn’t feel stiff.
Racing / speed (5k - half marathon) --
If you're going to be running in races, you'll want a light and speedy trail shoe.
For shorter races like a 5k, or even a 10k, a great choice would be the Switchback ISO. This a lightweight minimalist shoe that won't slow you down or get in your way. However, the cushioning is a bit thin and it doesn’t have a rock plate.
Another option would be the Switchback 2. This shoe offers a softer cushion, though it’s still minimal. And, it has a woven rock plate for added protection. The upgrades don’t necessarily add more weight but it will cost a little more.
Long distance (ultra-marathon) --
For ultramarathoners -- anywhere from 30 to 100+ miles -- you’ll need a shoe with extra cushioning that won’t weigh you down.
The Peregrine 10 is a popular choice for long-distance runs, thanks to its responsive and bouncy midsole. It also has a 4mm drop, making it better for a faster, more aggressive running style.
If you’re looking for maximal cushioning, the Xodus 10 would be a good choice. It’s a little heavier than the Peregrine, but with all the extra comfort, it would be a good trade-off.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Can I use Saucony trail running shoes for road running?
It depends. Some trail shoes can transition well to harder surfaces. But more aggressive trail runners have deeper lugs that make them unsafe to wear on the pavement.
The problem with wearing road shoes on the trail:
If you use road shoes offroad, you probably won’t have protection from the uneven terrain and debris. Most trail shoes are designed to be sturdier than road shoes, to prevent injury.
The problem with wearing trail shoes on the road:
Road shoes are typically built with more cushioning than trail shoes. Running on the pavement in a less cushioned shoe, your joints won’t be as protected against the shock of impact.
How often should I replace my Saucony trail running shoes?
The general rule of thumb is to replace your trail running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Or when you begin to notice wear or tear. This will help prevent shin splints, joint aches, or other injuries.
Some things to watch for are:
- If the midsole doesn’t feel as cushiony as it once did
- Creasing in the sole of the shoe under the heel and forefoot
- If the tread isn’t as grippy as it used to be
- If you’re experiencing discomfort and achy joints after a run
I need help deciding: Which would be the best trail shoe for a beginner?
If you’re new to trail running, you’ll need an adjustment period. This will give time to learn the types of obstacles you’ll encounter along the trails. Also, you need to learn the differences in the types of trails.
For beginners, you'll want an all-around shoe like the Saucony Peregrine 10 which offers a little bit of everything. This shoe has a cushiony and responsive midsole. The outsole has a sticky grip with decent lugs to secure your footing. This helps you run safely across rocks, roots, or other slippery surfaces.