Saucony Kinvara 13 Review
Cons: Minimal support, lacks outsole rubber
Compare to Similar Products
Saucony Kinvara 13
$120.00 at REI
$140.00 at REI
$160.00 at REI
$140.00 at REI
$130.00 at REI
|Pros||Responsive, fast, lightweight, affordable||Lightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upper||Premium materials, comfortable upper, sleek lace design||Stable, supportive, comfortable upper||Responsive, snappy feel, performance fit upper|
|Cons||Minimal support, lacks outsole rubber||Less responsive, lacks rubber outsole||Slight uneven ground feel, slight ankle discomfort||Stiff, heavier, less breathable||Stiff outsole, lacks arch support, tight toe-box, slightly heavy|
|Bottom Line||This affordable ultralight model allows for maximum turnover which provides a snappy and quick feeling||These lightweight shoes have top landing comfort and maximum cushion with a great upper||High-end materials and a unique design make this model stand out, but we didn't experience any extra cushioning benefits with the Cloudtec sole design||If you're looking for a supportive and stable shoe with a comfortable upper, this is the model for you||A classic model that is fast and responsive with great energy transfer and a performance fit upper|
|Rating Categories||Saucony Kinvara 13||Hoka One One Mach 5||ON Cloudflyer||Brooks Adrenaline G...||Nike Air Zoom Pegas...|
|Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)|
|Upper Comfort (20%)|
|Lateral Stability and Support (15%)|
|Specs||Saucony Kinvara 13||Hoka One One Mach 5||ON Cloudflyer||Brooks Adrenaline G...||Nike Air Zoom Pegas...|
|Weight (per shoe, size 9.5)||7.3 oz||8.0 oz||10.2 oz||10.4 oz||9.5 oz|
|Heel to Toe Drop||4 mm||5 mm||9 mm||12 mm||10 mm|
|Midsole Material||EVA||PROFLY+||Helion EVA||EVA||React foam|
|Sole Rubber||Rubber||Rubberized EVA||Rubber||Rubber||Rubber|
|Upper Material||Engineered Mesh||Engineered mesh||Synthetic mesh||Mesh||Mesh|
|Width Options||Normal||Normal||Normal||Normal, Wide||Normal|
|Sizes Available||7 - 15||7 - 14||7 - 14||7 - 15||6 - 18|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Compared to the other contenders in our men's running shoe review, the Saucony Kinvara series stands out for runners who prefer a lightweight trainer that keeps you light on your feet and provides great ground feel and power transfer. This model is no different. Coming in at 7.30 ounces (men's size 9.5), this is one of the lightest all-around trainers we've tested.
For short to medium-distance speed work and racing, this is our favorite model. The ultra-lightweight design helps allow for an unimpeded turnover that feels fast and agile. This model is made for experienced runners who need little added support to maintain proper form even when the fatigue sets in. The 4-millimeter heel-to-toe drop can be unforgiving to those that have not conditioned their legs to such a lightweight design. While some may find this model works well for daily all-around use, we suspect that most will find this a niche model which is suited best for fast mid-distance running.
Cushioning and Landing Comfort
While not the stiffest model in our lineup, there is no denying that there are more comfortable shoes out on the market, especially for long-distance running. However, we are constantly impressed with this shoe's ability to offer a minimal responsive cushion in such a lightweight design. It is subtle but firm compression that is noticeable but doesn't feel squishy or like you sinking into the footbed. This cushioning requires a bit more effort to stay on top of when compared to the most responsive models, which is why it is our short-distance favorite.
With a heel-to-toe drop of 4 millimeters, there is little added support for your calves, so you may find this shoe to fatigue you more over longer distances if you're not used to such a design. If you are just getting into running, you may want to find a shoe with a bit more cushion and a higher heel drop. This shoe is best for experienced runners or those looking for a lightweight trainer for faster workouts or races.
With no added carbon plate and less foam underfoot, this model feels a bit less responsive than other models, but there is no denying that this is one of the fastest shoes in our lineup, thanks to its ultra-lightweight design. With it being so light, it's impossible to not feel fast and responsive. Each footstrike is met with a small amount of compaction that is felt on rebounding. The foam has a nice density and is far from plush.
We like this model for shorter, fast efforts below 10 miles. Some experienced runners may find this a great all-around trainer, but those users will most likely have years of conditioning. To push this model further than 10 miles, you will most likely have to slow the pace to allow your legs to have less fatigue, and ultimately the 4-millimeter drop will eventually start to impact you on longer efforts. Similar to how track athletes use minimal heel drop shoes, the lack of high heel drop engages your muscles fully and allows for maximum output. Using this model feels like you are always ready for race day.
A breathable upper is both comfortable and quick-drying and we have zero complaints. This is a standard upper design that just works. While other shoes have started to develop more complicated and intricate designs, we appreciate Saucony sticking with what works. The Kinvara lineup upper has changed very little over all of the model cycles.
A thin tongue wraps around the top of the foot well and we experienced no hotspots or blisters even running when wet. We have no visible signs of excessive wear on our test model and we are happy with the durability. We think users with average foot volume and width would be best suited for this upper design.
Lateral Stability and Support
With the Kinvara's lightweight design, there are very few structural enchantments that allow for extra support and rigidity. This model really requires that your muscles and form do the work for the shoe.
Due to the entire midsole and outsole being foam, there is nothing rigid allowing for added support. Users that require added support should look elsewhere. This model does have enough stiffness to feel like it's solid and planted, but you don't expect a model this light to do extra work for you.
At 7.3 ounces in a men's size 95, this is one of the lightest models we've ever tested and its ultralight design makes this one of our favorites in the lineup.
Your feet and body feel energized and lively when running in this model. Each footstrike feels precise and certain, this model really makes you feel quick. If you have a heavier all-around trainer and you've been looking to supplement your shoe quiver, we think this could be the perfect addition. The weight makes it perfect for short speedwork or longer runs with less intensity. This is one of our favorite models to travel with because they are so light and can tackle almost any type of activity or condition.
Should You Buy the Saucony Kinvara 13?
If you are looking for an ultralight, well-priced addition to your running shoe collection, we cannot recommend this model enough. This is for users that want a shoe for fast runs or a light trainer for all-around use. If you're just getting into running, we'd suggest a shoe with a bit more structure and cushion, and also a model with a higher heel drop. But if you desire speed and the feeling of speed on your feet, we know you'd love this model.
What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?
If you like the idea of a fast trainer but would like a model for more all-around use we'd recommend the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, which is similar to the Kinvara 13 but offers a bit more support and cushioning. This is our favorite model in the lineup and we think the Kinvara and Endorphin Speed 3 are the perfect combination for training and racing. If you are looking for a dedicated race shoe for longer distance events, we'd recommend the Nike Zoom Fly 5 with its carbon plate and higher stack height. If you desire a model that provides ample cushioning that's responsive and light, then the Hoka Mach 5 is for you.
— Matthew Richardson
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