Set for a May 2013 release, the Saucony Kinvara series will soon be extended with the 4th edition of their popular neutral running shoe.
Despite the planned May launch date, Saucony were kind enough to send me a pair of Kinvara 4s to test and review. I’ve been a fan of the Kinvara since its introduction to the running shoe market back in 2010, so was especially pleased when Saucony recently contacted me. I fondly remember my first run in the Kinvaras – a progressive 6 miler in just over 38 minutes – where I was “completely thrilled with the performance, the fit and the feel.” Since June 2010 I’ve owned countless pairs of all three Kinvara versions.
Anyway, back to the newest model….
My sample size 10 weighs in at exactly 8-ounces, just a fraction heavier than my typical size 9.5 Kinvara 3. According to Saucony, the most significant change is an upgraded PowerGrid heel insert for improved cushioning, which supercedes the old ProGrid insert found in previous Kinvara models. Not sure how much of a change this will be for mid-to-forefoot runners like myself, as the PowerGrid insert is touted as delivering a smoother transition from heel to toe.
The most visible upgrade is to the FlexFilm overlays on the upper of the shoe, which should provide a more streamlined fit and improved breathability. You can just make out the changes in the image below.
A few minor modifications have also been made to the shape and positioning of the reflective material at the back of the shoe – nothing too drastic, but a nice subtle safety update all the same. The heel collar has been slightly redesigned too, which should reduce rubbing on the Achilles as reported by Kinvara 3 owners on various message boards and forums. Actually, last weekend at the Distance Series 30K, I fell victim to rubbing on the Achilles for the first time ever in a Kinvara. I’d never noticed the slightly higher heel collar on the 3, but a combination of wet conditions and no-show socks made for a couple of blistered and bloody heels. Ouch!
One other thing worth noting – the outsole remains the same as the Kinvara 3, with triangular lugs providing the trademark piston effect and fantastically cushy feel. All in all, I’m pleased that Saucony has for the most part stuck with their winning formula, as there’s nothing more frustrating than when a shoe manufacturer makes drastic changes to a shoe I’ve grown to love.
According to Saucony the Kinvara 4 launch is set for May 1st, 2013. Here’s what Dan Sullivan, Saucony Vice President of Footwear, has to say about the Kinvara upgrade.
[Video courtesy of RunningShoes.com at Outdoor Retailer 2013]
I’m really looking forward to testing out the Kinvara 4 over the coming weeks, and will post a performance review once I’ve logged some significant miles. Happy miles, everyone!