Kit review: Saucony Kinvara 6
Saucony makes a big claim, that their new Kinvara 6 trainers are “just a few engines short of a turbojet”. Of course, most people would take this claim with a pinch of salt but it did give me an incentive to try out these running shoes.
The Kinvara 6 update also has a “best-ever PRO-LOCK lacing system” to deliver “optimal midfoot fit”, which is teamed up with a “new breathable mesh to deliver a cool breeze while you’re blazing the course”.
Plus there are “upper FLEXFILM overlays to help the shoe move better with your foot” and all this sits on top of a “POWERGRID-enhanced midsole”.
Blimey, that’s a lot of great new features to take in! And why does everything have to be in CAPITAL LETTERS?!
- Running style: Natural
- Pronation: Neutral
- Cushion: Responsive
- Construction type: Natural motion
- Surface: Road, track
- Arch: High, normal (Mid)
- Offset: 4mm )Heel Stack Height: 22mm, Forefoot Stack Height: 18mm).
On test: Saucony Kinvara 6
For a road training shoe, rather than a racing shoe, the Kinvara 6 feels light. The average size men’s shoe weighs 7.7oz, while the women’s is 6.5oz. But at this weight I would normally expect the shoe to be less than robust and likely to easily wear out.
Not so with the Kinvara 6. The sole looks fairly robust and it’s a decent thickness. This is a neutral and natural style of road running shoe so there is not a lot of offset between the heel and forefoot, just 4mm in fact, but I like this kind of shoe.
The cushioning feels just about right, too. Not too firm but not too weedy either. I want some cushioning on harder running surfaces but I don’t want it to feel too bouncy and mashmallowy. The Saucony Kinvara 6 is about right.
The upper mesh is meant to be super breathable. If you prefer the mesh to be a little more protective or even water-repellent, this is not it. This is a shoe for summer running and it does a great job of keeping feet cool.
Saucony has also built in more stretch to the version 6 than previous versions of the Kinvara but I didn’t notice this. My feet are narrow so they barely make an impact on the sides of the shoe. I would imagine if you are looking for a close fit and have wider feet then the stretch will be welcomed.
I am not so sure about the benefits of the “PRO-LOCK”. The Pro-lock is meant to give a more secure fit at the mid-foot area. However, I found that it over-tightened the shoe on my foot and that I meant I had to stop mid-run to loosen it.
I would suggest caution when tightening the lacing system. Aim for a little less on the tight side and then readjust after your first run. It’s good to have a lot of adjustability along the foot but you need to test it and see what suits best.
The trainers also seem to be made a little small. I recommend you buy at least a half size up on your normal shoe size to ensure the length is correct.
Running in the Saucony Kinvara 6 does feel good. I can’t say I felt like I had turbojets on my feet – I wish! – but the shoes felt light, cushioned and responsive. These are a step up from my super lightweight racing trainers yet with far more support and cushioning.
If you are heavier or run heavy these might be a bit lightweight for you and they could wear out quickly but for lighter weight runners they are a good choice.
I would feel confident about a lot of training in these shoes, in that they would give me enough cushioned support. They are a neutral shoe, though, so if you are not a natural and neutral style of runner I would avoid them.
I have been building up for years to wearing natural-feel trainers and these are a good match with my feet and style of running.
Looks shouldn’t matter when it comes to choosing trainers but the Saucony Kinvara 6s are quite beautiful. I love the hi-viz laces and the design and colours are fab.
See Saucony for more details and buy in running stores or on-line for around £95. They come in men’s and women’s fit.