— by Kevin Mackinnon
The original Saucony Kinvara wasn’t the first shoe to be billed as a lightweight trainer, but to me, it was the shoe that truly revolutionized the category. It was, to me, the perfect triathlon shoe – light enough and easy enough to turn over so you could run fast if needed, but also with enough support and cushioning to get you through a half- or full-distance run with ease.
Those initial versions of the shoe were amongst my favourites and, over the years, the Kinvara has remained one of my top recommendations for triathletes looking for a neutral shoe that will get them through virtually any race or workout. The latest version, the Kinvara 10, more than lives up to that reputation. Over the years Saucony seems to have tweaked the Kinvara in a variety of ways – the shoe got a bit wider for a while, a bit heavier (with the addition of some more durable midsole materials) – and this version seems to have hit the sweet spot of adding just the right amount of new technology while also maintaining the qualities that makes the shoe somewhat unique in a competitive category.
Related: Shoe Review: The Saucony Kinvara 9
This version of the Kinvara seems to fit a bit narrower than the last few versions of the shoe. The extremely comfortable, flexible and soft upper with a padded, attached tongue lends itself nicely to barefoot running if required during a triathlon, and just feels good for regular training days with socks. The mesh is very breathable, too, another excellent feature that is appreciated during hot-weather workouts or races. The well-padded heel counter provides just enough support while remaining very comfortable, too.
The Kinvara 10 uses three different levels of cushioning to ensure you get a smooth ride. It starts with the Formfit performance contoured footbed, continues with the Everun topsole and rounds out with the EVA+ midsole. It all adds up to a surprisingly cushioned ride that feels just right – you don’t feel like you’re running on a pillow, but rather like you’re getting the right amount of shock absorption. Thanks to the 4 mm offset it feels very easy to roll onto your toes, making it an easy shoe to run fast in.
It all weighs in at just 221 g, which is a few grams heavier than the original Kinvara. That original Kinvara, though, was a lightweight wonder that tended to wear out a bit quicker than other training flats. While I haven’t had a chance to really try and wear out the Kinvara 10, my gut feeling is that you’ll get considerably more wear out of this shoe.
It never went away, but with this latest iteration of the Kinvara, it feels like the Kinvara is back as one of the best options as a triathlon training and racing shoe.
Shoe Category: Neutral
Drop: 4 mm