Weight: 200g (M), 119g (W)
Since its first release in 2010, the Saucony Kinvara has been a popular choice for runners who want a light and flexible shoe for speed work. And, despite the burgeoning popularity of the Endorphin range and other carbon-plated shoes, the Kinvara (and its cult following) is still going strong 13 years later.
That said, a shoe in its 14th iteration is going to look and feel different from its humble beginnings, and that seems to be the case with the latest model. So, does the Kinvara live up to expectations?
How does Kinvara 14 differ from Kinvara 13?
The Kinvara’s stack height has been creeping up over the years – likely due to growing demand for max-cushioned shoes. The Kinvara 13 measures 28.5mm in the heel and 24.5mm in the forefoot, while the Kinvara 14 measures 31mm in the heel and 27mm in the forefoot. So, even though the 4mm heel-to-toe drop remains the same (it’s rare to see a drop that low these days), there’s been a pretty significant increase in stack height for just one iteration.
But despite the taller stack, the Kinvara 14 is lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 119g (the 13 weighs 184g). This is thanks to the new PWRRUN midsole foam that Saucony claims is 25 percent lighter than its previous cushioning material.
The upper is made from breathable mesh material, with a built-in ‘bootie’ tongue that wraps around the forefoot for a snug lock. Our only criticism is that the top is a little cheap, and not particularly durable.
What does Kinvara 14 want to run?
Kinvara is known for combining medium cushioning with good stiffness, wrapped in a really light shoe – and that’s exactly what you get here. The newly designed rocker shape creates a ride that feels smooth and nimble on everyday miles, with the ability to thrive on harder efforts.
Sure, there’s more midsole foam than previous iterations, but it doesn’t actually add any weight to the shoe – quite the opposite. The result is a comfortable level of cushioning, rather than the pillowy, marshmallow-like softness you find in max-cushioned shoes, with a decent amount of ground feel. Again, maybe not as much as the previous model, but it doesn’t affect the overall ride much.
If we had to sum up the Kinvara in three words it would be: well balanced, nimble and nimble. One of our testers commented that it really held its own over the half marathon distance, with the snappiness you want from a racing shoe, but enough cushioning to keep you comfortable for 13.1 miles.
How does the Kinvara 14 fit in?
The size of the Kinvara 14 is correct. Where it divides opinion, however, is the slightly narrower fit, especially around the midfoot. In fact, it almost feels like the medial side guidance you might find in a stability shoe like the Guide or Tempus, which is unusual since the Kinvaea is a neutral trainer. Personally, we think it helps to create that ‘locked in’ feeling, but it’s easy to see why the coziness might put some people off.
The upper is very thin, which means you notice the laces sticking up slightly at the top of the foot. Again, we didn’t have any problems with rubbing or blistering, but someone with wider feet might struggle.
Judgment of the RW
While fans of more minimalist shoes may not be as impressed with the increased stack, we don’t think it strays too far from the Kinvara’s core ethos. Lighter than ever, the 14 is a reliable, race day shoe for people who don’t want a carbon plate – or to pay the price for it. And at the same time, it is smooth enough to be used for daily miles. If you ask us, thirteen years later, Saucony is still on the mend.
Ali is Runner’s World’s ecommerce editor, specializing in reviewing the latest running shoes, gear and tech. He talks to some of the world’s leading experts on footwear, gym wear, fitness equipment and nutrition to help readers make informed decisions when shopping online. Before joining RW, Ali worked as health editor at Future Plc on brands including Coach, Fit&Well, T3, TechRadar and Live Science. A Boston qualifying runner, he has completed seven marathons and plans to check out every World Major. Just don’t make his race a 10k…
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