Monday, January 09, 2017

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

Saucony Kinvara 8

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 their super flexible, 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 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 with those as well. I have run them 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 full length single sheet of the TPU based material. I find the heel a touch less cushioned as a result but slightly more responsive. They are also easier, smoother to run than the 7 at slower speeds as the drop remains closer to 4mm and bottoms out a bit less than when the Everun was in the heel.

The ride is very good, responsive, decently firm but not harsh. stable and smooth. The Kinvara 7 was stiff and stayed stiff while the Kinvara 8 after 10  miles was flexible, far more agile feeling.

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. 

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. On sale 3/1/17 (will confirm release date as it may be sooner).

Full Road Trail Run Review soon

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