Saucony ProGrid Kinvara

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Mea culpa: I am a running geek. I am a shoe junkie. I am addicted to pounding pavement and running trails, sometimes 40 miles of training in a week. I am hardly the fastest runner I know, but I am committed: marathons and long-distance trail events are on my calendar, and I run year-round, hot sun to bitter cold.

Indeed, more than any other activity, running — which I can do daily — has slowly evolved into my sporting area of expertise. As such, running shoes have become crucial pieces of gear, and every year I review a dozen or more models made for road and trails.

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara running shoes.jpg

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara

A recent shoe that has stood out, the Saucony ProGrid Kinvara is light, fast and fun. The $90 model, which I have put 100+ miles on over the past few months, has slowly risen to the top in my closet as a favorite for mid-distance road runs.

The shoe is a “neutral” design, meaning it is fairly flat inside and there are no features included made to direct your stride. It is a running shoe that allows your foot to land and push off as it naturally would without a shoe on.

Like many “barefoot”-style shoes in its ilk, the Kinvara has minimal midsole construction. It is low to the ground and flexible in the sole.

All around, the shoe is light and fast. The uppers are mainly mesh. The sole is unique: It is skimmed down to just the essentials, with an exposed mold of EVA foam that is dotted with triangles of carbon rubber outsole for durability and grip.

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara - exploded.jpg

On my scale, the Kinvara weighs 9.3 ounces per shoe (in men’s size 13). This is lighter than any “normal” road runner in my closet. Sure, there are specialty race shoes and running flats that are lighter still. But the Kinvara isn’t in that category. Saucony has found a design that is comfortable enough for mid-distance (5 to 10 miles) training days, though also as fast and fun as some shoes made only for racing.

If you’re a dedicated runner — or perhaps a bit addicted like me — the Kinvara comes highly recommended. The lightweight shoe with built-in support rides a thin line between speed and support, a place where daily training and race-speed minimalism can finally meet up. $90, www.saucony.com

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. A version of this post ran originally on Gear Junkie’s blog on VentureThere.com.

Posted by shelby Stanger - 11/22/2010 02:26 PM

By far my favorite new running shoe as well. I was skeptical at first, but am recovering from foot surgery so have tried everything from thick trail shoes to minimalistic toe shoes to going without shoes and running barefoot. Since wearing this model, I have easily been able to double mileage without pain in less than a month.

Posted by dan - 11/23/2010 06:06 PM

Nice review. I am on my third pair and ran the Chicago Marathon in them and found it was the right mix of cushioning (from my perspective) and go fast ride.

Posted by J Russell - 12/02/2010 07:17 AM

I’ve used these as an alternate shoe in my 1/2 marathon training and I’m convinced that I will run the 1/2 in this shoe. I was a Saucony Triumph addict before this shoe. I have run two races lately and PRd on both of them using this shoe. Light & fast!

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