Thursday, November 01, 2018

Saucony Kinvara 10 Review: It's a TKO! The real OG is back!

Article by Peter Stuart, Sally Reiley, Hope Wilkes, Shannon Payne, Cheyne Inman and Sam Winebaum

Introduction
The original KInvara was the first low drop light trainer racer from a major company. Always at a 4mm drop and light with a well cushioned 19mm forefoot, over the versions the Kinvara went from being a flexible, fairly easy and fitting shoe to a stiffer more supportive one, top to bottom and as such a good option for runners seeking a long race shoe with a touch of stability. The upper became more structured at mid foot with for the 7, 8, 9 a new more stability oriented midsole geometry and for some controversial a Pro-Lock strap which really locked down the midfoot. The KInvara 9 toned down the increasingly race fit type upper somewhat and included a softer stretchier forefoot upper and got closer to the originals,
With the Kinvara 10, in its first release in the original color of the first K shoe, Saucony brings the shoe back further towards its origins as a do it all light trainer racer with more flexibility, a smoother ride and a less constrained upper. Weighing in at 8.1 oz or so so a few tenths of an ounce more than the K9, it remains a fast, responsive low drop option for training and longer racing with more under foot support than the very first K shoe and many others in its category. It retains a more “traditional” EVA+ midsole in an age of exotic new bouncy and springy foams for a distinctively well cushioned, responsive and somewhat firm ride.

Peter: Ahh, sweet Kinvara, I have such a mixed relationship with you. It started out strong--you were the first very lightweight running shoe that also had a nice amount of cushioning. There may have been others, but you were my first. I remember running in the original Kinvara and wondering how it was possible for a shoe to be so light and so cushioned, so “minimal” and not cruel to my feet. As years went by there was a combination of factors that started to put the Kinvara in the rearview for me. On one hand materials got lighter and many companies starting making running shoes that were light and cushioned. I’m looking at you Zante, Green Silence, Clifton, Beacon, Pegasus Turbo, GoRun, GoRun Ride 7, etc. What Kinvara started got picked up and honed by other companies and Kinvara seemed less unique. Simultaneously the Kinvara itself seemed to lose its way. If memory serves 1-3 were pretty good, 4 got weird, 5, 6, 7 and 8 got progressively less fun to run in and the Kinvara 9, while a really fun shoe to run in was almost a completely different shoe. It was heavier, had a pro-lock system going on and had just evolved so far that it seemed a distant relative of the Kinvara itself. But the Kinvara 10.The Kinvara 10! The F$#%@& Kinvara 10 is a beautiful return to form.
Hope: I’ve been running in the Kinvara since the K3. For much of that time I couldn’t help but scratch my head and wonder at what Saucony was doing with the line. I ran my PR half marathon in the K3. I loved it for its thin, light upper and its flexible, soft (but not so soft it bottomed out) sole. The K4 was largely similar to the K3 but had a worrisomely delicate upper and featured a new midsole compound that heralded big changes for the line. Things really went off the rails with the K5. A sleek, fast-looking and fast-feeling shoe all of a sudden was puffy, baggy, and unrecognizable. Nonetheless, I stuck with the model. For years the Kinvara has been like an old friend that went away to college and came back with a totally new personality — I stayed friendly with it, but I felt like I didn’t know it anymore. I won’t go so far as to say that the K10 duplicates everything I loved from the early Kinvaras, but this model has clearly gone back to its roots, and for the better.

Shannon: I did some running back in the day in the first Kinvara, then went on hiatus till version 9, and now I find myself with version 10. It hit the market during the minimalist craze and I recall liking the first version, and it was unique for its time in being “less shoe but not no shoe.” I may be the lone voice of dissent here though in that I LOVED version 9. I will now be stockpiling version 9. But K9 and K10 are both, I would say, equally awesome, just in different ways. Being a fan of all shoes that strike that perfect balance between lightweight yet protective, the new Kinvara 10 is not only reminiscent of the original smashing success, it's maybe even a little better.

Sally: So I am the only trester that does not have prior history or a long term relationship with the Kinvara. All I can say is, what was I thinking?! Look what I have missed! The K10 has been love at first sight/run. It is the total package:  light, quick, comfortable, good looking, reasonably priced. What more can we ask for?

Cheyne: The Kinvara 10 continues with the tradition of its predecessors in offering a lightweight cushioned ride. I was struggling with motivation to get out the door and get in my run when these shoes came in the mail, and they were just what I needed to enjoy the run.

Stats
Estimated Weight 8.11 oz/230 g
   Tested Pre Production Samples: US M9 8.11 oz/230 g, 7.37 oz/209 gUS W8
Stack Height: 23mm/19mm, 4 mm drop (unchanged)
$110. We are inquiring as to any potential early release. Full release expected February 2019
Kinvara 10 Women's Size 8
First Impressions and Fit

Sam: I was sent a half size up from the usual 8.5 and with medium socks fit was good if a bit long. True to size with thin socks should work perfectly, half size up with thicker socks and for a fine more relaxed fit. The heel hold modules are very effective in locking the foot even in this larger size. There is no Pro Lock strap so a much smoother mid foot hold if a touch less secure.
There are no overlays up front as the K9 had and while not as stretchy as the K9 snugger and a bit short toe box area upper’s, given there are no overlays there is more toe overhead volume and less pressure right up front at the big toe. I love the striking throwback to the original Kinvara 1’s colorway in my white, black, and red pair.

Peter: I didn’t have high expectations for the Kinvara 10. This year has seen some amazing shoes in the same general category as the Kinvara. The New Balance Beacon and the Skechers Go Run Ride 7 are both really fun to run in and achieve a great balance of light and cushioned. I got a bright red/orange color (Vizglo I think?). They look great and are nice and light. They look much more like the original Kinvara than like a continuation from the K9. The fit is sublime. I’m so happy Saucony dropped the Pro-Lock. This upper is a thing of beauty. They fit true to size and took absolutely no messing around to dial in. I stepped in, laced up and ran. Simple.
Sally: The shoe felt great right out of the box. The sizing is very true to size, and roomier in the toe box than the Nike models I have been wearing recently (Peg Turbo, Zoom Fly FK). I could wear these all day long. After the first run, I did feel the need to add the top lace hole to the lacing system to better hold my heel down. Perfect.

Hope: I tested a women’s size 9, ½ size below my usual W9.5/M8. The upper is roomy without being ill-fitting, so for me this was perfect. This is probably an unpopular opinion in this group, but I really liked how well the Pro Lock functioned in the K6-K9. A secure midfoot hold without the thin pressure points (a risk with a treatment like Flywire if not executed well or cranked down too far)? Sign me up. But I didn’t miss it here. The laces and heel hold modules were enough to keep my foot firmly in place.

Shannon: On the Kinvara 9, I wore a women's 8.5. On the 10 I found an 8 to be perfectly satisfactory. My first impression upon taking these bad boys out of the box was “whoa, blast from the past.” The upper is the most noteworthy feature as far as outward appearances go, it’s seamless, free of overlays, and while I expected at least some bagginess upon lacing them up, that didn't end up being the case as it fit like a glove. I was also a big fan of the additional padding on the medial and lateral aspects of the heel as they locked the heel in without feeling overly aggressive in doing so. The tongue owes amply cushioned and stayed put for the duration of every run, which isn't something always seen with some of the paper-thin tongues that are frequently seen on lightweight shoes nowadays. In short, this shoe feels like an unobtrusive extension of the foot.

Cheyne: These fit very true to size, and I did not notice any rubbing or blisters. I absolutely love the bright orange color along with the simple construction.

Upper

Peter:I’ll just go ahead and say it. For my money this is the upper of the year. It’s as close to perfect as I’ve encountered. It’s simple, but holds the foot really well. The engineered mesh is soft, breathable and seems very durable and there are minimal  3d printed overlays. It looks great and feels terrific.
Heel hold: There are padded sections on the inside of the shoe just below the ankle collar and above the heel that serve to lock the heel down.
I don’t feel them when the shoe is on except to notice that the heel is totally locked down in the shoe. It’s a simple and effective way to ensure a secure fit. There is no heel slip and the rear section of the K10 is delightfully secure.
Tongue: The tongue is an ideal length and thickness, but what really makes it stand out is that its held in the shoe with an elastic strap on each side.
This keeps the tongue in place while also making the upper feel more like a bootie. The K9 had a similar bootie but it was somewhat thinner and attached effectively further down on the shorter tongue and was in the mix with the Pro-Lock strap which didn’t stretch.You can feel the midfoot stretch out a bit when you put the shoe on and lock back down when your foot is all the way in. It’s not too tight, not too loose---just right. This, along with the simple lacing system, serves to lock the midfoot down nicely.
Footbed: the FormFit footbed is, again, relatively simple, but envelopes the foot well. It’s got just a bit of a contoured lip that comes up around the foot at the arch,
Harmony: What the K10 upper really has is a harmony that makes the whole feel greater than the sum of its parts. It just WORKS. The upper feels like an extension of the foot.

Hope: I agree with Peter. This is a fantastic upper. Super comfortable and no fuss. I have my doubts about its breathability in hot weather, but as a fall shoe it’s been ideal. My one gripe is that it doesn’t shed or hide dirt like previous versions. I’ve had white Kinvaras before! I have the blue and white men’s K9 (see Sam’s pics above with the two different pairs) which I’ve put tons of miles in and it looks cleaner than my blue and white women’s K10.
Sam: I agree with Hope and Peter. This is one sensational simple upper, at long last in a recent vintage Kinvara. I echo Peter’s comments that the two heel hold bump outs are key to making the rest of the relatively unstructured overlay free upper work so well.
The toe box is overlay free and decent volume but well held and not as snug as K9’s where it took several runs to stretch the thin mesh and overlays. Eliminating Pro-Lock once and for all is a big comfort plus and while midfoot support is not quite as “noticeable” it is perfectly fine and far more comfortable. Those with big pronation may miss it but not me.  

The new FormFit also deserves credit in better mating bottom of foot to the platform. FormFit is going to find its way into many Saucony models and is in the new Triumph ISO 5 as well (review here)
With FormFit, essentially sock liner, footbed and midsole sidewalls are designed to more closely mesh to the foot and with each others contours. The conventional approach is to drop a contoured sockliner on top of the flat footbed.
The footbed and Everun topsole  of the Kinvara is not completely flat rising ever so slightly at the arch to better match the sockliner with the midsole walls rising above the footbed to better lock down the foot. The midsole side walls are not noticed.

Cheyne: I agree with the others, the padding around the heel(yellow tabs) was very comfortable and did a great job of locking me in the shoe. This feature also provides added structure around the ankle without making the heel counter more firm.
This upper is my ideal upper in a training shoe because it is lightweight and breathable, but adds padding where you need it around the collar and in the tongue. Although the upper does not keep its form after multiple wears(similar to many minimal models), I really liked how breathable and roomie the vamp felt around the toe box.

Midsole

Peter: What we’re looking at here is a midsole that is largely EVA (Saucony’s EVA+) with a thin topsole layer of EVERUN between the EVA and the foot--just under the FormFit i which sockliner, a slightly under foot shaping of the midsole under foot below the Everun topsole  and midsole side walls all working together for a “form fit”. I haven’t really been drinking the Everun kool aid. There’s so much marketing out there about midsole materials and their “bounce”, “cushion”, and how they are generally so wildly different than everything that’s come before. While I do think the Nike Vaporfly is a genuinely “different” feeling shoe, most other shoes are just variations on the same old song. (The Skechers Razor may be somewhere closer to the Vaporfly). That said, this is the first Saucony that I’ve felt had the balance of Everun and traditional EVA right. Is it a revolutionary new ride unlike anything that you’ve felt before? No. Is it a nicely cushioned ride that feels just as good in mile 1 as it does in mile 15? Yes. Yes it is.

Hope: I was a bit dismayed to see that EVA+ was invited to this party, even though it was also in the K9. I’ve never had durability issues with the Kinvara midsole. In my first couple of runs the K10 felt stiff and blocky. I am not a soft shoe junkie, but I was expecting something more akin to the superlative K9 — soft, but not mushy and still responsive enough to go fast. After those initial runs the K10 midsole seemed to break in. And it broke in beautifully. The K10 is smooth and begs to go fast. I’m thrilled. I still think that going to EVA+ was an unnecessary change, but it works. The EVERUN is a non-factor. It looks to be no thicker than the sockliner and I don’t notice it at all. No bounce or any of the characteristics a full-EVERUN midsole displays. I don’t mind that except for how it likely contributes to weight and cost.
Sam: I found the K10 midsole slightly softer than K9’s while pressing the sidewalls and on the run. It is a fine “conventional” midsole and quite frankly after testing all kinds of exotics such as Reebok’s Floatfoam, Skechers Hyper, New Balance’s Ground Contact Fresh Foam, and Nike’s React I found the firmer stable midsole here reassuring in its steady performance and stability. The 4mm drop feels higher as the combination of decently firm foam, low bevel and extended lateral outsole kept me away from any bottoming out or low feeling.
The vertical lateral side walls (photo above) provided a touch of support/stability but less noticed than in the K9 which also had the Pro Lock to keep the foot from pronating but in comparison got in the way of transition.
Upfront the reduced center outsole coverage and new chevron pattern midsole as outsole was a touch softer and more flexible and less torsionally rigid yet very stable and thus easy to off

Outsole
Peter: The outsole is largely exposed EVA+ with two sections of XT-900 rubber for the higher wear areas of the shoe. While there is a fair amount of exposed EVA+ here, I don’t have any concerns about wear. I’m about 50 miles into the shoe and there’s no appreciable wear. The foam is arranged in a “tuning fork” guidance pattern. There are essentially three rows of chevrons down the forefoot of the shoe and the chevrons on the lateral side are split in half. There’s plenty of flex and the ride feels a little softer and smoother than the previous Kinvaras (Kinvarae?).

Sam: There is less forefoot outsole rubber coverage in the forefoot of the K 10 leading to a slightly softer, easier transitioning feel and a little less response.  I imagine this is due to the change in outsole geometry and the elimination of the forefoot rubber. It has a slightly easier longer flex which gets me off the midfoot smoother and quicker. I assume this is due to what are now 3 longitudinal decoupling grooves vs. two in the K9.  The longer Tri-Flex zones at the center of the forefoot outsole made the forefoot stability superb at all paces, a consistent solid feel no matter the pace without compromising flexibility to toe off. These attributes along with the stability from the wide on the ground platform, just right firmness and vertical midsole side walls make the K10 a great long race option for the later miles when form starts to slip.

Hope: I was happier with the thinner rubber of the K9 (showing my shoe geekery for a moment: the dreamy heel bevel on the K9 with its nearly flush rubber made me want to get out and run in it IMMEDIATELY.), but I don’t mind a more durable Kinvara. I worry that it will feel too firm in extremely cold temperatures, but that’s something I’ll have to test later. So far this configuration has been smooth and decently grippy.

Shannon: If I recall correctly, the biggest gripe with the original Kinvara was lack of outsole durability with the exposed rubber getting chewed up relatively quickly. While this outsole has plenty of exposed EVA and little bit of blown rubber in high wear areas, after 100-plus miles on varying surfaces from pavement to packed dirt, I saw no wear that I wouldn't expect to see on any lightweight trainer.
Sally: I love the soft, smooth transition of this shoe, at all paces. The only negative I found has to do with the chevron pattern on the outsole: small pebbles get caught in the grid and occasionally required me to stop and pick them out.  The rocks stuck in the tread make a crazy sound on contact, similar to a rotating car tire with something in the tread. Perhaps I should simply avoid running near the beach!

Ride
Sam: The ride is smooth with heel feel about the same as 9 and mid foot to transition slightly softer and easier to toe off reminding me more of the earlier K shoes than 7, 8, or even 9. The removal of the Pro Lock, while the upper has a touch less support is clearly a factor at mid foot in easing transition to toe off. There is great forefoot road feel and stability while no excessive shock. The 19 mm forefoot stack is really noticed in a good way. The K10 rides just as well slow as fast a tribute to the relatively firm EVA+ which keeps the foot from bottoming out excessively a slower paces at the heel despite the 4mm drop and not particularly thick heel rubber.

Peter: The Kinvara 10 is a smooth operator. The ride is lovely. It’s smooth, soft enough to protect my feet and firm enough to keep me moving through the run. It never feels mushy and performs nicely at slower and faster paces. There’s not a ton of energy return at slower speeds, but the more energy you put into it the more you get out.  It’s a really enjoyable, solid ride. It’s not quite as exciting as some other shoes in my stable, but it is a shoe I keep reaching for.

Hope: I agree with Sam and Peter. The more relaxed fit of the K10 gives it a less responsive feel. This may have contributed to some of the midsole deadness I felt in my early K10 runs. It’s fine at slow paces, but was much more lively when I kicked it up a notch. This was a fun shoe for my recent marathon taper — with fresh legs I had to hold myself back a bit from really pushing the pace. The K10 feels great at speed.

Shannon: I would train in this shoe. I would race in this shoe. It's light (obviously), it's snappy, it's forgiving underfoot and it's responsive. Not to mention, there are a ton of flex grooves in this outsole, making this one flexible, accommodating shoe that doesn't at all hinder the natural motion of the foot, but does so without sacrificing cushion. Not to mention, I love the inherently stable feeling that straight lasted shoes with continuous ground contact provide, as this does.

Cheyne: This shoe is my type of trainer, it offers cushion and protection without added weight. My only issue with this shoe was that I did not feel like it had a smooth transition. I think that is due to the firm midsole. This transition is not something that would deter me from using as my daily trainer, and I think for some it may help them when using it as a tempo or race shoe.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: The Saucony Kinvara 10 is a simple, elegant return to form from one of the original lightweight cushioned trainers. It’s a terrific shoe for any pace and can handle long easy miles as well as it handles short fast ones. The upper is sublime. Saucony kept what was so fun and liberating about the original Kinvara and made a great updated version. Well done. I’d recommend anyone to have a pair of these in their rotation. They’re just fun to run in.
Peter’s Score: 9.5/10
.5 lack of WOW factor on ride--would love a tiny bit more energy return--but it’s pretty great!

Hope:
I really like these. I still long for the magic of the early Kinvara models with the svelte uppers, but the K10 does share its predecessors’ smooth transition and soft ride (after a short break-in period). Not only that, but the K10 also improves upon Saucony’s formula for a more “traditional running shoe style” Kinvara. A lot of runners will be really happy in these. Light, efficient runners won’t just be happy, they’ll be ecstatic.
Hope’s Score: 9.2/10
-0.5 for enhanced midsole and outsole durability that seems like a waste of innovation resources and a firmness hazard in wintry weather
-0.1 for uninspiring EVERUN application
-0.1 for break-in period (even though it was short)
-0.1 for the dirt-holding upper — these got dirty during my first run and unlike a looser mesh, the K10’s upper did not shed (or hide) a gross mud spot

Shannon:
Maybe I’m just not picky enough, but I didn't find much to dislike about this shoe. I live by the “keep it simple and stupid” philosophy, and Saucony did a great job making this bare-bones shoe a highly functional, go-to trainer for a lot of different distances and paces, and didn't add any unnecessary frills or gimmicks to try to “keep up with the Joneses” of the lightweight neutral trainer world. It feels, in a nutshell, just right. I suppose if there is one thing that I wasn't amped about, it was that the arch felt just the slightest bit more obtrusive in this model than previous. That, however, is contingent upon foot type (I have quite a low arch and thus tend to notice these things), and it's also quite possible that I simply beat my K9’s into oblivion and thus made this aspect more noticeable. However, this was far less noticeable after 30 or so miles. I hadn't considered Hope’s thoughts on colder temps likely making this shoe an overly-firm ride, but that will remain to be seen as colder temps are finally descending on Colorado. Overall: this guy is a big win for Saucony.
Shannon’s Score 9.5/10
Sam:
I didn’t care much for the earliest Kinvara. Too loosey-goosey top to bottom for me with that natural kind of fun if sloppy hard to control ride. Later versions such as 7 and 8 while decent enough shoes were hamstrung by their uppers and stiffness while being well cushioned stable and supportive, rare in a light trainer racer. The Kinvara 10 gets the formula right with a superb supportive upper sitting right between trainer and racer in fit, more flexibility and a smoother ride while not losing that underfoot support so helpful as the miles roll on with no bottoming out with the 4mm drop and plenty of stable get up and go toe off. The Kinvara 10 is now a single shoe quiver option for sure for all types of runs and races. Does it have a springy bouncy “modern” midsole foam? No but the EVA+ here certainly does the job well if with a more traditional feel. The other attributes of the touch of stability and easier transition had my legs surprisingly fresh despite its firmer feel and I appreciated its versatility at all paces except maybe all out.
Sam’s Score: 9.7/10
-0.3 mm for weight and Wow factor. The competition is tough in this category for both attributes. While I appreciate the incredible upper and steady more stable traditional ride which clearly has a place, options at an ounce or more less exist with equal cushion and liviler more fun rides.

Sally:
I used to be a one- shoe-quiver kind of gal, until I became a marathoner and a running shoe geek. This Saucony shoe is a great choice for that one-shoe-quiver runner. It should prove to be a good training shoe as well as a good racing shoe for all but the elite runners. It is easy on the eyes, lightweight, adequately stable, cushioned just enough without being soft, insanely comfortable, quick, and well-priced. And basically FUN to run in!  What more can one want out of a shoe?
Sally’s score:  9.6/10
-0.2 for an upper that looks 100 miles old after several runs (gets dirty quickly)
-0.2 for outsole that might be too firm in cold New England winters


Cheyne: The Kinvara 10 is a great lightweight trainer that has definitely earned a spot in my training shoe line up. For runners who like trainers on the more minimal side, the Kinvara has long been a popular choice, and the Kinvara 10 does not disappoint. The simple and soft upper has some great features that keep it streamline, but add comfort. The shoe is a very comfortable trainer, but the midfoot to toe off transition was not as smooth as I would have hoped. All in all the Kinvara 10 is a great shoe that Kinvara fans will love.
Score 9.5/10
-No major issues with this shoe, but like Sam mentioned it lacks the wow factor.

Comparisons

Saucony Kinvara 10 vs. Kinvara 9 and earlier (K9 RTR review)
Peter:The Kinvara 10 returns to the simple cushioned elegance of the first Kinvara. It’s a great shoe, and not just due to nostalgia. For me the Kinvara steadily lost its way, but this is a HUGE return to form. Best Kinvara in years!
Hope: The K10 is my favorite “modern Kinvara” since the K6 (a personal favorite for its locked down heel fit and its midfoot hugging Pro Lock). It’s got more pep at speed than the K7-K9. I think the less EVERUN Saucony puts in the Kinvara, the better it gets.
Sam: My favorite Kinvara ever. A better controlled more stable version of the originals and a less constrained with less of the overdone support and stiffness of more recent K shoes.
Saucony Kinvara 10 vs.New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon (RTR review)
Peter: I’m actually pretty surprised...but when I ran in them back to back--I actually enjoyed the K10 a little more than the Beacon--and that’s saying a lot because the Beacon is one of my favorite shoes of the year. The Beacon is a little bit firmer than the K10, but the K10 seems to transition just a hair smoother. The upper on the K10 is just a little more elegant than the Beacon. The Beacon is great, but I might prefer the Kinvara.
Hope: I’m just as surprised as Peter to completely agree with him here. The K10 is smoother and more fun. Also, the densely woven Beacon upper made my feet sweat buckets this summer.
Sam: The Beacon is a superb shoe with a similar ride,  but the Kinvara 10’s upper and slightly more pulled together directed ride and smoother transition tilts the scales in its favor.
Cheyne: I feel the Beacon is the most similar model to this shoe and I will enjoy alternating both shoes as my daily trainer. I actually prefer the upper of the Kinvara 10 over the Beacon, but the midsole transition of the Beacon smoother to me.
Saucony Kinvara 10 vs.Nike Zoom Fly and Zoom Fly Flyknit (RTR review)
Hope: I can’t speak to the Zoom Fly FK, but I prefer the OG Zoom Fly over the K10. Firmer up front, the Zoom Fly transitions faster for me and I enjoy its greater road feel.
Sam: While the K10 for me will be more versatile as it also handles slower paces better and has a better cushioned forefoot when the pace picks up the Zoom Fly Flyknit takes the lead. I did not care much for the firm and for me awkward ride of the original Zoom Fly.
Sally: As Sam says, Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit gets the nod for fast tempo runs or even racing, but Kinvara 10 for the steady mid pace training run
Saucony Kinvara 10 vs.Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo (RTR review)
Peter:Not totally dissimilar in feel and ride. I’d opt for the Kinvara because it’s less expensive and for some reason I get some forefoot fatigue in the Turbo. Both great shoes, and maybe the most similar of all of these for me.
Hope: The K10 gets the nod here. It has a more accessible price and a more precise-fitting upper. In the Zoom Peg Turbo I feel like I have to work hard to go fast and I can’t always tell if my effort level is translating to my pace. I do like the Zoom Peg Turbo, but the better fitting K10 doesn’t suffer from that disconnect.
Sally: Like the Zoom Fly Flyknit, I was liking the Peg Turbo for faster paced training runs, but my toes are much more comfortable in the roomier Kinvara. I would now choose to lace up the Kinvara for a longer run.
Sam: The Turbo is softer and far less stable. It is a better recovery and slower miles shoe for me. Its upper doesn’t hold a candle to the K10’s.
Saucony Kinvara 10 vs. Skechers Razor 3 Hyper (RTR review)
Peter:The K10 is a little more versatile. It’s pleasant at all speeds and pretty fun when you pick up the pace. The Razor 3 is okay at slower paces but a rocketship at speed. I’d train in the K10 and race in the Razor.
Hope: These are totally different animals. Peter hit the nail on the head. The Razor 3 has the wow factor that the K10 is missing. Add both to your arsenal for some delightful go-fast days. The K10 might be friendlier for a broader audience for long runs that go beyond 13.1 miles.
Sam: Agree with both Peter and Hope here. The Razor 3’s heel is not slow pace friendly but at speed it is a rocket. The K10 while considerably heavier is a better all arounder in the light performance category that can train and race.
Cheyne: I definitely agree with the others here, the Kinvara 10 is a more trainer focused shoe than the Razor 3, but it is light and aggressive enough that many runners could use as a tempo run or race day shoe.
Saucony Kinvara 10 vs.Reebok Floatride Run Fast (RTR review)
Peter: I liked the Floatride Run Fast at first , but it hasn’t worn well with me. Feels pretty stiff. I definitely prefer the Kinvara.
Sam: While stiffer yes the Fast is a far lighter shoe, 1.5 oz lighter, with at least equal cushion, plenty of rubber outsole, a lively ride, and for me a training and racing friendly 8mm drop. It’s quite minimal engineered mesh upper is not quite the refinement of the Kinvara’s but gets the job done. Nod to the Fast for training utility and racing potential.
Saucony Kinvara 10 vs On Cloudflow
Shannon: Same functional purpose to both of these shoes, but the more protective and inherently stable feel of the Kinvara made it come out on top of the Cloudflow in my opinion. Also, less opportunity for things to get stuck in the outsole of the Kinvara due to On’s unique construction.
Kinvara 10 vs Brooks Launch (Launch 5 RTR review)
Shannon: Shoot. This was a tough one and a legit toss-up. Let me just say that if you love one of these, you're likely to love the other. They're both equally light, protective, versatile and responsive, with the Kinvara being perhaps just the slightest bit stiffer.
Sam: The Launch 5 as Shannon says is slightly more flexible. It’s an ounce heavier and its ride is a touch more awkward. In version 5 the upper just doesn’t support me medially that well at speed and certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the Kinvara’s. Nod to Kinvara 10
Kinvara 10 vs Altra Escalante (RTR review)
Shannon: Two good options, same purpose, radically different feel. The Escalante is definitely a far more plush ride than the Kinvara, almost to the point of being marshmallowy. Obviously the added drop (4mm in the Kinvara versus 0 in all things Altra) give the shoes an overall very different feel. My overall thought is that I am far more likely to turn to the Kinvara due to more structure of the midsole, more stability, more responsiveness, and a less loosey-goosey upper.
See Reviewer Bios here

We are confirming if there will be any early release. Full release expected February 2019
The product reviewed in this article were provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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9 comments:

Mark said...

Thanks for the thorough review. Nitpick: I’d argue that the Nike Lunaracer was the first shoe of this type. I considered it “low drop” at 8mm and liked it better than the OG Kinvara.

Unknown said...

Hi there,
I believe you guys did a preview with the VP of Saucony for the release of the Kinvara 10 as well as the Switchback. In the article, it states that the Kinvara 10 is due to be released in November of 2018. However, I've just spoke to a Saucony rep and they have informed me that they will not release the 10 until February of 2019. Just wanted to see if that was an update you had heard as well. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved the Kinvara. Unfortunately an old stress fracture requires a bit more cushion. Is there anything out there like a Kinvara, but just a bit more cushion?

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Where was the stress fracture? The Kinvara forefoot is actually quite cushioned given the stack while the heel maybe a bit less so. I might look at the Reebok Sweet Road 2 Saucony Ride ISO, Skechers Ride 7, Asics Cumulus, Altra Duo and new Salomon Predict RA. Reviews of all at the link below
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sam. It was a 5th metatarsal stress fracture, so lots of forefoot cushion and a wide toe box are helpful. The Kinvara has been good for short efforts, but anything over 10 miles and my foot feels beat up. I use the triumph for the bulk of my mileage, but it's so darn heavy.

Farhan said...

Hello RTR, so I'm currently in the market for a new shoe. My current rotation consists of the Nike Zoom Span (easy/long runs) and the Zoom Fly (Tempo/races). So the thing is I have a problem with the Zoom Span as I find it a bit too mushy and soft for my liking, and I'm looking for a new all-round lightweight & firmer trainer for all kinds of runs to replace it. Would you recommend the K10, NB 1500v6 or the Peg 35s? I heel strike and I also don't take shoes with a high/very firm arch too well due to my right foot being flat. Thanks!

Farhan said...

**I meant the NB 1400v6 sorry

sam winebaum said...

Hi Farhan,
Not familiar with the Span. I would first look at the Zoom Fly Flyknit before Peg 35. It is softer than the original with React foam and more dynamic given carbon vs nylon plate. You might also look at the Salomon Sonic RA, Saucony Ride ISO, Reebok Sweet Road 2, and Kinvara 10 of course. 1500 would be more racer than trainer. You might also consider Fresh Foam Beacon instead. Reviews of all below.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Σπύρος said...

Kinvara is becoming less and less breathable.