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Review Saucony Kinvara 10
The ideal running shoe for all athletes who are looking to improve the “feel” in each step of their training without fear of injury
Situated in the County of Galway, Northern Ireland, there is the little fishing village which suffered the serious consequences of the 19th century European famine: this is Kinvara. This event caused the migration of the majority of its inhabitants to the USA, most of whom reached Massachusetts where this wave of immigration integrated their Irish customs into the American State.
Precisely two centuries later, Massachusetts was the birthplace of the most fashionable brand of running shoes of the present day: Saucony. In homage to that mix of American-Irish customs, the brand decided to name one of their star models with the name of the Irish immigrants. And so Saucony Kinvara was born.
The Kinvara running shoe emerged like a banner to the “minimalism” of Saucony. The growing trend to return to “natural running” has forced brands to adapt. A return to the low drop (4mm), scant cushioning, a “glove-like” feel, lightness (221g T.41) and a feeling of “agility” are the main features of this model from the American brand which has now reached its tenth version.
The 4mm drop also achieves an improvement in the stride for runners with a good technique. The “feel” on impact and on pushing against the ground improves greatly when compared to previous models, and this delights the more self-indulgent runners. However, for those runners that do not have such good technique, my recommendation would be to work in this area with a more cushioned model and progressively use the Kinvara 10 according to your sense of improvement as, if you do a lot of kilometres “straight off”, you may encounter muscular problems due to poor adaptation to the low drop.
In relation to previous models, Kinvara 10 varies in the firmness of its sole. Perhaps it is less “comfortable” (although it is still very comfortable in my opinion) but it gains a lot of feel in the stride.
Kinvara 10 has the EVA+ sole, which is a Saucony characteristic, but with a difference compared to other models: Protection. Or rather, “no protection”. Saucony has decided to improve the grip and transmission of the stride on the sole by eliminating any kind of “barrier” between the sole and the surface as you step; that is to say: EVA+ “uncovered”. Evidently, by doing this, the durability of the sole is lost (some 500-600km as opposed to around 800 for previous models), but in another way, it gains much more in feel. For me, it is a great choice, as I have always been one of those who think that quality should override durability. Also, the difference in durability when compared to the gain is ridiculous.
Here we find another great change in the Kinvara 10 in respect to previous models. Until now, Sacuony has always used its “Pro Lock” technology, which is based on triangular fastening. It provided good fastening but at the same time it also caused excessive restriction of movement of the foot within the shoe, thereby creating a feeling of “suffocation”.
Kinvara 10 has eliminated the “Pro Lock” and replaced it with its improved version: Formit. This new technology is based on holding the foot from multiple points and in a more flexible manner. This removes the feeling of “suffocation”, leaving the foot “free” and letting the foot to decide where the shoe should go and not the other way around.
Although, perhaps, the theory may be interpreted as a tighter upper would “force” you to run better, reality demonstrates that it is the runner who should run well and not the shoe. Good road technique should be worked on and improved during the training process and, little by little, it will be the actual athlete who decides precisely where his step should be placed. In this way, injuries due to “forced” running are avoided and you will enjoy the road running technique learning process much more.
You will find another innovation on the upper part of the shoe: the Mesh. It is reinforced with heat seals which protect the side parts of the foot and allows more ventilation to the upper part with the breathable texture (which includes small holes). In this way, you win on breathability and, therefore, on comfort.
Lastly, on the front part (heel), Saucony Kinvara 10 has added two cushioned layers of coarse material to avoid rubbing and heel displacement. In this way you gain support and comfort.
In this sense, there are few changes in respect of previous Kinvara models. A standard, comfortable shape with a low forefoot, which favours “control” by the foot over the shoe (natural running).
An athlete with narrow feet should choose their “standard” size, while someone with wider feet should perhaps opt for a half size larger than they normally take. Having said this, it is always essential to try the shoes on before you choose which ones to buy.
As we explained earlier, Kinvara 10 uses the “uncovered” EVA+ sole. This provides better grip and elasticity than previous models. Evidently, it is not a “soft” shoe. But neither does it give the impression of being too “hard”. The 50g of cushioning is maintained, as in other models, but as it doesn’t have protection on the sole, the feeling of contact with the ground is greater, thereby helping to improve the “feel” of the stride.
With this model, they have achieved a versatile shoe which is as good for long runs without the fear of excessive load-bearing, as it is “for making demands on us” on sequence or even on competition days. It would be a great choice for a marathon of between 3 – 3.15hrs, for example, or for a half or 10km at a rate of 4-4’10 for someone weighing +70kg.
With respect to its previous models, the Saucony Kinvara 10 provides a greater feel, more rigid, more “closeness”, more and better support and greater elasticity. This is an ideal shoe for all athletes who want to improve their “feel” with each stride, while training without the fear of injury or poor adaptation.