Summary

We spent 6.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • Those who have tested the Saucony Kinvara 10 stated that it had a lightweight build that didn’t weigh down the foot.
  • A handful of reviewers welcomed the cushioning system, stating that it offered proper cushioning throughout their activities.
  • The aesthetics of this running shoe were lauded for being treats to the eyes; people were happy with the vibrant color schemes and the modern design.
  • Some consumers felt that the cover system and the underfoot platform were form-accommodating and able to conform to the natural movements of the foot, thereby ensuring a versatile ride.
  • The midsole unit was springy yet stable, according to a couple of runners; they observed that they didn’t lose any steadiness while standing idly or moving through the gait cycle.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The upper quickly accumulated dirt, some testers stated. The colors got washed out because of the dust that clung to the facade.
  • A few consumers felt the weight of this running shoe; they believed that it was somehow slightly heavier than they anticipated.

Bottom line

A generally positive response was afforded the Kinvara 10 from Saucony. This neutral running shoe was apparently versatile enough to handle many types of activities, with its midsole and upper gaining appreciation for being highly reactive to the shape and movement capacity of the foot. The lightweight configuration and playful colorways were also praised. On the other hand, some people complained about the dirt-magnet nature of the upper, as well as a slightly noticeable weight that countered its supposed lightweight structure.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
Top 2% most popular running shoes
Better rated than the previous version Saucony Kinvara 9

Expert Reviews

91 / 100 based on 33 expert reviews

  • 94 / 100 |

    Saucony Kinvara 10: What you hope for in an update

    Saucony-Kinvara-10.jpg
    Saucony-Kinvara-10-Durability.jpg
    More photos Saucony-Kinvara-10-Tread.jpg

    The Kinvara 10 is a good update to the long-loved Kinvara series. It has all the things I loved about past versions of the Kinvara 8 and 9, plus a few minor improvements. 

    This is what you hope for in an update!

    Saucony-Kinvara-10.jpg

    Pros

    Upper

    This is the benchmark for a daily trainer. It is light and fast but can go the distance when needed. 

    The upper is soft and does a great job of locking your foot down. The Saucony Kinvara is a very comfortable ride, regardless of whether you are going out for a long run, or are doing speedwork on the track. 

    Like previous versions of the Kinvara, the lacing is not fancy, but it works great every time, with no headaches (it’s nice to not have to think about your laces).  

    Durability

    The outsole in the Kinvara 10 continues to improve in terms of quality. I liked the Kinvara 8, but the exposed foam became pancake-flat over time. 

    I was a bit concerned with the Kinvara 9 because Saucony eliminated some of the outsole rubber in the forefoot where my previous shoes showed the most wear and tear.

     

    Saucony-Kinvara-10-Durability.jpg

     

    Have no fear, the quality of the exposed foam used on the outsole seems to be better than ever. The rubber used on the outer heel was extended slightly and shows almost no wear (compared to the Nike Zoom Fly, which breaks down pretty quickly).

    Cons

    Cushioning

    Probably the biggest con with the Kinvara is the lack of cushioning for longer runs. It offers a nice responsive ride and is consistently fast. 

    After a few miles, however, your feet start to yearn for a little more cushioning. This shoe has always been my go-to daily trainer. 

    It is versatile and is great for both daily jogs and speedwork, but I hope Saucony could add just a little more cushion in the forefoot so that when you get to mile 8, 9, or 10, you don’t have to start thinking about buying a max-cushion shoe. 

    It doesn’t need a lot, but anything will help on those longer days.

    Outsole

    As you can see in the photo, there is a pretty large groove in the outsole, which can sometimes trap small rocks. This has not been a major problem so far.  

     

    Saucony-Kinvara-10-Tread.jpg

     

    After 150 miles, the Kinvara 8 and 9 could be slippery on mud (although not as bad as the Breakthru). My hope is that the Kinvara 10 will provide more traction, even with a few miles on them.  

    Colorway

    A small con is that the new softer upper material seems to trap and show dirt more easily.  

     

    Saucony-Kinvara-10-Toe-Box.jpg

     

    I used to love the bright yellow neon that was offered in the Kinvara 8. I am a big fan of visibility since I tend to run early in the morning or in the evening. 

    I was excited to try the neon yellow in the Kinvara 10. I don’t think I could ever take this shoe on a muddy trail, since it will never look good again. The Kinvara has a relatively low stack height, so it is pretty easy to get dirty. 

    I think offering more dark colors or adding some carefully-placed overlays would help. I owned several versions of the gray Kinvara 9, which were boring but really concealed the dirt well. 

    Conclusion

    Overall, the Kinvara 10 exemplifies why I am a big fan of Saucony. They produce great daily trainers at an affordable price. 

  • 93 / 100 |

    I ran 400 miles in the Saucony Kinvara 10; Here’s what happened…

    More photos

    I loved almost every mile of it. The Saucony Kinvara 10 felt natural as soon as I first put the shoe on. The toe box was roomy, the upper hugged my foot just right, and the cushion was comfortable but still felt super responsive.

     

     

    This felt like the Goldilocks of lightweight trainers—not too minimalist, not too cushy. It is fast enough for tempo work and comfortable enough for long slow days. It just made sense!

    What I’ve used them for…

    After running my first marathon in a pair of New Balance 880 v8’s, I wanted a lighter shoe. The Kinvara 10 quickly became my one shoe quiver.

    I ran slow, I ran fast, and I ran tempo runs. It worked for everything.

    Slow runs

    This shoe isn’t necessarily built for long slow days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for such. It’s not a plush jogger, but the cushioning is comfortable at a 23mm stack height in the heel and 19mm up front.

    The midsole is soft enough to feel comfortable at a slower pace.

    Tempo runs

    These are precisely what the Kinvara was built for. It is lightweight, responsive, and the low 4mm heel-toe drop promotes a forefoot strike for a quicker turnover.

    The shoe just feels natural at uptempo paces. The Everrun topsole gives plenty of cushion, and the EVA+ midsole feels snappy and responsive, giving you lots of energy return to move fast.

    Speedwork

    I can’t say that my speedwork is anywhere near fast, but having used these on the track for training days, these were very comfortable at paces between 5:00-7:00 min/mile.

    Overall, I used the Kinvara’s as a daily trainer and ran a half marathon (1:49:36) and a marathon (4:36:00) in them. The only discomfort I ever had in them was a blister I developed on one foot during the half marathon.

    Other than that my legs always felt good, and never had any injuries or developed any niggling aches or pains.

    The devil’s in the details…

    Diving into the nitty-gritty. The Kinvara’s were released in a fantastic array of colors. I somehow found a pair in Saucony’s ‘Old Glory’s’ colorway, and they were… awesome!

    Uppers

    The mesh upper feels super supportive, and after 400 miles had zero rips or tears.

     

     

    The only negative I, and other reviewers, experienced was the fact that they did get dirty very easily. We’re not talking mud here, rather a dust that accumulates from running gravel or dirt roads.

    Midsole

    The shoe is comprised of a top layer of Everrun TPU foam that provides a softer, more comfortable step in and EVA+ midsole that is supposed to be a lighter material and save weight.

    The bottom of these shoes was a big concern to me initially. These are almost completely exposed EVA+ midsole material. There are two small bits of hard rubber inlay at the heel and very forefoot of the shoe to provide durability.

    There are two concerns here: Would the shoe have enough traction in the wet and how well would the exposed midsole wear with normal use?

    It turns out I didn’t have any reason to be concerned. Traction was a non-issue as the design of the sole provided plenty of grip on all the surfaces I used it for. I never used these on the trails, and I’d be hesitant to recommend it.

    Another concern is durability. As you can see in the picture, there is definite wear in the midfoot, but remember this is after logging 400 miles in these shoes. I couldn’t be happier.

     

     

    In the heel cup, there is a padded insert to, presumably, keep the heel more secure. To be honest, after putting the shoe on, I completely forgot about it.

    It is not intrusive or uncomfortable. I don’t know if it is completely necessary, but the shoe fits great and is super secure.

     

    In conclusion…

    This was my first pair of the Kinvara line from Saucony, and I can not wait to get my hands on the Kinvara 11’s. The shoe obviously has a long history.

    If you’ve taken the time to dig deep enough, or have experienced the whole lineup, it becomes clear that the Kinvara 1 was one of the first lightweight trainers to hit the market and was a big hit all around.

    The subsequent models seemed to lose their way, gaining weight and adding unnecessary complications.

    This is not the case, however, with the newest model 10’s. They seem to have gotten back to their roots—a no-frills, superbly built shoe that has given me mile after mile of enjoyment.

    Overall, they’re a lightweight daily trainer with an extremely comfortable ride and lots of energy return to keep you moving fast.

  • 92 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

    Long runs, short runs, fast-tempo runs, this shoe can handle it all. It's one of those great shoes. If you only have one shoe in your locker, this is the one to have.

  • 83 / 100 | The Ginger Runner | | Level 5 expert

    Is the Kinvara 10 a buy, a try or a why? In this case, I'm leaning towards why. Only because there are so many versios of the shoe previous that I enjoyed so much.

Become an expert

  • The Saucony Kinvara 10 is a daily running shoe that’s meant for those who desire an efficient product for their everyday exercises or speed training sessions. The upper unit is made up of engineered mesh, a cloth-like textile that accommodates the natural shape and motion of the foot as it transitions from the heel to the toe. Thin overlays hold the foot in place, preventing unintentional in-shoe wobbling. Discreet pods are placed in the heel to cushion the sides and avert accidental shoe removals.
  • The 10th version of the Kinvara has a full-length cushioning system that’s meant to protect against impact shock while enabling reactive steps. Two layers of foam work together to ensure consistent cushioning that doesn’t easily sag. While most of the outsole is made up of ground-contact foam, there are rubber nodes on high-wear areas to alleviate the potentially damaging nature of the asphalt.

The Saucony Kinvara 10 was designed using the standard measurements. When it comes to size, men and women can expect options that range from full sizes to half-sizes. Widthwise, the usual choices are available, allowing those with medium foot dimensions to ease into the shoe effortlessly. A semi-curved outline and a slightly wide forefoot design permit natural toe-splay.

Ground-contact EVA+ is the material used for the midsole unit of the Saucony Kinvara 10. This compound is capable of resisting the damaging effects of surface contact and rubbing. It has textured sections that are responsible for traction.

The areas of the heel and forefoot that are more prone to damage and wear are covered with rubber. These nodes are tasked with heightening durability and ensuring grip.

The Tri-Flex design is made up of flex grooves that have a three-pointed pattern. These points are meant to permit the natural movement of the human foot, freeing the runner to perform instinctively throughout the running session.

EVERUN™ is a full-length topsole that energizes the foot as it takes each step. It has been constructed to retain its form even after many uses. It is also lightweight so it won’t feel as if it’s going to mar down the experience.

EVA+ serves as the base of this running shoe‘s entire cushioning system. It has a substantial thickness that allows it to balance the foot and maintain its form throughout the performance.

FORMFIT is a footbed that is placed on top of the primary cushioning system. The purpose of this material is to add some more to the underfoot experience. It is contoured to take the shape of the foot-pad, supporting the curves and crevices which aren’t usually given attention.

The upper unit of the Saucony Kinvara 10 utilizes the cloth-like performance of engineered mesh. This fabric is soft and has a seamless construction. It has a predominantly close-weave format for durability, though there are many open-weave sections for targeted breathability and flexibility. The engineered mesh is also stretchy. Thus it allows the foot to relax and move naturally as it goes through the gait cycle.

The collar and tongue are padded. These elements help in keeping the foot in place while also ensuring extra cushioning for the upper portions of the foot.

The internal lining is made of a smooth and non-irritating textile. The purpose of this inner sleeve is to accommodate a foot that isn’t covered by a sock. Sock-less wearing may result in hot spots and chafing, but the soft interior prevents such occurrences.

Internal Heel Pods are placed on the left and right parts of the inner collar. These cushioned add-ons are meant to heighten the in-shoe comfort that the runner is supposed to feel. They are also tasked with maintaining the position and steadiness of the foot while also preventing accidental or unintentional shoe removals.

The Flex Film overlay system is made up of a thin material that is welded onto the upper unit of the Saucony Kinvara 10. This surrounding layer helps the rest of the façade when it comes to holding the foot securely. It also provides some visual flair and brand recognition as the Saucony logo, and the words ‘KINVARA 10’ are part of this sheet.

‘Head of the sea’ is the literal translation of the word ‘Kinvara.’ The name is also used for a County Galway, Ireland village-by-sea. The peaceful yet wild nature of the sea became the inspiration for one of Saucony’s most famous series of road running shoes.

The Kinvara line of performance footwear started in the year 2009. The initial version was crafted because a lot of consumers were pining for a running companion that didn’t have a substantial heel-to-toe drop yet featured a lightweight and uncluttered build.

The original Kinvara model was described as a close-to-the-ground daily trainer that may pass off visually as a casual sneaker. But it apparently held a high-quality construction that permitted runners to tackle the roads with ease and sureness. Stitch-reinforcements highlighted the upper, though some fused overlays were already utilized.

The natural underfoot experience that people desired came from the Kinvara’s (1st) 4-millimeter drop. Seldom did performance shoes have such a platform, so people loved that steady plane. The height of the midsole relative to the ground was also clearly seen, though its light construction didn’t limit quick steps. For many, such a design paved the way for pseudo-minimalist running shoes that many seem to enjoy nowadays.

The 10th anniversary of the Kinvara series celebrates its roots by having a design that’s reminiscent of the original façade. An optional colorway also remembers the two-tone hues of the classic model, evoking a sense of nostalgia among purists and followers of the line.

Still, Saucony hasn’t forgotten the value of moving forward and making new things happen for their consumers. Alas, the Kinvara 10 now has a few recent technologies like the EVERUN™ cushioned layer, the durable yet shock-attenuating EVA+, the FORMFIT supportive footbed, and the sock-like engineered mesh upper.

Mizuno Wave Sonic

Low-drop running shoes weren’t highly pervasive before the 2010s. But after the Saucony Kinvara proved that agreeable cushioning didn’t need a heavy profile and a bevy of features. The Wave Sonic from Mizuno is performance footwear that follows in that product’s footsteps; it gained praise for having a responsive underfoot experience, reliable traction via its outsole’s gripping lugs, and attractive looks that enabled fashionable use. The upper of this shoe offers breathability and security albeit in a silhouette that isn’t laden with thick overlays.

Asics Kanmei MX

A neutral running shoe that deceptively looks plain; that’s the aura of the Asics Kanmei MX. This product doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. It actually looks like a casual sneaker that took its inspiration from performance footwear. Cushioning is given by a foam midsole that runs the entire length of the silhouette. Flex grooves on the external pad are crafted as a means to permit natural movement through the gait cycle. The upper unit features an open-weave mesh that allows air into the foot-chamber effortlessly, thereby ensuring a well-ventilated in-shoe experience. Printed overlays help the traditional lacing system in securing the foot and preventing unnecessary movements when idle or when taking each step.

New Balance 730 v3

The New Balance 730 v3 moves away from the design of its immediate predecessor, the 730 v2 because it uses a very minimalistic approach for its façade. A compression-like coverage is applied via printed overlays with a little stitching. The midsole unit of this neutral running shoe is made up of the Acteva Lite, a full-length foam that is touted to be lighter than the regular ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) variant by roughly 24%. Many consumers treated this iteration as a vast improvement over the previous ones, with several stating that it was highly effective at accommodating the natural movement of the foot as it takes each step.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com