The Saucony Kinvara is one of the oldest and best-loved models in the brand’s lineup. There have been many versions of this shoe, but despite some cosmetic changes and foam upgrades, the central tenets remain the same – it’s designed to be light and go fast. In the age of carbon-plated trainers and skyscraper stack heights, the Kinvara offers an affordable alternative. The major changes to the 12 come from the updated upper and improved outsole.
Drop: 4 mm
Stack: 28.5 mm
Weight: 213 g (men’s shoe)
Available: February 1, 2021
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This is the lightest Kinvara yet, and that’s partly due to the stripped-down upper. The ultra-light fabric is very comfortable on the run and fits more like a track spike than the shoe has before. It still has a traditional lacing system, and a little bit of padding around the tongue and collar to keep chafing or blistering at bay, but you’ll find few frills on this upper.
PWRRUN, which replaced EVERUN in 2020, is lighter and snappier beaded EVA foam that’s 25 per cent lighter and more responsive than EVERUN (which it replaced in the Kinvara 11 last year). The Kinvara 12 went the same route as the 11 when it comes to foam – it’s still PWRRUN, however, when I wore this shoe, it felt even firmer to me than the previous iterations.
For me, the outsole is where the shoe really shines. With most speed trainers, you’re sacrificing some traction for a lighter shoe. With the Kinvara 12, Saucony managed to improve traction while making the shoe even lighter. On some sloppy December days (when it snowed, hailed and rained all in one run) I wasn’t slipping around the roads.
This shoe really appeals to an efficient runner. It’s a minimal shoe that allows the wearer to move naturally and offers no correction for their foot. This shoe is ideal for track work, fast tempos, or even as a racing shoe for a 5K or 10K. Its affordability and quality ride makes it a great choice as a training shoe – especially for the runner who likes to feel the ground underneath them. This Kinvara has an extremely firm midsole, a simplified upper and great traction on the outsole. Using the Kinvara to train in, and coupling it with the Endorphin Speed or Pro on race day, would be a great combination. The Saucony Ride is also a great accompaniment shoe, for your longer days or a recovery effort. If you’re looking for a reliable speed trainer but don’t want a super built-up shoe, give the Kinvara a try.