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Sole Width Comparison Photos: Saucony Kinvara TR vs. Saucony Kinvara 3, Brooks Pure Grit, and Merrell Mix Master 2

Yesterday I posted a first run review of the Saucony Kinvara TR and noted that the fit seemed off – too narrow and tapered in the forefoot to the point where I had to swap out the insole for a very thin one to make it work. This morning I took out a few shoes to compare it too, and shot a few side-by-side photos. The comparisons are between the Kinvara TR, Kinvara 3, Brooks Pure Grit, and Merrell Mix Master 2. You’ll note that the Kinvara TR is considerably narrower up front than all three of the others (all of which fit me very well).

First, Kinvara TR vs. Kinvara 3 road shoe:

Kinvara TR vs Kinvara 3

Nest, Kinvara TR vs. Brooks Pure Grit:

Kinvara TR vs Brooks Grit

Finally, Kinvara TR vs. Merrell Mix Master:

Kinvara TR vs Mix Master

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Jason23 says:

    That Mix Master sole looks great.

  2. NeilTryAthlete says:

    I think you’ve just convinced me to get some Kinvara 3’s. It seems when you quoted the weights of the K1, K2 and K3 versions (in your reviews) you had size 10 for Kinvara 2’s and size 9 for the others. I’ve been using K2’s and they were a little tighter than other Saucony shoes I’ve had (Ride, Ride 2 and Phoenix 4) despite being the “same size” (9.5US). I’m beginning to think tight shoes and tighter laces are the reason I’ve got tendonitis across the top of my foot now. And K3’s with a roomier forefoot look like they just might fit the bill once I’m fully recovered. Thanks!

  3. Kristin says:

    Thanks for the photos. I also have a wide forefoot, but have no problems with the Kinvara 3 or Pure Grit, both of which are among my favorite shoes. I was considering the Kinvara TR, but the width is noticeably thinner as you pointed out in your last post. Now I am having second thoughts.

  4. Interesting comparisons. I think there’s a tendency for shoe designers to keep the forefoot narrower in trail shoes so that you are more secure with the off camber footing, twisting, etc that goes along with running a rugged trail. Personally, I’d rather have more room up there as long as my heel and mid-foot are secure.

    When Shoeftr has scanned the TR, I think that will be more telling than an outside sole shot though.

  5. I always found the Kinvara outer soles a little flared, so wider at the ground than at the toe cage (same for the heel, actually); to the point that I carved the surplus material off, because I found it tampered with my footplant (touch-down laterally, thence forcing the ball of the foot down too fast). Anyway, is it possible the TRs at not that flared, and a more objective way of comparing width would be to look at the removable liners ? Thanks for the post. I, too, love the Kinavara (post-OP), and I am keeping a keen eye on your reviews of the TR before I buy. Cheers, Nils

    • Pete Larson says:

      I agree that the road Kinvara sole is a bit flared, but my foot and toes tell me all I need to know about the width difference ;)

  6. Tim Saviello says:

    Pete, would you mind sharing your thoughts on a comparison between the feel of the grits and the mix masters? I’m wearing the grits now, mainly b/c I run roads in the flow and have a very wide forefoot, but the grits leave the soles of my feet sore on long trail runs.

    I’m working up to my first trail ultra in October, and so am looking for a good trail shoe. I’m a bigger guy for a trail runner (6′, 175lbs) and like some cushioning. I think if the grits had a rock plate I’d be in heaven, but they don’t so I’m not.

    Any thoughts you’d care to share, I’d appreciate.


  7. Pete,
    Great photos! I have been trying to decide whether or not I should purchase the Kinvara TR’s, but the pictures made my decision for me. I am a dedicated supporter of the Kinvara road shoe, but the TR’s look too narrow for my wider feet. Do you know if they make wider versions of the TR?

  8. Gianluca Gaggio Gaggioli says:

    I always read carefull your review, and often agree; but this time i’m disappointed, cause i think you cannot compare Kinvara Trail – a minimalist shoes – with Merrel Mixmaster , Brooks PureGrit, or Kinvara, that are “transition” shoes (= conventional shoes with a low drop).

    • Alex Bridgeforth says:

      Um….here are some of the stats from the aforementioned shoes:
      Kinvara TR – 8.9oz – 3mm Drop – 15mm,18mm Stack
      Mixmaster – 9.0oz – 4mm Drop – 12mm, 16mm Stack
      PureGrit – 8.7oz – 5mm Drop – 16mm, 21mm Stack
      Kinvara – 7.6oz – 4mm drop – 19mm, 23mm Stack

      To me the Mixmaster seems the mose “minimal” of the above shoes. The top three, if at least the top two are very comparable. Don’t understand how they are that different?

  9. The major shoe companies never cease to amaze…

  10. Pete,
    I read your review yesterday and got nervous b\c the day earlier i had ordered my Kinvara Tr’s from runners warehouse. I currently run in the Kinvara 3 and Green Silence :-( ” sad Brooks is doing away with my beloved GS” for road and the Pure Grit and Peregrine for trail, and was really excited to get my hands on the Tr. Well to my relief my foot fit in the shoe fine ” guess my foot is not as wide as yours” and after a 8 mile run on my normal loop with a mix of trails and roads, i am extremely impressed and happy with the shoe. It fit perfect on my feet and i love how light, flexable, low to the ground and the incredible feed-back with just the right amount of cushoning. I can’t wait to run more in this shoe to break it in and see how it feels long-term, but for now i’m very pleased with the Kinvara Tr.

  11. That is just ridiculous as far as I am concerned – how can they call it the Kinvara TR when it is not exactly the same fit?? I would have bought some without even trying them on, but thankfully read your review in time…..

  12. Showing a picture of the bottom of the shoe isn’t at all representative of how the inside of a shoe fits. I generally trim off the excess material around the outside of a shoe to make it a bit more responsive. The Brooks PureGrit, for example, has all kinds of extra material there to provide a more “stable” platform. The Kinvara 3 also has a wide platform. Showing the sole of a shoe provides little information about how that shoe will fit.

    I definitely do not have narrow feet, my left foot boarders D and 2E width, and my foot fits just fine in the Kinvara TR. What Pete is complaining about is the taper in the toebox, and the taper in a performance shoe is integral to its performance. While this shoe might not fit the same as the Kinvara road shoe, it does fit appropriately for its intended use.

    I would not consider running repeats on asphalt in a trail shoe an adequate way of assessing that shoes functionality, it is a trail shoe! Perhaps Pete should relegate reviews of trail shoes to someone with actual experience as a mountain runner.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I can comment quite well about how a shoe fits by putting it on my foot ;) It’s not that complicated. You have your preferences, I have mine.

      • True, so your pictures up above are of no value.

        • Pete Larson says:

          Actually, the pictures reflect pretty well how the forefoot fit in the three shoes feels to me. Brooks and Merrell both feel much roomier on my feet. It also shows that both the Brroks and Merrell have a wider base. If you like a tighter fit with a narrower base, by all means, enjoy running in the Kinvara TR’s. No need to get all worked up about a photo :)

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