The Saucony Kinvara have been in my rotation for a couple of years now. I don’t have the statistics handy, but on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being never and 10 being every single day, I’m running in them a whole lot. I don’t know what that means. What I do mean to say is that the Kinvara are one of my favorites. I really appreciate the simplicity of the shoe—there are very few things I’d change on them.
The much anticipated Kinvara 4 came out a couple weeks ago and I was fortunate enough to have a pair sent to me early (Thanks, Saucony!). Of course, any box that arrives at the house that is not for my older son causes a very minor fuss in the house and requires further explanation that the universe does not, in fact, send packages only for him. But not all was turmoil. The younger son excitedly put the empty packing box on his head and then toddled directly into the leg of the kitchen table. That’s what we have going on over in the Brentwood neighborhood. Or the Crestview neighborhood, I can never remember which is which.
The updates to the K4, were for the most part, positive. Though inmyveryhumbleopinion the negative update isn’t really negative, just more of a “huh?” The upper still has the iron-on, heat welded, painty stuff they call Flex-film, but considerably less of it. I think on the K3, the overlays were a little overdone perhaps. Not that there was really that much of an issue, but clearly Saucony had to update something. On my kinda narrow, flat, flexy foot, the K4 fit a bit snugger than the K3, which I’m totally ok with. There had also been some concern with in previous models of people having their Achilles rubbed raw from the heel collar. I’ve never had that issue, though I know a few who have. One woman in our group got a new pair—maybe her third or fourth pair of the K3—and those ripped up her heel real nice like. So I don’t know exactly what the issue was. With her new K4’s, she hasn’t had that issue and I haven’t heard anything wide-ranging yet of similar issues elsewhere.
And then there is the whole addition of the Powergrid thing in the heel of the K4. Womp! Womp! Womp! Powergrid is the proprietary cushioning material Saucony uses that is supposed to be lighter, more resilient and possibly more nutritional than the previous ___Grid, whatever it was called. Supergrid? Awesomegrid? Anyway, Saucony added it, so I’ve been told, to make the transition smoother, yada yada yada. I don’t notice anything at all, but I’m not a heel smacker, so it’s hard to say one way or the other. I just don’t see that there was a need for an improvement there, so I’m unsure as to why that was even a consideration.
Ultimately, the midsole/outsole—the ride of the shoe—is what keeps me coming back for more. It is soft without being bloopy, and has just enough pop to make them feel like running shoes, as opposed to shoes you wear with your yoga pants when you go to the Ho Foo salad bar for your $19 lunch salad so that people think you’re, like, totally a runner. I just feel fast when I wear them. In my head, my neighbors are watching Moses Mosop cruising past the IGA, but more likely they’re thinking that the tall, kinda awkward, super pale guy really should consider getting some, you know, longer shorts.
And I still say the A5 should be called the Kinvara Racer.