Monday, February 13, 2023

Saucony Kinvara 14 Multi Tester Review: More Cushion and Lighter Weight. Same Magic?

Article by Joost de Raeymaeker, Renee Krusemark, and Peter Stuart

Saucony Kinvara 14 ($120)


Joost: The Kinvara is 14. That’s right in the middle of adolescence.  Is it also changing physically, acting up, or just going through the necessary things to be a grown up soon? 

Saucony’s information certainly mentions a fair bit of changes from the last 2 versions. The 12 and 13 were very similar, with different uppers, but the same underfoot. This version is a complete overhaul of the Kinvara. 

Summing it up: a new upper, reminiscent of the Endorphin Pro 3, a thicker sockliner made of PWRRUN+, articulated sidewalls for a more secure foothold, a midsole that’s 3mm thicker than previous versions and all this while shedding weight. It’s Saucony’s lightest Kinvara yet, at 200g for my US 9.5. The only thing that’s left unchanged is the lack of a real outsole with just a bit of rubber in 2 high impact zones, but the rest of the midsole that also serves as an outsole also has a different pattern. So, is it still a Kinvara and did it change for the better? Read on to find out.


Very breathable, minimal and light upper Joost/Renee/Peter

Luxurious feeling PWRRUN+ sockliner Joost/Renee/Peter

Very light Joost/Renee/Peter

Nice combination of thin tongue and slightly elastic laces for secure fit without bite Joost/Peter

Snug but comfortable Joost/Renee

Versatile and well priced Renee/Peter


A lot less ground feel than previous versions Joost/Peter

Less flexible Joost/Peter

Maybe a little too snug for wide feet Joost/Renee

Discoloration on suede overlay from sweat Joost

Less natural ride than previous versions Joost

Questions about upper durability Joost/Renee


Estimated weight: men's 6.8 oz  / 193g (US9)  /  women's 6.0 oz / 169 g (US8)


          men’s 6.62 oz  / 187g US8.5, US 9.5 200g /   7.06 oz (Kinvara 13:  7.02 oz / 199g US8.5)

                          200g / 7.06 oz US9.5

          women’s 6.0 oz / 169 g US W8                    

Stack Height: men’s 31 mm heel / 27 mm forefoot 

Kinvara 13: 28.5 mm heel  / 24.5 mm forefoot, 4mm drop

$120. Available March 2023.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Joost: First off: I’m a very big fan of the previous 2 versions of the Kinvara. I think it’s the nearly perfect natural feeling shoe with enough cushion to go the distance. It’s relatively cheap and lasts forever. I somehow always enjoy running in them. My gait feels like nothing is being coerced or forced in a certain direction, so a complete overhaul is naturally going to have me look at things in a very critical way.

The citron (volt for Nike people) colorway looks really nice out of the box. 

The small black specs on the sidewalls are a nice touch too, and the heel stitching is reflective, something I appreciate. 

The upper is a very breathable mesh and to my eyes identical to the upper of the Endorphin Pro 3, with very fine reflective threads going through the holes. 

The difference is that the Kinvara has an extra layer underneath this in the forefoot, which starts from the gusseted tongue and goes all the way to the toe bumper. 

The latter is a little bigger than in previous versions, but doesn’t get in the way.

The collar is padded with just enough material to hold down and protect the heel. A faux suede overlay on the outside of the shoe adds a little more consistency. 

The heel itself is very flexible, with a harder reinforcement coming up just half way. The eyestay is nicely done with little loops and more traditional eyelets in the upper part, inside the faux suede reinforcement. The suede has discolored a bit due to sweat here in the tropics. 

The tongue is made of the same mesh as the upper, with a finer pattern of holes and no threads running through them. 

The middle has a strip going down to the second lacing loop and together with the slightly elastic flat laces makes for a lace-bite free experience. 

The upper is less stretchy than previous versions, and feels a little more snug. It’s not as wide foot friendly as the 12 and 13. Another worry I have is the upper material itself. My Endorphin Pro 3 has some decent sized holes in the upper after around 500km (300 miles). I’ve come to expect a lot more mileage from my Kinvaras.

Walking around with a Kinvara 14 on one foot and a 13 on the other, there are obvious differences in the way they connect to the ground. The 13 feels a lot more “flat on the ground” and connected, but more on that in the midsole and ride sections.

Renee: The Kinvara 14 is my first version of this beloved shoe,  so I don’t have any comparisons to the previous versions. Saucony seems to be hosting a MasterClass on well-priced, performance-capable daily trainers. 

The upper is breathable and simple while managing to be secure and comfortable. The extra overlays and materials across the heel are just enough for a stable fit on a neutral shoe. I had no fit or comfort issues with the upper itself. At the time of this review  I have 52 total miles in the shoe: shortest run at 6 easy miles and longest run at 16 miles with a mix of hills and intervals. 

After 30 miles, the logo overlays started to rip off on both shoes.

While some overlays help with security, I don’t think it affects the fit at all. I did run through snow during cold temps (19℉), which may have compromised the glue. My only minor negative of the fit is the shoe is somewhat narrow on the medial side between my arch and heel. For narrow feet runners, that might help with a forefoot landing. For wide/middle feet runners, that might affect the natural flex underfoot. 

Peter: Oh, Kinvara, how you’ve changed over the years… I remember running in the sublime (at the time) Kinvara 1, 2 and 3. The Kinvara came along and introduced low to the ground, simply designed and incredibly light shoes to many. 

The franchise lost its way a bit at the same time that lots of people were starting to put out lightweight, highly cushioned trainers (the OG Clifton, Skechers Razor 3). The last Kinvara I tried, which I think was the 12 and  felt like it had moved far enough from the original model that it felt like a totally different shoe. 

From the jump, the Kinvara 14 feels like a return to some of the old Kinvara magic. It’s light, bright and has a decent amount of cushion

The upper is excellent. The stretch laces and eyelet system are as efficient a system as I’ve used. The laces pull everything into the right place. The upper feels really good on my feet.

The step-in experience is like jumping into water that’s just the right temperature–pleasant and a nice surprise. 

Lockdown is excellent with its padded ankle collar and I haven’t had any issues with durability yet, but will be on the lookout.

The real question here is ‘How do they run’? Read on. 


Renee: ​​The midsole is PWRRUN at a 31/27 stack height, which I think is plenty for long runs while still being responsive for intervals and comfortable for easy paces. The v14 has 3mm more midsole underfoot than previous versions, which means nothing to me as this is my first Kinvara. I didn’t think the stack was too much for intervals and I found it to be perfect for what a daily trainer is meant to offer. Notably, the Kinvara is super lightweight. The sockliner is PWRRUN+ and it’s massive. 

Joost: There’s no official change in midsole material, but there’s 3mm more of it and with a different geometry. 

PWRRUN worked great on the Kinvara 12 and 13 for me and the 3 extra mm don’t really change the feeling of the foam itself, but the 14 feels further removed from the ground and the sidewalls also make for a less “free” feeling foot. 

The rocker is also a quite noticeable change from the previous versions and probably a design decision made because of the extra stack height. It’s hard to believe that a shoe that’s considered low stack in the lineup is now up to 31mm. The Kinvara 14 still feels responsive and might be better suited for longer runs than previous versions if your feet need that little extra cushion and guidance. The very thick and soft sockliner helps with that as well, but further increases the feeling of distance from the ground compared to previous versions.

Peter: I like the PWRRUN foam just fine but I don’t love it. As good as the step-feel is, I find the midsole foam to be just a hair too firm. I would love just a little more squish on landing and am surprised that it is as firm as it is with that much more foam under the foot. I agree with Joost that we’ve lost some of the ground feel that made the Kinvara the Kinvara. I think a slightly softer foam might bring everything into a bit better harmony for me, 


Renee: The outsole is minimal with small areas of added rubber at the forefoot (medial side) and under the heel on the lateral side. I had some minor (to be expected) wear as shown below after 30 miles on the treadmill, but haven’t noticed any additional wear with 52 miles total.


I ran on gravel, dodging some snow and frozen mud ruts and expected some additional wear, which was not the case.

Joost: There’s not much of it. Just two little patches of rubber in what Saucony calls high impact areas. This is not very different from previous versions, although the geometry has changed somewhat. 

The 12 and 13 had two very obvious flex grooves running along most of the longitudinal axis of the shoe. 

The Kinvara 14 has one slightly depressed area of the ribbed midsole rubber pattern all the way from the forefoot to the midfoot. 

The heel has two slightly more elevated parts on both sides, adding some decoupling and direction. 

Although the Kinvara has gained 3mm of foam, it’s still one of the more flexible shoes out there. There’s also no real need to worry about wear. All my Kinvaras have held up nicely for several hundred miles (I’m light and a lateral mid- to forefoot striker). Traction has been ok, but on slippery surfaces, it might be better to go for a shoe with some more and grippier outsole material.

Peter: Outsole works just fine. No excessive wear. The Kinvara 14 actually has more traction than I would have expected and I’ve taken it on some wet runs. It’s not the most grippy shoe out there, but it holds its own. 


Renee: As my first Kinvara, I found the ride of the v14 to be smooth and [almost] everything I prefer from a daily trainer. The shoe is very lightweight , with a low drop, enough stack for long runs, and enough responsiveness for speed work. At a retail of $120, it might be the most cost-effective daily trainer available. 

A new feature for v14 is articulated sidewalls to “secure the foot at speed” and a “newly designed underfoot with a mid rocker shape.” I can’t compare to the previous versions. While I thought the rocker and sidewalls helped with security and promoted a fast forefoot takeoff, the shoe does feel slightly too narrow/aggressive between my arch and heel. I had no irritation, rather this was a minor note that slightly prevented the Kinvara from completely disappearing underfoot. For me, the agility of the Kinvara is slightly compromised because of the rocker and sidewalls, although that’s really only a note because I was running on gravel during the winter on less-than-smooth terrain. 

Joost: The ride of the Kinvara 14 is quite different from previous versions, due to the added stack height, the very thick and soft PWRRUN+ sockliner, the sidewalls and probably most of all the rocker. The added features probably make it a better fit for longer runs, when your form starts to fall apart, but it feels less connected and slower than previous versions to me. 

Renée described it as the agility being slightly compromised and I have to agree. You gain more guidance, protection and direction, but at the cost of agility and a more natural feeling ride. It’s still responsive, but in a more directed way than before.

Peter: I agree with everything above. Subjectively speaking, I’m just a little more beat up after runs in the Kinvara 14 than I’d like to be. If it had some of that Rebel V2 or Topo Cyclone softness I might feel differently. I think the lack of a natural-feeling ride is an important thing to reiterate. The original Kinvara had a ton of ground feel and felt like an extension of my foot. The Kinvara 14 feels like a big step towards the original Kinvara that doesn’t quite get there. I like the ride, but I’m not excited by the ride. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Renee: Saucony is giving a lesson in how to make a daily trainer at a low price of $120. The Kinvara 14 works well for short distances and long runs, and it’s comfortable during easy paces and responsive during speed work. In addition to being a versatile daily trainer, the Kinvara 14 will work fine for races too. The shoe is lightweight with a simple, yet secure upper. I would prefer a less pronounced mid rocker/articulated sidewalls, although even though the shoe runs flexible and naturally. 

Renee’s Score: 9.5/10 (-.20 upper durability concerns, -30 narrow medial side)


Joost: The Kinvara is very good value at $120 and previous versions have been pretty much indestructible for me. I do have questions about the durability of the upper in the 14 based on my experience with the Endorphin Pro 3. 

It’s a great shoe, but a lot of what I really liked about the two previous versions is gone. It might be better suited for long runs, but it feels less natural, slower and a little less Kinvara to me. Apart from a couple of notable exceptions, more stack seems to be the way things are still shifting in the market, so it was to be expected the Kinvara might get the bigger midsole treatment at some point. It is still a very good no bells and whistles plateless shoe, but there’s a little less of what I really liked about the previous versions.

Joost’s Score: 8.97/10 

(Ride 8.7 - 50%, Fit 8.8 - 30%, Value 10 - 15%, Style 9.5 - 5%))


Peter:  Close but not quite back to the magic of the original couple of Kinvaras. I miss the sense of connection and free-floating joy of the originals. The Kinvara 14 makes it just far enough towards the OG Kinvara that it will have a place in my rotation, but there are other shoes that I find to be more fun and exciting. 

Peter’s score:8.5/10 


Please Watch RTR Editor Sam's Kinvara 14 Video Review (14:09)


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Kinvara 13 (RTR Review)

Joost: I guess I gave it away in my part of the review. I’m a big fan of the Kinvara 13 and for me, it’s the superior, more natural feeling shoe. For long runs, I might probably pick the 14, but for anything else, the 13.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly  (RTR Review)

Joost: Both plateless (although the Nike does have a midfoot shank), modern shoes. The Streakfly has Nike’s famous ZoomX foam, but it feels a little bottomed out and dead to me in this configuration. I prefer the snappier, more responsive feeling of the older PWRRUN of the Kinvara. 

Topo Cyclone 2 (RTR Review)

Joost: I recently ran a fair amount of miles in the Topo Cyclone 2 (will add my bit to the review shortly). It’s also a shoe that changed quite drastically from the previous version. If you have wide feet, there’s really no debate: go for the Topo. If you like the feeling of having a rocker and slightly more stack, go for the Kinvara.

Peter: The Topo Cyclone 2 gets closer to the fun, easy, light freedom of foot than the Kinvara 14. The fit of the upper on the Kinvara is better for me, but the ride of the Cyclone 2 is way more fun. 

New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel v2 (RTR Review)

and v3 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Rebel v2 and v3 are two of my favorite road shoes. Surprisingly, the Kinvara 14 is even lighter, although the difference is not noticeable on the run. The Rebel has a more flexible ride underfoot as compared to the mid rocker/articulated sidewalls of the Kinvara 14. For most runners, the Kinvara 14 will offer more stack for long runs and it will provide more direction in the landing as compared to the totally natural and flexing Rebel v2 or v3. I find the Rebel to be more fun/bouncy in comparison, although for the price, the Kinvara 14 is more versatile. Sizing is comparable.

Joost: The Rebel is a great shoe if you want to go fast. As Renée said, it is quite amazing to find out the Kinvara is lighter than the Rebel. The Kinvara feels like more shoe underfoot. The Rebel is lighter, snappier in the forefoot, but the Kinvara is better suited for long runs. 

Peter: Sure, if I’m going over 12-14 I don’t necessarily want to run the Rebel V2, but for anything shorter I prefer the Rebel over the Kinvara. More flexible and a more fun and responsive ride

ASICS Novablast v3 (RTR Review)

Renee: Both of these are fun daily trainers, and the “better shoe” will depend on a runner’s preferences. The Novablast v3 is a higher drop shoe, with a fun bouncy forefoot landing. I enjoy the Novablast v3 for easy to moderate paces during mid to long runs. Otherwise, the Novablast v3 can feel clunky at truly slow or fast paces. The Kinvara 14 works much better as a daily trainer for that reason. Sizing is similar. 

The Kinvara 14 releases March 2023
Tester Profiles

Joost is a Belgian in his 50s living in Luanda, Angola, Africa, where he faces the heat, humidity and general chaos to run anything between 60-100 miles per week. He’s on a mission to win in his age group in the 6 marathon majors and has completed half of his project, with a 2:26:10 PB in Berlin in 2019 at 51. He recently won his M50 AG at the 2022 Chicago Marathon in 2:29. He ran in primary school, but then thought it would be a lot cooler to be a guitar player in a hard rock band, only picking up running again in 2012, gradually improving his results. Please check out Joost's coaching service here

Renee is a former U. S.Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I was wondering, and I imagine other would too, how the K14 compares to the Ride 15/16.

Anonymous said...

Excellent revision… it would be interesting to compare this shoe with rincon 3.

T H said...

A Q for Peter mostly, since he has experience running in K1-3. How is K14 closer to the originals than the K12/K13?

I started with K9 (which is my favorite) which was a simple low profile shoe with just enough cush for any kind of run - everything from ripping track repeats to marathoning (I ran 2 in them). The K11 lost its way by becoming more daily trainer, and it sounds like the K14 is more like that.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous 1
Compared to Ride 15/16 Kinvara is more flexible somewhat lower stack and with more minimal upper. The Ride 15 is I would say a truly reliable all around daily trainer while Kinvara 14 is close to that but less shoe and lighter.
Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous 2
Regarding Rincon 3 it is about 0.5 oz heavier on a slightly lower stack with more of a rocker type profile to K14's more flex based ride. Rincon foam is similar but more dated less energetic in feel but close. You will find a bit more rubber coverage on the Rincon likely why it weighs more than Kinvara 14
Sam, Editor

Peter S. said...


Thans for the question. For me the 14 is a nice step back towards the low slung and more free versions of the Kinvara. I also felt the 11 was a pretty basic and boring daily trainer. If the ride was just a little softer this would have been a rave from me, but as it is I like them a lot.

yellowbike said...

Rest in peace Kinvara!
Thanks for the review, there is no reason to try it at store.
Shoes are loosing longitudinal flexion and that is bad news for slow/medium runners. Saucony sacrifices good shoes to the Endorphine success! Ride and Kinvara desperate trying to look/feel like bigger brother! It is a pity...
Running in Ride 15, it is changing my gait, have to rotate and look for a flexible one.

Anonymous said...

Such a bummer- the entire reason I got the Kinvara is because my orthopedist wanted as much connection to the ground as possible without a “barefoot” shoe. I’m buying up a couple of pairs of the 12 and 13 but will need a new shoe if anyone has suggestions.