The latest shoe in Saucony's Kinvara line has arrived...well for us it has, the rest of you will have to wait until May (or get a sneak peak at the Boston Marathon). Rest assured loyal Kinvara lovers, the latest addition to the line is more of a subtle tweak than a complete overhaul.
The Kinvara 3 also continues the tradition of the less is more attitude of previous models. The Kinvara has done a great job, in our opinion, of combining a lightweight, fairly minimal shoe that is still substantial enough for daily use. Of the minimal shoes that we have tried, the Kinvara line has proven to be one of the more balanced and practical approaches to the minimal shoe craze.
The new Kinvara adds to the extremely popular Kinvara line, actually to be more accurate it adds to, and subtracts from the old Kinvara, at least as far as the upper is concerned. Saucony added a new layer to the outside of the upper called FlexFilm, and they also removed an entire layer from the upper of the previous version of the Kinvara making it lighter and more airy than ever before.
The idea is to increase the flexibility the upper provides without sacrificing anything when it comes to fit. So, what the heck is FLEXFILM? What looks like cool stripes are actually synthetic, flexible bands designed to help lock the foot in place. The FLEXFILM bands are super thin and are actually welded to the upper making the new Kinvara basically seam free.
This is especially good news for triathletes or anyone who runs sans socks, but even if you don't do the barefoot thing, the new upper is a definite improvement in our opinion. As you can see from the inside, ventilation should not be a problem. The entire upper is covered in a lightweight mesh.
Another addition to the Kinvara 3 is found where the rubber meets the road...specifically with more rubber to meet the road. Saucony added rubber to the outsole in the midfoot and toe off areas of the new model to boost overall durability. The new Kinvara also sports a more beveled heel for a smooth heel to forefoot transition.
Saucony kept the 4mm heel to toe offset of the previous model and stamped it plain as day on the insole. We like the minimal drop and have found it to be pretty spot on for our running style. The 4mm drop seems to be a good mix of flattening out the shoe for a more natural ride, while providing a good road hugging feel.
Weight remains unchanged with the Kinvara 3, claimed weight of a size 9 is 7.7 oz.
The new model will receive a $10 price increase bringing the MSRP to $100.
Look for our full review in the coming weeks...in the meantime, check out pictures of the new model as well as the rainbow of available color options for both the men's and women's versions.