If you’ve read at least 2 of my blog posts in the past year, you’ll know that I’m a huge Saucony Kinvara fanatic. I started wearing the Kinvara in the spring last year and have already accumulated 6 pairs (and they’ve been so great about making enough colors so that I don’t have to buy the same color a second time!). I was really excited when a Saucony rep. reached out to me and let me know that I’d been selected as part of the 2nd “early tester” wave to provide feedback and generate hype for the new version of the shoe. I had a long day at work and arrived home to find a fresh white, yellow, and pink pair of Kinvaras waiting for me. I snapped a few photos of the new shoe in comparison to the Kinvara 2s for you to check out. (Their website does a great job of outlining the differences between the versions. I’m just adding my own take on it!)
The Flexifilm structure is completely different than previous models.
The lacing structure is classic on the K3s. I prefer the structure on the K2s, mostly because I have narrow feet.
Saucony kept the triangle lug structure, but changed the lugs on the outer rim.
The heel structure is probably the most striking on the bottom of the shoe.
All in all, I’m happy with the Kinvara 3s. I only have 40 miles on the new model, but each run has felt better and better. When I first laced them up and went out for a few miles to break them in, I immediately noticed that they are much firmer than the previous model. I’ve talked with a few runners who have decided not to wear the K2s because they are ‘squishy’ as compared to other ‘minimalist’ models. I wouldn’t necessarily call them squishy but I can understand why some runners may not like the soft feel. I assume Saucony took this feedback seriously and made the new model more firm because of it.
The other difference that has caused a bit of discomfort for me is the structure near the Achilles portion of the heel. The fabric and the structure in this area is soft and has a low rise on the K2s. The new version has a firm structure that doesn’t allow the foot to flex up and down (as if you were pointing your toe or pulling it back toward your shin). I’m not a fan of shoes that have a high rise near the ankle and the back structure of the Kinvara 3s have rubbed skin raw on long runs. [Note: I typically wear normal gold-toe ankle socks in the Kinvara 2s as opposed to 'running socks'. I probably wouldn't have had these rubbing issues in the Kinvara 3s if I wore running socks that have a tab on the back.]
I think the firm Kinvara 3s will help to make me a stronger runner and lead to some more PRs throughout the rest of 2012.
…maybe even this weekend at the Bayshore Half!