Saucony Kinvara 9 Performance Review
Thomas: During the first run in the Kinvara 9 I had a smile on my face. They have kept Kinvara 9 on the right path after some missteps on the Kinvara 4, 5, 6, 7. Last year the magic was back in the Kinvara 8, and I gave “best update” to it because it made me love the shoe again. The Kinvara 9 keeps the good vibes coming.
You may feel the shoe transitions a smidge more smoothly. Saucony moved around the flex grooves in the midsole and some of the rubber on the outsole to help give the runner a better feel through the stride. The fun part of the Kinvara 9 is the quick feel through toe-off. It is easy to transition this trainer through your stride. If you want a shoe that works for all your runs, slow, speed days, and races, Kinvara can fill the prescription. The Everun layer sandwiched above the midsole under the footbed add some extra comfort.
The upper on the k9 fits well. It is breathable, the foot is secured, and there aren’t any spots that will give you irritation. The shoe fit is spot on for my regular 10.5 and weighs 8.40 oz. (238 grams). That is a hair lighter than the Kinvara 8 at 8.45 oz. The drop is 4mm.
The Kinvara 9 also got Runner’s World Editors Choice, so that is something.
Meaghan: I am always excited when the newest Kinvara model arrives. It’s a shoe that I usually lace up as often as my HOKA Clifton (Napali?). While Saucony made several updates, it still checks the: light, cushioned, comfortable daily trainer, boxes. The EVA midsole + EVERUN topsole feels good underfoot. It seems slightly firmer than it’s predecessor, but still comfortable enough for long, easy runs. The outsole rubber has also been updated and cut back in some areas, but I didn’t have any issues with traction.
The upper is a seamless engineered mesh with a more open design in the forefoot. The heel is structured, and the Pro-lock lacing system does a nice job of securing the foot in place. It’s breathable but fits snugly.
The best part of all these updates? The shoes got LIGHTER. My W7.5 weighs 6.5oz vs. the 6.7oz of the K8.Shop Kinvara 9
Thomas: WTF are they doing with the men’s colors??? I received the white/blue/black. It looks like a shoe that would be approved for dental school. I went to the Running Warehouse website to see if I just got a lousy colorway, sadly they are all shit. This may change as Saucony typically offers more colors as the season goes on. Pray that they do. Sometimes I think a shoe is ugly when I first get it, but the performance changes my mind. I used to hate the way HOKA Clifton looked, but after running in them a weird thing happened, and they started to look cool to me. While the Kinvara 9 performs well, I never warmed up to the look of this model. Many of the running shoe companies have figured out that runners want to be able to wear their training shoes casually after their miles are used up. Public service announcement: There is nothing you can wear with these that will be acceptable in public if you are not running. Try and prove me wrong.
Other than my overly critical bash on the look of the Kinvara 9, I don’t have any complaints.
Meaghan: The shoes got lighter because Saucony removed some of the rubber on the outsole which may cause some durability issues. With that said, I’ve put about 100 miles on mine, and they are good as new.
The Saucony Kinvara 9 Conclusion
Thomas: This is a well-done hybrid shoe. You can do your daily mileage in the K9, and it can perform extremely well when you want to pick up the pace. In some ways, the Kinvara 9 fell a little short with me due to the other shoes I was testing out at the same time. Life isn’t always fair. The K9 arrived around the same time as two other standout shoes, the Nike Epic React and the Skechers Ride 7. Both of which wowed me. So while the Kinvara 9 is an excellent update to the Kinvara bloodline, it felt a little flat compared to the other models. I did a 21-mile run in the k9, and the shoe felt firm and a bit blocky. After the run, my feet needed to be out of the shoes. Compare that to the 20-mile run in the Nike Epic React the week before, where my legs and feet felt pretty damn good after the run, and you can guess which shoe I would pick for my next long run. The ability to pick up your pace in the Kinvara 9 is noticeable, that is where the slightly firmer feel shines. Overall I am splitting hairs; if you choose the Nike Epic React, the Skechers GOrun Ride 7, or the Kinvara 9, you will be picking a stellar shoe. Your best bet is to try each of the shoes and see what works for you and your preference.
Meaghan: The Saucony Kinvara 9 does not disappoint. It’s a great shoe that works well for all kinds of running. While I stuck with easy days and a couple of long runs, I can see someone using the K9 for race day. The firmer feel underfoot makes it easy to pick up the pace. At the $110 price point, they’re worth trying out.Shop Kinvara 9