Tuesday, 1 February 2011
QUICK SHOE REVIEWS: SAUCONY KINVARA
Shoe- Saucony Kinvara
Heel Height- 16mm
Toe Height- 12mm
Miles Run- 142
Longest Run- 45.7miles
Terrains- Road, Hard-Pack Trail, Soft Mud, Canal Path
Style and Type:
Billed as a minimalist shoe with lots of cushioning. For me true minimalism would be a racing flat, the Kinvara has too much sole to be a racing shoe. However it is extremely light weight and built purely for neutral runners to encourage a mid-forefoot landing.
Fit and Feel:
Fits true to size. Feels comfortable on the sole straight out of the box. Soft upper means a flexible wrap around the top of your foot. Wide toe box that allows for a comfortable fit.
The EVA material (red foam) provides the cushioning and the Black triangle patches provide the grip and durability (see picture below). Presumably to keep weight down Saucony went minimal with the durable and grippy black rubber.....a mistake! The lateral heel is ok but considering this shoe is designed to encourage a mid to forefoot landing these areas are seriously lacking durability. Any forefoot runner will land on the lateral border, the current design has no lateral border durability due to this lack of black foam. On a positive note the whole outsole is nearly flat (4mm drop between heel and toe) this provides a fast transition between heel and toe which allows a more ‘natural gait’.
The cushioning (red portion of the sole) in the Kinvara is left a lot thicker than most minimalist shoes which makes me feel like it is more of a transition into minimalism running than an actual bonafide minimalist shoe. This thick midsole also means you ‘ride’ a bit higher from the ground although it keeps it super comfy and smooth.
Soft, flexible, breathable and light. Perfect.
Being the road shoe that it is, it provided excellent grip on tarmac, pavements and towpaths even when wet. I could not help myself and test a little off-road running, although not made for this it held up remarkably well! It was great at shedding mud but breathe caution when on real soft and slick mud as they will slip. The red cushion foam can also be pierced easily by thorns....this is not too much of a problem due to the thick midsole but it does mean you will have to stop every 6miles or so to pull a thorny branch out!
The Saucony Kinvara has too much cushioning to be truly minimalist but is definitely the perfect transition shoe. I used this shoe in a 45mile race and it held up perfectly. My only complaint would be the webbed stitching that sometimes irritates the little toe (seems to be a common problem when I read some other reviews), although for me it only started after 40miles! I think my feet might have swollen a bit by then! Despite that, this is my go to shoe for all road runs and speedwork, highly recommended. I predict this shoe will only last solidly for 350-400 miles but that’s pretty damn good for a lightweight.
If anyone is considering purchasing these and want to know anything specific then please leave a comment.