Monday, January 09, 2017

Saucony Kinvara 8 Inital Review-A Smart Step Back Towards the K Shoe's Roots

Saucony Kinvara 8

Update: See our full review of the Kinvara 8 with comparisons to Kinvara 7 and others here

The Kinvara now in its 8th edition was the original low drop light shoe from a major run company. 

I have now run about 20 miles in the upcoming Kinvara 8, all on a fairly firm indoor track at slower tempo paces,

This is a very good update solving some of the issues of the Kinvara 7 (RTR review here): overly snug mid foot hold and stiffness. It can be called a smart step back towards the original Kinvaras without going all the way back to being super flexible with a largely unstructured upper, and soft ride.

At the midfoot, the Pro-Lock straps hold the foot down just right, no longer "in the way" and overly constraining but still there functioning more like Saucony's IOS Fit,

 The upper is a single material, soft mesh with melted on Pro-Film overlays. It should be very breathable.

Kinvara 8
Kinvara 7
There are fewer overlays in the front of the shoe and the mesh is overall more accommodating. While the 8 appears pointier I only noticed this in the first 7 or 8 miles with heavier socks, As I accumulated more miles the overall fit improved from mid foot to toe.

I was sized up a size which feels correct, if a bit roomy, with medium weight socks. I was true to size in the Kinvara 7 and found them race shoe snug, so likely could have sized up a half in those. I have run Kinvara 8 with very light socks and find them roomier in the toe box, maybe a bit to roomy at a half size up for racing, but fine for training. Those purchasing for racing, using thin socks all the time, and preferring a snug fit likely can go true to size. 

The Everun heel insert of the Kinvara 7 is replaced with a thinner, full length 2-3mm thick single sheet of the TPU based Everun material as many 2017 Saucony are getting. As a result there is 2-3mm less of firmer SSL EVA midsole. I find the heel softer and also less responsive but also more cushioned. They are also easier, smoother to run than the 7 at slower speeds but a bit less responsive as the pace picks up. 

Update: After running a Kinvara 7 on one foot and a Kinvara 8 on the other and closely examining the firmness of the midsole, I find the Kinvara 7 has a firmer midsole foam and ride than the 8, I am now concluding that the Kinvara 8 is softer in the heel and forefoot than the Kinvara 7. The heel of the Kinvara 7 even with its Everun insert is firmer and more responsive than the Kinvara 8. The forefoot of the Kinvara 8 is more agile and flexible as instead of a conventional "board" below the sock liner it has the softer 3mm Everun layer.

The ride is very good, 
stable and smooth, decently responsive but on the soft side particularly at the heel. The Kinvara 7 is stiffer while the Kinvara 8 after 10 miles was more flexible, far more agile feeling. 
Update: The Kinvara 7 is a firmer, stiffer overall ride and is a slightly more responsive, faster feeling shoe. The Kinvara 8 is softer overall, more training focused and yet has a slightly more agile and natural ride due to its improved forefoot flexibility and more minimal yet still foot conforming upper which still has a fairly snug but more relaxed mid foot hold. 

The Kinvara 8 so far represents a blend of the Kinvara 7's snug mid-foot support, now dialed down and more comfortable, along with the more flexible accommodating front of the shoe of the earlier Kinvara on top of a softer, maybe a touch to soft for my tastes. riding midsole. 

Kinvara 8 Stats
My pair of Kinvara 8, size 9 men's weighs 7.8 oz/221 g, exactly the same as the listed weight of the Kinvara 7. Stack is 23mm heel/19 mm toe, 4mm drop so about the same as its predecessor. Retail is $110. General release 3/1/17 Available now in Tokyo Edition in the US. Available in Europe and Australia now at Running Warehouse

Pre-Order Saucony's New Kinvara 8 Running Shoes - Now Available at!
KInvara 8 is available now at Running Warehouse 
US: Men's here Women's here
Use Road Trail Run Coupon Code: RTR10 to take 10% off the Kinvara and other Saucony!

Europe: Men's here Women's here
Australia:: Men's here Women's here

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Anonymous said...

Does the sole on the 8 have the same width footprint as the 7?

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, Kinvara 7 and Kinvara 8 have exactly the same footprint on the ground as far as I can tell, matching them sole to sole. The big difference between them at the "sole" level is that the K8 has deeper flex grooves and thus is considerably more flexible than K7. Thanks for reading! Sam, Editor

Ryan Schneider said...

Hi Sam, when you say the ride is "decently firm", do you think it would be too firm for a treadmill (for example, the Vazee Rush 2 were too firm for me, and the Zante V2's didn't have enough cushioning)? The Runner's World review creates the impression that the Kinvara 8's are really cushioned. See Just trying to decide whether to pull the trigger on these. Thanks!

sam winebaum said...

Hi Ryan, Tricky question. I would say the Kinvara 8 is closer to the Vazee Rush 2, with a little less harsh edge for the Kinvara 8. At least for me I found Zante v1 way to firm and especially stiff. If you wanted to get more cushion yet still have a snappy ride... Ride 9 and especially the upcoming Ride 10 which is fantastic and coming in a few months. Review soon. Thanks for reading! Sam, Editor.
Road Trail Run is also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Spencer Zidarich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I love the 7s for the most part except for the rapidly wearing sole. I feel like the 7 lacks enough lugs to accommodate my weekly mileage which is all done on the road. Do you feel that there was any update to the 8's sole material or structure? From pictures I can only speculate, but they sort of look the same.


sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, no changes that I know to outsole material or coverage. However the Kinvara 8 is noticeably more flexible than 7. This may help wear as less scuffing? Thanks for reading! Sam, Editor. You can also follow Road Trail Run ion Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Jessica said...


I've not liked a Kinvara since the 5s. It seems that 6 & 7 narrowed the toebox. Do you have any experience with 5s and how do the 8s stack up?