Saucony Kinvara 12
The flexible design of this shoe is not only great for quick and snappy runs, but it also performs well at the gym when engaging in lateral movements or cross-training. You can wear this shoe for daily training, and some runners even reserve it for race days.
It’s not bogged down with a lot of extra bells and whistles and is one of the lighter neutral trainers out there on the market. If you are on the hunt for a super lightweight pair of running shoes that have a need for speed, this shoe is worth checking out.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the advanced features that make the Saucony Kinvara 12 a great option for runners that want to shave a few seconds off of their PR!
Affordable price point
4 mm drop provides an excellent ground feel
A thin yet cushioned tongue is comfortable and locks in place
Firm PWRRUN EVA midsole
Available in bright color options
Excellent for cross-training
Not ideal for running long distances
The midsole of this design is composed of Saucony’s tried and tested PWRRUN EVA foam that runs the full length of the shoe. What I love most about this cushioning is that it is insanely responsive. It doesn’t provide you with that super-soft step-in feel that you sometimes find in neutral trainers.
What it lacks in soft padding, it makes up for in speed. Soft cushioning is nice, but it can sometimes turn your gait cycle into mush. The light springboard of this shoe just makes you want to run fast, and it holds just as firm on mile 5 as it does on mile 1.
It’s also important to note that the style of this midsole provides runners with a good deal of flex. While it performs well on nice and easy tempo runs, it’s also a great option for lateral movements as well.
The responsive midsole on the Kinvara 12 offers a modest 4 mm drop, offering an unmatched ground feel to keep you in tune with the ground under your feet.
It’s important to note that this shoe is not built for long distances. While the PRWRUN midsole is built tough, the outsole of this design boasts mostly exposed rubberized foam. The choice to opt for exposed foam with very few rubber reinforcements has its unique advantages and disadvantages.
Exposed rubberized foam is insanely lightweight, and cuts down on the overall weight of the shoe. It is also much more flexible and helps to keep your stride light and bright. The downside? It’s not very durable.
The exposed rubber tends to wear down much more quickly than shoes that utilize a full rubber outsole. You may even start to notice minor signs of wear and tear around the 100-mile mark. While it is lightweight and nimble, it’s not exactly ideal for running long distances.
The modest rubber on the outsole of this shoe makes it ideal for fast laps or easy training days but doesn’t quite reach levels of durability to be classified as a daily trainer workhorse.
The upper boasts a sleek style and has some features that can really benefit your runs. It is composed of tight weave mesh material that is thicker than expected. The upper of this design doesn’t offer as much stretch as expended, and the fit can become a problem for some.
However, the tight weave is insanely durable and will prevent your toes from wearing holes along the top of the shoe. When running in warmer weather, many runners found that this shoe is a little hot and creates a few hots spots along the top of your foot.
While the tight weave mesh may not be ideal for many runners, the new and improved construction of the tongue is a real home run. While the tongue may look thin and minimalist, it is packed with a very thin layer of plush padding that melts into the top of your foot without a lot of extra weight and bulk. It is also sewn in place, which means that it won’t shift around on your feet as you train.
Overall, I would recommend this shoe for runners that want to go fast. The build and features of this running shoe are built to keep your stride light and bright, and the strong and responsive midsole help to naturally propel your feet forward. The design of the minimalist rubberized foam outsole is insanely light. It is perfect for snappy laps, or cross-training in the gym.
While this shoe is light and bright, it is a little lacking in overall durability. The exposed foam on the outsole will start to show signs of wear and tear much more quickly than your classic blown rubber outsole.
It’s a great shoe for quick bursts of energy but isn’t ideal for long distances. It will give you the performance needed for those long runs, but you will find that the outsole starts to wear down fairly quickly as you rack up the miles.
Many runners found that this Saucony shoe ran a little on the small side. The materials used for the upper aren’t very flexible, and fit incredibly tight in the toe box. The shape of the toe box is wide and allows your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe, but the problem lies with the shallow upper along the topside of the shoe.
I would recommend getting about a half size larger than you would normally wear to ensure that the upper gives your foot more room to breathe and flex inside of the shoe.
If you can, head down to your local shoe store to give these shoes a test run before you buy them. While they may look like a run-of-the-mill training shoe, the fit of the tight upper can be a bit of an issue for some.
If you can’t make it to a shoe store, be sure to take sample measurements of your feet and compare them to Saucony’s detailed sizing chart before you make your purchase.
Overall, I feel that Saucony made the newest addition to the Kinvara lineup modern and exciting. It is available in many bright and punchy color options that are sure to get you noticed at the gym. For those that want something a little more neutral, it also comes in more muted tones such as basic black and gray.
The silhouette of the upper sits low on the foot and is anything but clunky. It’s your basic running shoe with a sleek design and poppy color choices that will get you excited to lace up your sneaker and zip around the track!
One of the things that I love most about the Saucony Kinvara 12 is that it comes in at a super affordable price point when compared to similar neutral running shoes out there on the market. It isn’t exactly a budget-friendly option, but it is far more affordable when compared to similar designs.
While the price point may be low, it is important to note that this shoe doesn’t offer the same level of durability as other neutral trainers. It’s a great price point, but this shoe isn’t something that you can necessarily wear as a daily trainer.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
The midsoles of the Kinvara 11 and 12 are both made from Saucony’s PWRRUN materials that offer a bright and springy ride. Additionally, the outsole still utilizes that exposed EVA rubber that is smooth, albeit not very durable.
The older models of the Kinvara had an upper that was hot and a little stiff. Saucony ditched that clunky upper and replaced it with something that is much more lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. The upper is thin but provides just enough cushioning to wrap your feet in comfort and support, which is a huge improvement when compared to previous iterations.
Runners love this option because it has a lower drop of 4 mm that enhances the ground feel, and the super-light design will instantly shave seconds off of your PR. The only downside to this design is that it isn’t quite as durable as other neutral trainers, which means that it is not ideal for longer distances.