Saucony Kinvara 7 Shoe Review
Over the last 9 years of my running I have typically worn Nike running shoes, for both training and racing. Earlier this year the good folk at Saucony gifted me a pair of Saucony Kinvara 7’s. Note the Kinvara 8’s have recently been released however it has taken me 6 months to write this review!
As a long term ‘creature of habit’ who has run in minimalist shoes for almost a decade (Nike Zoom Streaks) I was a little ‘nervous’ running in a shoe that had a noticeably greater forefoot and rearfoot stack (material under the shoe) than my typical and familiar shoes.
I pushed the all too familiar runner’s anxieties aside and for the last several months I have run in the Kinvara 7’s.
My Kinvara 7’s are pictured below:
Kinvara 8’s Women’s
Kinvara 8’s Mens
Having heard much about this shoe from satisfied physio clients wearing the Kinvaras, and also being aware of the positive running press (the Kinvara 5’s were awarded the Runners World shoe of the year- International Editor’s 2014 Running Shoe of the Year ) I was keen to give the Kinvara 7’s a go.
I had not worn Saucony running shoes since the mid 1990’s when I was still a junior triathlete. I recall Greg Welch winning the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 1994 wearing a pair of Saucony running shoes. I recall that from there the Saucony brand had seemed to be popularised in the Australian triathlon and running scene and I raced for a season as a junior triathlete in Saucony shoes.
Kinvara 7 Shoe Specifications
Saucony’s is now up to the 8th edition of the popular Kinvara training shoe. The Kinvaras have become Saucony’s flagship shoe.
Saucony’s proprietary technology is their Everrun foam.
In the recent editions of the Kinvaras (7 and 8) Saucony have placed 3mm wide EverRun foam the whole length of the shoe under the sockliner.
Saucony claims that EverRun foam is designed to maintain its integrity for longer than standard EVA foam. This new technology is nice and soft but Saucony maintains that density is not compromised.
This expansion of the EverRun distribution in the shoe is an advancement on previous editions of the Kinvaras where the Kinvara featured the EverRun foam only in the heel. The result of this greater spread of the EverRun foam Saucony claims a more ‘bouncy/energised’ run sensation.
The shoes are very light weight 227grams (8 oz) for a men’s size 9, with a low heel drop (pitch) of 4mm.
To learn more about the more recent model Kinvara 8 shoe specifications click HERE>>
Saucony Australia Kinvara 8 shoe specs.
See the below video for Runner’s World Specifications of the Kinvara 8:
What I have found
I have not been racing half marathons or marathons for over 18months at the time of writing this review. A combination of a persistent knee injury (patellofemoral pain) and home-life (two beautiful young girls) has seen me enjoying a more relaxed approach to my running in 2017.
My typical running volume in the past while being 80-100kms has thus far in 2017 been 30-50kms week. Inside of this 30-50kms I have still been managing a 5km time trial around my local park more or less weekly, some 10kms tempos, and my long runs being 1hr to 80 minutes.
I have run in the Kinvara 7’s for all of the above excluding a few sessions where I threw my Nike Zoom Streaks back on.
Below I have outlined what I liked and didn’t like about the Kinvara 7’s:
What I liked
- Lightweight: I like the feeling of having light shoes on my feet. After a decade of more or less running in minimalist shoes anything with weight or bulk I immediately find foreign and uncomfortable.
- Comfortable: Saucony’s claims of a bouncy ride are warranted. I found the Kinvaras to be very ‘smooth’ and almost a fun feeling with their springiness-I presume a result of the EverRun foam technology.
- Responsive: generally I find light shoes responsive. I found the Kinvara 7’s responsive on the road and trails, yet a little less when running on grass-primarily I believe due to the greater forefoot stack height in the Kinvaras than my standard Nike Zoom Elite shoes.
What I didn’t like
- Soft ‘ride’: the overall feeling was one of softness. The trade off of this softness was the typical degree of rigidity I enjoy under my forefoot at toe off was somewhat reduced.
- Wider toe box. From what I have learnt the 8th edition features a wider toe box-wider than the 7th Kinvara which had a more pointy toe box. Even so I found the toe box quite wide in the Kinvara 7’s. I have a long and narrow foot so I notice any shoe with a wider toe box. I like my foot to feel ‘snug’ in my shoe as I feel this aides responsiveness and awareness of my feet as I run.
- While one of the purported features of the Kinvara’s is a highly breathable upper mesh with lots of holes for breathability I found my Kinvara 7’s a little less breathable than I expected. I like my feet to ‘breathe easy’. It was only a minor sensation of heat, but enough to list down.
I believe the Kinvara 7’s would be a good ‘all rounder’ running shoe. They can be worn for speed sessions, long runs, fartlek running, recovery runs. With the lightweight nature and relatively low (4mm) heel drop I believe the Kinavara’s are a shoe for experienced runners who require/enjoy mild-moderate stability, but prefer lightweights shoes.
The Kinvara could also represent a good shoe option for beginner and intermediate runners who are looking for a lightweight racing/speed session shoe to run in alongside their normal training shoes.
In summary Saucony have developed and continued to progress a great shoe in the Kinvara 7’s. Thanks for the ride and the re-awakening of the craftsmanship of the Saucony brand Chris Adams and Saucony Australia*.
*The gifted pair did not influence the nature of the review.
Physio With A Finish Line,
Brad Beer (APAM)
Author ‘You CAN Run Pain Free!’
Founder POGO Physio
Featured in the Top 50 Physical Therapy Blog