Gear Review: Saucony Kinvara Third Edition



The Details
– 6.7 oz.
– Available in wide width
– Semi-attached tongue
– Seamless upper
– Strategically-placed rubber on the out-sole for a better ride
– Available in four colors (Men’s Kinvara 3 are available in five colors)
– EVA mid-sole provides protection without restricting natural foot movement
– Updated design
– Retail $100

The Experience
This is my first experience with the Kinvara. I’ve had more than a few friends that are loyal Kinvara 2 enthusiasts, so I was pretty excited to try the updated version. (For a side by side comparison to the Kinvara 2, go to: and click on “See the updates to the Kinvara 3 PDF”.)

The first thing I noticed was how incredibly light-weight they feel. At 6.7 oz. this minimalist runner compares with the feel of a pair of high-end race flats. I was a bit concerned with the high heel, a rubbing heel is a bit of a pet-peeve of mine, but they were fine; no rubbing or irritation at all. There are contoured memory foam “heel pods” (see below) just inside the shoe. They act as a heel lock to keep the heel securely in place. I walked around without the laces tied and was surprised by how effective they are. When running, I hardly felt them at all.

Kinvara 2 Kinvara 3

The shoe-flex over all was excellent. As I ran, the shoe was snug, but followed the natural movement of my foot without being too restrictive. A mid-foot striker, I liked that there was nothing to modify or alter my natural strike; one of the benefits of a minimalist shoe that the designers were wise enough to leave alone. I would have liked a little more room in the toe-box for foot splay, but that’s more of a preference; it didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. They do offer the shoes in ‘wide width’, but I have to wonder if that would compromise the fit of the rest of the shoe if you don’t normally necessitate the extra room. Since I don’t have any half or full marathons on the schedule for this year, I only went up a half size from my street shoes. I would recommend going up the customary full size if you have some serious mileage in your future. Most of the sizing issue will be preference, since the sizing runs pretty standard.

I tried the shoe with socks and without and found the seamless upper to be perfectly comfortable either way. I could easily see using them as a race flat; in fact I’m trying my best to keep them pristine for my next tri. There was no rubbing or chaffing and I actually began to prefer wearing them sock-less. I really liked how they molded to my bare feet.

Kinvara 4 Kinvara 5

The ride is softer than other minimalist shoes I’ve tried, and Saucony has done all they can to make them as durable as possible without sacrificing with extra weight. I’d like these shoes to last forever, but the reality is, you can’t have it both ways. I’ve run with them for three weeks now and don’t see any serious wear aside from a bit of dirt. (gasp!) That brings me to the color. Oh, how I love the color of these shoes but they get dirty so fast! Most of the shoe has a surface that makes it easy to wipe with a wet cloth, but I’m aware it’s only delaying the inevitable. In a perfect world, I would get one pair in another fabulous color for training and save this pair for racing. They make me so happy.

Kinvara Color 1 Kinvara Color 2 Kinvara Color 3

Final Say
The overall design and feel of the shoe emits efficiency. Saucony seems to have stripped all the gimmicks and concentrated on the mechanics of a good minimalist shoe. Opting for light-weight, durable materials and backed by thoughtful design and feedback from actual athletes, Saucony has only added to the success of the Kinvara 2. Where many shoe companies update last season’s shoe by changing color-pallets, the Kinvara 3 is testament to what can be achieved when a company isn’t afraid of taking a second look at the design as a whole. If you like your Kinvara’s, you will love the Kinvara 3. If you haven’t tried the Kinvara, I highly recommend them!  Go to: Men’s Kinvara 3

For more information about Saucony products go to:

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About The Author

Jen has been doing triathlon for several years. She is a former bobsled pilot for America Samoa and has a passion for the outdoors; especially winter mountaineering. At home she is wife to a mountain obsessed husband and mother of three girls, but here at EnduranceReview, she is an author, Managing Editor and token chick.