29 Aug

Saucony Kinvara 3 Review

Saucony Kinvara 3

Here’s a review of one of my shoes currently in my rotation. I am probably a bit late to reviewing this seeing as I have about 300kms on the sneaker already. In a way, I am glad I waited to review it because this was definitely a shoe I grew to appreciate.

These shoes are considered neutral minimal trainers, weighing in at 7.7oz for a men’s size 9, with a 4mm heel to toe drop (23 heel, 19 forefoot). Basically this means you shouldn’t start out with a shoe this basic if you are new to running. If you are anything like I was when I began running, you associate squishy cushioned shoes with being the best ones. Over the last few years, I have learned this is not always the case, although it still may be for some *cough supinators cough* runners.

Enough about my taste in shoes and more stats about this shoe! Bear with me, this is my first shoe review and I am far from technical when I describe a shoe. Okay, here we go!

Upper

This shoe features a fairly thin upper. Saucony uses something called a flex film around the upper which helps keep the shoe a little more flexible, given that this upper is fairy soft. There’s nothing to be found in terms of stability so if you overpronate a great deal then you might want to check out the Saucony Guide instead. The shoe has a fair bit of room in the toe box, but my foot is fairly narrow and this isn’t usually an issue for me. One thing I will not about the upper and from what I read is a common problem is the shoe rubs the achilles tendon if you run sockless. A few times I ran with short socks or sockless and it gave me a bad blister on my achilles tendon. Apparently this issue has been fixed with the Saucony Kinvara 4, which I have not yet tried.

Midsole

The midsole of this shoe is a little cushioned. I have come to realize it is a little more squishy than I had previously thought. The first time I wore these shoes I was coming from mostly traditional shoes and they felt sort of harder on the feet. Over time, and being introduced to stiffer and more minimal shoes, I start to feel the cushioning moreso now and yearn for something with a little more ground feel. Also the midsole is fairly flexible which allows you to transition fairly well through your stride.

Outer Sole

The outer of this shoe is very minimal. There’s little outer contact with the ground with most of the midsole being exposed. This is to keep weight down and to create a more ground contact feel.
 
Basically the black that you see is outer while the white is midsole. As you can see, it is designed for more of a forefoot strike with enough outer for a slight heel strike.
 
I find the grip to be decent but I don’t know if they would perform well on icy conditions, so proceed with caution during winter use!

Final Thoughts

I would definitely recommend this shoe to other runners. I don’t think I would recommend it to someone as their first running shoe, simply for the fact that it’s a minimal trainer and a new runner may find it “boring” as a running shoe.

Who would I recommend it to? Someone that is looking for their next pair of sneakers to replace their clunky trainers. Overweight runners might go through these sneakers a little quicker as well. Also it is a very safe ‘middle ground’ *no pun intended* between barefoot and traditional. If you want a little more cushioning than the Kinvara currently provides, you might want to try the Saucony Mirage.

Like I said, originally this shoe didn’t wow me. I hear rave reviews about it and heard about so many people using it. When I finally tried a pair, I didn’t see the mass appeal. Fast forward about 50kms into these shoes and I love them. They disappear on my feet and they make me feel fast. I no longer get any rubbing on the heel and they fit so roomy on the toe box.

This is my go to shoe for anything from light speed work to long 20+ km runs. I would recommend them for the marathon distance if you are light enough or do not require a cushioning shoe.

Rating:

Pros

  • Light
  • Breathable, spacious upper
  • Huge selection of color options
  • Version 3 is last year’s model so it may be found for fairly cheap online
  • Disappears on my foot (not literally!)

Cons

  • Maybe too minimal for inexperienced and heavier runners

I give this shoe a 4/5!

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