I watched the resurgence of Saucony in recent times with great delight. They went from this dorky, 'runners-only' brand to something much cooler and definitely more exciting. With the release of the Saucony Kinvara Pro, this evolution continues, breathing fresh air into a franchise that enjoyed mixed reviews the past few years.
(For the record, I quite like the standard Kinvaras.)
I'm fascinated by the Kinvara Pro, probably as much as I'm befuddled. On the one hand, it runs almost as smoothly as the Saucony Endorphin Elite and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3, which is excellent news. On the other hand, the Kinvara Pro is very different from the mainline Kinvaras, making me question the reasoning behind the shoes.
Either way, it's a superb running shoe, albeit a bit on the pricy side, and if you're interested in the best running shoes of 2023, then you're interested in the Kinvara Pro. Simple as that.
[First reviewed July 2023]
Saucony Kinvara Pro review: price and availability
The Saucony Kinvara Pro was announced in July 2023 and will be available to buy at Saucony US Saucony UK from 1 August in men's sizes 6-14 and women's sizes 3-10 for a recommended retail price of $180/ £200 (approx. AU$ 381 – AU availability TBC). That's a pretty steep price for a daily trainer, although New Balance's new SuperComp Trainer v2 retails for £210, so maybe it's the new norm? Plus, the Saucony Endorphin Elite sells for £280, which isn't cheap, either.
Saucony Kinvara Pro review: specifications
- Foam: Dual cushioning with PWRRUN PB (energy return) and a stack of PWRRUN (durability)
- Insole: PWRRUN+ sockliner
- Plate: three-quarter carbon-fibre plate (starts at midfoot)
- Type: Neutral/daily use
- Heel-to-toe offset: 8mm (42mm heel/34mm forefoot)
- Weight: Men’s 9.5oz. (269g), Women’s 8.5oz (240g)
- SPEEDROLL Technology provides gentle roll forward
Saucony Kinvara Pro review: technology
With the Kinvara Pro, Saucony tries to offer the same benefits of super shoes, like the aforementioned Endorphin Elite, but also the Nike Alphafly 2 and the Asics Metaspeed Sky Plus, but in a daily trainer form. To achieve this, they combined two foams with a carbon plate and a comfortable upper.
The Kinvara Pro, featuring Saucony's SPEEDROLL Technology, uses three of the brand's premium cushioning compounds: PWRRUN PB, placed closest to the foot and delivering 90% of the energy return. There is also a foundation of PWRRUN for more protection and durability at ground contact. Finally, a PWRRUN+ sockliner to further enhance comfort.
Added in between the PWRRUN PB and PWRRUN layers, you'll find the three-quarter-length carbon plate (so not nylon like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3), which, according to Saucony, provides a "gentle forward roll." The midsole is also shaped in a way that promotes a rolling sensation. A durable and supportive upper built for everyday use completes the Kinvara Pro package.
Saucony Kinvara Pro review: running performance
When I asked if I wanted to try the Saucony Kinvara Pro, I said, 'Yes, please, right now if possible'. I liked the idea of a chunky Saucony trainer, especially since I'm the number one fan of Hokas, and they are massive. The thought of having this gigantic slab of foam underfoot on a Saucony tempo trainer made me all giddy.
The couple of runs I did in the Kinvara Pro so far reassured my decision to try the shoes as soon as possible. The SPEEDROLL technology does its magic like before, and I also enjoyed the accommodating upper. I can see why Saucony wanted to create something like the Kinvara Pro, although I still think the Endorphin Pro 3 is more than well-suited for this purpose.
Nevertheless, looking at only the Kinvara Pro and its performance, it's a lovely and agile shoe. There is plenty of airflow in the shoes to keep your feet from swelling (I'm yet to go for a really long run; will report back after). The thick midsole does a decent job of keeping my legs fresh, and interestingly, I found the Kinvara Pro less sluggish than the Endorphin Elite (sluggish might not be the best word to use here).
Saucony Kinvara Pro review: verdict
Is the Saucony Kinvara Pro an excellent running shoe? Yes, absolutely. Is it a good addition to the Saucony lineup? I guess so. Did we need this shoe? Need might be a strong word, but it's nice for sure. Should you buy the Kinvara Pro? If you have enough disposable income and need a training shoe with essentially the same running dynamics as the Endorphin Pro 3 (and, to a certain degree, the Endorphin Elite) with a more accommodating upper, the Kinvara Pro is the best running trainer for you.
Placing the Kinvara Pro in a broader running footwear market, it's a shade less obvious whether you should get a pair. The newly launched Hoka Mach X is 20 per cent cheaper at full price and provides a very similar running experience. The same goes for the also hot-off-the-press Adidas Boston 12. They are both exceptional running trainers.
I think Saucony's strategy now is to push their products into the more premium category and use price as a marketing tool (see also: Endorphin Elite being one of the most expensive running shoes ever). It's not just the price, of course; Saucony's shoes are, in fact, superb. It's down to you, dear runner, to decide if that's enough to splash your hard-earned cash.
Saucony Kinvara Pro review: also consider
Looking for another stupidly expensive daily trainer? Look no further than the New Balance SuperComp Trainer. The brand's 'most advanced' daily trainer has an integrated carbon plate and the Energy Arc technology that focuses on additional compression for extra propulsion. And it looks pretty chunky, too. Read my full New Balance SuperComp Trainer review.
A cheaper alternative would be Hoka's Mach X. It's cheaper than the Saucony Kinvara Pro yet offers a similar running experience, which means it's a better option for people on a tight budget. You can't dismiss the Hoka Mach X if you can only afford one shoe for training and racing and yearn for that super trainer experience. Read my full Hoka Mach X review.