Saucony Kinvara 5: Forty Mile Update

2014-05-02 12.56.08A few weeks ago I published a first impression review of the Saucony Kinvara 5 after taking them out for an initial 11 mile run. I’ve now run a bit over 40 miles total on the shoes, and I just returned from a 14 mile run in them earlier today. I though I’d share a brief update on my experience with the shoe.

First off, I’ll say that pretty much everything positive I said in the initial Kinvara 5 review still holds. The toebox on the K5 is fantastic – it fits my foot perfectly, and may be the roomiest of any iteration of the Kinvara. The sole has just the right amount of cush for my taste, and they have performed great on two 10+ mile runs and several shorter runs. I’d have no hesitation using these in a marathon – in fact, if I run one this Fall they are likely the early frontrunner for race day (still deciding on Fall races…).

The only real negative issue I encountered on my first run in the Kinvara 5 was some abrasion leading to hot spots on the outsides of both big toes. I’m happy to report that this issue has not recurred – I felt no discomfort in this area over 14 hilly miles earlier today.

Some people have asked me about the puffy tongue and more plushly cushioned ankle collar in the Kinvara 5 – neither have bothered me at all. In fact, I like the added padding in both areas. I have also seen some comments about the ankle collar feeling high/tall in this shoe. Again, not an issue for me so far.

Finally, sole wear has been an issue in previous iterations of the Kinvara, particularly along the lateral forefoot. I’m a mild heel striker so most of my wear is on the heel, nothing unusual to report here:

2014-05-19 15.48.20

After 40 miles in the Kinvara 5, I’m pretty confident that they will wind up on my list of top shoes of 2014. I might go so far as to say that this is my favorite Kinvara so far. After a disappointing iteration in v4, my old friend has returned in top form – the Kinvara is back!

The Saucony Kinvara 5 is available at Running Warehouse, Zappos, and Amazon.com.

Outside of the US they can be purchased at Wiggle.

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.



Comments

  1. So glad to hear! I loved v3 except for the high heel collar, which made me buy socks with the lip on the back. V4 on the other hand… I tore through pair 1 after less than 100 miles. After increasing my mileage in pair 2, I found that the toe box tightness became a problem for long runs, even though I sized up a whole number to compensate for the narrownes.
    In any case, I’ve been waiting for your take on v5 and I’ll be picking mine up this week!

    What I like the most about the Kinvara series is the lightness and flexibility of the bottom. I feel close to the ground and a very natural stride. Has anything changed there?

  2. Michael Busch says:

    I liked the Kinvara 3 and 4, but I also really like the way the Kinvara 5 runs. I feels bit more “springy”, even though it is softer. But, I sent mine back to exchange after 2 runs. The stretchy material on the inside of the shoe under the laces on the inside of the left shoe (it was there on the 4 also) was puffed out and later in the run it caused a hot spot and rubbing. Hopefully the replacement will be better. Other than that issue, I really liked the shoe.
    One question, I noticed that on the Kinvara 3, the sole of the shoe is more flat, with no grooves, the 4 a little less so, and on the 5, and the Viratta 2 also, there is a deep groove running down the length of the shoe. Can someone tell me the purpose of this, and your opinion, I guess it is to flex, but wouldn’t that decrease “stability”? By stability, I don’t mean the old neutral vs. stability argument, I mean just landing on a more stable foundation (flatter surface). I am not yet sure if I like these deep grooves or not.
    I just got a pair of the GoMeb Speed 2 shoes and they have no grooves. I have a wide foot, but the Speed 2′s feel good on my feet. Snug, but no in a bad way. I look forward to taking them out on a run, and maybe using them next Monday in the Bolder Boulder.

    • Sending two pair of 5′s back for a refund today… My wife and I were both looking to replace our trusty Kinvara 2′s and were excited to try the 5′s only to be disappointed. In Saucony’s defense however, neither of us actually ran in them, only walked around a few evenings. Neither of us like the ‘pro-lock’ feature and I was constantly irritated by the mesh seam bunching on the inner upper. I was also not a fan of the way the top of the tongue is made. Trying these on just made us wish we could buy new 2′s. We both really wanted to like these but were left underwhelmed…

      • Michael Busch says:

        Sounds like you had the same problem I had. If that is the case, I might have the same problem with the replacement shoes they are sending. Thanks for the reply. It is cause for concern for me for sure.

      • Have not had issues with this myself. At first I was ambivalent about the Pro-Lock, but no I kind of like it.

        • Michael Busch says:

          Glad you like it. I was fine with the Kinvara 3 and 4, the 5 is a no go for me. Thanks Saucony for ruining my go to marathon shoe. Now I am back to square one. I just received the replacement paid and looking at them, other than the shoddy construction, there is an obvious issue with the mesh/stretchy fabric by the Pro-Lock, plastic eye piece. I can clearly see that as I run, when the collar slips to one site from center, it exposes the mesh/stretchy fabric, which bunches up and rubs my foot raw. And, as I said, the construction is crap. Why or why did Saucony screw this up! I am major bummed.

          • Michael Busch says:

            I meant “replacement pair” in the post above. Not “replacement paid”. Oops

          • Tongue slipping sounds more like a fit issue than a construction issue. This K5 fits larger almost all around to me than the K4, which is why it works for me and the K4 did not. Wonder if you are simply seeing the opposite effect and the K5 is just not snug enough in the midfoot which allows the tongue to slip and expose the bunching? I can see what you are talking about with the potential for fabric bunching in that area, but as I have not experienced tongue slippage I don’t think it’s an issue for me.

          • Michael Busch says:

            Funny, good fit, or bad fit, I have never had a shoe that didn’t have tongue slippage to one side or the other. You must be luckier than me in that regard. And, the construction is most definitely bad on these new Kinvara’s. In fact, to me, Saucony is slipping in this regard as the new Viratta 2 doesn’t seem as good either. I think you are right though that you and I have a completely different foot type and what works for you, doesn’t work for me. But, your reviews are still very helpful, and much appreciated.

    • Maybe some flex, but I think it also makes the protruding pods on the outer margin bigger/taller and this may explain why the shoe feels a bit softer than previous versions to me.

  3. Hey Peter,

    I wanted to ask you about the position of the carbon rubber on the bottom of the Kinvara 5. If you look at the outsole, you’ll notice some added in the midfoot area (the red rubber).

    The addition of carbon rubber around the heel and forefoot (triangular pattern) are what I notice in the majority of running shoes, but what’s your take on the red carbon rubber in the midfoot? Is it to allow better transition or for protecting that area of the shoe for midfoot strikers? Or both? Thanks for any thoughts.

    • I think the idea is to add durability for midfoot strikers. I do get some wear in this area since my stride varies from mild heel to midfoot, but never too extensive. I’d like to see some a bit further forward.

  4. Michelle says:

    As a former Kinvara 1 wearer, I wanted to like the changes to the 5 upper. However, having been recently wearing the Mirage 3 (love the upper and hate everything else) and Mizuno Sayonara, the 5′s upper felt weird/sloppy to me. I did like the heel a lot, but the rest felt funky and the toe box seemed baggy. Guess my search continues!

    • I agree on the Mirage 3 – fantastic upper but horrible, brick-like sole. The K5 upper works well for me possibly because I have a high-volume foot.

  5. Just bought a pair of Kinvara 5s and love them. Also loved the original Kinvaras but the 2, 3, and 4 were not comfortable. Funny how people have such different experiences with this model. The 5 reminds me of the Trigon 5 Ride – snug but not tight, really like part of the foot. And so light.

    Jeff

  6. Hi Peter,

    Is the heel counter flexible enough for somebody with Haglund heels?
    I’m looking for a low drop cushioning shoe with large toe box and soft heel counter(or no heel counter) for long runs.
    Thanks!

    Eva

    • Tough call – the plastic in the heel counter is flexible, and extends about halfway up the back of the shoe. It’s more substantial than in previous Kinvaras. You might take a look at the Asics Gel Lyte33 for a comparable shoe that lacks a plastic heel counter.

  7. Thanks, Peter.

  8. looks like the high abrasive rubber for the sole is in the right spots for me. I should give this shoe a go. I have been meaning to for years.

  9. Interesting, the shofitr app over at runningwarehouse shows the Kinvara 5 and Free 4.0 flyknit almost identical in 3D, Fit and Arch.

    I love the Free 4.0 flyknit so I’m going to try the K5 too. Thanks for the reviews!

    FYI, as of 5/31/14 (ordinary guy here always looking for deals): for Amazon Prime members, code: RUNSHO14 will make the K5 $80 w/ free shipping.

  10. Jay Woron says:

    I have 50 miles on my pair, I ran a half marathon on June 1st and got a small hot spot on the outside of my right big toe. It might have been a lacing issue, they do have a nice big toe box. I agree that this can be a marathon shoe.

  11. scott T says:

    I have been a Kinvara dedicated runner from v1-3, skipped getting the 4 and was super excited when the 5 came out. Then when I received my pair I was shocked at the redesign, what I loved about the previous versions were the low profile heel design and the simple elegance of the shoe. Now I feel like they have over-engineered the thing. (thick heel cushioning, “pro-lock’ etc) Plus, after running a few times in them I developed heel pain. To test this I switched between my NB minimus 0, Viratta and my old K3s and none reproduced the heel pain I had in the K5. I realize all feet are different but Saucony has succeeded in designing mine out of this shoe and I am really disappointed. Thank you Peter for your continued awesome wealth of knowledge and great reviews.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Scott. Unfortunately this is the nature of shoe updates – some will benefit from them, others will not like them. Human variability makes it impossible that a shoe will work for everyone unfortunately.

  12. Michael Busch says:

    True, but I think Scott’s point is that it is one thing to update a shoe – we all know to expect that, but it is another thing to change the concept of the shoe. As you have pointed out in regards to the Altra the One shoe, perhaps Saucony should have created a new model, and left the less engineered concept intact for the Kinvara.
    To me the Kinvara 4, and earlier versions were conceptually similar, even if some features were tweaked, leading to some being happy with the Kinvara 4, and others, like you, being unhappy with it. With the Kinvara 5 they changed the overall design concept for the shoe from a more snug, racing flat type shoe, with less engineering, to a more “plush” over-engineered shoe. In my mind, that will make a lot more people unhappy, than happy, in terms of how the shoe is received by runners who have been running on the earlier versions of the shoe.
    Just my two cents, but I just really wanted to respond to your point, which I fully understand, and which you have stated in regards to other shoes, but which, IMHO, in this case, the argument you posit doesn’t apply.
    Again, like Scott, I appreciate your reviews and the time you spend on all of this. My disagreement with you on this point, does in no way indicate my lack of respect for what you do. In fact, I think healthy and respectful disagreements are a good thing.

  13. Brad Steenport says:

    Is this considerably softer than the Mirage? The Mirage has been my main shoe for awhile now, and it’s time for something a bit more cushioned.

    Thanks!!

  14. How does the Kinvara 5 compare to the Fastwitch 6?

  15. Just got my pair of 5s. I like the way they lay down on the road and the light weight. I am currently running in Pegasus 30s, and wanted a lower drop to rotate. It is alittle firmer and lighter and I had no calf problems after 5 miles! It is a great shoe and it wants to run fast. The bunching in the upper can be solved by running in them, then tightening the laces so the flex film pulls over your foot. The lock feature again, needs to be adjusted to get the right fit. I found after tinkering with both, they fit pretty well, nice big toe box with room for swelling of the feet. :)

    • Kinvara is a good counterpart to the Pegasus for something a bit lighter and faster. Similar niche but different geometry and weight to mix up the feel. Glad you’re liking them!

Speak Your Mind

*