Saucony Kinvara 8
- Great energy return from EVERUN topsole
- Secure midfoot wrap
- Excellent ventilation in upper
- Lack of support or reinforcement under medial heel
- Underfoot traction sketchy in wet conditions
This is one of our favorite shoes in the lightweight trainer category, with great comfort on top and a soft, fast ride underfoot. The Kinvara combines plush cushioning for soft landings with minimalist construction elements like a wide toe box and flexible forefoot. The 4mm drop makes it ideal for midfoot strikers, but heel strikers will still find it a fast and fun shoe for training or racing.
The Kinvara 8 maintains the last and shape of previous versions, with a wide toe box to allow foot splay on impact. The new upper design is lighter and more flexible than its predecessor, and thin Flexifilm overlays combine with a traditional lace system to wrap the midfoot and keep the foot securely in place on the midsole. The padding in the tongue is slightly increased, making the Kinvara 8 comfortable to cinch up snug for locked-in fit.
Redesigned uppers on the Kinvara 8 use highly breathable mesh with large laser cut ventilation holes for maximal air exchange and cooling in warm conditions. Padding around the ankle collar and tongue are just right for comfort without being warm. Underfoot comfort is outstanding with the combination of EVA and full-length EVERUN material.
Saucony’s primary adjustment to the Kinvara 8 is the extension of its highly resilient EVERUN energy return compound through the entire length of the foot. Our testers found that that the Kinvara 8 delivers a soft but firm footstrike, and a palpable bounce with toe-off. There is minimal outsole contribution to responsiveness, as the outsole rubber remains sparsely positioned on the underside of the foot; if you’re a mild pronator, you’ll lose the benefit of this outsole rubber upon impact. Outsole rubber is also insufficient to provide good grip in wet conditions.
The Kinvara 8 features zig-zag horizontal flex grooves through the forefoot, and longitudinal flex grooves from heel to toe; these combine to provide nice flexibility in stance phase and a natural transfer of momentum from heel to toe. The EVERUN topsole helps to diminish cumulative impact forces over a long period of time, helping to conserve muscle energy on long training runs.
As one of the lightest shoes in our test group, the Kinvara 8 has a very quick feel that will help you build and sustain speed on fast training days or race day. The lack of medial grip or support make it better for speed work on the road than on the continual turns of a track.
How We Tested It
The shoes in this test covered approximately 80 miles of running in Monterey County CA, predominantly on asphalt and all-weather track surfaces, in wet and dry conditions, with about 20% of mileage on dirt roads. Longest single run was 24 miles.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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- Heel Height: 23mm
- Forefoot Height: 19mm
- Heel Drop: 4mm
Manufacturer's Stated Weight7.9
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