Kinvara Alternatives

edited June 2013 in Saucony
I'm looking for something that can take the place of my Kinvara 3. I love the amount of cushioning it provides, the soft ride, the low heel-to-toe-ratio, the flexible and breathable upper, and its low weight. What I hate about the shoe is the how it rubs my left pinkie toe. I did a half-marathon training run this weekend and just had to stop to readjust it. The rubbing has gradually worn down the upper to the extent that my pinkie toe is just about ready to poke out of my left shoe. 

After the run I tried on the Kinvara 4 and found the upper fit and the materials used for the mesh to be very similar to the K3, thus I elected against buying them. The sales rep had me do some sprints on the Brooks Pureflow, the New Balance MR1400, and the Saucony Type A5. I didn't like the racing flats because they were stiff and didn't offer as much cushioning for my taste. The Pureflow was soft and well cushioned, but it felt a clunky and inflexible. 

I've also considered based the Asics Gell Lyte33 v2 and the Skechers GoRun 2, however, I've yet to have a chance to try them on. 


  • I'd vote for the GoRun 2 if for no other reason than the Skechers shoes are roomy and it has the same 4mm drop.
  • I too felt constrained by the Kinvara. I tried on a GoRun 2 at an expo and it felt great, but I haven't run in them.

    A relatively cheap alternative I've run in are the New Balance 730s. They probably have a little less padding than the Kinvara, but have a nice wide forefoot. They just came out with an update and you can usually find them at Sports Authority or other big box places. I ran my last marathon in them and my feet held up.

    If you want to transition to a zero drop shoe, I love my Altras. I currently have the well padded Torin, but look forward to trying out a pair of Instincts soon. There is no way your pinky toe will rub in these.
  • edited June 2013
    +1 for Skechers GoRun 2. They are slightly more minimal though and definitely more flexible. They are lighter than the Kinvara, but have a less durable outsole.

    The GoRun Ride is another option. It is almost identical in weight to the Kinvara. It has a similar amount of cushion to the Kinvara and more than the GoRun 2.

    I personally did not like the Asics Gel Lyte 33 v2. They were too soft and unresponsive. Running in them took more effort and felt like they were robbing energy.

    If you don't mind zero drop, the Saucony Virrata is an excellent option too. Similar fit and cushioning to Kinvara. Slightly softer than Kinvara 3, but still responsive. More flexible and lighter too. One of my favorites in my rotation.
  • I agree with Sentzation.  I just did a half marathon in the GoRun2 last weekend.  I love them - have two pair, with better than 130 miles on each.  Not only is the toe box nice and wide, but the mesh in the toe is stretchy as well, which makes for even more room.  Much more flexible than the Kinvara 3s or 4s too.
  • For zero drop if you run in these already if not you do need to transition Altra The One is an excellent shoe.  You could also try the Merrell Mixmaster Move with 4mm drop but the cushion is a bit firmer than the Kinvara.

  • I need to stop putting it off and just buy a pair of those, @SteveL.  I've heard too much good.  

    The only thing that stops me is that I heard a lot of good about The Instincts, too, and while I LOVE my pair to walk around in, they have been less than optimal as running shoes.
  • Thanks for the responses! 

    I run in the Virrata and find them perfect for me. On long runs, recovery days, or when the heel and the ball of my feet are sore I opt for the Kinvara 3. So I'n terms of cushioning, I'd prefer a shoe that has at least the same amount of cushioning as the Kinvara 3.

    Would you guys say that the GoRun2 offer more or less cushioning than the Kinvara 3?

    As for the Altras, I'm really interested in the Torin and the Instincts. My reservation about Altras stems reading in reviews that they tend to be firm, whereas I typically run in soft shoes.

  • GoRun 2 has slightly less cushioning than Kinvara 3. GoRun Ride has about the same as Kinvara 3, but is slightly softer.
  • I just put a review of the GoRun 2 up on my blog, for what it's worth. Check it out, if you like.
  • The Ones are not cushioned like Kinvara or Virrata. Much firmer and responsive. When you get used to it I at least prefer the responsive feel. Enough cushioning for me at least. I know the virratas are zero drop but after I got used to The Ones the Virrata feels like running on marshmallows ;-) but it really is the wide toe box I love the most. Takes getting used to. I feared my feet would slide around in them but the heel and foot stays snug, just some nice toes freedom.
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