by Kyle Miller, Marathon Sports staff member
The Saucony Kinvara epitomizes a lightweight performance trainer, providing a cushioned, yet barely-there feel. Coupled with a low heel-toe offset, it has become a model for success in the ‘natural’ running category. The 7th iteration of this shoe holds true to the soul (or sole…bad shoe pun) of a Kinvara, but with some exciting enhancements.
Saucony introduced a new cushioning system called EVERUN, replacing the Progrid and Powergrid technology seen in previous models as the shoe’s primary cushioning system. The new material (also found in other Saucony favorites such as the Triumph ISO 2, Hurricane ISO 2, and Guide 9), improves shock absorption, bounce, and durability. Saucony placed the material in the heel of the Kinvara, where it plays an immediate role upon impact for heel strikers, and provides a bouncy transition to push-off for midfoot and forefoot strikers. I felt a definite increase in energy return from the shoe based on how my legs felt – I felt quick and light.
The outsole configuration also changed in this version – from triangular pods to a Tri-Flex system that was introduced to complement EVERUN and improve shock absorption. I found it to provide a familiar toe-off experience.
WHAT’S THE SAME
Carry-over features in version 7 were reminiscent of my last set of Kinvaras, version 5. The core concept of the shoe’s natural feel comes from its 4mm heel-toe drop – and you can definitely feel the difference from a more traditional shoe with a 10 or 12mm drop. I’ve always loved that experience because it made me more mindful of my form and footstrike and helped me practice more efficient form.
Saucony‘s loyalty to the fit impressed me tremendously. After lacing them up, I knew right away that I was back in a Kinvara – the shoe grabbed my heel and arch while leaving plenty of volume in the forefoot. One of the keys for this balance: a midfoot-wrapping band called Pro-Lock which felt even more streamlined and natural than some previous versions.
Another cool tidbit about the Kinvara 7: it weighs the same as its predecessor despite the new EVERUN engine. I never felt the shoe to be cumbersome.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN
The Kinvara falls squarely in the neutral lightweight category, competing against options such as the New Balance Zante and the Brooks PureFlow. It can take on everyday miles for efficient neutral runners or serve as a great change of pace option in a rotation. Personally, I love to mix in the lightweight Kinvara on faster, uptempo training runs. I’ve had a lot of fun putting some miles on these!
The Saucony Kinvara 7 is available in men’s size 8-13 and women’s size 6-11 in all Marathon Sports locations. You can also get a pair of limited release Boston edition Kinvara 7 too! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS