Product Review: The Saucony Kinvara 5 (Running Shoe)

The Saucony brand was once my favorite running shoes. They were lightweight, felt like I was running on air, and priced reasonably compared to other brands on the market. I have gotten away from them in the past couple of years, mostly due to the fact they just didn’t feel quite right when I put them on anymore. I wondered what happened to my beloved brand. But recently, Saucony offered to send me a pair of Kinvara 5s to try, and I thought I would give them another chance, and review them with an open mind.

When they first arrived, I was taken aback by the brightness of the shoe color. Wow these were bright! I swear they glowed (still do as a matter of fact). My hubby was waiting for a pair of Saucony’s he ordered from Road Runners Sports,  and thought they might be his, but nope, they were mine. He was jealous, they ended up being brighter than his. Although I would have selected the sky blue color, I thought this was a nice serendipity that they matched my SunRype outfit. Now I could be even more ‘matchy matchy’(a running faux-paux according to Runner’s World).

These were fabulous (even sockless!) right out of the box. Super comfortable and were so lightweight. So light and so comfortable, those feelings of blissful nostalgia came back as I once again experienced that feeling of walking on air. Shoes so comfy, it was almost as if I were not wearing them. With a 4MM drop, this was definitely not the feel I expected. Could this be that ‘Shangri-La’ shoe I had been searching for that had alluded me? I needed to withhold any final verdicts though; I still needed to run in them to really get a good feel for them.

Some website facts:

  • New, more flexible and durable lightweight mesh material
  • FLEXFILM locks in the foot without adding weight
  • Enhanced EVA+ material with better abrasion resistance
  • Added small placements of iBR+ rubber to provide more durability and cushioning
  • RunDry for inner lining that helps guard against chafing
  • Pro-Lock lacing system added: Provides a locked-in midfoot fit for a better overall fit
  • Neutral Shoe
  • Re-designed collar construction: Creates plush feel around the foot/ankle
  • iBR+ midfoot outsole pods: Offers a smoother transition
  • Decoupled heel: Allows foot to move more freely

Specs:

  • Men’s weight 7.07oz
  • Women’s weight 6.7oz
  • 4MM Heel to Toe Offset

Like I said, the shoes were so comfy, I started running in them right away. I received them on a light running week, which was the Tuesday before the Rock n’ Roll Portland, so I didn’t go very far at first. I was able to run a 3 miler and a 4 miler before deciding they were so comfy, and the runs so smooth, I would chance running the half on Sunday with them.. Chancy? Yes. But the Kinvara 5 had such a spacious fit in the forefoot and I felt no pinching or squeezing, and It was a very comfortable shoe, so why not?

The race went well. The shoes were super comfortable and felt as if I had already broken them in. There was one minor issue though.  There is a new feature on the shoe called Pro-Lock lacing system. During the run, on my outer right mid foot, I noticed this feature bunching or slipping and I had to readjust a few times. Now I adjust, tighten my shoes, and this issue seems to have gone away. I have gotten used to that feature or figured how to work it.

Women's Kinvara 5, bright yellow showing the 'PRO-Lock Sytem' see the little V? I think that is what can bunch up if not secured.

Women’s Kinvara 5, bright yellow showing the ‘PRO-Lock Sytem’ see the little V? I think that is what can bunch up if not secured.

A great feature I noticed, but not mentioned in the product info is stain resistance. It rained, and sometimes poured, at that Rock ‘N’ Roll Portland. My feet were not uncomfortably soaked from before the race (getting wet while waiting for the race to start). Also, there were muddy fields before and after the race I had to traverse several times, and these shoes still looked great after. I figured the shoes would be stained or thoroughly soiled from going back and forth chatting with people and checking out the band, but they were not!  They have some sort of stain and water resistance to them, which I think is great for light-colored shoes. I am not saying they looked brand new, but they don’t look like they went through a muddy day that is for sure. They are dirtier now of course after many miles and rainy days, but still look pretty good for almost 100 miles..

When I first looked at the shoes, the fabric on top of the Kinvara 5 shoe seemed thin. Which meant better breathability, but I feared the thin mesh fabric would lead to a hole in my shoe. You know what I am talking about- the big toe spot that may rub? However, after over 75 miles on this shoe, I do not even have the start of a hole. Nor do my toes rub, and the fabric seems hardier than other lightweight shoes I have worn in the past (I had a pair of brooks with a hole with two weeks of wearing them- those shoes are why I now buy with a minimum one month return warranty). I really love the large toe box area!

What Saucony says “Women’s SAUCONY® KINVARA 5 :: Kick it up a notch, enjoying comfort and performance that’s better than ever in the newly upgraded Women’s Saucony® Kinvara 5. Get a smooth, responsive ride that’s sure to rock your world with the 5’s new ProLock lacing system that’ll give you an ultra dynamic fit that adapts to your every step. Ease through transitions silky smooth thanks to this running shoe’s new outsole pods, and enjoy an even plusher feel, compliments of the re-designed collar. Plus, you’ll count on the Kinvara 5 to stand the test of time because it now features extra durable mesh in the upper. 6.7 ounces”

PROs:

  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable and easy to run in
  • True to size
  • Flexible soles
  • Seem stain resistant
  • Bright colors (if chosen) almost guarantee visibility
  • 4 styles to choose from (I saw bright yellow, pink (more coral), skyblue, green (Boston special?))
Women's Kinvara 5, bright yellow after 75 miles on them. still looking pretty good!

Women’s Kinvara 5, bright yellow after 75 miles on them. still looking pretty good!

Cons:

  • Ankle collar could feel high/tall in this shoe to show
  • PRO-Lock can be annoying and/or have some rub. Many comment that with a thick tongue and the mesh rub and create hot spots.
  • Tongue slips, moves (common shoe issue)
  • Seems many things I like about the shoe (more plush) have previous Kinvara lovers disappointed. Never worn Kinvara before, so I cannot compare.

Cost: About $100

I love this shoe. I have Mizunos and Brooks I did not love as much as this shoe, and I love those shoes. This one just fits my feet better and feels like I am walking on clouds. I am so glad that Saucony seems to have made the right shoes for my feet again. These are great lightweight shoes and excellent for training and/or long distance runs. The toebox is super roomy for larger feet like mine. They are so comfy in fact, they are now my ‘go to’ shoe.

 

 

 

 

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