Monday, 11 July 2011

Saucony Kinvara review

When I moved to the Nike Lunaglide from the Asics 2100 series I did so to experience running in a lighter shoe that provides only enough support that you require. I really like Nike Lunaglides and would say that most of the marketing guff is actually largely accurate.
However, for at least six months now I have been considering moving to a much more minimalist approach and I have read quite alot about minimalist and barefoot running. My own conclusion is that you should move to as minimal an approach as is sensible for your own biomechanics and running goals, which can be anything from very supportive footwear to none at all. I considered Newtons, Vibram five fingers, Inov-8 and other shoes. Since this spring there has been a considerable expansion in the plethora of minimalist shoes, and based on reading others' reviews I went with Saucony's offering - the Kinvara.
The Kinvara's at 7.7ozs are very light. The heel to toe drop, the primary indicator of a shoe's minimalist profile, is four millimetres; this compares to a more conventional twelve to fifteen millimetres in most shoes.

The Kinvara, while being relatively minimalist, does retain generous cushioning. This provides those who wish to undertake a moderate move to minimalist running with reassurance and also provides you with the confidence that long runs are possible, even up to marathon distance. This is something I have not tested completely yet as I am still in post marathon reduced training, but I have done up to sixteen miles in them with no trouble.
The upper is very light and comfortable and is a light soft fabric mesh covered with a very thin plastic like covering.

I have read some reviews' concerns about the durability of the upper, but approaching 200 miles my uppers remain completely intact and I am hoping they remain that way for at least another 300 miles.

One area where the Kinvara does let you down a little is the undersole. While the centre of the forefoot and the heel are well protected, in an effort to make the shoe as light as possible the sole is only covered in parts by hard plastic and the remainder is not very durable exposed eva foam. This can caused premature wear, especially on the outside of each mid and forefoot section where most mid to forefoot runners' feet will initially land. You will however note in the picture one or two puncture wounds and a small pebbled lodged in the undersole.

The Kinvara is an excellent lightweight shoe that can both be a racing shoe and general trainer for many runners. However, a word of caution, for those not accustomed to forefoot running it is wise to transition slowly into the shoe and it is likely they will initially suffer some sore calf muscles until they adapt.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

I got a pair of Kinvara a few weeks ago and find them excellent. To be honest, I don't even notice the difference in the heel drop, but I do notice the light weight.

I wore them in a marathon when pacing the 3:15 group in Cork last month. I had no problems whatsoever. They are an excellent pair of shoes!