We tested out the Saucony Kinvara 9. Here’s what we think:

Saucony's staple shoe in its lineup is back and just in time for spring and summer

February 28th, 2018 by | Posted in Running Shoes | Tags: , , ,

Built on eight previous editions, the Saucony Kinvara 9 is refined as it approaches its 10th anniversary but retains its roots as a firm and responsive neutral trainer.

The Kinvara 9 is notably one of the lighter mileage shoes on the market. It’s a nice hybrid shoe, fully capable of handling log 20-30K long runs (we did, just to see) while also being light enough to have you feeling confident to wear during tempo, or even track workouts.

Essentials

Release date: March 1, 2018
Type: Lightweight neutral trainer
Heel-to-toe drop: 4 mm (23 mm heel to 19 mm toe)
Weight: M: 7.5 oz (213 g), W: 6.5 oz (184 g)
Price (MSRP): $150
Terrain tested: everything and anything you can think of
Kilometres tested: 570
Buy Women’s Buy Men’s

Saucony Kinvara 9
Photo: Matt Stetson.

Cushioning

The Kinvara has historically featured less drop than most neutral cushioned trainers. The Kinvara 9 drops 4 mm from a 23 mm stack at the heel. The less drop, the more natural the ride of a shoe. The Kinvara 9 truly allows runners to ‘feel’ the road, which may present a problem if you’re a runner who thinks they land heavy on their feet or who have battled shin pain in the past. A reduced drop means you’re getting less stability and less cushioning, generally. You also don’t get that forward-push with a sizeable 8 mm+ drop. Otherwise, if you’re used to a firmer shoe, the Kinvara 9 is the staple for your footwear lineup.

Saucony Kinvara 9
Photo: Matt Stetson.

As in the Kinvara 8, the Kinvara 9 features the lively Everun and EVA + midsole cushioning technology. In our experience, the Kinvara 9 lasts well beyond what one would expect from a lightweight trainer. Staffers at CR put in well north of 500 kilometres on the Kinvara 9, and are confident of its life expectancy lasting at least 1.5 times that. (One CR tester put 750 kilometres on the Kinvara 8, largely the same shoe.)

The Kinvara 9 performs great in dispersing impact through the heel or forefoot, depending on how you land on your feet, and the transition from landing to takeoff is very smooth, in part because of the flexible grooves slit across the sole.

Generally, the Kinvara 9 feels quite similar to the 8. If you enjoyed the previous model, you’ll likely enjoy the 9 and vice versa, at least in our experience. Fast, firm and responsive.

Upper

The Kinvara 9 has a bit more structure across the upper using a flex film material that’s breathable and almost like a netting. The simple construction means there are no seams, great for the breaking-in period of a shoe and if your feet are susceptible to blisters due in part to hot spots.

RELATED: See what the Kinvara 8 was like.

Somehow, with the more durable upper, the Kinvara 9 sheds weight from its predecessor(s). Slight tweaking to Achilles area of the shoe, including woven heel support, adds additional support and stability, which is generally less-seen now in the running industry with a more ‘natural’ heel.

Saucony Kinvara 9
Photo: Matt Stetson.

Somehow, the Kinvara 9 is even lighter than the Kinvara 8 with 0.4 oz reduction for both the men’s and women’s models. Both models check in below 8 oz, making them one of the lightest mileage trainers on the market. They’re so light in fact that it’s no surprise the Kinvara can often be spotted on the start line of races.

Final thoughts

Overall, the Kinvara 9 is one of the safest bets on the running market in regards to durability, cost and responsive ride. If you’re looking for a single shoe for all of your running needs – training and racing – the Kinvara 9 is one of the few shoes that fit this requirement. The shoe is available beginning March 1 and retails, in Canada, for $150.
Buy Women’s Buy Men’s