Saucony Kinvara Review Part 2

I’m about halfway through the Kinvara’s mileage-wise and am still pretty smitten. I find myself reaching for them out of rotation and am still getting used to the looks of envy they inspire, from runners and teenagers alike.

Why do I love them?

  • They are light and flexible and for someone who ADORES road feel, they leave very little to the imagination. Post surgery, it’s been difficult for me to re-learn how to drive through my foot and a minimal shoe helps me remember.
  • They have good tread. True to Saucony form with the triangle tread, the Kinvara do a good job of hanging on in wet and ice, of which we’ve had plenty this winter. 
  • They seem (to me) to be a true minimal shoe. They took some getting used to and for the first few weeks, I could only do a few miles at a time in them before my feet started to feel worked. Now that I’ve built up foot strength, they’ve done a set of 16 through 20 milers with no problems.

Drawbacks?

  • The major drawback for me is the ventilation. While this might be great in the summer, it’s not something I want in a shoe in Vermont mid-winter. The only consolation? Easy in, easy out. Like my boat shoes, the Kinvara bails water/slush out as fast as it lets it in. My feet haven’t been overly freezing on my runs, but they definitely get wet. 
  • Not sure how sturdy they are. I don’t tend to be tough on shoes, but I’ve noticed some of the seams starting to split and salt has definitely corroded some of the “invisilight” mesh.

Bottom line: I’m smitten, and as long as Saucony keeps turning them out in bright shades, I’ll keep a pair of Kinvara in my rotation.

Who they will work for? For runners looking to try out a more minimal shoe, these are a natural transition. Very little difference between heel and forefront, and no posts, heel cups or other supports. For runners who need/like more shoe, I’d still recommend keeping a pair around for track work or short runs to build foot strength. While I rarely say never, I don’t think they would work for a trail shoe, if only because the construction doesn’t seem that sturdy, and I’d be afraid of a blow out hammering down a trail.

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