Saucony Kinvara 2010

With the Kinvara Saucony is jumping on the "midfoot/forefoot strike" bandwagon. I see more and more companies building shoes for this growing group of customers seeking to emulate or optimize this running style.

The Kinvara is build with a more level midsole than a typical shoe, meant to stimulate the mid-to-forefoot strike. "Level" in this case means there is less difference in height between heel and forefoot.

There is almost no carbon rubber on the outsole, so the weight is pretty low at 7.7 oz. The lightweight upper contributes to this shoe's light weight. The midsole is made with ProGrid LITE in the heel and for the rest it's a spongy, responsive EVA+.

What I really like about this shoe is that it feels pretty stable if you consider the weight. This is for the most part due to wide base in the midfoot (quite wide for a very lightweight trainer). Where most lightweight trainers and racing flats have minimal midsole in the arch area the Kinvara has the opposite.

Also notable is that the upper is made from several layers. The upper starts with a thin layer of breathable, ?very big-holed? mesh material; then there is a sort of skeleton construction which grabs your feet; and last there is a semi-transparent outer layer.

Another departure from typical shoes is the lack of a firm heel counter. Does this matter? No, I think it's very well done and will appeal to the group of customers who like minimalist shoes.

I wrote last year that I think Saucony just hit it right with a different approach to some new models. They did it again with this model. In my opinion this is how such a shoe in this category is supposed to be made. It's light, it's flexible, it allows you to run as natural as you can while still protecting your feet.

If you liked Nike's Skylons from a couple of years ago you will love this shoe. For those triathletes who can run in a neutral shoe this could also serve as an excellent racing flat up to 70.3 distances.

Lastly, if you need for your shoe to match your outfit on raceday, I've seen this model in red, blue, light blue, orange and green.

[Editor's note: Our capable editor-at-large for footwear Jeroen van Geelen owns Total Running, one of the more important running and triathlon retail establishments in The Netherlands.]