Saucony Kinvara 3 and TR
Written by: Greg Kopecky
Added: Wed Apr 17 2013
The first thing that suggested to me that the Kinvara has stayed fairly steady in its incarnations was the weight; still 7.7 ounces for a men’s size 9. I brought out a pair of my well used original Kinvaras to compare them to the new model:
The Kinvara 3 did get the addition of Saucony’s ‘FlexFilm’ upper, which is said to offer a more seamless and natural feel.
The thing I like about modern Saucony shoes is the fact that they actually tell you the dimensions of what you’re buying. Each shoe gets its own tech sheet, which is available in PDF form on the product website. Here is a portion of the sheet for the Kinvara 3:
“We report thickness and offset of the midsole/outsole unit. We don’t include sockliners because they are about 1/3rd or less of the stiffness of midsoles, so their effective contribution to the actual thickness and offset experienced by the runner during running is minimal. Not to say the sockliner is unimportant; it just doesn’t determine the cushioning and sagittal plane foot alignment experienced by the runner to the same degree as the midsole/outsole so we feel it gives a better measure of the functional characteristics of the shoe to report only midsole/outsole. Of course, there’s no great way to reduce the characteristics of a shoe to a few numbers.”
I can live with that. Perhaps a true measure of shoe thickness ought to include an effective compressed thickness of the shoe’s insole at an average runner’s weight (i.e. a 3mm unweighted insole might be 1mm under the weight of a 170lb runner). Whatever the future holds, I appreciate Saucony’s effort to make their shoe’s thickness and ramp/offset known. The only criticism I have is that this information is hidden inside a PDF file that you must download; I think it deserves a spot front-and-center along with weight and price.
The Kinvara remains as it was originally intended: a neutral, low-ramp, nicely cushioned shoe. In my opinion, it offers ‘more shoe’ than you expect, given the weight of it. It feels cushy, but not dead. Lively, but not harsh like a racing-only shoe. It achieves a middle ground that seems to please a wide audience. Those looking for more stability in a similar package will likely want to try the Mirage 3.
Kinvara 3 Specs:
-Weight: 7.7oz (men’s size 9)
-Heel-to-toe offset (ramp): 4mm
-Forefoot height (midsole + outsole): 18mm
-Heel height (midsole + outsole): 22mm
-Category: Neutral / Cushioned / ‘Natural’
-Sizes: Men’s 7-13, 14, 15
-Standard and Wide available
The Kinvara TR is the trail-intended cousin of the Kinvara 3.
Where did the weight come from? The shoe is noticeably different than the Kinvara 3 in your hands. Specifically, it has a puncture-resistant sole and more durable rubber:
The only downside is that it doesn’t feel quite as pillowy-soft as the road Kinvaras. The stiffer forefoot surely makes your foot an effective lever for fast running; it just doesn’t feel quite as friendly. I think that is likely a necessary evil – if you want a light weight trail shoe, something has to give. A rock plate adds weight, and so does a thick sole (so they tone down the sole thickness). I’ve seen New Balance do the same thing with their trail racers – the 790, MT100, and MT110 – all of which I’ve owned and liked. You get puncture protection, good weight, but unfortunately lose a little bit of cushion in the execution. In their defense, I really like the Kinvara TR sockliner (it feels very similar to the standard Kinvara), which gains back a few points in comfort.
Kinvara TR Specs:
-Weight: 7.9oz (men’s size 9)
-Heel-to-toe offset (ramp): 4mm
-Forefoot height (midsole + outsole): 12.5mm
-Heel height (midsole + outsole): 16.5mm
-Category: Neutral / Trail
-Sizes: Men’s 7-13, 14
-Standard width only
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