It seems somewhat inevitable and clichéd that following up from the Mirage IV (too hard) and my review of the Virrata 2 (too soft) that the Kinvara 5 was a’la the Three Bears…just right! Well they were so deal with it! With a quickly accumulated 50+ miles, the longest run of just over 10 miles, here are my thoughts.
The Look; I was sent a Black/Gray pair. My immediate thought was ugh, but they have grown on me and I brightened them up with some contrasting Yankz Laces. Having looked online these are definitely on the better end of the color spectrum IMHO for sure, see below for other options. I expect more colors to follow in the future, that’s what has happened in the past!
The Upper; Best described in a factious way as snug, roomy and light. There is enough support for your foot, they don’t slop about. The new Flexfilm is melded to the upper and contains your foot, but is not restrictive. There have been reports of the uppers tearing and I have had issues in both Kinvara 2s and 4s albeit on retired shoes that were being used for dog walking, once the start to go they just split! The Flexfilm is strong but light but flexible enough to give without letting your foot slip about. Additionally there is inner an sleeve which contains your foot and is included into the lacing pattern, this is the contrasting green section. Saucony call this ProLock, I can’t say I noticed if it creates the more snug fit that I think they are trying to achieve but it adds a nice splash of color! They are not seamless on the inside so triathletes may need socks which adds time to T2.
The Fit; For me they are perfect out of the box, I really don’t like laces having made the switch to Yankz several years ago and that’s all I had to do. Some people have had issues with the toe box in the version 4 of this shoe being narrower and report this is wider, personally I didn’t notice any real difference between the two versions. The tongue is slightly more padded as is the cuff…no problems from either of those changes.
The Sole; 12mm of sole with a 4mm of drop. Again no issues for me, the drop is enough to get you off of the flat foot feel you can have with zero drop shoes. They prompt me to run light and stay on my midfoot. They have added iBR+ rubber on the outsole to create a longer lasting sole. I estimate that these should last 200-250 miles.
The Ride; A very plush ride, enough to cushion you on the road without feeling like you’re on marshmallows! If anything a little softer than the version 4, but softer than the Mirage IVs and harder than the Virrata 2s Most of my running has been on the local roads and sidewalks with a smattering of treadmill miles for both speed work and steady Zone 2 runs but nothing longer than 10 miles.
Overall; The Kinvara remains my go to shoe, it’s light enough to keep you running fast and yet has enough comfort to avoid that feeling that you are running with boxes on your feet! These will be waiting for me at T2 at Vineman next month and will be my staple shoe through the rest of the year.
Available for men in Boston green/yellow, flouro green/black and white/blue as well the black/gray shown here. For the ladies in Boston green/yellow, pink/white. Yellow/white and turquoise/white, these retail for $100