Saucony Kinvara 9
The Saucony Kinvara 9 is a versatile, minimalist running shoe that will be your trusty race companion. It’s light, fast, flexible and comfortable, with a firmer midsole that provides amazing responsiveness. The ‘9’ in the name signifies the nine years of the Kinvara line’s existence, which has now become a cult classic.
This performance shoe is best for half-marathons, speed work, but it will prove immensely comfy on easy runs around the block as well. The lacing system is lauded by some and hated by others, but the fact is it offers more stability to the shoe. The only real downside of the Kinvara 9 being so lightweight is the outsole, which isn’t as durable as one would hope for. This, however, won’t be an issue for recreational runners who don’t log extensive miles each week.
- Very responsive
- Flexible, with smooth heel-to-toe transition
- Strategic Rubber Tri-Flex outsole offers good traction
- Great minimalist design
- 4mm natural drop
- Shorter outsole lifespan of approximately 250-300 miles
- Some users are opposed to the Pro-Lock midfoot lacing system
- These cradle the foot great. They have a more structured heel and the midfoot area is substantially more secure fling. They have great cushioning and the padding in the tongue is great. They are a bit more flexible
- These do not feel like they wear me out. I can feel my feet on the ground yet they are supportive and cushioned. They have great structure to them and the narrow heel cup feels snug and secure. Great shoe for an old man that likes to run without pain.
- The arch on these seems to be a bit narrower than the older ones. They are a good length though and they give you a pep to your step. They have a great seamless feel on the inside, so no hot spots. I would say it is safe to run sockless in these as well. Great design and great shoe.
- Nice snug heel feel to these and the shoe fits perfect to size. They have super arch support and have a nice flex to them. I run all the time and I think these are the best shoes I have found.
- I moved from the 6 to these and they are a great upgrade to an already awesome shoe. I do not race in them but I use them for all the training and intervals. They are very light and could be used as such though. I put 500 miles on the 6s and they are still usable.
- Very durable shoes and very light and comfortable. Never had any blisters or pain from these. They don't have tions of cushioning but they are perfect for those marathon runners.
- I really like these and so does the wife. I would suggest a half size larger, our toes push up against the front when we run.
- Super light and comfortable. They aren't too stylish but heck, they make you move with ease and comfort.
- Lowest part of these is support but they make up for it in everything else. They are so freaking comfy and light and have a the perfect amount of cushioning for what they are made for. I have had no break in issue with these either.
- These have some great energy feed back to them and are very light. They are fast and have just a little support in them. The upper is snug and feels nice. They aren't flimsy, they are well made shoes and I love wearing them.
- Not much to the arches in these but comfortable nonetheless. They fit really nice and to size. They are minimal in the cushioning but still comfortable. The color looks great too.
- Nice flexible toe box. They are very light as well, I love it!
- These are comfortable, affordable and a nice weight. I like using them for my speed training.
- I love this brand and what they offer, super great shoes. I had the 7 and 8s but these are too narrow I couldn't wear them. Maybe it’s the new lock in system but they are painfully tight. These are a low drop neutral shoe though and I just think they really missed it with these.
- The newer parts of the shoe they added add a lot of support to the shoe. They are so nice and comfortable and have a nice weight to them.
- These are so responsive and a little bigger. They do not have as much stability as I would like but the shoe is amazing. I can feel my foot touching the ground in these. These are for secure runners who do not need extra support.
- I use thee for my marathons and speed training without any issues. They are some seriously well designed shoes. Not a support shoe but they are comfortable, light and very responsive.
- Great runner and has a great quality, flexible feel to them. They are so light and comfortable it is unreal. They are just supportive enough. They are not support shoes.
- Really well fitting shoes and have just the right amount of support for those long distances. I am really enjoying my shoes and highly recommend them.
- They have a really nice color to them and they are light. They run a bit small so go up if ya can or get fitted.
- These are a really nice and responsive shoe. They are comfortable and light, and really keep you wanting to run. I always get what I expect from this model, 100%.
- I was getting these to work in and ended up doing my relays and running in them, who knew!? They are so comfortable and light and perfect for speed training and long distance running. They are a bit narrow. They have the perfect amount of toe space not wide not narrow. They breathe great, the mesh is soft and stretchy. I am buying another pair in case.
- These really hug my feet and work well with my large build, 6 foot and 210 lbs. I had the 2s and these are so much better, great upgrade Saucony.
- I was surprised and the lightweight feel these have for a running shoe. They are lightly cushioned but it is really good cushioning These have been so good long and short distance, I am so pleasantly surprised by these.
- After 2 months and only 60 miles, these shoes have began to tear in the mesh material and the shoe laces ae breaking apart. Very unreliable and cheap.
- The sole is way too squishy for me, like I am sinking into concrete. These do not feel firm like the older version when you are running. They are a bit snugger though. I am disappointed in the feel of these.
- Well made shoe, I am just used to the finger shoes. These are specific to a normal foot. Nothing to help issues or extras for performance. These are not for me.
- Worst Sauconys ever made. They are ugly and they are way too soft in the sole. They have absolutely zero support. The sole is nonexistent, leaving your foot to the elements such as rocks and pebbles. These are an insult to the brand itself, they make good shoes.
- I ended up going with another shoe, these did not have any cushioning and were so weird feeling due to it.
This omission of the grippy rubber compound was likely made in order to make the outsole lighter than before. This rubber compound in the areas of high ground contact provides more durability to the shoe, while its strategic placement increases forefoot flexibility. The rest of the outsole features an arrow-like injection-blown rubber pattern that is designed to ensure a faster and smoother toe-off.
In the upper part of the midsole area, there’s the EVERUN full-length topsole that adds another layer of bouncy cushioning. The EVA + is a fairly durable compound that needs a few runs to soften up, but once that happens, the midsole won’t flatten or become hard, but will instead keep the rebound and responsiveness on approximately the same level for miles to come.
Some runners will enjoy the Pro-Lock midfoot lacing system, which remains unchanged from the Kinvara 9’s predecessor. After all, it does provide greater stability and firmness to the movements of the gait cycle; however, some low-arch and wide-foot runners would argue that it makes the upper less flexible and makes the natural toe-off harder than it should be.
This is in no way a dealbreaker and it’s easily fixed by simply loosening the laces. This version’s tongue is slimmer and more breathable, lying flat against the top of the foot.
Additionally, this minimalist shoe features a wide toe box and comes in wider versions as well – D for men and B for women. The softness of the supportive woven heel lessens the Achilles tension and makes the ride enjoyable and forgiving even for the heel-strikers.
In this aspect, the Saucony Kinvara 9 has continued with the 9-year-old tradition. This new model has an obvious two-part upper, with a noticeable difference between the structured Flexfilm and the engineered mesh in the front, which is a novelty compared to the Kinvara 8. Also, the Kinvara 9 looks slimmer, but isn’t – it’s just the lower lateral edges of the shoe that make it appear as such. The shoe comes in 9 (!) color combinations, with the pure white as a special treat to all hard-core minimalists out there.
This may lead to quicker wear and tear and a slight loss of cushioning as the mileage goes up. You can expect to go anywhere from 200 to 350 miles in these shoes, which can be an issue if you’re logging serious miles per week. However, this lack of longevity does come with increased flexibility and smooth transition, especially with the added outsole flex grooves. The durability of the Saucony Kinvara 9 will be an issue only if that’s the only running shoe you’re using.
The Saucony Kinvara 9 isn’t a waterproof shoe, so if you like to run in every weather, make sure you have a sturdier shoe for snowy and rainy days.
The ride in the Kinvara 9 shoe will be lively, energized and springy, with the grooved outsole providing a smoother transition, encouraging a faster heel strike to toe-off. The overall responsiveness of this running shoe is fantastic, with the forefoot feeling just a little bit snappier.
However, if you tend to underpronate or overpronate significantly, you might need to find a more supportive shoe, especially for everyday runs.
The low drop means there is less midsole cushioning, which is why we would take this running shoe on a half-marathon, but we’d opt for a more cushioned option for distances longer than that.
The Saucony Kinvara 9 is made to work with you, not against you, so this forefoot flexibility allows for a stronger toe-off and a comfier ride. Much like the Kinvara 8, the 9 requires a short break-in period in order to soften up the EVA+ midsole (which isn’t a single-density one but features multiple layers) and achieve the maximum flexibility levels.
Additionally, the lacing system provides great stability to the top of the foot and minimizes the risk of injury from a twisted ankle. This lightweight running shoe is a great option for every runner that leans toward a firmer racing shoe that provides enough stability, given the category and the purpose of the shoe itself. Of course, there are always dedicated stability shoes if you require some additional support while running.
● EVA+ midsole with EVERUN full-length topsole
● Flexfilm engineered mesh upper
● Extremely comfortable, especially if you prefer firmer shoes
● Great price point
● Less durable outsole due to frugal use of rubber
● Road, track and treadmill shoe
● Extremely flexible
● Fantastic responsiveness
It’s one of the best minimalist running shoes on the market and every runner who isn’t all that crazy for extra cushioned, bulky running shoes will fall head over toes for them. With a great design and a better price point, the Kinvara 9 is a really attractive shoe. However, no one’s perfect, including the Saucony Kinvara 9, which sacrificed a bit of its durability to its light weight and flexibility required for speed training.