Saucony Kinvara TR Trail Running Shoe Review
I was so excited when the Saucony Kinvara Trail shoes appeared in the mail for me to test. While I haven’t ever run in the Kinvara road, I have had my eye on the trail version for quite some time. Out of the box they felt not only lightweight, but also durable and tough.
To start, I personally think the shoe just looks nice – good color combinations, decent graphics, good proportions and the like. Once I started to investigate the shoe a bit more, I really liked what I saw. The uppers are a lightweight mesh with thin rubber bumpers in key places like the toe, heel, and a bit around the sides of the heel, there is a thin Flexfilm coating in key areas to add seamless durability and flexibility and the Kinvara TR has ample reflectivity on all sides.
The lightly cushioned tongue is attached up to the top lace, but then widens out and has a “T” or mushroom like top that isn’t attached so the shoe opens up a bit wider for easy entry and extra protection. A feature I noticed and really liked was the Hydromax interior cushioning around the inside of the heel. While many shoes have cushioning around the heel, not a lot of shoes offer cushioning in select areas for a more precise fit and comfort.
The ProGrid midsole felt very firm, more so than other Saucony shoes I have run in, but that may have been the combination of the ProGrid and the outsole. The foodbed was well-cushioned and wasn’t a cheap foam material, but rather a more dense almost memory foam like of material. While the midsole felt firm, it was still responsive and provided enough cushioning.
The outsole is a firm, durable rubber that Saucony calls EBO – external bedrock outsole. A feature I really appreciated was the additional rock plate that protected from rocks and sharp objects and also dispersed the impact throughout the foot. The lugs are low, arrowhead shaped in three rows running the length of the shoe. The lugs point forward from the arch up and toward the heel in the rear of the shoe with small round dot like lugs between the rows. I found the low treads and uniquely shaped lugs to provide a lot of traction on all types of terrain. The low lugs also allowed for extra stability on uneven trails.
Overall the shoe is low profile – weighing in at 7.2oz with a 4mm drop for women. I found the fit to be a bit small, so I would consider ordering up a half size form normal. In addition, the toebox isn’t as roomy as you’d expect from a more minimalist running shoe.
While I loved everything about the look and feel of these shoes on short runs, at the end of the day, they just didn’t fit my foot right. On longer outings, I found that the heel curved in a bit at the top and rubbed on the back of my achilles regardless of what socks I wore. In addition, the fit seemed a little sloppy in the midfoot, but when I cinched them down tight enough to combat that problem, I found that I got numb, achy toes on runs lasting more than 40 minutes or so. I kept coming back to the Kinvara Trail hoping that they would break in for me, but it just didn’t happen.
Although I didn’t have success with these for my feet, I highly recommend that anyone looking for a low profile, lightweight, durable trail runner add these to the list – just find someplace that will let you take them for a quick spin first.