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Saucony Kinvara 5 Preview

Saucony Kinvara 5

Update: This shoe is now available and I have posted a Saucony Kinvara 5 review here.

Earlier today Saucony posted a preview of the Kinvara 5 on their blog (thanks to Marc S. for the alert!). I was disappointed by the Kinvara 4, with my main issues being the tight forefoot fit and lack of stretch in the upper. Others have also reported durability issues with the monofilament upper material. It seems Saucony may have heard some of this feedback and have attempted to address these issues of the 5th iteration of one of my favorite shoes.

Saucony Kinvara 5 side

With the Kinvara 5, Saucony has incorporated a different type of mesh (which they say is more durable) with lots of welded overlays in areas that tend to tear – the mesh almost looks like that found on the Grid Type A5. They’ve also added additional rubber to the sole to increase durability, and the midsole is made from a more durable EVA (hard to tell if those lateral forefoot pods are EVA or rubber from the photos). Here’s how Saucony describes the sole updates:

“The Kinvara 5 midsole/outsole platform is also new, and made from an enhanced EVA+ material with better abrasion resistance than ever before. On the outsole, we also added small placements of iBR+ rubber to provide more durability and cushioning on the outer side of the foot, where heavy wear is typical for many Kinvara fans.”

Saucony Kinvara 5 sole

It sounds like Saucony also played with the interior of the new Kinvara in ways that might make it friendlier for sockless wear – I like the sound of this!

“We also heard requests for a smoother, softer collar lining next to skin (or sock). This version of the Kinvara features a super soft new material called RunDry® that creates an amazing step-in feeling and helps guard against hot-spots and chafing during the run.”

Saucony Kinvara 5 medial

I had heard that the new Kinvara would be more “trainery” than previous editions, and it does look like a more complex shoe, but Saucony reports that the new model adds these features without sacrificing the light weight that Kinvara fans have grown to love.

Release date for the Kinvara 5 is May 1, 2014, and I’m hoping the K5 redeems one of my favorite shoe models after a disappointing 4th edition!

What do you think, are the changes for the better or for the worse for the Kinvara?

Saucony Kinvara 5 Rear


Update: This shoe is now available and I have posted a Saucony Kinvara 5 review here.

The Saucony Kinvara 5 is available for pre-order at Running Warehouse (ships May 15). It is currently in-stock at if you are in a rush to get ahold of a pair.

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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. I’m very excited for this shoe, as the K3 is one of my absolute favorites for training. I just sincerely hope it doesn’t lose its soft ride with the added rubber on the outsole, though I know it will increase durability.

  2. I was so disappointed with the K3 that I didn’t even buy the K4. The problem with the K3 was the sole. It could not take the impact of running on hard surfaces like the K1 and K2. My legs and hips were hurting because of the K3. I had to switch to the Triumph 10 to save my legs. I hope Saucony made a more durable sole for the K5.

    • Totally agree. I introduced a K3 into my rotation and it’s my least favorite shoe. The sole just feels so much harder and less cushioned, forgiving. I went out and bought a few more pairs of K2s on closeout.

      I haven’t tried the K4 because of my bad experience with the K3. The K2 remains my favorite and current shoe of choice.

      • Mike Williams says:

        I don’t have any perspective on the k3, as I’ve never run in a pair, but the k4 is ok for me up to about 9 miles. However, I’ve begun to use it more for speed work/tempos than distance training.

    • Shaun P says:

      I totally agree! After loving 6 pairs of K2’s the K3 and K4 beat me up! My hips and joints hurt in them while with the K2 I could run marathons in them. I tried on the K5 at the Boston Marathon expo and it felt pretty good and a lot different from the K3/K4. I’m hoping I can get back into the Kinvaras!!!

  3. They still apparently want to act as if people don’t run on their forefeet. Too much EVA outsole!

  4. Was there no mention of relaxing the tight forefoot, then? The Kinvara 2 was my all-time favorite, but I couldn’t even take home a pair of the 3s or 4s after jogging around the store for a couple loops. A tight toe-box is, unfortunately, a dealbreaker.

    • No mention of fit. I actually found the 3 to be the best fitting of all, the 4 the worst. I’ll see if I can get in touch with Saucony.

      • I also found the fit of the Kinvara 3 best: more space for my toes as compared to the Kinvara 2.

      • Actually the the k3 and k4 have the exact same toe-box room. This is evidenced by the running-warehouse 3D analysis. And that I had a chance to try both k3 and k4 new out of the box side by side. I do wish the toe box didn’t taper so much on both. But they actually felt the same. A little edge on the fit of the k4 for the lower back on the Achilles’ tendon region.

        I did get a second pair of the k4 for my birthday and as I compared the fit of my new k4 and the one with mileage on them, I notice that the older pair felt a little more spacious both on the forefoot and toe box. So my conjecture is that these shoes have a little give in them, despite the non stretchy material of the upper.

        Having said that, my 3 points of improvement on the k3 and k4 would be:
        – wider toe box;
        – noise reduction;
        – soften the ride a little (so long we don’t lose responsiveness).

        • It’s not so much the amount of space as it is the lack of give in the upper material. The K3 upper has more give.

          • Well, I found that the upper material of both K4 and K3 lacked immediate give (by immediate give I mean stretchy). But that’s just my opinion and I understand that people experience things differently (I enjoy very much reading your inputs, tho). Back to the upcoming K5, as somebody mentioned, it looks like it uses the same upper material as the A6, which does have a lot more give. Furthermore, you mentioned that Saucony confirmed adding more toe-box room. So those are good news for the K5 in my books. :) Maybe the K5 will settle this discussion and become everybody’s favorite. One can only hope for the best while expecting for the worse.

  5. The Kinvara 4’s were my first ‘real’ Saucony running shoe, and while I loved the comfortable feel, after a few hundred miles it was clear they were not going to last anywhere near as long as my Nike, Merrell or New Balance of the past couple of years …

    So I hope that they address the issues, but not sure I am ready to give them my $$ again so soon …

    • Tad Edgerton says:

      I don’t have a pair of 4’s, but I have put in 700+ miles out of a pair Kinvara 2 and two separate pairs of Kinvara 3’s. So I have been very pleased with their wear pattern. For comparison, I recently threw out a pair of Brooks connects after 500 and probably should have done so sooner.

  6. Is the heel drop still 4 mm? Looks bigger in the picture.

  7. Interesting! I actually really love the 4’s & prefer them over the 3’s. I felt like I had a bit *more* room in the toe box as compared to the 3s (but admittedly not as much as I would like). I’ll be curious to check out the new upper material & see how the soles compare in terms of durability.

    • Angela – every female K4 wearer I talk with loves them even more than K3 and find the reverse with the males. I love my K3 and my K4 even more (I am female). It will be interesting to see if the trend continues into K5.

      • I love the 4’s. Plenty of room. Only complaint is they wear so quickly.

        • One other item of note. No blisters on my toes with the 4. With my Asics I always ran with blisters and band aids. We did a couple of marathons with the 4’s without any problems as well as an Ironman.

  8. They didnt widen the toe box at all??

    • No info on width yet.

    • Just got a response from Saucony – they assured that the toebox in the 5 will have more room.

      • That’s great news. Hope the upper material is similar to the A5. I find that type of mesh to be the most comfortable/forgiving material of any shoe I’ve run in.

        • every iteration of every model of Saucony shoe seems to result in a tighter toe box. Its awful. The ride, glide, kinvara, mirage all seem to be headed in this direction. I have narrow feet and these shoes are too narrow. Why put so much thought into heel drop but not listen when everyone complains that the shoes are too narrow? Hopefully they get this right. My pinky toe is pissed.

  9. I really hope the K5 improved on the midsole. I bought two K4 (because I absolutely enjoyed my K3’s) without testing them out first and was disappointed in the feel of the run. The K4 felt like the midsole and medial post vanished. No energy return, no positive feedback, nothing that made for an enjoyable run. In the pic above, it “looks” like the midsole/medial post is re-vamped but pics can be deceiving. Do you know if they modified the sole?

  10. K4 is available in widths, though I think that is a recent offering – not on release. A gesture by Saucony to address the toe box comments perhaps.

    • They’ve typically had a wide Kinvara in at least color, I know they had one for the v3. Problem with wide shoes is the whole shoe is wider, not just the forefoot.

      • Yeah. The fit was not great in the wide even though I find the shoe slightly narrow. I can add that for me the v4 feels a bit wider than v3 and quite a bit more firm. Both are to my liking.

  11. Started using K4 last spring, and loved them. They are my fav right now. Mileage was great, did over 700k and just started seeing a slight tear in the toe box area. But I also wear them in winter. Definitely will buy another K4, but the K5 looks nice! Used K4 for 5, 10K, Hm and my first full marathon. Never a blister, but switched to my Asics 33’s and got a black toenail right after that run.

  12. I really enjoyed the K1,K2 and K3, but didn’t like how they changed the heel fit for the K4. I hope they’ve fixed that.

  13. Hi Pete… this is Dennis from the Philippines… I hope you can help me… I’ve been running for tha past 3 yrs using Kinvara 1 and sad to say it will need to be replaced soon… I’m not to excited about the Kinvara 4 after what I’ve been reading… and i cant seem to find Kinvara 3 Men’s size 10 in any online stores… Can u recommend a replacement that more or less mimicks the Kinvara 1? I’ve tried 3 shoes before I finally settled on the K1. Thanks and regards.

  14. Leaky Thermos says:

    The K4 is my first real running shoe and I AM IN LOVE with the feel of the shoe. I’ve worn other running shoes before, but the lightweight feeling of this shoe with the needed support has really made me feel more confident in running longer distances. With that said, within a few months, I noticed the tearing of the upper mesh along the pinky toe area. I was sorely disappointed that my “beloved” shoe could be so poorly structured. I hoped it was just a lemon, and continue to run in them. I am anticipating the K5 and hope it will be very similar in weight/feel/support with the needed changes in durability. I also secretly love my purple/lime green color combo ;) Hopefully the new colors won’t be hideous, because it is a consideration for me!

  15. I hate the Kinvara 4’s. I bought them when my 3’s wore out, and they are not at all the same. I get blisters on my toes because either the toe box is narrower or the material inside is not as smooth. They give me blisters on the back of my achilles and for some reason my hamstrings hurt more when I run in them. I don’t generally read blogs or look up shoes before I buy them, but I stumbled upon the virrata’s on Amazon and bought them. They are my new favorite shoe because I have none of the above issues, my hamstrings do not bother me at all, and my feet feel cool when I run in them (I am always hot and my feet sweat a lot). Just ordered a pair of virrata 2’s.

    • Interesting observation on your hamstrings. I’ve been noticing the same this week after running in the Saucony Mirage 4. I’m guessing it may be because the Mirage is a much firmer shoe than I am used to and I therefore tend to flex my knee and hip more when I run in them. I feel like the Kinvara has gotten progressively firmer with each version, and Saucony soles seem to get really hard in the cold.

  16. My favourite was the Kinvara 1 for the fit and comfort. I know they had durability issues, but I just put up with the minor tears I loved them so much. My liked my Kinvara 3 after I had completely worn them in, I like the feel of my shoes after a number of miles. The Kinvara 4 is by far my least favourite. I have a narrow foot so I would have thought fit to be no problem but I find there is a lot of room in the heel area and I’m not locked in like the other models. I’ve pulled up sore due to extra movement. Maybe this was due to the material used? I hope the Kinvara 5 is snug in the heel area.

  17. After hip issues for a couple of years, I made the switch to a more natural running shoe – Saucony Kinvara starting with 2, 3, and now 4. All three pairs, but particularly Kinvara 3 and 4, formed holes in the mesh (as seen on my latest tweet –

    I hope to enjoy more durability with the Kinvara 5 and am patiently waiting until May to get my hands on a new pair. In the mean time, I’ll continue to trek along with my little ghetto hole.


  18. Harrison says:

    I want to love the kinvara series but they are extremely unforgiving to low arches as the medial post just annoyingly digs into the arch and never gives. Wide fits certainly help but I’m hoping I don’t have to go on another hunt for a wide Kinvara (its quite the search). Any news on an adjustment to this area of the shoe? Or am I the only person with this complaint?

  19. I absolutely loved the K1 and 2s. The soles of the 3s killed the balls of my feets. The 4s wreaked complete havoc on the back of my ankles and arches. I get to test run a pair of 5s on 4/24/14. I so wish they would go back to a more cushiony ride. I hate stiff, unforgiving shoes. I am sttuck with Newtons right now because the Kinvaras took a drastic turn for the worse when they tried to make it a more durable shoe. I am gonna try brooks soon. If I could find a model that isn’t over built.

  20. Looks like sick shoes, I own the Brooks Pure cadence and loving the minimalist style. You kinda made me go and buy these. (-:

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  1. […] I caught Pete’s post about the sneak peek of the new Kinvara 5.  After I caught my breath and changed my underwear, I […]

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