Saucony Kinvara 10 Performance Review
Thomas: Hello old friend. The Kinvara and I go all the way back to the start. When the Kinvara came out, it was original. Saucony made a shoe that was light like a race day flat but with enough cushion for long distance running. Since then every running shoe has tried to create a ‘Kinvara” like trainer in their line up. As Saucony tweaked the Kinvara, it started to become, well, not so special. It gained weight, added unnecessary complications, cough, Pro Lock, cough. And the Kinvara began to feel like a regular daily trainer.
Finally, Saucony started returning to the DNA that made the Kinvara a stellar trainer in the Kinvara 9. There was still room to push the design both into the future and harken back to the original magic in the Kinvara 10. Saucony has made the Kinvara 10 possibly the best Kinvara yet, even better it is one of the best shoes from any brand out there.
So what makes the Kinvara 10 so fantastic? Who doesn’t like an upper that works so well it does what a good upper should do; It becomes unremarkable. The Kinvara 10 upper doesn’t have any hotspots, rubbing, or pressure points, it is soft and flexible while retaining structure. Best of all, the upper keeps your foot locked in over the midsole. With minimal overlays, the Kinvara 10 uses standard lacing, a mediumly padded attached tongue with an elastic stretch material that locks down the arch, a heel counter that uses soft pillowing on both sides of the Achilles and a moderately padded ankle collar. The upper disappears on the run in a good way.
On to the midsole… The Kinvara 10 incorporates three cushioning systems to provide it’s “just right” cushioning. The first layer is your standard foam removable insole. Under the foam insole is a layer of the Everun® blown TPU cushioning. The Everun is what gives your foot a nice soft landing with excellent energy return. The shoe would be too heavy if the constructed the entire midsole out of the Everun material, see our review of the Saucony Freedom ISO for more on that issue.
In this case, the amount of Everun works well. The majority of the midsole is made up of Saucony’s EVA+. The EVA+ is a light foam that gives a fair amount of cushioning while staying lively underfoot. Most of the outsole is exposed EVA+, after 38 miles the wear appears to be minimal. There are two pieces of high abrasion rubber placed at the toe off and the lateral side of the heel where most runners drag a little. The early model Kinvara (1 and 2) had minimal rubber on the outsole and did not seem to hold up as well as the Kinvara 10 are.
Meaghan: It’s always exciting when the newest Kinvara model arrives. This typically turns into my go-to daily trainer. If you ran in the K9 you will notice a lot of similarities. The midsole contains the same EVA midsole + EVERUN topsole. It’s not super squishy, but it’s a comfortable ride. There isn’t much rubber on the outsole, even less than the K9, but I didn’t have any issues with traction or durability.
The upper is a seamless engineered mesh with minimal overlays and slits throughout that keep the shoes light and breathable. The padding through the heel and collar remains the same, with some extra padding in the interior around the ankle – I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or hot spots. One of the “major” updates: the pro-lock lacing has been replaced with your standard lacing system.
The weight remains the same as the previous model; my W8 came in at 6.6 oz.
Thomas: I am reaching here, the only thing I can say negative about the Kinvara 10 is that the laces are too long. Seriously, I feel stupid even writing this down.
Meaghan: The Kinvara 9 fit like a glove. The extra wide toebox partnered with the pro-lock lacing system felt snug and secure. This iteration is more narrow and the standard lacing system doesn’t lock down the foot as well. I also received a half size larger than my typical running shoe so the fit was never going to be “perfect.”
The Kinvara 10 Conclusion
Thomas: I enjoyed all my runs in the Kinvara 10. The shoe transitions through my stride well and feels stable in the heel. I like the trainer at slow easy paced runs and during speedwork, I even enjoyed them on long runs. This trainer can do it all.
The aesthetic of the Kinvara 10 is much improved over the Kinvara 9 and the toe box doesn’t feel as sloppy. That is saying something when you factor in the fact that I was wearing a half size bigger than normal.
I can’t compare the weight of my Kinvara 10 to the Kinvara 9s I have because the sample size Saucony sent me is an 11, and I usually wear a 10.5. The size 11 weighs in at 8.8 oz. / 248 grams and have a 4mm drop. Since the 10.5 Kinvara 9 weighs 8.4 oz. / 238 grams, I am going to guess that the Kinvara 10 in the same size would be lighter.
While there are lighter shoes out there, these are very well balanced. The cushioning hits that elusive softness without feeling sluggish, firm enough for speedwork, and enough to tackle long runs including marathons. If the Kinvara 10 came out in 2018, it might have knocked my favorite trainer of the top spot. Instead, you will have to wait to get these on your feet until January 2019 in limited colors, more colors including the red/orange model I tested will arrive in March 2019. If you like light, quick turnover, comfortable trainers, it will be hard to beat the Kinvara 10 in 2019.
Meaghan: I like the Kinvara 10, but I don’t love it. If I was choosing between the K9 or K10, I’d go with the K9. I have wide, flat feet and the previous model was more accommodating to my flippers. I think the die-hard Kinvara fans will enjoy the latest model. The Kinvara 10 remains a lightweight, cushioned, comfortable shoe that can handle hundreds of miles and doesn’t have a hefty price tag.