Saucony Kinvara 3 Review “Three is a magic number”

Saucony Kinvara 3As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of the Kinvara shoe line. I bought my first pair the week they came out and did a joint review with fellow Kinvara enthusiast Steve Speirs. My biggest complaint about the shoe had to do with the durability of the sole. Typically, I was only able to get 200 miles on a pair of Kinvaras (ran 4 pairs of Kinvara 1s and 2s.) Running an average of 50-70 miles per week, well you can do the math. It didn’t add up, even with that said, last Fall I choose a pair of Kinvara 2s for my MCM marathon shoe, and it was a good choice. I ended up with a PR and my feet felt great the whole race, minus a missing toenail. Apparently my foot has grown a half size. The Kinvara 3 has taken care of the durability issue, I will get into more detail below.

Saucony Kinvara 3 are a light weight minimal trainer weighing in 7.7 oz. for men and 6.7 oz. for women with a 4mm heel to toe differential. The fit of the Kinvara is exceptional with no hot spots on the upper. Saucony is using their FlexFilm™ to create an overlay that has less seams and is lighter than traditional materials. My favorite part of the update on this wildly popular shoe, is the shifting of the rubber on the bottom of the shoe.

This new configuration of rubber has extended the life of my Kinvaras. I have run 100 miles on them and they are holding up well. All of my runs have been on the street with an average pace around +/- 8 minute miles. I weigh 164 lbs. The previous models wore out after 75 miles on the outside lateral edge. So much so that I could feel it in my foot strike. The adjustment of the rubber is why this is my favorite shoe update of all time.

Overall, while running the shoes are light, flexible, and comfortable. The Kinvara 3 maintain much of the feel of the last two models of Kinvara. If you loved Kinvara 1 and 2, you will love Kinvara 3. If you are like me and liked Kinvara 1 and 2 but couldn’t justify the quick demise of the sole, you will love Kinvara 3. This was a superb update to the shoe, Kinvara 2s should have been called Kinvara 1.5, this shoe is a true update and improvement on the line. As always the styling and color options for the Kinvara kick ass.

Saucony Kinvara 3 dollar per mile

A pair of Kinvara 3 were provided to the reviewer from Saucony.

Here is a review of the K3 from Average Guy Hits the Road

Comments

hooray! I'm so excited. and check out that color wheel!!!

posted by annie / 04.18.12 - 7:43 pm

Saw those delicious aqua/orange ones at the expo this weekend.  Must.Have.  Loved the review, T!

posted by Jenny J / 04.18.12 - 8:03 pm

The Kinvara 2 was my favorite shoe last year. I should be getting a pair of the Kinvara 3 in the next couple of weeks – I can't wait. I hope the upper of the K3 holds up better than its predecessor.

posted by Kevin / 04.18.12 - 9:13 pm

I’m a bit lost as to your mileage on the 2′s… And if you’re running 8′s in these shoes, maybe that explains it. I mean no offense at all, but you can’t give a dollar per mile meter when everyone’s mile are different, it’s more like steps per cent, it also depends on the runners striking point, their arch and weight on specific points. Every mile I run is under 7:20 pace, often times in the mid 6′s. I had my first pair of 2′s at the start of cross season, put 900 miles on them, changed the insoles, put 800 more on them, then retired them. They’ve still got life in them purely as a running shoe, but once I started to slip on wet asphalt, I figured it was time.

I have a friend who runs similar training run times, however, weighs probably 40 or 50 pounds less than me, and has about 1200 miles on his 1′s. Still lots of life, runs with no insole in his. The only issue aside from tread, is that the mesh upper tears around the 500-700, depending on your runs, and progressively tears, but the socklike inner stays strong and holds.

I’m on my second pair of two’s. Almost 200 miles, because I’m easing back into them between other shoes. They are a minimalist shoe. You can’t just go run 40+ mile weeks in them unless your body/legs are ready for it. There’s biological science to it. That may be another reason yours wore out so fast.

I’m not saying this is a bad review, but, I’m just hoping you trained for them properly and are providing accurate accounts of the shoe as they’re supposed to be worn.

posted by Richard Starkey / 04.18.12 - 9:50 pm

Hi Richard, first off, awesome pace. The “dollar per mile” is a simple equation: price of shoe divided by number of miles. So, it has nothing to do with any personal stats such as weight or pace. So if you are getting 900 miles on Kinvaras, Kinvara 3s will probably be the last shoe you will ever need to own. Seriously, at 900 miles Saucony owes you money! Your paying 10¢ a mile. That’s just crazy town. As to your biological science, I consider myself a life long learner and have been running in minimal shoes now for awhile, so any links or studies you can share with us would be great, I will post them here or on the facebook page. Friend me on dailymile.com and you can follow my training and I can follow yours too.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 04.18.12 - 10:11 pm

Can you make any comment about the toebox or fit?
I found that this area while said to be built on the same last has varied between the Kinvara 1, 2 and Peregine. In my experience the Kinvara 2 had a tigher toe box than the Kinvara 1 and the Peregine 1 is slightly longer and wider than the 1. For me the Peregine is the best fit of all. While I run road in the Kinvara 1, I do wish for a wider toe box and some consistancy in sizing.
As a note my Kinvara 1 have about 900km on the clock and have plenty left. At 80kg its not like am easy on them either. 

posted by Hamish / 04.18.12 - 11:47 pm

Hi Hamish, The toe box feels similar although I went up a half size, so its hard for me to tell. I also have narrow feet. The fit to me is very similar to the last two models.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 04.19.12 - 5:20 am

Love the comments.  I have NEVER gotten more than 400 miles on my Kinvaras and I weigh about 1/2 of what Thomas does.  After 300 miles they definitely feel like they're going flat but will usually try and stretch them out another 50-75 miles with shorter runs.  Really looking forward to trying out the 3's!

posted by Jenny J / 04.19.12 - 2:35 pm

Thomas – Nice review.  I got to see the K3 at the Boston Expo and am chomping at the bit to pick up a pair on-line.   I have been extremely pleased with the two pair of K2's I've owned and though I'm a heavier runner than you, I've had better success putting more miles on mine than you have. 
One writer feels reduced mileage is directly related to biomechanics and speed and there may be some truth to that, but given he can get 900 miles on a pair–any pair for that matter–would seem to indicate he's not particularly sensitive to wear and tear.  I would agree with this writer on his comment about the quality, or lack thereof, of the upper.  The upper on one of my K2's has let loose at the seam, but the liner is keeping the integrity intact.  That said, the upper on the K3 appears to be redesigned with a "supportive" wavy pattern giving it at least a more durable appearance.  Can you comment on the upper and those waves?

posted by Steve T / 04.19.12 - 2:48 pm

Oh dude, I CANNOT wait for a pair of these. I'm glad to hear that the 3's have more road life. I have 2 pair of the 2's in rotation now and the first pair at 100 miles are shot.  Interior Alaska is rough on shoes. I have worn mine in temps as cold as -40. It could be that the life span of my shoes has been diminished by weather and road conditions (lots of gravel and loose asphalt), but still, my pair is done at a bit more than 100.  Thanks for this review, Thomas!  I can't wait to test the longevity of the 3's!
 

posted by Taryn Salinas / 04.19.12 - 2:58 pm

Hi Steve,

With regards to the biomechanics, the wear does come into effect with how the lateral edge held up. Obviously, I think enough people fast or slow had enough wear on the outer edge that Saucony felt it would be worthwhile to put some rubber there. Smart move by Saucony in my book, or maybe they did it just for me (sarcasm.) The uppers are holding up great after 100 miles, the FlexFilm seems pretty durable and there is no more fabric overlay. I think you will really dig them. Thanks for checking out the review.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 04.19.12 - 3:01 pm

[...] out quicker than other more cushioned running shoes. Thomas N. at Believe in the Run has a great review of them up. One thing I noticed in the comments and from talking with other runners who have worn [...]

posted by Hoarding Kinvara’s « steve's house of running / 04.19.12 - 7:48 pm

Thanks for this review. I've been all over the place looking for the right shoe that will go perfectly in my upcoming 5k event. I just did 5k training program and my old pair was a wreck. With this post as a guide, I have to check out Kinvara 3 and see if it works for me too!

posted by Candace Lang / 04.21.12 - 5:22 am

[...] the season for shoe model updates, and Thomas Neuberger reviews the updates in the Saucony Kinvara 3.  My feelings were a bit mixed in my review of the Kinvara 2, and with the recent Achilles issues, [...]

hi, thanks for the review i wanna know if the shoe size is the same, i havent gotten my pair yet but i’ve read they run a half size small compared to the other saucomy models, it’d be great if anyone who purchased them already can answer this, for me, thanks!

posted by Surey / 04.29.12 - 10:52 pm

They run true to other Saucony sizing in my experience. My foot has spread out so I recently went up a full size. I would either try them on at your local running retailer or order 2 sizes from online where they have free shipping and returns. Send the ones that don’t fit you back.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 04.30.12 - 8:30 am

Thanks Thomas for the info!

posted by Surey / 04.30.12 - 9:36 pm

Just finished a half using the Brooks Pure Connect – loved the minimal style but was hoping for a bit more stablity – also realized I underpronate and there is significant wear under my middle toes to pinky toe. Would love to try these out..any comments on comparison to the Pure Connect?

posted by Shaina / 05.01.12 - 11:00 pm

I prefer the Kinvara 3 over the Pure Connect. The Kivara 3 is a neutral shoe, so I am not sure how it will effect the way you experience wear on the bottom. The Saucony Mirage feels similar to the Kinvara has posting in the arch which provides more support for pronation. I would head to your local running retailer and try them both on and see which one you like. I hope that helps.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 05.02.12 - 9:24 am

[...] 5/4/2012 – to read more about the updated model, see Thomas Neuberger’s review of the Saucony Kinvara 3 on Believe in the [...]

[...] “Believe in the Run” Saucony Kinvara 3 Review [...]

[...] durability, but I personally have not had an issue with premature wear in the Kinvara (my buddy Thomas at Believe in the Run used to trash the Kinvara forefoot, but has found version 3 to be more durable – you can read his [...]

Thomas, thanks for your review.  I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog, and will continue to follow it.  Anyways, what do you mean by your feet increased by 1/2 a size between the Kinvara 1-2.  I absolutely loved the Kinvara 1.  It was my transition shoe from heal-toe to forefoot running.  I ran my first marathon in them 2 years ago.  The Kinvara 2 seemed like it did have a tighter toe box and midway through my 2nd (Pittsburgh) marathong training I was developing big toe pain.  My left toe has been blackened for the past couple of months, as is half my right toe. 
It started with the Kinvara 2s and I believe part of the blame resides in continueing the use of orthotics (promoted by my wife's heal-toe promoting podiatrist).  Anyways, once I took the orthotics out, there really wasn't that much pain in the big toes, but still feel the Kinvara 2s have significanlty less room in the toe box than the Kinvara 1, and may actually just be smaller shoes.  
I really don't want to go off experimenting in a new shoe (or brand), so what should I do.  Do you think getting the new Kinvara 3 in a half a size bigger (11), instead of my 10.5 will fix the problem?  Or did they fix the problem in the Kinvara 3, and do they have a bigger toe box.
 
thanks

posted by Paul C. / 06.04.12 - 9:52 pm

Hi Paul,

Why not order both the 10.5 and the 11 try them on and see what feels better. Many sites like Runner’s Warehouse have free shipping and free returns. Use the code RUNBLOG10 for 10% off too. The Kinvara are all built on the same last so the toebox should be the same. I agree that the 2 felt more narrow. I really love the K3 I think you will as well.

-T

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 06.04.12 - 10:05 pm

I've been wearing Omnigrid 10's and have done really well with them.  I would love to try the kinvara's first after seeing the colors :) then after talking with my doctor and reading a little about midsole striking, I want to try them.  Being a beginning runner, running my first 5K the end of July, do you think it is a good choice?  I plan to go to my local running store and try them out.  

posted by Amy / 06.12.12 - 12:56 pm

I do think the Kinvara is a good choice for any level runner. I recommend you try them on and see if they feel good to you. There are lots of choices in this category now. The most important feature for me in a shoe right now is it has to be light weight.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 06.12.12 - 1:07 pm

Hi Tom,
I am currently training for my second marathon and am in the market for new shoes. Would you recommend the Kinvara 3 as a marathon training shoe? Specifically, I am worried about how they hold up on long runs, and inevitably, for 26.2 miles. I trained for and ran my first marathon in the Brooks Launch, and while they felt fine, I am just under 500 miles on them and they feel dunzo, so I wanted to try something new. Before running in the Brooks Launch, I ran in the Mizuno Wave Riders. Just looking for some advice as to whether the Kinvaras would be a good marathon shoe for me.
Thanks!

posted by Molly / 07.13.12 - 1:37 pm

Everybody is different, I love the Kinvara 3 as a trainer and a marathon day shoe. My PR marathon was done wearing Kinvara 2s. I am strongly leaning towards the K3 for my fall Mary.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 07.13.12 - 1:41 pm

[...] I would recommend for everything from 5k to Marathon and beyond. Here is our original write up on Kinvara 3. In the video below I give visual proof on how well the Saucony Progrid Kinvara 3 running shoe held [...]

[...] well. Since I really didn't know how my feet would fare in over 42 kilometers I went and bought Kinvara 3, thinking a softer sole would be good for me. The Kinvara didn't feel right and I went back to [...]

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posted by Derek / 08.21.12 - 4:51 pm

Thanks Derek,

I appreciate your comments. I hope you enjoy the content too. 

Cheers,

Thomas

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 08.21.12 - 4:57 pm

just starting to run again after 30yrs. blew my knee out running back in 1981 doctors said i should'nt run any more so i did'nt. leap forward to 2004 after driving semi trucks and smoking a pack a day for 28yrs. decided to quit cold turkey and started cycling and fell in love with it. so this summer i watched a friend compete in a triathlon and got the bug to run again. went out bought a pair of k3's man have shoes changed over the yrs. the only thing i struggled with was a lttle bit of upper thigh soreness and that was it. shins and feet feel great ( and so does the knee, doctors, what do they know) been only running for a few weeks now but have to say these shoes ROCK!!! i will never buy anything else. so glad i was told k3's . love the support they give me. saucony for ever and everybody else never!

posted by mike clark / 08.23.12 - 12:26 pm

ok, bought a pair of K2's in Jan, after 300 miles they split along the outside edge (little toe area). i am not heavy on shoes but i contacted saucony and they replaced free of charge. k3's are on the way and i can't wait.
i'm a midfoot runner and find kinvara's so comfortable and light…and they look great.
deekrivers (UK)

posted by deekrivers / 08.31.12 - 2:44 pm

[...] was that the colar of the shoe would rub some peoples Achilles too much. See our previous reviews: Initial Kinvara 3 review, Kinvara 3 after 300 [...]

help me if this shoe is for me please…
i am a beginner runner,
i’m a heel striker,supinator…

thanks…

posted by michael / 01.13.13 - 8:58 pm

If you want a lighter shoe with a lower drop, I would certainly give the Kinvara a try Michael. Do you want to try to bring your foot strike more towards a mid foot strike? If so the Kinvara would be a good shoe to help you transition.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 01.14.13 - 9:20 am

thanks Thomas Neuberger…

can you tell what type of running shoe is best for me?

posted by michael / 01.14.13 - 11:40 pm

That would be hard to say Michael. What are you looking for? Are you trying to move to a more minimal, lighter shoe? How many miles are you putting in weekly?

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 01.15.13 - 10:35 am

i dont know… i mean,what type of running shoe is best for Heel Stiker,Supinator and i’m 76 kg..

i was also thinking to buy nike pegasus 29, is that good for me?

thanks….

posted by michael / 01.15.13 - 9:23 pm

Suacony offers some good options for heel strikers that want a lower drop in their shoes. Maybe check out the Saucony Ride or the Mirage, they both offer posting for supinators.

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 01.16.13 - 10:38 am

Hi. I have been running in my Saucony Kinvara 3s for a few months and have logged 530 odd miles on them and out of the blue have developed shin splints that have stopped me running. Thiking my injury may have been due to overtraining I rested for a while but it returned after only a week of running. I am thinking I may have exhausted the life span of my shoes and it’s now time to transition into my new pair – waiting patiently in my cupboard. Would you agree? I run ultra marathons, is this the correct shoe for long distance running or should I rather keep them for shorter distances? Thank you.

posted by Lauren / 02.26.13 - 1:58 pm

Hi Lauren,

I have a strict policy of retiring shoes at 300 miles. I know that many people can get more miles out of their shoes. To me it just isn’t worth it. After 300 I either donate them or wear them as casual shoes. As far as the long distance, I think Kinvara is a fine shoe. I try to rotate between different shoes during training. One day on one day off. I like to have specific shoes for speed work, tempo runs, recovery runs, and long slow distance (LSD.) Two pairs should cover those needs. For example; Kinvara for longer slower runs and the Saucony A5 for speed and tempo or Skechers GOrun 2 for longer slower runs and the GOspeed for speed work and tempo runs. For the shin splints have you tried compression socks or calf sleeves?

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 02.26.13 - 2:34 pm

Hi Thomas.

Thank you for your reply. I have now been working on “running in” my new kinvaras and am happy to report that my shin splints are almost gone. I have been wearing compression socks for every run and even sleep in them occasionally. I like your idea of two pairs of training shoes- something I haven’t tried before. I love in South Africa and the Saucony range available here (that I have seen) is very limited but I will look out for the models you suggest. Thanks again.

posted by Lauren / 03.06.13 - 12:22 pm

Great to hear! You may want to check out The Skechers GOrun 2. Meaghan reviewed them for women here: http://www.believeintherun.com/index.php/2013/02/20/womens-skechers-gorun-2-running-shoe-review/

posted by Thomas Neuberger / 03.06.13 - 12:27 pm

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