Saucony Kinvara 8 Review Facts
The Saucony Kinvara line has long been known as a versatile, lightweight and comfortable running shoe , making it one of the most popular trainers available. As the successor to the Kinvara 7, the 8th version of this shoe offers much of the same quality as its predecessor, and then some. Kinvara’s engineering philosophy has been consistent in delivering a low heel-toe offset, ample amounts of underfoot cushioning, and a lightweight design. In regards to these qualities, the Kinvara 8 surely holds true to form. What makes this new model an improvement from the former is the adaptation of the EVERUN topsole and its highly breathable upper mesh design. Altogether, the Kinvara 8 is a versatile shoe able to handle long and slow-paced workouts as easily as fast-paced training sessions. For a very reasonable price, it gives runners the natural experience they’ve found in previous versions of this trustworthy shoe.
Saucony’s Kinvara 8 builds its outsole using the same recipe that made the Kinvara 7 an improvement from the Kinvara 6. The sixth version used triangular rubber pods which had little success while dispersing impact. The Kinvara 7’s outsole instead was constructed using Saucony’s Tri-Flex rubber technology which improves flexibility. Constructing the Kinvara 8 with the same Tri-Flex rubber insures the shoe remains lightweight and offers protection. The added surface area gives the shoe a larger platform and increase its stability. The heel is molded with the same XT-900 carbon rubber found in the Saucony Xodus 2.0
, thus adding traction and durability.
The outsole also features injection-blown rubber, or iBR+ rubber, strategically placed around the lateral arch and the forefoot. The new technology is 33% lighter than standard blown rubber, meant to improve traction
and durability, while also absorbing three times the amount of impact than standard material. Some drawbacks of the blown rubber include an increase in the shoe’s weight and its specific placement. Its location leaves the midsole foam highly exposed to ground contact. Runners and other reviewers noticed wear after 50 miles.
The midsole of the Kinvara 8 is a moderately thick layer of Saucony’s SuperLite EVA cushioning, or SSL EVA, that runs along the full length of the shoe. This blend of EVA cushioning maximizes the shoe’s energy return and durability all while minimizing its weight. The midsole cushion is more dense in this model than it has been previously, yet it is equally as soft and maintains its integrity longer than standard EVA foam. A heel insert, roughly 2-3 mm thick and made from a thermoplastic polyurethane based EVERUN material
, contributes more cushioning for the foot as well. To some reviewers’ dismay, the midsole is left vulnerable by the location of the outsole’s iBR+ blown rubber. In large, this is a very similar midsole to the seventh edition of the Kinvara, except the midsole of the Kinvara 8 is overlaid with EVERUN topsole, a new technology that places the cushioning closer to the foot.
Saucony’s Kinvara 8 shows off a redesigned upper with engineered mesh fused with FlexFilm, an inner shoe sleeve and midfoot straps that provide the shoe its secure fit. FlexFilm is a lightweight, yet durable, material that is melded to the upper shoe. It allows for fewer layers of shoe, resulting in a flexible and seamless feeling. Saucony’s Pro-Lock lacing system has been met with mixed feelings. Some think that it successfully holds the midfoot in place without localizing pressure points. On the other side, it is said to be unnecessary while constricting the foot. In regards to the lacing system, some users found the laces were, “too flimsy,” and less durable than desired. A removable insole gives the runner more cushion and an inner shoe-sleeve hugs the foot securely.
Saucony’s line of Kinvaras have generally been known for their lightweight
properties. Weighing in at 7.9 ounces, the eighth edition follows the norm. With perforated mesh and the SSL EVERUN cushioning, the upper and midsole of the shoe are composed of leading lightweight technology. The outsole, with the added components, maintains an excellent cushioning-to-weight- ratio. Keep in mind, the Kinvara 8 did add weight since last year’s model with the addition of the iBR+ blown rubber.
The Kinvara 8, composed of open-poured perforated mesh, is a very breathable shoe. It breathes better than the Kinvara 7 due to the reduction of FlexFilm. The Kinvara 7 had FlexFilm throughout the middle and forefoot of the upper, whereas the eighth model uses it sparingly near the inner midfoot and lateral forefoot. By using less, the shoe’s ventilation is better and the absence of material results in less weight. Although less prevalent in this year’s model, the FlexFilm still lends its qualities to help refine the look of the shoe and help it breathe.
The Kinvara 8 is noted as a “supremely comfortable” shoe and noticeably softer than previous versions. The Run-Dry fabric that the inner shoe-sleeve is made from provides runners with more cushioning on their instep. After all, this shoe was built to include a pillar of high-performing comfort. The EVERUN
midsole, with added topsole comfort and a removeable insole, is one of the biggest contributors to the comfort level of the shoe. The additional rubber on the outsole was incorporated in part to add some aspect of comfort. However, the shoe’s lacing system has left some users dissatisfied. The Pro-Lock lacing system, otherwise an internal lock system, is considered by some as unnecessary and may hinder the natural movement of the foot. As a solution, laces had to be loosened even for those who possess a more narrow foot. The negative side effects could cause discomfort for runners with low arches or wider feet.
The Kinvara 8 was built with the line’s signature simplicity and a minimal structure in addition to a smooth and sleek-looking design. The new model has more mesh in its upper. The singular-dense, perforated material gives the Kinvara 8 a more refined look than the seventh edition. The thinner, almost transparent layers make the shoe appear more compact and more of a ‘race-day’ looking shoe.
A pair of Kinvara 8’s will not be remembered for their longevity. The time you spend in these shoes, however, will be remembered for the quality of miles as opposed to the quantity. The tread is known to wear quickly. Despite the added iBR+ blown rubber, which was intended to add durability, degeneration begins to occur after a short time. Some reviewers described slight wear on the outsole just after 15 miles. The layer of Flex-Film found in the upper mesh was included to improve the durability of the mesh, which it does. If Saucony fans are looking for a long-lasting shoe, then the Freedom ISO
is another option that trumps the Kinvara 8 in durability.
With the shoe’s minimalistic construction, and highly breathable upper mesh, the Kinvara 8 does not offer runners great amounts of protection. While the shoe breathes great, this valued characteristic means the foot is less able to protect during harsher elements such as wet and cold. Before its attrition, the iBR+ blown rubber does protect the bottom foot against frequent contact zones.
The inclusion of the EVERUN midsole in the Kinvara 8 provides optimal energy return while also lending support to the foot. This shoe is responsive enough to handle races of various distances as well as daily recovery runs. The Kinvara 7 included only a small portion of EVERUN cushioning within the heel. The eighth edition incorporates the technology throughout the entire midsole, thus lending its 83% increase in energy return to the entire foot. Consequently, the material adds weight to the shoe. The outsole’s construction gives minimal contribution to the responsiveness. With that, the Kinvara line has always been known for its excellent responsiveness and the return in energy you, the runner, receive from this shoe is ample for your speed training as well as your endurance work.
Kinvara 8 offers the same, if not more, support than its most recent model. The entire EVERUN midsole and supportive heel do nothing but aid in the shoe’s stability and improve its comfort
. The EVERUN cushioning equals more support and a natural running experience. When doing speed training, the cushioning system successfully supports the arches
of the foot. Runners will also find that less support in the heel suits the shoe better for speed training rather than continuous turns on a track. The Pro-Lock lacing internal strap system and isolated shoe-hole give the upper its supportive build while locking the foot down with its minimal overlay and light material. Some users thought it to be unneeded as the shoe’s other properties provided ample enough support.
The Kinvara 8 was born to be a road shoe
. None of its properties suggest it as a shoe capable of handling technical terrain. Its design is unstructured, lacks any stiff points and includes soft cushioning throughout the entire shoe. It may not hold up as well on wet and slippery roads either, as the shoe is neither waterproof nor water resistant. The Kinvara 8 is best suited for roads and track surfaces. The shallow ridges of the outsole do a good job with not picking up small rocks and other debris. In the opinion of other reviews, the Kinvara 8 is a stripped down version of the Saucony Ride
and handles itself in a similar manner on identical terrains.
You can find a pair of the Saucony Kinvara 8’s anywhere from $100-$110. For an extremely versatile shoe, they come at a very reasonable price. Its design accommodates several running styles while maintaining its lightweight and comfortable qualities. There are other shoes on the market that accomplish the same goals, but at a steeper price. While the three-digit price range may widen your eyes a little bit, know you are getting a bargain in the newest addition to the Kinvara shoe line.
The Kinvara 8’s chevron-patterned outsole is built to maximize traction. The chevrons are constructed in a way to maximize the shoe’s traction. However, the new iBR+ rubber is strategically placed along the bottom of the shoe - specifically within high-wear areas. A commonly found issue arises when the rubber begins to wear, which is said to occur quickly, and traction decreases. During wet conditions, the shoe’s grip becomes ‘sketchy’. Coupling that with the lack of blown rubber along the lateral forefoot limit this shoe to dry roads and tracks and possibly some manicured trails
Last year’s model of the Kinvara was known to be somewhat stiff for men and women, possibly due to the amount of Flex-Film used in the upper and lack of an entire EVERUN midsole. Saucony made sure that wasn’t an issue with the Kinvara 8. Removing most of the Flex-Film from the upper, the shoe allows itself to move and breathe more freely. By using Tri-Flex rubber in the outsole, and adding the EVERUN technology to the midsole make the Kinvara 8 an extremely flexible shoe.
By providing enough surface area for the shoe to have an ample amount of ground contact, smooth transitions and more stability
throughout each stride, the Kinvara 8 makes itself as stable as the Kinvara 7. In the eighth model, runners will feel a stiff heel counter and Saucony’s XT-900 carbon rubber composing the rearfoot outsole. The remaining outsole, made of Tri-Flex rubber, gives the shoe its platform and increasing the stability. This shoe is soft and comfortable at slow speeds and stable and firm enough to handle faster-paced workouts. The midsole lacks a medial post, which would enhance the stability of the ride.
At 4mm, runners are going to find a reduced heel-to-toe drop in the Kinvara 8. As opposed to what they were given with the seventh model. Although the difference is less than a millimeter, runners will be brought closer to a neutral plane - albeit at a cost. Shoe’s with a lower drop, such as the Kinvara 8, generally result in added stress on lower leg tendons and ligaments for the less experienced. Traditional trainers, like the ASICS GT-2000 4
, have an average drop of 10-12mm. Minimalistic shoes
, on the other hand have much lower drops like 4mm. At 0mm, some have none at all. The 4mm drop is ideal for midfoot strikers, although the Kinvara 8 may still be enjoyable to those who strike with their heels.
• Newly added EVERUN topsole construction gives a greater return on energy
• “Pro-Lock” lacing system embraces the midfoot
• iBR+ rubber blown outsole gives traction and flexibility
• Flex-Film allows for fewer layers in the shoe, resulting in a seamless and flexible product.
Kinvara 8 is a very nice update from the seven. Bottom line, runners who stay with the Kinvara line get a shoe they trust and love with an increased amount of cushioning and comfort. Whether your plans include a regular jog or competition, the Kinvara 8 is a lightweight trainer that can handle the variation. The added layer of Saucony’s EVERUN topsole and wider toe-box add significant improvements, while keeping the newest model true to the Kinvara roots. At its suggested price, the quality and flexibility of the Kinvara 8 comes at a bargain. Buyers should be aware of the longevity of the shoe. While it is not the longest lasting shoe, the time you do spend with the shoes will be time well spent.