Saucony Kinvara 4 Review

This is a short and sweet overview of a shoe which I’ve reviewed a couple of times. Firstly back when it was the Kinvara 2 and later as part of an overview of the Saucony 4mm drop range of the Mirage, Kinvara and Cortana. For a few ideas on the purpose of this style of shoe please check out those previous reviews.

Evolution not revolution

The Saucony Kinvara 4 shouldn’t present any surprises to those familiar with the 3rd iteration of this model. Saucony are perhaps learning the lesson that if you’re onto a shoe that a lot of people like then don’t meddle too much with your winning formula.

Saucony Kinvara 4 Review by Running Technique Tips

In my opinion the Kinvara 4 is about incremental and barely perceptible change. I did a quick test of this theory on twitter and got a little support.

I’ve not done a lot of running in the Kinvara 4 so I’m keen to hear from runners who are putting a few miles into theirs on how well they are performing from a longevity and performance perspective.

I think most Kinvara fans will not find too much they don’t like in this shoe.

I see the major but relatively minor change to this shoe being a slightly greater toe taper and a touch more flexibility, but I’ve got no way of validating those thoughts beyond initial gut feel. Word on the tweet is they’re getting the thumbs up from habitual Kinvara wearers.

Wear them in

Other things I’ve learned about the Kinvara over time is that they need a bit of wearing in to soften up and begin to shape around your foot. I prefer to do this on trails where the uneven surface helps beat up the cushion and shields you from what I find to be out-of-the-box stiffness. Oddly they also feel a bit nicer when the weather is warm and the sole/cushion compound becomes more flexible.

Saucony Kinvara 4 Review Sole

Change to the upper

The upper has also changed to a more traditional material, I actually quite liked the flex film that adorned the Kinvara 3 – it seemed to perform well enough, except for some wear at my pinky toe, and was relatively comfortable with and without socks. The new stuff is decent too, providing enough flexibility to give you a bit of extra wriggle room if you’re finding the fit snug.

Saucony Kinvara 4 Review Top

Conclusion

Overall I like rather than love the Kinvara 4 but I know plenty of runners who swear by them and they have attracted something of a cult following. They continue to inhabit a leading position amongst a growing niche of cushioned, relatively low drop (4mm heel-to-toe) light weight trainers. I think the best thing to do now is open the floor to your comments and experiences.

Have your say

Drop a comment with your thoughts into the article below or tweet me @BrianRunCoach. Insightful tweeting will be added to the article, so share the love and your knowledge.

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8 Responses to Saucony Kinvara 4 Review

  1. Andrew Cowell October 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    I have a pair of the ver 3 which I ran the Melbourne marathon in. I really like them in every respect except for the toe box which is a little narrow for my feet and I ended up with chewed up pinkies. It didn’t really show up until I ran the extra distance. Back to my Merrell Trai Gloves which have a very generous toe box.

    • Brian October 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Thanks Andrew. You must have wide feet too. The pinky toe is where I usually cop it when a shoe is a touch narrow for me. Other than the fit were they a good choice for the marathon?

      • Andrew Cowell October 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

        Apart from the fit, perfect I would say. Pete Larson’s review http://www.runblogger.com/2012/05/saucony-kinvara-3-review-and-find-your.html influenced me, plus they were on clearance :) I have the beginnings of bunions which doesn’t help on the fit front.

      • Andrew Cowell October 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

        Can you suggest a shoe with a 4mm drop and a good wide toe box?

        • Brian October 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

          Not that I’ve run in, but I’m sure there are a few about. I will see what Twitter says!

  2. Mark Gorski September 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Nice work Brian. Agree 100% on having to wear them in a bit before they feel cherry ripe. The Kinvara 4 is my first go at them and after about 50k’s they softened up a bit and now are spot on. On first feel they felt quite flat with little shape but again they’ve almost moulded to my foot. Reminds me a bit of the Adiprene cushioning that Adidas use where it just takes a few miles to get them where you like them and after that they go forever.

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Cheers Mark. What sort of runs and pace are you using them for? Good call on the Adiprene example.

      • Mark Gorski September 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

        I know a lot of runners are using them as a general shoe for all their work but I prefer them for tempo runs and intervals personally. Just a bit too flat for me for the longer stuff but certainly in my regular rotation of shoes at the moment.