Saucony Kinvara 10 vs 9
Saucony has gotten back to their historic formula for the 10th version of the Kinvara, providing a lightweight, performance-oriented ride in a relatively flexible package. The most critical change that Saucony has made is to firm up the midsole a little bit, getting back to a more performance feel that the Kinvara has traditionally had. Key changes include:
The Kinvara is Saucony’s long-running lightweight performance trainer, and doesn’t drastically change that formula in the 10. In fact, it actually gets a little closer to that tradition than the 8 and 9 did with their slightly softer midsoles.
Overall, the Kinvara is on the big side. It’s probably a half-size bigger than the 9, with a looser and slightly wider upper. Saucony has toned down the lock-down nature of the lacing system to provide a little more traditional upper fit and a more flexible, less noticeable feel.
The overall ride of the Kinvara 10 gets a little more fast and responsive. The tenth version gets back to where the Kinvara was in generations 1-7, with 8 having a little softer foam and 9 adding a layer of EVERUN to that softer foam. Despite keeping the EVERUN layer, the 10 gives you much more pop. The slightly denser foam gives the shoe a little more substantial feel – making the 9 feel a little more mushy in comparison.
The Kinvara has consistently has some amount of inherent stability, but the slightly narrower base and softer foam made the 8 and 9 a little less stable. The platform is back to being one of the more versatile neutral shoes with the changes to the 10. While it’s not going to be enough to replace the Guide or Omni, the Kinvara can work for a wide range of foot types.
Comparing it to some of it’s direct competitors:
Saucony Kinvara vs Brooks Launch – While Brooks and Saucony have similar design goals with the Launch vs Kinvara, they feel really different on the road. The Launch has a much bigger drop (10mm to the Kinvara’s 4mm), it actually feels lower in both the forefoot and heel. The underfoot feel of the foam is similar on each in terms of softness, but counter intuitively there feels like there’s more there in the Kinvara. The Launch has a little better transition/is maybe a little more flexible, but at the same time it feels more like a traditional trainer (whereas the Kinvara feels more race-inspired). Even with the increased weight of the Kinvara, the Launch is still much heavier. It doesn’t immediately feel heavier on-foot, but certainly contributes to the Kinvara feeling more performance-based. Both shoes are pretty generous in the toebox, but the Kinvara has a little more room overall. The Kinvara has a little more inherent stability than the Launch, but neither is designed for runners who need stability for pronation.
Saucony Kinvara vs New Balance Zante – Another comparison between two shoes that have similar design principles, the Zante vs Kinvara comparison is an interesting one. The feel of the shoes is very different. The Zante is lower, more streamlined, and more flexible. The Kinvara feels stiff and high in comparison. Despite being lower, the Zante is still a little softer than the Kinvara. Overall, the Zante has a much more contoured feel, with a more prominent arch and a narrower feel throughout. The drop is a little higher on the Zante, but not noticeable on-foot. Weights are almost identical and any difference is imperceptible on-foot. Both feel fast and light, but in a much different way. The Zante feels like an extension of your foot in a glove-like way, but the Kinvara is a piece of responsive foam. Each has a decent about of inherent stability, with the Kinvara providing a little more guidance. Neither shoe provides enough support for pronating runners, though.
Saucony Kinvara vs Saucony Freedom ISO – Both shoes are low-drop Saucony neutral trainers, but the similarities end there. The Kinvara is much lighter than the Freedom ISO 2, and has a much springier feeling. The Kinvara is much more structured than the Freedom in the upper, and that structure follows through the midsole – making the Kinvara feel pretty stiff in comparison. The Freedom ISO 2 feels lower than the Kinvara 10 and its full EVERUN midsole gives a really unique feel that’s hard to directly compare to a traditional EVA midsole. Most runners feel that the the Freedom’s EVERUN is softer than the EVA in the Kinvara. Another big difference is the inherent stability found in the Kinvara is nowhere to be found in the Freedom, with the Freedom only being appropriate for truly neutral runners.
Saucony Kinvara vs Brooks Ghost – The Ghost and Kinvara are designed with different experiences in mind. While the Kinvara is a performance-based lightweight neutral trainer, the Ghost is more of a standard-weight, typical-feeling shoe. The Ghost has certainly become somewhat of a chameleon in terms of being pretty versatile, but with the Kinvara becoming firmer and faster feeling, you really do notice the difference when comparing them head to head. You can tell that the Ghost is heavier when you put them on. The Kinvara also is more versatile than the Ghost, with the firmer midsole and wider platform.