Saucony’s Kinvara saved my running life. I can’t believe Saucony is already on the Kinvara 8. When I first decided to become a runner, I took off in a pair of beaten up Nike Frees. They were already several years, so they were worn out from the start. Not knowing anything about running, I didn’t know how bad an idea it was to start adding mileage in shoes I was already busting through. I trained in pain and eventually had to take time off with an injury. Here is my story about how a pair of shoes helped me discover running in a new way, as well as the new Kinvara 8 review.
I decided to stop by the Fort Worth Running Company to ask some questions. The workers there asked me if I wanted to be fitted for shoes. I was nervous. What if my feet and gait turned out to be horrible? What if I shouldn’t run at all?
But I fought past the nerves, and yes it took a second trip into the store for me to agree to the evaluation. After the treadmill, the staff suggested the Kinvara 2. My first run in that pair of shoes was a revelation. The scales fell off my eyes, and I realized how running was meant to feel. I no longer drove my feet directly into the ground with each step.
The Kinvara 2 was light, yet cushioned enough to give me the soft landing I needed. I ran through three pairs of that shoe. Then I upgraded to the Kinvara 3 and loved it a
s well. Kinvara 4 was one of my all-time favorite shoes. Saucony kept improving on my running shoe love. Then came the Kinvara 5. Not as big of a fan. The six fell short of my Kinvara expectations as well.
I have run through three different pairs of the Kinvara 7s in the past year, and I have loved them all. The feel was back to what I knew in my first few years running. I notched my current half marathon and full marathon PRs in the Kinvara 7, and most of my faster-paced workouts came in those shoes.
So, when I slipped on the Kinvara 8 for the first time a few weeks ago, I held my breath. Shoe updates are scary things, and most runners have experienced the loss of a favorite trainer (either the brand dropping the shoe or drastically changing it).
I stepped gingerly and hoped I would feel that familiar Kinvara bounce. I immediately felt the shoe was different. But it wasn’t a disappointing change. Saucony’s biggest update from the Kinvara 7 to the Kinvara 8 is a full-length Everun topsole. Everun is really soft (Saucony boasts that it has more energy return). The Kinvara 7 had Everun only in the heel; the
Kinvara 8 has Everun all the way through the toebox.
The Everun change makes the shoe feel much softer than I expected, especially the initial step-in feel. I still get that familiar Kinvara responsiveness mid-run, however. The stack height has increased one millimeter to 23mm/19mm. But the offset of 4mm from heel to toe remains the same. The difference isn’t noticeable. The weight also went up by .2 ounces to 7.9 ounces for a men’s size 9. But again, the difference is too small to change the feel. The flex through the forefoot is similar to the Kinvara 7. A softer and smoother transition through the forefoot, thanks to the Everun update, is the main difference.
I’m currently rotating two pairs of the Kinvara 8 with my other trainers. They are performing well so far. I have tallied more than 50 miles between the two of them. I’m using them for medium-long runs, and if I have a harder-paced run on the schedule, I’m likely to select the Kinvara 8 out of my arsenal. The Kinvara 8 is now my go-to trainer, and I anticipate I will wear out at least four pairs total before the Kinvara 9.
I spent a weekend back in Fort Worth recently. I ran several times and rediscovered the streets and trails I used when I first started running. Fort Worth Running Company was just down the road from the Airbnb house Rachel and I stayed in. I ran back and forth past it at least four times. Two of those runs were in my shiny new Kinvara 8s.
Life is fun like that.
My experience in the Fort Worth Running Company allowed me to keep training. I thought back to that shoe fitting and how much it helped me stick with running. It also helped me when it was clear I needed to shift away from sports journalism. Why couldn’t I help others the same way. All of those things led me to where I am today. And I’m grateful.
I enjoyed those Fort Worth runs so much. I rolled up and down the Trinity Trails, and I toured the TCU campus. Each mile reminded me where I started. I saw the spot where I passed out in the last 10K of the Cowtown Marathon. Another point almost made me cry, as I thought back to the Fort Worth Running Club Labor Day 15K. It was my first time to run for eight miles straight. I did run/walk the final 1.3 miles of that race, but that was the first moment I felt like a runner.
So much has changed since that day. But I’m still that happy runner deep down. Grateful for the Kinvaras on my feet.
Runners have love-hate relationships with their shoes. The Kinvara 2 was my first love. We stuck together for a few years then spent some time apart. Now we are back together. An only flamed reignited.
Thank you Saucony for not screwing up my favorite shoe. Yet.