A Serious, Long-Term Relationship With a Running Shoe

The first step is admitting that you have a problem, right? Alright guys. I’m addicted and have been for a few years now. The Saucony Kinvara certainly hasn’t been the only shoe to carry me in the past 2 years but let’s just say it’s been there for me through thick and thin. I bought my first pair in April or May 2011 when I started training for my first marathon. After a short transition period, they quickly became my favorite shoe. And they’ve remained a constant in my shoe rotation ever since.

My Addiction. Illustrated in race pictures….

Chicago Kinvara

First marathon. Kinvaras.

rnr dc

Rock ‘n Roll DC 2012. Kinvaras.

carmel 2012

Carmel, IN Half 2012. Kinvaras.


Bayshore Half 2012. Kinvaras.


Batavia Half 2012. Kinvaras.

Twin Cities

Twin Cities 2012. Kinvaras.


Boston Marathon 2013. Kinvara 4s!

Saucony was generous enough to provide me with the newest version of the Kinvara before it’s officially released on May 1st. I received them in the mail 2 weeks before Boston and was anxious to see if they could be my race shoe for the marathon.

So far, the Kinvara 2 had been my favorite version. When they released the Kinvara 3 last year, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to wear them. The 3rd version had a higher ankle rise and it rubbed my achilles raw during a 12 mile run. I have a very short period to break in a fresh pair of Kinvaras because my feet and legs are so accustomed to them. But I knew that it was trouble if they bothered me on a relatively short distance run. [More details if you’re curious about the differences between the Kinvara 2 and 3!]. Luckily, I was able to stockpile a few pairs of Kinvara 2s and track down a few more pairs with the help of Saucony when I could no longer find them online (super nice of them!). I guess you’re truly addicted with a shoe when you have to solicit the aid of the brand to find it…

The Kinvara 2s provided enough cushion and stability for my first marathon and I haven’t ventured too far from them since then. (The other shoes in my rotation lately have been the Saucony Fastwitch 5 and New Balance RC 1600s). Beyond the achilles issue, the Kinvara 3 was much more firm and didn’t respond to the ground the way I was hoping.

But my love affair continues….Loving the Kinvara 4! 

Kinvara 4 Blue

I put about 25 miles on the Kinvara 4s the week leading up to Boston. (I know, I know.  “Never try something new so close to a race”.) But they seriously felt like a glove and I had no issues with the achilles rubbing in the back. The longest run in them before Boston was 12 miles and they felt great. The biggest difference that I can feel between the Kinvara 2 & 4 is the cushioning in the heel (due to the PowerGrid in the new version). The ride seems to be a bit smoother because of it. I pretty much consistently land on the midfoot and there seems to be less “bulk” in the 4s. Overall, they’re super responsive and light as a feather (just as they always have been). If you want more details on the specific changes Saucony made to the shoe, check out their dedicated Kinvara site.

Kinvara 4- Left. Kinvara 2- Right.

2013-05-02 19.04.43

Saucony stripped away a lot of the soft padding from the K2s but I haven’t had any issue with the achilles rubbing on the K4s. The heel is flexible enough that it bends when I flex my foot forward.

I couldn’t help snatching up a pair of the Limited Edition Boston Kinvara 4s before Boston a few weeks ago [SEE?! I AM ADDICTED!] I know they’ll always be a special pair…

kinvara 4 boston

Looking forward to an early Cinco De Mayo celebration and the Kinvara 4 Launch party at Fleet Feet on Friday, May 1st. [If you’re in Chicago and want to attend, be sure to RSVP so they have enough food and drinks for the crowd!]


I thought I only had a few pairs to donate but after rummaging around in my “shoe closet” (AKA underneath my bed) for a few minutes, I found more than a few pairs to donate to Step Into My Sole….

2013-04-30 15.14.51


11 thoughts on “A Serious, Long-Term Relationship With a Running Shoe

  1. runningtoherdreams says:

    Great post! I am almost ready to retire my Nike Free Runs. I was told today they aren’t half marathon worthy *sigh*. I am not sure I agree, I love them!. But I will have to check these out, thank you! 🙂

    • Jenny says:

      Sorry it took me so long to respond! I haven’t run in the Frees. Depending on what kind of runner you are, they could work for races! Let me know what you think about the Kinvara 4s if you try them!

  2. Dominick S. says:

    We are in the same boat. I have the Boston 4’s and had the same reaction, perfect right out of the box. I just bought the Kinvara TR2 in hopes that it will be the perfect trail shoe for me after some bulky Solomon’s!

  3. Dan says:

    I used the 2s starting in September of last year and actually prefer the 3s (though not by much). So now that the 4s are out, I’ve stockpiled a bunch of cheap 3s that should last me another year. Glad to know the new version is a worthy successor though – I’ll have to eventually transition once they completely phase out the 3 and I’m left with ragged shoes.

  4. cisforcourtney says:

    Hahaha! I totally loved this post! I know that finding a “just for you” shoe can be really tough so I’m glad that the 4’s are working for you since I’m sure it’s getting harder and harder to find the 2’s! I ran and “trained” for my second marathon in the K2’s! I liked them but felt like they fell apart easily? The mesh started tearing on both sides. To be fair I wasn’t keep track of the mileage on my shoes at the time.

    I love my Mizuno Elixir 8’s but am interested in finding a lighter shoe for speedwork. I might have to give the K4’s a try!

    • Jenny says:

      Sorry I’m so late responding to this! I’ve heard others have had that issue with the K2s before, although I didn’t probably because of the street running I do. The overlay on the 4s seems sturdier and I doubt anything would easily puncture it on the run. I normally log 350 miles on them before I start rotating a new pair in. 🙂 Have you found anything to replace the Elixirs??

  5. Susan - Nurse on the Run says:

    I love the colors of in the Kinvara 4…blue is right up my alley. However, I’m a Brooks girl (holding strong for 11 years…) and found 18 pairs in my apartment before I moved last fall. If you have a shoe addiction problem, I’m right there with you!

    • Jenny says:

      Ha! I saw your recent post with the shoe pic, Susan! For real, it’s a true problem. I donated 5 pairs and still have 6 under my bed (with a few more on the way). What’s your favorite Brooks shoe?

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