I first used Kinvara when it was introduced in India in 2021. Since then I ran in all the editions of Kinvara, 12, 13, and now Kinvara 14. The Saucony Kinvara first released in 2009 quickly became a favorite among runners for its low drop (4mm), and its lightweight that promoted natural running. My running experience with Kinvara 12 & 13 has been good. But Kinvara 13 felt dated when compared to the modern light weight trainers such as Puma Liberate Nitro 2, Adidas Adizero Takumi. You can read my review of Kinvara13 here. When I first heard of Kinvara 14, I was hoping it will be a very different shoe from 13.
So how does it compare to other modern light weight trainers? Does it continue to remain true to original design philosophy? Read on below for full review.
The first thing one notices about the shoe is its lightness. The UK size 10 shoe that I weighed was 226 grams. The official weight is 200 grams for a UK size 8 (US size 9). This means that the shoe has shed about 15 grams from the previous edition. This is truly impressive given its stack height of 31mm, which is 3mm higher than the previous edition. The higher stack and lighter weight make it a contender in two shoe categories: lightweight speed trainers and daily trainers.
The Kinvara 14 has the most flush midsole of any Kinvara to date. It features PWRRUN foam, which is very responsive but not the softest. The durometer measurement is about 32, slightly softer than the earlier edition. What is more interesting is the PWRRUN+ sockliner, which is the softest sockliner I have ever seen in a running shoe. It measured 12 on durometer and is also one of the largest in terms of height. Together, the midsole and sockliner provide the most comfortable experience of any Kinvara so far.
The other surprising update is the higher toe-spring, which effectively makes the Kinvara a rocker shoe. Kinvara 14 looks like more like an Endorphin and less like Kinvara. (Our reviews of Endorphin Speed 3, Endorphin Shift 3, and Endorphin Pro 2). The toe-spring is almost the same as the one that you see in Endorphin Speed series, may be a bit smaller. One should expect a completely different ride experience in Kinvara 14.
The upper has also been significantly updated. It uses the same engineered mesh upper as the Endorphin Pro 3, which is one of the best uppers I have seen on any shoe. In addition the mono mesh on the Endorphin Pro 3, a layer of reinforcement with a softer inner layer is added, which makes it feel almost like a sock. One could probably run in the shoe without socks.
The gusseted tongue has also been made lighter. It is just barely enough to protect your feet from the laces. However, the laces are super soft and comfortable. They are stretchy, and much better than the ones found on the Kinvara 13.
The eyelets have also been updated in an interesting way. A 5+1 eyelet pattern is used, as opposed to the 6+1 eyelet pattern used in most shoes. The 5+1 pattern is becoming more common, as seen in Puma’s Velocity Nitro and Deviate Nitro shoes. What is more interesting is that the first 3 eyelets are looped. I am not sure if this helps with the fit, but it does make it much more convenient to adjust the lacing.
The Heel shoe has not changed significantly from earlier editions. It is very comfortable, with adequate padding. The internal heel counter is also very supportive. I particularly liked the generous elastic pull tab on the back of the heel, which makes it very easy to put on the shoe. I recently saw this feature in the Puma Foreverrun Nitro (review here), and I hope all shoe designers will be as generous with such pull tabs in the future.
The Outsole is more or less the same as previous editions. The outsole is exposed, and there are couple of hotspots where hard rubber is placed. That said, PWRRUN midsole is very durable.
Having used the last two editions, and loved them for the natural runnning feel they provide, I want to try out the newest edition. Kinvara 14 however, was more pricier (Rs 11,990) than earlier editions (Rs 9,990), which made me deliberate on the purchase. But generous sale discount offered on sauconyindia.com made the decision very easy. I bought it an effective price of 8,990. At this price, this is probably one of the best value daily trainers out there.
I have logged approximately 120 kilometers in this shoe. I have run several long runs of more than 2 hours, one of which was 28 kilometers. I have also run many easy runs, tempo runs, and intervals. As expected, the ride of the shoe is quite different from earlier editions of the Kinvara. It is still fast, but no longer has the firmness that earlier editions had. This also makes the new Kinvara the most versatile.
The shoe’s light weight makes it an excellent choice for speed training. It is responsive despite its lack of firmness. The rocker in the Kinvara is not as aggressive as the Endorphin Speed, but it is sufficient to help with fast transitions. I have used the shoe for a session of 600m speed intervals and several sessions of longer threshold intervals. It is an excellent choice for both. It has a good bounce and offers decent underfoot cushioning, which makes it easy to push off.
The shoe also has enough cushion and softness for longer runs. It is very comfortable even in the closing miles of a 28km run. The shoe is easy on the feet, making it a good choice for easy and recovery runs. The 4mm drop makes it quite natural to run in. Overall, I found it to be the most versatile Kinvara to date.
Fit and Comfort
I wear a size UK 10, and the Kinvara 14 fits me true to size and is very comfortable. If you wear a size UK 10 in Nike, Puma, or Saucony shoes, the same size will likely fit well in the Kinvara 14. The forefoot fit is excellent, neither too tight nor too loose. The new upper is very comfortable and supportive. Despite the loss of padding in the tongue, the midfoot is quite comfortable and secure. The looped lacing system is very flexible, allowing for a customized fit. The heel fit is also excellent. The padding and counter work well to keep the rear foot stable and comfortable. In summary, the Kinvara 14 is the best Kinvara to date for me in terms of fit.
Although this is not a stability shoe, it is reasonably stable for a neutral trainer. I was able to tackle uneven surfaces with confidence. The harder foam at the bottom prevents excessive medial compression. It is suitable for most runners, unless they require extra stability.
Like the earlier editions, the shoe doesn’t have much rubber at the bottom. The Outsole’s tread pattern is a bit different from earlier editions, but is primarily designed for road use. It performs well on tarmac, but caution should be exercised when running on slippery surfaces such as wet roads, especially at high speeds. The shoe is not suitable for mixed road and trail running.
Aesthetics & Ergonomics
I own the Citron/Black colorway, and it is a stunner in every way. It is the most beautiful Kinvara I have ever seen. The upper feels very premium, and the curvy inset patterns on the midsole add a touch of class. The shoe design is well-thought-out and carefully crafted. Saucony designers have definitely made a significant improvement over the Kinvara 13.
Aravind is a techie, running geek, and a marathoner. He is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He loves all things technology and technology in running, with special interest in running form analysis.
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